Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

May 25, 2009

The Super Nanny Is The Armchair Quarterback Of Parenting Experts

Filed under: Anger, Cynical Side — Tags: , , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:14 am

When you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck, it’s hard not to feel slightly cynical about your current circumstances. Money, or the lack thereof, consumes your thoughts. Instead of counting sheep at night, you wonder if you could get a part time job as a sheep shearer so you can stop cutting coupons.

At first, all options that might lead to some extra income remain on the table, regardless of the embarrassment factor or the possible shame that could be brought to the Ripa name. 99.9% of them would have me ending up at a busy intersection in some ridiculous outfit trying to hawk a product to motorists stuck in traffic.

little_caesar_pizza3This might entail going Greek in all my toga glory for Little Caesar’s Pizza, in a dirty diaper to express the “loads” of great deals at an electronics store or in a poncho doing a sombrero dance for $1 Taco Night at the local Mexican joint with the extremely low sanitation score. Rather than being in my normal spot behind the wheel pointing and laughing at grown adults trying to earn an honest living, I’d now be the guy whose soul died a little bit with every honk of the horn. Can someone please tell me what the current exchange rate is between self-dignity and dollars?

So far, my pride has prevented me from going this route all in the name of grabbing some cold hard cash. Frustrated over the possibility of becoming a regular at the local blood bank, I click on the television and tune into the reality shows that get my mind off of things. Tonight for my viewing pleasure is Super Nanny.

This show provides me comfort on so many levels. To top things off, it saves me a trip to Wal-Mart to watch kids go bananas just to boost my confidence as a parent. Second, British accents always make me chuckle because they are just so darn “cheeky.” Then comes the part in every show where the mother or father glares over to Jo Frost (aka Super Nanny) after she shakes her head in disappointment while giving a smug suggestion over how they’re dropping the ball as parents. A pop-up bubble is not needed for me to understand what thoughts are running through their head. It goes something like this:

 

Children-for-Supernanny-No-Way-Jose-2“Listen here Chubby Spice. It must be nice to show up here in all your Mary Poppins glory and think you’ve got my kids all figured out. Staying cool, calm and collective after 5 minutes in our house is not that big of deal. But, let’s see how you fair all by yourself  for an extended period off time with our brood. Chances are good you’ll be praying ‘God Save The Queen’ while polishing off your 12th bottle of Newcastle. I bet you don’t even have kids…”

 

Surprisingly, the parent’s suspicion would be right. Jo does not have children and in interviews has stated that she doesn’t feel the urge to have her first anytime soon. Call me crazy, but how can someone that doesn’t even have children be the go-to person for advice on how to raise them? That would be like seeking words of wisdom from your middle school babysitter who allows the kids to run wild just so they can finish reading Twilight.

14-philWhy would one take advice from an individual who has never freaked out by the sight of what they’ve seen in their child’s diaper, felt the embarrassment of a temper tantrum in a crowded restaurant or bought a toy after being manipulated by their daughter without realizing it. Alright, the time has come to call a spade, a spade: the Super Nanny is the armchair quarterback of parenting experts. At least when relationship “experts” Steve Harvey and Dr. Phil dole out advice, they can say with a straight face that they’ve been in our shoes before. Granted, they probably won’t be too forthcoming in saying that their relationships ended in divorce, but that’s beside the point.

So, how does one become an expert in a certain field? Do you have to collect enough UPC labels off of Coco Puffs cereal boxes, mail them in and then wait 3-5 weeks for your certificate to come in the mail? Or is it similar to how easy it is to become an ordained minister over the Internet by filling out a quick form? By the looks of it, most people just wake up one morning and proclaim themselves as a specialist in a given area. Considering Supper Nanny has raked in the big bucks telling parents what they’re doing wrong, maybe I need to become an authority on a topic so I can make ends meet.  With my years of skepticism, pessimism and sarcasm, it appears that “Cynical” expert has been my life long calling.

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May 21, 2009

Let The Great American Idol Debate Begin: Upset, Shocker or Travesty?

Headline-RedLight_1Just in case you were wondering, there are twelve traffic lights between my house and where my daughter attends preschool. How do I know this random piece of information you might ask? Defying all odds and probability, I had the opportunity today to count each one as I waited for them to turn from red to green. A trip that normally takes 10 minutes max winded up being a 20-minute fiasco.

I wasn’t fazed by the first red light. Didn’t pay much attention to the second one. Numbers 3-5 made me chuckle. Yet, after that, I found myself progressively getting angrier at each stop: 7th (slamming the top of steering wheel), 9th (veins begin popping on my neck), 10th (nervous eye twitch), 11th (foaming at the mouth) and finally number 12 (turning bright red with steam coming out of both ears like one of those crazy cartoon characters).

In honor of my disdain for traffic lights and the need to work on my anger issues, I took a moment to reflect on other things that get my blood boiling. Here are a few I came up with:

 

  • When Facebook pushes their religious agenda on me. As much as I appreciate your attempts to get me right with the big guy upstairs, stop trying to convince me that I should be a fan of God. Ditto on bubble wrap and Larry the Cable Guy.
  • heelysKids who go skating past me at the mall on Heelys while their parents are too busy stuffing their face with a Wetzel Pretzel to notice the accidents their kid is causing. Anytime I hear those wheels whizzing behind me I have to fight the urge not to pull a Donald Brashear (one of the best hockey goons of all time for those non-sports fans) and check their head into the glass display at Pac-Sun.
  • When the remote control runs out of batteries and I find myself stuck on C-SPAN.
  • Being told I am anti-social by individuals who just happen to like the sound of their own voice. Being told I am cynical by people who are always sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. I would never tell you this, but the glass will always be half empty. 
  • The teenage sister of whichever preschooler introduced Madison to all things Hannah Montana.
  • Rocco doing the pee-pee dance near the door and realizing I will have to walk him in the pouring down rain.
  • Close to 100,000,000 votes being cast to decide the winner of American Idol, but only 56% of people show up to vote for the presidential election.

 

idolInternet Land is already abuzz over the travesty that took place tonight when Adam “Sir Screeh A lot” Lambert was denied his rightful crown of American Idol. The anger will be displayed in various forms like wailing, the gnashing of teeth and tearing of clothes. It is only a matter of time before some bozo will inevitably go on a hunger strike until the decision is reversed.

Remember, a few years back during the 3rd season of Idol when the world was going to end when your “can’t miss” choice lost as well. You know…what’s his name or was it a girl, I can’t remember. That’s my point. People get up in arms over the most random, trivial and insignificant things. Myself included. At the same time, war, genocide and famine are taking place and, if we are being honest, we really could care less. Everywhere you look in the world there are injustices taking place:

 

  • CHINA POVERTYOver 33 million people are dealing with AIDS
  • 1.4 billion people (a quarter of the developing world) find themselves living in extreme poverty of less than $1.25 a day.
  • 40,000 children die every day from malnutrition, starvation and hunger related diseases.
  • One of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population is family with children.
  • In 2006, over 9,000 hate crimes took place in the United States.
  • Every 2 minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.

 

If I am too lazy to get up off the couch when the batteries in the remote go dead, it should come as no surprise that I haven’t felt compelled to move to evoke change in the world. I sit on the sidelines in silence not speaking up for people who have no voice. Maybe instead of trying to tame my anger, I should harness it to focus on issues that really matter. Anger with purpose.

May 18, 2009

Dr. Buddy Rydell Answer Me This: How Does One Not Go Insane Passing Time In A Hospital Room?

Your entertainment options are fairly limited when you find yourself passing time in a hospital room taking care of a loved one. After getting over the initial shock of not having the little rugrats crawling all over you while repeatedly asking “why” and “what’s that,” you begin to catch up on what your wife has been doing for the past 4 ½ years that doesn’t involve spit up, diapers or Dora The Explorer. Alas, the gabfest ends prematurely once her new best friend morphine crashes the party and sends Jenn to her happy place.

bedpan_optCreativity is a must when trying to figure out ways to keep yourself entertained. Flying solo drastically reduces your potential fun. Playing “Guess The Infectious Disease” or “Name That Cough” is not nearly as amusing when no one else chuckles along with you. Rubbing hand sanitizer all over your nose and running up and down the hallways screaming “I Think I Have Swine Flu” will only get you tasered by security guards or the elderly candy striper in a wheelchair. Nix the bedpan foot race idea. Ditto on the seeing how many bites of hospital food you can keep down before your gag reflux kicks in.

When I caught myself reading a Cottage Living magazine a friend dropped off for Jenn, I knew I was teetering on the edge of complete and utter boredom. Then I realized this hospital room had an enticing feature my humble abode did not: extended cable. Endless hours of mind numbing fun were at my fingertips. With over eighty channels, there had to be something, anything, to keep my attention, right? Apparently not.

real_housewives_of_new_york_cityThe more I clicked the remote the angrier I found myself getting. How is it that with all of these new possibilities of entertainment I end up watching the train wreck that is the Real Housewives of New York reunion for the 5th or 6th time? As fun as watching those old birds squawk at each other is, I figured getting some sleep would be a bit more productive. I decide to give extended cable a final shot of redeeming itself by allowing it one more cycle to grab my attention. 

Down to my last few channels, I stumble across Adam Sandler’s cinematic masterpiece, Anger Management.  With this month’s focus centered on curing my temper, I figure sleep can wait considering I could seek some wisdom from the expert on the subject of rage, Dr. Buddy Rydell. Taking out a notebook, here are some nuggets I gleamed from Buddy:

 

anger_management_verdvdTIP #1 – You have to put your pride aside and retard your anger level a few notches and listen to those around you.

TIP #2 – Sarcasm is the second cousin of anger while flirting is the second cousin of cheating.

TIP #3 – There are two types of anger: explosive and implosive. Explosive is the type of individual you see screaming at the cashier for not taking his coupon. Implosive is the cashier who remains quiet day after day and then finally shoots everyone in the store. Do everything in your power to make sure you’re not the cashier.

May 12, 2009

“The Look” Was Received Loud And Clear Or Should I Say Silent And Glaring

Filed under: Anger, Cynical Side — 30tocure30 @ 12:48 am

canstockphoto0512675You reach a certain point in marriage where words aren’t needed to express to your spouse how you are feeling or what you are thinking about. All that is required is a simple look. This trick comes in handy, especially in social settings, with many couples using this non-verbal awareness to their advantage.

Take for instance when one gets caught in a dull conversation with a close talker that has no clue they are about as engaging as watching paint dry. A quick glance over to their significant other and they can be assured that relief is on the way. As soon as their eyes lock, their spouse knows instantly that the time has come to switch into superhero mode by rescuing them with the classic “the babysitter just called” line.  Or take that same party where a wife suddenly gets a whiff of a not so pleasant smell. The smirk and wink coming from her husband lets the wife know that in this case the one who smelt it did not actually dealt it.

Women, much more then men, have learn to harness the glance to its’ fullest potential. With a single ‘look’ your wife can deliver a message loud and clear that not only sends chills down your spine, but also makes you ponder what important event occurred on this date, what chore you forgot to do or whether you put the toilet seat down in the middle of the night.

Then you experience moments where with a simple glance you are capable of looking into each other’s soul. Today was one of those days. There was no need to explain the tension we were both feeling. I could see the worry in Jenn’s eyes. We were taking our daughter Madison to meet with specialists at Duke Medical Center in hopes of finding answers to issues that have plagued her for far too long.

It’s a weird dynamic you are working through as a parent when your child is in pain and no doctor can seem to explain why. You certainly don’t want anything serious to be wrong with your child, yet the hope for a diagnosis, any diagnosis, means you finally know what you are up against and can start battling it. Hope for some clarity finds itself mixed with worry over what the doctors might say.

The CR-V was all gassed up. Strawberry Shortcake was queued on the DVD player. Baby Emma and silk blankie occupied their normal spot next to the car seat, snacks were stocked in the cooler and the coloring books and crayons where ready to go. All that was left was tying up a few loose ends at the office.

autres-villes-toronto-canada-7670099140-188744In the midst of my mental haze of obsessing over all the possible outcomes, I failed to notice another dark haze that suddenly appeared in the sky.  I paid no attention to the raindrops that began appearing on my windshield. A loud rumble of thunder that made me clench the wheel in fear finally interrupted my thoughts. A storm was not brewing. It was already percolating. Dodging traffic I raced home in hopes the girls would be ready to go and we would stay ahead of the storm.

Silly me, I should of known better by now. My glance was directed upwards, but not to see the path of the storm. While staring at the clouds, I shook my head and let out a frustrated chuckle: “Are you kidding me, Lord? Seriously? Of course this is going to happen…” We could be heading to my parent’s house in Maryland, picking someone up at the airport or going on vacation. The destination was irrelevant.

All that mattered was when the wheels of our vehicle touched the interstate marking the beginning of an important trip.  At that very moment is when God’s sense of humor kicks in and he sends a storm of epic proportions our way. As you can tell, I don’t find the Creator of the Universe all that funny.

001553_49These storms are not of the annoying rain cloud variety. I’m speaking of a flood where you regret putting money into your 401K and not towards a down payment on an ark. Not only was it raining cats and dogs, but also lions, tigers and bears oh my! Growing up my folks use to tell me that the angels were bowling when you heard thunder. If this is the case, then the angelic bowling league had matches taking place with Gabriel rolling a perfect 300. The only thing that would make me want to reconsider our trip more than listening to the actual thunder roll would be the CD player going haywire and having Garth Brook’s “Thunder Rolls” playing on repeat for the entire 3 hours we are in the car. You get the picture. It wasn’t a pretty sight on the open road. If it were, I wouldn’t of known anyway because I couldn’t see two feet in front of me.

Understanding the fear and apprehension their girls were experiencing, the average husband would be calm, cool and collective by not allowing their frustration to show. Unfortunately, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I am far from average. The anger I wrestled with internally over the storm manifested itself outwardly in frantic worry when I entered the house. Everything that didn’t go according to plan put me on edge with the storm to end all storms currently occupying the number one spot on the list. In my mind, these storms always had a way of setting a bad tone for the trip. However, the glare I received from Jenn while in the kitchen made me realize that was not the case. My demeanor sets the tone, not only for the trip, but my home as well. Message received loud and clear or should I say silent and glaring.

May 8, 2009

Hey Teen Wolf…Grab Marty McFly, Hop In His DeLorean And We Can Go On A Few ‘Adventures Of An Incurable Cynic’

41lnL2+YJIL._SS500_I didn’t have to travel the globe to understand the nature or depths of my cynicism. All I had to do was sit on my couch, flip on the television and watch an hour-long ABC special on how Michael J. Fox, a man crippled with Parkinson’s Disease, looks at life every day with hope and optimism. On the other hand, I feel I am cursed with the dreaded Ripa Luck anytime things don’t go according to plan: sleeping through my alarm clock on the day of an important meeting, running into a co-worker while the girls are in meltdown mode, a flat tire on my “in town” car or missing a connecting flight.

To put things in perspective, I am just waiting for the phone call from Jenn saying, “you’ll never guess what happened” the day after we receive a sizeable tax refund in the mail. In years past, it has been a crack in the bathtub or a busted water heater. This time around our prospective trip to the Happiest Place on Earth got rerouted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with Jenn having gallbladder surgery.

99.9% of the people who tuned in to see Michael J. Fox interview people from all walks of life about the optimism they possess experienced a renewing of spirits and a sense of hope. I guess you can consider me the outcast 0.1% because I felt a twinge of guilt along with some bitterness towards Fox.

CD2A40A0BDA122F15E4F8D7293B677The bad taste in my mouth has nothing to do with Alex B. Keaton, the former Young Republican, pulling an “Arlen Specter” by flip flopping politically due to his interest in stem cell research.  It hurts me that I felt this way after watching the special because Michael J. Fox has had a special place in my heart ever since Marty McFly hopped into that DeLorean DMC-12.  Fox was a huge part of my childhood and with me when I grew into a man. When special changes began happening to my body, I was able to narrow down the cause to the onslaught of puberty or that I was secretly a werewolf thanks to watching Scott Howard surf on a van in Teen Wolf.

I could pass on Spin City, but when he made a cameo appearance on not only my favorite sitcom (Scrubs), but its’ greatest episode ever (My Porcelain God), the respect grew for Michael J. Fox. The admiration factor reached an all time high level the day I realized he was the voice behind Stuart Little, which is a DVD that allowed me a moment of sanity by occupying the girls’ attention on a busy afternoon.

Teen wolfThe peak of my frustration came when Fox met with doctors and scientists to give us a better understanding on the nature of optimism. According to their research, they stated that some individuals are more predisposed to be optimistic. Lucky ducks. They cannot help but feel optimistic. It’s just the way they are wired. Somewhere in their DNA they have hopeful genes.

If we are to accept these findings as truth, than would one be correct in reasoning that there is a recessive gene that sparks pessimism? Are you telling me people can be cynical by nature? Does that mean I am off the hook when those two special words “just figures” roll out of my mouth. After bad knees, poor vision and high cholesterol, my DNA might finally be paying off. It’s about time. Just figures.

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