anonymous letters

Speed Bumps

This post is definitely going to fall into the random category. I’m not sure what else I would classify speed bumps under, but for today I’m hoping you enjoy the random topic.

I suppose my speed bump story started about 9 months ago. A random black wire or cord was draped across the road near my home. Clueless me had no idea what it was but it did look like a power line draped across the road. I can’t recall who I mentioned it to but I was informed it was a speed survey. Low and behold there was a small sign the other way down the road that I never would have seen confirming the speed study.

I didn’t care too much about this event as there are plenty who speed down my road but I was just keeping to myself. Then a petition came. It was for approval of speed bumps, speed humps or speed tables. Again didn’t think much about it, but it was approved. There may be 20 houses on my street and only a percentage had to say yes.

Why is this a big deal? Taxes! Those twenty houses pay for the bill of installing and maintenance. Not the four neighborhoods with hundreds of homes that exit onto the street, just the 20 houses. The bill was $35,000.00 and the amount is spread out over time. Not such a big deal but I would have rather had the option to spend my extra money elsewhere. Such is life.

The installation was messy. It took several days this summer. The project was done as far as speed humps but the signage wasn’t up yet alerting drivers. Well, we had a car go in a ditch. We had motorcycles jumping the speed humps. The list goes on and on. The safety concerns created by the installation that was to make the roadway safe. 

A few of my favorite after installation fun facts are:

Everyone avoids the speed humps by driving around them into people’s yards leaving the most horrendous tire tracks. Oh how mad my neighbor was since he just sodded the area that butts up to the road.

The family that asked for the speed bumps is an older couple. They vacation in Florida 8-9 months out of the year. This means they haven’t even been in town to see the mess they created.

And my favorite is the husband and wife duo that holds their hand over horn while going over the speed humps every day. Every trip. Every time they go over the speed bumps. As if this does anything other than annoy the people who live there. 6 am the guy goes to work. How do I know? Every day like clockwork he holds his hand on the horn as my dogs try to enjoy their morning pee session. I shake my head every time thinking how miserable is this person?

Just a random topic. A rant for you to giggle at. An observation post. For some reason I never really thought about speed bumps until they ended up on my street. I didn’t know there was a process for installing them on your street. I didn’t know why humps or bumps or tables were chosen. I just didn’t notice because it never crossed my path or mattered to me.

Hoping safety prevails in the tale of the speed bumps. Hoping a motorcyclist doesn’t crash in my front lawn after jumping the bump. Hoping the guy and his wife picks up a new habit soon of honking their horn elsewhere.

In today’s crazy world I’m just adding the speed bump story to your day for shits and giggles I suppose.

anonymous letters

Feedback

Feedback is a general term. Feedback is all around us. It can be good or bad. It can be positive or negative. It can be insightful or misinformed. It can be valuable or trash.

As my dad would say, opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink. But when someone is paying you or has power over you, their opinion holds greater weight. You can’t just dismiss it as meaningless, no matter how short sighted or bewildering it may be. I guess that’s when, for me, it goes beyond just random opinion and becomes feedback.

Everyone likes positive feedback. It’s great when people love you. But what about when it’s negative? I used to spin out over criticism. I took it personally. I would spend days hashing it over in my mind, maybe with a friend I trusted. I’d often want to take my ball and go home and not play in whatever arena it was anymore. Why play if I am not good at it?

Now I try to reframe criticism as feedback. I think to myself, this person is telling me what is important to them. If my boss is unhappy with things lying around my workplace? He is telling me that his priority is how things look. If he takes me out of meetings that are about teaching and learning, he is telling me my priorities should be elsewhere. If he gets excited about special events and pizza parties, that’s where my attention needs to be.

Same holds true in sales. If a customer doesn’t like what I am selling and they tell me, it’s an opportunity to listen and adjust. I can learn what a customer values by listening to their feedback.

I may see things differently. I can argue that I didn’t get into education and earn a PhD to spend hours on clerical work. I can tell them all the things I do to help teachers. I can explain to a customer all the subtleties and value that I believe they missed.

Maybe I’ll change their minds, maybe not. Maybe I care, maybe I don’t. It’s my choice to play in the sandbox or leave. I can adjust my energy and priorities to match what others want or I can do something else.

Deep down I am a people pleaser and I like gold stars. But I have learned that I can control the amount of importance I give to others’ feedback, whether it’s positive or negative or somewhere in between. I can shake my head and keep going and not let it pull me from my path. Take it for what it’s worth and know that it does not determine my personal worth. Full stop.

anonymous letters, awareness

Crazy Train

Whoot! Whoot!

The crazy train has arrived. 

This special little train has arrived in your community. Who is on the train? Who is talking about this? Who isn’t talking about it?

Is this scenario real or is it fake news? This story simulates a real life drama you see on television but you are starring in the grand show. What on earth am I about to share with you? I am talking about a helicopter parent dropping her bat shit craziness literally on your door step. Yes this happens more than people want to admit. I don’t have any idea why either nor do I want to speculate.

My story is based on events this week in a suburb of a major metropolitan city. A mom literally lost her marbles and went rogue when her child didn’t win a coveted county athletic award. I kid you not, she lost her ability to see how silly her actions were and how her negative behavior could scar those connected to her, including her child. 

I was in shock. I was awe struck. My mouth might have been left wide open at one point. A helicopter parent actually created a fictitious award for her high school athlete who did NOT earn her own award. That’s right folks. A parent created a phony award. The woman went to the highest extent to recognize and celebrate her child in the most bizarre fashion. Colored graphics, high resolution photos, prior coach recommendations, prior teammate validation from across town, fancy words describing her athletic prowess, good sportsmanship, and so on. So much effort was put into this award that wasn’t earned. The award was a parental masterpiece in their mind. A mere joke to others. Of course I can’t post the actual award as it would be insensitive to the child.

The helicopter mom even went as far as posting online on the day peers received awards at an actual banquet where athletes received their own merit award as voted upon by other area coaches. The helicopter parent posted this self-proclaimed award on social media for the community to see. For the entire community to see her overshadow those who actually won an award fair and square. And if that wasn’t enough she blamed the coach for overlooking her child publicly. The helicopter parent didn’t care who’s reputation she tarnished.

This was funny since it’s other coaches who vote, not the actual coach of the home team the kid plays on. Can anyone say meddling helicopter parent? Have you ever encountered this kind of crazy train in your local community? I wish I could go back to my childhood and see if such behavior ever existed around me. I don’t recall.

In the good old days, I played sports for fun. I spent many hours a day outside playing. I spent my summers at the park learning fundamentals in many sports as part of the youth recreation program. We had pick up games. We won and lost but nobody ever complained. Never once would a parent pick a fight with a kid or cause a ruckus over child’s play. It simply wasn’t important.

High school athletics is more competitive. It was then and it is now. Parents were proud back in the day but they didn’t fight their kids’ battles. College athletics is the same as well. It’s the athletes that put in work not the birth givers. Therefore it’s the athletes that earn their spot on the field or their play time and of course their award. It’s their name on the plaque not the birth givers. No parent should have the ability to influence their child’s place on a team in a competitive sport when one reaches high school. It’s absurd. It’s not fair. It doesn’t teach the athlete to compete. It teaches them how to complain to win. It’s bullying.

Let’s dial back to mental health for a moment. What benefit can a parent receive from their child receiving a coveted award that is not earned? Does it fulfill a void from their childhood? Does it win loyal friendships for their child? Does it gain confidence among coaches and peer athletes? I seriously doubt it. 

What I don’t doubt is that it will create a backlash. A derailed train. The child becomes at risk. Said child can be made fun of. Said child can become depressed and withdrawn. Said child can be angry and retaliate as they learned such a skill from their parent, all of which leads to challenges that may not be able to be reversed. This could also create scars that are not physically visible. This could lead the child to suffer in silence. Was the mock award worth it? I doubt it.

As a parent we need to just do better. Kids today are already under pressure due to today’s social norms. These kids don’t need parents adding strain to their already stressful life that is pretty much available 24/7/365 online.

Twitter, Instagram, facebook, group chats, instant messengers, etc are all outlets young adults use to share information. If you don’t want your story on the front page of the news, don’t post it online. It’s that simple.

I know when I post on this blog site not everyone will like what I post. It is okay. There may be some that benefit from my rants. I unfortunately can’t share the outcome of this crazy train as it makes frequent stops in the general community I may or may not call home or homebase. One day it may be your house. Another day it may be a friend’s house. Next week it’s the newbie’s house. Sooner or later the crazy train runs out of stops.

At that point the train parks itself or fixates itself on one poor soul. The train is set for the long haul. Behaviors escalate and those around get scared. What’s next.  A shooting? A fist fight? A shift to private school from public? I don’t have the answers.

What I can say is hard work pays off. Those who fail should work hard to get noticed the next time around. They should ask a coach what should they do in the off season to see success in the future. Display resilience. Be eager to show one’s worth. Don’t run to a birth giver and ask for recognition. An athlete has to be mentally and physically tough. They need to have the ability to push through the hard stuff. Sometimes the hard stuff comes daily.

If one was in the NFL and made a mistake there is a consequence. You get fired, fined or relocated. Your birth giver wouldn’t be able to fight your battles. I could write a whole book on the subject of parents and entitlements. Kids today need to learn to problem solve on their own.

A teacher isn’t going to change the kid’s report card if they fail their class. That’s unheard of. The same principal should apply for awards. If you fail in a season a coach can’t be expected to give an award for less than stellar performance. 

Helicopter parents need to get a hobby. Take up knitting. Buy a coloring book. Find a way to entertain yourself that doesn’t involve living in your kids shoes. It will never work out well for you or your kid. PSA #404.

I would also refer back to “Lessons” post from back in May. It’s one worth rereading a couple times a year.

anonymous letters

Jab and Duck

I’ll refer to the boxing terms jab and duck for this post. Keeping in mind it will always be the jab from another and a duck from my side. Meaning I don’t pick the fight, I defend. Simply stated I will defend my honor, pride, family, friends, and property.

I counted about twelve jabs but I really wasn’t counting per se which means the number is probably much higher. With each jab I ducked or dodged the jab. These are not physical jabs at my body as in a fist fight rather they are jabs that are almost like a dagger to your heart, your soul, your mind, your family, your property and such. It’s about as real as a fight gets without the live boxing match.

I always go to brain over brawn. Some may think otherwise if they saw me in person however its true. One can always outsmart the opposition with knowledge, strategy and a calm, cool and collected self. Sometimes patience is the key to success. Sometimes fast action is critical. Wit is always required.

I find it humorous that time and time again the little turtle pokes its head out to snap at me. Covered in a hard shell to protect itself thinking I would retaliate with a rock or something. Nope, not worth my time or energy. But when the snap comes out to bite or pinch or jab at me, I will welcome the invitation to show my wit.

My brain not my brawn. My clever and detailed side. The one that never leaves a stone unturned. The one thing others should fear the most in me. It’s my hidden talent. My ability to handle the shittiest of situations and make sunshine prevail. Many can and will try to steal my sunshine or other other items they may want, but if I’m not ready to give those items away a fight will ensue.

My jabs will hurt. My jabs will come from off angles. My jabs will be unexpected. My jabs will never touch one’s skin but they will be felt to the core. Maybe it’s the emotional core I’ll hit. Maybe it’s the mental toughness I’ll prey on. Maybe I’ll do nothing and let the silence eat oneself. My choice. My fight. My desire to win fast or slow. 

The moral of this story is don’t pick a fight with me. It’s not a wise choice. I can sit dormant and wait for the guard to go down to retaliate. I’m always aware. I’m always watching. I’m never too busy to take care of unfinished business.

If you read this and wonder if it’s about you, it might just be. I suppose you’d have to ask me directly if you wanted the answer. Funny thing is I know you only peek out from your turtle shell now and again and you certainly don’t do it with fear in your eyes. You only do it when nobody is watching. Or you think nobody is watching.

Such a weird post for me to write since I often coach people not to fear. However if you are not on my good side I am really one you should fear. What an irony.

For now I’m working on my dodges and ducks. Staying up on my toes dancing around life waiting for my time. My time to jab. Indirect jabs. Keenly accurate jabs. Deep jabs.

Be ready. Sunshine is coming. The little turtle has no chance. My options to exercise control and power almost seem limitless. It’s unfortunate that the turtle can’t see past itself to see this. 

anonymous letters, friendship

Gone But Not Forgotten

I miss my best buddy. Every last little detail of our relationship.

The days at the gym seem lonely and just empty knowing you are not near. Our Wordle battle of the minds is now a checklist instead of a morning challenge.  The work days bring another level of hollow to my soul. I miss your goofy snaps. Losing that human connection is just as devastating.

Life is full of craziness. Life can keep you busy. Life can let you miss the fine details of how much your value the presence of an individual. When suddenly they are gone it hits you like a ton of bricks. Maybe even it feels like a Mack truck ran you over a couple of times. An unexplained weakness.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Take the pictures. Capture the smiles. Make the memories and do crazy shit while you can. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Treasure today. It’s that simple. Luckily I have a photo reel but what about those who don’t?

I’m in a fog while I adjust to my new normal. It’s not much fun. It could be far worse I know. For now I breathe deeply as I give myself grace. I close my eyes and hope for peace around my valued circle. Then I cling to hope that one day I’ll be back to funny snaps, silly photos and adventures. It may look different when that time comes but I’ll hold on to the hope of it all.

One day.

Some day.

Not today.

That day is not today. That day is someday. Hope tells me it’s one day.

As I reflect on my loss I reflect at the same time on what I still have. How to show appreciation for what is in front of me. What I can control. The rest of my energy will seek hope for that day on the horizon.

As an Irish girl on St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll try to find luck today to offset the sadness. Not sure a scratch card will do the trick so maybe toast or shot will be a better honor for my buddy that I miss.