Pull My Finger: My Uncivilized Life with Boys

OK, so you HAVE to admit … wit on a woman is sexy. I mean, freakin’ hot.

Which is why I’ve embarked on my latest mission to find some hilarious chicas (and chicos, coming soon) on the blogosphere.

The first one is guest-posting for me today! And you know she’s funny, because Jenny Lawson (a.k.a. “The Bloggess”) reads her stuff. Heck, Jenny PROMOTES this animated momma on her blogroll … which is how I found her.

So meet Irene Barnett, who blogs over at Left of Plumb! When you’re done here, go check out her blog; you won’t be sorry.

Pull My Finger: My Uncivilized Life with Boys

GUEST BLOG BY IRENE BARNETT

Farting sign

I am not a girly girl.

I am the one my girlfriends come to when they want a male perspective on something.

My favorite roommates have always been men.

Males don’t have hidden agendas and neither do I.

They are simple, single-cell sort of organisms and I like that.

Anyway, just want to set the scene.

It was with a mix of ambivalence and horror that I approached the idea of having children. But, when I found out that my twins were going to be boys, I felt this made some sort of cosmic sense.

However, being outnumbered so drastically has taken its toll on me (even our pets – a dog, two African water frogs and one husband – are boys).

I firmly believe that my lowered estrogen level is actually not menopause, but some sort of environmental hormonal pollution that is sucking it right out of my ovaries like some bad sci-fi movie.

Here are just a few of the behaviors that I now realize I have low tolerance for:

  • Burping and farting are high art forms and if my children are the Rembrandts of both, then I am the Edvard Munch.

painting[For the love of God, light a freakin’ match!!]

  • The bathroom smells like a subway urinal … after a hobo convention … where they served asparagus and brussel sprouts.
  • They think their junk is fascinating and don’t understand why the rest of us don’t agree and want to view it every chance we can.
  • They can only do one thing at a time, and even that confuses them.
  • They are hygienically challenged. I’m not sure what half of the odors are that I smell or what part of the body they originate from, but I will probably go blind from it.
  • They are incapable of closing a kitchen cabinet door. If they could, the kitchen would just be shelves, hooks and an intricate pully system like something out of Wallace and Gromit.

Wallace and Gromit[OK, I take this one back as an annoyance. That would be SO cool!!]

The sole reason I don’t end up selling them on the black market is simply this: they are the only humans who understand that I am the absolute pinnacle of awesomeness. Somehow, despite their rather base behavior everywhere else, they are advanced enough to recognize this one truth.

And I’m not willing to give that up, no matter how bad that fart smells.

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Irene BarnettIrene Barnett is a working co-parent of twin boys and a rescue dog. She currently makes the rent by assuming the identity of a high-powered executive for a software consulting firm that is based out of Seattle, while she actually tries to live the life of a writer in Santa Barbara, Calif. (http://leftofplumb.com). Irene loves paddleboarding, movies, sitting and staring, and shiny things. She hates chickens but has a soft spot for hobos.

Photo credits:

  1. ms_saggitarius89, http://www.flickr.com/photos/55257360@N03/5223087250/
  2. rustybrick, http://www.flickr.com/photos/rustybrick/321252575/sizes/m/in/photostream
  3. patersor, http://www.flickr.com/photos/patersor/4802436959/

What Happened to the Need for Volunteers?

I’m a 29-year-old professional woman, college-educated, and I’m dying to volunteer for my neighborhood’s at-risk kids.  

There’s just one problem: no one wants my help.

Today is one of those days I’m veering off-topic. And yes, perhaps this is a bit of a rant. But I see something wrong–very wrong–with my recent discovery. And I cannot remain silent.

What I want(ed) to do 

I grew up in the vibrant dance culture of Phoenix, Ariz. (yes, we do have one, believe-it-or-not). I danced ballet, jazz, lyrical … 15 hours a week. I helped put myself through college by teaching dance.

And now that I work a professional 9-5, I want to teach it again. Except this time, I don’t want to be paid. I want to volunteer as a dance teacher and mentor for teenage girls in my neighborhood’s high school dance program.

It’s a Title 1 school. That means it receives federal funds because many of its students are at-risk, from low-income households.

Since this summer, I’ve been trying to call the school. I’ve left messages with the principal, the office staff, and even the staff dance teacher. I went so far as to call the SCHOOL DISTRICT and leave a message for their volunteer coordinator.

Not a single call back.

I guess our local school districts, which are scrounging for money, don’t need free help from its community’s professionals, who by the way, pay property taxes to support education.

Walter Cronkite had a volunteer high-school mentor.

Did you know that? I’m currently reading his autobiography. The man was a professional journalist in Walter’s community. He volunteered to teach and mentor the neighborhood high school kids once or twice a week.

Walter Cronkite, as we know him, would probably never have existed without this great volunteer.

Have you ever seen the movie, “Stand and Deliver?” It’s about the infamous math teacher, Jaime Escalante, who taught at-risk high school students calculus. Jaime, a Bolivian educator, came to Garfield High School from a computer factory, where he served as a star technician.

In today’s world of public education, neither Jaime nor Walter’s mentor would have made it to the classroom. No one would have bothered to call them back.

Yes, I’m angry! And you should be, too.

What happened to this country’s appreciation for volunteers? When did it become so HARD to help, for free, in your community? When did we become so selfish, that we think only to use our communties as resources–to better ourselves?

I come from a family of teachers. My mother was a teacher, my father was a teacher. My boyfriend’s mother is a teacher. I have cousins who are teachers. It runs in my blood. And yet, I cannot get involved.

Is anyone else seeing what’s happening here?

Yes, perhaps there are many reasons why I haven’t gotten a call back. But after leaving multiple messages for multiple people, I think the message is clear. They don’t want my help. Because to them, it’s not about the kids.

This makes me wonder, what other opportunities are being denied to our youth in the public school system? Who else have they not called back?

I’m not a parent. So I urge every parent out there to find out. Ask questions. Because apparently, it’s no longer the American way to step up and volunteer for your community’s youth.

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