Thursday, December 04, 2014

Binge-watchers only, please.

I discovered something about myself recently, and I'm wondering if it's an epidemic, or it's just me.

Drew and I went without anything but an antenna and video streaming devices for maybe 2-3 years. I'm sure it was longer than that and I'm sure Drew will say it was shorter than that. It felt like longer because of football. I HATED having to go to someone else's house or find a sketchy European stream for Thursday Night Football, I hated only getting Big 10 college football all day on Saturdays with maybe one SEC game. I just hated everything about not having access to football at all times that it was on.

I was mostly okay during the off-season, watching Netflix and Hulu Plus and trashy judge shows on network TV, and finding the occasional show to binge-watch, which is my anti-drug. However, I frequently whined to Drew about having to download stuff like Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead off sketchy European sites (God love the Europeans) the day after they aired. So last year when football season was getting underway, I put my foot down and insisted that Drew get us satellite again. And like the good husband of a shrieking harridan, he let me go ahead and get it.

We got free Sunday Ticket last year, enabling us to watch all NFL football games, all Sunday long. Oh man. Then I discovered Red Zone and considered installing a fridge and a toilet in the living room so I never had to part with it between the hours of noon and 7pm.

Then the off-season rolled around. It took me until about April of this year, but I finally admitted to Drew, to his face, that if it weren't for football, I wouldn't care about network TV at all. I do like watching Friends for 2 solid hours in the afternoon on TBS, but otherwise, I was watching Netflix and Amazon Prime all. the. time. Sure, it was nice having The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. And we got into a few new shows like The League and Key and Peele. And the DVR was definitely nice.

Here's the thing, though, I only half-assed watched those shows while they were on live. I'd be reading Twitter or doing my nails or anything else but paying full attention to the show. So I basically missed last year of TWD and every other show entirely.

When this year's premiere of The Walking Dead was approaching, I sat down over about 5 days and binge-watched the first 4 seasons of the show on Netflix so I could catch up and have it fresh in my mind. I half-assed watched the season premiere, then basically started going to bed at like 9 and missing the show altogether and didn't watch it at all. Here's the problem with that - you catch spoilers. For example, there's a huge spoiler in the mid-season finale of TWD that TWD's Twitter account tweeted right after the show was over. I will not say what it was, but it's a big deal. I reacted to the spoiler with little emotion and went on about my business.

Yesterday morning, I was about to do my normal Wednesday clean-the-whole-house routine, but decided that since Drew was out of town and I had no one to clean for, I'd catch up on TWD. So I pretty much sat in my own filth for 8 hours with a brief breaks for basic human needs and picking Ace up from school and watched TWD. The mid-season finale came on and I knew what the huge thing was that was going to happen. I knew it was coming.

Then it happened.

I EXPLODED in tears, threw my phone across the room, and immediately had to pause the show to bawl my eyes out, cry into a bunch of tissues, throw THOSE across the room, and finally compose myself. Then I watched the last 90 seconds of the show, cried out whatever tears I had left, and kinda sat there shaking and found a Louis C.K. special on Amazon Prime to calm myself down.

I know I wouldn't have reacted that way if I'd watched it weekly, because my entire attention wouldn't have been on the show and I wouldn't have had the emotional investment. And I KNEW it was coming. Binge-watching takes up all my attention to the point that people on Twitter ask where I am, and just gives me a payoff that watching weekly doesn't do.

So, that was an entire long way to say, are you a binge-watcher? Have you found yourself trying to maintain attention when watching shows live? If I could do something like JUST pay to add Sunday Ticket, HBOGo, and Showtime Anytime to my regular streaming video devices, I so would and wouldn't need cable or satellite at all. I don't even have a problem with spoilers, because they don't spoil the show for me. For example, knowing the big big spoiler on the series finale of Breaking Bad would not spoil the huge roller coaster ride of binge-watching all the seasons on Netflix. (Highly, highly recommended.)

Now, if you'll excuse me, Oculus just came out on Netflix. And December 6th, American Horror Story: Coven will take me away from all wifely and most motherly duties for 2-3 days. Streaming video is my faaaaaavorite thing.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Road rage!

I almost posted this two weeks ago. I just never finished it. I was the victim of my first road rage incident!

The intersection leading to my house has turn lanes all around. I was first in line on the major highway in the east-facing turn lane. There was a grizzled old lady with a bad haircut in a silver car behind me. In the west-facing turn lane were two buses. If you promise not to laugh, I'll give you a helpful drawing I made on a sketchy MS Paint-like website I found.

Promise not to laugh.

PROMISE.


YOU SAID YOU WOULDN'T LAUGH. Do you have any idea how hard it is to draw something with a trackpad? This was my face the whole time: 


ANYWAY.

I reached the front of the intersection as the yellow turn arrow turned to a green light for the lanes going straight, so I had a green light, but not a green arrow. All the traffic passed and there was a lull, but I couldn't see past the buses in the west-facing lane, so I wasn't going. Hell, if there's anything bigger than a Smart Car (lol) in the west-facing lane and you're in the front of the east-facing lane, you can't see any oncoming traffic.

Here's the thing though: if you're the second car in the east-facing turn lane, you can see oncoming traffic clear to Alabama. In the 10 years I've lived here, I've been in every possible position in that turn lane, so I know the deal. 

Unfortunately, the grizzly bitch behind me didn't, so she honked her horn and started waving her arms at me to go. I pointed at the buses, kinda gave her a Kanye shrug, and stayed right where I was. The first bus turned, the second bus was still there, I still couldn't see, so she honked again, two-three times. I pointed again at the bus and put my hand up, like "I CANNA SEE!!!" She LAID on her horn and wouldn't let up. The second bus went and I could finally see that there was no oncoming traffic, so I started to go, and she's still on her horn and RIGHT up my ass. So, like any polite suburban housewife with a limited edition sedan, I opened my sunroof and put my middle finger through it.


The street to get to my neighborhood is about 100 yards from that intersection, and we maintained our aggressive stances until I had to turn. I put both hands on the wheel, hit my turn signal, and turned. 

This bitch is still on her horn, following me.

That street is another good 100 yards and once we hit my neighborhood, she gets off the horn. I think, surely, she's not following me home. I turn onto my street and yuuup, she turns behind me. 

If you ever find yourself in this position, drive to the nearest police station. I'm not kidding. Do not do what I did next. Don't. My dad taught me better and he'd be PISSED if he read this. The only thing I was thinking about was getting home to pay my maid so she could leave. Anyway.

I stop mid-way down my street and put my car in park. She pulls up beside me, rolls her window down, and starts yelling. I can't hear her and I'm facing straight ahead, ignoring her, hoping she'll get over it and drive away. Nnnooooo, she went and laid on her horn. I figured at this point she's bothering the neighbors, so I roll the window down and say "Ma'am, you need to stop following me right now." "You stupid bitch, you should have gone! RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE" "Ma'am, I couldn't see. You need to move on. I have a gun in my car and I know how to use it. Stop following me right now." "I'M CALLING THE COPS ON YOU, YOU CRAZY BITCH!"

Okay. So, I go to my house, which she can see, and pay my maid and tell her what happened. My maid is country as hell; "People ain't right these days, you can't go nowhere. Whatnahell's wrong with these crazy people." I tell her I'm going to walk her outside because she's probably 60 and 4'11 with boobs the size of beach balls and constant medical problems and she says "I ain't scared, I'll put a whoopin' on her she won't forget none." I love my maid. I walk her outside and she drives off just as a police car is pulling up, with another one right behind it. 

I stand and watch as the two officers listen to Grizzly. They're two houses down and I can hear her screaming and see her waving her bingo wings in the air and hitting her dashboard. The officers are moving their hands in that "calm down" motion to no avail. Eventually, they walk to me, and I tell them my side. When I said "I told her that I had a gun in my car and she needed to stop following me," they turned to each other and one said "Sounds like a reasonable request to me." "Yep." They walk back to her car.

She starts screaming and flailing again so I pull up Twitter while I wait. Eventually, I hear her engine rev and she speeds off and they start walking back to me shaking their heads so I put my phone away. As they get close to me, one says "Okay, ma'am, put your hands behind your back."


"Just kidding."

I collapsed a little bit with my hands on my knees and yelled "YOU'RE THE LEAST FUNNY PERSON EVER, SIR." They're both cracking up. Ha freakin' ha, guys. We all compose ourselves and they start apologizing, I start apologizing, and one says "You have every right to have a gun in your car. You didn't threaten to shoot her. You did the right thing. People need to realize that we're out here for criminal activity, not tantrums, and she's throwing a tantrum." "Yes sir." I thanked them for coming out, offered them drinks and food (yo, I'm Southern), we had another round of apologies, and I walked back in my clean house and folded my laundry.

24-year-old Stacey probably would have gone to jail, honestly. 34-year-old Stacey SHOULD have driven to the police station so they wouldn't have to come to me, but otherwise handled it remarkably well. I think the hours spent escorting at the abortion clinic with people being aggressive toward me for hours on end conditioned me for that very moment. 

I don't have road rage. I used to. I think people with road rage have a sense of self-aggrandizement, like, that driver doing that stupid thing is doing it to piss THEM off, specifically. I feel like, 99% of the time, if a driver does something I perceive as stupid, they're not doing it on purpose. We all make mistakes, man. I'm totally The Dude when I'm driving. I hope Grizzly Bitch gets over her rage. 

Or steps on Legos every day for the rest of her life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Arguably my best prank ever.

We've had a rough few days as a family. Ace spent 11 hours in the ER Monday and was diagnosed with bursitis and tendinitis in his left hip. He had to spend the night overnight. With that stress fresh on our minds, in addition to the stress from, oh, I don't know, EVERYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED FOR THE LAST 2 YEARS, I found a great chance for levity today.

Drew, my staunch libertarian husband, whom I love more than life, got a new car Saturday. (That's also part of a shitty story). I picked up his license plate this morning and got a bright idea. I contacted a guy who's a whiz at Photoshop and here's what happened.







I'm waiting for him to get home. We'll see if he greets me with a big hug and kiss.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Glorious farewell to homeschooling and first day of school!

If you haven't been following along on social media, I'll make an incredibly long story as short as possible.

I HATED homeschooling. I'm not gonna go through the many reasons why, but I HATED IT HATED IT HATED IT. I honestly wasn't very good at it, I sucked at getting socialization for both of us, I don't think he was educated well enough. I should have known I wasn't cut out for it.

Real talk: the year really took a toll on both Ace's and my mental health. I was drinking a lot. A lot. Ace and I argued about everything all day and I would wind up hiding from him all night in the guest bedroom watching Netflix, not even saying goodnight to him or Drew. I started to honestly start losing maternal feelings because he was so abusive. Ace - well, Ace remained the same. I wanted to start the new school year sometime in September, but we had an awful incident at a party and Ace exhibited some really scary behavior and needed to go inpatient.

His counselor at that facility recommended the Mississippi State Hospital, commonly referred to as "Whitfield." If you're a resident of Mississippi, you've heard of Whitfield, and you're scared of it. Honestly, the campus is beautiful and looks a lot like Ole Miss. All brick buildings, white columns, white painted windows, very pretty. But you just KNOW (doom music) it's the (crescendo) state asylum.

My immediate reaction:



But, after some research and talking to a lot of people, I decided that was the best course of action. He was there 2 months, and y'all, he's a different kid, and I'm a different mom. That's a very long story, though, and HUGE understatements, and if I ever blog again, I'll tell you all about it. Who knew my kid could get top notch care at a Mississippi state-funded psychiatric facility??

One of the many bits of information the hospital gave us was that he'd be better served in the public school system because they have a lot of therapeutic avenues that are not available to me as a private citizen with great insurance and a pretty damn good income. He's going to get individual and group therapy and social skills training weekly. WEEKLY. I've looked everywhere - that is literally not available if you're paying privately.

He was discharged on Halloween, last Friday. He wanted to be Mario, reimagined as a werewolf. Alright.



We had an IEP meeting on Wednesday and they said he could start the next day. I. WAS. ECSTATIC.


I could go back and volunteer at the clinic, I could volunteer at The Little Light House, I could get pedicures alone, I could go grocery shopping alone... hell, I could sit in my underwear in the recliner and pick my boogers for 7 hours a day if I wanted. Blah blah blah doing what's best for my child blah 7 HOURS A DAY 5 DAYS A WEEK BY MYSELF. 

LET'S GET TO THE BARRAGE OF FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PICTURES, SHALL WE??

I was up at 6 on his first day, and although I won't have to wake him up until 7 normally, Ace was up at about 6:15. Drew was home because we only have one car right now and I had to drive him to work (another long story UGH), so I asked him to make some bacon and I started making pancakes. 

(Never one to skip an opportunity to martyr myself, I'd like to point out I'd only had a single cup of coffee at this point.)




Pumpkin pecan oatmeal pancakes, Ace's favorite.


"Hey Ace, smile."


"No, dude, smile. And quit blinking."



"You blinked again!"
"I hate the flash, Mom!"
"Okay, I'll turn it off."


"DUDE, I turned the flash off!"
"I WANT TO EAT MY PANCAKES!"
"One more."


"Thank you."
"Mfffffpancakesmmm"




Here's my big boy walking into school! Bye buddy! I love you!


Just kidding, I totally followed him in. Here's his teacher:


And here's Drew out of frame forcibly dragging me out of the classroom telling me I'm the most embarrassing person in the world right now.


Ace and I both have had a gosh darned wonderful couple of days. I watched the TedX Jackson talks yesterday and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I LOVED IT. He says he misses me during the day but he's really having fun and has gotten "blue" on his behavior reports, which means "excellent." 

I really am ecstatic, and hopeful, and happy, for the first time in 4 years. Also, my DSLR was fixed! Good news all around. I don't know how to finish long form writing anymore, so have a good day!      

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gone but not forgotten

Drew fixed my DSLR for my birthday a couple weeks ago.  My favorite thing to do is photograph old cemeteries and I have this grandiose vision of finding old cemeteries in Mississippi, taking lots of pictures, and making a coffee table book.  It's a good goal, but for now, they go on my blog.  I love any old cemetery, from enormous marble headstones to tiny illegible cement markers. As long as they're old and I don't have to expose myself to ticks, I'm there.  I'm especially interested in segregated cemeteries, slave markers/stones, private home cemeteries, and secret Union graves.  Whatever insider information you have, let me know.

We decided to get out today and find some old places in Pelahatchie.  We found Antioch Cemetery, Shiloh United Methodist Church Cemetery, and Walter's Grove Cemetery, a segregated cemetery that's home to 2 graves of slaves.

I'm always struck by the graves of infants and children.  They're always so small to me, and most of the infants are just memorialized as "infant son/daughter of...," not even names.  It strikes me because we really live in a completely different world than 150 years ago - we have a reasonable and realistic expectation that our children will outlive us.  In the 1800s, they didn't.  The deaths of children were expected and commonplace  This, to me, is reflected in the nameless tiny stones that mark infants'/children's graves, whereas I can't imagine if Ace died that I'd demand any less than a 6' marker.

Antioch Cemetery is the final resting place of the Thames children.  6 of the children had the measles, went out to play in the cotton field, and came home wet.  They all died within 18 days.  What fresh hell those parents had to be in.  Incomprehensible.  Here are their graves:









A lot of graves say "Gone But Not Forgotten."  This is something we tell ourselves; that we'll never forget our loved ones. Well, someone's gonna forget them. It's nihilistic, but unless you make a drastic change in humanity, in 175 years the only memory of you may actually be something like this:

Antioch: 






Shiloh:







Walter's Grove: 



Walter's Grove had several plastic markers, indicating that the survivors don't have the money for a stone marker. These make me incredibly sad - if I had to mark my parent's or husband's grave with something that a medium-strength thunderstorm could take out I'd feel awful. 





Although the last one had some pizzazz:



Finally, Walter's Grove was home to the graves of two slaves, a man and wife, Luke and Grace Patrick. I've seen slave graves before; marked with wooden crosses or a small cement marker emblazoned with the word "slave."  This was not at all what I expected. 




Fences are generally markers of exclusion in cemeteries - for families or the very rich or well-connected.  This fence didn't even have a gate, which tells me (the eternal optimist) that someone wanted these graves protected and respected.  The inscription on Luke Patrick's stone said "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see The Lord."  I couldn't read the inscription on Grace's.  These were beautiful and I was incredibly touched that two people who were so dehumanized in life were venerated in death.  I have to research more on this.

Others from today that I kinda like (but am criticizing myself about because my skill isn't what it used to be):






Anyway, this was my first outing so I'm a little rusty. Hope to have more for y'all soon!