Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Telephone Etiquette

People without the common courtesy to return phone calls are not coming on the ark.

            This drives me crazy, especially in business.  When I call a business contact, I leave a very comprehensive message explaining who I am, what I am calling about, and how I can be reached.  I leave specifics so that when you do return my call we are further along and can move more quickly.  I am not one for leaving only my name and number and leaving you guessing who I am, and what I want. That just results in an unproductive volley of phone tag.  If I am requesting information, I describe the specific information I am looking for and leave a number, a mailing address and an e-mail address so that you can forward that information in a timely manner.  If I am requesting a meeting, I explain the nature of the meeting I am hoping to schedule, leave a few potential times and dates, and again, I provide a few different ways to reach me.
            Why is it then that very often I am calling the same business contact over and over again without any response at all?  I get it, you are busy; we all are.  And while you readers are thinking it, no I am not in sales.  If I were that might explain the lack of response (although it would still be rude), but I am not, so I see only one explanation.  These people who don’t return my calls are simply too self important, feeling that their time is too precious to bother with common courtesy.  Well here is some news for you, you aren’t that special.  There are plenty of rude and unprofessional people just like you.  I have to track them down day after day.
            All I am asking is that you pick up the damn phone, or type off a simple e-mail; you can even have your assistant do it, but please get back to me.  It is not a lot to ask.
When I ran my own business, I had solicitations from many different people.  Some wanted to hire me, some wanted to sell me something and some wanted informational interviews, in essence those people wanted me to spend my valuable time teaching them something they felt I knew and from which they could learn.  Sometimes I was slow and I could accommodate those types of requests, and other times I was just too busy.  But every single time, I returned the phone call and gave the individual on the other end the respect of a timely response.
            For those of you who are etiquettely challenged, in business it is expected that you will return a phone call or e-mail within two business days. Although I leave very comprehensive messages, not everyone does and so you don’t necessarily know what you are jeopardizing by not showing respect to your callers.  Recently, I contacted a company because I wanted to pick the owner’s brain about a venture I am undertaking.  This person started a company doing exactly what I wanted to do and I left him a message stating I would really love to have a few minutes of his time to ask him some questions.  I expressed that I was not in an area that would compete with his business and I even offered to pay him a consulting fee.  Not only has he not responded to two separate messages, but also a woman in his company who I was able to reach, has been stringing me on for a meeting for over a month.  In that time, I have learned much of the information I was after, from other sources.  I am in a different place now, and will soon be in the market to purchase some of his wares for my own establishment.  But because he did not bother to return my calls, I am going to his smaller, but far more professional and accommodating competitor.  I feel really good about that.  Business karma.

So when the flood comes, if you are one of those people who can’t be bothered to return calls that don’t interest you, please leave a message at the tone, and I will respond to your request for admittance on the ark in the same timely manner with which you responded to me. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

America Conceeds Land To Mexico or : Get The Lunatic Out Of My House

Okay,  I have to say it; Obama does not get on my ark.  For many reasons, not the least of which is that I will require verification and a background check and he won’t produce a birth certificate to authenticate my search, so right there he’s denied.  But today’s reason is the prevailing problem of his refusal to protect America starting with Arizona.

       The US has closed parkland in Arizona to citizens because the illegal drug trafficking and human trafficking has made the land too dangerous.  So in essence, America just gave territories 80 miles inside OUR border to the Mexicans.  Just handed it over without a fight.
       You realize that America has spent billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives fighting to protect other people’s borders from being infiltrated.  We lost approximately 58,000 lives in Vietnam, 110,000 lives in WWI and almost 300,000 in WWII (google it), and in none of those wars was America infiltrated. Now, when the Mexicans are crossing into our country, some heavily armed, trafficking drugs, arms, and humans, we can’t secure out own border?  Bullshit. Of course we can, but we won’t.
       The signs posted by the government warning American citizens to stay out of the parkland are an embarrassment.  For God sakes, use our military for what it was designed to do, protect America.  It would not take years or even months for our military to go into that parkland and drive out the invaders.  I doubt it would even takes weeks if we went to our own border and fought as hard to secure it as we have to secure the borders of our allies.  The message Obama is sending? The people of America are not his allies.  In my book, it is treasonous to allow invaders to take over our land without even a fight, a fight we could so easily win with our high-powered weapons, tanks, land mines and other military tactics.  Isn’t that one of the main responsibilities of our government, to protect its citizens?  What takes higher priority than our safety and the security of our land?  The answer isn’t, but should be, nothing!
       For those of you who are happy to live in New Jersey, or Michigan, or Massachusetts and not have to worry about part of your states being taken from you and handed over to citizens of another nation, think of it in these terms.  What is happening in Arizona is like this:

Your neighbor decides to commandeer your bedroom so he can do his drug deals out of it.  You call the police and say “My neighbor has just pointed a gun at my head and insisted I let him have a portion of my house.  Come arrest this lunatic.” 

And the police respond by saying “All of your house?”

“No he says he wants the bedroom and I can stay in the rest of my house with my wife and kids as long as we stay out of his way, pay the rent, and make sure no one bothers him.”

“Well then, it sounds like it isn’t safe in your bedroom, I’d stay out.”


“Well, you still have the other rooms, you should be happy with that.  Don’t bother the guy, stay out of his way, and I’d make sure you pay the utilities and taxes on time, you want to make sure he has everything he needs so he doesn’t become a problem.”

“Become a problem!  Are you kidding me?  I own this house. There is an intruder in my house.  You are the police.  You take an oath too protect and serve.  So protect and serve, come get this lunatic out of my house!”

“Sorry sir, we can’t do that.  Have a nice day.”

Do you get it now?  We need our government to protect us.  We need them to reclaim our land and our resources.  For God sakes: Get the lunatic out of the house! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back To Bitching

Okay enough with the mushy stuff; that is not what you come to this blog for so lets get back to the bitching.  Today’s flood victim is the guy who was walking across the mall parking lot this morning.

Now I wasn’t in a particular hurry so I wasn’t already aggravated or anything, but as I was trying to pull around from one row to the next a gentleman was crossing the parking lot.  His chosen path intersected mine, or it could have anyway, were he to cross purposefully.  But instead he sauntered diagonally from his starting point to what I can only assume eventually brought him to his designation.  I say only assume because I could not have possibly stuck around long enough for him to make this great crossing.  I think Moses crossed the desert in less time than it took this man to cross the parking lot.
Personally, when I noticed a car coming, I would have stuck close to the building and walked the two sidewalks to get to where it appeared he was going.  He chose to walk literally right in front of me. Another option would have been for him to just stop for a moment and let me by, after all, a car moves much faster than a person on foot, but apparently he couldn’t wait.  No as I made my way down the end of one row, he walked right in front of me so that I had to follow him at walking speed to the end of the row and there where I could have turned left and he could have moved a little to the right, he chose not to and remained right in front of me.
Now maybe it is too much to ask that other pedestrians show the courtesy I do by actually speeding up their gait when they are in the pathway of a moving car. I’m not asking for a jog (although I have been known to do that to be polite) but is it really to much to ask that you don’t saunter as if you are out on a leisurely walk admiring the flora as you go?
Mind you, this was not an older man, or a disabled man, or even an obese man, this was a middle-aged man who maybe had a little extra weight around the middle, someone quite capable of walking quickly or even normally, but who chose to saunter.  I know I have repeated that word a few times already, but really there is no other word quite as accurate.  Walking is too quick a description for what he did, stroll as well, even mosey implies more speed than he exhibited.  Perhaps amble, maybe he meandered, but saunter is the right word because it describes not only his lack of speed, but also, I think, his lack of consideration.  He was sauntering, taking his time, ignoring that he was not alone on the “road”.  This man was going to take the most direct path to his destination and if it meant that a car had to crawl at a speed that doesn’t even register on the speedometer for a full three minutes (and I am not exaggerating), then too bad.
I know, three minutes out of my life and I wasn’t even in a particular hurry, but that isn’t the point.  The point is that this man was knowingly inconsiderate and I just don’t get it.  Would it really have been too much for him to step aside, or wait a few seconds (because yes, if I had been able to drive at the normal parking lot speed limit I would have rounded the corner in les than 30 seconds. Time yourself sometime and then just for fun make it take three minutes and see how excruciating it is) or God forbid, move a little more quickly and possibly burn a few extra calories. It’s not as if by inconveniencing me he got there faster, I think it actually took him longer than it would have if I weren’t there.
In my pregnant days when I was relegated to the couch more often than I liked, I would watch a lot of Dr. Phil, and one thing I always remember him asking people exhibiting negative behavior was “What is the payoff? What do you GET out of that behavior?” (see Dr, Phil's ten life laws) And really that is where my confusion comes from.  What do these rude, and entitled people get out of it?  I mean in these little instances like crossing slowly in front of my car instead of walking normally.  What possible payoff was in it for this guy? If you think you know, please tell me.
In the end, I waited until his path gave me enough space to pull around him into the next row, then I sped up as much as I safely could to let him know he was in my way.  Surprisingly, with a one-ton vehicle almost grazing him going relatively quickly for the venue, the man didn’t so much as flinch, or look over his shoulder. Maybe he was texting someone, but that is a rant for another day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Presence

No flood today.  It is Father’s Day and it is a time for celebrating.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have good fathers in your life, then you can certainly nominate your own flood victims, but for me, today will be about appreciation, not complaining.
First, I have to give a shout out to my husband who is a great hands-on dad and partner in raising our children.  I could go on about him (despite an earlier post entitled “taking care of the kids”) but because he is such a great man, I am sure he will understand that today, I want to celebrate my dad.
I remember sitting in my parents living room after my grandfather’s funeral with dozens of people sharing their memories of his life, most of which made us all smile, even laugh out loud, although a few made us cry.  I remember thinking it was a beautiful thing to celebrate his life that way.  I still do and I hope that type of activity happens at the passing of all of my loved ones, including my own.
But today, I want to take a minute and share some memories of my dad who is very much alive.  After all, why wait until you lose someone to celebrate the joy they bring to your life.

One of my earliest memories of my dad is lying in bed listening to my father play “The Entertainer” on the piano while I was drifting off to sleep. I don’t honestly know if he ever mastered another song, but I do know it was better than any music box anyone could have given me.  To this day I find comfort in that song.
I also find the scent of pipe smoke sweet and soothing because for my early childhood, my dad smoked a pipe.  If I close my eyes and imagine myself in our den, him sitting in his chair in the corner, I can actually smell Sir Walter Raleigh in a can (and yes, I have heard that joke). 
My father traveled a lot when I was little, and once I remember he had to miss my birthday.  But I also remember sitting in our basement talking on an old fashioned black rotary phone to my father who had called from some country I hadn’t even heard of yet to make sure he wished his “precious angel” a very happy birthday.
When I was young, he also worked a lot.  In addition to being gone every day until almost 8:00 at night, he had an office upstairs in our house.  The rule was when that door was closed he was not to be disturbed.  And I remember my father being in there with the door closed for entire weekends.  He must have come out to eat or use the bathroom, but I wouldn’t see him.  He worked that hard for our family.  But I also remember weekends when he wasn’t shut in, we would have Saturday date day and he would take me somewhere just him and me.  I remember the puppet theater and seeing the musical Annie, and meeting the dog from the show in the park outside the theatre.
I remember standing on my father’s shoes on the linoleum floor while we danced around the kitchen.  He taught me the cha cha.
He also taught me how to play catch and was at all my softball games and swim meets, well maybe not all, but enough that I remember him being there as opposed to remembering him not being there.  In fact, when I went to college and played softball for a school that was anything but athletic, where watching the games was such a far cry from my brother’s college baseball career that it must have seemed like watching little league or even the Bad News Bears, my father would leave his office and take the train over to our home field and watch me play, even though it was just for fun and I wasn’t very good.
Which reminds me, that when I first went to college two hours from home I hated it there and was incredibly home sick.  Not only did my dad sit on the phone for hours with me listening to me cry, but he gave me good advice about how to make friends, told me I could come home, but insisted there would be no transferring to a closer school until I had worked a full year (a tough love deterrent from giving up so easily) and he even drove out a few times to take me to lunch or dinner.  Now that I have my own children, I realize how heartbreaking it must have been to have your daughter calling you crying every day and not being able to fix it, but he did a lot to make it better.
I have so many memories of my dad because he has always been here for me. I couldn’t possibly share them all with you and what matters most to me may seem trivial to you.  What is most important is that he has always been present in our lives and loved us unconditionally. I hope he know how much that means and how much I have learned from him about life in general and unconditional love specifically.  Happy Father’s Day dad; I love you “all the bucks.”

Friday, June 18, 2010

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer

Schools out!  No more packing lunches.  No more checking homework.  No more mad rush mornings trying to get everyone ready.  We are all home; all of us with no set plans or schedules.  Isn't that reason enough to feel good?  If not, too bad; that's all I've got on this the last day of school.  For more thoughtful Fell Good Friday entries, check out my fellow bloggers at thegirlnextdoorgrowsup

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Hope Your Car Floats

Have I mentioned lately that We Need A Flood? Not the annoying kind that causes you to spend your entire weekend wet vacuuming your basement, but one of biblical proportions where all the undeserving are washed out of existence.  Who gets to choose who survives you ask?  Well me of course, and I’ll tell you, the guy in the black Subaru I encountered this morning is not going to make the cut.

So to that guy, you keep chatting on your headset and drinking your cup of coffee without a cover while driving.  It is not impairing your driving at all.  No I mean that; I am not being sarcastic because I truly believe that you stopped your car right in front of the entrance to the gas station I was trying to access because you are a self important jerk, NOT because you were simply distracted. 
Why do I think this?  Because I have encountered others like you for my entire driving career, well before texting and cell phones.  You are the people that rush right by me and my patient blinker as I wait to pull out onto the main street.  You speed up so that I can’t pull out, even though you are going to a red light.  God forbid I get to it in front of you causing you to be one car further back in the long line.  Instead, you make me wait in the exit of the parking lot while you and everyone like you rushes by until eventually one of you morons actually stops right in front of me, blocking me in so that I have to wait for the light to turn green, all of you to drive away, and for the next break in the oncoming traffic which only occurs when the rare thoughtful driver happens by.
Unfortunately, there are a lot more drivers like the black Subaru guy on the road.  I have found them in traffic-ridden intersections.  They are the idiots who cause gridlock because they insist on trying to push their way through traffic instead of waiting their inconvenient turns.  Ultimately, they end up right smack in the middle of the intersection when their light turns red and mine turns green causing me to have to wait through a second cycle of the light while dozens of people behind me honk angrily because I am not moving.  “Where do you people want me to go? Up?”  I am not going to pull up into him because he is not going to be able to move until the people in front of him do.  And if I do go, I’ll be the moron blocking the intersection when the next light changes.
I won’t point out that when the light turns yellow you are supposed to stop if you can, but I will point out that if everyone in front of you is already stopped when it does and you can’t clear the intersection THEN, you won’t be able to clear it later when it turns red.  Again, something I would think of as common sense, and I honestly think it is.  These people CAN’T be that dumb, but some people are just that entitled.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Unemployment Is Underemployed

The bureaucratic fools in government do not get on the ark.  Their common sense is just too deeply buried to warrant their admission.  Extended hours have been implemented in the unemployment office, a toll free number has been designated to handle all the extended unemployment claims.  Hold times are at an all time high, and yet it seems no one in the division has figured out that perhaps THEY should hire more people.  What follows is my story of how their inability to see the excruciatingly obvious screwed up three different days for me.

The other day I placed my eighth, yes eighth, phone call to unemployment trying to submit a claim for extended benefits after months and months of fruitless searching, first in my field of expertise and then in any field remotely related.  The first time I called I got an extended message explaining what I could and could not do on the automated system.  After determining that I could file my claim, it asked for my social security number.  This was about 7 minutes in.   I input the number only to be told I needed to call back Tuesday.  (7 minutes wasted)
            So Tuesday, I called back, waiting until the kids were down for a nap so that I could have the important conversation.  I made the mistake of eating my lunch first and then calling.  This was a mistake because after going through the automated system again (7 minutes), it told me that due to extraordinarily high call volume it expected to be able to answer my call in about 30 minutes.  I waited, and waited, and waited.  Then my youngest woke up before anyone ever came to the phone.  The rest of the day was rather hectic so I had to wait until the next day to call back.  (34 minutes wasted)
Wednesday, I called in at the beginning of nap to allow myself enough time.  I figured I could make a sandwich while I was on hold.  In fact, I could have not only made the sandwich, but I could have baked the bread.  Problem was, this time, my oldest came home from school and I needed to tend to something for him so after about 20 minutes on hold, I once again had to terminate my call. (54 minutes wasted)
            I called again on Thursday, but the automated system now told me it wasn’t my turn.  (61 minutes wasted)
This time I needed to wait until next Tuesday, or so I thought.   So I took my cell phone with me on my vacation with my mother, and after learning that it didn’t work in the hotel, I went outside Tuesday morning, listened to the seven minute message about what I could and could not do over the phone, and input my social security number.  Apparently, Tuesday was no longer my day, I needed to call back Wednesday. (68 minutes wasted)
            So I did.  We were leaving Wednesday so I went out around 10:00am to make sure I had plenty of time to get the call in before we needed to check out.  I dialed, listened to the seven minute message, input my social security number, confirmed that this was the right day to call and listened to the system tell me that my wait would be 32 minutes.  I waited, and I waited and I waited until the automated musak went silent.  I looked at my phone.  The display that only a few minutes ago had read 18 minutes and counting was gone.  I’d been disconnected.  (86 minutes wasted)
I called right back, the seven minute message had listed a “special toll free number” set up just for the reason I was calling.  I tried that.  If it were instituted for only one of the many services, perhaps it would be quicker.  It was, 29 minutes to the original 32.  While I waited a number of people joined me in the courtyard and hearing became difficult.  Not to mention this was a conversation I wanted to have privately.  After10 minutes, I realized this was not the time and place and so I hung up and decided I’d call back while waiting for the ferry home; we’d have about a half hour wait anyway. (96 minutes wasted)
            But it was pouring rain while we stood outside with two bags in each hand waiting for the ferry, and I forgot to call.  It wasn’t until 4:55 when we were sitting on the ferry and the nice woman next to me asked what I did for a living that I remembered I had to contact the office, in the next five minutes, or wait for another week to go by unpaid.  I excused myself and quickly pulled out my phone.  Much to my pleasant surprise, I had service.  I listened to the seven-minute message again.  I input my social security number again.  I was told my wait time would be 31 minutes.  I looked at my watch; they’d be closed in 31 minutes.  But I couldn’t wait another week so I took the chance that I would sit on the phone until 5:00 and then get automatically disconnected when they shut off the phone service.  Or worse, I might sit on the phone in the automated system after everyone had left for the night, not realizing no one was going to answer my call.  It didn’t matter.  I had to try.
            So I waited.  5:00 came and went and the musak kept playing.  I waited and waited and waited.  31 minutes went by and I still waited.  I entertained the thought that I was now lost in an unmanned automated system which no one would return to until the morning, but still I waited.  I was on a boat that would dock after 45 minutes so I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.  The captain announced that we would be arriving soon and gave us our disembarking instructions.  Just as I was about to give up again, I heard another man’s voice on my cell phone; “how can I help you today?” he asked. (141 minutes and counting)
            I told him that I had been waiting for over 45 minutes.  I told him that I had spent two weeks trying to get through.  And then, knowing full well he was just an operator with absolutely no authority, I stated the incredibly obvious:  The unemployment office should hire more people to answer the obviously overtaxed phones.  I stated that this would kill two birds with one stone by decreasing hold times via having more operators AND by having fewer patrons because it would create jobs.  I know this is too obvious a solution for the government, but it made me feel better to point out the excruciatingly obvious. 
  In the end, the actual phone call took less than 4 minutes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Another Feel Good Friday!

To all my regular followers and anyone new who has stopped by recently, I am sorry for the shortage of posts this week, but I was on a short vacation. I thought being away would leave me with a lack of material, but I was wrong.  There are still plenty of annoying and rude people when you are on a vacation.  Of course there are, THEY aren’t on vacation, you are.  Anyway, I will update you on the entitled and rude people I encountered another time.  Today is Feel Good Friday so lets focus on the positive.  My five things are really easy this week.  I had an awesome week!  There is a lot for me to choose from, but here are the highlights.

  1. I got a chance to take my mom away for a three day get-away to celebrate her birthday.  I have had about 40 years of her doing for me and it was great to get to do something big for her for a change, Happy Birthday Mom!
  2. Because I was away from home, the kids, chores and stress, I got to catch up on my sleep.  I went to bed early one night (no late night potty run) and got to sleep in until I woke up by myself instead of to a chorus of “mommy, I want to get up now” “I need to go potty” and “what should I wear today.”
  3. I missed my husband and my kids a ton and was so refreshed when I came home that I really enjoyed their company.
  4. My nephew graduated from high school!
  5. I finished a great book entitled Wednesday Sisters in three days.  I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good book and some inspiration.

Those are just a few snippets of what made my week such a good week.  For glimpses into other people’s, check out Feel Good Friday here. I hope you had a great week too.  Either way, it’s time to start the weekend!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Please and Thank You

If you read my Feel Good Friday post, you will understand the generation of this rant.  People with no manners are not getting on my ark.

 If, while walking up the gangplank and entering the ark, you drop the door in the face of the person behind you, you are automatically off the ship.  This happens to me on a daily basis and it drives me crazy.  Usually, if I have the baby in my arms and I jog toward the door when someone is walking in, that person will wait a couple of seconds and hold the door for me.  But, God forbid, I am alone and directly behind someone, more often than not they will drop the door in my face.
I mean really, don’t these people have mothers?  Didn’t anyone teach them basic manners like holding the door open for people?  How do you get past the age of ten without acquiring this basic skill?  I honestly don’t get it.  And although I have no way of knowing because I don’t actually follow these rude individuals around, I suspect they are the same people that will walk right through the door I have held open for them without so much as a thank you. 
            There was a time when a lack of manners would have been embarrassing, but people honestly don’t seem to care anymore.  I know this because I have tried to shame some of them to no avail.  If you are one of the people for whom I have held a door open and you have not shown the proper courtesy toward that action, you have most likely heard me utter a loud “your welcome” as you walked away.  Like wise, if you have dropped the door in my face, you have certainly heard and irritated “thank you” tossed in your direction. 
Very rarely does such a comment cause anyone to so much as pause, let alone turn around and apologize, but on occasion it does.  And although for a brief moment I will feel uncomfortable that I called them on their rudeness, I usually recover quickly because manners are really lacking in this area of our country and I think life was nicer when please and thank you were a common part of the vernacular.  I don’t think good manners should be limited to small children being prompted by their parents.  I don’t think please and thank you should have an expiration date of maturity (or in some cases even before then).  I think adults should lead by example and I think please and thank you, at the very least, should be automatic.
            So if you are one of the offenders listed above, please check out this link and thank you all very much for reading my blog today.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I May Be Sick, But I'm Still Feeling Good

My Feel Good Friday moment was courtesy of my six year-old.  Now, he is a bright kid and normally pretty good, but to understand why this particular instance made me so happy you have to realize he has been a pain in the butt lately.  I swear he is channeling a sixteen year-old girl what with the eye rolling, and the head shaking, and the “I know mom,” said with a sing-songy voice, emphasis on the know.  This kid has teenage size attitude in a kindergarten body.
            So when we left a restaurant today just me, him, my middle son, and my two year-old daughter who I was carrying in my arms, I really appreciated him holding the door open for me.  But when he stayed behind to hold it open for four elderly women who were just arriving as we were leaving, I actually stopped and smiled.  And when one of those ladies stopped and thanked him for being “such a little gentleman,” I actually beamed.  My heart swelled and I thought, I did that.  That kid who will stomp off into the house at 6:00pm because I called him into dinner before his friends had to go in, that kid that causes other moms to laugh out loud because his eye rolling is so pronounced when I dare to tell him not to ride his scooter down the middle of our street at 5:30pm when the sun is setting in the drivers’ eyes and many of neighbors are coming home from work, that kid that daily I think has an aptitude for sarcasm above all else, that kid still knows enough to stop and hold the door open for people and that makes me proud.  It makes my Friday; in fact, it makes my whole week.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Check This Out

Okay, I don't usually do this, but this woman writes the funniest stuff I have EVER read!  You have to check her out.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hello Are These Your Kids?

I can’t believe it took me this long to say, parents who don’t watch their children are NOT allowed on my ark.  And yes, that means neither are their kids, because I am not going to be responsible for them.

            Really, it is not complicated. If you have a child under the age of 18 you are legally and morally responsible for him or her.  Therefore, you should know what he or she is up to.  If you have a young child, like the 4 year old I got stuck watching all day on Sunday, then you need to be actually physically where they are watching what they are doing.
            I don’t understand why this is so hard for so many parents.  For instance, on Sunday I am at a BBQ with a group of people I have never even met before.  I am there with my husband and three children under 6; therefore, I am running around after small children all day.  I am a mom.  It is my job.  And if I were running around after only my children, that would be fine because they are my responsibility.  But I wasn’t; I was also watching the poorly behaved and obviously attention starved 4 year-old whose mother was the daughter of our hostess. 
            The mother, never seemed to concern herself with him.  Mind you we were outside in a yard that is on the main street in our town and also, since it is on the corner, another fairly well used road.  The mother never so much as came outside to make sure her child was okay and not running into the street.  The party was outside mind you, but apparently the TV and the couch where she sat her fat butt all afternoon, were inside along with a cooler of beer cans. THAT she didn’t let out of her sight.  But the four year old, who was pushing the younger children, hitting, stealing toys away from everyone and generally making a pain of himself, HIM she never bothered to check on. 
            At one point he pushed a smaller boy off the bulkhead for the third time and I felt the need to reprimand him (someone had to).  I sternly told this child he could not push people.  He ran away.  When he came back a minute or two later, I reemphasized my point and said, “ You cannot push anyone else or I am going to have to tell your mother.”  I said it loudly because we were right outside the open window that his mother was planted in front of inside the house.  I assumed she might make an appearance after hearing someone scolding her child for the second time.  But she didn’t. 
            She also didn’t make an appearance when he ran off into a neighbor’s yard, or when he continuously knocked down the one year-old at the party because he thought it was funny. In fact, at one point she left the party for a half an hour and didn’t even tell her son she was going.  By the way, when I left she didn’t so much as thank me for entertaining HER child all afternoon.  In fact, she didn’t even bother herself to say good-bye and nice meeting you so why I would have expected a thank you, I don’t know.  I guess I always expect that there is a limit to a person’s poor manners.  I am learning, there isn’t.
            As you may have noticed by now, I am not the silent suffering type.  I did make a point of speaking loudly enough for her to hear me when I told my husband that I had three kids of my own to watch and that this little boy needed to go find his mother.  I will explain to my children very loudly in front of the offending parent that we can no longer play somewhere because a child is acting badly and his parent is no where to be found to control him.  I have even called out at the playground “Hello, are these your kids?” if children are getting particularly out of hand and need an adult other than a stranger to take over their supervision.  And every single time, my blood boils at the laissez faire attitude of the offending adult.
            What I want to know is this: what makes these parents think the rest of us are their babysitters? I have three children of my own to watch, get off your lazy butt and watch your own.  And it is always the badly behaved children whose parents are oblivious (I know, no surprise there but still).  I don’t need to inherit their problems and for some reason I always seem to.
            Whether it is the three moms chatting at the park not noticing that their boys are having a sand fight, first with each other and then ganging up and throwing it at innocent children they don’t even know.  Or, it is the kid of an acquaintance I see once a year who is running around another person’s house breaking things, spilling things, and generally causing mass destruction everywhere he goes.  I seem to be constantly bombarded by unparented children. 
            I get it, you want to sit and have a leisurely glass of wine and a quiet discussion with another adult, who doesn’t.  But guess what?  You can’t!  Why not?  Because you chose to have children and those children are still young enough to require supervision.  So get off your lazy, entitled bottom, and teach your child some manners by example. Discipline him when he hurts someone.  Tell him no when he wants something that isn’t his.  And generally keep an eye on him or her so you can insure not only the safety of your child, but that of the rest of the children as well.  In other words, grow up!