55 Years of Balance

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 Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration.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

By Fred

I will be 55 this year. Not an amazing accomplishment nowadays, but I have outlived two of my seven brothers. I am grateful for outliving my father and mother. Mother died several years ago and dad three years this month.

My father was a typical '50's era dad: strong, silent, work-focused and somewhat withdrawn. The one thing that I always knew was that Dad loved Mom unconditionally and almost blindly. She loved him in the same way. This always baffled me a bit, and I wonder if I love Frieda that deeply (and vice versa).

I did not really get to know Dad until after Mom died. He told me of how the death of his oldest brother in 1944 changed life for him. Dad was in the Army, training to be a radio technician. His entire class was scheduled to go to Europe to fix tank radios. But his brother died and Dad went on compassionate leave. When he returned, his classmates had shipped out; Dad was reassigned and remained in the U.S. This eventually led to a new lifelong career as an electrical engineer in the aerospace and aircraft industry.

I often wonder how one event or even one moment in a person's life can change everything. When I was 19, I was walking in the French Quarter and saw a TV reporter preparing a story. I talked to the cameraman, who was an auto mechanic in the Army. He told me not to be a mechanic! My whole life was changed by that short, random conversation. I became a computer clerk and now work as a contracts administrator rather than an auto mechanic.

The death of my father also brought me into full adulthood. I was 52 at the time, married 31 years with four children. Yet, I was still child to my father. After his death, I became executor of his estate, responsible to my brother and to the judicial system. I am now the elder. This is still a strange feeling, even after three years.

Many new parents ask Frieda when their babies will sleep through the night. She always tells them "very soon." She doesn't tell them the truth -- you never sleep through the night even when your children are 27, 24, 21 and 15. Often, exhausted parents of pre-teens tell us of their desire for their children to be older. We reply that these are the best years, to enjoy them. Frieda and I occasionally look at the tapes when all four were home and #4 took his first steps. We delight in this memory but do not wish for those days back. A selective memory is the road to sanity for long-term parenting. We now find delight in our roles of consultant and advisor rather than disciplinarian, teacher and decision maker.

Retirement sometimes seems impossible. When I was younger, I thought that I was set for life; working for a major corporation, having a young beautiful wife and a new son. A layoff after 23 years, several periods of unemployment, No. 1 son's problems that arise about every year, Frieda's cancer and one really bad year in our marriage temper my sharp thoughts and judgment towards other people.

I was at an aircraft museum last week and saw the tangible legacy of my father -- an aircraft he had worked on. How will my children recall me? How will yours?

Fred and his wife, Frieda, live near New Orleans. Fred is a regular contributor to On Balance and Frieda is a breastfeeding consultant and practicing Luddite.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  March 21, 2007; 6:45 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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Amazing, Fred. Captures life.

I think your children will recall your sense of humor.

I hope my children recall all the hugs.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 7:05 AM

Great column, Fred! I also have been amazed at how one instant or decision can make a huge difference in the rest of your life.

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 7:08 AM

"A selective memory is the road to sanity for long-term parenting."

Wiser words were never spoken.

Posted by: Father of 2 | March 20, 2007 7:09 AM

"I was at an aircraft museum last week and saw the tangible legacy of my father -- an aircraft he had worked on."

But I have to disagree with that statement. Look in the mirror. That is part of the tangible legacy of your father.

Posted by: Father of 2 | March 20, 2007 7:10 AM

Lovely Fred, thanks for sharing your story. One of the best things about life is all the knowledge that I gain each year. Can't wait to be as smart as you!

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 7:37 AM

I also think a selective memory is the road to a happy long-term marriage.

In addition to one instant/one decision changing your life, I also find that some of the best decisions are random ones over which you have no control.

Posted by: Leslie | March 20, 2007 7:38 AM

That is one of the best columns ever posted on this blog. Not only full of insight, but showing the whole picture, warts and all. Thanks again.

Posted by: To Fred | March 20, 2007 7:42 AM

Lovely, Fred, just lovely. Thank you. Food for thought for the rest of the week.

Posted by: writing mommy | March 20, 2007 7:49 AM

Fred,
Very nice column. Brings back lots of memories of my dad who died a year and a half ago. Unlike you, I am still waiting for the adult revelation. Once in a while (usually when something goes wrong in the house) I am smacked with the reality that I am responsible. But, when I am able to figure out how to fix it I thank my father - that is his legacy - an independent daughter.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 7:52 AM

Great column, but I have to disagree with the sleep issue. I have two preteens, ages 9 and 11, and I sleep very deeply. I wake up if one comes into my room. There were years, however, where I was a zombie.

Selective memory is right on--with kids and spouses! I hope my husband and kids only remember our good times!

Posted by: mj | March 20, 2007 7:56 AM

Wow, what a sweet blog Fred. I am sure your children will remember you as a devoted father and husband. Such nice words this week.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 20, 2007 7:57 AM

I hope that my children will remember the fun and know that as long as their father and I are alive they are loved completely and unconditionally by at least two people on this earth.

Posted by: Molly | March 20, 2007 7:58 AM

I would love to see a blog from the No. 1 son to get the full story...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 7:58 AM

When my son was in kindergarten, his class had a Mother's Day Tea. The children had to write something about their mother and read it out loud during the tea. My son said "I love my mother because she helps me when I need help." Hearing that from my then 5 year old son felt really good.

Posted by: Not Busy | March 20, 2007 8:07 AM

Loved this guest blog. I was particularly struck by the comment that at 52, when his father died, Fred finally became the "adult," the elder. I have been so surprised at how we can be acting the part of grown-ups, holding down jobs, paying the mortgage, raising kids but still not feel like the adult. When I was in college I thought something magical would happen in my late 20s, early 30s and I would truly grow up. What I've found is that it's life's tragedies that force us to really grow up.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | March 20, 2007 8:08 AM

Fred, great blog. I especially appreciate the bit about only becoming an adult after the death of your parents. I'm 41, married 10+ yrs, two kids, mortgage, partner in a law firm -- and yet I still know that I can always count on my mom for support when things get tough. The thought of someday filling that role myself, being the family matriarch, the advice-giver instead of the advice-seeker, scares the bejeebers out of me -- even with all the responsibilities that I manage in my daily life, I'm still not ready to be THAT grown up!

Posted by: Laura | March 20, 2007 8:08 AM

Why Fred, you old softie. That was a particularly sweet guest blog.

The adult revelation is the most intriguing aspect of life as a married mom. When I first got married is seemed like my husband and I were "playing house." A couple of my friends have said the same thing. As life progressed, babies born, career changes, death of a parent - we now feel like it is all passing by so quickly. There a fewer carefree days, more worries - but we are no longer just "playing house," we are living life.

I hope when I am 55 I can reflect so clearly on my life, and take my lessons learned as I get there as gracefully (and eloquently!) as you and Frieda. Perhaps the lesson is to start now.

Posted by: cmac | March 20, 2007 8:10 AM

My dad died 3 years ago yesterday. It was actually a relief as he had Alzheimer for the last 1 1/2 years.

The way I have always looked at it is that we brothers received 15 bonus years as he had a heart attack at 65 and was quite lifeless. He just happened to be in a cardiac care unit so he was revived promptly.

Fo2 makes a good point about looking in the mirror

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 8:16 AM

Fred, you made me cry! Luckily I work from home so it's not nearly as embarrasing as it could be. I, too didn't really feel like a grown up (even though I had my own child) until my Father died in 2002.

I love how you mention that you didn't really get to know your Dad until after your Mom died. I think for so many folks in that generation Mom was the ultimate buffer. And while that was good in so many ways I believe it did tend to create a barrier between a lot of Dads and kids.

You have given me a lot to think about today as I wonder what my son will remember about me!

Posted by: Circle Pines | March 20, 2007 8:16 AM

Ok, so I know the comma rules, but my tears blinded me during proofing!

Posted by: Circle Pines | March 20, 2007 8:19 AM

Fred, you da man!

I especially like the words:
"I often wonder how one event or even one moment in a person's life can change everything."

I once asked my grandparents how they fell in love:
Saturday nights were bridge nights at the church hall. George and Dorothy were partners, and in a single instance of utter thoughtlessness, poor Dorothy trumped George's Ace. It was the worst move a bridge player can possibly make. The players at the table were agast! The bone-headed move quickly circulated around the church hall and left Dorothy so embarrassed that she thought no would would ever select her as a partner ever again.

And George forgave Dorothy. What a nice man!

So here I am today, possibly due to how a deck of cards got shuffled back in the 1930's.

back when I was a teenager learning to drive, I once made the decision to punch the accelerator when the light turned yellow, instead of hitting the brake to stop at the intersection. Not that anything significant became of it, but in some small, tiny intsy binsy way, my life would become forever different.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 8:24 AM

Nothing to add that others have not. Very well done and insightful.

Posted by: JS | March 20, 2007 8:25 AM

My life was forever changed a) when I decided to stay for a PhD and met my now husband the next week and b) when rather newly married, I thought to myself, "well we're married, this won't count", with #1 duly arriving the following fall.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 8:32 AM

My father is still alive, but my mom died in a car crash back when I was 16. That day was the first (and only) time I ever saw him cry, and realized he was as human as anyone else. The day after she died, when everyone started showing up, he had to put his adult face back on and remain stoic for all four of us kids, even though my two older siblings were already out on their own.

Years later, when I was in college, I realized the relationship between he and I had changed. I did poorly one semester and barely managed to stay in college. When I showed him the grades, he didn't get upset, only looked at me and asked "did you do your best?". I had to admit that no, I hadn't. "Well, go back and do your best the next time," he said.

That was it. No yelling, no lecture, only a conversation between two adults. I realized at that time he saw me as an adult capable of making my own decisions and expected to accept the consequences of them as well.

Years later, after I'd graduated and married, with a career of my own, he called me to ask my advice for some work he was doing on his farm. While I'm sure there were times in the past where he asked me what I'd do on a subject, that was the first time I recalled him going out of his way to ask me about something he was working on.

He had never been a real emotionally available father. He had us working on the farm with him from an early age, but he wasn't a real sensitive guy when it came to expressing his feelings with us while we were growing up. Seeing him now treating all of us as adults took some getting used to, but it's kind of nice now.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 8:39 AM

Thanks Fred. That was awesome! Very heartfelt and eye-opening.
...breastfeeding consultant and practicing Luddite. LMAO!!! You just made my day. LOL

Posted by: Chris | March 20, 2007 8:50 AM

Great blog, Fred. Isn't it amazing that most of us go through our lives daily and don't ever look back at how far we've come and what fascinating people we are. Everyone has a story.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 20, 2007 8:54 AM

If you look around my house, you will find stray sheet of paper with columns of addition and multiplication on them. Frieda will not even use a calculator half the time!

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 8:56 AM

Fred,
But does Frieda use a typewriter, word processor or the ol' pen and paper?

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 8:57 AM

If you want to write us:

fred_and_frieda@hotmail.com

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 8:58 AM

Fred wrote (and many have already cited!): "I often wonder how one event or even one moment in a person's life can change everything."

So true. Of course, we have "moments" all the time in life. Perhaps the real question is, how do we recognize which moments will be the ones that make a significant difference? Or do you think some just slip past us, unrecognized at the time but perhaps regretted soon or long after?

Thanks for a great job on the guest column, Fred (& of course Frieda!).

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 8:59 AM

That was lovely, Fred.

Selective amnesia AND selective deafness are two good skills for maintaining personal relationships. Used judiciously, of course.

Posted by: MdMother | March 20, 2007 9:03 AM

Dotted,

Are you kidding? Pen and paper. I think that she would use a quill and ink if available. She does understand that technology exists but has a husband and son to deal with it!

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 9:04 AM

Well, just as long as Frieda doesn't use a chisel on stone ;-)

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 9:07 AM

...or an abacus

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 9:09 AM

Catlady, you stole my line!

The mind boggles with the thought of Frieda doing the Flintstones in the booby van.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 9:09 AM

I know people who still use an abacus. I had a BF once whose cousin came to live with them from Taiwan. The kid was a math genius, and you should have seen his fingers fly over that thing!

Great guest blog, Fred. It gave me a lot to think about, and I'm not even a parent!

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 9:14 AM

My mom always said she never felt like a grown-up until she had children.

I have children, and some days I still have moments when I don't feel I'm in full adulthood. I imagine becoming the elder woman will be a profound change (I hope that's not for a LONG time though).

OT--thank you, atlmom, for taking the time late yesterday to share your thoughts on going back to work. I did go back PT for awhile, and had found a pretty good balance. I had to leave that position because of relocation and likely will begin researching opportunities here in the fall.

Posted by: Marian | March 20, 2007 9:15 AM

Dotted wrote: "Catlady, you stole my line!"

Or maybe great minds think alike :-)

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 9:17 AM

WOW! That was an awesome. Fred, you write so beautifully.

The hardest thing I learned in life was that my parents are human with flaws, but it was also the best thing. It showed me that I can love them as they are rather than the superhumans I thought they were.

When my daughter was born I realized that EVERYTHING my mom did (even the ones that drove me crazy) had a purpose. Of course, when I told her this, she chirped, " I told you so!" Ugh.

To look at my child and see generations of my family, and my husband's, in her is just mind boggling to me. I hope that I can show her that I am human with flaws but that I love her unconditionally ad will always be there for her.

Posted by: Formerly Soon to be Mom | March 20, 2007 9:20 AM

Very nice and thoughtful article. I appreciate the honesty in admitting that life has it's ups and downs. I'm only 33, but have had my share of downs lately and it's comforting to know that others do too, but maintain a positive outlook on life.

I'm always bothered when I read articles where the author states, "I couldn't be happier, or everything in my life is perfect". It usually makes me wonder why I don't always feel that way, so again, I appreciate the honesty about the insights you've gained during your life.

As far as a legacy, I only want my son to know that he was loved deeply by his father and that I will always be there for him. Sounds like you've already done that with your family.

Posted by: JDS | March 20, 2007 9:22 AM

That coffee hasn't taken effect yet. Fred, keep writing, both in the blog and outside it. You have such a talent for describing the big picture.

Do you keep a journal? Your children would be very lucky to read your insights someday. My brother let me read his travel journals from when he was in his twenties. It was a wonderful gift, and I came to know him in a different light.

Posted by: Marian | March 20, 2007 9:25 AM

Catlady asks "Perhaps the real question is, how do we recognize which moments will be the ones that make a significant difference? Or do you think some just slip past us, unrecognized at the time but perhaps regretted soon or long after?"

I think that most of the time we don't recognize those moments until they have passed. Hopefully we can learn from them and appreciate them for what they are since we can't go back and change them.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 9:25 AM

Fred,
Very touching guest blog! It is a great real-life example of focusing on what really matters in life. I hope that I can mature so gracefully through the death of my mother. My father died suddenly when I was 8, and I've lived in fearful preparation for my mother's death ever since. You remind me to live in joyful gratitude instead.

There is so much of life we cannot control, and so much happiness just waiting to be noticed.

Thanks, Fred!

Posted by: equal | March 20, 2007 9:26 AM

WorkingMomX, "Everyone has a story."

Yeah, and my oldest daughter tells people the reason she was born is because her parents got drunk at the company Christmas party, and well, um, there is some truth to that story.

I wonder how many parents remember what they did to conceive their own children?

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 9:33 AM

Did you read this article in today's Washington Post?

"Fathers Are No Longer Glued to Their Recliners. Child-Care, Housework Hours Increase"

Posted by: Did you see this article... | March 20, 2007 9:33 AM

To KLB SS MD:

I think sometimes the window of opportunity on the life "moments" is longer than merely instantaneous -- that we have at least a little time to reflect before taking chances, in order to (try to) minimize any possible damage.

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 9:35 AM

Catlady,
I think that making a conscious decision to minimize damage from our actions is part of what defines us as responsible adults (say it isn't so).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 9:39 AM

I agree there's no way you can know a decision you make is actually a turning point in your life until you can look back on it later on.

Case in point: I met my wife at college on a whim. My dormitory roommate wanted to go to an introductory meeting for a campus club, and I decided on the spur of the moment to go with him. At the meeting we met some women who were there for the same reason, and realized we had a lot in common and ended up becoming good friends with them.

One of them eventually ended up being my wife of 23 years now. Had I decided not to go, I may have never met her (although maybe not; the university is rather small) and my life would have been definitely different today!

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 9:39 AM

Very nice blog. I am glad to know that it isn't terribly odd that most days I still don't feel like an adult....even though I'm married with three kids of my own.

Posted by: MOMto3 | March 20, 2007 9:42 AM

John L said what I was trying to say. Not that I don't agree with catlady but I think the two are separate.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 9:44 AM

Fred,
Your blog was beautiful. It just felt so real and true. I think that is one of the greatest parts of growing older. You become so very wise. Thank you.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 9:46 AM

"Yeah, and my oldest daughter tells people the reason she was born is because her parents got drunk at the company Christmas party, and well, um, there is some truth to that story."


Uhhhh, two of our kids were born in Sept. I was born in late August

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 9:48 AM

Fred, New Year's Eve parties?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 9:50 AM

Thanks Fred,

My pop passed away when I was in my 20's, and truly was an inflection point in my life.

The milestones of life, marked by some as sacraments, birth, marriage and death have been periods of heigtened awareness and significance for me. Add baptism, confirmation and confession if you want...

Words, choices and actions at these moments carry significant weight IMHO due to the high level of passion as well as acute focus on priorities.

(WARNING) personal vent follows:

re: Family, honor, truth, priorities.

Why do RSVP's to wedding invitations unanswered, or christening invitations unanswered, even with the aid of an enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope, grate upon me so?

... or imagine an eldest son calling his dad a coward at father's funeral service? ... an indellible brand of dishonor and/or self-centered rudeness?

IMHO, courage never will be found in the child who would stoop so low to disgrace a parent in the grave.

Unforgivable?

or would the perpetrator need to repent to be forgiven in these cases?

Life is a series of choices with consequences, sounds like you got the important ones right Fred. Well written.

Posted by: Fo3 | March 20, 2007 9:50 AM

I met my wife 30 years ago because of Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Barris.

I left a campus pub after listening to a bad Springsteen cover band. I came back to my dorm early, and this interesting fgirl was visiting with a group of friends. We started talking about our favorites on the Gong show, and now, here we are.

Posted by: One moment | March 20, 2007 9:52 AM

LOL, Father of 4. My grandparents gave me an antique bed about 10 years ago and while we were loading it into the truck, my grandfather said "You know, your mother was conceived in that bed." Oversharing!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 20, 2007 9:53 AM

Yeah, and my oldest daughter tells people the reason she was born is because her parents got drunk at the company Christmas party, and well, um, there is some truth to that story.

Eek! My birthday's Sep. 25!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 9:58 AM

"... or imagine an eldest son calling his dad a coward at father's funeral service? ... an indellible brand of dishonor and/or self-centered rudeness?
IMHO, courage never will be found in the child who would stoop so low to disgrace a parent in the grave.
Unforgivable?"

No, Fo3, I don't think it's unforgivable. People are complicated, and so are relationships. I agree that the rites of passage, especially weddings and funerals, bring about the best and worst in people. They are highly charged emotional times. A grieving son said what he felt at a funeral. Perhaps it was not appropriate. It might have embarrassed others and made them feel uncomfortable. It might have enraged others. But maybe it had to be said. Maybe it was a step that that person had to take towards healing. And maybe, just maybe, the deceased father, wherever he was, understood and forgave it.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 9:59 AM

My son was conceived on my living room couch, in celebration of my visiting MIL's departure for a two week long visit.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 10:04 AM

"... or imagine an eldest son calling his dad a coward at father's funeral service? "

Anonymous this time:

Father who was aware that an uncle was molesting his least favourite daughter, and did nothing to stop it. He qualified for that treatment. Besides, 3 other children were molested by same uncle, later.

(Not your dad, obviously, but just an example of why somebody may feel compelled to lance the boil. We do not know what goes on in families nearly as well as we think we do.)

Posted by: for Fo3 | March 20, 2007 10:04 AM

I have always been interested in some seemingly small event that changes a person's life. I tend to think that most of these are realized in retrospect.

The conversation that I had with the cameraman lasted about 3 minutes. But, 7 months later, when I was in Nam in an air conditioned building rather than in the very hot sun pulling out a starter, made me glad of the conversation.

I also met Frieda on a whim. Three of us guys went down to N.O. for my brother's 21st birthday. We met up with 2 girls, one a HS classmate of mine and my brother's and the other was Frieda. 3 to 2 and I was the odd man out. I did not think too much about this until about 2 week later when I called the classmate to ask her for a date. She said that she was busy but knew of someone who wanted to go out with me. 31 yrs later, I am still with Frieda.

Although, I love the name Zelda so much I think I may rename her!

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 10:06 AM

Although, I love the name Zelda so much I think I may rename her!

Or you could call her Ginger.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 10:09 AM

Heh. My sister's birthday is
mid-September also. Mine and my younger brother's birthdays are in late October and early November; apparently the winters before were cold in late January...

I think if I'd known one of my parents had been conceived in a bed I was getting from a relative, it would end up being sold. Too much of the 'ewww' factor in knowing that...

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 10:10 AM

Biographical note

Frieda's mother had died before we were married. She died of cancer.

My father was the last living grandparent.

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 10:10 AM

How about calling her Wilma? :-)

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 10:11 AM

It isn't the same mattress is it? Just the same bedframe. I still have my grandparent's bedframe in my guest room. They were married almost 60 years and only had a double bed.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 10:12 AM

"...Or you could call her Ginger"

Ginger, I don't get this one?

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 10:13 AM

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 10:13 AM

"...Or you could call her Ginger"

Ginger, I don't get this one?

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 10:13 AM

Ginger, I don't get this one?

It's a reference to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers...

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 10:14 AM

Nice blog Fred... I think your children will recall you fondly.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 20, 2007 10:16 AM

"I was at an aircraft museum last week and saw the tangible legacy of my father -- an aircraft he had worked on. How will my children recall me? How will yours?"

I'll have to think about that. Meanwhile, my cousin Norman's experience tells me that it works both ways. A number of years ago, I was in Philadelphia on business, and my colleague and I had a little spare time, so we visited the plant on Ninth Street where Norman worked as an HVAC engineer. From his office, Norman took us to the ground floor, where construction was done. He showed us a giant control panel that the firm was building for a chemical company, and he said, "Larry designed this." Larry is Norman's son -- also an engineer. You could see how proud Norman was that his son was following in his footsteps.

These days, Norman, who was born in 1919, is down to working only three days a week. He works in his son's engineering firm.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had tried to follow in my father's footsteps. I remember him as a fighter for the "little guy," a sole practitioner who helped small-time restaurant and bar owners battle the maze of bureaucracy. I remember him as incorruptible: Once, the local Democratic Party offered him a judgeship if he would give a $500 bribe. Of course, he turned them down.

I suppose I could look on my fourteen years as an Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor as my way of doing what my father did. But I never quit my scientist "day job" to practice law. Maybe our oldest son, the Law Student, who was born nineteen years after my father died, will follow his grandfather (actually, both his grandfathers!) into the solo practice of law. I have told him all about what my father did. I have shown him letters that my father wrote to bureaucrats, demanding fair treatment for his clients. The address at the top of the letterhead is in New York City, but the name that precedes "Attorney at Law" is our son's name as well as my father's, down to the middle initial. If our sons -- all of them -- can take up their grandfathers' legacies and be fighters for justice and fairness for the little guy, we will be happy.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 20, 2007 10:18 AM

How will my children remember me? Tough question. There is little doubt that I have formed my own parenting strategy in part based upon my memories of my own father. I tried to take the good and do that and counter the bad with some other set of actions.

I also (greedily) have used my father's regrets and made an effort not to have the same. So, for instance, I have made a point of taking each child on a trip at age 14, just them and me. Also, I attend every event, no matter what, business be damned.

Some of the other things I have hoped to impart have been fairly prosaic - a love of good food, music and conversation, politeness, general good nature, reading, games, sports, gardening/nature. There is no way to know yet whether I have been successful.

Some, I have failed miserably, such as a love of language and diversity of culture. Of course, I blame external influences (TV, IM, whatever) and not my lack of skill at parenting. My kids, to their credit, see the commonality of people. In so doing and in spite of the efforts of others to "celebrate" various cultures, they diminish the wonder of our differences in favor of sameness.

As I think about it now, my father had a presence and a smell. His face was rough from the electric shaver and he had an air of experience garnered from WW II and the Great Depression that I could never emulate. Perhaps there is also a feel about me that my kids will remember but I can't say. Maybe I need to start using Aqua Velva.

Fred posts an interesting but subtly difficult question. Best wishes to him and his success.

Posted by: Dave | March 20, 2007 10:19 AM

My father was also a "fight for the underdog" person and pretty much all of us follow his footsteps in that manner in one way or another.

Maybe that's why I am a Redskins fan???

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 10:20 AM

Hey Missicat,

I, like my father, am a long suffering Cubs fans. My sainted mother, the smart person that she was, was a SL Cards fan!

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 10:25 AM

Maybe that's why I am a Redskins fan???

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 10:20 AM

No, that's tilting windmills. Alas!

Posted by: Don Quixote | March 20, 2007 10:25 AM

My father was a Republican. His father was a Republican You couldn't not talk politics with them as they would almost foam at the mouth talking about the "D...ed Democrats". I learned early on not to bring it up or, if it did come up, how to quickly change the subject.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 10:26 AM

I meant you COULDN'T talk politics with them - fingers got away from me.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 10:27 AM

I never knew (nor wondered about) whether my parents were Republican or Democrat. As a child those were simply things that I didn't need to know; once I was an adult my mother was already gone and my father had remarried, and it never really came up in conversations.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 10:30 AM

"I wonder how many parents remember what they did to conceive their own children?"

All my mom told me was that she remembered looking up and seeing geckos mating on the ceiling (they were in the Philippines). How appropriate.

I for one always wondered how anyone could tell exactly when a child was conceived. Can a doctor trace back to the exact date, or is it only a ballpark figure? Because I would imagine that even if they could narrow it down to a week's span, they probably still wouldn't know the exact occasion, assuming people have sex more than once a week.

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 10:31 AM

they probably still wouldn't know the exact occasion, assuming people have sex more than once a week.

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 10:31 AM

Some of us write down when we have sex. Particularly if we are trying to conceive.

Posted by: to Mona | March 20, 2007 10:32 AM

John L,
Believe me, after listening to them a couple of times I wished I didn't know either. Our family was "mixed" - many of my father's side were democrats and they would have lively arguments at every holiday.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 10:32 AM

I think it depends on whether the kid is planned or "inspired." I remember the date and all the details of one kid's conception, since we were not planning for it... her younger sister we were trying for, so I have no idea...

Posted by: to Mona | March 20, 2007 10:33 AM

Will my kids remember their parents as the ones who "blew it" - the hypocrites who promoted the advocacy of family and then ended up divorced. Their father quickly remarrying and starting "new" family (what was wrong with the old one?)

Or will they remember their mother who had to work full time to help keep a roof over their head? To give them opportunities she didn't have? Health benefits; college opportunities; travel opportunities; sports opportunities.

Or will they remember that their mom was "controlling" - telling them what they should/shouldn't do.. (isn't that a parents job?)

I hope they remember that as their mother I truly did love them and only wanted the best for them. But I am human; not perfect, and made many mistakes. But their best interests were truly in my heart at all times.

Parenting and life balance is tough.

My mom and dad were very poor with 9 children. Now, as an adult - I do "see" why they did some of the things they did and the difficulties they had to overcome.. and I admire them. But it isn't until you walk a "mile in their shoes" that you truly do appreciate your parents.

I asked my mom how she did it to raise 9 kids (compared to my 2) and her answer is "Well, I got to stay home". But when she was home she worked from before Dawn until after Sunset (we lived on a farm). The gardening and canning; the food preparation (full three cooked meals a day); the laundry (wringer washer on the porch - clothes line dried clothes).

I learned much from my parents and I truly appreciate.

Posted by: C.W. | March 20, 2007 10:38 AM

"Some of us write down when we have sex. Particularly if we are trying to conceive."

Oh.

O_O

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 10:39 AM

I think it depends on whether the kid is planned or "inspired."

That's very true. I remember when my son was conceived because it was the one time that month that we did not use birth control. He wasn't so much an accident as an inspiration. I remember hesitating for a moment, and saying, "what if I get pregnant?" My husband said something along the lines of, "well, then we'll have a baby." And we did. Amazing how easy that was, compared to actually trying (which has been like banging my head against a wall). It feels so good to stop.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 10:43 AM


A very interesting article. I think that the most important part of parenting is giving children self respect and the idea that the can do anything because they are ".....". As a product of the depression and WWII I had a relatively easy life, the present is always more difficult than the past. The future can only be more difficult but somehow people manage to survive. My parenting role model
was a coworker who was a product of the dying Woonsocket, RI mill economy. He refused to wear a blue coat because "that was what they give to poor kids." He also
always carried a card in his pocket that outlined how he would finance the education
of each of his five kids. When he was off track he made adjustments. All of this didn't make too much of an impression on me until one of his daughters told me "I am a Gould, and I can do anything if I want
it badly enough'.

I pushed my own kids on the education front,(two Phds), and tried to show them the world when they were young. I am trying to do the same with my grandchildren

Posted by: pete from Maine | March 20, 2007 10:44 AM

John L. wrote: "I never knew (nor wondered about) whether my parents were Republican or Democrat."

Wow, it was so different in our household when I was growing up! Current events were always a part of mealtime discussions. We faithfully read a daily newspaper and weekly newsmagazine, and listened to/watched the news on radio/TV.

As each election approached, my parents would sit at the kitchen table one evening after dinner to discuss the various candidates and ballot issues, then mark the sample ballots accordingly that they would be taking with them into the voting booth. My father, who went to work early, always went alone went to vote after work. When I was little my mother (who worked PT) took me along with her to our neighborhood polling place during the day, and I'd stand inside the booth with her and watch as she marked her paper ballot with the purple-ink "X" stamp. In other words, my parents taught by example, not just words.

My first cousin has confirmed similar attitudes and practices in my uncle's household, and to this day we both vote religiously. Like me, he believes that those who could vote but don't have no grounds for complaint if they don't like something our government does. It's likely that this family value was influenced by the fact that our mutual grandparents were both immigrants who came to this country as children, and as young adults chose to become naturalized American citizens.

When I first met my future DH, he'd never even registered to vote, let alone voted, despite having been eligible for three years. I told him I could never consider marrying anyone who wasn't a voter -- hey, we all have our dealbreakers, and this was one of mine! He now shares my attitude re the importance of voting, and we always go to vote together.

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 10:49 AM

Why do people choose a bureaucratic employment (contract specialist) over a real stuff (a mechanic, and engineer, a lawyer, a soldier...) and at age 55 they suddenly realize that there is no tangible legacy in it? So they make lame jokes and drink.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 10:49 AM

they probably still wouldn't know the exact occasion, assuming people have sex more than once a week.

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 10:31 AM


I don't know the exact date, but it was probably while they were on a 1 week vacation. That's close enough for me.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 10:51 AM

This is both a "life changing moment" and a "how we conceived" story, really.
Mr Bee and I had a birth control failure while we were still pretty young and hadn't been together very long. This was how I found out that while I can conceive, I cannot carry a pregnancy to term without serious medical intervention. I was relieved at the time, because we were NOT ready for kids. Learning that about my body fairly early was a good thing: if I'd waited until I wanted to have kids, it would have been a sad discovery but as it was, I've had time to reimagine my life without kids.
As far as how I'll be remembered, I have some plans....

Posted by: worker bee | March 20, 2007 10:51 AM

So they make lame jokes and drink.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 10:49 AM

Speak for yourself, you anonymous coward.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 10:52 AM

Why do people choose a bureaucratic employment (contract specialist) over a real stuff (a mechanic, and engineer, a lawyer, a soldier...) and at age 55 they suddenly realize that there is no tangible legacy in it? So they make lame jokes and drink.

I'd say there is no tangible legacy for most of us in our professions. That's why we focus or should focus so much on our relationships with people -- family, friends, etc. For the rest, well, on cold nights you can cuddle up to your cash register.

Posted by: Chiclet | March 20, 2007 10:52 AM

"I wonder how many parents remember what they did to conceive their own children?"

I suppose they did; the process doesn't change from couple to couple, after all...

If you're actually trying to conceive I suppose you could narrow it down to an actual 4-5 day interval in the month, but that would be about it.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 10:57 AM

"Why do people choose a bureaucratic employment (contract specialist) over a real stuff (a mechanic, and engineer, a lawyer, a soldier...) and at age 55 they suddenly realize that there is no tangible legacy in it? So they make lame jokes and drink."

LOL, I am in private industry and my job, in its small way, has materially contributed to a 4 billion dollar project. I have been a soldier and a mechanic for pay. My talents lie elsewhere.

Don't drink anymore but I do make lame jokes sometimes.

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 10:58 AM

Why do people choose a bureaucratic employment (contract specialist) over a real stuff (a mechanic, and engineer, a lawyer, a soldier...) and at age 55 they suddenly realize that there is no tangible legacy in it? So they make lame jokes and drink.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 10:49 AM

bwaHAHAHAHAHAHA! If your legacy relates to your job, and not to how you have touched or changed other people or your community, I am very, very sorry for you.

As if most of us really have the autonomy to "choose" our jobs, by the way.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 10:58 AM

Mona,

Some of us do have sex frequently enough to have not a clue when, within a 7 - 10 period, our children were conceived. Don't assume that notebooks and perfect memories are the norm.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 11:02 AM

love your blog, Fred. Hugs to Frieda!

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 11:03 AM

to worker bee, tell us about your plans to be remembered . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 11:03 AM

Who in Hades tracks intercourse? That seems freaky, even if you are trying to conceive. Ick, talk about a notebook you'd want burned if you were hit by a bus.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 11:04 AM

As a highway engineer, I can drive all over NC, point at a road or a bridge, and say "that was my project". My actions result in both positive and negative impacts, but I am anonymous; my name isn't on any of these projects for the public to see. My father was a mechanical engineer, and the contributions he made in his work are even more anonymous.

Raising a child, however, results in a tangible and visible example of how your efforts as a parent turned out. While at some point they become responsible for their actions, those first two decades are mostly the result of the parents' decisions. That to me is the ultimate legacy to leave behind; what your children are like as they become adults themselves.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 11:06 AM

I can't imagine tracking coital escapades either, but then again, I'm not trying to conceive. I guess I can understand that, because not everyone is as fertile as they'd like to be, or maybe someone would just really like to know the exact date so they can make a better prediction forty weeks later. To people attempting to conceive, marking days on a calendar might come as naturally as the red star I draw on every fourth Thursday. (I would hope that's the limit of it, though; I really can't imagine keeping a diary!)

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 11:08 AM

Mona,

We know conception dates for both of ours --- in both cases because we were trying to conceive, charting morning temps and using ovulation testers to note fertile times, and had only one opportunity during the fertile period (first kid, due to our travel schedules for work; second kid, due to toddler and houseguest limiting opportunities . . .) For our first, we really shouldn't have been eligible to conceive, and were convinced we had missed our window that cycle, but were very lucky that a long-lived sperm stuck around til needed. I like to remember how the moment of conception occurred when we were each oblivious and alone, thousands of miles apart, but already set in motion with great hopes when we were together. . . and how, still thousands of miles apart, a telltale temperature spike one morning revealed that we'd relinquished our hopes prematurely . . . Talk about lucky and life-changing moments! The kids we get are so wondrous and unique, and yet so utterly random!

Both of ours were conceived the first month trying, so all those years of birth control were a worthwhile expense after all . . . I'd always wondered about that. I regret that not everyone has such luck, you just never know what your fate will be when you tug on that door . . . we're very grateful for ours.

Posted by: KB | March 20, 2007 11:10 AM

I don't see the point with keeping track of when you had sex, even if you're TTC. As long as you know when the woman's fertile period is during her cycle, and time your sexual efforts to fall within that time, that's about all you can do. My wife, in fact, routinely teases me that I know her fertility cycle better than she does!

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 11:11 AM

I do think that some people have jobs that greatly contribute to the rest of the world, in very tangible ways. Doctors, scientists, nurses, social workers, teachers, people who build things, etc.

But I don't think this is the only way, or perhaps even the best way, to have a lasting legacy. People also contribute through their relationships, through how they interact with others, through how they help and encourage others. For some people, this means raising children. For others, it means being a friend, a husband or wife, a sister or brother. My grandmother came to this country at middle age, after having lost her farm to a socialist revolution in her country. And yet, her tangible legacy is comprised of the combined lives of the people she brought with her, her own family, her extended family, and her servant's family. Thanks to her determination and inspiration to make sure that all these people had better lives, we all live the American dream now. That is the tangible legacy that she left behind, and she was no doctor, lawyer, engineer, or scientist. She was just a very determined woman with a very good heart.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 11:12 AM

I know what day I conceived. I was tracking days, using the rhythm method of birth control. Oops!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 11:12 AM

11:03 AM, I am writing a book. I was having a joke with myself in mentioning it though, because really, who ISN'T writing a book? Also my book is a fairly light fantasy and therefore not likely to be a lasting legacy.

Posted by: worker bee | March 20, 2007 11:16 AM

KB, beautifully written. Thanks for the insight. Fred spoke in his blog about sometimes not feeling like an adult, and so many of you have experiences I have not and may never have, and I'm feeling very childlike right now. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, either. Right now I'm grateful for the opposite--hoping that my little purple pack of pills will remain reliable--and it's going to be that way for a very long time.

John L, why time it? Just have sex every day! :-)

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 11:17 AM

Emily,

Your grandmother's legacy also includes both you and your mother as well.

My dad's mom raised her four boys during the Depression, travelling door to door with her husband, a piano salesman. She gave piano lessons as well, and lived to be 103 years old. Imagine how hard that was; to make your living selling pianos in the Depression South while raising four young boys.

I still remember the conversation we had with her when she was 100. My wife, an amateur genealogist, recorded the entire conversation, and she was able to recite her ancestors' names and where they lived without hesitation. A truly remarkable woman.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 11:20 AM

Who in Hades tracks intercourse? That seems freaky, even if you are trying to conceive. Ick, talk about a notebook you'd want burned if you were hit by a bus.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 11:04 AM

Those of us who are tired of being told that we "never" have sex, that I "never" intitiate...

Posted by: anonymous reply | March 20, 2007 11:24 AM

"in both cases because we were trying to conceive, charting morning temps and using ovulation testers to note fertile times, and had only one opportunity during the fertile period"

"Both of ours were conceived the first month trying"

I am a little curious as to why you were doing the charting and ovulation testing when you hadn't even experienced any difficulty conceiving. Most people I know who tracked those things only did it after months of trying the old fashioned way with no resulting pregnancy. I was under the impression that fertility monitoring, in some ways, only added to anxiety levels.

Posted by: to KB | March 20, 2007 11:25 AM

As long as we are providing 511 moments, my daughter was conceived after a year of trying with no luck. Thanks to a BBT thermometer and calendar we were able to time it perfectly although we weren't aware of it at the time.

This year as March 13 passed my hubby looked at me and asked, "Do you remember that zesty-session?!" I replied with a big smile, "Why yes, yes I do." Later that day, while cleaning, I found the the marked up calendar from a year ago and put a big smiley face next to the date.

As someone wise once said to me, "It's amazing what one night of fooling around will get you--a life filled with happiness."

Posted by: Formerly Soon to be Mom | March 20, 2007 11:26 AM

Mona,

Well, that would certainly be one way to make sure you don't know precisely when your child is conceived! I fear those days are behind me now, though; the spirit is definitely still willing, but the flesh just can't keep pace as it did 20 years ago...

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 11:27 AM

Mona, I think people remember when they conceived when there was something particularly unique or unusual about it. I know precisely when we conceived our daughter -- we were in the middle of (unsuccessful) fertility treatments when we realized we needed to stop one month mid-cycle because we were going to be at an out-of-town wedding one the appointed day. So while we were there, we just thought, what they hey, let's give it a go -- and 9 mos. later, there appeared our daughter.

My son, I don't remember so much. Of course, that could also be second child syndrome. :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 20, 2007 11:28 AM

John,

Quality beats quantity anyday ;-).

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 11:28 AM

Fred, thank you for the wonderful thoughts - I'm sure your kids will have fond memories of you as they get older.

I still have both of my parents living (I was born when mom was 16, so I'm likely to have them around for decades to come). I didn't feel like an adult, though, until my mom had an episode that landed her in the hospital (with a chance that she wouldn't make it through). Dad has almost died three times (menengitis, back surgery that went wrong and heart attack) but somehow almost losing mom made me really feel like an adult for the first time - dad was so helpless, and I remember him vividly, sitting on the couch in my living room, crying. Never before or since have I felt so responsible for him. Since then I've helped them balance checkbooks, make financial and medical decisions, etc - they are both in excellent health now, all things considered, but a bit bohemian and sometimes need help 'being grownups'.

I hope my stepdaughter has fond memories of me when she's older - since I'm the youngest of her four moms, she's likely to have me around a good long time, too and I hope that we'll still be friends.

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | March 20, 2007 11:31 AM

Actually, we tried the sex every day and couldn't get pregnant... then we read that you should try every other day if you are trying so that the little spermies have a chance to recuperate a little. Got pregnant that same month.

Posted by: to Mona | March 20, 2007 11:32 AM

Mona,

When you faithfully use birth control and have an encounter without protection you are very much aware of the encounter and its possible consequences. Especially if your cycles are regular and you realize that you are mid-cycle at the time of the encounter.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 11:33 AM

Yep, that's the current advice; give the man a chance to recuperate and recharge, preferably 24-36 hours, which definitely works for me! Of course, they also advise that if the man has the stamina, having sex every single day of the month (whether the woman is in the fertile period or not) isn't all that detrimental either.

Ah, back in the days...

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 11:48 AM

to tokb,

Well, once we decided we wanted to start a family, the flip was switched, we wanted to go! We were also trying to time the baby to fit our academic schedules, so (s)he would come after spring semester ended, giving us our very flexible summer for the first months with baby. So we charted a little before trying to conceive, to see which cycle would put us in our target range for a baby due date.

Also, for us, we did the monitoring and active trying for such a short time, the novelty and excitement never wore off. There was no anxiety, just a sense that we were opening the door to magic, setting out on a totally unpredictable and life-changing journey together, come what may.

We're used to actively trying to implement our life plans . . . and doing the charting felt like actively taking steps to become parents, together.

My first did come 2 weeks early, though --- which was a huge shock because my mother's babies came 2+ weeks late, and I'd expected to go late. (up to 3 weeks early is of course perfectly normal though) So I went into labor on the last day of classes, stopped on the way to the hospital to drop handouts/materials for a fellow prof to sub for me . . . my students still had final oral presentations due for 1/3 of their grade, on projects I'd been advising them on for some weeks . . . arranged for a prof to cover that, too, and videotape it --- so I watched them and did my final grading at home with a 1 week old . . . I had at least planned for the possibility of an early arrival, and was ready for a handoff of teaching responsibilities. DH hadn't, and had to leave the hospital during that brief 2 days' time to write and deliver final exams to substitutes, etc. Argh. And of course coming early doesn't happen only once --- every year dd's birthday comes along right in our most hectic time of year.

I used to comment on how she came early, and so her birthday comes early every year, and I've stopped doing it because I didn't like the way it sounded when I heard *her* tell the story. We're so grateful to have her, you can't micromanage a baby's birth within months let alone weeks, and so what if her birthday's in our busy time of year, she's worth it and we'll always make time for her. Her birthday is hers without regrets.

Posted by: KB | March 20, 2007 11:52 AM

My mother passed away when I was pregnant with #1. This was by far the most life changing event for me, even now 10 years later. I stil get very emotional when I think about all the things that are missing. I always expected my mom to be around to guide me through motherhood. As I experienced challenges along the way, I'd have her as a mentor. As milestones were reached, we'd celebrate together. I am so envious of my friends who have their mothers for help. This would have also been my mom's first grandchild, and she was very excited about it, to put it mildly. My heart aches every time I think about how she was not able to enjoy being a grandparent. And that my kids will never get to meet their grandmother.

Posted by: Still sad | March 20, 2007 12:03 PM

Who in Hades tracks intercourse? That seems freaky, even if you are trying to conceive. Ick, talk about a notebook you'd want burned if you were hit by a bus.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 11:04 AM

Those of us who are tired of being told that we "never" have sex, that I "never" intitiate...

Posted by: anonymous reply | March 20, 2007 11:24 AM

If your partner perceives that the two of you never have sex and that you never initiate sexual encounters, is that a battle you can win by whipping out your handy, dandy notebook? Frequency and quality of sex seems to be one of those topics where each partner's perception IS reality. please explain, anon at 11:24. I have not walked in your shoes.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 12:05 PM

Fred, great blog, but I still miss "Fredia".

Not my emergence into full adulthood (not sure I'm there yet, or will ever be), but certainly when I discovered something had changed in my relationship to my parents:

They had come to visit me at college towards the beginning of my freshman year, bringing me some of my things that I didn't have with me already. I was carrying something, but dropped it while they were around, and said, "Oh, S**T!" They gave me Meaningful Looks as I sheepishly realized that I had never cursed in their presence before.

Posted by: SheGeek | March 20, 2007 12:06 PM

:Swearing in front of parents

I still recall the first time I did that; we were working in the field and my younger brother was mouthing off to me. I couldn't take it any longer and said "shut your damn mouth"!

My dad heard it, came over and said to me "I will deal with you later". He then paddled my brother for aggravating me. I didn't get my punishment for hours after, but the waiting was worse by far than the actual corporal punishment.

Many years later, back from college, I recall saying the same curse word in front of him, and half expecting him to say something about it. Instead, he kept up his end of the conversation as if nothing unusual had been said.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 12:12 PM

If your partner perceives that the two of you never have sex and that you never initiate sexual encounters, is that a battle you can win by whipping out your handy, dandy notebook? Frequency and quality of sex seems to be one of those topics where each partner's perception IS reality. please explain, anon at 11:24. I have not walked in your shoes.

Yes, I can and have. If someone wants to bemoan and wail his/her fate, and how s/he is a "victim" of everyone and everything and how I don't "love me enough to know what I want, anyway", and "if you really loved me I wouldn't have to tell you what I want or need!" then you too may feel compelled to keep that notebook.

I used to wonder if I was crazy, had completely forgotten things that HAD HAPPENED, if indeed there were conversations that we hadn't had--despite there being other adults present and telling me they had WITNESSED it.

It's crazy-making. I felt I had to take an emotional barometer every single minute of every single miserable day, dance on eggshells.

Screw that noise. I stomp those eggshells with cold, hard facts and eat omelettes instead.

And if this person wants to go away (move out, etc.) and prove that I am the source of all misery, then www.despair.com has the ideal poster for the occasion. Check out "Dysfunction". Because there are plenty of other relationships that this person has capriciously torched through the years. Me, not so many. Very few, in fact, and they had to go.

Thanks to MdMother who mentioned that site one time. It's a keeper.

Posted by: anon at 11:24 | March 20, 2007 12:13 PM

My sisters and I were born within 4 weeks of each other (different years, of course). I asked mom about that once and she said: Do you think that was all an accident?? Of course not, even back then, we could figure out what to do.

I guess she wanted all of us to have spring birthdays. Which is kinda nice, since my two are spring bdays - their due dates were within two days of each other (thankfully, for planning birthday parties, their actual birthdays are 4 weeks apart, due to my first coming very early). Amazing.

I went on the pill originally because I get horrible pain when I ovulate (TMI?), so when trying to get pregnant, it was EASY to know when I was ovulating. Immensely easy. Except I kept going: no, honey, that hurts - OUCH! First was conceived within 2 months, second about 4 or five, I think. I think my husband was a little disappointed about that...

Fred, great blog. Mom dying when I was younger than now (when her first grandchild - my nephew - was 8 months old) made everything so strange for me. It was before I'd met my DH (and obviously before kids). So I never got to ask her all sorts of things - like why she married my dad, why she stayed with him all those years when she knew that there were so many problems and that it was affecting us, etc. With more perspective, I have more information, but will never know. Kinda sad. And not having her around with having the kids is kinda sad too (my son asks where my mom is - since he knows his other grandmother is dad's mom - and we say: she went to live with g-d - it's kinda sad...). Don't know what kinda grandma she'd be (when my sister told her she was pregnant, and told her the due date, mom's first reaction was: oh, I'll be out of town then. She changed her plans, but that was NOT what my sister wanted to hear - so keep that in mind, soon to be grandparents...).

But I'm with y'all on the whole growing up thing - when did *that* happen? My DH says that during thunderstorms he's still frightened to death, but remembers his dad and how calming he was and how dad wasn't scared. Now that he knows better, he thinks maybe his dad *was* scared, but didn't want to show the kids. It's so weird that we're all grown up, how did that HAPPEN?

Posted by: atlmom | March 20, 2007 12:19 PM

Those of us who are tired of being told that we "never" have sex, that I "never" intitiate...

Posted by: anonymous reply | March 20, 2007 11:24 AM


Perceptions: There was a Woody Allen-Diane Keaton movie (maybe "Manhattan" ?) where in a split-screen, Allen is complaining to his shrink that he and Diane hardly ever have sex, only a couple times a week. In Keaton's half of the screen, she complains to her shrink that she and Allen have sex all the time, a couple times a week.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 12:19 PM

Great blog, Fred. It's one of the secrets of life I had to discover -- that aging brings a certain kind of relief and freedom, a comfort with the self (that is, if all goes well).

The sex discussion question reminds me of that Woody Allen movie. They show a husband and wife at the therapist separately, answering the question, How often do you have sex?

Husband: Hardly ever, probably three times a week.
Wife: All the time, three times a week!

Posted by: Rebecca | March 20, 2007 12:23 PM

"Because there are plenty of other relationships that this person has capriciously torched through the years. Me, not so many. Very few, in fact, and they had to go."

You sound very unhappy in this relationship. Why not try to fix it, or if it's not fixable, then why not try to get out. Life is too short.

About the idea that perception is reality. I agree. I remember watching a Woody Allen/Mia Farrow (talk about dysfunction) movie. They were a married couple whose relationship was rocky. Each one was separately complaining to a friend about his/her sex life. He said something like "And she never wants to have sex. We only do it once a week. She is just not interested, and I feel starved." And she said "And he constantly wants to have sex. He initiates every single week. Nothing satisfies him. It's overwhelming." They were both talking about sex once a week.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 12:25 PM

What is a Luddite?
Other than that, loved your Guest Blog. Thank you for sharing your stories with us and helping us newbies keep on track with this balance thing!

Posted by: Question? | March 20, 2007 12:27 PM

Hey, have you seen that Woody Allen movie?...oh, wait...

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 12:27 PM

Missicat,
You are on a roll today. :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 12:31 PM

Funny Legacy Story of this week.

AF dau sent me an official AF photo of her which was taken last week. She is guarding an aircraft that my dad had a part in building. He did not actually contribute to that model but one of the first models of this a/c. I wrote her back saying that a/c she is guarding is older than her dad! She replied, "Wow! that is old!"

Actually the a/c was built in either 1960 or 1961 but you get the idea.

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 12:31 PM

KLB - three exact references in a row to the same Woody Allen movie? That's funny...they must have been typing them pretty much at the same time.

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 12:38 PM

Luddite
1. Any of a group of British workers who between 1811 and 1816 rioted and destroyed laborsaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment.
2. One who opposes technical or technological change.

[After Ned Ludd, an English laborer who was supposed to have destroyed weaving machinery around 1779.]

I think that Frieda was Mrs. Ned Ludd in a previous life.

Shegeek,

I have not renamed Frieda yet but I do love Zelda! I may change my name to Adam so (guess what?) we can go from A to Z.

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 12:39 PM

Comment on sex:

Around about 40, I began to agree with my wife that sex is kinda gross. Other than the fact that women are naturally icky, sticky creatures, why you all put up with us men I haven't a clue. Yuck! You females do have my sympathy on this subject.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 12:41 PM

"I went on the pill originally because I get horrible pain when I ovulate (TMI?), so when trying to get pregnant, it was EASY to know when I was ovulating."

I literally feel your pain. Before I went on the pill, the pain was so intense I could even tell WHICH OVARY was in use.

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 12:41 PM

Father of 4,
We may be icky and sticky but we sure do smell good!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 12:42 PM

too much information, people. Return to the blog topic post haste.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 12:43 PM

Icky and sticky? Do we have cooties too?
:-)

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 12:44 PM

WTMI

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 12:44 PM

Yes mona, me too. One side is worse than the other. They almost wouldn't put me on the pill when I was in college cause they thought, I think, I was just trying to get BC. And there was some whole procedure for that.

Mom died of ovarian cancer, but I don't know for sure if she had these pains all her life or not-but I suspect she did, cause she kind of poopooed my pains. And the fact that we were all born w/in 4 weeks of each other.

Posted by: atlmom | March 20, 2007 12:51 PM

WTMI???

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 12:51 PM

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much information!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 12:52 PM

KLB SS MD, "we sure do smell good!"

I would also like to point out that all you girls feel good too. Real good!

God certainly knew what the hell he was doing when he created woman.

And you don't have to read to book of Genesis to figure out that God is a man!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 12:54 PM

I vote for Fred and either Fredia/Freida to keep their names. What with NC lawyer changing to Megan's neighbor, another librarian changing to Marian, I won't be able to remember who is who anymore.

Here I am, protesting change. It is now official: I am old, or at least becoming a luddite.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 12:56 PM

hey girls, you CANNOT take ovarian cancer too seriously. By the time most women have symptoms the cancer is very advanced. If you have any symptoms that give you concern you should talk to your MD. I have a friend who died at 28 of it. Sorry to be such a downer.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 12:56 PM

"And the fact that we were all born w/in 4 weeks of each other."

LOL - shortest pregnancies in history.

Posted by: anon | March 20, 2007 12:58 PM

What with NC lawyer changing to Megan's neighbor

That's what happened to NC Lawyer! Where have I been. I was just wondering what happened to her the other day and I was hoping things were alright, now I know she just changed her identity. WHew.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 12:58 PM

Yes, Missicat, all girls have cooties. That's what I'm teaching my sons anyway. :-)

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 12:58 PM

dotted reminded me of something: have you ever done or said something and immediately thought "oh my - I sound just like my mother/father"?

Mine was seeing a kid walking down the street with his pants WAY down his butt. These actual words crossed my mind: "these kids today".

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 1:00 PM

Why thank you for your concern, moxiemom, LOL!

dotted, you are NOT old, merely efficient with your use of brain cells.

signed,

somehow else who is NOT old and couldn't remember that Marian was another librarian.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 20, 2007 1:02 PM

Yes, Missicat, all girls have cooties. That's what I'm teaching my sons anyway. :-)

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 12:58 PM

Teach 'em about condoms too.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:02 PM

Moxiemom, I'm with you. I was wondering what happened to NC lawyer!

Speaking of lawyers, everyone seems to think I will find my next boyfriend or husband in law school. I truthfully can't think of anything I'd like less than dating another law student! Am I crazy?

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 1:03 PM

but Marian knows creepy vans!

(Fred! Fred! sound of slapping hands, get back on topic!)

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 1:04 PM

Yes Mona, you are crazy!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 1:07 PM

Still Sad said "My mother passed away when I was pregnant with #1. This was by far the most life changing event for me, even now 10 years later."

I'm so sorry - I know how awful that is. My mother was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer in my 2nd trimester with DS#1. To this day, I think she willed herself to make it through to that first Christmas (a doctor-defying 13 months!) with the baby, her 1st and long awaited grandchild. She passed away less than a month later.

My parents were young, so i always believed I'd have my mother around to guide me through the minefield that is motherhood. I've finally got the hang of it, but i often wonder if i'd be a much better mother if she were still here to help.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:07 PM

I know I'm not changing my name. It would be too difficult to remember what my new name is/would be.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 1:09 PM

Mona, I think the odds are that your friends are right - but I don't think you're crazy!

Love all the stories today from everyone who says they still don't feel grown up! Every time I visit any of my friends who live in 'real' houses (as opposed to apartments), I feel like I have crossed over into the twilight zone - holy cow, we're grownups!

Posted by: TakomaMom | March 20, 2007 1:10 PM

re being an adult: the first time you are even nominally involved in another person's health care you are an adult. It's eye opening to watch a grown friend or relative lean on you for support.

Mona: I am with you on finding a non-lawyer BF. Two lawyers in a relationship could be a bit much. Perhaps Laura or MN can give a better reason than my gut instict.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 20, 2007 1:11 PM

"Teach 'em about condoms too."

Nope. I'm Catholic. For us, we play games like Rythim, Pull 'n pray, and then Bingo is you don't get it right.

Life is a game!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 1:14 PM

Oh, moxie mom, I do not. I definitely hold anger, this many years later, that mom did not go to the dr when she felt pain. I know this cause her boyfriend told us that. She *only* went to the dr when she couldn't walk anymore and she went to the emergency room.
By then, even after chemo etc, it was too late. She lived abou 18 mos after, but in lots of pain and in and out of the hospital. A dr told me that w one case in the family, there is probably no hereditary involved (my grandma just turned 90 and her sisters lived til their 80s and my great grandma lived til almost 90 as well- but bc mompassed, it is more expensive for life ins).

She could have caught it earlier and she might have been with us longer. I find this selfish of her. And hope to take good care of myself so I'm here for my kids.

Yes, it took her 3 days or so to take me to the dr when I broke my ankle-she thought I was faking it for attention.

Posted by: atlmom | March 20, 2007 1:14 PM

Mona,
I'm sure some people may disagree with me, but I found I could only really date guys who understood what I was going through in getting a PhD (meaning in school vs working)...and that meant going out with fellow students for a while. We were sharing experiences together so it seemed natural. So I wouldn't say you shouldn't date fellow law students. I've seen too many happy couples years later who met as law students.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 1:14 PM

Alright! Stop knocking the two lawyer couples. I met my DH in law school and we are about to celebrate our 5th anniversary. Not everyone is a litigator. Some people go to law school and then become a govt atty or work for a non profit (we've each done both.) It can work, and Mona, never say never.

Posted by: Emmy | March 20, 2007 1:15 PM

Where are Scarry and FoamGnome?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:16 PM

'we play games like Rythim, Pull 'n pray'

only advisable when following the church's abstinence until marriage edict.

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 1:17 PM

For us, we play games like Rythim, Pull 'n pray, and then Bingo is you don't get it right.

Life is a game!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 01:14 PM


What a sad way for a child to know s/he came into the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:18 PM

Laura / Mona (and wasn't my form of address for you a tip-off,LOL?), You may be crazy, but not because you have no desire to date or marry another lawyer :>)

The law school culture is funny, though. People who are not in law school tend not to understand as well as other law school students the culture and the interim, yet future-oriented and values-focused thoughts and discussions that fill those three years. It's really easy to date another law school student because you don't have to explain as much. They understand your stressors and your joys. They also tend to be competitive with you, and bring with them the temptation to shape your career goals around someone else's career goals so the two of you can stay together. Your plan to avoid all this drama is a good one.

I look forward to hearing about your next boyfriend whomever you designate.

Posted by: Megan's NC Lawyer Neighbor | March 20, 2007 1:18 PM

if Megan is in Colorado, how is NC Lawyer a neighbor?

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 1:20 PM

if Megan is in Colorado, how is NC Lawyer a neighbor?

Thru the magic of the internet - we are all neighbors now (hug hug kiss kiss).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 1:23 PM

Group Hug!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 1:26 PM

if Megan is in Colorado, how is NC Lawyer a neighbor?

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 01:20 PM

Well, we're all here, aren't we all neighbours of a sort?


Posted by: MdMother | March 20, 2007 1:26 PM

"How will my children recall me?"

I think about this a lot. Started actively thinking about this the first time I took my son to Disneyland and saw a mom yelling at her kids for dropping their candy on the ground. I know the food is expensive in those theme parks, but is that really the memory you want to create for your kids?

Posted by: Sticky | March 20, 2007 1:26 PM

Father of 4

"For us, we play games like Rythim, Pull 'n pray, and then Bingo is you don't get it right.

Life is a game!"

Is that what your teenage daughter plans to do?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:28 PM

I have been known to have memory issues, but I am fairly certain that Megan lives in Apex, North Carolina (approx. 2 - 3 miles max away from my Cary residence). dotted is farther away, but if I'm wrong about Megan, I'll become dotted's neighbor. It's a mighty big village.

TakomaMom, I have long suspected that you are significantly more grown up than many of us living in "real" houses.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 20, 2007 1:28 PM

Not sure if I will ever understand why Fred has gotten such a lovefest reaction to his Guest Blog and Father of Four got such a slamming. I love both guys and thought they both wrote AMAZING Guest Blogs. What am I missing?

Posted by: Leslie | March 20, 2007 1:29 PM

Alt mom - so sorry! I think a lot of parents forget that taking good care of themselves, going to the gym, getting check ups is a responsibility and a gift to your children once you have them. I go to the gym 3x a week and don't like too much about it. I life the side effects - feeling and looking better, but I can think of a gillion other ways I'd like to spend my time but now that I'm a mom, I have a higher obligation not to die.

Mona while I understand your trepidation, there is something to be said about understanding the other's work. DH and I were both in health care/policy and although I haven't worked in 6 years, I understand what he is doing and we are able to have conversations about his work that I know other wives don't have with their husbands. Not judging those who are this way, but simply saying this is a nice upside to our situation.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 1:29 PM

Leslie,

Because I am a frustrated Fitzgerald and Fo4 is a frustrated Hemmingway. Everyone knows that Fitzgerald is better!

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 1:33 PM

Amen Fred!

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 1:33 PM

or rather Right Said Fred. hah ha

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 1:35 PM

product of a working mom - I agree about the health care of another person thing. The most wrenching moments of my life thus far have been getting the calls about parents in hospitals near death (had two, one for each parent, in a year and a half), when I got the call that my best friend in HS was dying, and when I had to take my partner to the doctor with a suspected heart attack (wasn't one, thank God). Makes you feel grown up too fast.

altmom - I was right there with you on the parent thinking you're faking thing - I had walking pneumnia and mom said I was faking, had torn ligaments in ankle from re-spraining it twice in three days that eventually needed surgery (mom said I was exaggerating), ended up in hospital for three days with diverticulitis (mom said it was just a little gas). I take DD to the doctor probably too much because of that - I'd hate to know I'd caused damage because I'd held off on taking her in!

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | March 20, 2007 1:39 PM

Not sure if I will ever understand why Fred has gotten such a lovefest reaction to his Guest Blog and Father of Four got such a slamming. I love both guys and thought they both wrote AMAZING Guest Blogs. What am I missing?

Posted by: Leslie | March 20, 2007 01:29 PM

You're missing either memory or depth.

The only thing today's blog and Father of 4's blog have in common is that both were written by male columnists.

Different message. Different perspectives. Different levels of maturity.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:40 PM

"I truthfully can't think of anything I'd like less than dating another law student! Am I crazy?"

Absolutely not!

I made some of my best friends in law school -- there's something about going through that amount of stress together that binds you to one another. Like Megan's NC Lawyer Neighbor said, it's great for dating. But I MARRIED an engineer. :-)

Ok, to be fair, I do know two-lawyer couples who are managing fine. But you just have to be able to put aside your "lawyer" skills and whip out those negotiation skills. Not saying all lawyers are win-at-all-costs a$$hats, but law school does seem to attract more than its fair share of those types -- and dealing with other lawyers seems to bring out their worst. :-) The skills that make, say, a good trial lawyer are not necessarily those that make a good partner.

So. Eyes open. Like anything else, can be good, can be a train wreck.

Posted by: Laura | March 20, 2007 1:40 PM

Thanks 01:07 PM.
There are a ton of decisions I've made, wondering if it's the right one, and wishing I just had a sounding board. Of course, my husband and I try to make the best decisions we can, but some experienced thoughts would be helpful. My mom tried her best to make it, but she also had an aggressive form of brain cancer, and passed away 2 months earlier. Actually, the same day Princess Diana died. Which is wierd because so many people always said my mom looked like Princess Di. Anyway, I digress....
Thanks for sharing your story with me.

Posted by: Still sad | March 20, 2007 1:43 PM

"Nope. I'm Catholic. For us, we play games like Rythim, Pull 'n pray, and then Bingo is you don't get it right.
Life is a game!"

Snort!! Remember that song, "Every sperm is sacred."

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 1:44 PM

The skills that make, say, a good trial lawyer are not necessarily those that make a good partner.

But I bet the "make-up sex" is invigorating! Two trial lawyers after a marital show-down...hmm...

Posted by: wool gatherer | March 20, 2007 1:44 PM

Mona, I second everyone else's statements that you shouldn't shy away from dating another law student or lawyer. But here's another positive spin, in addition to having someone who understands what you are going through academically and professionally: I personally found that the stress of law school only made people more social when they were not studying (and we really weren't studying all the time). This was especially true of the students who had taken some years off in between - it was like they had been given a second chance at college (and I include myself in this, to a degree). So, enjoy the social side of law school and the dating opportunities that it presents. It really won't be a bunch of people sitting around talking about class. At least it shouldn't be.

Posted by: Charlottesville | March 20, 2007 1:45 PM

I'm chuckling over the game names. In our house it was called Roman Roulette.

Of course, when Mom hit 37 or so, she went on the pill. She always told me that while she loved every one of us once we were here, she thought it was better for women not to have big families. She especially did not want to be faced with a change-of-life (now there's an old term!) baby like her mother was.

She also told me that Roman Roulette NEVER works in creepy vans!

Posted by: Marian | March 20, 2007 1:48 PM

Speaking of the twists life takes. I think one of the most important lessons is that sometimes things you really, really want aren't what's best for you in the long run. There are a lot of things that I look back on and am desperately glad things didn't go my way, the prime example being that I'd be Mrs. Shaun Cassidy right now if I had had my way and I think we can all agree that while an enviable position in 1978, kinda D list at best now. Whew!

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 1:50 PM

"So, enjoy the social side of law school and the dating opportunities that it presents. It really won't be a bunch of people sitting around talking about class."

Dang, I must have been hanging with the geeks -- we were definitely "more social," but somehow we ALWAYS ended up talking about class anyway. :-)

There is nothing more boring than a first-year law student. Except to another first-year law student. Or his/her mother.

Posted by: Laura | March 20, 2007 1:51 PM

Moxiemom - guess I am a bit older, I wanted to be Mrs. David Cassidy..

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 1:53 PM

Leslie - The reaction to Fo4's column had a lot to do with people not believing he is blind - then people posting in his defense - then an all out arguement on how he is living his life, household finances, etc. It was silly. Maybe the anon's were just being very snarky that day and today they are hiding (hopefully).

Posted by: cmac | March 20, 2007 1:53 PM

Fo4 is not Hemingway. He embodies Shakespeare's baudiness, Salinger's irreverence, Dicken's coming of age hardships, and a humor that is all his own. I think he was bashed because he is pretty honest about himself, warts and all. Maybe he has overshared a little, and people feel very uncomfortable with that. But I think that is his charm.

I like Fred too.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 1:53 PM

There is nothing more boring than a first-year law student. Except to another first-year law student. Or his/her mother.

Posted by: Laura | March 20, 2007 01:51 PM

No, no, try those same students when they are studying for their boards.

They call one another and cry, second-guess their decision to go to law school (and the money they have spent, or will in the case of student loans), make each other more fear-crazed, won't shut up about it with their families, until finally:

a) everyone gets caller id and no longer picks up

b) they take the boards (and pass)

But we love them anyway. *sigh*

Posted by: Lynn | March 20, 2007 1:56 PM

"But you just have to be able to put aside your "lawyer" skills and whip out those negotiation skills. "

but, Laura, those are my lawyer skills, LOL. I just want everyone to get along. Transactional types make great lawyer spouses because we're always looking for the win-win solution. I don't need to figure out who's to blame, and my marriage is not a zero sum game.

I can't imagine being married to a litigator, or other ultra-competitive personality. They make good and loyal friends, though, once they decide we're on the same team.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 20, 2007 1:56 PM

after reading this blog for a while, i've decided to encourage my daughters to be anything but lawyers.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:57 PM

after reading this blog for a while, i've decided to encourage my daughters to be anything but lawyers.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 01:57 PM

Good. That means they'll be clients.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:58 PM

To sticky : I hear you! My BIL learned to be abusive from his dad and is horribly protective of his mom -to the point that he is not all that fond of him. He being selfish, I asked my sister if he wanted to be remembered by *his* kids the way he thinks about *his* dad. She got awfully quiet when I said that. But nothing has changed.

And - many years before mom was diagnosed, my dad had to drag her to the emergency room cause she had pneumonia. She couldn't walk and he took her.

Another kinda related to the blog- when momdied mom and dad had been separated for may yrs- she was living w someone else. It really took a bit of time, but I realized dad was grieving too inhis own way.

Posted by: atlmom | March 20, 2007 2:02 PM

I had a relative who died years ago. She was quite a woman. When she died, I remember her kids gathered around the casket at the viewing, and one of them remembered that when she got mad, she would hurl her shoe at the offending party. They all remembered that she had dead-on aim.

I never want to be remembered that way.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:07 PM

For us, we play games like Rythim, Pull 'n pray, and then Bingo is you don't get it right.

Life is a game!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 01:14 PM


What a sad way for a child to know s/he came into the world.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 01:18 PM

There's where you and Father of 4 disagree. He would say that there is no sad way for a child to come into the world. You forecast misery for a child because you do not care for the judgment of her parents. The mindset that produces your forecast is sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:12 PM

Moxiemom wrote: "I'd be Mrs. Shaun Cassidy right now if I had had my way.."

Actually, Shaun's turned out to be a successful TV writer/producer. IMdB lists his credits as including "Cold Case," "The Agency," creation of "American Gothic" and "Invasion": http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001027

Plus, you'd get Shirley Jones for your MIL.

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 2:13 PM

"What a sad way for a child to know s/he came into the world.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 01:18 PM"

I don't think most parents discuss the child's conception with the child. And most children don't want to hear it.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:14 PM

Not sure if I will ever understand why Fred has gotten such a lovefest reaction to his Guest Blog and Father of Four got such a slamming. I love both guys and thought they both wrote AMAZING Guest Blogs. What am I missing?

Posted by: Leslie | March 20, 2007 01:29 PM

Too cutesy. Fred's is much more mature. Not to mention that Fo4 has discussed how he has slapped his youngest son around.

Posted by: I prefer Fred because | March 20, 2007 2:14 PM

"I met her on a monday and my heart grew still. Da do run run run, da do run run."

Anyone remember that? Yikes. I liked Shawn too. But then the Bee Gees came along. Double Yikes!!

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:15 PM

Father of 4 would say that there is no sad way for a child to come into the world.

Rape and incest are crimes, so resulting pregnancies are beyond sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:16 PM

I'll take your "da do run run run" and raise ya a "I think I love you"

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 2:16 PM

"after reading this blog for a while, i've decided to encourage my daughters to be anything but lawyers."

Good, less competition for my daughters.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:16 PM

"Not to mention that Fo4 has discussed how he has slapped his youngest son around."

And has his little ones fetch beers for him.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:18 PM

"Fo4 has discussed how he has slapped his youngest son around."

Oh please!! They were playing, for the love of God. My husband play wrestles with our son all the time. My son loves to instigate. He will go up to his dad, slap him, put his dukes up, and ask him, "Daddy, do you want a piece of me? Come on, do you want a piece of me?" So my husband plays along. It is one of their favorite games.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:18 PM

"And has his little ones fetch beers for him."

Isn't that what kids are for? Why have them if they can't fetch for you and scratch your back for a nickel?

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:20 PM

I still prefer Fred. I don't find it 20K of credit card debt amusing either.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:21 PM

"Oh please!! They were playing, for the love of God."

No, F of 4 calls his son into the house and the son starts hitting the father and Father of 4 hits him back "he started it and I am going to finish it".

The kid has obvious anger issues; hitting the kid is not a solution, which F of 4, of all people, should know darn well.

One of a number of objections to "Former Bad Boy" Father of 4 Ugh! what a creep!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:24 PM

"Rape and incest are crimes, so resulting pregnancies are beyond sad."

For the mother, maybe. For the child, those pregnancies are wonderful.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:24 PM

I never got a lousy nickel.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:24 PM

When our days draw to a close, how many of us will be able remember courtship, husbandhood and fatherhood, and to say, with Dayton's great poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, "Let the future still be sweetened with the honey of the past"? Here is Mr. Dunbar's poem:

The Voice Of The Banjo

In a small and lonely cabin out of noisy traffic's way,
Sat an old man, bent and feeble, dusk of face, and hair of gray,
And beside him on the table, battered, old, and worn as he,
Lay a banjo, droning forth this reminiscent melody:

"Night is closing in upon us, friend of mine, but don't be sad;
Let us think of all the pleasures and the joys that we have had.
Let us keep a merry visage, and be happy till the last,
Let the future still be sweetened with the honey of the past.

"For I speak to you of summer nights upon the yellow sand,
When the Southern moon was sailing high and silvering all the land;
And if love tales were not sacred, there's a tale that I could tell
Of your many nightly wanderings with a dusk and lovely belle.

"And I speak to you of care-free songs when labour's hour was o'er,
And a woman waiting for your step outside the cabin door,
And of something roly-poly that you took upon your lap,
While you listened for the stumbling, hesitating words, 'Pap, pap.'

"I could tell you of a 'possum hunt across the wooded grounds,
I could call to mind the sweetness of the baying of the hounds,
You could lift me up and smelling of the timber that's in me,
Build again a whole green forest with the mem'ry of a tree.

"So the future cannot hurt us while we keep the past in mind,
What care I for trembling fingers,--what care you that you are blind?
Time may leave us poor and stranded, circumstance may make us bend;
But they'll only find us mellower -- won't they, comrade? -- in the end."

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 20, 2007 2:25 PM

Actually, Shaun's turned out to be a successful TV writer/producer. IMdB lists his credits as including "Cold Case," "The Agency," creation of "American Gothic" and "Invasion": http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001027

YOu are right catlady, but I mostly liked him because he was cute in that striped shirt and white cap on the album cover. He's not so cute now, I think dh is cuter. I will see the "I think I love you" with a "That's Rock and Roll" and raise with "Morning Girl".

Ahh, the Cassidy boys, breaking hearts all through the 70's.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 2:25 PM

"Rape and incest are crimes, so resulting pregnancies are beyond sad."

For the mother, maybe. For the child, those pregnancies are wonderful.


Yeah, right, who wouldn't want to be the product of a violent crime.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:26 PM

Whatever happened to Parker Stevenson? I liked him too. Later on, I was in love with Johnny Depp from 21 Jump Street. I still think he's hot.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:29 PM

I will throw an "Easy Come, Easy go" into the pot. Who ever remembers the singer wins!

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 2:31 PM

I LOOOOVED Parker Stevenson - Kirstie Allie was the luckiest girl in the world.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 2:32 PM

Did anyone read Tiger Beat? Is Seventeen still being published?

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:33 PM

Missicat--was it Bobbo Sherman?

Posted by: Marian | March 20, 2007 2:33 PM

Emily - I was just thinking about Tiger Beat! Read it religiously....

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 2:33 PM

Parker Stevenson married Kirstie Alley. They're divorced now.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:34 PM

I mean BobbI Sherman. Typed too fast.

Posted by: Marian | March 20, 2007 2:34 PM

I like Fo4 because he seems like a regular guy with a regular job and family and the problems of the average family in this country. The majority of posters here are highly educated, professional types who have background, education, networks, and skills that a lot of people don't have. Not to say they haven't worked for it, but I think they have a hard time relating to others. The whole 'must fully fund kids college, fully fund retirement, can't have cc debt, can't have more kids cause can't afford it' mindset doesn't leave much room to accept the perceived flaws in Fo4 and his lifestyle.

My life resembles Fo4 more than others on the blog. I don't think having debt makes you a bad, irresponsible person, although most who have debt wish it weren't so. I also know that I would rather have all my children than have fewer so I could afford college - after all, if they really want to go there are ways, as so many here have pointed out. I also don't think spanking is abuse, and my children have been spanked.

F04 is more real to me than any of the 80-hour-per week people.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:34 PM

"Rape and incest are crimes, so resulting pregnancies are beyond sad."

For the mother, maybe. For the child, those pregnancies are wonderful.


Yeah, right, who wouldn't want to be the product of a violent crime.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 02:26 PM

Let's get real here. Who of us knows all the details of our conception and what difference does it make to us, not to our parents or our grandparents or to the police?

Assuming that you are the same poster that's been snarking away at Father of 4 for the last hour, what difference does it make to the child, fundamentally, whether that child results from Father of 4's and his wife's use of the rhythm Oops method to prevent pregnancy or whether that child results from the inconsistent use of the pill by the average college girl?

You are kidding yourself if you think that we are all conceived out of sincere romantic love between married, stable parents. as if that's the gold standard of kids feeling good about themselves. Were your parents angry the night they conceived you? Did your mom think your dad was going to marry her? Did your mom think your legal father would find out about her affair with your biological father? Was your mother using birth control of some sort seeking to avoid conceiving you? Do you want to know? Why does it matter?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 20, 2007 2:34 PM

Back to the Woody Allen movie. Now I'm curious. Was it with Diane Keaton or Mia Farrow? And what movie was it? Does anyone remember?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:35 PM

Winger

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 20, 2007 2:36 PM

Marian - you are correct! Bobby Sherman - *sigh*

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 2:37 PM

"Back to the Woody Allen movie. Now I'm curious. Was it with Diane Keaton or Mia Farrow? And what movie was it? Does anyone remember? "

I remember, but not enough to give a damn. Look it up, for Pete's sake!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:38 PM

Fred,

What a wonderful message. So many people here were touched.

Thanks!

Posted by: pittypat | March 20, 2007 2:38 PM

Bite me.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:39 PM

To Megan's Neighbor, my parents were married, trying a long time to conceive.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:39 PM

Missicat--I think he had the album with the picture on the cover where he's sitting in one of those cool mod chairs shaped like a big white hand. This belonged to an older sibling, so my memory is a bit vague.

Posted by: Marian | March 20, 2007 2:39 PM

Emily? Who pissed you off?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:42 PM

anon at 2:38 - but only mildly.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:44 PM

conception stories - I think that they should be saved for inside jokes. I can see this one "your father and I had an affair, and you were conceived on an exotic island - can you believe the old guys sperm hung around for 5 days until I ovulated"? I think that I will spare her the details of the creation story and why dad is not around.

I do wonder though if fathers that are not involved in their children's life think of how they will be remembered? Guess if they cared they would be more involved.

Posted by: single mom | March 20, 2007 2:45 PM

It was Diane Keaton and Woody Allen.

"Annie Hall", to be exact.

Posted by: MdMother | March 20, 2007 2:45 PM

Who pissed you off?

I would guess the person who told her take two seconds to look up the answer to the question that only matters to her.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:46 PM

Thank you!!

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:46 PM

i really though we might get through the day without the snarkiness and vitriol today. more fool me! -sigh-

fred - lovely post. thank you so much for sharing with us.

anon. - give Fo4 a break. part of the problem is that his sense of humor is off-kilter. not everyone gets it or appreciates it. but hey, we're all off kilter about something, so give it a rest - PLEASE!

tiger beat - OMG! thought for sure i was the only one who remembered that. had to love those hardy boys special issues :)

emily - have to admit that you often say things i wish i'd said myself. but please, if you're going to urge someone to "bite me", could you at least be specific about who you're addressing. and yes, niceness *is* overrated.

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 20, 2007 2:47 PM

Kudos to Emily for not posting every other second today. It's been refreshing to see the direction the blog takes without a self appointed moderator with strong opinions.

Posted by: Another Thing | March 20, 2007 2:47 PM

Megan's Neighbor is also my neighbor, since I live about 10 miles away from her over in NE Raleigh.

(Waving towards Cary...)

There is just over a year's difference in age between my older brother and sister. Then there's me, coming along behind my sister six years later. Accident? Planned? I don't care; I'm here and I was loved as much as the others.

My brother followed behind me 4 years later. My sister said my mom had wanted another daughter to "balance us all out", but got another son instead. She figured four was enough though after that. Whether accident or planned, we were all loved equally by both our parents.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 2:48 PM

thanks, 'I think I love you' will be playing in my head for the rest of the day.

when I was 13, my friend stopped speaking to me because I thought David Cassidy was way hotter than Donnie Osmond!

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 2:48 PM

I did try to look it up, but since Woody Allen made quite a few movies with Keaton and Farrow, it was hard to figure out which movie had this scene in it. I thought maybe someone would know it right off the top of their head.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:49 PM

"Rape and incest are crimes, so resulting pregnancies are beyond sad."

For the mother, maybe. For the child, those pregnancies are wonderful.


Yeah, right, who wouldn't want to be the product of a violent crime.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 02:26 PM


And, to use Fred's point, how will that child remember his father? With gratitude for violating the woman.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:49 PM

To Megan's Neighbor, my parents were married, trying a long time to conceive.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 02:39 PM

I'm glad for you that you will have no insecurities that relate to the moment of your conception.

I was the fourth child and -- they swear -- the only one they intended. You'll just have to trust me on this. They love me no more than the child they had using the rhythm method, the child they had using the IUD, or the child they had using condoms.

No one would want to know that his or her mother had experienced rape or incest but it's quite a stretch to suggest that there is anything sad about a child resulting from the use of a birth control method that has a high failure rate.

Rant over.

Oh, no, one more comment. If you ever had to use a credit card to charge the health insurance premiums for you spouse and child for three years because there were no other resources to tap, perhaps you'd have a little more compassion for Father of 4 and his credit card debt, or at least appreciate that we don't all have daddies to turn to, 401(k)s to borrow against, or savings to exhaust, when the going gets rough.

Now I'm done. My apologies to all of the sensible folks here.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 20, 2007 2:52 PM

all together now:

I'm sleeping
And right in the middle of a good dream
Like all at once I wake up
From something that keeps knocking at my brain
Before I go insane
I hold my pillow to my head
And spring up in my bed
Screaming out the words I dread:
"I think I love you!" (I think I love you)

This morning, I woke up with this feeling
I didn't know how to deal with
And so I just decided to myself
I'd hide it to myself
And never talk about it
And didn't I go and shout it
When you walked into the room.
"I think I love you!" (I think I love you)

I think I love you
So what am I so afraid of?
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of
A love there is no cure for
I think I love you
Isn't that what life is made of?
Though it worries me to say
That I've never felt this way

I don't know what I'm up against
I don't know what it's all about
I've got so much to think about

Hey . . .

I think I love you
So what am I so afraid of?
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of
A love there is no cure for
I think I love you
Isn't that what life is made of?
Though it worries me to say
That I've never felt this way

Believe me
You really don't have to worry
I only want to make you happy
And if you say, hey, go away, I will
But I think better still
I better stay around and love you
Do you think I have a case?
Let me ask you to your face:
"Do you think you love me?
I think I love you!"

"I think I love you . . ."

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 2:52 PM

i'll wave towards Cary also. It is due east of Chapel Hill. MN's prediction for last weekend was almost right-how was the rest of your bracket?

I think waving is some kind of NC thing. I mean, really, I don't remember waving to neighbors on the street all the time in Northern VA or Maryland like we do here. And it isn't southern per se, because I don't see people waving in Florida or SC all the time either.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 2:52 PM

"My life resembles Fo4 more than others on the blog."

You belong to AA and your family needs massive amounts of counseling?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:52 PM

I never got a lousy nickel.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 02:24 PM

I got a lot of wooden nickels. At least that's how it seemed to me, as it was in the 1970s when inflation was rampant.

Posted by: SheGeek | March 20, 2007 2:53 PM

OK, no one can go off on my because this is my second post of the day. But I got on earlier and everyone was really nice to Fred (as they should be) and now it has become a I hate fo4 club. What is up with that? They are both great guys for different reasons. I also don't agree with the poster that said that we don't like f04 because he isn't like us (hihgly educated, no cc debt etc...) Because I adore fo4. If nothing else, we both have generated sincere animosity (although I don't know why). So we are partners in crime. Both f04 and Fred had good messages and definitely touching stories.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 20, 2007 2:53 PM

My sister and I are 12 months apart (Irish twins). I'm the elder. I once said very cattily to her "You were an accident". And my mother, who was passing by, said to me, "Actually, honey, YOU were the accident. She was planned."

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 20, 2007 2:53 PM

PS. I always thought fo4 was educated anyway. I thought he told us he went back to school after he became blind.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 20, 2007 2:54 PM

Oops. Sorry. Should have directed the "bite me" expressly to anon at 2:38. Everyone else, please accept my most sincere apologies. Did not mean to offend.

Oh, and to Another Thing, I love you too.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:54 PM

experienced mom-I'm ashamed. I started singing the tune like I was 13 again.

One of our older kids (she is now 24) made a CD from tunes she remembered us listening to when she was little. Lots of Talking Heads, etc. We both found it interested what she remembered from her youth.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 2:56 PM

I feel sorry for the dull folks who don't get father of 4's sense of humor.

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 2:56 PM

Emily, darling, I wish I could say the same thing but I just feel I've been seeing too much of you lately . . .

Posted by: Another Thing | March 20, 2007 2:57 PM

I like Fo4 - I think most people dont get his humor. He seems like a dad who loves his kids and sees them as real, flawed people.

As for the 20k in credit card debt - as he pointed out, he could turn that into into home equity loan and people would think it is okay - I'd say it is better not to take unsecured debt and secure it with your house.

As for judging him for having debt - it doesnt sound like it was spent on VLI's, disney vacations, etc. It may be nice to judge others and nver have to put the car repair, uncovered medical bill, etc. on a credit card, but that is reality for a lot of people. And nowhere has he said that he has 20k cc in debt he is unable to pay, or that they are defaulting on their mortgage, etc.

And as for wrestling with his son and asking his sons to fetch him beers - please. Nowhere does that amount to child abuse and neglect.

I never understood why people are so judgemental of what sounds like a normal, chaotic, trying to make ends meet working family.

Posted by: jessker 18 | March 20, 2007 2:57 PM

I wouldn't feel proud of admitting 20K of debt. But if I did rack up that much due to medical expenses I would mention THAT.

And I don't have any rich parents to turn to either, but I simply refuse to use credit cards.

As Michelle Singletary says, "Debt is evil". I agree. That is why I bought something far less expensive than we "could" afford, so I can get it paid off faster.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:57 PM

I personally think Fo4 is entertaining and Fred is a bore.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:58 PM

Nice article today by Fred!

he could turn that into into home equity loan and people would think it is okay

Not everyone would agree. I wouldn't.

Posted by: Galax | March 20, 2007 2:59 PM

Another thing,
Sweetheart, just ignore me then. I won't mind, really.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 2:59 PM

Dotted,

I think it's a southern thing, actually. Growing up in TN everyone waved at everyone else, whether they knew them or not. You can't use Florida as an example, either; it might as well be a Northern state for all the transplants living there.
Plus, NoVa and Maryland became occupied territory, so they don't count as Southern either.

(Waving at Chapel Hill from NE Raleigh...)

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 3:00 PM

"And as for wrestling with his son and asking his sons to fetch him beers - please. Nowhere does that amount to child abuse and neglect."

In my state it does.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:00 PM

Thanks, experienced mom! That will be in my head for a while...of course I was the one who originally brought it up...

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 3:01 PM

I personally think Fo4 is entertaining and Fred is a bore.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 02:58 PM


Frieda has finally learned to use the computer.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:01 PM

I try, honey, I really do. But every time I turn around, you've posted yet again.

Posted by: Another Thing | March 20, 2007 3:02 PM

good point John L.

I think anon at 3pm is confused.

wave to NE Raleigh too (mea culpa for not putting that one earlier).

Wave up north to KLB in SS MD!

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 3:02 PM

"Frieda has finally learned to use the computer."

Now THAT was funny. No offense intended, Fred.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:03 PM

"I try, honey, I really do. But every time I turn around, you've posted yet again."

Oh, I'm sorry about that. Life is really tough, isn't it?

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:06 PM

On cc debt:

Surely I'm not the only one riding the 0% introductory offer pony on the cc merry-go-round.

I thought that was a game every struggling parent played!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 3:09 PM

Fo4 - No, you are not the only one, I'm sure. And obviously, you have a good FICO score for having that rate. A few years ago, I paid off 8K in debt by playing that game. It took a year and a half, but it was worth it. Good for you.

Now go drink some beer and smack your kids around for a while. You deserve it.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:12 PM

fo4: I doubt your the only one riding the 0% interest rate or it wouldn't exist. Don't listen to your nay sayers. I just think the anons didn't have time to pick on someone else. I don't even know how you ended up getting dragged through the mud today. BTW, I like you a lot even if we have one kid, use BC, and have no cc debt. Besides us guest bloggers need to stick together. My guess is lots of people can criticize us but are not willing to stick their neck out to write a guest blog.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 20, 2007 3:12 PM

"And as for wrestling with his son and asking his sons to fetch him beers - please. Nowhere does that amount to child abuse and neglect."

In my state it does.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 03:00 PM

the State of Delusion, that is.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:12 PM

I wouldn't feel proud of admitting 20K of debt. But if I did rack up that much due to medical expenses I would mention THAT.

And I don't have any rich parents to turn to either, but I simply refuse to use credit cards.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 02:57 PM

Okay, I'll bite. I refuse to use credit cards for discretionary expenditures as well. On the other hand, do you think it would have been a more financially prudent choice for my husband and 2 year old to forego health insurance for three years (until he obtained a job that provided health insurance) and risk incurring healthcare bills we couldn't pay?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 20, 2007 3:16 PM

To anon at 3:00

Please cite in what state asking a child to fetch you a beer is child abuse/neglect.

Fo4: If you are getting 0% offers, you are obiviously paying your bills/have a good credit score.

Sure, "debt is evil", but what happens when the car needs that new transmission/ you reach your cap on the health insurance? Yes, in an ideal world, we would all have emergency savings, but many people are paying their bills and living paycheck to paycheck with nothing left over. Easy to judge when you've never been there.

and Fo4, I dont think liking a beer after work makes you an alcoholic, either. Sheesh.

Posted by: jessker 20 | March 20, 2007 3:17 PM

My guess is lots of people can criticize us but are not willing to stick their neck out to write a guest blog.


Maybe most of us are wise enough to realize that nobody really cares what anyone else has to say.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:18 PM

Maybe most of us are wise enough to realize that nobody really cares what anyone else has to say.


Posted by: | March 20, 2007 03:18 PM


Look in the mirror.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:19 PM

"And, to use Fred's point, how will that child remember his father? With gratitude for violating the woman."

I do hope you're not being serious. Maybe I'm reading this wrong...?

And thanks for the "lawyer love" anecdotes and thoughts. Definitely something to think about. Laura, I just got dumped by an engineer, and OH MY GOD--most anal retentive person ever.

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 3:20 PM

"Maybe most of us are wise enough to realize that nobody really cares what anyone else has to say."

If you are so very wise, why are you posting to a blog when you know that nobody cares what you have to say? Please explain that to me, oh wise one.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:20 PM

"And as for wrestling with his son and asking his sons to fetch him beers - please. Nowhere does that amount to child abuse and neglect."

In my state it does.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 03:00 PM

No Way! I worked briefly as a guardian ad litem and I wouldn't have even bother if someone had submitted such evidence - I was much to busy with real abuse. I had to fight tooth and nail to get kids away from parents when they are truly being abused because the courts are reluctant to terminate parental rights.

There are a lot of things that may not be great for kids that doesn't amount to abuse. I would rather someone ask my kids to grab them a bottle of beer out of the fridge than enter them in a beauty pagent.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 20, 2007 3:20 PM

Interesting that Fred & Father of 4 have been compared to 2 of the biggest boozers in American letters....

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:22 PM

Exactly - looking in the mirror and talking to myself gets more positive feedback than most guest bloggers do. Why would I want to subject myself to the negativity that flies around this place every day? Nobody really gives a crud about anyone elses opinion or experiences.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:22 PM

Well, you know, creative genius does come with its drawbacks.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:23 PM

Exactly - looking in the mirror and talking to myself gets more positive feedback than most guest bloggers do. Why would I want to subject myself to the negativity that flies around this place every day? Nobody really gives a crud about anyone elses opinion or experiences.


Posted by: | March 20, 2007 03:22 PM

take thine cynical a$$ and relocate it to a new environment, preferably offline.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:25 PM

"Why would I want to subject myself to the negativity that flies around this place every day?"

Well, if you read the blog, and post to it, you already have subjected yourself to this blog's atmosphere. If you don't like it, why are you here? Or are you just a masochist?

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:25 PM

Exactly - looking in the mirror and talking to myself gets more positive feedback than most guest bloggers do. Why would I want to subject myself to the negativity that flies around this place every day? Nobody really gives a crud about anyone elses opinion or experiences.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 03:22 PM

Not true for me. I really enjoy reading what other people have to say and what they have experienced. I learned interesting things from this blog and I have even used some ideas with my family. I obviously pick and choose, but I still appreciate the efforts even when I don't agree.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 20, 2007 3:26 PM

Will you SHUT UP ALREADY??? Go find something to do!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:26 PM

"Well, if you read the blog, and post to it, you already have subjected yourself to this blog's atmosphere. If you don't like it, why are you here? Or are you just a masochist?"

Only on the days I admit to bottle feeding....

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:27 PM

'Please explain that to me, oh wise one.'

you got 'em! HA!

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 3:27 PM

That should have been I've - not checking carefully.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 20, 2007 3:27 PM

Exactly - looking in the mirror and talking to myself gets more positive feedback than most guest bloggers do. Why would I want to subject myself to the negativity that flies around this place every day? Nobody really gives a crud about anyone elses opinion or experiences.


Posted by: | March 20, 2007 03:22 PM


If YOU don't give a crud, then YOU go away. Who appointed YOU to interfere with other people's discussions?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:29 PM

Easy to judge when you've never been there.

I have been there. Rather than use credit cards, I have worked out payment plans directly. I will not use credit cards.

My wife and I have gone without health insurance for years. The kids are covered by the state.

We're the working poor that you people either venerate without knowing us (Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" applies nicely), or you view as slack-jawed yokels. You think it's so wonderful to get a great deal on a low-cost gutter installation, or house painting, but you don't want to look too closely at the company you are using, do you?

Take your misplaced piety and stick it.

Posted by: Seasonal employee | March 20, 2007 3:31 PM

"I would rather someone ask my kids to grab them a bottle of beer out of the fridge than enter them in a beauty pageant."

I couldn't agree more!

At the risk of sounding too girly, I have to get off the blog for now--getting together with my best girl friend to get manicures and shop--the post-dumping prescription. :-)

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 3:33 PM

Seasonal Employee - I don't begrudge you your kid's health insurance. But I do find it ironic that you feel free to judge Fo4 when the state is paying for your kids' health insurance. Where do you think that money comes from? People like Fo4 are paying for your kids' health insurance coverage.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:35 PM

Mona - have fun! Had a complete makeover done after my last ditching. Thank God for girlfriends....

Posted by: Missicat | March 20, 2007 3:35 PM

Seasonal Employee - I don't begrudge you your kid's health insurance. But I do find it ironic that you feel free to judge Fo4 when the state is paying for your kids' health insurance. Where do you think that money comes from? People like Fo4 are paying for your kids' health insurance coverage.

I pay taxes too, you know.

Posted by: SE | March 20, 2007 3:37 PM

I second the beer/beauty pagent comparison - at least it does not sexualize the child at an early age. I would imagine that would cause longer term damage. goodness, back when my parents were kids they were sent to buy the beer and cigarettes at the store.

I am looking forward to when my child is old enough to go into the fidge and get my diet coke - would be about time she pulls her own weight :)

Posted by: single mom | March 20, 2007 3:37 PM

The person or persons who keep posting nasty tidbits about Fo4 seems to be melting with jealousy. The symptom is classic. I can't understand how anybody could be so jealous of someone who is blind. It doesn't make any sense.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:39 PM

"I pay taxes too, you know."

Of course you do. But some of us pay taxes AND our kids' health insurance also. We are subsidizing you. And I think this is a good thing, because kids should be insured, even if their parents don't have the means to provide it themselves. And some of us go into debt in order to provide for our families without getting aid from the state.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:40 PM

I don't begrudge you your kid's health insurance

If you feel obliged to bring it up, then yes, you do feel grudging about it.

I may be poor, but I have my pride. I don't go begging for your sympathy, or asking you to bail me out of a hole that I dug. I won't declare bankruptcy and make you lot pay for it, I won't buy new clothes hardly ever, I'll scrimp rather than use food stamps--you people will never see me or my wife using food stamps to buy a birthday cake. We haven't asked for reduced-price meals at the schools.

I'd rather we lived in the car than ask for charity. Being able to take the kids to the doctor once in a while, that is the only thing I'll accept. For their sakes.

Thank god spring is here. Work will pick up.

Posted by: SE | March 20, 2007 3:41 PM

Seasonal Employee, if you think it's more responsible to negotiate a payment plan with hospitals and doctors based on an inflated rack rate, than take the approach I took which was to charge $150 per month for three years at 4% in order to provide medical catastrophe coverage, we will just have to agree to disagree.

and I can live with knowing that several other posters have disdain for anyone with debt.

You might not be aware that there are a number of posters on this blog who come from, or have been, or currently are, the working poor. Some disclose more background info than others.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 20, 2007 3:42 PM

At the risk of sounding too girly, I have to get off the blog for now--getting together with my best girl friend to get manicures and shop--the post-dumping prescription. :-)

Posted by: Mona | March 20, 2007 03:33 PM

Actually, Mona, the post dumping prescription is LOTS of alcohol followed by a HOT one night stand. This will be followed by wallowing in your own self pity where you will go on to consume an entire pizza and a pint of haagen daaz. These extra 5 pounds will be shed through tears.
You will then buy an entire new wardrobe consisting of clothes that are not your style in anyway, but that are clothes you THINK a hot young woman should wear to exude power and confidence (of which you ahve none at this point, since you are still feeling worthless)

You will look in the mirror a year from that point and have enough, go on a date with the geek next door and live happily ever after.

THE END

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:44 PM

My cc debt has lower interest rate than a home equity - I checked. CC is a form of debt that can be misused and get out of hand. But it is also a form of debt that can be handled wisely. If you have cc debt and something happens where you can't pay the bills, you ruin your credit. If you put that debt into a mortage or home equity loan instead of cc and you can't pay the mortgage, you lose your home. Having cc debt isn't the worst thing in the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:45 PM

Very nice guest blog! :)

Posted by: Shandra | March 20, 2007 3:46 PM

SE -
I do respect your work and effort. I just have a hard time understanding why a person in your situation would need to judge another person who is also struggling. Good luck to you. I mean that sincerely.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:46 PM

"Look in the mirror."

"If you are so very wise, why are you posting to a blog when you know that nobody cares what you have to say? Please explain that to me, oh wise one. "

"take thine cynical a$$ and relocate it to a new environment, preferably offline."

"Well, if you read the blog, and post to it, you already have subjected yourself to this blog's atmosphere. If you don't like it, why are you here? Or are you just a masochist?"

"Will you SHUT UP ALREADY??? Go find something to do!"

"you got 'em! HA!"

"If YOU don't give a crud, then YOU go away. Who appointed YOU to interfere with other people's discussions?"


Thank you all for proving my point better than I ever could.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:47 PM

"Laura, I just got dumped by an engineer, and OH MY GOD--most anal retentive person ever."

Well, Mona, there are engineers, and then there are Engineers. :-) Go enjoy your manicure/retail therapy -- you've definitely earned it!

Posted by: Laura | March 20, 2007 3:47 PM

3:47, you have no point. From now on we'll just ignore you

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:49 PM

Mona,
My ex-husband was also an engineer.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 3:51 PM

where on earth are all of these women meeting engineers? i've never heard of talk of so many engineers! i know of 1 (and he is quite an a$$)!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:54 PM

ack! I'm an engineer and I'm only anal retentive about certain things. Luckily my husband is an engineer too and he understands. Caring about details is a common characteristic of engineers.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 3:56 PM

Mona,
My ex-husband was also an engineer.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 03:51 PM


Emily has an EX-husband. Imagine that.

Posted by: abcabcabc | March 20, 2007 3:56 PM

Have fun, Mona. Keep any clothes shopping elegant, it's a lot easier to look at in a year!

Posted by: MdMother | March 20, 2007 3:57 PM

I met tons of engineers when teaching undergraduate and graduate engineers....and when studying.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 3:57 PM

I'm married to an engineer. But he is a network engineer which is slightly different.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 20, 2007 3:57 PM

what the heck is an engineer??

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:57 PM

My five year old does get my diet coke. She can get her own sippy cup of milk but can not pour new milk when it is empty.

Last night I was so tired she got our toothbrushes and my toothpaste for me. I washed out the toothbrushes.

I am not 55 years old yet but hopefully when I am I will be as wise as today's guest columnist.

Posted by: shdd | March 20, 2007 3:57 PM

They're the guys who drive the trains.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:58 PM

"I can't understand how anybody could be so jealous of someone who is blind. It doesn't make any sense."


Breathtaking in its ignorance. Simply breathtaking.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 3:59 PM

I'm an engineer and I'd hate to think anyone consider me an *$$ of any kind. But then, my wife says I'm not the usual kind of man either; something about being empathic and being able to see someone else's point of view...

Maybe she's biased, though.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 3:59 PM

Oh Fred,
I just noticed the name of today's html file.....

draft_fred

draft fred for the army (been there, done that)
draft fred for president (what do you say?)

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 3:59 PM

There are many types of engineers. They use scientific, mathematical, and technology to solve problems. There are structural engineers, chemical engineers, network engineers etc.. Think math, science, physics type stuff. DH codes routers for computer networks.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 20, 2007 4:01 PM

My favorite definition of engineer is in Wikipedia:

"Every technological product has to be designed and its fabrication overseen, and this is what engineers DO."[3] Engineers and scientists are often confused in the minds of the general public. While scientists explore nature in order to discover general principles, engineers apply established principles drawn from mathematics and science in order to develop economical solutions to technical problems.[4][5]

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 4:01 PM

"Emily has an EX-husband. Imagine that."

My mother used to to tell me that I was so difficult that no man would ever marry me. So she was quite shocked that I actually found 2 who were willing. Luckily, the second husband thinks I'm a keeper, even after 10 years. So my advice to all the single gals out there who think there is no one for them is to keep on looking. If I found someone, you can too.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:02 PM

huh? that clarifies NOTHING for me

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:02 PM

Ugggh. Couldn't be a scientist, doing all that theoretical stuff. I was always making things, building things, fixing things. Guess I was born to be an engineer.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 4:02 PM

Maybe the 8 year old answer will help. My daughter asked me that question the other day and I said "they're the people who design things before they're built."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:04 PM

Thanks emily - at least you did not say that "he will come when you least expect it"

Posted by: single mom | March 20, 2007 4:05 PM

LOL. My first brother and I were born 15 months apart. Baby brother came 9 years later. Everyone thought he was an accident but my mother would say "He was the only one who was planned."

Posted by: to WorkingMomX | March 20, 2007 4:06 PM

Ok, how about this?
Scientists work to discover things in nature, while engineers use known scientific, mathematical, technological information to solve every day problems. Like how to construct a bridge, build a computer network etc... Does that help? again I am not an engineer.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 20, 2007 4:06 PM

Close; engineers design and build the things you see all around you. Scientists discover the principles that engineers use to design and build those things.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 4:07 PM

wow, important job- but i'm bored already

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:09 PM

foamgnome-you paraphrased the wiki entry! You applied a well known engineering approach: use models to reduce complexity.

Another engineering approach is divide-and-conquer.

You'll be an engineer yet.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 4:10 PM

Megan's neighbor wrote: "Seasonal Employee, if you think it's more responsible to negotiate a payment plan with hospitals and doctors based on an inflated rack rate, than take the approach I took which was to charge $150 per month for three years at 4% in order to provide medical catastrophe coverage, we will just have to agree to disagree."

I agree with Megan's neighbor. Paying debt and its attendant interest isn't anyone's notion of a desirable situation -- but being without health insurance is just plain foolhardy.

As is running the risk of having to pay for health care at the "rack-rate" when a medical emergency arises (still likely to cost more than health insurance premiums, even with a negotiated payment plan after-the-fact). I've read that overwhelming medical bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy, so a little debt for health insurance seems the lesser of two evils here -- and there's a lot better chance of paying off the credit card charge for the health insurance than medical bills in a timely manner, especially because one can anticipate how much the insurance premiums will be.

Obviously avoiding all debt that one can't pay off within the first payment period is the ideal. But when this is impossible, then trying to pay it off ASAP is the next-best recourse. Sure, it can entail some really painful belt-tightening in the short-run, but it's worth it not to have to pay as much interest, because no one ever has anything to show for interest paid, only for the principal.

Whether you pay for your children's health insurance yourself or use a CHIP plan, please, please don't leave your children uninsured. It's not fair to them not to be able to get medical care when they need (as opposed to waiting as long as possible, when their condition has worsened).

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 4:10 PM

dotted: that is good to know. I will always have a fall back career.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 20, 2007 4:11 PM

The engineer in our family started out with taking the television set apart.

My cousin scared the pants off her parents with that stunt. But hey--she LIVES for assembling toys the day before Christmas. Somebody has to! I cheat and buy them board and card games.

Posted by: MdMother | March 20, 2007 4:12 PM

Dotted wrote: "Another engineering approach is divide-and-conquer."

Guess this means I was already an engineer as a child when I was trying to manipulate my parents in order to get my way -- LOL!

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 4:13 PM

Help me, I'm talking and I can't shut up.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:13 PM

I go to the gym for my boxing lessons and you all start to argue - just can't leave you alone for a minute. Well, now back to the gym so please behave.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 4:13 PM

me too, but it's a refreshing change from the lawyer talk.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:13 PM

Guess this means I was already an engineer as a child when I was trying to manipulate my parents in order to get my way -- LOL!

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 04:13 PM

The Little Engine That Could?

Posted by: MdMother | March 20, 2007 4:14 PM

David Cassidy was way hotter than Donnie Osmond!

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 02:48 PM

The irony is that NOW Donnie Osmond is way hotter than David Cassidy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:14 PM

SE said that s/he worked out a payment plan rather than use credit cards. I didn't see where the payment was for medical expenses. Did I miss something?

I was thinking the payments were for things such as emergency car repairs and s/he worked out an arrangement with the shop rather than use CC.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:15 PM

klb-I waved to you while you were at the gym...go back an hour or so ago.

was it a gym quickie?

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 4:16 PM

As a teen, I once dissected a cluster bomb munition that my dad had laying around the house. Fortunately for me it was an inert one, but it did have all the innards other than the explosives as the real ones do.

No, I don't know why he had an inert cluster bomb munition. He just did.

Posted by: John L | March 20, 2007 4:17 PM

arranged payments? where do you live? what decade?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:17 PM

that quickie joke is SOOO OLD

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:18 PM

That wasn't me at 4:13. But no matter. I'm here now.

Now what was I going to say? Donnie Osmond is hot? Really?

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:19 PM

SE said that s/he worked out a payment plan rather than use credit cards. I didn't see where the payment was for medical expenses. Did I miss something?

I was thinking the payments were for things such as emergency car repairs and s/he worked out an arrangement with the shop rather than use CC.

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 04:15 PM

I might have misconnected two unrelated topics. Only Seasonal Employee can tell us; however, if you know of any business other than the General Store on Walton's Mountain that will extend credit and take the risk of non-payment by a consumer in any context other than for emergency healthcare services --- where the law forces hospitals to provide coverage -- I'd love to hear about it.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 20, 2007 4:21 PM

Okay, who remembers this?

"I'm a little bit country, and I'm a little bit rock 'n roll."

Okay, that made me gag. I can taste my lunch again.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:22 PM

arranged payments? where do you live? what decade?

Apparently, you live in the land of cynicism. Local business people still work out things for some customers. There is still such a thing as customer/business relationship. You can generally work things out if you are a regular customer. Granted, it is not as common as in the past, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:23 PM

"Now what was I going to say? Donnie Osmond is hot? Really? "

Emily that was me. It is a relative hotness, i.e. Donnie Osmond is hotter than David Cassidy. Donnie Osmond is not independantly hot but he is hotter than Dick Cheney. Make sense?

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 4:24 PM

Emily, did you ever see Donny Osmond in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"? Definitely hot. Just saw a fleeting promo on TV last night for a new show starring him -- still nice-looking, for a middle-aged man. Oooh, how's that for a reality-check? (I'm in denial).

Posted by: catlady | March 20, 2007 4:27 PM

LOL, moxiemom. Now that you put it that way, I see. But I do think that Dick Cheney is a little hot, sometimes. I like a nice shiny head. And occasionally, he has this look on his face, like the cat that swallowed the canary. But I always liked them bad boys.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:27 PM

hotter than Dick Cheney? WHo isn't?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:28 PM

Emily, you have posted 34 times in the past 9 1/2 hours. For your sake, and for the rest of us who actually feel we can live without hearing your every thought, please take a mental health day away from the blog tomorrow. Enough is enough.

Posted by: Never an unexpressed thought | March 20, 2007 4:28 PM

"But I do think that Dick Cheney is a little hot, sometimes"

Fo4 isn't the only one here who is blind.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:29 PM

Don't egg me on, Never an unexpressed thought. Maybe I'm just here to watch you squirm. You are making it too much fun to resist.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:30 PM

Never an unexpressed thought, how many anonymous messages today? Way more than Emily's signed ones.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:31 PM

hotter than Dick Cheney? WHo isn't?

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 04:28 PM

Keith Richards! Although his large wallet is appealing.

I actually have these weird crushes on smart, older Jewish guys - Larry David, Jon Stewart and Ira Glass! LOVE THEM. I'm a shiksa.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 4:31 PM

I remember watching the Donnie and Marie show when I was a kid. It came on after Laurence Welk.

Now for our cultural edification, tonight it's American Idol!

Fred, did I miss the CTBT?

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 20, 2007 4:32 PM

the many anonymous messages aren't by the same person. I have posted some anonymous, but not all, so there are at least 2 today, and I suspect there are more.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:33 PM

Jon Stewart isn't older! He is hot when he does his Cheney imitation though. :-)

Posted by: Marian | March 20, 2007 4:34 PM

Are we all voting for Sanjaya tonight? I have never voted but might hop on this bandwagon for kicks.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 4:35 PM

moxiemom, Wanna bet this afternoon troll is an anti-Semite, too?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:36 PM

Sanjaya is a cutie, isn't he?

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:37 PM

Don't watch (or listen) to American Idol so I would not know.

Frieda use the computer, now that is a laugh!

No culture today. (waiting for this one to be pounced upon!)

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 4:38 PM

moxiemom, Wanna bet this afternoon troll is an anti-Semite, too?

Posted by: | March 20, 2007 04:36 PM

Maybe, I can't imagine who could not be attracted to smart, funny, jewish guys?

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 4:39 PM

No culture today? Does yogurt for lunch count?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:39 PM

moxiemom - please, please don't jump on the idol bandwagon! of course, i'm just frustrated because that drivel is preventing me from getting my Hugh Laurie fix - grrrrrr.

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 20, 2007 4:39 PM

Sanjaya is a cutie, isn't he?

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 04:37 PM

Cute in that Leif Garret, I'm a pre-teen and I want a boyfriend who won't have sex with me way. Very non-threatening. Nice kid tho.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 4:40 PM

'Sanjaya is a cutie, isn't he?'

You can't be serious. He looks like an undernourished girl.

Chris Robinson is the cutie.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:40 PM

You like Hugh Laurie - Just rent the Stuart Little movies until Idol ends.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:42 PM

emily - actually, i kinda had you figured for a simon cowell fan. isn't he really the only reason to watch?

as for stuart little, it's just not the same. perhapss i should have said my greg house fix.

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 20, 2007 4:50 PM

Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster on Jeeves series?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:52 PM

Donnie Osmond was never hot. You people horrify me.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 4:56 PM

Truthfully, I have only watched Idol a couple of times. But Simon is a scream.

I don't watch that much tv during the week. I try to see Ugly Betty and Two and a Half Men. On Saturday nights, I like to watch reruns of As Time Goes By, Are You Being Served, and Keeping up Appearances. I am really an old fogey at heart.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:56 PM

"Donnie Osmond was never hot. You people horrify me."

I agree. But you do think that Dick Cheney is hot, right? Come on, admit it. He's a hottie.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 4:58 PM

The key to Idol, unless you are watching with your kids, is to DVR it. Then you can fast forward over the bad singers and stupid group performances and commercials. I can watch an hour show in about 20 mins. Love the DVR. I also dig Hugh Laurie - did you see his band thing with Lester Holt on the Today show?

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 5:00 PM

The address bar does say "draft_fred". Nooooooooooooooooooo, I am too old. I already served! Not again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 5:06 PM

moxiemom - god bless the dvr. i watch 10-15 minutes of survivor each week (it's like a train wreck, you can't not watch!). so here's a big thank you to all those glorious engineers at tivo. unfortunately i missed the thing on the today show - our tv is hard wired for only 2 choices - noggin or disney - from 6:30-8:00am every day. - sigh -

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 20, 2007 5:07 PM

The key to Idol, unless you are watching with your kids, is to DVR it.

We DVR it even though we watch it with the kids. They finish homework while the show is being recorded and we start watching the recording halfway through the show. We finish very close to the time the show is ending.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 5:09 PM

2terrific - Noggin, its like pre-school on t.v. right, but $30 a month? haha Wait till the boys get bigger and the weather improves - you will reclaim your t.v. Really the DVR is a godsend. Makes it so I can catch everything I want, but still do everything I want to do w/o thinking oh, i'm missing Rome - which anecdotally, I LOVE and I'm devastated it is ending.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 5:11 PM

dotted,
Nope,
Just 35 mins on the elliptical. I think the boxing lessons will kick my butt.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 5:23 PM

moxie-
Count me as a Rome fan. What a great story. Pullo is the man.

Why do people take the time to be negative? I've said it before and I'm still puzzled-weren't people raised to "if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all"?

I know, nice is overrated, but mean is just mean.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 5:23 PM

rome is ending? argh! how did i miss this? of course, i'm way behind (caesar's still alive on the dvds). as for noggin, it's part of our satellite package, not a separate line item. and frankly, it makes getting ready for school a pleasure - the kids know if there's no cooperation, then there's no 64 zoo lane or oobi (ugh - what do they see in that show???)

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 20, 2007 5:24 PM

Moxiemom, I just followed your advice and ordered season 1 of Rome from netflix. I love that kind of thing. Thanks for the tip.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 5:24 PM

dotted,
People do it just to get a reaction - you are feeding right into them silly wabbit.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 5:24 PM

klb- 35 minutes on the elliptical is a quickie. Like going to curves is a quickie. There are some nasty minds thinking it meant something else.

Total body conditioning (alias the death hour) is tomorrow for me.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 5:25 PM

klb-you are right, but dang reading nasty comments makes for depressing wacko reading.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 5:26 PM

dotted,
Are you calling me a slacker?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 5:35 PM

Love Pullo, but have a HUGE bad boy crush on Antony! sigh. I love the savagery (sp?) and kindness and humor that reside in Pullo simultaneously. I loved Antony and Cleopatra just laying around, getting high, running an empire. Such a great mix of history and contemporary entertainment. Genius really. Again, so bummed its ending next week, but I suppose after Antony is gone what story is there really - there's a reason why we all know about this time period and not much after - less interesting I think.

dotted, re: the negative. I dunno. Sometimes I think it comes from unhappiness since I can't be unkind when I'm truly happy, othertimes I think its just for entertainment or maybe youth. The older I get the less time I have for stuff like that because I'm the only one who really ends up upset. I suppose if you could answer that question you would be a rich woman.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 5:36 PM

Mr Bee is an engineer. He helps companies design their networks (ie how their computer systems are linked).
Brother Bee is in engineering physics. He's researching optical communications (I may have this wrong as I'm a layperson).
Basically engineers are the glue that holds together a lot of other processes. If you like to think practically and figure out how things work and then make them work better, you may be a good candidate for engineering. I thought when I was a kid that it was all about building cars or something, which was not of interest to me... otherwise I might be one myself.

Posted by: worker bee | March 20, 2007 5:39 PM

worker bee,
Then who drives the trains? ;-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 5:42 PM

moxiemom - re: death of anthony = death of interest

oh no, no, no - the early empire period is fascinating! Caesar Augustus (aka Octavian) was a true heir to his great uncle Gaius Julius Caesar. suggest you check out "I, Claudius" from netflix. it's old, but still well worth watching. frankly, anthony was a rank tyro compared to his Caesar cousins.

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 20, 2007 5:45 PM

Those guys with the hats! I wanted to be one of those, too....

PS--Rome is ending? What will I do??

Posted by: worker bee | March 20, 2007 5:45 PM

worker bee,
With all the derailments, etc I don't think I want that job. But how much fun would it be, really? Wonder if they have female train engineers?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 5:47 PM

All together now: "Women can do and be anything we want!" :)

Posted by: worker bee | March 20, 2007 5:50 PM

worker bee,
Of course we can, I was just wondering if we are. Did not mean as a derogatory statement.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 5:53 PM

2terrific - I will bone up on my Roman history. Still loyal to Antony although I have a little crush on Agrippa based on a statue I saw in Orange in the South of France many years ago. Don't dig the t.v. Agrippa tho. I'm starting to realize how wacky these crushes make me seem... I also had crushes on Nathaniel Hawthorne and F. Scott Fitzgerald although I think I just really wanted to party with the latter. Yikes, I'm telling too much.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 5:57 PM

klb, you are not a slacker. You use your time wisely.

I believe Rome is ending because on $$$, not because there isn't a story. HBO wants blockbusters. Maybe Rome is a great niche story.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 5:58 PM

KLB, sorry! I know what you meant, I was joking, thinking that someone else was going to jump on it! My apologies, I should have remembered tone of voice doesn't translate well in type...

Posted by: worker bee | March 20, 2007 5:58 PM

moxie-
your crushes don't make you seem wacky. Human really. I wanted to party with Anne Rice for years, with Lestat and David Talbot.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 6:00 PM

Oh Dotted, we have the same reading taste. I loved Lestat too. Too bad he was gay.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 6:04 PM

Thank you dotted, for either making me normal or making me not alone in my abnormality. Either way - it was generous and kind of you.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 6:05 PM

to moxiemom: what is normal but a setting on the dryer?!?

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 20, 2007 6:15 PM

I'm rally starting to like this late nite gang. Wish I could stick around longer more often, but I have children to clean. Thanks again Fred - lovely piece.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 20, 2007 6:20 PM

"Too bad he was gay."

I just realized this could be misconstrued. First Lestat was an imaginary character. But secondly, I meant too bad for all heterosexual women attracted to him that he was gay.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 6:24 PM

I thought you meant Tom Cruise.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 6:56 PM

Did Tom Cruise play Lestat? I didn't see the movie. But if he did, he is so wrong for the part.

I could see Orlando Bloom as Lestat. With blond long hair like in Lord of the Rings. But I guess he wasn't famous yet back then.

Posted by: Emily | March 20, 2007 7:15 PM

Hey all, back from trial (we won!) and then immediately having jury duty (thank god I was excused).

Fred, great guest blog.

Emily, I love you and your sassy responses to your anon stalker.

And good to see all my neighbors!!

Posted by: Megan | March 20, 2007 7:23 PM

Meagan missed a great day. The first nasty post wasn't until almost 11. I think Fred did good.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 20, 2007 7:47 PM

Megan, Megan, Megan, don't you live in Colorado?

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 7:54 PM

but regardless, 'won't you be my neighbor?' (Mr. Rogers)

Posted by: experienced mom | March 20, 2007 7:56 PM

Megan - Congratulations!!! oh, and it wasn't the same without you, Neighbor.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 20, 2007 8:02 PM

Of course I miss the day my NC neighbors are waving. Hello to all from Apex!

Fred, great guest blog. Now I know why mine wasn't published--it paled in comparison to yours.

Posted by: Meesh | March 20, 2007 8:28 PM

Fred,
Again, great blog. Tell me you will still be here tomorrow. Big wave to my southwest to you

Megan,
congrats!

Emily,
At the time, many people thought Tom Cruise was wrong to play the part of Lestat. For many reasons. I enjoyed the movie, but I relish my imagination while reading the books themselves better.

Posted by: dotted | March 20, 2007 8:31 PM

Meesh,

Don't give up hope about your guest blog. I think that Army brat also has written one. Did you actually submit it and receive confirmation from Leslie?


Many posters jump over Leslie about her topics and the seeming lack of originality. I can tell you that it is tough to write a daily column. The muse can be fleeting on many a day. For a long time, I had wanted to write a guest blog but could not find a topic (other than breastfeeding). This column just came to me at 3 a. m. about 2 weeks ago. It took about 1 hour to write originally and then only 7 revisions!

I have seen many excellent topics suggested. I encourage that person to just write out the thoughts. If only for yourself or maybe for the rest of us.

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 8:48 PM

Thanks guys!

Experienced Mom, I am in Colorado and I would love to be your neighbor!

I figure so much of my work life is virtual, why not my neighbors too?

Posted by: Megan | March 20, 2007 9:05 PM

Emily, did you like David Cassidy? Just curious.

Father of 4 is funnier and more charming. (Sorry, Fred.) He's a bad boy (aren't you, Fo4? don't let me down here), which of course is why I have fallen for him. But Fred...well, I have the sneaky suspicion that Fred would be the better one to end up with (sorry Fo4)..happier in the long run, but not so many laughs along the way.

Glad they are both part of this blog family. Thanks for a great blog, Fred.

Hi Frieda!

Posted by: Leslie | March 20, 2007 9:34 PM

"Hey all, back from trial (we won!) and then immediately having jury duty (thank god I was excused)."

How disappointing. Didn't you write some time ago about having a love for law? But you are thanking God for being excused from jury duty? How hypocritical.

Posted by: to Megan | March 20, 2007 10:16 PM

"But you are thanking God for being excused from jury duty? How hypocritical."

Well, that's a fair point, and I should not have been so flippant. The reason I was thanking god is simply that I am completely exhausted from working on the trial and, given other work commitments I have this week, if I had been selected for jury duty it would have been another straight week of the intensity of trial all day followed by working on difficult issues until the wee hours of the morning. So yes, I was relieved to not have to do that for another week given what the last two weeks have been like; after all, I am human and like to sleep and spend time with my family.

But had I been selected I would have absolutely done my duty and been committed to it. I did not go to any particular lengths to get excused (I'm not actually even sure why I was - it was a peremptory challenge by the prosecution) and I think jury service is very important. I'm just really glad to be able to have a more normal week this week.

Posted by: Megan | March 20, 2007 10:30 PM

To: To Megan

As I understand it, Megan is a lawyer. Most lawyers are immediately booted off a jury. Other lawyers do not like them on a jury.

My baby brother was relieved from jury duty yesterday because his son is a cop.

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 11:06 PM

Leslie,

Just send the check to Fred's Ferrari Fund at...

Posted by: Fred | March 20, 2007 11:07 PM

Leslie, I think there is one big thing we both have in common: We are troublemakers, but you, unlike me, are a professional at it.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 21, 2007 6:27 AM

fo4, ha! That's right!!

Posted by: experienced mom | March 21, 2007 7:13 AM

Megan,

Thanks for the explanation. Needing a break is much more understandable than trying to wriggle out of jury duty because you don't want to be bothered.

Posted by: to Megan | March 21, 2007 7:18 AM

Leslie,
Yes, I liked David Cassidy too. I think I pretty much was in love with all the pretty boy teeny boppers when I was 13. I was not very discerning at the time.

Posted by: Emily | March 21, 2007 9:33 AM

to Megan,

I'm glad you understand - I do agree with you that it is really problematic that so many people try to wriggle out of it, as you put it. Colorado has actually done a really job in clamping down on that - I think it used to be that some people (mainly white-collar professionals) could get out of it easily on work-related excuses, but now they really don't allow that, and everyone gets pretty much the same treatment, which I think is really good.

Also, to Fred's point, I've actually been surprised that here lawyers don't get the boot as automatically as you would expect. I know in at least one state lawyers don't get called at all, and I think it's generally true that most lawyers don't want another lawyer on their jury if they can avoid it. But a number of attorneys I know here have been selected which has surprised me. I would guess that the fact that I am an attorney is one reason that the prosecution challenged me, but I don't really know for sure - could have been other things about my answers in voir dire that she didn't like.

Posted by: Megan | March 21, 2007 10:39 AM

Beautifully written--thanks!

Posted by: Maggie Leifer | March 22, 2007 7:55 AM

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