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Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Curious Incident of the exploding toilet and the bathroom makeover


One of the hardest things to come to terms with as a single parent, is the amount of times that you have to unblock a toilet. Had I known the regularity, I may have chosen to stay married.

But instead, I blew up the toilet.  





Let's be clear on this, it wasn't intentional but following a pragmatic decision to get hardcore with a bathroom that had been the bain of my life for the last few years.

The bathroom started out well, just £100, a bit of MDF and some gritty determination saw a bathroom transformation that served it's purpose for a few years. The financial overstretch in buying the village pub left us with a renovation budget smaller than most people spend on a week in a villa with a heated swimming pool. If it didn't come from Freecycle, Gumtree or Ebay - it didn't get past the front door. And from a functionality perspective, the bathroom did what it needed to. Aesthetically, it looked positively homely, just so long as you bathed by candlelight.





The trick to my current bathroom design is to spend no longer than 2 seconds looking at the detail or bathe by candlelight. Just remember not to overfill the bath



Let me explain life as a single divorced parent. Remember those days when there was someone to clear up the kitchen whilst you put children in the bath? They are over. You cook whilst they bathe. You know when it's time to get them out of the bath when the water cascades through the ceiling. Which happens several times. Over time the bath drops a couple of cms and the sealent no longer fits. 

Don't try applying it with your finger nails, the result is aesthetically compromised and it's not water resistant.

Limestone is not mattress resistant. I wish I had known that.



Children of single mothers tend to climb into Mummy's bed in the middle of the night. And then you realise that the warm feeling you experience isn't love but a small boy wetting your bed. And Tempur mattress's are VERY absorbent. Take my advice, NEVER try and rinse out a Tempur mattress in the bath. What is already heavy mattress topper soon becomes a three tonne dead weight that takes 6 leather belts and three people to drag out of the bath and down the stairs. And it cracks tiles.


Always use childproof hinges. Or don't have kids 


And small boys do not shut hand made MDF cabinet doors, they lean on them, they spray toothpaste and water over the paintwork. Eventually the doors drop, the paint wears off and the MDF swells and that is all before we venture into what they do with toilets.


Paint effected MDF is not child proof. 



And so we get to the curious incident of the exploding toilet. I'll leave out the leaking cistern and the ext-husband and his failure to create a removable panel. And I'll miss out the bit in which I spent 4 days assuming the dripping was a leaking roof until I finally realised that it wasn't actually raining outdoors. We shall skip to the worst part of being a single Mother - unblocking the toilet.


And boy did I try it all: coat hangers, toilet plungers that guarantee splash back and eventually pressure washers (messy). So when I returned from a holiday to discover that a teenager hosted a party and the toilet had been blocked for a week, it was time to get hardcore.




So on the recommendation of the man with the brown coat in the local hardware store, I poured Sulphuric acid down the loo. On reflection, it was a mistake. As I watched the nuclear cloud mushroom out of the loo, I realised that prudent people read instructions. Realising just how dangerous this situation had become, I covered my face in transparent nylon in a bid to get to the window, the mixture of acid and 'blockage' began to seep from beneath the loo. This was bad news. It took several changes in nylon headwear and three cartons of bicarbonate soda to neutralise this toxic substance.

The severity of the reaction had split the loo and melted a hole through to the floor, through to the kitchen. On a positive note, it cleared the blockage.

So just last week, I had a new loo installed but in true single parent 'think in the moment' style, I forgot to allow for the size of the previous loo. I'm calling it a design feature, an inbuilt ventilation system. Who am I kidding.





So when I stumbled across a competition earlier today from The Big Bathroom Store to win a Bathroom Make Over, the timing could not be more perfect. So I am writing a blog, creating a dream bathroom on Pintrest from their online store, in conjunction with Tile Mountain and I am dreaming of a rather nice new bathroom. One that does not reflect life as a single mother.


And here is the thing about modern bathrooms - they are modern. Gone are the days when a bathroom space should be merely functional, we all want spaces that are aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. When you have had a stressful day - you need a spa like experience, not a nervous breakdown.


So clicking through the pages, I have chosen ranges that I can imagine relaxing in, tiles that will stand the test of time and create heritage in keeping with my old beamed bathroom. A perfect bathroom for a single mother is not white tiles and über modern - the aim is to create a sense of well being, not more surfaces that have to have finger prints removed from every five minutes. The classical styling of a freestanding bath can work as well with contemporary furniture as it does with more historic lines.


Modern manufacturing creates instant heritage with the freestanding Winchester Suite & über stylish Skyros Delft Tiles 

The Premier Ryther Double ended Slipper with Skirt Bath is a contemporary take of a classical design. The perfect partner to Craquele glaze tiles. This combo had got relaxation and romance written all over it 


Still under suites, my wild card is the Black Wood Levity furniture suite. Contemporary wall hung in wood veneer would work well in my bathroom, complimenting the beams and adding visual floor space. There are a host of freestanding baths available on the site but this furniture is the statement piece. And from my perspective, clutter free creates harmony.



Ribera slate effect wall tile is the perfect back drop for the Black Wood Levity bathroom furniture suite 

And it all ends with children because perhaps in a strange way we reap what we sow. Perhaps in giving birth to so many, so certain to destroy my finances and my bathroom, that they could ultimately be the very reason that I get my own sanctuary.


And if I do, I am purchasing a very large bathroom lock and giving them a bucket and hosepipe.
There is nothing quite as heartening than a sense of harmony.

Ohm



Go to Tile Mountain for check out floors and walls https://www.facebook.com/TileMountain
And head to https://www.facebook.com/BigBathroomShop.co.uk for a host of bathroom suites

Disclaimer - this is an entry into the Dream Bathroom competition in conjunction with Big Bathroom Shop and Tile Mountain.  The dream is still very much my own :)

Friday, 8 May 2015

Think carefully before getting in bed with your mother in law.

One of the single most devisive factors in my marriage was my Mother in law. I was tiny, shiny hair, bright eyes and just 12 years old when I first met her and completely oblivious of her desire to control and manipulate everyone in her family.

At that point, my relationship with her son was entirely innocent, merely childish adoration. On the day of our first meeting, the family was off to the local furniture store and when my yet to be husband asked if I could come along, she looked me up and down and said "There is no room for her".  There was, but she has no intention of letting me get anywhere near her son.

Years later, she admitted that having just lost her mother, she saw me as a threat, the person that would take her son away and she hated me for it. When I was 18 and we had moved in together, she told him that he had to choose between her and me. If he chose me, he could collect his belongings and would no longer be a son of hers"

He chose me but it was an uncomfortable situation all around. Looking back, I made so many mistakes. The first was that I tried to fix things. I simply wanted him to be able to get on with his family and started a long journey trying to do the right thing, making sure that we visited, buying her perfect presents, inviting them to stay, having them for Christmas - you name it, I tried it all.

It never improved. No matter how she smiled in my face, she hated me for taking her son away and did everything in her power to create problems. What I should have done, was let him make his choice and deal with that himself. What I should have done, was have boundaries.

What I didn't see then, her control was entrenched and he so scared at the consequences of standing up to her, that he never did. She could say what she wanted, he would fail to take any responsibility in sorting it out, simply duck in the crossfire and ultimately create a situation in which she became the most divisive factor in our relationship.

When we got divorced, she was elated and actively sought to create a level of animosity akin to The War of the Roses and she did her best to involve the children. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work because children don't like being manipulated. To this day, she does not have a close relationship with her grandchildren and in her mind, it is still all my fault. It never was. I know that, the children know that and so does my ex-husband but still, he is still too scared to point out that the relationships she has are directly as a result of her behaviour and unkindness. He still fails to acknowledge that his inability to stand up to her, had an equal impact on the relationship he has with his children. He simply say's that it is nothing to do with him. Ironically, allowing her to behave the way she does, is the same as telling her it is acceptable.

Over the years, there were so many malicious, unkind and cruel things said, that I would have to write a book to accommodate them all,  but the single cruelest thing she ever did was write a letter about one of my children. He had sent a text from my phone to say that he was unable to meet them one day. This was followed by an abusive response to me saying that I had forged at text from him to turn my son against them. It was he world of crazy. When this 15 year old, with more integrity than most adults,  told her on the phone that it was not okay to try and manipulate them into taking sides in an unpleasant divorce and then refused to accept any contact or gifts from them - I got the blame.

And then the letter that told me my son was rude, selfish and unpleasant, the letter that requested that I show it to my son so that he would know what he was like. So I sent it instead to my ex-husband who replied back with "I didn't write this, it has nothing to do with me" And his fear of her, meant hat he would not stand up for his own son.

In all of my 25 years of a relationship with this man, this was the point in which I realised that I had been banging my head up against a brick wall. On so many occasions, my own father, who never really gets involved in anything had suggested there is a point in which you have to stand up to your mother. We even had a spell of marriage guidance in which ex-husband was told the same thing but when push came to shove - nothing was bigger than the fear of consequence he had with this woman. Not even his own son.

If I had spotted that 25 years earlier, I could have saved myself years of trying put my need for harmony above my need for sanity and more importantly, understanding that in doing so - I had set myself up for failure. We had cerated a situation in which we were not a team, we were not facing the world together because we had created a relationship which allowed someone else to always come between us.

And yep, this was my choice but I was young and what youth doesn't show you is that every one needs boundaries, lines that cannot be crossed. When you create a situation in which there are none, you are creating a ticking time bomb. Know that ultimately, when desperately trying not to rock the boat, normalising crazy means that you are walking alone.

And the thing that really changed in divorce, is that I regained my sanity. I finally realised that you never change anyone, no amount of understanding will change a single thing. Ignoring the issue and pandering to it simply gave her more power and left me in a marriage in which I always came second to fear. Love is simply never enough.

And my life is immeasurably more healthy in no longer being part of such toxic dynamics. My ex-husband on the other hand, changed nothing. He still has a relationship with a woman that he hates as much as wants her to be nice. He has damaged relationships around him and still puts as much effort into not seeing her as he does in pretending that her behaviour is normal when he does.

I don't blame him, it was simply my fault for thinking things would ever change. Love never changes everything, boundaries do. And making sure that you have them.

Think carefully before getting in bed with your mother in law.




Tuesday, 5 May 2015

When write is on my side.

Amongst other things, I write about trends in kitchen and bathroom design. I used to write on all sorts of matters as a journalist and largely for broadsheet newspapers such as The Times.  I trained as a Graphic Designer and so with no formal training as a journalist, it always came as a bit of a surprise that I never had much trouble getting published.

But the reason for this apparent ease, was simply honesty.  I wrote about things that affected people, things that people didn't talk about openly. Sometimes it was merely my cynical observations that saw my words in print.

That is the funny thing about writing for a living. You can write with honesty or you can manipulate words to create your own truth. Journalism should be about reporting the truth or telling a story based on the perception of events or the interpretation of facts. It should never be knowingly based falsehood because when you use words either written or verbally to manipulate the truth, the outcome is never good.

And words are such powerful tools, possibly the single most deadly weapon ever developed. Being able to write, to articulate the truth, to create a story, to  communicate in such a way that others can relate to or empathise with, is an empowering skill but one all too often used to create damage, chaos and cruelty.

And I guess that is why I am comfortable about writing on matters that make others uncomfortable. Because I am comfortable with honesty. Since I have nothing to hide behind, no public image to keep up - I have no problem with writing about anything that affects my life. And nor do I have any issue with anyone knowing things about my life. Nor indeed, any fear of those that are not comfortable with the truth.

I remember my ex husband being utterly furious about my blog and the things that I wrote about our divorce.

"I don't write anything that isn't the truth" I said.

"Exactly" he said "that's the point"

He wasn't particularly comfortable with me writing about dishonesty, control and emotional abuse. I was, those were his issues and they affected me.  And that is exactly the kind of thing I like to write about most. I like nothing better than to write with honest about the dishonesty of life and relationships.

And there reaches a level of comfortableness in honesty that is impenetrable. Imagine if I presented as one thing, and behind closed doors  - was an entirely different person. Imagine if I only wrote in a way that presented me in the best light.  To be good at writing, you have to be honest, because if you aren't  - there will come a day when everyone realises that every thing you said, everything you presented to be - was untrue.

There are no words that could adequately describe how scary that would be.

Honesty is always the best policy.


Monday, 2 March 2015

You cannot control happiness but fear depends on it.

I have been deep in thought all week. And debate. I have had heated discussions on the current state of affairs in the Middle East,  debates on the Koran, the hypocrisy of Christianity, what colour a dress is, the ignorance of arrogance, the sadness of people that control and the misery of those that are controlled

And I figure that the root of all control, of domination, manipulation and plain unkindness - is fear, fear of not being in control.

And even for those that allow themselves to be controlled, it is the fear of taking control that paralyses them, the fear of what happens when they are not controlled. It's all a rather pointless self fulfilling prophecy.

So what is the point? None of it creates happiness. To feel the need to control others, to always get what you want, is the very thing that prevents ultimate happiness. You cannot truly receive until you can truly give. When you control others, there is a part of your soul that is simply closed off.

Religion is all about control. It is fundamentally a code of conduct that creates consequence for actions that do not adhere to the rules within it. This creates control through fear. Religion is a belief that many need and perhaps they are simply ruled by a fear that there is nothing more than themselves and it is the self that creates the life around, not a religion that tells them their view of the world. Perhaps it is merely fear of thinking for ourselves that creates the issue. I suspect it is really just fear of taking responsibility for our own thoughts and actions that is the real issue.

Controlling relationships create fear and yet the need to control someone else is all about your own fears.

Working your way up the corporate ladder? You are climbing rungs that are rooted in fear. You enter a world in which you will play the game to protect your own back. You will be terrified of putting yourself in a position of risk. Your fear of loss and status will make you play the game, because if you don't - there will always be someone coming up behind you to take over.

And then there are the bullies, the ones that fear not being socially accepted, not being strong enough, not being good enough or simply not being in control of their own lives. What better way to control those feelings than to make someone else feel worse than you do.

But really, where does all of this get us?

Take my marriage. My husband controlled me because he hated the control I had over him. He loved me in his own way, but he hated that I had that control over him and so he punished me with control. He was unhappy, so he made me unhappy. And the more he did it, the more I let him because by then,   I was too scared to take responsibility for my own happiness. Since I was unhappy, I carried on letting him control me. Then I learnt that control was about someone else need, not mine.

So imagine a world in which we walked away from fear. We simply stopped this fear creating the need to control others, to control life and everything in it. Imagine a world where we just accepted that the fear of the unknown, is just a response.

Imagine a world in which we were all simply contented enough that we didn't feel the need to control everyone and everything around us.

Imagine a world in which we didn't accept control because we were not scared of being ourselves.

Don't hold your breath






Adopting a new concept of family

I am in the midst of writing a reference for my brother and his partner in their quest to adopt. It is an interesting view to offer since no one really knows the ability to parent until they are given a child. It's a role like no other and very few achieve the one thing we should all achieve as a parent - realising that it is not all about us.

The concept of family is changing and it is about time. We hold on to the idea that family should be picture perfect, with sing songs around the Christmas tree. When they going gets tough, family should stick together and support through thick or thin. The reality is all too frequently different.

Children that are put up for adoption are rarely the result of a happy childhood where there status changed by way of bereavement. These are children that have had the kind of start that no one deserves. Almost all will have had their roots with parents that for whatever the cause, were ill equipped to meet their needs. These are children that may have seen the most terrible things, been neglected or perhaps abused. Whatever the history, all need security and safety. And it doesn't end here, because when you are rejected or neglected as a child, the effects can be life long.

My mother was one of these children. And whilst she went on to maintain a long marriage and children, she came with life long issues over trust and emotional security. When you have been rejected in your childhood to the degree she was, you see love as a pie. Anyone showing love to someone else is taking a piece of your pie.

You cannot ever truly get into the workings of such damage. In my own family, it is pretty universally acknowledged that it translates into an issue with girls, which is only a problem if you happen to be one. For my Father and brothers, they didn't really have to deal with it and since it didn't affect them, they didn't.

So for my entire childhood, I rationalised that the very strained and difficult relationship I had with my mother was as a result of her own traumatic childhood and as such, I had to understand it because no one deserved a childhood where they felt rejected. In doing so, I can't really say my own emotional needs were met. So I learnt not to have any.

You can rationalise all you like as a child but when you don't have a normal healthy bond with your mother, you spend your whole life never feeling quite good enough. Every choice you make, every partner you chose, is as an indirect consequence to your experience of the most important relationship you ever had - the one between mother and child.

And over the years you realise things: the reason you constantly had to prove that you could do anything a man can do was because yo learnt that you were only really ever accepted if you were male. So I learnt to strip a car engine, respray a car, plaster walls, never show female emotion, never have needs in a relationship. What I have finally managed to accept is that I am not a boy.

And the route of everything is in fear. For the boys in my family, there is a universal adoration and an unsaid rule that no one rocks the boat. And so no one rocks the boat except me. And I do that, simply by being me.

It is a family in which we are all expected to behave in a certain way. To never question parental authority, to never question our past for the actions of parents because if you do - you are banished for a period.

And as I find myself banished once more, but with that I gain the clarity that I always needed. Family is all embracing, it is about acceptance of every member within it and it is about love. It is not about control, it is not about punishment and the constant need to control by consequence is about as healthy as being bulimic. In fact, it's arguably a similar concept. My family is not made up of bad people but it is not one of healthy construct. If you do not exist in a family as yourself, or only exist if you behave in a way dictated by others - then the reality is, you don't have a family that actually loves you.

But I do. I have the family I created, the one with 4 amazing boys that I have raised without the benefit of a whole heap of support - have grown up knowing that no matter what they do, they are loved wholeheartedly and free of judgement. And the one thing we underestimate in children, is their capacity to see when you are taking something from them to fulfil your own need. I am guessing that the reason why these children (and two now adults) are so free to love is that it was so freely given when they were growing up.

Family is not the one that you are told to have, it's the one you create. We hold onto the past even when it has done us harm. We desperately hold on to the concept of family because we are taught to believe that this is where we find acceptance and support when often we find the opposite. When we don't find it, we assume the role of responsibility.  And this is the bit I am no longer prepared to do.


So  instead of looking as adoption as a solution to failed families, perhaps we should see it as the the start of creating families in which people chose healthy loving relationships instead of feeling failures for the ones that didn't work out. The creation of new families is not about blame, it is about acceptance. People don't stuff up being a parent on purpose, they do it because they do not have the skills to love without need and do not have the ability to face their own truth. For whatever the reason, they do not have the ability to create the one thing every child deserves - a childhood in which they are are raised to be accepted and loved.

So I look at the family I created, and I look towards the family that my brother is choosing to create and I cannot help feeling happy for this child, or children - that despite a traumatic start, will be raised to understand that love is in giving not taking.  The concept of family is and should remain a fluid one.






Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sometimes the words of others are so much better than your own





“When your mind wants to bolt, but your heart hangs on, it is because you don’t know with absolute certainty what the truth is. When you waste so much time on something that you want to believe is true, you begin to overthink things.


Eventually, something obvious becomes twisted into something absurd, which keeps us from believing a simpler answer. Over time, you believe your own lies and fantasies to shield yourself from hurt, when following what is logical would have been the quickest way to healing. It is through your own self-imposed delusions that you lose your perspective. The world then becomes different to you when in fact you are different.


Why? Because your own ego gets in the way. Everyone wants to feel special. Everyone wants to have faith in others. Everyone wants to believe in fairytales, happy endings and have all bad interactions with others explained. It is easier to sit in denial with your delusions and pray God will intervene, not realizing he has.


He gave you commonsense and intuition, but you didn’t like how it made you feel. This is what true mental illness really is: Following your gut instinct through hell because you want to prove you are right, either to yourself or others. You sacrifice choosing to do right, in order to avoid pain. However, you don't realize that you have been in pain for a really long time and believed this was how happiness felt.”

― Shannon L. Alder

When women take men from behind



I have a very wealthy friend; lots of property, fabulous home, plenty of dosh and a pricey divorce. He is understandably cautious about dating women since he now recognises that his ex-wife was little short of a gold digger. A relationship with very little respect coming his way and when it came to an end, she was nothing short of vicious. Sadly, in his 40's and of generous nature, he now finds himself pretty wary of dating and it's easy to see why.


I know this because I went on a date with him, saw how much he spent on his divorce as a red flag and went instead, for a good friendship. The only evidence that he has that not all women are like this, is the fact that I didn't go on any more dates with him.


And it would have been so easy. As a single mother on a low income, with enough children to warrant an exceptionally large car - there can have been nothing easier than date a man that would make life a lot easier. But that is not how I am. After a financially and emotionally controlling marriage, I swore blind that I would never be controlled by money again and neither would I accept a relationship that did not have total honesty in it. Yes money makes life easier but not as much as honesty does. If I was in situation in which someone wasn't completely open and truthful - I would simply leave. If someone tried to manipulate me financially, the front door would bang as I left.


But it still staggers me just how many women will take what they can from a relationship, with no recognition that the person they are taking from is in fact, a human being with emotions, feelings and needs. And it staggers me just how many men do not see what is going on.


I am not advocating that a relationship should not be financially supportive. Of course it should, but men need to make sure that the women that they are in a relationship with them through love and not because of control. With my own experience, I have no idea how one gets to a place of trusting someones generosity. I have a pathological fear of conversations involving money and am pretty independent - which is fantastic except that I was raised to see financial union as much a part of commitment as emotional union. When I hear tales of women taking advantage of men and manipulating generosity for their own gain, it makes it harder for women like me to ever accept financial involvement from someone else.


So I was reading this today from a website that supports men in abusive relationships. I stumbled upon it a while back and realised that I had spent so long dealing with my own history of emotionally abusive relationships that I hadn't considered that men suffer them to. And yes, it's different. Men are raised to feel that they are the stronger sex, often the provider, the protector - and when you realise that, you realise that it's perhaps harder for a man to see what is going on at the hands of a manipulative woman.


www.shrink4men.com


Here’s the latest from CrazyBuster, Micksbabe. It is a follow-up to her article, How to Spot a Gold Digger.


This article will discuss the manipulations of the Gold Digger’s evil counter-part, the Damsel in Distress. Whereas the Gold Digger is overt in her, “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” in exchange for sex and other favors, the Damsel in Distress is much more covert in her manipulations. In fact, you can think of the Damsel in Distress as a covert Gold Digger.


The Damsel in Distress’s shtick is that of the helpless waif, tied to the tracks with a train approaching. The Damsel in Distress first finds a Giver or Rescuer and begins appealing to his inherent generosity with her needy helplessness, and rewards him with gratitude and makes him feel like a Knight in Shining Armor for saving her.


The Damsel in Distress would have the Knight believe that, without his intervention, she would certainly perish. In this relationship, the Damsel in Distress has her needs met by fulfilling the Giver’s need to be needed.


In reality, the Damsel in Distress is lazy and shameless and is, essentially, seeking a host. She’s an entitled manipulative brat who was trained in this manner, either by observing a female role model, or by having a male role model who treated her like a Princess.


She is not responsible for her own actions or solving her own problems. She will never carry in her own groceries from the car. She will not mow the grass, take her car in for an oil change, move a piece of furniture or use a screwdriver, for anything. She will not get up in the middle of the night to care for her crying baby, even though she doesn’t work.


At best, she will insist that you work in feeding shifts. She hates changing diapers and will moan about it until you end up doing it and it becomes your job, exclusively.


The bills? Those are yours, too. It is your job to fund her shopping sprees and if there is not enough money left to pay the utilities, then you failed and you are not only no longer a Knight, but you are no longer a Man.


In the real world, all of us suffer natural consequences. The Damsel in Distress manages to find a Giver who is willing to insulate her from natural consequences, just as her parents did when she was a child. In fact, the Damsel in Distress is a child, emotionally. But a child with an adult intellect who learned how to be manipulative to continue getting all of her needs met by someone else.


Here are a few warning signs to watch for that might indicate you are dating, married to or divorcing a Damsel in Distress:


1. She’s always in peril. This is not normal. Normal people figure out how to get their shit together and avoid crises. The Damsel in Distress manufactures crises and uses them as her mating call.


2. She has problems with finances. Occasionally all of us run into some financial problems. But the difference in the Damsel in Distress and the rest of us (normal people) is that we figure out what went wrong in the first place, suffer a little until we get back on our feet, and don’t let it happen again. Improvise, adapt and overcome. The Damsel in Distress flops around like a flounder until someone takes pity on her and bails her out. Incidentally, the Damsel in Distress never pays back loans.


3. She “Can’t.” Normal people “can.” There are a long list of things that the Damsel in Distress “can’t” do, and that list looks very similar to what the Damsel in Distress doesn’t “want” to do. Avoid dating women who overuse the word, “Can’t.” Otherwise you will be the person picking up her dog’s poop out of the yard.


Before you think I am admonishing you for being generous, I’m not. There’s nothing wrong with being a Giver. It’s better than being a Taker. Givers make the world a better place. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if two Givers got together and gave to each other? Reciprocal giving – there’s a concept.