Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Need to Wean

We take homework very seriously in this household--- come in the house after school, grab a snack and get down to the business of homework before any other activities commence.  This has been the Mango Tribe’s m.o. since Olivia started kindergarten six years ago. 

At first, I’d sit with Olivia and make sure she was following directions, completing the assignments neatly and had comprehensive understanding of the concepts being presented. It offered me and Loverman an opportunity to keep abreast of what she was learning in class. Olivia excels in school and now rarely needs the assistance of either Loverman or me in completing her homework.  When Yannick started kindergarten three years ago, he fell lockstep into our established homework rhythm. But, unlike Olivia, he hasn’t weaned himself off of needing my full attention in finishing his homework.  Olivia seemed the make a seamless transition from needing our help, to wanting to prove that she could do it well, all by herself.  Yannick on the other hand, acts as if beyond writing his name on his homework sheet, he cannot do one single thing unless I’m sitting right next to him and his little co-dependency act is getting on my nerves, because I’m confident brother-man can competently do his homework without mommy’s handholding and cheerleading. 

Now, if I mentioned this issue to Yannick’s teacher, she would encourage me to simply walk away from him and let him sink or swim, because their school’s always telling parents that the kids should be doing their homework with very little parental involvement.  But, I believe both Olivia and Yannick’s success in school to date has a lot to do with the expectations and support we provide as parents.  There is absolutely no way in hell I’d let Yannick turn in homework Loverman or I hadn’t reviewed. He’s 7 and his goal is to just get it done, whereas Loverman and I want it to be done well.  

Yannick’s daily demand that I sit with him during his homework ordeal is wearing me out.  When I ask (or sometimes bark) that he must do as much as he can before I’ll sit with him, he resorts to whining and that really works my nerves. It’s starting to become a battle and Lord knows, that’s not the vibe we want to set, because he has years of homework ahead.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Keeping It Virtual

I received via Facebook, an invitation to the 30th anniversary celebration of my 8th grade reunion from St. Louis Elementary School in November.  Since reconnecting with some of my classmates from my elementary and high school on FB, I’ve sincerely enjoyed our virtual game of playing “catch-up,” with little interest in extending our exchanges into the “real” world and before FB, I hadn’t been in touch with these folks since high school.  In a weird way, it’s as if my social life, and being comfortable in my own skin did not begin until I step foot onto Hampton’s campus.

To say I had a difficult time at St. Louis and later in high school at Archbishop Prendergast would be an understatement. I’ve detailed some of the indignities in earlier posts, and before the happy homecoming on Facebook, I’d thought I’d put most of it behind me, but it’s become obvious that I have not. 

I’ve been pondering my issues with my classmates from elementary and high school for months and on one hand, I think I’ve been holding onto my childhood hurts a little too much, but on the other hand, I’m astounded that by the looks of their Facebook pages, I’m still the only person of color they know.  How can that be?  By now, I know that living a diverse and inclusive life does not happen by happenstance.  You've got to cultivate and seek new experiences and new people. I know it’s not fair for me to pass judgment simply by what’s posted on their FB pages, and maybe if I accept the invitation and check out the reunion, I’d learn that now as we have gotten older, we have more things in common than we did during our time at St. Louis.  Maybe I wouldn’t mind, again, being the only Black person in the room.  Maybe I should let go of my little fantasy where a few of my old classmates take the time to acknowledge how crappy it must have been for me and apologize for any past offenses.  Maybe I should stop projecting my idea of an ideal world onto them and simply be grateful to celebrate the fact that we’re still here and able to watch our children grow and thrive.

I just don’t think I can and I know this says a lot more about me than it does about them, because I’m sure they haven’t obsessed over 30 year old grievances they way I have recently.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Boy, do I have a whopper for you!  This unbelievable tale started Wednesday night as I was sitting in my parked car (engine off) waiting for Loverman to get off work.  I was chatting on the phone with a friend when a car turning into the parking spot next to me hit my car twice.  I immediately got off my cell and out the car to assess the damage.  The offending driver sluggishly got out her car and slurred an apology, while assuring me she had car insurance---- without a doubt, this broad was DRUNK!  In fact, not only was she stinky drunk, but before I could stop her, she headed straight into a liquor store.  I followed her into the store asking to exchange insurance info and she paid me no mind until I asked the store clerk to call the police so we could get a police report. 

Hearing “police”, sent Miss Stinky Drunk into a tailspin and she quickly staggered to her car.  Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to use the camera on my cell phone to get her license plate number. Almost driving over me as she exited her parking space, she burned rubber as she hauled ass out of the parking lot and onto MacDade Blvd. As a few folks headed out of surrounding businesses trying to figure out what all the hubbub was  about, someone handed me the telephone to speak with a 911 operator and in less than 10 minutes a police officer arrived at the scene.  The entire time all I could think about was how recklessly this crazy woman was driving in such a drunken state. 

The officer took all of my information and ran the plate number from the photo I provided.  He gave me with an incident report number and promised to call with an update before noon the next day.  Loverman and I got home about 20 minutes later and about 10 minutes after that the officer called to tell me that they had located the woman.  The good news is she hadn’t yet hurt anyone since she fled the scene of our accident, but the bad news is, she was driving with a suspended license and no car insurance, so the Mango Tribe’s insurance is going to have to handle the repairs to our car--- BUMMER!  The officer explained that the best they could do is charge the woman with a boatload of misdemeanors, including fleeing the scene of a crime.  The officer asked if I’d be willing to appear at a hearing to confirm that the woman they identified was indeed the same who hit my car.  “Of course,” I responded, but what about the fact that she was drunk?  The officer explained that because they hadn’t witnessed her driving drunk, there’s no way she can be charged with drunk driving.  This didn’t sound right or fair to me, but hey… I’m not a lawyer.  

The next day I awoke still a bit peeved, but definitely grateful that no one was hurt.  About two hours after I got to work, Loverman called me with an unbelievable update to the previous evening’s events.  One of his co-workers, who witnessed the drunk woman jump into her car as she fled the scene, saw the drunk just 10 minutes later at a neighborhood watering hole.  That’s right, she went straight to a bar to continue to get her drink on!  Loverman’s co-worker called 911 and police arrived in no time and arrested the woman.  I was happy to learn she was arrested, but I don’t understand why the officer who called me didn’t tell me that they found the woman drinking at a bar and since she was found drunk, shouldn’t this impact how she’s being charged?

This story gets even more bizarre, because we received word earlier today that this woman was spotted last night at the same liquor store, drunk and driving the same vehicle and trying to purchase more liquor!  The clerk at the store refused to serve her, but failed to call the police.

 I am absolutely dumbfounded!  Sure, I’m pissed about how this broad’s recklessness has reached into my pocket and will costs us money that we don’t have to fix our car, but more importantly, this woman has a serious problem and it’s only a matter of time until she causes a catastrophic accident.  I also have a lot of questions… the first being, how come the car she was driving wasn’t impounded when she was found drunk at the bar on Wednesday night?  She admitted to hitting me, driving with a suspended license and has no car insurance and still she’s free to get behind the wheel of a car. 

I called the police the department with these questions and didn’t get any answers.  I also called the Media Courthouse and spoke with an assistant district attorney and he wasn’t very helpful either.  Finally, I called the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and spoke with Linda, who took her time in explaining the laxness of Pennsylvania’s drunk driving laws.  She also armed me with about a half dozen questions for the officer who responded to my call on Wednesday night and wrote the incident report.

Now, Mango Mama’s on a mission… I want this woman off the road!  She can sit home, drink herself into delirium for all I care; I just don’t want her to have access to a car to support her deadly habit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Have you had a chance to check out Hoarders on A&E?  It makes Clean House look like an episode of the Brady Bunch!

I got caught up watching a few episodes on Saturday afternoon and I watched the latest episode last night and I can’t believe what I’ve seen.  Hoarders have serious mental problems, and underneath the mountains of stuff they’ve collected is usually indescribable filth matted in the carpets, mouse droppings strewn throughout the kitchen cabinets, food encrusted on the stove and moldy in refrigerators. It’s absolutely unbelievable.

I’m really fascinated by the family members that are either forced or choose to live with the hoarders.  How do they put up with all of the crap… literally?  Is it love or enabling/co-dependency?

I will say that watching Hoarders has done wonders for my own household, because after every episode, I’ve been compelled to walk throughout the house and throw out anything we haven’t used within the last six months!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Newest Object of My Affection

Check out this sexy little number… it’s the latest object of my affection... a Whirpool Duet Sport!  It all started about six weeks ago when our Kenmore washer failed to go into the spin cycle.  We called HSA, our home warranty company to set up an appointment to send out a repairman.  After four visits, huge headaches and doing loads of laundry at my mom’s house, the A&E Factory repairman decided we needed a new timer.  It took about four days to get the timer delivered and installed and it seemed we were back in business until last Sunday when while in the middle of washing a load, it sounded as if the washer was bouncing against the basement walls.  I rushed down and shut it off only to learn the drum was off the track.  Damn!  Another call to HSA, another repairman assigned to come check out the machine, only this time, the customer service rep informed me that if it was the drum, I’d had to pay for the repair in full because our policy doesn’t cover the drum, only the belts holding the drum in place.  Back to doing our laundry at my mom’s, only to be told by the repairman that indeed it is the drum and not the drum belts.  That was Tuesday evening and he promised to call on Wednesday with a price to replace the drum.  We didn’t here from this cat by Thursday and by that time we’d already decided to buy a new machine.  What a bummer… the Kenmore was only six years old, a gift from my in-laws when we bought our first home… how come these large appliances are made to be disposable these days?  I remember my parents purchasing only two washers in the last 30 years, and our home warranty… what a bowl of baloney! We definitely won’t be renewing with that crap again.  We did pony up for the extended warranty with Sears with this new Whirlpool.  I was sold on having this machine serviced annually at no charge... and believe me, I'm gonna take good care of this little baby!