My Boss is the Coolest!

Today is my first official day of being self-employed. Like the awesome boss that I am, I gave myself last Thursday and Friday off to get organized and prepare to work harder than I’ve ever worked in my life.

Other than my parents, very few people know that I’ve made the jump to working for myself. I didn’t want to stress out the rest of my family right before Christmas, and since they expected me to have two weeks off at Christmas anyway, I see no need to tell them just yet. I’d much rather wait until I know how things are going to go and what I’m doing.

I did tell one friend, who had a complete meltdown. He is very much entrenched in an employee mindset, and he just can’t fathom the idea of taking a risk. “I could get you a job where I work!” he said. “You’ll have benefits and guaranteed income, and you can continue writing on the side.” Um, dude, that’s exactly what I DON’T want to do. Because I’ve learned that working for someone else is no guarantee of income OR stability.

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Christmas Part 2: I Need Your Advice

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about Christmas. But after all the interesting discussion in the comments yesterday, I thought this might be a great opportunity to get some advice. And some judgments, but I’m prepared.

Get your gavels ready for this one: My 13 year-old son still totally believes in Santa Claus.

One of the features of Asperger’s Syndrome is a very concrete, black and white view of the world. Jay doesn’t understand sarcasm or metaphors. If I tell him, “Just a minute,” he thinks I literally mean 60 seconds. So when he was probably 6 and asked me if Santa was really real, I told him OF COURSE! Because he was 6. I just didn’t think about how far he would take it.

As he got older and kids at school started talking about how Santa wasn’t real, Jay would come home and scoff at them for giving up so easily. “Can you believe those kids don’t understand Santa? They’re missing out,” he would tell me. And I thought, Wow, he’s taking a little longer to figure this out than most kids.

Then when he was 10 and still believed, I realized I had created a real dilemma. How do you tell a kid something like this? How do you choose between allowing them that magic of Christmas (which is totally gone for me) or helping them get on the same level as their age group? Not to mention the fact that I was tired of having to buy gifts from me AND gifts from Santa. Who always got credit for the coolest stuff.

When he was 11, I seriously contemplated giving Santa a terminal illness.

Dear Jayden,

This will be the last year you receive any gifts from me. I have an inoperable brain tumor and the North Pole doctors give me six months to live. From now on, parents will have to buy gifts and pretend they came from me. Just don’t tell any younger kids - let them have the joy even though I won’t be here.

Love, Santa

If that doesn’t send a parent straight to hell, I don’t know what does. I couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. But I REALLY felt like it was time to do something drastic - I just didn’t (and still don’t) know what.

Lots of people have wondered if maybe he knows the truth and just doesn’t want to admit it. However, that’s not the case. He’s not capable of lying or hiding something. If you’ve ever been around a kid with Asperger’s, you’ll know what I mean. His mind just doesn’t work that way. He TOTALLY thinks Santa is real.

My choices:

(1) I tell Jayden the truth. Which he will interpret as me lying to him his entire life. He’ll feel betrayed and question everything else I’ve ever told him. He’ll probably end up in therapy.

(2) I just keep up the charade and end up with a college student who still leaves cookies and milk out for Santa. In the meantime, his peers will continue to make fun of him. He gets picked on enough but the Santa thing makes it 10 times worse.

What would you do in this situation? I could really use some guidance!

I’m Over the Holidays

i can kind of identify


Some of you might have noticed the lack of holiday-related posts around here lately. In a blogosphere that is totally obsessed with saving money on gifts, making your own wrapping paper, and surviving holiday office parties, this is probably the one place you can hang out with no mistletoe or ribbons.

I have not put up my Christmas tree, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to leave it in the basement this year. I don’t bake cookies or put inflatable Santa Spongebobs in my yard. I don’t send Christmas cards.

Why, you ask? Because I’m not really a fan of Christmas.

I Wasn’t Always a Scrooge

There are a few reasons why I don’t like Christmas. First of all, since my grandmother died in 2005, Christmas has been a big ball of suck. She freaking loved Christmas. Every year, we would go shopping for decorations (she had a different tree every year) and gifts for all the younger grandkids. She was a big believer in getting the perfect gifts for everyone.

Every Christmas Eve, the whole family (19 of us the last year she was alive) would cram into my grandparents’ tiny house, where the mountain of presents took up the entire living room. We would eat, open gifts, play Yahtzee (you haven’t lived til you’ve played Yahtzee with my crazy family), and enjoy ourselves until the kids were so tired they didn’t even care about waiting up for Santa.

Now my grandfather is remarried, and while I love my step-grandmother to pieces, she just doesn’t do things the way my Nana did. The two combined families can’t fit in one place easily, so we have Christmas at a church. There are no gifts - each family member receives a card with money. We eat, open gifts, and leave - done in two hours. And it’s awkward and weird and none of us enjoy it like we used to.

People are Selfish

Another reason I don’t like Christmas is the gift grab it’s turned into. We’re all so worried about the number of gifts we have to buy, we don’t get to enjoy time with our loved ones like we should. Or we’re griping about all the shopping, wrapping, unwrapping, eating, and traveling until no one has a good time.

I actually overheard a woman at Walmart say the following to her husband: “I wish they’d get rid of the bell ringers and angel trees at every stinking store we go to. Like I can afford to give money away when I have 8 grandkids!” And I’m staring at this lady with her cart full of toys, trying to decide how much trouble I’d get into for punching a senior citizen.

Of course we want to give gifts to the people we care about. But what about the people who aren’t able to do that? Have we really become so self-absorbed that we don’t want to help others? I’m pretty sure Jesus would not approve of the way some people celebrate his birth by ignoring those in need.

I’m a Grown-Ass Woman

Finally, I don’t get giddy about Christmas because I’m an ADULT. Christmas should be for and about kids. I don’t make a list of things I want - I have more than enough. If I need something, I buy it.

I am SHOCKED by the number of Facebook statuses, blog posts, and Twitter posts from adults listing all the things they want for Christmas. And maybe it’s different for people who don’t have kids, but I just find myself shaking my head. I can’t understand why grownups expect people to buy them stuff for Christmas that they could easily buy for themselves.

I’m also shocked by the stories of people expecting things from their adult children. A friend called me last week complaining that her mom expects a $50 item for Christmas. This friend has 4 kids to buy for on a limited income. The hilarious thing (to me) is, her mom gives her $50 for Christmas. So if they’re just exchanging $50, why don’t both of them keep their money? It makes no sense to me.

I love watching the kids in my family open their gifts. I love seeing the look on Jayden’s face when he gets something he really wants. I love donating to help families who aren’t able to buy gifts for their kids. And for me, that’s the only part of Christmas worth celebrating.

B-b-but it’s CHRISTMAS!

Actually it’s DECEMBER, but yes, I’m aware that Christmas is a week away. And I’m so over it, I could live the rest of my life without another one.

Maybe I’m awful, but Christmas has become something I just don’t want to be a part of. I do my best to enjoy it, but I can’t get excited about it like I did when I was a kid. I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for me - I’m actually quite okay with the way things are.

Maybe my lack of love for Christmas is necessary to maintain my remission from spendaholism, I don’t know. My hope for everyone is that the next week will be an enjoyable one, but with a sense of the true meaning of Christmas instead of the commercialized crap that’s being shoved down our throats.

10 Ways to Make Sure No One Reads Your Blog

I really try to shut my mouth when it comes to other people’s blogs. While I make judgments all the time, about everything from a blog’s theme to the font, I’ve decided it’s usually better to keep those opinions to myself. After all, I’m sure many of you have your own thoughts when you read mine. Like, Why don’t you write about finance for a change? But I’ve learned that there are some things in life that simply MUST be said, even if people don’t applaud afterward.

Some of you have sucktastic blogs. There I said it.

That in itself isn’t a huge deal for me. Just like I will never win a bake-off, a beauty pageant, or a contest for cleanest house, some people just aren’t great writers. That doesn’t mean they don’t have ideas worth reading and discussing. I can forgive a lot of cringeworthy stuff if I still get something worthwhile out of a blogger’s posts.

But when someone seems to be doing everything they can to scare off potential readers, I have to wonder why they even blog in the first place. Do they not write in hopes that someone will read and find value in it? Do they high five themselves after another week of little to no traffic?

Maybe that’s the thing. Maybe I’m a weirdo, and everyone else starts blogging so that NO ONE will ever read what they have to say. And if that’s the case, I’ll give you 10 ways to make sure you never gain a single reader, other than maybe your mom. Or the crazy stalker that’s trying to hunt you down and steal locks of your hair to make a voodoo doll.

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