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Jack of all trades, but master of none.

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I hear the term “jack of all trades” used a lot. But people always leave off the “master of none” part which, at least when I’m applying it to myself, is the most accurate part. You’ve probably heard the term applied to the Alpha Omega car seat, or any of it’s clones. Tries to be a lot of things, and pretty much sucks at all of them. I’m like the Alpha Omega of the mom world.

Most days it feels next to impossible to have two jobs: mom and work out of home mom. Heck, being mom in general is next to impossible some days. Or most days. Or all of them. Really.

You literally spend your whole day giving yourself to someone else. Not just your care but your soul and emotions. Then on top of that, you attempt to maintain some sort of living environment while they ransack and destroy every futile attempt you put forth. It’s something you never really feel adequate at, even though you’re doing your best.

I work weekends as a nurse, and it’s basically déjà vu but with adults. I go to work and spend my whole day putting others’ needs before my own. I don’t eat, I don’t pee. I get yelled at, hit, things thrown at me, and spend lots of time teaching and bargaining. “Please stop smoking. If you stop smoking, maybe you won’t die!” sounds a lot like “Please stop jumping off the top of the playset. If you stop jumping off the playset, maybe you won’t break both your ankles!” There’s lots of poop and bodily fluids and tears involved. And hugs. The hugs that make you mind the other stuff a little less.

The problem is, I always feel like I can’t put my whole effort into both. At home, I’m constantly on the phone about work stuff, or counting down the days till I have to drag myself back there. I snap at my kids when I’m going through work emails (I work in management as well as bedside nursing so work often does come home with me) because I’m frustrated. I don’t see much of my older son as he’s in school all day and by the time we get home from school pick up at 4pm, we don’t have time to go do anything because I have to make dinner and my kids go to bed at 7pm. I miss their weekend ball games, all the fun family events, festivals, and time with my husband.

When I’m at work, I don’t put 100% because I just want to get home to my family. I think about my kids, wonder how their games are going, wish I could give my husband a hand in the yard. I snap at my coworkers because I’m frustrated at what I’m not doing. I don’t always finish the things I should finish because I just want to get home and relieve the guilt of ignoring the kids during the week because I was thinking about work.

It’s a catch 22 really, and I feel like I don’t do anything well. Sometimes I feel like I can’t make anyone happy, including myself. The guilt is overwhelming, especially when you see other moms holding down full time jobs and seemingly rocking it. Unfortunately in this day and age, it’s hard to get by on one income. We’ve done it for years but we felt like we weren’t giving our kids enough and with both of us working, we have opportunities to go do fun things instead of not being able to because we are living paycheck to paycheck. However, working opposite schedules, we don’t really have time to do those fun things. And then apparently on top of all that, I’m supposed to eat healthy, exercise, be involved in my kid’s school, have friends, and make time for myself.

So what’s the answer? I don’t know. It’s probably family specific, and what works for us won’t work for everyone and vice versa. But how do you make it work emotionally? How do you feel satisfied with what you’re doing? How do you not feel stretched thin and still not successful? If anyone has the answers, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll chalk it up as one of those eternally unanswered mom questions. How do we do it all, and do it well?

You spin me right round, baby.

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Roundabouts have been around for awhile, and I’m sure they’re more popular in some areas of the country than others. I just found out that Northerners call them rotaries. Silly Northerners. 😉

We’ve mostly had 4 way stops at our intersections, and the number of accidents, even fatal ones, have been phenomenally high. Traffic lights require money, so therefore a roundabout at the most problematic of intersections was decided upon. It is BFFs with the older roundabout down the road a quarter mile, so basically our main road is a stretch of whirly twirly fun.

However, one thing I’ve noticed is that not everyone seems to know how to use a roundabout. I can count fairly high the number of times people have shown me gestures of love because I didn’t stop inside the roundabout to let them in. It’s also very common for people to brake inside the roundabout and wait for me to enter. Neither scenario is correct, and increases risk for traffic incidents.

Roundabouts are beneficial for a number of reasons. Most importantly, they reduce the number of accidents. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in the most recent of studies, they reduce total accidents by about 35%, and injuries by 76%. Fatalities in a roundabout are nearly unheard of. That’s much better than getting t-boned when someone runs a stop sign at a 4 way stop! They also improve the flow of traffic, let people make u-turns safely, and require little maintenance.

So, how do you properly use a roundabout and avoid being “that guy”? One word, yield. You yield to traffic within the circle. You don’t stop within the circle to let someone in. You don’t pull into the circle in front of a car thinking they are supposed to yield to you. You stop at the entrance, wait for a break in traffic, and enter. When you exit the circle, use your signal so the car at the next entrance knows you are exiting and does not have to wait for you to pass. If you’ve never used one, they do take some time to get used to. However, after awhile, they’re very straight forward and it’s great to not have to stop completely like you would at a stop sign, providing flow is low and there’s no one in the circle for you to wait on.

So there you go. Now you know how to use a roundabout. Or a rotary. Life tidbits ya’ll, you’ll thank me next time you go on a road trip and come across one of these monstrosities.

Honda’s latest recall and what you need to know about it

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2011-2017 Honda Odyssey Recall

Got an Odyssey? Then get ready for a NEW recall notice in the next month or so for model year 2011-2017 Honda Odysseys. We addressed a similar recall that was first announced in December of 2016, so be sure to update yourself on that as well if you are not aware. This upcoming recall affects the second row seats just like last year’s recall, only this time it has to do with the vehicle seat latches possibly not connecting fully when reattaching the seat or moving it from the inner most position to the neutral or outermost position. This recall does not involve the lower LATCH anchors used to attach carseats. If the vehicle seat is not latched to the car, it can tip forward during moderate to severe braking and hurt a passenger. According to NHTSA there have been 46 reported (minor) injuries.

To emphasize: If you had a already recall fix done to your Odyssey during 2017 for 2nd row seat release lever that remains unlocked, that is a DIFFERENT RECALL.  This is a NEW recall that is similar to the one from earlier in 2017.  All 2011-2017 owners will be mailed a NEW recall notice starting in late December, 2017.

Over 800,000 Odysseys from model years 2011-2017 have been recalled. Visit Honda’s website with your VIN to check if yours is affected.

What you need to know according to Honda:

-Right now there is no fix available and Honda is currently working toward a resolution.

-Mailed notifications will be sent by Honda to owners in late December, 2017

-When a fix is available, Honda will notify consumers. The repair will be free of cost.

-In the meantime, Honda’s website has step by step instructions for making sure your seat is latched down properly for safe use. You can view those steps here: Instructions for Properly Installing/Positioning the Second Row Outer Seats and Confirming They Are Securely Latched.

-Honda does not recommend tipping the second row seat forward for access to the third row because it increases the chances of it not latching properly when placing it back down.

-Most dealerships are honoring a stop-sale on all Odysseys that fall within this recall and will not sell them. However keep in mind that this recall is very new and a lot of dealerships are not yet aware. So if you are in the market for a used Odyssey, keep in mind that you will not be able to purchase one from those model years from a dealer until the fix is issued. If your local dealer is selling them, know that any model between 2011-2017 is affected.

The second row seat may not anchor fully to the floor and tip forward during hard braking.

You can see where the latch of the seat connects to the bar on the floor. Visit Honda’s website for full instructions on how to ensure the seat is latched properly.

 

To check if your vehicle is affected, please visit Honda’s website to put in your VIN number, or call (800) 999-1009. More information should be forthcoming.

 

NHTSA Campaign Number: 17V725000

Manufacturer Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)

Components SEATS

Potential Number of Units Affected 806,936

Take me home, country roads…

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But not that kind of home. Like, my actual house. Not the eternal home.

Sometimes when it comes to the topic of child safety, I struggle to think of a topic to discuss. Obviously, there are topics that are super important and commonly brought up such as installation, coats in car seats, tether usage, fit to child, etc. However, as I was driving the peaceful winding road to get Liam from school, I paid more attention to the common scene in front of me. Two preteen boys were sitting in the back of a truck on hay bales, each with a wiggly, happy dog held steady by the boys’ knees. As I got closer to the school, I passed the local high school and saw the usual rowdy bunch of kids riding home in the beds of pickup trucks driven by their friends, laughing and smiling in the wind and sunshine. For most people around here, it’s a scene of youth. It’s how it’s always been, and how it will always be.

When we think of child passenger safety, we think of babies. Little kids. Kids in boosters. We don’t often think of those wild, free, tousled hair, uninhibited teenagers. Yet they are at the height of the incredible feeling of invincibility, taking risks left and right and scaring the crud out of their parents. Talking sense into them sometimes feels more difficult than other age groups, and enforcing rules sometimes seems even harder.

As I watch the boys laugh when the truck hits a bump, I wonder about the person driving. I’m assuming it’s the father of one of the boys. I wonder what sets him at ease with having two children in the bed of a truck. Surely it’s not lack of knowledge. Sure, not everyone knows how to install a car seat properly but most everyone knows it’s not safe to ride without a seatbelt or in the bed of a truck. So what is it? Tradition? Culture? Both?

Well obviously, because if you didn’t survive you couldn’t share the meme.

According to the USDOT in 2012, while only 19% of people live in rural areas, 54% of crash fatalities occur on rural roads. Road maintenance, lack of lighting, and roads with only one lane each way probably has a lot to do with it, situations like what I described above may also be contributory. Here in Union County, which straddles both NC and SC, we’ve had more than our share. Just in the last two weeks alone we’ve had 4 people killed after colliding with a tractor-trailer, a person airlifted out after an 18 wheeler (that doesn’t belong on these back roads) smacked into the car, two high school students killed, and just last week my neighbors lost their only daughter after she was rear-ended while sitting at a red light. All within a 10-mile radius. Our roads are beautifully lined with wildflowers and old barns with a history beyond what I can comprehend, but they are also trails of sadness with the multiple crosses, memorials, flowers, and candles.

Insert name here.

Tradition is heavy here. It’s hard to make changes to something that has been commonplace for so long, something that “we’ve all done and are just fine”. Roads change, vehicles change, populations change. Generations change. Every day I see it- farmers are changing from the traditional ways of our grandparents to the innovative and creativity of the younger generation. Our generation craves information, efficiency, new ways of doing things. Hopefully with that will come a recognition of the fact that while some horrible things are out of our control, it’s amazing what knowledge we are armed with to protect ourselves and our children.

I silently willed my thoughts into the rearview mirror of that man driving. Urging him to recognize that one sideswipe or bump in the road is all it takes to change this everyday memory into yet another cross on the side of the road. When driving, we are all one Facebook post away from our own roadside vigil. Tradition runs strong, but nothing says strength like taking knowledge and adapting for survival.