Guide to Responsible Pitbull Ownership

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1. Don’t have children or small dogs.

2. If you’re going to get a second dog, don’t get a second pit bull.

3. You need to have your own home with a yard large enough for the dog to run around in and a fence high enough to contain it. In areas that disallow privacy fences, a pit bull obviously isn’t an option.

4. If you have visitors over, keep the dog locked in a bedroom unless/until your visitors are made to understand the risks involved and agree to have it roam free.

5. No kids allowed over unless the dog is safety secured in a bedroom and cannot escape. PERIOD.

6. Take precautions to make sure the dog doesn’t escape from the house. Secure in the hall bathroom or closet before answering the door. Don’t open the garage door until the door inside is shut.

7. During walks, keep the dog away from other dogs. Use a choke collar, and keep it on a leash appropriate for its weight. Do not let anyone pet your dog.

8. Don’t allow the dog on the couch or the bed. The moment you do, you’re setting yourself up for a future struggle over dominance.

9. Keep the dog locked up at night. No used taking precautions during the day and getting eaten while you sleep.

10. In the unfortunate event that your dog does bite someone, take responsibility. Pay the victim’s medical expenses and put the dog down. Now that it has tasted human flesh, it will inevitably bite again.

I’m not trying to write a textbook here, but a lot of this common-sense crap is just lost on people.

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Specifications for Packing My Child’s Lunch

My son’s grandmother did me the favor packing his lunch the other day.  (In a nutshell, I’m sick.)  All she required of me was his Monsters University lunch bag/box/whatever you want to call it (it’s one of those insulated softies), and I ended up throwing in a box of V8 Fusion.  My mother was doing me a favor, so I wasn’t about to lecture her on the specifications of packing my preschooler’s lunch.

I go all out with my kid’s lunches.  I like to be creative and make things fun.  Bagged lunches can be boring, so I like to include variety.  I also like to zazz things up with fun character or holiday-themed paper products (plate and napkin), colorful zip-lock bags (available at Target), and character-themed tupperware containers.  I’ll periodically rotate in special food themes –– “China food” or “Mexico food,” or even “spooky food,” and on the rare occasions that I throw it a dessert, I’ll find some way to make it literacy based.  (This used to be a major hobby of mine.)

I also make a point of including “love notes” in his lunches.   Even on the day that Grandma packed it for me, I made a point of slipping a little heart-shaped sticky note into his lunch box with an excuse explanation as to why everything looked so dull different.  (Wasn’t it NICE of Grandma to pack your lunch today?)

I’ll scribble down a few sentences worth of well-wishes, interesting facts, useful information, or suggest social prompts.  Some notes will have it all.  And every note contains an integrated “sight word”, which I also make a point of S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G O-U-T. It sounds crazy, but the kid loves it, and his teachers find it adorable.  (There are only six other kids in his classroom, so they can afford to give him a little extra attention.)

So this got me thinking… what if I had left my mother an exacting set of instructions on how to prepare and pack my child’s lunch?  There are plenty of parents out there who obsess over what they feed their kids, and god help you if you accidentally feed them inorganic produce.  Some insist artificial dyes were responsible for their children’s behavior problems; others seek to “cure” their kids of autism Jenny McCarthy style (which evidently involves removing gluten and casein from their diets).  More still have taken it upon themselves to “diagnose” their poor kids with multiple food allergies and intolerances before subjecting them to rigorous dietary restrictions.  I can only imagine the enormity of the written instructions these parents must leave their child care providers, who may not even be able to make the distinction between quinoa and couscous.

Grandma ended up sending the boy in with beans, spaghetti, and the V8 juice I’d given her.  Not quite the lunch I would have packed, but certainly delicious and nutritious enough to keep my child satiated and content.

But if I had left her a list of specifications for packing my kid’s lunch, here’s what it would have looked like:

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How to Feed a Toddler

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STEP ONE:
Select a delicious, nutritious meal to feed your child.

STEP TWO:
Sober up to the realization that there is no way in hell he would ever eat that.

STEP THREE:
Come up with a new meal featuring minimal (less than three) ingredients.

STEP FOUR:
Assemble the meal. In many cases, cooking will not be required.

STEP FIVE:
Present the meal in an attractive fashion (sandwiches shaped like zoo animals, pancakes decorated to resemble faces).

STEP SIX:
The sell. (“Oh WOW, these look sooo yummy! “ / “You’re a lucky [boy/girl] to get such a yummy [breakfast/lunch/dinner]!” / “OM NOM NOM!”)

STEP SEVEN:
Once the meal has been refused, stand firm in your resolve that THIS is [breakfast/lunch/dinner], there will not be an alternative [breakfast/lunch/dinner], and he will eat what you’ve made him.

STEP EIGHT:
The entire meal finds its way onto the floor. Luckily, you anticipated this, so there is an identical plate sitting right out on the counter. Clean up and replace lost meal.

STEP NINE:
Ignore your child’s frantic cries of hunger. You’ve already fulfilled your parental obligation to make [breakfast/lunch/dinner]. Go empty the dishwasher or read a magazine.

STEP TEN:
The cries get louder. Your child is clearly starving. Deny the pleas for Cheerios and Goldfish Crackers. He will eat what you made him or go hungry. You are strong. You are the one in charge.

STEP ELEVEN:
Disregard the pity in your heart for your starving child. Ignore the guilt you feel for imposing such suffering upon a small, helpless creature. Go do some laundry.

STEP TWELVE:
The cries of your child become unbearable. Over the sound of the dryer, you think you hear Child Protective Services knocking at your door. Beg your child to sit down and eat his meal. Offer him cookies if he takes just two bites — no, one bite — of his damned [breakfast/lunch/dinner].

STEP THIRTEEN:
Your child is wasting away. You are a horrible [parent/grandparent] for abusing your child so. Fearing [loss of custody/incarceration/eternal damnation], you allow him a belly full of [Cheerios/Goldfish Crackers] for [breakfast/lunch/dinner].

STEP FOURTEEN:
Break down crying as your child happily eats his snacks. By this step, you should feel guilt for giving into the demands of a fussy toddler and denying your child a healhy, balanced diet — he would have certainly eaten the full meal if only you had held out a little longer.

STEP FIFTEEN:
Child learns to get what he wants through emotional blackmail. As you begin to plan the next meal, so does he.

Everything I Need to Know About Management I Learned From Muffin and Molly

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(1) If it’s not broken, break it so you can fix it.

(2) If it’s already broken, make sure everyone understands that it wasn’t your fault.

(3) Sometimes it can be advantageous to throw yourself under the bus, only make certain that your guilt is so readily apparent, people are forced to conclude you are nothing more than a scapegoat.

(4) If they’re on to you, break something and then throw yourself under the bus.  This will make you appear to be both a responsible individual and a victim.  And everyone loves a victim.

(5) It is never enough to “right” a wrong.  Always make sure to take the credit, even if you didn’t actually have a hand in fixing things, and even if you were the sole instigator of the problem.

(6) If there is a problem, throw a body at it.  This gives the impression that you are aware of the problem and that you are working diligently to fix it, when in fact all you are doing is passing the buck on to someone else.

(7) There is no telling how far you will rise when you continually remind people that you are part of a protected minority group.

(8) Get close to your Human Resources Manager.  People will be reluctant to cross you if they think you are her friend.  It makes no difference whether she wants to be your friend or not – confidentiality policies restrain her from commenting on whether any such personal relationship exists.

(9) The surest way to make yourself look good is to make everyone else around you look worse in comparison.

(10) If you can’t have the last word, at least make sure to get in the loudest.