Sunday, April 19, 2015

Daddy's home! And scaring off pregnant women at doctor's offices...

Bill came home yesterday by noon.  He was exhausted, but after a nap, he put together my new bench.  Here he is, enjoying it and the new, but as yet unpaid for, table.

I like how Bill's shirt matches Zane's collar.

Last night, we sat at the table, drank beer, listened to music, and ate cold cuts and pretzel bread.  While we were sitting there, I shared this photo which randomly popped up on my Facebook feed.  A woman I knew in school had posted it with the comment "You've been warned.  No excuses."

I knew this would generate a discussion and it did...

I understand the idea behind this sign and I comprehend why a lot of people are behind its sentiment.  However, while I get why people agree with it, I think it's counterproductive to threaten patients before they've even been seen.  All a sign like this does is tell the pregnant mom who might be using drugs that the doctor would prefer them to go somewhere else for their prenatal care.  I get that could be why the sign was posted.  OB-GYNs typically pay a lot in malpractice insurance and a woman with drug issues could potentially have a riskier pregnancy.  Of course, a druggie mom who is really bad off probably wouldn't bother with prenatal care anyway. 

Those that use drugs recreationally might see a doctor, but if the doctor flat out tells them they will call the law on them, they will very likely go somewhere else.  That may be fine and dandy for the doctor who doesn't have to deal with them, but what about the unborn child?  The sign seems to be advocating for the welfare of the unborn baby, but if the doctor scares off the mother, what good does that do?  And doesn't that sort of conflict with what doctors are supposed to be doing, which is providing healthcare to people who need it?

I happen to be pro-choice, but I couldn't help but notice.  As long as abortion is legal in the United States, it seems kind of ridiculous to take this sort of attitude, anyway.  I mean, the mother to be can kill her unborn child if she wants to.  Using illegal drugs is against the law, anyway.  Why turn it into a crime against an unborn child?  Why does the fact that the mom to be is pregnant even come into it?  She's breaking the law, so deal with her. 

At this point, we don't force people to see their doctors.  People have a hard enough time accessing appropriate medical care for reasons other than being threatened and alienated.  This attitude of needing to police private citizens is creepy to me, and in the long run, I don't think it makes things better for anybody.  Of course a pregnant woman shouldn't be using drugs and something should be done if she comes up positive on a drug screen.  I think the attitude toward her should be more supportive and helpful, not threatening.    

Besides...  a woman whose newborn baby comes up positive on a drug screen at the hospital is going to be referred to CPS anyway.  All that does is encourage the mother to give birth in an alley.

Here's another thought.  For most medical procedures, physicians must get informed consent before they go ahead with it.  I suppose a sign like this informs patients that the doctor(s) at this practice will do random drug screens and gives them the option of going elsewhere.  But what about health care professionals that do screenings without the patient's knowledge or consent?  Isn't that a violation of their rights?

I know there have been cases in which mothers have been arrested for having positive drug screens and have gone to court.  In South Carolina, there was a big case involving pregnant women who were tested for drugs without their knowledge or consent.  It went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the search in question was unreasonable, especially since the searches had the potential to land someone in jail.

In any case, while I certainly wouldn't condone a pregnant woman using drugs and I agree something should be done to help or dissuade drug abusing pregnant women, I don't think taking an adversarial, threatening attitude is in the best interest of patients.  The goal shouldn't be to sell mom down the river; it should be to get her appropriate help so she can successfully raise her child.  I think it would be hard to do that by getting the police and child protective services involved from the get go.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dead field mice...

So today, I have even more reason to be worried...  I took the dogs out for a walk and Arran got ahold of something.  I think it was a dead field mouse, but the whole thing happened so quickly that I don't know for sure.  So far, his only ill effects are rancid farts, a very stinky dump, and constant licking of his anal area (but that could be due to anal sacs).  I worry about whether or not that mouse was dead and how it died.  Was it killed by one of the many roving cats or birds of prey around here?  Or did it get ahold of some poison?  Or was it trapped and dumped in the field?

If it ate poison and Arran ate the mouse, there's a chance he could get very sick.  However, judging by the number of cats that wander freely around here, I'm guessing poison isn't a big killer of field mice in these parts.  Otherwise, there would be a lot of dead cats and hawks.  I did find a dead pigeon a month ago, but I don't know that pigeons eat rodents.  If they did, they'd be more welcome in cities.

I also worry about Zane, who has been having occasional barfing episodes and, I think, may have had a couple of accidents in the house.  Of course, Arran also occasionally pees inappropriately.  I look at Zane and wonder if he's okay...  He just called me downstairs because he wanted more food.  Arran ate part of his breakfast.  I put it down and they started fighting.  I had to break it up, which I hate doing because there's always the chance that I'll get caught in the crossfire.

Chances are good that both dogs are fine, but I have all this free, quiet time to think about things that could happen.  My stress level rises and I start feeling very nervous.

Bill will be home this morning, thank God.  I have missed him this week and he has a way of soothing my anxieties.

Friday, April 17, 2015

C-sections and shame...

I have never had a baby myself, so maybe I have no right to write about this topic.  Still, for the life of me, I don't understand the shame some women have in having a Cesarian section.  This topic comes up in the wake of Jill Dillard's recent birthing experience.  Apparently, that poor woman labored for 70 hours before she went to the hospital.  Then, she supposedly told her doctor to make sure he stitched her up really well so she could birth vaginally the next time.

I guess if your mom has had 19 kids and you are expected to perform similarly, maybe it is important not to get C-sections.  But good Lord, there is no shame in having a C-section.  She obviously tried hard to give birth the natural way.  It's a damn good thing C-sections are available, too.  Otherwise, she and her baby could have been in serious trouble.

To his credit, Derick Dillard is quoted as saying that there is no shame in a C-section.  Really, though, that's a statement that should go without saying.  Besides, whether a mother gives birth naturally or has a C-section is nobody's business.  I think a lot of people got a look at baby Israel's head, noticed it was very perfect looking, and figured out Jill had a C-section.  Who cares?  And I'm not just writing about Jill Dillard, either.

I understand on a basic level that many women want to give birth naturally because that's the way the body was designed to give birth.  I understand that sometimes giving birth that way isn't possible.  I just don't understand why someone would be ashamed about it.  I can understand disappointment...  I don't blame Jill for wanting to give birth at home instead of in a medical setting.  I'm sure she envisioned the way she wanted to bring her son into the world.  But shame?  Why would you even mention that?  I just don't get it.  

Of course, now there are rumors floating around that Jessa's pregnant, so we may soon be dealing with yet another arduous account of a pregnancy from the Duggar family soon.

Yesterday, I had lunch with some local ladies and a gentleman.  We had a good time.  The only thing that sucked about it was the traffic on the way home.  It was backed up pretty badly.

The furniture company still hasn't gotten in touch with me about this billing snafu.  I've decided I'm not going to worry about it.  If and when they want their money, they'll get in touch.

Bill will be home tomorrow.  I can hardly wait to see him.  And Zane woke me up at 3:30am because he needed to puke.  That's the worst sound... a retching dog in the wee hours of the morning, especially since Zane sounds like his insides are being plunged when he throws up.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I hate memes like this...

If you've read this blog, you know why.  Bill was a great "daddy", but when he got divorced, his ex wife refused to let him finish the job.  What's a guy like him supposed to think about this meme?  I know people share them thinking it's a good message.  It's not, though.  

I hate these kinds of holier than thou memes on Facebook.  What is the purpose of them?  To shame dads who, for whatever reason, aren't in their kids' lives anymore?  Sometimes dads walk away because they're irresponsible and don't care.  Sometimes they are pushed away by vindictive exes or kids who, for whatever reason, don't want them in their lives anymore.

Fathers who truly don't care about their offspring won't care about this meme.  Fathers who do care will likely feel guilty.  

I was going to leave a response to this, which was shared by a "friend", but I decided to just hide the post instead.  No need to stress myself out more than I have to over something dumb like this.  Still, I really do hate these kinds of memes.

I wish so much that Bill could have had a child with me.  He would have been a wonderful daddy if he'd had them with a woman who is a decent mother... or hell, even just a decent person.  Unfortunately, his first wife is a shithead who cares more about hurting people than doing right by her kids.  I hope all five of her kids abandon her the way she's forced them to abandon their biological fathers.

I need a chill pill...

I wish I were a calmer person.  For as long as I can remember, I've had problems with anxiety.  It used to be much worse than it is now.  I have many memories of hyperventilating and needing a bag to breathe into.  That usually happened when I was having arguments with my parents, though it sometimes also happened when I worked.  I have a terrible memory of hyperventilating in front of my boss when I was a graduate assistant in South Carolina.  She thought I was going to throw up when I asked for a bag.  She handed me a trash can instead.  I had to tell her that I needed to breathe into a bag to blow off some of the excess oxygen that was making me dizzy and lightheaded.

I haven't hyperventilated in a long time.  Life with Bill is pretty tranquil most of the time.  But I do still have a lot of anxiety.  I get anxious over dumb things, too.  Like, for instance, this week I got my new Eckbank Gruppe.  I thought I had ordered the whole set, but I actually only ordered the bench.  The company sent the whole set, then sent a bunch of frantic emails that made no sense about needing to pick up extra packages.  It took two days for them to explain that I still need to pay for the table.

So I spent a few hours yesterday trying to get in touch with the person who needs to send me a bill for the rest of the set.  I called twice, sent several emails, even got a German friend to send an email in German.  This will be sorted out.  I know in my head it will.  The store wants to sell me the table, right?  And it's already in my possession.  If they don't sell it to me, they have to sell it to someone else.  It's just that I'm all anxious about how this will get worked out.  It's stupid to be anxious because all I have to do is pay.  Yet, here I sit, stressing over stupid shit.

I worry about everything, yet I tell Bill not to worry.  Today, I am going to have lunch with the ladies.  All I have to do is drive to the restaurant, which I've now been to three times.  I've been driving since 1988 and have never had an accident.  I rarely get lost.  And yet, I'm still feeling nervous.  I know I'll have a good time.  I always have fun hanging out with others.  The anxiety happens anyway.

Perhaps I should take up yoga or meditation.  Maybe I should start smoking weed.  I should definitely get more exercise.  The good weather we've been having has finally made it possible to walk the dogs.  I will do that today.  Maybe I need more sex.  I definitely need to calm down and relax...  or, as George Carlin would say, "Calm down.  Have some dip."


Wednesday, April 15, 2015


It's Wednesday, which means we're halfway through the week.  I'm glad of it.  Although it's been nice having the bed to myself, I almost don't notice it because the dogs snuggle next to me and push me toward the edge of the bed anyway.  The one thing I notice is that the sheets don't get rumpled as quickly as they do when Bill is home.  When only one person sleeps in the bed, it's not as necessary to keep fixing the fitted sheet when the corner pops off.

I am really looking forward to our trip to Vienna.  I need a change of scenery in the worst way.  Our last trip was to Regensburg about two months ago.  That was fun, but it was still Germany.  I'm glad to be going out of the country again.

Our neighbor seems to be concerned with how I spend my time.  The other day, I took the dogs outside.  I had bare feet because I hate wearing shoes.  She gently chastised me in German, saying something about the "stones" on the terrace.  We don't actually have anything that would hurt my feet out there except for when it's cold outside.  I usually wear Keen sandals when I venture into the yard. As the weather warms some more, I'll be wearing them all the time because they are very comfortable.

Yesterday, someone on the local Facebook group posted an article about dependapotamus hunters.  I thought it was a pretty good article, actually.  It was mostly about how there are groups on Facebook that live to make fun of so-called dependapotamuses.  I'm not going to get into what that term means, because I've ranted about it several times on this blog.  Anyway, it turned into a bit of a debate, with a couple of the more abrasive folks explaining why it's appropriate to make fun of so-called dependas.

I am fully aware that there are military wives out there who get married solely for government benefits.  I know that some wives cheat when their husbands are deployed.  I know that some try to wear their husband's rank, too.  I don't agree with any of these behaviors.  I also don't think there's anything wrong with poking fun at entitled people.  I do it myself.  In fact, sometimes I'm guilty of acting entitled myself.

My issue is when some of the dependa hunters rip off peoples' personal photos and make fun of them.  Last year, while I was vacationing in Germany and France, I happened to see a picture of an overweight woman wearing a bikini that got lifted from her Facebook page and shared on a "dependa hunter" site, where it was turned into a disgusting meme.  The comments leveled at this woman's photo were vile.

I also think some of the people who make fun of "dependas" are downright mean.  Sometimes, they go beyond simply making fun and actually get cruel.

I will admit some of what gets posted is legitimately funny.  Some people really do post some stupid shit on the Internet that begs to be made fun of.  I don't make a habit of hanging out on the "dependa hunter" sites, but I have heard that they do try to do some good, which is very commendable.

I have actually been on the receiving end of abusive comments in one of these groups.  Fortunately, I have a thick enough skin that I can take it.  I made the comment that I don't like being referred to as a "dependent".  I don't.  I know it's a government term that isn't going away.  I know that the fact that I don't like being referred to as a dependent doesn't matter.  I just think it's a shitty term and it contributes to the "dependent" attitude that some spouses have.  One time I dared to express this sentiment, and a whole shitload of people piled on me like they were rabid dogs and I was fresh meat.  It was very disturbing.

Think about it.  What does the word "dependent" mean?  By definition, a dependent is someone who "depends" on another person or organization for support.  In military parlance, a dependent is a spouse or a child.  Children I would expect to be actual dependents.  Spouses are not always in that role and shouldn't automatically be relegated to that role.  Some spouses are employed, have their own health insurance, their own transportation, and can live perfectly well on their own without their "sponsor".  But if you marry a person in the military, you will automatically be referred to as a "dependent".  I know this will not change in my lifetime.

If you dare to act like a dependent too publicly and you are female, you will likely be labeled a "dependapotamus".  This is especially true if you happen to be fat.

Here's the thing, though.  A lot of military spouses are unable to have legitimate careers because they get moved all the time.  Some spouses choose not to move with their "sponsors", but why be married if you have to live apart?  For many military families, living apart is a given already, due to deployments.  So the spouses who don't have "real jobs" end up with a lot of time on their hands.  Some of them try to form an identity by cleaving to whatever it is their spouse does.  That's wrong behavior, but in a way, I can't really blame them for it.  It really can be hard to carve out your own niche if you never have time to form one.

Sometimes people rail against spouses who don't have jobs and sit on their asses all day, yet whine about how hard it is to be a military spouse.  I agree, there are many out there who embrace that pathetic role.  I think there are even more, though, who simply have nothing else.  So they have kids, gain weight, and shop a lot and, maybe, get overly involved in their husband's careers.

Dependas get made fun of for being uneducated and trashy.  And yet, people like me also get made fun of.  My public health/social work career never got off the ground, so I started writing, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.  And I sometimes get shit from military folks for doing that, even though I have made money as a writer, which technically makes me a professional.  I have also been accused of "lording my education" over other people.  Hah!  If they only knew.  Having this education in this environment is not a blessing... in fact, it's kind of a waste.

I guess what upsets me the most is the hatred and vitriol leveled at people by perfect strangers.  Check out this comment from the article I linked to...

I have been the soldier, and the spouse at home. Being a spouse at home is NOT hard, it is NOT something to continually beg for pity and attention and special treatment over. The entitled attitude of spouses is disgusting. If you want the “benefits” of military service, stop indiscriminately reproducing for five seconds and join up yourself. Otherwise, get an education, get a real job, and stop being an embarrassment to the entire military community.

Military families are highly visible, and dependas are absolutely ruining the image of the military. Their lack of self-respect and desecration of the uniform under the guise of “patriotism” or “pride” is inexcusable! They consistently put their noses where it doesn’t belong, whether in their neighbor’s business or contacting their husband’s chain of command. In no other profession on earth would this be acceptable behavior, and I have no idea why dependas think they are entitled to act that way. The majority of military wives are such an embarrassment that soldiers and veterans refuse to interact with them at all. The only spouses with whom I associate are all veterans too, with the exception of a few. Get off your high horse. Being a military brat tag chaser does NOT mean you know anything about serving in the military. Military spouses need a serious reality check. 

The author of the above comment says being a spouse isn't "hard" and spouses should either "join up" or get an education and a real job.  Well, for me, she's right; being an Army wife wasn't that hard.  I got married when I was thirty, already educated, and very well-traveled.  I had spent time away from my family and had tasted life on my own.  For other women, it is hard.  They may be young, undereducated, and perhaps saddled with kids.  They may be separated from their families or their husbands and living in a place they don't like and would have never chosen to live in.  Yes, they could have made the decision not to marry a military guy, but most people don't think about that kind of stuff when they're "in love".  True "dependas" probably don't marry for love, but I'm guessing that most Americans do... or at least they think they are in love.

No one would ever say that I am not educated.  I got my education before I got married, too, so it's not even like I used my husband's GI bill to get what turned out to be my "worthless" degrees.  I tried to get a "real job" outside of the home for several years, but it didn't work out for me, partly because of the shitty economy and partly because of multiple moves.  There is no way I could have done what I went to school to do and still live the military spouse lifestyle with my husband.  Maybe if I had been a nurse I could have done it... or maybe if I had been a clinical social worker, though I would have somehow needed to get licensed and the necessary documented supervision before the next move.  We've had a couple that occurred in less than two years, though.  It would have been very hard.

She goes on to write about how "the majority of military wives" are an embarrassment.  Really?  And she says she only associates with spouses who are also veterans.  Okay... well, if you only associate with spouses who are veterans, how can you know what the majority of military wives are like?  Perhaps if the above poster broadened her horizons and stepped beyond her comfort zone, she might find out that spouses run the gamut.  Some of them are pretty goddamn respectable, yet they still get called "dependents" and have to put up with hateful broad brushing comments from like the one above.

See, it's attitudes like the one expressed above that upset me.  The military is a huge organization with people from all walks of life within it.  Military spouses are often expected to be a part of the organization-- to show up for ceremonies and parties and sometimes live on military installations.  Spouses are definitely interwoven within the fabric of the military lifestyle.  And yet, many service members want to constantly harp on how spouses are generally civilians and know *nothing* about military service, add *nothing* to their spouses's career, and are basically a waste of space.

They are constantly being told to remember their place, yet they are also expected to tolerate a lot of bullshit that comes with being married to a servicemember.  For instance, last time we moved to Germany, I had to submit to a physical exam and go through an EFMP screening which involved having a non-involved doctor look at very personal records regarding therapy I got for anxiety and depression.  It was a violation of my privacy, but I went along with it so I could move with Bill.  If he'd had most any other job, I would not have been expected to tolerate such an intrusion.  The fact is, wives are often expected to take one for the team and not make any waves.  They are expected to have a good sense of humor and not complain when someone is abusive or belittling.  And while they are told they should "get a job", they should also be willing to gracefully give up that job without complaint if there's a move in the works and, if they happen to be successful or accomplished, not to talk about that success or accomplishment.  Otherwise, they're "too big for their britches".  

Of course I don't condone the behavior of some of the spouses who take advantage of government benefits.  On the other hand, the fact is, the military lifestyle is legitimately hard for many people, even those who are merely "dependents".  It may not be hard in terms of being shot at or putting up with abusive leaders, but it is hard in terms of your husband's job always coming first and always having to adapt to new situations.

I guess this is the same thing a lot stepparents have to deal with.  They get told they "knew what they were getting into", but a lot of them really don't until they are actually in it.  They marry someone with kids and get told the kid is "none of their business", yet they are still expected to support and even love the kid, no matter how he or she behaves.  The child always comes first, just like the military does.  And just like many stepmothers get painted with a broad brush, so do many military wives.

Yeah.... I think that's why I get so annoyed about so-called "dependa hunters".  Because they remind me of the people who trash women who marry men who've been married before.  Since I am both a second wife and a former Army wife, I have been subjected to this kind of treatment and it gets really old.  I have found that it's hard to win, so it's better to just withdraw.  I will say, however, that my experience as an Army wife was not that difficult.  I'd never say it was.  And since Bill's ex got his kids to disown him, I haven't had an especially difficult time as a stepmother, either.  I have been lucky, but not everyone has.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bill and the boys...

Yes, this is my psychopathic husband who hates women.  Notice how the dogs are terrified of him and can't wait for him to leave.

Another Duggar romance?

Well... now that two daughters and a son have been married off, it looks like yet another Duggar may be preparing for courtship.  According to this article, 18 year old Josiah Duggar has his eye on 17 year old Marjorie Jackson.  One one hand, I'm not surprised to read this news.  Josiah is only 18, but he strikes me as being one of the more sensitive and progressive of the Duggar clan.  It's likely that he wants to escape into adulthood.  I get the sense the Boob wants him married off to keep him out of trouble and get him busy making babies.

On another hand, I'm a little worried about Josiah marrying a woman.  You see, he has always kind of made my gaydar go off.  I am not the only one, either.  Back when Television Without Pity still operated, the forums often buzzed about Josiah and how he didn't seem like the rest of the boys.  He was supposedly sent off to ALERT Academy for some time.  I remember when Michelle announced her pregnancy with baby Jubilee (whom she eventually miscarried).  Josiah was visibly upset.  After the commercial break, he was holding his arm as if perhaps he'd had a good talking to.  Maybe he's just really in touch with his feminine side, though.

Of course, I could be totally wrong about Josiah.  I don't know him personally and have no idea if he struggles with same sex attraction (as the Mormons would put it).  He may be straight as an arrow and just head over heels in love with this young girl.  It's happened before.  However, it seems to me that this courtship is a convenient way to boost the ratings and potentially get Josiah out on his own before he messes up the Duggar franchise.

The Duggars aren't LDS, but I bet one or two of them might relate to this song...

Statistically speaking, it's very likely that at least one of the Duggar kids is gay.  I know they don't believe that a person could be born gay.  They also believe that the Earth is only 6000 years old.  Personally, I think it's unfair to expect homosexuals to pretend to be straight and get married.  It's not fair to them or the person they marry.  Once again, I draw on many stories I've read on RfM about people who either felt pressured to get married and be "straight" when they were gay or people who ended up marrying someone who was gay.  While I have read one or two stories where an arrangement like this worked out, more often than not, it was a misery for everyone involved.

Imagine being forced to be married to someone to whom you are not sexually attracted.  Or worse, imagine being someone whose spouse is not attracted.  You may even be great friends and have a good time together, but when it comes to intimacy, that lack of attraction can be devastating.  It can ruin a person's self-esteem and breed resentment.  Life is so short and it seems sad to live with that kind of issue your whole life.  I know a lot of people do it, but they shouldn't.

Whether Josiah is gay or not, I think it would be beneficial for him especially if he had the chance to get out into the world and experience life.  He just doesn't strike me as being the type of person who would enjoy working in construction his whole life.  He seems more like a city slicker.  Whether he is or isn't, I think it would be nice if Boob let his children make more of their own decisions.  I hope as they get older, the kids start taking more control over their lives.

I still have yet to watch last week's thrilling episode of 19 Kids and Counting.  I can't bring myself to do it.  Maybe I'll get to it today.