Rules for Life

There Are So Many Things Wrong With This I Don’t Know Where to Begin | Also International Women’s Day

Dear Kid,

In case you haven’t been paying attention (for your entire life), I feel I should mention that women have not always been treated fairly.

"Sure he was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, ...backwards and in high heels." DearKidLoveMom.comIt wasn’t too long ago that women in these here United States were considered property under the law. And women still don’t earn as much as men—even when they’re doing the Exact Same Job (only backwards and in high heels).

NOTE: You’re heard of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? They were very famous (seriously famous) movie stars Back In The Day. They sang and danced (think long gowns, top hats, ballroom, tap, and gorgeous). There is a famous quote: “Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, …backwards and in high heels.”

You may be aware that I believe women should be paid as much as men. Or more. You may be aware that I believe fabulous shoes are one of the little luxuries of life. You may even be aware that I color my hair and wear makeup. But you must know that while I think equal pay is mandatory, I do not think shoes or hair dye or mascara are requisite nor that they have any bearing on how a person does his or her job.

Not everyone agrees with me.

That in and of itself should be a clue.

As reported in USA Today (so it must be true), British receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home from work in December 2015 because her shoes were unacceptable—because they weren’t high heels. Excuse me, what?

She worked for an employment agency which had a dress code specifying that female workers “must wear non-opaque tights, have hair with no visible roots, and wear regularly reapplied makeup.”

Excuse me again, WHAT??!

No visible roots and regularly reapplied makeup? I wouldn’t last a week.

Non-opaque tights? Have you looked in a fashion magazine lately? Most people in the workforce aren’t even old enough to remember “Our L’eggs fit your legs”.

Sent home for wearing flats? She was a receptionist! Who was going to comment on her shoes?

The client she was sent home from? PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the giants in the world of accounting and auditing. PwC—a company that absolutely Should Know Better.

I can’t even cope with how wrong this is.

I get that dress codes can be appropriate (no one needs to wear short-shorts to a professional workplace). I get that super strict dress codes are appropriate in some places (like operating rooms). And I’ve heard of some dumb dress codes (really, really dumb). But never (repeat, NEVER) have I heard anything this ridiculously stupid.

So now (again, according to USA Today), Members of the British Parliament are debating a ban on mandatory workplace high heels.

There is so much wrong with that sentence I don’t even know where to start.

There has to be a debate? What’s to discuss? And in today’s world, doesn’t Parliament have better things to talk about?

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. It won’t be soon, but someday I hope we’ll celebrate International Women’s Day as a tribute to the past rather than a statement of the present.

Love, Mom

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Puppy Mills and Frat Houses

Dear Kid,

It was too early to go to a party at a frat house (“too early” being defined as anything before midnight), so Pi and I were deciding what to do. We decided to go to the mall.

It turns out that there is a pet store in the mall. With puppies and other live cuddly things.

Including a hedgehog who was sound asleep and did NOT want to wake up to play with me.

The hedgehog had absolutely no interest in waking up to meet me. DearKidLoveMom.com

Back to the puppies.

Let’s be clear: Pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Puppy mills are terrible, horrible places that treat animals in a terrible, horrible way.

PSA: Do not buy animals from pet stores. Do not buy animal supplies from pet stores that sell puppies. Don’t encourage them. Don’t create a reason for them to purchase more puppy mill inventory.

I feel strongly about the horrors of puppy mills. I also feel incredibly drawn to these poor little dudes in the store.

Pi and I went in and asked to see a little bulldog puppy. He was fast asleep but woke up enough to blink at us. Then he cuddled himself in our arms and (mostly) went back to sleep.

He was the definition of adorable. Or should I say adorabull.

Then he cuddled himself in our arms and (mostly) went back to sleep. DearKidLoveMom.com

He was also not in great shape.

I am not a vet, but it was obvious that there were several health issues screaming through his fur. Still not a vet, but I suspect some of it was nutrition, some of it was genetic, and some of it was environmental and behavioral. (Yep, pretty sure I covered everything possible there.)

As we sat there cuddling this lump of fur, Pi said she felt really sorry for him. I did too. But—as I said to her—at least we could make him feel safe and loved for a few minutes of his life. It’s all we can do.

He was the definition of adorable. Or should I say adorabull. DearKidLoveMom.com

I love that there are puppies for college kids to snuggle. Sometimes college students need to be reminded that there are puppies in the world, to have the opportunity to hold something small and precious and warm, to look into a pair of eyes that hold nothing but trust and acceptance no matter what happened on the calc exam.

As long as the store is there I hope students go in and snuggle the puppies.

As long as they don’t buy them.

Love, Mom

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5 Important Things to Know When You’re Sick

Dear Kid,

It is not easy being a mom when your kid is sick and you’re not near your kid.

Of course, it’s not easy being a sick kid, especially when your mom is nowhere around.

Fortunately, you (the sick kid) carry your immune system wherever you go. And fortunately it works pretty well most of the time.

Five important things every college kid (and every college kid's mom) should know about being sick when you're not home. DearKidLoveMom.comOccasionally something slips by and you get sick. This usually causes your immune system to kick itself in the butt and get working. Because chances are you have a virus and there’s not much in the way of treatment for viruses except letting the aforementioned immune system do its job.

Here are 5 Important Things to Know When You’re Sick and Mom Isn’t Around:

  1. Stay hydrated. Sometimes easier said than done. Water, apple juice, chicken soup, and tea are all good options.
  2. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen. It will help ease the aches and pains and help you fight whatever fever you’ve got. (On the other hand, plenty of people say that a fever is your body’s way of creating an inhospitable environment for the virus.)
  3. Sleep. Again, easier said than done. But try. Napping is good.
  4. Toast. Take a few nibbles of toast if you can. Don’t overburden your system with a lot of food.
  5. Know you will survive. You may not feel like it is possible, but I promise you will live through this. It just has to run its course. And that can take a while.

We love you, kiddo. Feel better.

Love, Mom

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Dateline: Chicago. I’m In A Sugar Coma

Dear Kid,

Dateline: Chicago.

I’m in a sugar coma.

According to Chicago native folklore (and by “native lore” I mean I saw it on a bag in a store here), the important things to do in Chi-town are 1. eat, 2. eat, 3. eat, 4. see the bean, 5. eat.

According to Chicago native folklore (and by “native lore” I mean I saw it on a bag in a store here), the important things to do in Chi-town are 1. eat, 2. eat, 3. eat, 4. see the bean, 5. eat. DearKidLoveMom.com

Because Dad and I are wild and crazy, we added 6. see Navy Pier and 7. the Field Museum, but other than that, the Wisdom of the Bag prevailed.

After breakfast on Saturday of our anniversary trip (temperature minus 4,783 degrees Fahrenheit—not including wind chill), we began with a visit to a patisserie for macarons. We chose balsamic fig (which turned out to be our favorite), coffee, and Guanaja chocolate. Yum. Then we rode the trolley to Navy Pier where we HAD to have Garrett Popcorn (yum—and orange colored fingers).

We chose balsamic fig (which turned out to be our favorite), coffee, and Guanaja chocolate. Yum. DearKidLoveMom.com

Our pre-lunch snack was at the Field Museum (where we also had lunch a few hours later because there is a limit to how much museum this girl can do without being fed and caffeinated).

Dinner (drinks, appetizers, entrees, and first dessert) was at Le Colonial, a very nice French Vietnamese restaurant.

By the time we finished dinner, the temperature had dropped a million or two degrees, so we walked (did I mention the high heels, skirt, and the temperature?) over to the new Water Tower where we planned to go to the Signature Lounge for Dessert 2. After we showed our IDs (yep, we were carded), we went up, up, up but in the lounge there is a limited dessert menu which did not include what we wanted. So we gazed at the view for a few minutes, passed on dessert, went down, down, down, and walked back to the hotel.

Most of the walk was along Miracle Mile. We had to walk there at night because we don’t earn enough to stroll there when the stores are open.

Dad was still dead set on finding Dessert 2. I was dead set on getting out of the cold and out of the 4 inch heels. We compromised by going back to the hotel and getting carryout dessert from the restaurant there. I chose banana bread pudding (shocker) and Dad got chocolate (bigger shock). I would have taken a photo but we pretty much snarfed them.

Tomorrow, I’m ordering a new wardrobe from Omar the Tent Maker.

Love, Mom

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I Did NOT See That Coming | Surprises Can Be Awesome

Dear Kid,

OK, I did not see this coming.

Dad is rarely able to completely and thoroughly snooker me, but that is exactly what he did.

Completely and thoroughly.

As you know, Dad kidnapped me for our anniversary. Without a computer. He told me we were heading south and that it would take about an hour and 45 minutes to reach our destination. I thought I’d weaseled real information out of him. I was pretty proud of myself.

I guessed Lexington. I was sure it was Lexington. He told me he might ask me to do part of the driving. Inwardly, I rolled my eyes and groaned. Dude was raining on my happy.

I was absolutely, positively sure it was Lexington. I thought (from Dad’s vague hints) we’d be learning to ride horses. He told me we’d leave no later than 6:30pm. I (mistakenly) assumed that if were ready earlier, we’d leave earlier.

Fast forward to last Friday. I was ready to go. Dad was dawdling. I sighed and resolved not to spoil his plans with my impatience.

Finally, we were ready to go. Dad drove. We were indeed headed south.

And then he turned onto 275 West to go to the airport.

Wait, WHAT?

I did not see that coming.

At the airport, Dad took my license and kept the secret all the way to the gate.

We were headed to Chicago.

First thought: Cool.

Second thought: No, cold. Freezing cold.

Third thought: Who takes a vacation to Chicago in the middle of the winter?

Fourth thought: Shut up and enjoy.

Chicago! Chicago! DearKidLoveMom.comFast forward (again) through a 2 ½ hour delay and a gate change. I ask about plans and Dad says he has information for me to read. I ask where we’re staying and he tells me the Embassy Suites. I briefly wonder about asking if I should call any of the cousins who live in Chicago. I think: Shut up and enjoy.

We land, retrieve my suitcase (I have packed enough for three weeks at a shoe convention because I don’t know anything about what we’re doing), and head out for the Uber Dad has called.

An Uber?

Dad has an Uber account?

I did not see that coming.

And who takes an Uber from the airport? Why not just grab a taxi?

I think: Shut up and enjoy.

We walk outside to meet the Uber. After a few false starts, we find the car. I notice the long-haired driver is a woman and briefly think: How odd that a woman is picking up people at the airport this late at night. (Sexist. I know. But it’s what I thought.)

The driver got out of the vehicle to open the back of the car for our luggage. And it’s Cousin Jennifer! How freakin’ wonderfully cool.

I did NOT see that coming.

Dad didn’t lie. It took about an hour and 45 to reach the appropriate gate from our house. And we moved to the Embassy Suites on Saturday.

I seriously did not see any of that coming.

Surprises can be awesome.

Love, Mom

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Weather versus Soup

Dear Kid,

The weird and wacky weather is messing with my meal planning.

Yeah, OK. I don’t do a lot of meal planning. But if I did actually plan meals the weather would be messing things up.

On the other hand, we don’t have to shovel rain and clouds DearKidLoveMom.comBecause it’s February. Which means “middle of the winter” in MidWestSpeak.

And Middle of the Winter means soups and stews and shepherd’s pie and casseroles and other things that take a long time to cook and wrap you in a warm hug when you eat them.

The actual weather on the other hand is chiming in with temps in the 50s and 60s. Not exactly inspiration for soup.

On the other hand, we don’t have to shovel rain and clouds, so I think I’ll stick with what we’ve got.

Not like I have a choice anyway…

Love, Mom

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