Monthly Archives: April 2009

Flatitudes

 

 

So we were in Monsey this past weekend and had an absolute blast. Leaving was tough. It always is, but this time the kids made a lot of friends on the block where we will be living, and they just wanted to stay.

 

We drove down Thursday evening, in my borrowed Chevy Lumina Van. It was a smooth ride – even tho the van is 16 years old it is in great shape.

 

Friday morning Prince Lenny informed me that I had a flat tire. How was that even possible? When I parked in the driveway it was fine. I opened the front door a crack. Sure enough the tire was absotively posolutely flat. Drat! Surprisingly enough I don’t change tires, nor deal with car stuff. I know, what a shocker! I didn’t know what to do.

 

Ah but wait a second. The Queen has a husband, and he knows mechanical stuff having had a Harley…the Queen does not have to deal with this on her own. Yay for husbands!

 

I found the manual and we perused it very carefully. We located (ok, the KoD located as I stood there looking pretty) where the spare tire was and how to release it. Small prob. Seeing as in 16 years there had never been a flat on this van, the whole release mechanism was rusted into place. KoD twisted and turned the thingummy that was supposed to unlock it, but there was absolutely no give. Then a bright idea came our way – why not just take off the offending tire, put it in KoD’s car, drive it to the garage, have them fix it and bring it back. Great idea!

 

So that’s what we did – KoD was there and back in less than an hour – I had apparently driven over a screw and it punctured the tire. So it got patched up and the car was ready to go. Panic over. BH it got us home to Montreal in one piece.

 

It’s a great feeling having someone I can count on for all emergencies. He just continues to be my shining knight.

Yom Hazikaron

yahrzeitin memory of  our 24,293 fallen soldiers and terror victims

Housecleaning

 

 

I have recently become an unemployed person, who therefore had to let go of the housekeeper. Being at work – it made sense to pay someone to use their time to clean so I could spend my spare time with the kids.

 

Now all the cleaning and laundry is down to me. I find that I lack the motivation to get it done. Laundry is no issue – I hate shlepping to the laundry room, but I love folding warm laundry, and the boyz are old enough to put their own stuff away. But the cleaning and the sweeping and the mopping and the dishes – ugh! The kids keep their rooms neat-ish, we have inspection a few times a week. That helps. But everything else – it’s just too overwhelming.

 

So how do you all get the cleaning done, without panicking ten minutes before the kids come home that the breakfast dishes are still on the table? (slight exaggeration)

 

Oh and I tried FlyLady a while back. Nope. Doesn’t work for me.

 

HELP!!

Sociopathy

 

I am sure many of you have been following the case of the Craig’s List Killer. I know, he is innocent until proven guilty, but there is plenty of evidence stacked up against him. I have read so many articles about him – how he seems like an all around great guy, but that there was something a little off about him. The more I read about him the more I think he could be a sociopath. I have had brief dealings with people who are sociopaths (not that they allegedly killed anyone) – people who manipulate others’ feelings and emotions, people who have no feelings of guilt or remorse for hurting other people, people who on the surface look like they have their life together, but if you look closer you can see there are some surface cracks. These people are charming, so charming, that even the most hard to woo characters can fall for their stories. They feel they have a sense of entitlement to everything that they want in this world, and some will stop at nothing to get it. They lie even when they have no need to – it’s just habit. That’s the definition of a pathological liar. But they are so convincing that you start to second guess yourself – make yourself vulnerable. Then they move in on you and exploit that vulnerability. These sociopaths are never still – they have a reservoir of nervous energy and they are always on the move. The ones I knew hardly ever slept – their minds just couldn’t stop long enough. They would prowl the internet at crazy hours when everyone else was sleeping. They are so convinced that they will never get caught in a lie that they can be careless. When confronted with this lie – they have 15 others to back it up.

 

I wanted to write this article as a PSA to other women and men out there, who have fallen into a trap with a sociopath – also called a psychopath.

 

I came across this well written piece that totally explains what to look out for – if I can help one person open their eyes and get out of a bad situation, then it will all be worth it. I was able to move past these experiences – in retrospect I was lucky they weren’t any worse– because I had a great social support backing me up and looking out for me.

 

Here it is (from http://chericola57.tripod.com/infinite.html):

 

THE PSYCHOPATH NEXT DOOR…

 

Psychopath. We hear the word and images of Bernardo, Manson and Dahmer pop into our heads; no doubt Ted Bundy too. But they’re the bottom of the barrel – most of the two million psychopaths in North America aren’t murderers. They’re our friends, lovers and co-workers. They’re outgoing and persuasive, dazzling you with charm and flattery. Often you aren’t even aware they’ve taken you for a ride – until it’s too late. 

Psychopaths exhibit a Jekyll and Hyde personality. “They play a part so they can get what they want,” says Dr. Sheila Willson, a Toronto psychologist who has helped victims of psychopaths. The guy who showers a woman with excessive attention is much more capable of getting her to lend him money, and to put up with him when he strays. The new employee who gains her co-workers’ trust has more access to their chequebooks. And so on. Psychopaths have no conscience and their only goal is self-gratification. Many of us have been their victims – at work, through friendships or relationships – and not one of us can say, “a psychopath could never fool me.” 

Think you can spot one? Think again. In general, psychopaths aren’t the product of broken homes or the casualties of a materialistic society. Rather they come from all walks of life and there is little evidence that their upbringing affects them. Elements of a psychopath’s personality first become evident at a very early age, due to biological or genetic factors. Explains Michael Seto, a psychologist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental health in Toronto, by the time that a person hits their late teens, the disorder is almost certainly permanent. Although many clinicians use the terms psychopath and sociopath interchangeably, writes psychopath expert Robert Hare on his book ‘Without Conscience’, a sociopath’s criminal behavior is shaped by social forces and is the result of a dysfunctional environment. 

Psychopaths have only a shallow range of emotions and lack guilt, says Hare. They often see themselves as victims, and lack remorse or the ability to empathize with others. “Psychopaths play on the fact that most of us are trusting and forgiving people,” adds Seto. The warning signs are always there; it’s just difficult to see them because once we trust someone, the friendship becomes a blinder. 

Even lovers get taken for a ride by psychopaths. For a psychopath, a romantic relationship is just another opportunity to find a trusting partner who will buy into the lies. It’s primarily why a psychopath rarely stays in a relationship for the long term, and often is involved with three or four partners at once, says Willson. To a psychopath, everything about a relationship is a game. Willson refers to the movie ‘Sliding Doors’ to illustrate her point. In the film, the main character comes home early after just having been fired from her job. Only moments ago, her boyfriend has let another woman out the front door. But in a matter of minutes he is the attentive and concerned boyfriend, taking her out to dinner and devoting the entire night to comforting her. All the while he’s planning to leave the next day on a trip with the other woman. 

The boyfriend displays typical psychopathic characteristics because he falsely displays deep emotion toward the relationship, says Willson. In reality, he’s less concerned with his girlfriend’s depression than with making sure she’s clueless about the other woman’s existence. In the romance department, psychopaths have an ability to gain your affection quickly, disarming you with words, intriguing you with grandiose plans. If they cheat you’ll forgive them, and one day when they’ve gone too far, they’ll leave you with a broken heart (and an empty wallet). By then they’ll have a new player for their game. 

The problem with their game is that we don’t often play by their rules. Where we might occasionally tell a white lie, a psychopath’s lying is compulsive. Most of us experience some degree of guilt about lying, preventing us from exhibiting such behavior on a regular basis. “Psychopaths don’t discriminate who it is they lie to or cheat,” says Seto. “There’s no distinction between friend, family and sucker.” 

No one wants to be the sucker, so how do we prevent ourselves from becoming close friends or getting into a relationship with a psychopath? It’s really almost impossible, say Seto and Willson. Unfortunately, laments Seto, one way is to become more suspicious and less trusting of others. Our tendency is to forgive when we catch a loved one in a lie. “Psychopaths play on this fact,” he says. “However, I’m certainly not advocating a world where if someone lies once or twice, you never speak to them again.” What you can do is look at how often someone lies and how they react when caught. Psychopaths will lie over and over again, and where other people would sincerely apologize, a psychopath may apologize but won’t stop. 

Psychopaths also tend to switch jobs as frequently as they switch partners, mainly because they don’t have the qualities to maintain a job for the long haul. Their performance is generally erratic, with chronic absences, misuse of company resources and failed commitments. Often they aren’t even qualified for the job and use fake credentials to get it. Seto talks of a patient who would get marketing jobs based on his image; he was a presentable and charming man who layered his conversations with educational and occupational references. But it became evident that the man hadn’t a clue what he was talking about, and was unable to hold down a job. 

How do you make sure you don’t get fooled when you’re hiring someone to baby-sit your child or for any other job? Hire based on reputation and not image, says Willson. Check references thoroughly. Psychopaths tend to give vague and inconsistent replies. Of course the best way to solve this problem would be to cure psychopaths of their ‘illness.’ But there’s no recipe for treating them, say psychiatrists. Today’s traditional methods of psychotherapy (psychoanalysis, group and one-on-one therapy) and drug treatments have failed. Therapy is more likely to work when an individual admits there’s a problem and wants to change. The common problem with psychopaths, says Sets, “Is they don’t see a problem with their behavior.” 

Psychopaths don’t seek therapy willingly, says Seto. Rather, they’re pushed into it by a desperate relative or by a court order. To a psychopath, a therapist is just one more person who must be conned, and the psychopath plays the part right until the therapist is convinced of his or her ‘rehabilitation.’ 

Even though we can’t treat psychopaths effectively with therapy, it doesn’t mean we can’t protect ourselves, writes Hare. Willson agrees, citing the most important factor in keeping psychopaths at bay is to know your vulnerabilities. We need to “realize our own potential and maximize our strengths” so that our insecurities don’t overcome us. Because, she says, a psychopath is a chameleon who becomes “an image of what you haven’t done for yourself.” Over time, she says, “their appearance of perfection will begin to crack,” but by that time you will have been emotionally and perhaps financially scathed. There comes a time when you realize there’s no point in searching for answers; the only thing is to move on. 

 

In conclusion, there is no way to know whether this Markoff med student actually committed the crimes he is accused of. I believe we can learn something from every situation, though, and even if he didn’t commit these crimes, there is something not right with his reported behaviour. Normal people do not get falsely accused of murder.

So long…farewell

I have made a decision to give up a very old and dear friend. A friend who has always been there to soothe me when times have become rough, and to cheer me on when I needed it. This friend, non-judgmental to a fault, doesn’t deserve me to give the heave-ho. There has been no bad behaviour, no tantrums, no change in the dedication or devotion. I just cannot take the stomach aches that this friend has started to inflict lately. So it is with great regret that I banish this friend from my life.

Goodbye Coffee, I shall miss you.

Haveil Havalim #214 is up.

Go here to see the awesome job that the Rebbetzin’s Husband did. Thanks for including me this week!

Ode to Poutine

French Fries

I love you on your own

With a nice sized dollop of ketchup

 

Cheese

You always thrill me

And strengthen my bones

 

Gravy

You moisten even the driest

Of any food on the table.

 

Combine the three at high heat

The gravy soaks its way

Into the french fries

And the cheese melts its way

Around those crispy-turning-soggy fries

Creating a mouthwatering heart stopping artery clogging dish

THAT I AM CRAVING RIGHT NOW!!

 

Slurpariffic!

Secrets

 

Most women have best friends, ones they talk to about their deepest darkest fears, about their hopes and dreams, those stories that they can’t really tell anyone else, but they know their BFF will totally understand. Our BFFs know, without being reminded, that everything we share is not for public consumption.

 

But, what if you or your BFF are married? Is it fair to ask the BFF not to share information with the spouse? Or should one expect a married couple to share everything?

 

My rule of thumb is as follows. Spouses need to share most things – keeping secrets is bad for a relationship. BUT there are some BFF confidences that spouses really do not need to know. If one has shared some bedroom problems, or some very personal health issue, or an upcoming surprise for a spouse – those are ok secrets to keep.

 

Most of the time I imagine that whatever I share will get shared with the husbands – even if it probably isn’t. I don’t want to be the person telling my best friend that she cannot tell her husband what I told her. I don’t want to be the cause of marital discord. In the same vein, I think my BFFs know there is a likelihood of me sharing stuff with my hub. (Truth be told tho, I have other things to talk about with the KoD – we don’t sit there and dish about everyone.)

 

What do you think? Do you share everything with your spouse? Should you?

What’s in a name?

 

I know I am being totally hypersensitive here, but ARGH! When I and the children’s other parent divorced way back I immediately took back my maiden name. I called the school, made sure they knew to call me Ms Sabo, not Mrs ExName. You would think that by now, having been through a divorce and a remarriage that they could update their files. I haven’t confused the school asking them to call me by my new married name – it’s just too confusing and PG we are leaving soon.

 

I just had one of those dreaded teacher phone calls – blah blah blah, yes ma’am I will talk to my son. When this teacher asked to speak to Mrs ExName I was so tempted to hang up. Of course I always point out to them that I am not called that any more, but it irks me that I have to.

 

When I got the last report cards – 3 were addressed to Mrs ExName, one to Ms Sabo – and the kids all go to the same school!!!! It makes no sense.

 

Plus, in Quebec, officially women are all known by maiden names from the day we are born till the day we die. Easier to keep track of that way. I am not the only divorced parent in the school. I am not the only one who has a different last name than her kids. Why can they not be PC and update their files like I have asked them to a million times.

 

(and yes, I am more upset about what name she called me that what my kid did, which was so not worth a phone call, but whatevs….)

 

Grump grump grump……….

Picture Imperfect

 

 

I needed to get the kids passport pictures done. As of end of June 2009 they need passports to cross the border, until then birth certificates are fine. So I drag the little one and the 12 year old to our local photo counter at the pharmacy to do passport pics. The flash is broken on the camera, she doesn’t know when it is going to be fixed. So sad too bad. Hop back in car, drive to another branch of same chain, park.

 

We approach the photo counter, and this clerk is looking at us like we are aliens. Not a good sign. I ask about passport pix for the kids – she says she can only do them for the 12 year old. I asked why she couldn’t do it for the 6 year old. He is apparently too little and the proportions won’t come out right? WTF? I have never heard such baloney in all of my life. I had her do the 12 year olds pix because I am running out of time, but I will not be patronizing that store for my photographic needs any time soon if ever.

 

As soon soon as supper is burnt cooked I will be writing a strongly worded letter to Shoppers Drug Mart / Pharmaprix expressing my dissatisfaction with their service. After that I will take the younger two elsewhere to get their photos done.

 

Sign me,

 

Totally disgusted.

 

UPDATED 7.31pm

 

We went back to the Pharmaprix where I insisted on speaking with the manager who couldn’t give me a coherent reason why it was ok for them to take a photo of my 12 year old, but when I showed up again with my eleven year old, they wouldn’t do it. (they are half the price of any other place that does passport pix otherwise i would have gone somewhere else). The manager, Rosie (a very stroppy woman who had three other disagreements with customers while I was there), told me that “your photographs will get rejected because they are too shiny, thats why we don’t do kids” what claptrap! – they probably had three complaints. It’s not official policy because at my local Pharmaprix I know for a fact they take pix of babies for passports!

 

I eventually prevailed upon Rosie to do the pix – she did them so grudgingly, told me that if they get rejected i cannot come back to her for a refund, wrote FINAL SALE on my bill. If I hadn’t had to do 4 sets of pics at this time, I would have splurged to go elsewhere, but it all adds up.

 

I am working on a letter to head office – will let you all know if I get anywhere.

 

UPDATE #2

I sent an email to head office, and got back a response that it will take them two weeks at least for someone to get back to me. I included names of all the personnel involved. I want heads to roll, but they won’t. I asked them what their actual policy is on taking passport photographs of children.

 

Let’s see what happens.