what the kids don’t know…

As I see more and more of you babies and little ones begin to start their lives in this world, I often think about what you won’t truly experience, and no, I don’t mean human interaction. It’s the things of yesteryear that me and my fellow gen X’ers grew up with, became accustomed to, and even in our short existences, wax nostalgic about over beers and cocktails. What am I talking about? 

  1. Televisions – I mean actual televisions. The ones that came encased in their own wooden box, they didn’t need any silly TV stand. The ones where you had to (are you sitting down?) get up, walk to the set to change the channel. No remotes kids! Do you know how many calories we were constantly burning? 
  2. Ice cube tray – I’m quite certain your generation will be marveled about how far we’ve come as a society when it comes to creating ice cubes. You won’t even know what one is if you saw it as you’ll assume ice has always come from the dispenser in the refrigerator wall, or from the big box dispenser at Taco Bell or in a plastic bag from 7-11. They still have 7-11’s right? 
  3. Landline – There are a couple levels to this. First, we used to have a housebound phone. These were devices you could make a call on from one house to another. Phones forevermore are constantly on the go and are not associated with the place that you rest your head. When you see really old movies from the 90’s you will be in awe that people used devices that were attached to a…wall! Second, when you see even older movies from the 80’s you heads will explore with the mere sight of the rotary phone! As a kid, we had to call our friends on a wall-laden phone that had a rotating dial on it and finger holes that corresponded to each number. We dreaded when our friends had a 0 in their number as it took 3 seconds for the number to register! Oh vey! And back then we were only dialing 7 digits to call someone!
  4. Be Kind. Rewind.  – What? Yes, generation zygote. In order to watch a movie, you had to go to the video store, select a book sized hunk of plastic, put said plastic into a VCR (ask me some other time about this device) to enjoy a movie. THEN, when the movie was over, we had to REWIND the tape before returning it back to the SAME video store. Wacky I know. Thank goodness you’ve been spared this inconvenience.
  5. Books – These didn’t always come downloaded to your iPad or Kindle. If you wanted to read a book you had to go to the library (a place with a collection of books made of paper) or to the bookstore (an actual store that didn’t exist online). Wait. You probably don’t even read.

I’m sure there are many things I have overlooked. I hope this gives you some insight into the tough times my generation had while growing up. We overcame great obstacles in our youth and I’m so glad you’ll never have to experience our hardships. 

Ming! (?, I’m assuming this will be the new catch-phrase in twenty years)

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My first employer

How old are you? Do you remember your first job? A job you got paid real cash for? I do! I was about 11 when I was swiftly welcomed into the land of babysitting. To  be clear, I didn’t actually babysit real babies. No! They weren’t fake babies either. They were tiny children, tiny rambunctious boys aged 3 and 5. Their mother, Deana, entrusted me, a uber responsible 11-year-old, to take care of them on weekend evenings while she went out with her friends. Okay. So this is what I believe really happened. Her ‘friends’ well one of them was my older sister and I’m sure it went something like this:

Kim: “Hey, let’s go party and be wild this weekend!”

Deana: “Ugh. I can’t. I have the boys and no sitter.”

Kim: “Hmm. Well. I have a little sister and she likes taking care of kids so she can watch them!”

Deana: “Brilliant idea!”

Those two can refute that dialogue all they want, but I know they conspired against me! They stumbled upon a patsy and now they were free to hit the Wooden Chicken as often as they wanted. I was naive. My concept of earning money and holding actual cash was a bit foreign so I leaped at the opportunity to earn money to spend on New Kids on the Block memorabilia. I was winning!

Weekends turned into months which turned into years and I quite honestly wished I had the forethought to keep track of all the money I earned during that period of time. I’m sure it was like $500 over the course of five years. I was a bargain basement babysitter. Ha. Oh okay. I’m sure it was more than $500. My youthful weekends were spent with boys who made me sit through multiple VHS! screenings of Rambo, Rocky, and Rocky in all his sequels, video games ranging from Mario Brothers to Mortal Kombat. I made multiple servings of macaroni & cheese, top ramen, hot dogs  chicken nuggets and quesadillas. At least that part was easy. Picky kids eat a handful of things, all of which I had mastered.

I made sure the house was clean, dishes were done, toys picked up before Deana returned home each time. I was like a babysitter, a chef, and a housekeeper all in one. But I learned a lot in those years about how to be domestic and that I wasn’t ever having kids! The time spent kept me out of trouble and out of gangs (because let’s face it, I was well on my way!). It taught me an unbelievable amount of patience. Funny enough though, all of the time I spent with Deana and her family are still some of my favorite memories today.

As a token for my good babysitting abilities, she and my sister would take me along to places like the Clark County Fair circa 1993 and I saw Shai in concert. Yeah. You KNOW you remember them! They promptly abandoned Jamie (Deana’s little sister) and I to find the ‘bathroom’ (which was really the beer garden!) and were gone for hours. You might also remember there weren’t really cell phones back then (at all!) and I don’t remember how we ever found them again in the sea of bodies.

There are so many stories and SO MANY memories that we all remember vividly today that leave us in complete stitches. We’re still having fun and creating new stories to tell ten years from now. I honestly don’t know what my life would be like or how different I would be today without having Deana as a part of my life. She’s been there for 22 years and I hope, at least, for another 22! Here’s to you Miss! on your birthday! I hope it’s a fantastic day surrounded by the people you love and the people who love you!

little in the middle!

Cheers!