Be Nice Bewitched

The holiday/weather induced working from home has led me to watch numerous amounts of old “Bewitched” reruns each morning. My childhood memory had vague ambivalent feelings about it but the more I watch it now, the more it starts to really annoy me that the show had such a continued theme of rigid condemnation of anyone considered different.

If you haven’t watched an episode in awhile I suggest you do. They are all pretty much the same. Sam is being Sam (or her family is being her family) and her lame-ass husband gets his panties in a bunch because god forbid anyone do anything out of the ordinary and then because everyone but Sam and her family is such a condescending douchebag a misunderstanding happens that threatens her husband’s job and Sam has to use witchcraft to fix it.

What really annoys me the most is how Samantha seems to be just fine with her husband not accepting a huge part of who she is. She never argues when he has the gall to continually complain about her ability to make their life easier, more entertaining and interesting with just the twitch of her nose, and forbids her to be herself in her own house. Even after numerous years of marriage he is still such an unaccepting asshole about everything and has no appreciation of her capabilities and even gets mad when their daughter inherits witch powers. Samantha just puts up with it, all “la de da,” and even defends his judgmental nature to her family like they should just fall in line and conform to the close-minded “mortal’s” idea of what should and shouldn’t be. I feel like the message and overall theme of this show is so intolerant.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am projecting because there is a whole lot of craziness and change happening in my life right now (personal story to eventually be told when I can type it without breaking down) but it makes me cringe to think that when this show was filmed that mentality was so very prevalent in America. I wonder what a revamped for the 21st century version of that show would look like. All I do know is that if I met a guy and married him and found out he could control magic I would be thrilled. What are your thoughts on the classic show “Bewitched”?

 

True Story

There is a reason I rarely take customer satisfaction surveys, yet for some reason I felt compelled to voice my opinion on two of them last night. One was for American Express and the other was for Xcel Energy (gas/electric company) neither provided any sort of incentive or compensation for my time.

These were not brief surveys either, I might add, they were both 20 minute ordeals that left me shaking my head at the marketing research strategies of today. Near the end of the Amex survey I was asked to explain why I had marked the “cash back” benefit as “critically important” to my selecting the American Express Blue Cash Back credit card as my Amex card option. I paused for a moment and re-read the question just to be sure they were actually asking me that. Then I typed this response*:

“Seriously, you are seriously asking me why I would mark “cash back” as a “critically important” benefit for a card with “cash back” in the name of it? If I actually have to explain to you why it would be important I don’t think you should be in the market research field and perhaps you might want to consider taking a remedial course in common sense, or maybe just psychology. If you really need to tell your boss something, tell them it’s because I’m a Jew and I need it to hoard my Jew Gold.”

There were a couple more boxes to type in answers to other almost equally inane questions and I had some more fun with my answers, I do hope there is a person somewhere who has to read my responses and gets a chuckle out of them.

As for Xcel, I honestly told them what I thought about their service and company image in general. Lots of low scores were marked, repeatedly. I finally finished and submitted my survey informing them that I thought they charged too much, had an annoying automated system, that I didn’t appreciate that I had to pay by phone or mail them a check as my only options since they have ridiculous online payment restrictions, they were slow to deal with power outages in my neighborhood and I felt they hated the environment with a burning passion and wanted only to make money with little regard for the effects of their actions on everyone else. Not one minute after submitting it my power goes off. No storms happening, no power lines down, no repair trucks ever came out. If they were trying to prove a point, all they did was reaffirm my dislike for them and annoy me because I was in the middle of washing a delicate load of laundry.

This is why I shouldn’t take surveys.

Where’s Our Revolution?

Whatever happened to the “Occupy” movement? #Blacklivesmatter? I feel like there could definitely be more hope&change happening…yet the only thing I see changing is the faces of reality TV stars and the daily lies being spewed on media types across the board. I’m losing hope that everyday people will stand up and see through the bullshit.

Every single day I see a new article or news story informing me of a new stall tactic on a piece of important legislature, or some shady backdoor shenanigans regarding foreign relations. No one wants to work with anyone else to compromise and keep things moving. Bickering and name calling that imply the level of maturity amongst our national representatives is akin to 5 year olds instead of grown adults. Everywhere the taint of special interests and corporations lies heavily upon the suggested laws drafted and fought over. Sore losers and uneasy winners fill our government because they are treating things like it’s a game and not real people’s lives that are impacted as a result of the actions they take. Grown-ups, in appearance only, playing at government with no one stepping in to say “THIS IS NOT OK!”

What is it going to take for people to finally stand up and say “enough is enough” to finally take action and refuse to let our county’s leaders do as they please with no regard to the effects of their behavior on the reputation of this country and the people who reside in it? How many lies will Americans swallow before they decide it isn’t ok that no one can trust a politician? Why are we so complacent with letting trust become a thing of the past? Don’t people realize that a country without trust is a country ripe for takeover?

Where’s our revolution?

Get Over Yourselves

Politicians who are unhappy with the actions taken by Obama regarding immigration are threatening to stop funding and cause another government shutdown or to remove the authority of the executive decision that he made last month regarding immigration.

With so many other, far more pressing, issues at hand in our broken system of government is it really in any American citizen’s best interest to have their petty representatives wasting time warring with one another over something that has already happened that isn’t going to hurt anyone?

I’m so fucking sick and tired of all the pig-headed bullshit that goes on with our elected officials. That barely 50%, if even that, of the voting population even bothered to go out and cast their choice in the last election is disgraceful. No one in office right now seems to care one bit about what the majority of average Americans want, they only care what their party, special interest groups and financiers want. They care only about things that will keep them in money and power.

Add to that is the message that the powers that be want us to all shut up and stay out of things that directly affect us, they want us to stop thinking and do what we’re told by the media, but that isn’t what American freedom is supposed to be about. I don’t want to think I can’t make a difference because I’m not rich and well-connected. That’s not the kind of world I want to raise a child in.

Everywhere I go I’m told to dumb it down, to stop asking questions, to not try so hard. I’m encouraged to make unhealthy choices and to have an excuse for making unwise decisions. Nothing is my fault and I should be offended by everything, except about how broken and corrupt our system is. I need to be ready and willing to be exploited and taken advantage of by companies and individuals alike and not feel like I should have the right to be treated with honesty, respect and dignity by those I employ. My only entitlement should be for products that I don’t need that I should preferably buy on credit and only make minimum payments on. I’m not supposed to remember that when one party is in office what they do is always acceptable but if the other party tries to do something similar they’re oppressing tyrants trying to act like supreme dictators. I’m not supposed to question the hypocrisy. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a parody of the book 1984.

It’s enough to make me want to move to another country but is there really anywhere better? It’s probably just as fucked up and broken all around the world. I know I’m not alone in my frustration over the lack of cooperation in my country’s government. I know I’m not the only person to think the whole system is broken. The problem is, how many people will it take to change things? What will it take to get the masses to stand up and demand real change, real progress and real improvement?

I don’t yet have a viable answer but I do know that nothing will change if we all just sit back and keep accepting the shitty behavior of our elected officials. Things will never improve if the politicians won’t pull their heads out of their asses and stop thinking they know what’s best for this country and that they are actually representing the majority opinion. They might as well all be naked douchebags parading around thinking they’re wearing the finest clothes their corporate sponsors can buy for all the good they do for America. Put the egos aside and start thinking about the greater good instead of the greater profit.

 

 

I Weep For Healthcare Lost

I am not quite sure when it became a thing of the past, but I still have vague memories of going to the doctor when I was young and actually receiving competent service. I remember being helped by the healthcare system by people who actually cared about figuring out what was wrong with me and wanted me to get better. Those memories stop right around my 18th year. After that I have only poor experiences that have left me feeling disillusioned by the profit machine they dare to call the US healthcare system.

Despite clearly listing my known allergies not a single doctor, out of the dozen or so I went to, could figure out that the pain and discomfort I had been in was due to allergic reactions to the palm oil in all the packaged food that lines our supermarkets shelves and restaurant supply rooms. I had to figure it out by myself and it took me over 20 years to do so. Didn’t stop the healthcare system from charging me thousands of dollars for all the shrugged shoulders, unnecessary tests and wrong guesses by the “experts” I was referred to.

If the issue isn’t so obvious as to be deduced at home it seems like I end up paying excessive fees to have doctors guess, always incorrectly, about what could be causing my issues, same goes for husband. I even went to three different doctors and none of them could identify the staff infection I had. Luckily google was able to give me an answer and an at home treatment and didn’t charge me the $250 office visit the rest of the useless white coats did. When I have better luck using the internet to deduce and treat health issues it’s an indicator of a severely broken system.

Currently husband is very unwell. He’s seen two different doctors and had a slew of tests done and all we get back is indifference and I don’t knows. Blood work came back fine, he must be fine. Except he can barely walk, is constantly dizzy, is so tired he wants to sleep all the time, has almost no equilibrium left, the whole right side of his body aches with sharp pain in his head (he’s never had a headache in his life) and he keeps experiencing chills and stomach pain. This has been going on for over 2 weeks. The only help the healthcare system wants to give us is to make another appointment, pass us along to another doctor, let’s get more tests….BILLABLE SERVICES PEOPLE!

What incentive is there to help people get healthy, seriously? There’s no profit to that. Keeping people sick and making them pay for incorrect guesses is where the money is at. It’s absolutely ridiculous that it’s acceptable for doctors to provide no helpful service yet charge excessive fees simply to be in their presence for a few minutes. If someone hired me to do something for them and I failed to provide that, I wouldn’t get paid. It’s just not how the service industry works and let’s be realistic, healthcare is supposedly a service industry.

I would really like to see the US move to a pay for performance platform when it comes to healthcare. If I go in to see a doctor because I have certain symptoms, they will only get paid a set fee for that. If they can’t figure out what is wrong with me on that first visit, all subsequent visits are free until the issue is figured out and resolved. This provides an incentive for doctors to take a little bit more time and put a little bit more effort into actually treating people correctly. You want to make money, you’re going to have to actually earn it. A pay for performance platform could significantly help transform our healthcare system.

If I am mandated to have health insurance, I want a healthcare system that will actually work to help me get and stay healthy. If people are looking for ways to reduce healthcare costs, the pay for performance platform will do that too. Of course, since this concept makes sense, it will never happen. I am just so fucken sick and tired of paying people to not help me.

Rude People Irritate Me

Husband has (yet another) friend I just don’t like. I’ve tried to give the man multiple chances, benefits of doubt and each time he just proves that he isn’t a good person. Husband refuses to cut him out of his life even though he’s admitted to not really liking the guy, stating he feels bad for him. This man is hateful, racist, sexist, lazy, selfish and downright rude in every way. He finally found a girlfriend and husband invited them to dinner. They showed up pretty late, and immediately after arriving went back outside to smoke a couple of cigarettes even though dinner was ready and we were waiting on them. Not 15 minutes after dinner was over he turned to his lady and told her he wanted to head home so they could have sex before she left on a business trip for a week, but not before he tried to start an argument with husband because he wasn’t paying attention to the conversation and mis-heard something.

Through it all I bit my tongue and was polite to them. Maybe I shouldn’t have been though. Husband clearly won’t demand respect from this guy, perhaps it’s up to me. If no one ever calls him on his behavior, he has no incentive to change. I am trying to decide if I should just ban him from my house. If husband wants to hang he’ll have to do it elsewhere, I see no reason why I should be disrespected in my own home or have to be around someone so negative.

Some People’s Brothers…

After my niece died I worried my family would drift apart. We did, and we didn’t. While the majority of my family became closer my brother has completely pulled away from all of us. For the first time that I can recall he has stopped responding to my calls and texts. He even cancelled on me last minute for the concert we were supposed to be attending tonight for our favorite band, the last tradition we had left.

If it was just him needing time away from us I could wrap my head around it, but there had been a meeting scheduled with the police investigator and the medical examiner to go over the tox report last Friday and my brother completely skipped it. He chose not to tell any of us about the meeting either and my father only found out about 15 minutes before it started when they called him asking where my brother was. How could he not want to find out if they had a cause of death for his child? They didn’t by the way, they have zero explanation for why she collapsed and paramedics couldn’t resuscitate her. All reports showed she was the picture of health. Maybe the mother confessed to my brother what really happened, maybe that’s why he didn’t want to go to the meeting, because he already knew she (the mom) was responsible for the death, but why not share that with us then?

No one can get through to him, he doesn’t want help, he doesn’t want to talk and we’re all left confused and hurt. All we need is a bit of communication and honesty and we’d leave him alone if that is what he needs from us, but just tell us that. I know he lost his daughter but why push us away too? What does he gain by losing the rest of his family?

So It Begins…

Tomorrow will come and with it we will see if a family tradition is truly at an end. I was so focused on my immediate family I lost sight of the ripples and only now see the destruction they have caused as they spread outwards into the circles of extended family.

The day before the funeral there was a bridal shower for a cousin (not a blood relation cousin but brought into the family by marriage when I was a teen) we had never been close but we had always been cordial. When I arrived with my mother the shower was almost over, any attempts on my part to initiate conversation were met with uncomfortable hostility. I was confused but also deep into my grief and didn’t dwell on it. I would find out later the cause of her hostility but not fully understand the ramifications until last night.

Her step sister, my cousin (by blood) had informed her, previous to my arrival, that she wasn’t invited to my night of the Passover Seder, nor was her fiance or her son. Now no one had discussed this with me, I wasn’t aware people were being uninvited to my Seder, I was focused on getting through the next day and not on the other looming family issue that had been building in their blended family for the past couple of years. Had I been consulted the conversation may have gone differently but the end result would probably have been the same.

My paternal uncle’s family has been dealing with a growing divide that has now exploded into a full on war with the battle lines clearly drawn and all forced to choose a side. The issue was that the 11 year old son of the one lady (she of the bridal shower) has been exhibiting questionable behavior towards his younger female cousins. Behavior that scared them and made them, and their parents, uncomfortable. Constantly hugging them and asking for kisses, trying to watch them change, physically grabbing them and even locking one of them in the bathroom as she screamed to get out.

The mother of the young girl locked in the bathroom had addressed the issue with her step sister several times, with her father and her step mother as well. They refused to take any action and so recently my cousin had decided to put her foot down and refuse to allow her daughter to be in the same house with the step nephew, as his presence terrified her kid. It had already started to cause tension but she held firm and I completely backed her on that. She has every right to protect her child from him.

When my blood cousin (sister of the mother of the young girl) made the executive decision to address her step sister about her lack of attendance at my Seder more than just a quick excuse was thrown out at her. In her grief, my cousin spelled out exactly what her frustrations were and why and the words she chose were not the most diplomatic. As a result my uncle has now found himself caught between his third wife & her children and his own biological children and the rest of the family that is backing them.

He is no longer “allowed” to host his night of the Passover Seder, which is something our two families have done all my life, nor is he allowed to go to one if one of his grown children host one instead, or he will be kicked out of his house. My cousin was completely wiling to try and resolve the issue and my own father offered to mediate and tried so hard to get the women talking but his efforts were shunned by the other side. My aunt and her daughter are unwilling to sit down and discuss the situation or even take our phone calls.

Not only do we have to face this Passover knowing we just lost a cherished member of our family but now we are facing this Passover as a divided family, more stress added to an already stressful situation. It will be hard to celebrate this year.

Stuck In the 2nd Stage

I am so tired of being angry. I don’t like to harbor anger or resentment, I don’t think it accomplishes anything, but I can’t seem to let go of it completely.

I think a part of it is that I am afraid that if I let go of the anger it would mean that I am ok with the events that have transpired over the past week. A horrible situation made worse by horrible people.

Or perhaps I am still so full of anger because of the selfish and insulting actions of others. Maybe I am holding onto my anger because I have been biting my tongue regarding their disregard for our wishes.

I just don’t understand how someone can justify completely trampling over the wishes of an entire side of the family. A child who is loved by and spends time with both parent’s families doesn’t belong to only one side of the family. We would never have done that to them, not only because that isn’t the way my family operates but also because when someone dies their funeral should be about them and their preferences.

They acted like we weren’t even a part of my niece’s life which was even more insulting considering she spent the majority of her life/time with us. They didn’t seem to know her at all. The stories they told at the funeral were about themselves and what my niece could do for them or indicated that they were teaching her questionable things, engaging in questionable behavior or forcing her to spend her time alone watching movies. This was a little girl who loved being around people, she never wanted to watch tv or movies. She would much rather play outside, interact with animals, take photographs, play with other children, draw pictures and have a story read to her. We were the only ones who enrolled her in early learning classes and dance. The only ones who took her to the children’s museum, library and zoo. If their idea of quality time was playing “dizzy baby” and teaching her “war” games I weep for any future children they may have.

The one thing we put our foot down and said no to they threw a hissy fit over and told my husband there was a special place in hell for people like him that would say no to a mother who had just lost her child…as if my brother had nothing to do with anything. They trampled over every tradition my family’s faith had and in throwing their hissy fit they only served to make the process all about them which was an insult to the memory of the very person we were all there to mourn.

I hope that since there is no more need to interact with that family maybe I can start to put my anger aside. It’s hard to move past anger when someone keeps doing new things that would cause new anger. I just don’t want my anger to cause me to do something that would hurt my family or dishonor my niece’s memory. I need to get past this. I have a feeling I will be grieving for quite a long time.

Worst Week Ever

In a few hours I will be attending the funeral for my only niece. A young girl I helped raise and still can’t believe I’ll never see again. Today will be one of the hardest days I’ve ever had to endure and I can’t even fathom how much worse it will be for my brother and my parents.

As if the sudden and unexpected death of a small child isn’t bad enough, the situation has been made so much worse by the girl’s mother. That woman is a self-absorbed, heartless person whose gift at a second chance at life this past New Year’s was so completely wasted on her that she couldn’t even be bothered to pass that chance onto her daughter. Not only did she create a situation where her daughter could die, but she then sat by uselessly and let any chance at reviving my niece pass by while she threw a dramatic scene. We may not have a cause of death yet but we do know my niece was dead before paramedics ever arrived (something she lied to my brother about that first night) and what little CPR she eventually had her boyfriend perform wasn’t done correctly.

Not only has this woman allowed her child to die but she then had the audacity to pretend like she would compromise on the funeral while going behind my family’s back and doing whatever she wanted with zero regard for our feelings or religious beliefs. She’s even trying to profit from her child’s death to pay her own bills from the January accident she had. She makes me sick, and so very angry. I can’t even comprehend how she can sit there without guilt and think her behavior is acceptable. She was a really shitty mother when my niece was alive and now she’s still being shitty after her death. Everything they have planned for this funeral isn’t honoring my niece at all, instead it’s all about focusing the attention on her selfish whore of a mother. It may seem like I am saying these things in my grief but this woman is legitimately a terrible person and always has been.

The grieving process is hard enough to deal with and to have her constantly causing additional agitation and pain has made this entire week so wretched. Now more than ever I wish no one had stopped to perform CPR on this woman when she died last New Year’s Eve, if she had died I know my niece would still be alive today.

I don’t know how well I will do at the funeral today, I may not be able to bite my tongue. I have only kept my mouth shut so far out of respect for my parents and brother so as to not add any more stress to their lives, but when grief overtakes you all bets are off the table. This woman needs to have charges brought against her for the death of her daughter, her actions after her child’s death only go to prove that she didn’t really love her and if the police say there is no evidence then I will know that there is no justice left in the world.