Thursday, 15 December 2011

Tips for New Nurses

"Education teaches the rules. Experience teaches the exceptions." - no clue who the author is.

I remember my first day of clinicals...armed with my "NCLEX hospital" first-semester education, I thought I was pretty haute shyte. I'd mastered insulin injections (on a hot dog), staple removal (on a wash cloth), and figured there wasn't much that could be tossed my way that I wouldn't have a snappy reference to, courtesy of "Iggy", my trusty med-surg book.

Enter the real world, where getting that Foley in on a combative female patient is a hell of a lot different than placing it in one of our perky (and conveniently immobile) skills dummies, and the urge to take the time to listen to the repetitive tales of your early-onset Alzheimer's patient is superseded by the urgent need to administer antibiotics to the pre-op in 112-1, pain medication to the post-op in 112-2, and determine whether 113-1 needs that emesis basin now or three minutes ago; all the while hoping that some unnoticed and unprotected part of you didn't accidentally brush up against the bedrail of the confused C dif patient in isolation.

It is with these things in mind that I offer you, nursing students and brand-new nurses, a few insider tips to help you navigate those first few months as a rookie RN:

1. If your job does not require all-white shoes, don't. Just don't. You will have all manner of viscous, serosanguinous, emetic, phlegmatic, coffee-ground, noxious, and vile liquids land on them. You will step in it, have it soak into your laces, seep into the seams; and no matter how often you wash them, there are some things that will leave an indelible stain that will be instantly recognizable to all of your co-workers. Just don't.

2. Never make fun of the surgeon wearing purple Crocs.

3. Many of your patients and/or their families will have acquired their WebMD. They will opine on vaccination, "Big Pharma", extol the virtues of their chiropractor/Shaman/midwife/laysurgeon, and generally preface every remark with "well I just read on naturalnews.org (insert idiotic medical conspiracy and reference to David Icke book)"! Do not argue with them. Refer all comments to their primary physician. Try to eavesdrop on that discussion.

4. Make friends with the rad techs in your hospital. Gifting them with the occasional box of chocolates or trip to the vending machine  can pay off big in terms of entertainment value.

5. Find out who, on your unit, can decipher each doctor's handwriting. In time you'll learn, but until then, you'll want to avoid having to call back Dr. M at 2:30 am to figure out what she wrote at eight pm.

6. Speaking of calling the doc...do not even think of paging him until you have a full set of recent vitals and the patient's chart in front of you. Replying "um...I don't know..." when he asks what the patient's age or BP is will not cut it and will garner you an icy "Why don't you page me back when you have all the information" if you're lucky, and a ten-minute tirade questioning your education, comprehension, and abilities if you're not.

7. You do not need five pounds of tape, scissors, alcohol swabs, pens, markers, calipers, hemostats, extra O2 tubing, calculators, notepads, highlighters, rulers, penlights, tongue depressors, gauzes, swabs, thermometers, NaCl bullets, gloves, lancets, iodine swabs, drug reference guides, and hand sanitizer in your pockets. While it's nice to be prepared, (and nice for us to be able to hit you up for tape or alcohol swabs in passing), all that is going to happen is that every single bit of your equipment is going to come flying out of your pockets during a code or in the midst of inserting that Foley on your previously sweet and helpful suspected kidney stone-turned banshee patient. Pens, tape, and alcohol swabs. Borrow whatever else you need off the other new grad on your shift.

8. If you wear contacts, always bring a spare pair or your eyeglasses. You don't want to tear or lose a lens right before you have to start an IV on your dehydrated flu patient.

9. Don't drink a ton of coffee until you can go an entire twelve-hour shift without peeing. You don't want to be doing the potty shuffle while rounding with the new peds intern.

What other helpful tips would some of you medical vets give to new grads?

Oh, forgot one! #10: get a watch with a metal or rubber band. You do NOT want a nice leather band (remember the shoes?)

                                                                    And finally:



Saturday, 3 December 2011

Goals

otherwise titled "Guess What Husband and I Are Doing When He Gets Back from Afghanistan!"
This is Mt. Rainier, one of the most recognizable symbols of the pacific northwest. I see this mountain pretty much everyday I decide to stick my head outside.

Although I'm not a camping person, I love hiking. The first couple months that my family and I were here in Washington, we hit up Mt. St. Helens, drove up into the Cascade Mountains, wandered around Lake Cushman, and just recently drove up to Stevens Pass in Skycomish to see some snow.

But ever since I've moved here, I've been interested in seeing this mountain, and yesterday I decided I wanted to see what it looks like from the top.

You can stop laughing now.

Again, I admit I'm not a camping-in-the-elements type of person. I like hot water, I like being warm, and I like access to mirrors. However after stumbling across this article yesterday, I decided that not only was I going to haul my ass up that mountain, but I was going to haul my husband up with me, because what fun is trekking across glaciers and navigating deep, dark crevasses if you can't do it with the one person who pledged to suffer right along with you for the rest of his life?

So we're going to do it. However, as he pointed out last night, you can't just decide one day to run a marathon if the only running you've ever done is streaking during college and chasing your five and two-year olds.  So we are making a plan.


First we'll start off with some light day hiking in order to practice wearing packs. Then we'll try an overnight; possibly hiking around near the base of Mt. Rainier. After that will come a practice run; possibly one of the more intensive trails and climbs at Mt. Baker. After Husband has sufficiently satisfied himself that I won't get halfway past the aptly named Cadaver Gap and refuse to go on, we'll sign ourselves up with Rainier Mountaineering, Inc and be on our way.

But first I need some shoes.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Traditions

Ah, holiday traditions....as "tradition"-oriented as the military is, it's pretty hard for military families to make and keep their own. Moving every few years, having a loved one either deployed to Afghanistan or on a hardship tour; these and other things can interfere with having some of the regular traditions that other families enjoy. Nevertheless, even though we're often far away from our extended families, we find a way to make the holiday season something special for ourselves, and especially for our kids. So with this in mind I've decided to keep some of my family's holiday events going, and hopefully sometime in the future we can enjoy them with the rest of our family back in Illinois and Florida.

I've never been a football fan (smack me now), but there are two days a year I enjoy it: Thanksgiving Day, and of course the Super Bowl (which I admit I watch mostly for the commercials). My family usually picks a team to root for (and sometimes to make it interesting we'll assign each other opposing teams). This year my husband's mother will be here, so I'll prep as much as I can the day before, and hopefully the small dinner I made in Korea last year (recipes are here) can be increased to feed nine this year.

The first weekend in December is tree-trimming day. Although my parents have boxes of ornaments (many from Germany) they've added to over the years, we're starting from scratch, so part of the fun will be picking out decorations with the Vs. Later in the evening we'll decorate the tree and have some hot chocolate (although to be honest, this is usually a lot funnier with my parents, as my dad likes to add brandy to his coffee and then offer advice and direction until my mom ends up throwing a snow angel at his head).

Then we pick a day to make Christmas treats.... and this is usually an Epic Roth Event. My mother's quite the P√Ętissier, so she plans the menu (divinity, various flavors of rock candy [one memorable year this resulted in a cinnamon flavor that was so hot it singed the eyebrows while being made - this was a lot of fun to give to unsuspecting guests], peanut brittle (her father's secret recipe), fudge, sugar cookies, chocolate dipped peanut butter Ritz crackers (usually my dad's department; again, lots of fun if he's having some brandy while acting as my mom's sous chef), and my husband's favorite, peanut butter cookies topped with a Hershey's kiss.  This event occasionally has resulted in a food fight; one year the kitchen was absolutely coated in flour and chocolate.

Christmas Eve has always been my favorite.... we go to the mall (usually the quietest day out of the entire crazed shopping season) and pick out some last-minute gifts, then sit down to a huge seafood dinner by candlelight. Last year in Korea, Husband and I wrapped the rest of the Vs' presents while consuming the better part of a bottle of Moscato.

I've noticed that as I get older, having kids and a husband of my own, traditions are becoming more important to me. They're a way to mark time in a manner that's unique to my family, and hopefully tie extended members of the family together. Ten years ago I'd never have imagined thinking of starting traditions with a family of my own; now I'm imagining holidays with my grandchildren.

Sniff. Yep, snarky little me, getting teary-eyed thinking of my future daughters-in-law and dreaming up grandchildren. Damn holidays ;).

What are some of your family's traditions?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Totally Lame Zombie

As dictated by Vladimir. The first few paragraphs were actually yelled from his bathroom. While he was "thinking."


"SO. CAN YOU HEAR ME?" (me): "Yes! No need to shout!"  "OKAY! OKAY! SO -"  (me): "NO NEED to shout, V." Vlad: "GOT IT. Can you hear me? ANYWAY...

...It was a dark and stormy night... very dark... and very stormy." (a lengthy pause). "VERY...STORMY." (me): "Do you want to wait until you're done?" Vlad: "NO, the thoughts, they're comin' to me now. So write it down." Me: "You got it."

"SO BACK TO THE DARK AND STORMY NIGHT. This zombie, he was very tired. And lame. Maybe you're wondering why he was lame? Well, you get very tired when you're chasin' people around and trying to eat their brains. So you get tired. And lame." (toilet flushes)

Vlad (walking into the livingroom): "So the Very Lame Zombie -" Me: "Vlad, you didn't wash your hands." Vlad (incredulously): "I am TELLIN' a STORY!" Me: "Tell it while you're washing your hands." Vlad (stomping back to the bathroom): "You are MESSIN' with my thinking; I hope you know that." (washes hands and comes back into the livingroom). "Here, you wanna smell to make sure they're clean?" Me: "I'm sure they're fine. Continue."

"So this very tired and totally lame zombie, he just didn't have the energy to go chasin' after brains anymore. Besides, the only ones he could catch were GIRLS, and their brains, they taste like pink marshmallows which are okay, but after a while you just don't want pink marshmallow brains anymore. So he had to be SMART and he had to be FAST and he had to be VERY SNEAKY. How come? Well instead of chasin' after the brains, he decided he was gonna invent a brain-suckin' thing that would just SCHWAP! into the air and land on people's heads and suck the brains out and he could just do it all from the comfort of his very own sofa for only a hundred and ninety-nine dollars." Me: "What was a hundred and ninety-nine, the sofa or the brain-sucker?" Vlad: "The sofa. Can you just write the story and not talk?" Me: "Of course."

"So from his sofa he SCHWAPPED! out his brain suckin' thing and got all the smart people he could find, because he needed the extra protein. And suddenly he could walk again! It was amazin'! And so that is why you got to eat all your meatloaf at dinner. Because it looks like brains. And it has the protein. The end."

Me: "That's it?" Vlad: "What do you want; that's all I got right now." Me: "You need to eat more protein."

List Sunday!

That's right people... it's almost my Happy Birthday! My twenty-ninth Happy Birthday! Again!! (and Christmas too).

So in case any of you are stumped regarding what would make me happy on my Happy Birthday (and Christmas), I have compiled an annotated guide to Aleah's Happy Birthday (and Christmas!) dream list. Someone make sure Husband gets a copy.

Item 1: a female rottweiler. This one, to be precise:
Just text me once you've picked her up; I'll message you my address. I really need another female in this house.

Item 2:
Well yeah. I'm as materialistic as the next chick. Plus they'll go great with my boobs.

Item 3: A Littmann Cardiology III stethoscope. In red. It's only $160, so thus far, the most economical item on my list.    
 Item 4:

Yes. I'm one of those women.

Item 5: Well, the iCamera, while fantastic, just isn't quite cutting the mustard anymore. Ever since I've discovered the Hipstamatic app, I've been taking lots of black-and-white photos and presuming myself to be quite artistic. Black-and-white makes EVERYTHING look artistic. Plus I need one of these:

to take pictures of the cute new puppy I'm getting; amirite?

And finally, Item 6:
One of these babies. I'm a night-shift nurse. I need the boost.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

WHAT the fuck?!? (updated)

Yep, I used "fuck" in the title of my post today. In fact, I wasn't even going to post today (I'm tired, I have to work tonight, and I'm enjoying some pumpkin coffee). However, while perusing facebook this morning I came across a discussion that literally made my jaw hit the floor.

First some background: as some of you know, I like to piddle around on certain pro-homebirth/NCB sites; even though I can't comment on those pages, it's still excellent fodder for discussion within my private groups. Anyway, while scrolling through Peaceful Parenting's page (you know, the circ police who think everyone should breastfeed their kid until their wedding day) I came across this gem: a ten-year old in Mexico who was raped, had a baby, and stop the fucking presses, she is BREASTFEEDING THAT BABY.


Now what is one supposed to take from this article? Well, unlike most people, who would be HORRIFIED at a ten-year old being raped and forced to carry a baby, "Dr." Momma writes this: "She is recovering herself, and thanks to her milk, her son is now doing remarkably well for his tender condition."


Now if that's not amazing enough, she goes further to write: "an investigation is taking place to find whether or not this young girl was raped, and who the father of this baby is...

Legal age of sexual consent in Mexico is 12 years, and it is illegal to terminate a pregnancy unless a girl is able to prove she was the victim of sexual assault."


Let's recap what we've got so far: 
1. A ten-year old girl in Mexico 
2. Even though she's ten fucking years old, they're not sure if she was raped, so she'd better go ahead and have that baby
3. Even though she's only TEN, and had to have as The Good Doctor writes "A necessary surgical birth" (necessary maybe because she's fucking ten years old, her little body went into early labor, and TEN-YEAR OLDS AREN'T BUILT TO BIRTH BABIES), thank fucking god she's breastfeeding that baby, because not only should she be forced to carry that baby, she better keep it and breastfeed it too.

But you know what? That's not even the most amazing part of this story. What's amazing is the discussion on the article that's going on on Peaceful Parenting's facebook page - and hence the reason for this post. 

According to this lady: 

Yep, just 'cause she's ten, doesn't mean she was raped. Why? Because ten is ONLY two years younger than twelve, which (in Mexico) is the legal age of consent. Oh, she qualifies that with a "yeah, I think she was raped," but then again "we don't KNOW until the facts come out." So apparently the ten-year old could just perhaps be a MATURE ten-year old. We just don't know.

And then after a few other people express some dismay that 'ol Melissa would suggest that this ten-year old little girl might have totally been down with gettin' down, Melissa comes back a-firin': 


THANK FUCKING GOD this little ten-year old is "trying to see the silver lining" and doing what what good little ten-year old girls who've been raped, impregnated, and forced to carry the baby should do: breastfeed that baby. 'Cause CLEARLY that's what matters.

If you want to follow the rest of the discussion, check it out here; I have some wonderful friends who are continuing the discussion with Melissa.


Update: according to this story, an older male relative has been arrested in connection to this case. Apparently, Melissa Tullock Joers, it wasn't consensual. Imagine that.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Why I Do Not Get To Sleep Even After Working 14 Hours Overnight

All of this occurred during a twenty-minute phone call Husband was taking. I am now resigned to staying up until bedtime. 


Vlad (seeing me curled up on the sofa in a post-shift fuzz): "Hey, are you sleepin'?" (taps my face). "All the way sleepin' or just kinda?" I choose to ignore him at this point. He might just get bored. 


Vlad (making himself comfortable with his butt wedged up against my neck): "So how was work? Did you get to take a nap or was you just havin' a lot of fun?" Me: "Well, no. I didn't get to take a nap." Vlad: "Oh, RIGHT! You was doin' shots and pokin' people and takin' their temperature under their arms and inside their butts!" Kind of. 


Vladimir gets inspired.


Vlad: "Hey, lemme get you a blanket so you will have a nice nap!" (Finds a not-too-stained throw. Tucks it carefully around my feet, shoving it so that it's wrapped snugly around my chest and neck, and winds the remainder around my head and pulls it over my face). "There you go!" Again, an inspiration: "HEY. I hope you don't have the SICK. Let me check." Yanks cocoon from around my head, shoves hands behind my neck. "Well, you do not have a cold, because you feel hot." Pleased with his diagnosis, he again cocoons my head. 


A few minutes pass. I begin to think that he's wandered into the playroom to watch the iPad. 


"CHIEF." Again I am de-cocooned and a large brown eye is pressed up next to my eye, which he is now prying open. "HEY. I AM GONNA GO PEE." Thunders off down the hallway. A second later I hear the telltale sound of a five-year old enthusiastically releasing his water. Thunders back into the living room. 


Just as I realize that 1). I heard no toilet flush, and 2). No sounds of hands being washed, a finger is wedged into my mouth. Me (coming rather fully awake): "VLADIMIR YOU DID NOT WASH YOUR HANDS." Vladimir takes my face and cradles it in both his hands. "Mommy. These are the peein' germs. They make you the peein' sick. They do not make you face sick." Vladimir carefully re-cocoons my head, leaving a small breathing space for my nose. After a few seconds I begin to doze again. 


Vlad (rewedging himself with his butt against my neck, elbows resting comfortably on my head and my side): "So at work. When you're workin'. Do you ever see Doctor House and talk about MRIs and Streptococcus?" Me: "Um. No. Not really." Vlad: "Maybe you should take a look at that leg for him. Tell him to just shake it off." Me: "I might do that. Once I'm rested." Another comfortable silence, during which I slip into a half-dream imagining that I'm trying to re-cannulate an infant. 


Suddenly the pressure on my head, neck, and side are relieved, only to instantly be replaced by approximately 50 pounds of five-year old wrapped around my head with his knees slammed into my chest. "VINCENT IS IN HERE AND HE'S GONNA THROW THAT STUPID BALL AT MY FACE AND IT WILL HURT WHY WON'T ANYONE STOP HIIIIIIMMMMMM!!!!!" Which is actually a rather legitimate complaint, as Vincent has an arm like Sandy Koufax. 


At the sound of Vincent's ball hitting its mark, I shove a wailing Vlad to the floor and realize that a nap is just not going to happen today. 



Monday, 10 October 2011

The List of Stuff I Should Be Doing, But Am Not (because)...

I am messing around on facebook.

1. Studying up on ventilators and tracheostomies for pediatrics (workshop all day Wednesday. Which means I'll be reading like mad at midnight on Tuesday).

2. Taking Vlad to get his 'hawk re"hawked". He's starting to look fluffy.

3. Laundry. I may have to start delegating to Husband. Laundry blows.

4. Drawing up my anniversary/birthday/Christmas list for Husband. He needs to be prepared.

5. Decide on a surgeon for the revamp on Mary Kate and Ashley (Ashley needs a touch-up, but I'm thinking of going to silicone. Yays? Nays?)

6. Do a fall clean on the house before the MIL comes for Thanksgiving (which means this will get done approximately two hours before we pick her up at the airport. If I'm lucky).

7. Prepare a write-up on why you shouldn't be delivering a baby into fecally contaminated and Pseudomonas/E. coli/etc- laden pool water. Water birth is disgusting. Plus I want to see how many times I can work "fecal" into a five-page essay.

8. Math homework with Big V. Need I say more?

9. Epidemiology discussion for biostats. Yeah, I don't think it sounds like fun either.

So what's so captivating on facebook that I can't tear myself away? Well, as some of you know, I'm banned from a few pregnancy/childbirth pages; namely Birth Without BrainsMade to Blather Incessantly  (warning: this chick abuses capitalization, grammar, and exclamation points like no other), and The Madly Misinformed Mother (ignorance and an internet connection; can't get much better!). Why am I banned? Oh, for pointing out things like shoving garlic in your yoni to "treat" GBS colonization does nothing but make said yoni smell like an Italian eatery and can result in a horrific birth outcome, and for commenting that breast milk does not, in fact, elevate your little boob nosher to a position of reduced obesity, no illness, and enhanced intelligence (want to discuss this with me? Learn how to analyze scientific studies, then we'll talk; in the meantime you might start with Joan B. Wolf's "Is Breast Best" for a non-wooful take on breastfeeding mythology; The Fearless Formula Feeder has a great interview with the author, and Jessica Valenti has a hilarious reply to The Feminist Bleater's confusing analogy comparing breast augmentation to formula marketing).

So why do I still read these pages, even though I can't comment? Probably for the same reason football fans scream at the television during the game; it certainly doesn't affect the outcome, but there's always that hope that at least one self-proclaimed "birth junkie" will check herself and realize that what matters in pregnancy and childbirth is that you have a happy and healthy baby at the end - not that you get "natural" childbirth bragging rights.

And do not get me started with the anti-vaccination idiots. That's another post, for another day, for another session of procrastination. Back to facebook :).

Monday, 3 October 2011

Sh*t My Vlad Says

That's right! Thing 1 finally has his own facebook page! Go give him some love!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A Story by Vladimir

Typed as dictated by Vladimir the Great and Terrible.

Once, there was a hero and an Evil Scientist. The Evil Scientist cut food and made a huge monster. And a little one. The monster, who was FrankenFruit, had a face made out of a pineapple. So, the hero, he cut the pineapple up so he could eat it. Because pineapple is delicious.

So, anyway, Frankenfruit, he was just made out of all kinds of food and not just fruit. He had bologna for eyes. He had a big old orange for a nose. He had a big giant mouth made out of mayonnaise and carrots. The teeth were carrots. His tummy was big. Huge, actually. He also had a hotdog and a banana. For his wieners. 'Cause he had TWO.

SO the hero, who was giant tall and had an awesome mohawk and General Grievous wonderwears, decided this. He decided to EAT ALL OF FRANKENFRUIT to save his mother. Because his mother would just die if he did not eat all of his fruit. Allegedly.

So he got a big knife. And a sword. And his gun. Because heros take them everywhere they go. So he CHOPPED FrankenFruit and he SLASHED FrankenFruit and then he BLASTED Frankenfruit with his big giant awesome gun. Because he is awesome.


And then he ate all of his fruit so that he could have another General Grievous toy at the PX. The End.

Tomorrow we will tell the tale of the Actually Pretty Nice Skeleton and The Lame Zombie. The End For Real This Time.

THE END.

Oh there was a pear too. FrankenFruit had knees made out of pears.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

How Your Breathing Affects Your Gas Bill

Yes, people, that's right: the very breaths you take within your home have a direct and dramatic affect on the price you pay for your gas utility bills...or so claims Judy R, a city employee of the Fairfield IL utility company.

Perhaps I should back up a bit. While attending school this semester, I have been spending a good deal of time at another residence in the same city as my school, thus leaving my house in Fairfield empty during the week. Cleverly imagining that I would be saving money on utilities during this harsh winter, I had been leaving my thermostat at home set at fifty degrees (fahrenheit, not celsius, mind you). After doing so for nearly a month and a half, I fully expected (as would many of you, I am sure) my gas utility bill to reflect that temperature. However, when I received my bill for the previous month, I was astonished to discover that not only had my bill increased, it had done so by nearly fifty-five fucking dollars. So yeah, I was pissed.

However, instead of flying straight to city hall and using my bill to inflict numerous papercuts all over the reproductive organs of the hapless gas-meter dyslexic who had recorded such a figure, I decided to give them the benefit of a doubt and instead placed a call (1-618-842-5016) to city hall: home of the gas utility people of Fairfield, where I spoke with Judy R.

After explaining to Judy R that I had not been staying at my home during the week, and had set my thermostat at a chilly (but not freezing) fifty degrees fahrenheit, and so was therefore confused as to how my bill had increased by fifty-five dollars, she told me this: that when a house is unoccupied, the gas utility bill always increases.

Naturally, this sounded like a big pile of poop. I expressed my disbelief in a less descriptive manner; instead telling her that I was a bit confused as to how that could be. And this, dear reader, was Judy R's explanation: when a house is constantly occupied by a bevy of (presumably) warm bodies, the heat that these bodies produce, and yes, the breaths they produce, contribute to the overall warmth of the house, therefore apparently taking about fifty-five dollar's worth of the burden of heating off of the heater.


Now i admit, I did not go to gas meter reading school, nor am I a gastroenterologist. In fact, i haven't even had gastroenteritis this year, so my interpretation of this astonishing phenomenon may be a weensy bit uneducated. However, when I asked Judy R to clarify exactly how a person could generate fifty-five dollar's worth of extra heat (thereby saving energy, rather than using it), she became angry that I was questioning the Breath Emission Theory of Gas Utility Reduction, proceeded to interrupt my inquiries and cut off my questions, declared that I was interrupting her, and hung up on me. At this point, Faithful Reader, I began to reconsider my earlier impulse to inflict numerous utility bill paper cuts upon the gas party responsible, but instead, I took a deep breath (and, according to the Judy R Breath Emission Theory of Gas Utility Reduction, saved a few bucks) and again dialed Fairfield City Hall (1-618-842-5016)...and got a busy signal. Six times. Upon the seventh(ish) call, it rang through, where I was again connected to Judy R. Instead of questioning her upon the sensitive subject of the Breath Emission Theory of Gas Utility Reduction, I calmly explained to her that I disliked being hung up on, and that I wished to discontinue my service with them, effective the first of next month. She interrupted (once again) and asked me where to send the final bill. Fed up at last, I informed Judy R that she could shove my final bill up her ass. Again, she hung up on me.

So, Dear Readers, I invite any and all of you to reach out and touch Judy R at the Fairfield Illinois City Hall (1-618-842-5016) and have her reveal how the Judy R Breath Emission Theory of Gas Utility Reduction can save you money! In the meantime, I am going to go out and find a few homeless people to breathe in my house until I move, (sort of a breathing-by-proxy), and hopefully save a few dollars. Peace out.


I wrote this nearly four years ago, when I was still in school and quite poor. To this day, I am still receiving that final bill. I send Judy R a Christmas card each year, care of the utility company, with a money order for one dollar to be applied toward that bill.







Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Guess What I'm Doing This Weekend!

My husband, my lovecakes, is taking me to see THIS:
...and I am ex-KITED!!!


Excited because it's Matt Damon?

Nope.

Excited because we'll be childless for approximately one hour and forty-five minutes?

Nope.

Excited because movies/shows/books involving viral or bacterial mayhem are my favorite thing ever?!?!?!?


YOU BET. 

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Vladimir Does Walmart

This all occurred during one - ONE, trip to Walmart. I'm going to start podcasting my errand runs.


Me (as we walk into Walmart): "Vladimir, you're to behave in here. I mean it; no running, no dancing, BEHAVE. You got that?" Vlad (saluting) "Yes, SIR!"

As we enter the store... Vlad: "Chief, I am A ROBOT. A ROBOT. A ROBOT." Me: "Well robot yourself out of the middle of the walkway, please." Vlad: "I. CAN NOT. I NEED KY JELLY FIRST." Lady passing by: "Did he say KY jelly?" Vlad: "YES. IN THE BOTTLE WITH THE RED CAP."

As we walk through the school supply aisle, we pass a black gentleman with his daughters. Vlad (planting himself in the middle aisle, palm outstretched): "HALT, O DARK NIGHT." Me (closing my eyes, wishing I could quietly disappear): "I am so sorry..." Dude: "It's cool; he'll learn, hey?" Vlad: "SILENCE, HEATHEN." Me: "OH, my god, Vladimir! I am SO SORRY; we are from a really tiny town in the midwest..." Dude: "No worries. Keep fightin' the good fight, little man." Which was about a thousand times more polite than he had to be.


Vlad: "Chief, we're under attack! Save yourself!" (takes off down the crafts aisle). Me: "VLADIMIR, STOP! THIS INSTANT!! GET BACK HERE!" Vlad (turning around, salutes me again): "Yes, my Evil Queen." We continue through the store. Other people start to notice our passage. 


Walking past the underwear aisle, Vladimir yanks a size 48DDD off a rack. "Check me out, I look SEXY!" (prances around with the bra wrapped around him like a cape). Me (in a furious whisper): "Put it back! Put it back!!!" Vlad (holding it aloft for all to see): "This is GINORMOUS. This belongs to the lady with THE BIGGEST BOOBS EVER." Me (no longer whispering): "GODDAMMIT! PUT IT DOWN!" Vlad: "Okay, okay. It's really like a big parachute though. Huge."


Entering the baked goods area... Vlad (making explosive noises as he pretends to shoot imaginary foes): "Take THAT, MEGATRON!" (continues blasting) Me: "Vlad! Stop shooting!" Vladimir: "But I gotta kill all these Decepticons, they are EVERYWHERE!!" A younger couple, probably too young to have kids of their own, start laughing. Me: "Kill them SILENTLY." Vlad: "Well I'm sorry but there's just no way to shoot a bazooka silently."


Spying a tiny old lady looking at the bread selection: "Look, Chief! She looks just like Yoda!"

As I look at the cereal, I realize Vladimir isn't by the cart. I look around just as he hops on the back of a woman's motorized shopping cart. "MOTHER! I GOT A RIDE HOME OKAY?"

Almost to the exit, when Vlad spies a cardboard girl in a football cheerleader's uniform. "Chief, check out her BOOBS. They are GINORMOUS!" Me (grabbing his arm and propelling him out the door): "Stop talking about boobs!" Vlad: "Why?" Me: "'Cause it's rude, Vlad, okay?" Vlad (patting my chest): "Okay. I'll just look then."

I really need a drink.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Vladisms, Part 5

If you're just now joining The Vlad Chronicles on LBB, see parts onetwothree, and four.  


Me (spying a turtle in our yard): "Hey Big V, go check out what's in the yard!" Vlad: "Oh my lands; it's a SEA TURTLE!!" Me: "Um..." V: "I got to hurry and get out there before he gets away!" Me: "I think you have plenty of time. Now don't touch him; do you remember why we don't touch turtles?" V: "Cause they maybe got SALMONELLA!" Me: "That's my boy!"


Vlad (to Walmart greeter): "Hey, can I get a sticker?" Greeter: "Well sure, little guy, here you go!" V: "Cool! Do you have some suckers?" Greeter: "I sure do, here you go!" V: "Thanks! You got any money?" Me: "Vladimir!" V: "I said 'Thanks'; didn't you hear me?"


Vlad (wandering back into the living room for the umpteenth time): "Chief, I can't lay down and go to bed, 'cause I have a pain, right here, on the part of my head that I lay on." Me: "Lay on your face." V: "But I have a SKELETON injury! And my blood vessels hurt!" Me: "Let me guess. Another episode of Criminal Minds will cure it." V (settling on the couch): "You're gonna make a good doctor, Chief."


Coach to kids: "Okay, just go out there, relax, and have fun!"
Me (ten minutes later, screaming at Vlad): "RELAX!!!! The coach said RELAX; HOW ARE YOU GONNA HAVE FUN IF YOU DON'T GET THE BALL?!? AND RELAX!!!"



Vlad: "Chief, look at the deer! Is it a girl or a boy?" Me: "It's a girl. Boys have big racks on their heads." V: "I thought the girls had the racks?"


Vlad (who's supposed to be in the outfield): "Hey can I just stand right here when she hits the ball?"


Vlad: "Hey, Chief, what do people taste like?" Me: "Um. I'm not sure. I've never eaten one." V: "Do people ever eat people?" Me: "Well, yes, they're called cannibals. Endo-cannibals eat only within their tribes, and exo-cannibals only eat their enemies." V: "But what do they TASTE like?" Me: "I'm not sure, Hannibal. Use a lot of ketchup."


Vlad: "Can you go over the hills really fast? It makes my pants feel funny."


Vlad (struggling to pull on a pair of shorts): "Chief, I'm just growing up way too fast!" Me (looking closer at the shorts): "No you're not. Those are your brother's shorts." Vlad (pausing with one foot and part of his calf wedged into the shorts): "Well DARN IT. I thought I was gonna be a giant or somethin'!"


Vlad (yelling from the living room): "Hey Chief, me and Vincent, we're playin the crazy bird game!" Me (thinking he was on the iPad): "Ok!" *a pause* V: "Hey, we need more pillows for Vincent to land on!"


Vlad (to a rather flamboyant young man wearing a multicolored scarf): "Hey dude, do you like to Taste the Rainbow?" Dude: "Every chance I get, sweetie."


Vlad: "Hey, these trees smell just like an air freshener!"


Vlad: "Let's practice our Scary Faces in case we see vampires or salesmen tomorrow, Chief."


Vlad: "Chief, how very awesome would I be if I just had two giant long pokey fingers on both of my hands and could walk all over the ceiling?" Me: "Um." V: "Very awesome. I know."


Me (putting in The Goonies): "Vlad, you are gonna love this movie. I used to watch it when I was young!" V: "Oh, man, is there at least colors in the movie?"


Lady at Safeway (to Vlad, who was moving items in the aisle out of her way so she could get through): "Well you're certainly a helpful young man!" V: "I am NOT a man. I am a DUDE. And she" (jerking his thumb over his shoulder at me) "is a CHICK." Me: "I *wish* I could say we are from California." :-/


Vlad (to a very well-preserved [Botoxed] lady at the market): "I like your shoes!" Lady: "Well thank you, young man." V: "Actually, I am a DUDE. And hey, did somebody pinch your butt or something?"


Vlad: "Chief, how come Darth Vader went over to the Dark Side?" Me: "Cause they had cookies." Vlad: "Oh. Is what you used to get Daddy to the Dark Side?" Me: "No. I wore something SPARKLY."


Vlad: "Chief, I gotta look at all my clothes and see what I wanna wear for school." (after perusing his shirts and pants): "I don't know; maybe we need to go to the store for some more." Me: "You are truly my son." V: "No. I am not buying purses. Just shoes."


Me: "That is IT, Vladimir. You are OFFICIALLY in trouble." Vlad: "No, wait, can it not be official? That way Daddy won't have to know!"







Sunday, 21 August 2011

Noshing on a bit of crow here...

Suffice it to say, liberal pregnant smoker basher from earlier rather summarily pointed out to me that my views on vaccination (or parents who choose not to) are an imposition on choice as well.  Point taken, my friend. We all have our hypocrisies; I'll own mine as I demand others do it :).

Liberals Can Be Judgmental Assholes Too!

...or, someone was being a dick on Facebook today. Surprise.

I expect certain people to be judgmental asshats.  I expect it more often from certain subtypes, like call-center "customer service" reps, strict sectarian religious zealots, and the extremely conservative right.  Unfortunately, as I was reminded today, this also occasionally includes my fellow atheists and liberals as well.  Here's what happened.

As I scrolled through my news feed, my eye was caught by a dude who'd friended me a while back after some comments I was making on PolitiFact.com. As you likely surmised by my mentioning that he was a (facebook) friend, he's quite liberal.  I've never interacted with him much beyond commenting on one another's links occasionally, but today I saw a rather shitty, close-minded statement from him that drew my attention like a thong-wearing Dick Cheney out for a stroll: "Just got in fight with pregnant woman who was smoking."

Huh. To make sure I was understanding his intent, I wrote "Because she was smoking?"  To which a like-minded twat on his page replied "pregnant and smoking."

Now, I've never smoked - amazing, as my entire family does.  I did a little happy dance when Illinois enacted the non-smoking laws for public places, because I don't like the smell, and yes, second hand smoke does have detrimental effects on others.  Ditto for smoking's effects on unborn children.

However, I've had family, and many friends, try to quit.  I've had pregnant friends who smoked during their pregnancy - and were counseled that while eventually quitting would be best, cutting back would be a better choice while pregnant.  Why? Because quitting smoking IS incredibly stressful, and quitting cold turkey during pregnancy (and any other time) can raise blood pressure (a transient effect normally, but no bueno in pregnancy), fuck with your hormones even more, screw up your metabolism, and cause intestinal issues which lead to cramping (another undesirable effect in pregnancy).

Yes, there are risks to smoking while pregnant.  There are risks to everything while pregnant: you can't drive, eat, stand next to a microwave, use a computer or cell phone, drink coffee, have sex, not have sex, snort cocaine, drink chocolate milk, or work as a stripper while pregnant.  Yet, some people do. And as a nurse, sometimes I want to shake the shit out of people who have modifiable health habits that they can't, or won't, change, even when their health is negatively affected. I battle with that internally a lot.

But who the fuck are you to judge a perfect goddamn stranger on the street, who's doing something that you don't fucking agree with, take her to task, and then say "Oh, but it's about the BAY-BEH!!" Unless you were present for the conception or are the one carrying the child, you need to shut the fuck up.  You don't know what she deals with on a daily basis, you have no clue whether she's trying to quit or not, and you have no goddamn right to point a finger - at anyone.

This is ESPECIALLY hypocritical coming from someone who professes to love personal choice, who supposedly resents intrusion by others on the moral and social decisions a person makes, and who gets all up in arms when the far right-leaning political candidates start stomping on a woman's right to choose.  Guess what?  "Choice" does not cover only what you think it should.  It's an all or nothing deal, and when you start bitching about conservatives impeding your choices and freedoms, you need to remember  that should include everyone - black, white, male, female, legal, illegal, rich, poor, and yep, pregnant women too.  You don't like it? Well I'm sure women all over would love to hear you pontificate on what a woman should and shouldn't do during pregnancy.  Just as soon as you yank your dick off and grow some ovaries.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

I'm Getting Old

Had a bit of an awakening today.  For a change, I had only one V with me (the younger; Big V went with Husband on Guy Errands) so I was looking forward to being able to do a little light shopping/perusing with only one child trying to do headstands and trying on every single pair of shoes they could find.

After wrestling through the aisles at Marshalls, I decided to walk through Kohl's before going to Target for the things that were actually on my list.  Ostensibly I was window shopping for school clothes for Big V, but first, I decided to find a new shirt to wear on my lady date with Cora and Lisa next week.  As soon as I walked in the doors, I turned left to walk through the Junior's department, and came to a dead stop.

There was not one item of clothing in that department suitable for me to wear.  As I flipped through racks of Candies clothing, Yes I'm Single and No I'm Not Interested t shirts, and spaghetti-strap camisoles with the legend "Juicy" across the boobs, my heart sank as I realized that as a thirty-two year old mother of two, I probably did not need a t shirt with a pair of rhinestone eyes cleverly appliqued across the chest.  Ditto for the chocolate satin halter top and the Your Boyfriend Thinks I'm Hot tank top.  Head down, I pushed my seventeen-month old across the store to the Misses department, where I found a sleeveless Vera Wang knit top that covered enough cleavage so my husband would let me out of the house next week.

AND a Sublime t shirt.  I'm not THAT old.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

List Sunday... on Saturday!!!

Yeah, I know; I'm a couple weeks late and a day early.  Get over it.

So here's the List of Shit I Would Really Appreciate You Not to Touch When Visiting Your Friend or Relative in the Hospital:


1. The electrical outlets.  Yes, I know, for as much as a hospital stay costs, you'd think they'd have enough outlets for all the medical equipment PLUS your laptop, cell phone, your kid's GameBoy, your kid's cell phone (aside from the fact your five-year old has a cell and GameBoy, why the hell are you bringing him to your grandma's isolation room again?).  And even though most places provide free Wi-Fi now, that doesn't help much if you've got about 10% battery life left.  I get it.

However, there are some rather important things plugged into those outlets.  Your husband's IV pump, the anti-embolism boots, the LAL mattress so granny doesn't get a decub, telemetry euipment, et cetera.  If something's plugged in, don't unplug it. Please and thank you.

2. Speaking of IV pumps, leave the buttons alone.  I know, every time Junior moves his arm, the occlusion alarm goes off, which can be really annoying while you're trying to catch the latest scores of your game of choice on the television.  But you know why that alarm goes off?  It lets me know that I need to adjust Junior's position or check the tubing so he keeps getting his antibiotics.  And no, I can't "turn that thing down."  I have several other patients I'm either charting on, medicating, educating, or otherwise attending to.  I need to hear the alarm if I'm in another room, so please keep your fingers off it.

3. Any buttons, lights, or dials on the ventilator.  I know, your sixteen-month old thinks the lights are soooo pretty, and it's great fun to hear all the clicks on the dials (again, why the hell is your sixteen-month old chilling in the hospital again, crawling all over the floor while you're on facebook and your comatose 98-year old grandfather is on life support because you guys just couldn't help talking grandpops out of signing a DNR?) but the machine is breathing for grandpa/Junior/spouse and you need to leave the goddamn dials alone.  


4. The dial on grandma's oxygen tank.  It's at two liters per minute, the doctor has ordered two liters per minute, and it needs to stay at two liters per minute.  I know, it sounds low; I mean, what good is two liters per minute?  Well, first, O2 is prescribed, so if doc says it stays at two, that's not a fluid number.  Second, if granny's a severe COPD'er, it needs to stay low, because if you turn it up, her brain's going to think "Hell, we're gettin' enough air from that little tube thingie, so I don't have to tell her lungs to work anymore" and she'll stop breathing.  No, I'm not making that up.  If you want to fully understand the mechanics of respiration and the effects of severe COPD/chronic bronchitis/emphysema, go to nursing/med school (no, Google doesn't count; in fact, please stay off WebMD, WikiMed, or whatever other follow-the-symptoms website you've been 'educating' yourself on; I'm sick of hearing how your cousin's symptoms point EXACTLY to cancer.  Everything points to cancer on the internet).

5. Your girlfriend's narcotics.  I get it; you've got a headache/sore knee/ingrown toenail, and your girl's 5mg of oxycontin would be just the thing to take the pain away.  But, she's lying there having just had her abdomen laid open because you swore "I'll pull out babe; promise!" and she ended up with a Cesarean nine months later because her GD resulted in a twelve-pounder.  She deserves to be blissed out on narcs for a while, because I highly doubt you'll be spending the next twelve months getting up with Dale Earnhardt Junior Jr. when he's hungry/wet/dirty/ready to play at three a.m.

I'm sure I've got more, but I've got family shit to do and a husband to make out with.  More later, peeps.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

No, we're not Scientologists, either...

A couple days ago in my 'Bad' Parenting List post, I'd mentioned that the Vs will not be going to vacation Bible school (VBS).  Over the past few days I've had a couple notices put on my front door with an invitation for my kiddo to attend a VBS week at a local church.  As we're non-theist/atheist/Satan worshippers-by-default, I chucked them into the trash along with the rest of my junk mail, and pretty much put them out of my mind - Until Today (cue suspenseful music).

After getting Little V down for a nap and Vlad settled in with some Harry Potter, I started to do some virology homework.  When I glanced up from my computer, I noticed an official-looking dark sedan making its way down my driveway - and as any military wife can tell you, I instantly went cold all over.  I sat at the computer, unable to swallow or breathe, until the knock came at my door.  When Vlad ran to the door and announced "Hey, some old ladies are here!" I'm not ashamed to admit that I almost fell on the floor because my muscles, which had been rigid from head to toe, instantly relaxed.  It took me a second before I could answer the door.

Okay, the scary part's over :)

Anyway, I got to the door and opened it to see a couple ladies standing there (maybe a few years older than me, so thanks, Big V) smiling and holding Bibles.  Oy, vey.

Lady #1: "HI! WE WERE JUST CHECKING TO SEE IF YOU'D GOTTEN OUR INVITATION TO ATTEND OUR VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL IN JULY!"  I blinked. "Um, hello; did you used to be a cheerleader?"  Lady #1 flashed me a big smile, and if she hadn't been holding her Bible she probably would have given me spirit fingers. "WELL YES! HOW'D YOU KNOW?!?!?!?!?"  I smiled back and replied, "I'm a really good guesser."

Lady #2 cleared her throat. "We have a van that will be picking up and dropping off all the children, and they'll be given snacks along with their other activities. My children just love going every year!"  I gave her a patient smile and replied, "That's nice, and I appreciate the invitation, but we're not interested."  Both women looked a bit taken aback.  "Well, it sure is a lot of fun! We'll have games, and they'll do a craft each night, and they'll also get to participate in a play, which parents just love to watch on our final night!" #1 exclaimed.  "I'm sure they do," I replied, "but we don't go to church. Thank you for the invitation though."

At this point, most people would probably say "You're welcome, please call back if you change your mind," and leave.  However, these women apparently took my remarks as a challenge, and decided to proceed accordingly.

Lady #2: "Well, we do believe we have a calling by God to bring as many people as possible into His fold. May we come in and read to you a few verses that might explain a little better our mission here on earth?"  I shook my head. "No thank you; I'm really not interested, and I prefer to tend to my children's moral needs without interference from other organizations."

Lady #1 (cheerleader smile still in place): "Oh, but it's not just another organization! Our church has a great turnout every week, and we have people from all kinds of faiths that like to attend! It's really informal, our pastor's really young and our young people just adore him! We're open to all kinds of people, and one of the reasons we have such a large youth gathering is because we're a little more progressive than what you might be thinking of with more traditional churches."  #2 chimed in: "In fact, it might be a bit of a break for you, to relax and let the kids run around with a bunch of other kids and just have some fun!"

They both waited with expectant smiles.

I leaned against the doorway. "I do have a question."  Both ladies leaned forward.  "If a Scientologist came to your door and invited your kids to vacation Scientology school, would you let them go?"

They both looked aghast.  "Absolutely not!" they both said, nearly in unison.

I smiled.  "And I am absolutely not interested in sending my son to Vacation Bible School.  Thank you," and gently closed the door.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

List Sundays!!

In order to try to get myself to blog a bit more, I'm going to pilch an idea from some other blogs I've seen; namely, to initiate a "_____ Day".  As I truly adore lists, making lists, buying special notebooks for lists, and finding those cute list pads that you magnetically attach to your refrigerator, my special day is going to be List Sunday.  So here goes...

My 'Bad' Parenting List:

1. The Vs watch a lot of tv.  In fact, it's my favorite babysitter.  You cannot find a human that will actually watch your kids for $49.99 a month, so it's quite a steal.

2. Although I'm a brilliant cook, I have not actually made a meal since we moved into our new home (qualifier: Husband is still in Korea, so I've really no one to impress, as the Vs will eat anything that is semi-edible; with Vincent, it actually doesn't even have to be edible).  My freezer looks like it did when I was still bartending and going to nursing school.

3. I spank.  I've also gotten over my issues with disciplining in public; rather than dealing with a meltdown in the middle of Walmart and treating the masses to toy-denial-induced hysteria from my children, we march straight into the nearest bathroom to be "corrected".  I've gotten many a knowing look from other parents as I frog-march Vladimir (with him screeching all the while "No, No, NOOOOO!!! I will STOP! Please DO NOT DO THIS!!! WHY oh WHY?!?!?") into the ladies' room, and to date, no one's called CPS to inform them that *gasp!* someone's being beaten in the bathroom (although with the way he carries on with one whack to the bottom you'd think I was yanking his toenails off one by one).

4. Both Vs got formula.  I just didn't feel like breast feeding.  Tried it, got tired of it, switched to a bottle.

5. When Big V trips and falls, I tell him to shake it off.  We save the boo-boo kisses for active bleeding.

6. Both Vs cried it out when it came time to get a sleep schedule going.  Vlad slept through at about five months, Vincent started at two.

7. We eat processed, non-organic, carb-and-calorie loaded foods. They're delicious.

8. As long as no one's way nakey, Vlad is allowed to watch PG-13 movies.  Does that make me a hypocrite, that I allow guns and gore, but no naked boobs?  Do I sound like I really care?

9. When the Vs yank the head off of a Barbie or run her over with a tank, I do not freak out and tell them  to "be nice to Barbie!" or assume that they're going to grow up to be mysogynistic jerks. They do the same thing to GI Joe and Iron Man.

10. I'm pretty sure Vlad has never sung "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round"; however he knows every word to "Supermassive Black Hole", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and "Get Low".  Vincent head bangs right along with him.

11. When Big V was being bitten nearly every goddamn day at daycare by the same kid (YES!! HE WENT TO DAYCARE!! THE HORROR!!) I did not have a meeting with his teacher or the director in order to "explore" the reasons the little shit was biting my kid.  I told him to punch him in the nose the next time.  Yes, I got a call a few days later about the kid's nose being bloodied.  Guess who never got bitten again.

12. When my friends bring their kids over to my house, they are well aware that I will feed their kids Cheetos, let them watch Indiana Jones, and probably hear me yell "Dammit!" when I burn myself/stub my toe/trip over the baby gate.  As far as I know, no one's banned from my house yet.

13. I appreciate my children so much more when I'm not around them 24/7.

14. They watch SpongeBob.  I watch it with them.

15. When it comes to playing sports, I am That Parent.  I like to Win.  If we don't Win, we will practice even more.  Their coaches will love me.

16. My kids will go to public school.  When they come home with the Columbus Day fairy tale, or any other edited-for-U.S.-children "history," I will correct the sanitized version of events.  Their teachers will love me.

17. Sometimes, we forgo the bath for a quick baby-wipe swipe-down, usually when I'm ready for them to Go To Bed Now.  Nine pm is me time, no exceptions.

18. We are not Christians, and no, the Vs will not be going to Vacation Bible School "just for fun!"  I think Jesus was probably a pretty cool dude before he was written up as a divine savior of all mankind.  No, I don't care if that offends you.

19. I am not my children's "friend." I am their boss.  That is all.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Repost if you agree. For real, this time.

I'm not a big one for reposting my own work; even though I'm not a regular blogger, I usually have something different enough to say that it isn't necessary.  However, in light of the new drug testing for welfare recipients law that was recently signed by Gov. Rick Scott, I thought I'd dig this one up, as my views on the subject haven't changed one iota.

What I find even more reprehensible is the common prejudicial thinking that resulted in this law: that if you are poor and struggling, you must be an addict too.  What about mandatory testing for all elected officials?  What about testing for those hefty land subsidies, often handed out to the very people who bitch the most about "welfare parasites"?

Interestingly enough a February report from the Center for Law and Social Policy found that legislative proposals to drug-test TANF recipients are, in fact, based on stereotypes, and not evidence:
          "Proponents often claim that drug testing will save money; however, this is based
            on a false assumption that many applicants will be denied benefits. Random 
            testing is a costly, flawed, and inefficient way of identifying recipients in need 
            of treatment"

Another thing that keeps getting glossed over is the fact that if these parents lose their benefits, it's their kids who won't eat.  "But Aleah, won't this MAKE them put their kids first, before their addiction?"  Do I really have to answer that?

Overall, I wouldn't have such an issue with this if it made testing mandatory for EVERYONE: everyone elected to a government job, everyone receiving federal grants, everyone drawing unemployment, everyone getting those farming subsidies, etc. etc. etc... and WOW! Think about the money the government would save then!!!

So, here's my "repost if you agree!" response.

from January:

Did you know that "Kentucky just passed the best law ever! to be on Food Stamps, Medicaid, or Cash Assistance for your Children or Yourself you have to pass a DRUG test. Now every other state should do the same. Re-post if you agree and are tired of people taking advantage of the system to be fucking lazy and do drugs"?  Yeah, I didn't know that either.  And interestingly, when I checked Snopes, I discovered that not only had Kentucky not passed that law, but a federal court ruled in Michigan that a similar law violated Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

"But wait!" you say. "Why can't the government mandate that you can't be on drugs if you're getting 'government handouts' that come out of my hard-earned tax dollars?" (these comments usually from the same Second Amendment-loving anti-government people who literally shit their pants at the thought of an individual mandate on health insurance). 

Well, let's explore that.  If you want to place drug testing restrictions on so-called "government handouts", we're gonna have to test people who are drawing unemployment, those who get those niiiiice farm subsidies, every single person on Medicare, anyone getting veteran's benefits, housing subsidies, temporary relief from foreclosure, and a number of other government assistance programs.  'Cause they're all fucking lazy, right?  And if someone pees dirty, we're going to yank that assistance, because their kids don't deserve to eat, right?

Actually, according to this lady, you shouldn't even be breeding if you're getting a government handout. This is what she had to say about people on welfare:
"For the welfare losers: If you can't afford to feed, clothe, or shelter yourself or your family without the aid of the government (and therefore, the taxpayers), then it should be COMPLETELY within our rights to drug test you. Drugs are illegal (as stupid as it is, yes, weed IS illegal in the U.S., but that's a separate issue), and you should not be using welfare money to break the law. You should be allowed NO luxuries, such as booze, cigs, candy, drugs, etc. You should get a basic landline phone and an answering machine, not an iPhone. You should be put on mandatory birth control until you're off the government dime. You already had children you can't afford, you don't need to make more. GET. A. JOB! Making life as shitty as possible for those who abuse the system might encourage them to get off it."

Well, (raising hand), I am one of those people who was on welfare.  My older son, who, according to Ms. Anderson, shouldn't have been born, was fed through WIC and other programs while I went to nursing school.  I had a government handout that helped me pay for heat, helped with my rent, and helped put him in daycare so I could work weekends at the Elks and spend my weeknights studying  (yes, every goddamn night; I have the GPA to prove it).  I was lucky enough to have a mother that paid for nearly all of my tuition and a grant from the Single Parent Program that gave me nearly a thousand dollars to help pay for my nursing books.  I dressed both myself and my boy with clothes from the Salvation Army, and my aunt's mother did my hair for free. No, I didn't do drugs, but I occasionally bought a bottle of $9 Moscato to sip before bed. 

I am so sick of people judging those who are less fortunate than they.  I am tired of people throwing out "lazy" and "leeches" and "parasites" when talking about people who are on government assistance.  Sure, everyone knows "someone" who pops out a kid every 11 months and uses their child support money to buy a Blackberry, but contrary to popular opinion, those people are not the norm.  MOST of them are like I was, trying to make ends meet. To suggest that someone would want to be on welfare is absolutely amazing to me.  You have no clue how humiliating it is to go to a public assistance office and tell them you need help, or have the receptionist at the doctor's office tell you loudly that they need to see the latest copy of your kid's medical card. 

For those of you who think that way, I won't change your mind.  Years of prejudicial thinking and watching Fox News have and will continue to feed your biases.  What I will do is continue to teach my children compassion, and tolerance, and empathy, and they will teach their children the same.  And in a few years, when you're in my hospital, receiving care that's paid for with Medicare and other government-subsidized monies, I will care for you with compassion, and tolerance, and empathy.  No judgment here.