On Strike for More Attention

Here’s a note that came in last night from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden, forever doing 10th grade work at Wendell Wilkie High School. This is the first-ever mass e-mail I’ve received from Bubby. He’s usually quite chatty and personal, but now he has morphed into an organizer. Or at least he’s trying.

Hey Person on My May Day E-mail List,

Today is a day of non-active Action! I’m calling on all you faceless individuals to stand united with me today as we Rise Up and Sit Down so that we may be counted as The People who Will Not Be Ignored.

I know they call it May Day, but I’m calling it May NOT Day. By that I mean that this is the day when you may NOT do the things you normally do, especially work things, school things and commercial things. It’s the only way to let the others who don’t pay attention to you know that you actually DO something, because as far as they’re concerned, you’re just a useless, sorry load!

It’s like when my mom suddenly stopped doing my laundry because she got tired of what she said was my “… sense of entitlement”. She thought I was taking her for granted and assuming she would just automatically wash my clothes without me ever having to do anything about it – not even taking the trouble to put my blue jeans down the laundry chute. But I really wasn’t taking her for granted at all, because if you’re going to take something for granted, first you have to notice that it’s happening! And I didn’t. I had no idea my clothes were getting washed. Really!

But about a month after she started doing nothing clothes-wise (for me), I did start to notice. Or to be more exact, people at school started to notice. They already think I’m a little weird, but when my clothes started to go to class without me, I heard about it.
And that’s when I started to appreciate my mom a whole lot more – because she really does do a LOT of work and I can’t afford to hire somebody else to take her place. Even the people who will work for nothing want more than I have.

So that’s why we’re going on strike today! To get attention for the things that we do! And in my case, that means helping to put together this protest, which is more work than I’ve ever done in my LIFE. Whew! Organizing large groups of people to do nothing on purpose together is wearing me out! So make my job easier and chill, will you?

Thanks, faceless person. I really appreciate you giving me a break here.

Your friend,
Bubby

Ever go on strike, or stop doing something so someone else would notice you?
How did it turn out?

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136 thoughts on “On Strike for More Attention”

  1. As the mom of a young man, I once went on a similar laundry strike. It led to his laundry career that continues to this day. This morning I will strike from a cheerful greeting of the day to you sorry Baboons who never appreciate me enough! Ha. Take that.

    Off to the gym.

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    1. No, Jacque! We can’t do it without you. We are prepared to meet your need for appreciation and possibly even express our outright admiration. Rise and Shine is critical to daily life on the Trail!

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    2. Really, it was the only possible thing I could think of to strike from and it just hit my funny bone!

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  2. Rise and ignore your duties Baboons! (and Jacque, we do notice and appreciate the daily cycle of greetings…really!).

    I recently quit posting notes for my other book club. I had taken over when the prior note taker got too busy and felt it was someone else’s turn (she had been note taker and cat herder for a couple of years). Fair enough. Several years later, I hadn’t found anyone else to take a turn and I was feeling under appreciated. So I quit posting meeting notes. Took less than a week for someone to notice. A hew and cry was raised, but when I pointed out that someone else could post notes, no one stepped up to the plate. I post a very abbreviated set of notes for that group now. May start reposting full reports again at some point, but after years of posting monthly notes, I think it’s someone else’s turn.

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    1. It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but a reluctance to try to fill someone’s shoes can express the same sentiment.

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      1. Maybe – but like Bubby and his laundry, I think they’re just used to someone else doing the writing. Plenty of good writers in my other book club – just no one motivated to write a 400-500 word essay on a monthly basis.

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    2. “Well,” she huffed in a spasm of martyrdom. “No one EVER appreciates me enough. And after all I’ve done for this Trail. I think I’ll go eat worms.”

      Then she thought about that. Really? Eating worms. Kinda slimy, maybe gritty, who knows for sure? “OK” she amended. “I’ll go eat chocolate!”

      That’s better.

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      1. Nobody loves me,
        Everybody hates me,
        I think I’ll go and eat worms.*
        Long thin skinny ones,
        Short fat juicy ones,
        See them squiggle and squirm.
        Bite their heads off,
        Suck the juice out,
        Throw the skins away.
        Nobody knows **
        How well I thrive
        On worms three times a day.
        Long thin skinny ones
        Slip down easily,
        Short fat juicy ones stick.
        Nobody loves me,
        Everybody hates me,
        I think I’m going to be SICK!!

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        1. My mother’s other favorite constantly repeated song but never sung:

          I get the neck of the chicken
          I get the rumble seat ride
          I get the leaky umbrella
          Everyone shoves me aside
          When I jump in my shower each morn’
          Sure as fate, I’m too late,
          All the hot water is gone

          I get the neck of the chicken
          I get that burnt piece of toast
          I get that seat in the movies
          Smacko! in back of the post
          That’s why I can’t get over this dream that came true
          If I get the neck of the chicken
          How did I ever get you?

          I get the neck of the chicken
          That’s how they give me the bird
          And in the family snapshot
          Mine is the face that’s all blurred
          When morning paper comes to the door
          Sure as fate, I’m too late
          And they’re mine long about four

          I get the neck of the chicken
          I get the plate with the crack
          I get those evenings with Granma
          Everyone else can relax
          That’s why I can’t get over this fine howdy-do
          If I get the neck of the chicken
          How did I ever get you?

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    3. Anna, years ago in the mid 90′s we volunteered one year for costuming the Hopkins HS musical. The director’s wife who is also an actress at Chanhassen had been doing it herself for a number of years with no help. As the only parent volunteers that year, we ended up working with her for 6 years or so, well after Lindsay had graduated, because no one else stepped up to the plate. It was a fabulous experience for us, but time came to move on eventually. The three of us held some group sewing workshops, developed some structure and patterning techniques, and realized that other parents just needed a little instruction and leadership to step up to the plate. It was a better approach than just throwing fabric at someone and telling them to measure 15 boys and make 15 police uniforms for “Pirates of Penzance”. Not everyone had the skill set or confidence to “just do it”, but with a little coaching they were more than willing AND able.

      So often it’s too easy to underestimate the other person. How often has someone more than met your expectations? Too often, my own experience has been that I don’t give people ENOUGH credit. I’m still working on that.

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  3. Anybody else notice the great similarity between Bubby Spamden’s posts and those of Spin Williams? The same inventive, facile way of arguing a point? The same essential amorality? The kid might not have graduated from 10th grade, but I think he could find employment in politics or public relations.

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  4. My family has a very sneaky way of making me feel very appreciated, so they get lots of thing done for them that they could really do themselves. The system broke down the other day when daughter came back from a very long and emotionally exhausting day in Bismarck at a regional solo and ensemble contest. I had to work late and then go to the grocery store before I got home. She texted me several times to come home and please make her favorite pasta dish, Spaghetti with olive oil and garlic, so she could eat and go to bed. It took me a lot longer to get home than I anticipated. She was a crying, hysterical mess when i finally arrived home. She tried to make her own spaghetti and it turned out quite awful and she was so tired she could hardly think. When she upbraided me for my lateness and told me that “you only care about yourself!” she gave me a perfect line to use when I do something particularly nice for her. Now I reply to her thanks for things I do with “You’re welcome, but you know I only care about myself”.

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    1. Now might be that “teachable moment” for her to learn how to make her favorite spaghetti! :)

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  5. Good morning. I recently stepped down as president of the board of my chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association and didn’t run for another term on this board. I will be attending the board meetings of this group to help get some of the things done that I took responsibility for in the past. People have come forward who seem to be willing to do the work I was doing and I am glad to that they are doing this. I wasn’t sure that any one would come forward. I knew that I had to step down to find out if others would take over the work I was doing.

    The occupy movement is calling for a general strike today. I’m going to stay on the job at my house. I think that is the right thing to do because I am doing the kind of work that I hope the occupy people who not find objectionable and hope I am good at being my own employer, although there is some doubt about that at times. If I was living close a place where the occupy people are holding a dmonstration, I would join them for part of the day. Since I am not near a demonstration I think I will just occupy my own home and consider that to be my own personal May Day demonstration.

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    1. Me too – I’m going on a housework strike, and going out to the gardens instead, weather permitting.

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      1. Barbara, When work resumes, please keep us posted on your summer porch construction project, ok?

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  6. There are a few glaring typos in the comment I made today. Apparently my mind is staging a May Day strike.

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    1. Maybe your mind is okay, but your fingers are on strike and making you notice by making mistakes.

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      1. I don’t know if it’s my mind or my fingers. I hope that both of them don’t go on strike at the same time.

        This is great. I updated the browzer on this old computer I have been using and I am now able reply under comments which I couldn’t before I did the update.

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  7. As a younger married person, I was overwhelmed with the work of the household and the marriage. My counselor at the time made me write up a list of what I did and what my now wasband did around the house on a regular basis. It was incredibly lop-sided. After a long discussion (way too long considering that I had the lop-sided list in my hand during the talk), I told wasband that I would no longer wake him up in the morning (yes, you heard me right). I went out that night and bought a second alarm clock for his side of the bed. He was late to work for about a week before he got the hang of getting himself up. Then I told him I would no longer be making his lunch for him every day. He was late to work for another week before he started getting up 10 minutes earlier to make the lunch.

    Sad but true, this is only PART of a much longer story. However, as frustrating as it was at the time, when I look back on it, the experience did really help me learn to assert myself. And, of course, it makes a great story now!

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    1. Having met you, it’s really hard for me to see you this way :-) because now you’re such direct and straight forward person. You are very easy to talk to, with a great sense of humour. It’s true that given time and perspective, it’s all fodder for the grist mill, yes?

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  8. OT – PJ, I got a picture of Linda’s car on Saturday… with all the raspberry canes on the roof. I’ll send photos around when I get a chance!

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      1. Which reminds me, after everyone left, I found the bowl of roasted red pepper humus I had made and the pita chips I had intended to serve with it. Sorry, but I’ll have to eat it myself.

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  9. I’ve done the laundry thing – gave my notice that I was done doing everybody’s laundry and everybody could do their own, but they had to pick a day of the week to do it and if they wanted to do it on somebody else’s day, they had to ask first. Plus they should get their clean clothes OUT of the laundry room so the next person wouldn’t have to deal with their piles of clothing.

    That system is good in theory, but getting people to clear their clean clothes out of the laundry room did not work perfectly. One daughter in particular just couldn’t manage to do that (she was also the one who always had a last-minute laundry crisis, wanting me to wash and dry a particular article of clothing in 15 minutes so she could wear it somewhere) and complained no end about having to do her own laundry. But guess what she said to me a couple months after she left for college? “Mom, thanks so much for making me do my own laundry. I had to show some kids how to wash their clothes, because they didn’t know how.” I about fell over when she said that.

    The other thing I quit doing was putting all the orders together and placing the order for a buying club. I did it for quite a long time.and when I presented my wish for someone else to do it and even showed them the procedure, they all said, “oh, you have to be so organized to do that. it takes a lot of skill” and nobody offered to do it. The buying club disbanded shortly after that, can’t say I’m sorry.

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  10. This is embarrassing and points out why, in part, I have two wasbands. Like VS, I did the LIONESS’s share of the work. Being non-confrontive and passive, I didn’t do a lot about it. There were discussions every few years (resulting in charts and lists) but it was still imbalanced. I was of the if-you-loved-me-you’d-read-my-mind school of relationships. Clearly that school should be shut down for non-performance.

    After a party, I realized, not for the first time, that I was always the one cleaning up after parties. So, I decided to leave some glasses that needed hand-washing on the counter and see how many days they remained. Finally, after about 3 days, I mentioned that they were there. I was told, “I would have washed them if you had told me.”

    Fault on both sides.

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    1. I don’t see the fault on your side. Personally I think a grown person (of any gender) ought to be able to see dirty glasses on a the counter after a party and come up with the logical conclusion that they need washing without having to be “assigned” the chore. (Disclaimer – Dale has hit on a HUGE hot button for me with this topic.)

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      1. In theory, I agree, vs; but doesn’t always work that way. I hate when I’m told “I’m helping with the housework.” To me “helping” implies that it’s my duty and optional for him to contribute, to which I say BS. Husband, the youngest of three sons, grew up in a household with a stay-at-home mother and a live-in maid who did all the chores. He doesn’t readily see what needs to be done. I often have to be pretty specific. After 32 years of marriage I’ve learned to pick my battles.

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        1. I agree in principle that a spouse should not have to be told to do his share. And yet I think it is only sensible to remember that we are dealing with centuries of social conditioning and warped cultural expectations. The logical thing–in my eyes–is to have a conference involving everyone old enough to have chore responsibilities. Talk it all through: who does what and when they do it. Then if someone slacks off on a task he or she has agreed to do without prompting, you have a problem that needs to be brought up and addressed. Preferably without shouting!

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        2. Me, too. Too many assumptions, or presumption. As my dad used to say, “You have a brain (or two arms, or two legs). Use them!”

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        3. Steve, I suppose you could just as easily say I have centuries of social conditioning to wash windows, but you won’t catch me doing it more than once a year (or less) :-) So I guess you could say I’m bucking centuries of social conditioning. Too bad because I really love sparkly clean windows :-) But there are only so many hours in the day.

          It’s the 21st century so let’s leave that social conditioning back in the dust where it belongs. :-)

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        4. Whoa, I seem to have stirred things up! The irony is that I’m a guy who took on the role of house husband, the TOTAL reversal of expectations. I just think it isn’t sensible to expect men raised in a world where women did all housework to naturally and independently see things that need to be done and to know what to do about them. I know that I meant well, but I literally didn’t see the dirt that my erstwife saw, or in some cases I knew something was a problem (like a dirty tub) but I didn’t know that Chlorox would be needed to make it right. I suppose most cases of conflict resulted from men who should have been quicker and more effective to act, but to this day I am still behind the ball, not knowing what to do to maintain a house well. I was a champion of burying that social conditioning, but I think it only makes sense to talk things through and work out a division of labor (rather than expecting the husband to always know what to do without being told).

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        5. I think Steve has a good point. Probably should discuss standards of cleanliness, etc. so one person isn’t always criticizing the other’s efforts. Unfortunately, sometimes all the talking in the world doesn’t help the problem…

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        6. If I seem to be picking on you, Steve, I apologize! But believe me when I tell you that women haven’t necessarily been “trained” to do housework. We just grew up and had to take care of ourselves and figured it out along the way. I know a lot of guys who have done that, too. My husband has read lots of accounts of 19th c utopian communities and this is a story that kind of relates, good for a laugh anyway.

          In the mid 1800′s Bronson Alcott established a little experiment in utopian living at his farm Fruitlands. At the time, Margaret Fuller wrote an article in which she found Alcott and his mentee Charles Lane to be highly unlikely candidates for any kind of subsistence farming endeavor and as it turns out she knew whereof she spoke. Alcott moved his wife and four daughters to Fruitlands and set up shop while continuing to lecture around the country. He was a strict vegetarian and philosophically opposed to eating meat or using animals in farm labor, but at the same time he wasn’t exactly an active participant in the running of the farm. One time a visitor to the farm found Mrs. Alcott out hoeing in the field and asked her: “What, madam, have you no beasts of burden?” to which she replied “Only one woman.” Needless to say the experiment lasted only one season at which time Mrs. A packed up her girls and moved back to town. I’m guessing he followed them back because otherwise who would make him dinner? Now there’s a guy who really hadn’t a clue.

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        7. Robin, I wonder if we are dealing with a generational thing here. In the world I knew as a kid, girls were taught the secrets of housework and the boys were not. I identified myself as a “feminist” in the 1960s, and my whole life has reflected my desire to deal with women appropriately. I could tell stories and stories here, but this isn’t the right time. My sensitivity on this topic reflects the pain I’ve felt many times when women found me silly or disgusting or dirty or just effing clueless about running a house the way they thought everyone should. This includes things like not knowing one shouldn’t mix darks and lights in the washing machine. I’ve been severely embarrassed by not seeing dirt that is glaringly obvious to women, such as soap scum on the shower walls. If that hadn’t been pointed out to me, I never would have seen it.

          I wonder if you know how radically this society has changed in its perceptions of male and female roles in recent decades. In the 1970s a kindly male professor told my erstwife that if she got a PhD in English, the best she could hope for would be teaching large survey courses. He didn’t want her to be crushed by the prejudicial treatment he knew she would get as a young woman in an English department. Just a few years later, that man could have been fired for saying those words . . . so rapidly had things changed. It amuses and amazes me that Minneapolis is about to get a police chief who took the department to court for the most cruel and dangerous sort of misconduct just a couple of decades ago.

          And maybe we don’t have a dispute. I thought I was only saying that husbands aren’t always aware of what they should do in order to share housework. But I know men well enough to know that in a great many cases, they do know . . . and just fail to act because they know their spouse will eventually give in and do it herself.

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        8. No, Steve, I don’t think we have a dispute — I simply think we’re back to the beginning of the discussion where the concept of “shared” is often understood differently between partners and each couple has to find an equilibrium that works for them. It helps to talk without rancor or blame, but ultimately actions speak louder than words. And I agree with PJ that words matter because they frame the conversation — “Helping” implies one’s duty and another’s optional assistance. But after all, it has been 40 years since the 70′s and so sometimes I have to wonder why we’re still having “the housework conversation”? It would be great if the generations after ours have evolved a step further, just as they have in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” debate. Maybe we’re dinosaurs :-)

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      2. The “fault” on my side was passively leaving the glasses on the counter rather than having an actual conversation expressing my unhappiness with 11-odd years of letting it pass. And with the 11-odd years of doing so while building up huge resentment. Not matchur at all.

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    2. In the interest of, oh heck, I don’t know – something, maybe gender fairness – I feel I should point out that in our household Husband is primary dishwasher and laundry person. Frankly, he does most of the day-to-day cleaning. He figures this is fair since I do most of the cooking, tidying (read: keeping the dining room table clear enough for use), and general home repair. His mother was also quite vocal about sharing duties in the house, regardless of social norms or gender…clearly it sunk in.

      Or maybe I just got the outlier who throws off the trending data… :)

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  11. Sometimes doing the job no one else wants gets you more appreciation than you expect. Once when I was volunteering for the local garden club, doing cleanup at the Garden of Good Hearts, there was a dead rabbit near the woods. When I arrived people were just giving the poor rabbit a wide berth and exchanging helpless looks about it, so I grabbed a shovel and buried it. Dead animals kind of make me sad, but I’m not squeamish about them. The leader of the garden club sent me a thank-you note the next week, mentioning the rabbit. A couple of weeks later she wrote again and thanked me effusively.

    A little over a year ago I joined a little nonprofit, my dragon boat team, and when they were looking for someone to take over as treasurer, I volunteered for it. Went through the process of being nominated and voted on at the board meeting. I was a little surprised that they actually gave me the job, as I was so new to the organization. I’m beginning to suspect, though, that the treasurer’s post is their dead rabbit; they were hoping someone would step forward with the shovel. We’ll see – I may have to go on strike when my term is up.

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      1. Several cultures have developed more or less the same idea. Dragon boats are basically over-sized canoes that are powered by many paddlers . . . like maybe 20. These things have races. I’m not aware of any in the Twin Cities area, but Duluth has them.

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    1. Now, if you want to improve your standing with the garden club, leave another dead rabbit on the premises and then bury it after enough people have notice.

      Does this little trick sound familiar?

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    2. Linda – I ended up as Treasurer of child’s gymnastics organization in a very similar situation. I had no accounting background and no experience, but no one else was stepping up to the plate. Turned out that what was really needed was an organized person who could turn out a spreadsheet, pay the bills when they arrived in the mail and nag people to get their payments in. Still a thankless job that I was happy to have turn over to someone else after two years!

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      1. I have one episode left until I officially go into Downton withdrawal. Should I understand you reference without having seen that episode? If so, don’t tell me; I’ll want to try to figure it out.

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        1. My comment referred to the little trick Thomas used to win his way back into the Earl’s heart. The idea was to make Isis, the dog, disappear so Thomas could rescue the dog. It got bungled, but in the end the ruse worked. This is NOT in the last episode!

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        2. Yikes, I must have missed an episode. I don’t remember that (or anything about the dog)!
          Maybe I have TWO episodes before withdrawal.
          That Thomas, he’s so lovable, isn’t he?

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        3. Steve, I checked with a friend and the dog bit IS in the last episode. I don’t think it’s been spoiled too much and I’ll be watching it tonight anyway.
          At the beginning of the series, I thought Thomas was handsome but either they’ve changed his look or I just despise him too much but he’s not handsome to me anymore.

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        4. And soooooo good lookin’! It was so much fun hearing Mrs. Patmore trying to tell Daisy that Thomas was not the type for her, and everything she said just made Daisy more interested.

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        5. Grrrrr. I didn’t like Thomas and it’s JUST WRONG to take someone else’s dog. Yes, it did work out, but his motives were selfish and a person’s dog is their best friend. It was wrong for him to take that dog. Grrrr.

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        6. That ruse with the dog that Thomas did really bothered me. I was so irked that this sneaky trick made him look like a hero.

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  12. I used to belong to a group of eleven women who would go out to eat once a month. The last two years I made the schedule, picked the restaurants and emailed everyone a four month schedule ahead of time, complete with links to the restaurants we’d be visiting. I’d also give them a day or two before reminder that a dinner was coming up. Despite all this, often only 3 or 4 people would show up, often with such lame excuses as “my daughter is stopping over tonight” or “I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until it was too late.” When I announced that I was no longer going to schedule these dinners, that someone else would have to take over, it was agreed that we should take turns scheduling them. That was shortly before Christmas. So far no-one has stepped forward and organized anything. Guess we really aren’t all that interested in getting together.

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    1. PJ the effort you put in is admirable. I had a group like that fall apart too but I know that no one put in near that much effort. We met in an ever decreasing group until it became like herding cats. Only 2 of us left. We each used to call another person but coordinating was impossible.

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  13. Around about the time our daughters each turned 13 it suddenly mattered to them that all their underwear and white t-shirts had a pink tinge. They preferred doing their own laundry to looking off color. It wasn’t intentional on my part, just my usual casual standard of housekeeping. I guess I drove them to it :-)

    Spouse-wise I really chose well :-) Bill loves to cook; I don’t mind washing up. He works from home so he starts supper; I get home and put my feet up with the paper, my pipe and martini. Snort. Seriously though, many chores seem to divide up naturally depending on each person’s preference or tolerance level or skill set, we’ve found. The rest of the stuff gets done “once a year whether it needs doing or not”.

    I DO think that the key ingredient to a successful partnership, besides being able to discuss differences in a civil manner, is for both to be adults and see what needs to be done and do it — without having to be asked! Why should one party have to parent the other? In our house, many tasks flip back and forth depending on whether one or both are super tired that night or our work load that day.

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    1. Robin, You’ve nailed it; you just do what needs to be done. That and the “..tolerance level…”
      We take turns on laundry and dishes. When one of us in a show the other covers. And usually by the time we get the show open the other is tired of “always doing the
      dishes”.
      We quit doing laundry for our son a year before he left for college. He understood the reasoning behind that but it was hard for us to let his laundry basket get full and overflowing before he’d deal with it. Whatever, ‘NMP’ Not My Problem as I’m fond of saying…
      And the mudroom is where I wash up and leave farm clothes. Kelly doesn’t deal with it. When it’s gets so bad that even I am disgusted, then I’ll clean the toilet or sweep the floor. In the meantime, I just close the door….. :-)

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      1. And Bill does the stuff that calls for power tools! You either like ‘em or you don’t. Our daughter Lindsay inherited that gene; she was the set builder at her theater a la Anna and you. .

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      2. Tolerance level is one sticking point for sure. Another is “standard” of cleanliness. I generally try to be as supportive as I can when husband has made an effort to clean, I know I can’t expect him to do things my way. Having been gone for a whole month in the hospital, he had ample time to notice the things that weren’t getting done. Here’s how that turned out.

        When I returned home, he had hired the janitor from his place of employment to help clean on the Sunday before I was released. The two of them had worked, I don’t know how long, and it was interesting to note what they had accomplished. They hadn’t vacuumed our rugs! When I asked about it, husband said “I took them outside and beat them.” “What about the dog and cat hair?” I inquired. He just shrugged. The kitchen, my laboratory, had been completely rearranged with some of the appliances that I use daily put in places where I couldn’t even reach them, or where I’d have to walk further to get to them. My juicer is still on top of the refrigerator! Thank god I was so happy to be home, and tired from the ordeal of getting there, that I just sat down and cried. In fairness, he tried; both the bathroom and the kitchen floors were nice and clean. Husband is a control freak and we’ve had the conversation more than once, both with and without yelling, that it would never occur to me to rearrange his shop or his office, and I’d appreciate him butting out of how the kitchen is organized since I do all of the cooking. Seems reasonably simple to me. Once I can lift with both arms again, that juicer will be back where I can reach and use it, as will the other appliances that he moved.

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        1. Oh, my, PJ. When I come over to plant your pots, I’ll get your juicer down for you. I completely agree that we need to cut each other some slack and not always expect the same standard. Sometimes it’s the effort that counts. But when you’re tired and achy, and your juicer is on top of the fridge, it’s okay to cry. Then let yourself take a nap and let go for a little longer. You’re doing so well, we were all amazed, but slow and steady does it, okay?

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  14. Two OTs:
    1. I just spent some time reading through some recipes in Kitchen Congress and, damn, there are some mighty fine looking recipes there.
    2. I received a notice from MPR that Valerie Arganbright is leaving MPR. I always liked hearing her do pledge drives with Dale and Jim Ed. So enthusiastic and stuch a distinctive voice. I particularly remember once when she exhorted listeners to call in and that Jim Ed would not be allowed to take anther bite of doughnut until we met her micro-goal.

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      1. I met her at an event through a friend who works at MPR – I can verify that she is a genuinely nice person (and quite gracious).

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    1. Valerie’s resignation concerns me a bit. I hope this is her decision and she has not been forced out due to membership problems. I heard the last several member drives did not meet goals. I think membership is being affected by the increasingly stale programming, poor managment decisions, and the lack of new shows in development. It is easy to blame membership issues on that department instead of lack of creativity and the desperate attempts to attract young listeners whilealienating us old folks.

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      1. The email made it sound like it was her idea. She said, “I’m beginning a new business venture that I hope will help build financial strength and stability through sustaining member programs for other nonprofit organizations across the country.” I think that if she were being forced out, they would never have sent the email; she would just have disappeared.

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  15. As this discussion has evolved, I should now announce that my erstwife and I worked a near-total switch. She was already the rising corporate star, doing a long commute and winning a big check. I became a house-husband, doing the shopping, cooking, laundry, all the kid care and much of the cleaning. In my spare time, I wrote articles and books to bring in as much money as I could. We thought we were on the cutting edge of the culture, being so progressive and egalitarian. Ask me sometime how that all worked out, preferably when we have some wine. :)

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  16. Yes, I have participated in two actual strikes. The first was in 1983 when AFSCME went on strike over insurance benefits. I did a little picketing but I wasn’t really needed on the line. I had a bit of conscientious objection to the strike because, as a nurse, I felt it was wrong to leave my patients. So, some friends and I entered the Regional Center grounds through the woods (what is now River Bend Nature Center) and went to our building (Cedar) and knocked on the door. Our supervisor opened the door with a look of complete astonishment. We asked if we could take a couple of residents out to the DQ. Our supervisor stared at us in disbelief. We really missed the residents and wanted some contact. He said it was okay, so we took them to the DQ and for a walk in the nature center. They were happy to see us and we all enjoyed the day. It took some pressure off of the MMA and MAPE staff who weren’t on strike and had to manage 60 residents with the help of some carnival workers (aka scabs). It was a great result and I’d do it all over again.

    The second AFSCME strike was several years ago. Again, MAPE and MMA staff didn’t participate. It was much harder to be on strike and it went on too long. We lost and we have continued to lose ever since. This is a political hot button, so I hesitate to go into it too much. I’m scared about the future though – really scared. I’ve worked for 35 years and I’m totally invested in the system. It would be devastating to lose everything now. We’ve been working without a contract since July 1 last year and it finally went to arbitration in April. The arbitrator is supposed to settle the differences between the State and the Union without a strike. I certainly hope they do.

    I quit doing the backstage food after Rock Bend last year. My friend Linda and I gave notice that we would no longer be cooking for hundreds of people. Linda made 80 pounds of pulled pork and 20 pounds of ham for sandwiches. I made four batches of vegetarian soups, four batches of oatmeal raisin bars, ten loaves of Friendship Bread (thanks, Ben), and salads. I also made baked beans, brats and desserts for the volunteers who come to help set up the park during the week before Rock Bend. There is no refrigeration and no way to lock up our food and supplies in the park, so we had to unpack and repack everything twice a day, hauling it all back in forth in our cars. It was just exhausting to be in charge of all of that food as well as be stage manager for the North Grove stage. Last night at our meeting I reminded the other committee members that they’d have to find a caterer since no one else wants to do the food. We’re going to get some bids for catering for the festival weekend itself, but I’ll still have to make the brats, beans and desserts for the set-up volunteers. I think I can handle it.

    The City of St. Peter is planning to build a new pavilion for Minnesota Square Park and is giving Rock Bend priority in the planning for the new structure. Kris Higginbotham from our committee is working with their committee to come up with a design that will meet our needs! It was great news and very gratifying, but it means that the City is planning on Rock Bend always being there. We’re getting tired and suffering from gray hair syndrome, and we’re having trouble getting young people to step up. We want people in their late twenties and thirties to start getting involved and we’d like to select music they’ll enjoy. We haven’t had much luck. I think we should start with some internships but we can’t pay an intern. We already have hundreds of volunteers and some kids who grew up with Rock Bend. So far, no real interest in getting involved. I think that is our biggest challenge. Sorry for this lengthy post.

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      1. I don’t know about private sector, but we hire interns every summer. They receive pay and college credit for working for us. We put them through a testing and interview process not unlike what they would go through if they were to apply for full-time, permanent work. If they are hired, we work with their adviser on mutual goals. We offer them a good wage and they work for 3-4 months. This summer we will have three interns. Most of them are college seniors who are planning to go on for a Masters degree.

        We no longer have enough full-time, permanent employees to do all of the field work in the summer. The interns are able to help with some of our needs and they gain valuable workplace experience. They turn in a report at the end of their internship.

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    1. You might want to check into some arts grants to cover some of the costs of Rock Bend. It has a solid history and attracts good crowds and performers. Young interns should be good at researching and writing the grants.

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      1. Thanks, Joanne. We do apply for grants. Last year the MN State Arts Board denied our grant application for $15K. This year we’re back in good graces with $20K from MN State Arts Board, $2000 (I think) from Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council and a possible grant from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation. Our music budget is about $25-30K; we have to pay for insurance, food and beverages, permits, T-shirts and fun stuff, backline for the bands, tent rental, truck rental, garbage & recycling, security, biffies, and more… we end up spending around $45K each year. I have suggested an intern, possibly a Gustavus student who wants to hang around St. Peter all summer, but we really couldn’t pay them. We’re still tossing that around.

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        1. After I wrote that, I figured — of course they have grants — how else does a big free folk music festival survive? That’s terrific. I’m glad you’re able to get grants for such a big affair. You might need to cast a wider net. Business donations and foundations; although they tend to be more specific in their scope.

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        2. I was wrong about Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council. The amount they have awarded us this year is $4000. We’re still working on the application for Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation, but they have never turned us down or given anything less than what we’ve requested. It is usually around $15000.

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  17. Lisa was correct about my former “no” post. I’m on blog strike, waiting for someone to notice me. I’ll let you know tomorrow how this turns out.

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      1. I think tim said he’d be on the West Coast this week, not online much…

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  18. OT, I bought some asperagus plants today… going to try that. Anybody actually seen any growing wild? And my normal spot for mushrooms is coming up empty this year. :-( A lack of morals for me this year.
    (Speaking of morals, Anybody going to see ‘Spring Awakening’? I have tickets on Sunday at the U of M.)

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  19. OK, I give up, I don’t know how to lurk.

    OT: I just tried to send out, to those of you who were at the Gardening Extravaganza Sunday, the photo of 5 of you in PJ’s kitchen. Has anyone received it? I think something’s not right with my photo system here.

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      1. I love this version. Reminds me of the Newport Folk Festival in 1968 — Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Taj Mahal, Joan Baez and Mimi Farina, Doc Watson. I only wish I could remember what they actually sang.

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        1. Yes, I was, just that once :-) It was great and I’ve always wanted to go back some time. Have you been?

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    1. Yes, Jacque! Bill and I just looked at each other and realized that we almost never join the conversation till it’s OT. Are we banished from the kingdom now? :-(

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