How Toy Story Messed Up My Mind Forever

Bogey, my orangutan plush doll from the Shirt Tales TV series sits on my arm chair, staring at me. He is my buddy and a comfort when I need to hide from the world, yes even as a grown-ass adult. His stare is discomforting. Does he remember that I just accidentally let him fall behind the headboard where he remained upside down and squished for nearly two weeks? Is he judging me? Was he in pain? Is he emotionally upset?

Or is he just a soft lump of cotton and polyester filling bundled in cloth fabrics with synthetic hair poking out at wild angles? His eyes are plastic knobs. His faded tag still protrudes from his backside.

I watch and he doesn’t move. Not even the faintest change of expression on his sweet face. Maybe that’s because he can’t move. Whatever terrible, great, awful spell is cast upon him, and every other toy in the universe, has his expression locked like stone. And then that notion is horrifying. Could it be that he is paralyzed with waking thoughts every time I’m in the room? That would make a mind insane. What kind of horrible curse or panoply of gods could allow a sentient being to be locked in such a way?

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Ghost Stories

When it comes to the supernatural I am, by nature, a skeptic. I’d prefer to investigate and discover the rational, if improbable, explanation for strange happenings. And I’ve taken great comfort in knowing that I’ve lived in many different places where I had absolutely no suspicions of paranormal phenomena. In fact, I’m pleased to say that I have not had a ghostly experience in many years.

Know this so that when I present to you a few of my tales of hauntings and odd happenings, you understand that I do not submit them casually or with foregone assumptions, nor should you take it as an embrace of the other-worldly.

Nevertheless, here they are. Ghost stories of my own personal experience and related to you without any attempt to explain their motives or genesis. Happy autumn.

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LEGO Help Vouchers for Little ‘Uns: Free Download

Parental LEGO freedoms are vital part of our society.

It’s summer vacation right now and I couldn’t be more thrilled that my daughter is rifling through my old-school 1980s red plastic LEGO briefcase and assembling new sets. But she is a pain in the ass. I say this with love. I can spend my entire day by her side, chatting, assisting, bringing her food and beverage, and when the sun goes down, there she is again. She pops into the living room where my husband and I have a movie going asking for help finding a piece that, apparently, has fallen into some magical invisible abyss that can only be accessed by parents. It’s every 15-20 minutes. And us retiring to our bedroom doesn’t help. The LEGO neediness has had a severe impact on my marital happiness.

I’m not joking. This has become a mental health issue for both parents, here. The LEGO tyranny must end.

Before you go thinking I’m a monster for not being more supportive, check yourself. I give my daughter lots and lots of attention and support, but I need freedom of thought, quiet, and ability to listen to adult entertainment and conversations.

And she needs to wean herself. Any 1980s kid knows that half of the awful euphoria of LEGOing is hunting for the elusive brick piece until your eyeballs nearly fall out, and then suddenly spotting it. Or figuring out how to make it work some other way.

This is her time for that mania. Not mine. So I finally had to draw a line between “Hellscape Monster Who Yells at Her Kid to Bugger Off and Find Her Own Damn LEGOs” and enabling parental sap who does everything for her kid. I can’t be her bulldozer. Not with LEGOs, not anymore.

This is my solution. Vouchers. LEGO help vouchers. There are three of them, and she can hand one to us at any reasonable point during the day (maybe I should’ve put an evening time limit on them, hmmm), and we’ll give her a hand. The goal? I want some damn critical thinking on her part about whether or not it’s worth using up one of her daily vouchers. And when the three are done, she’s done with help for the day. Tough love, baby.

Maybe I should’ve only printed two. I don’t know.

In my case, I printed these puppies, attached them to cardboard backing (upcycling ftw!), cut them out, and then laminated them with packing tape. It was a bit much. You don’t need to get so elaborate. Especially since when I handed them to her, she responded with “gee, thanks”, and chucked them irritatedly into her nightstand drawer. Her eyerolls were monstrous. Eleven is just a peachy age.

Note that she is LEGOing right now, and she has not come out of her room to ask for help in over thirty minutes. I think she spitefully refuses to acknowledge the voucher existence for the time-being. But there will be a time soon when she’ll come a-knockin’ (probably just as my husband figures out how to get my bra off), and she had better have a damn voucher in-hand. LEGO freedom for all parents!

Anyway, I am sharing them here because share and share alike. Happy LEGOing.

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 3.04.37 PM.pngDownload for free right here: LEGO vouchers 

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