Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Problem With Being Nice

My new strategy for college saving is drinking lots of Diet Dr. Pepper. They are running some give-away that gets you $1000-a-day to use for tuition. This fits well with my general inability to save money... and my propensity to drink Diet Dr. Pepper all day. I think this is sage on several levels. One... I can continue to spend money now rather than save it for the kids for later. Two... in the unlikely event that I DON'T win... I will have shortened my life considerably through the overdose of all sorts of baaaaadddd chemicals, and therefore my life insurance will kick in to pay for higher education. "Doctor... we tried to draw blood but all we got was this fizzy liquid!" Perfectly logical reasoning.

On an unrelated yet related note... my children are too damn popular. They have been invited to no less than six birthday parties this week alone. My budget for "birthday presents for strangers" is also eating into college savings, not to mention my budget for essential things like food, heat and movies. I've told them to be less friendly. But they don't listen. My 12yo lectured me on niceness yesterday. She said... "Daddy... people always say I'm too nice... because I'm very empathetic. And there are worse things than being nice." I told her that she collected needy friends like stray cats.

Anyway... so the boy gets off the bus at 3:55 yesterday and tells me he has been invited to ANOTHER birthday party. I rolled my eyes and asked when it was... "Today." "TODAY! When today!" "At 4:10". Now, my ability to deal with chaos is pretty high... but since the other half was off at a school meeting, and I was busy cooking the dinner in preparation for dance/clarinet/musical practice/other meetings later on that night... this came as a little bit of a shock.

Boy: Mommy knows about this.
Me: Well... I didn't get the memo. Who's party is this?
Boy: (Name I've never heard)
Me: Who the hell is that?
Boy: That's XXXX's brother.
Me: Wait... you got invited to his BROTHER's party?
Boy: His brother likes me.
Me: I'm sure he does. That's not really the point.

At that moment the cavalry arrived in the form of the other half.

Her: Crap... I forgot. Ok.. plan B. We are taking the gift card I bought for Saturday's party and put it in the card I bought for Sunday's party... there problem solved.

I made the executive decision not to point out that this was a small symptom of an entirely larger problem. But the day was already stress filled enough.

And soon I was off to delivery the boy and his borrowed present to a party for his best friend's brother grumbling to myself about stray cats and college.


  1. Truly funny and so true. Truly.

  2. p.s. now that I am nice, I have nothing to write about. Mind you, that is not really what your blog is about, but after the recent passing of someone I loved but treated poorly, I just can't be mean to anyone, really. Hallelujah, Prozac?

  3. I think I've found the root of the problem here: You're letting them be involved in too much. I mean - if you didnt let them do all this sports, music, self-improvement nonsense - you could save yourself a lot of heartache. I mean - you'd save money now - but also later when their college applications are so full of extracurricular activies to help them with acceptance, they're not meeting all those other annoyingly social kids or their brothers, AND they can grow into more idle and apathetic teens who are almost recluse in their ways.

  4. Your title brought me right on over like the call of a mother ship. My kids used to be popular - back in the days of 3 ring circus b-day parties - thankfully, they must be less nice now. What's with all those gift bags? I found it deeply disturbing how the younguns learned so early to lust after swag! I understand happy enough's sentiment about being too nice to write AND prozac.

  5. Happy... Maybe I need drugs to be nice...

    PC... :) You are doing fine. They will turn out fine. Apathy happens to all of them eventually.

    Margo... Thank god... you mean they will lose the niceness eventually? Yeah!

  6. "there are worse things than being nice".... i agree whole heartedly.

    people don't tell me i'm too nice anymore, they tell me i'm to "politically correct"... my reply "could be worse, i could be a bigot/racist/self-absorbed jerk/insert situationally appropriate comeback here... like you!"

    then they don't think i'm so nice anymore.

    ps... i paid my own way through university, and it only took me until i was 34 to pay off all my student debt. just sayin....

  7. I like the idea of passing along debt to my children... it sounds very American.