• 09Oct


    Maggiore’s a “family-friendly” bar where yeah, there are usually a few kids on the restaurant side or in the video/pool area, but they are also usually very well behaved. One time, I completely cringed when an entire little league team came in, but was well behaved the whole time they were there. They were so good, I complimented their coaches/dads on my way out the door. Monday night was a different story…and different kids.

    7:30pm. On a school night. During Monday Night Football.

    The kids in the video/pool area (next to our reservation, but again, not usually a problem) were piercing loud. There where a 2-3 of us there at first and we were shouting to hear each other. Their parUNts wanted them to leave the table and go play, but didn’t give them quarters play pool or video games. They got so loud that I sat up and recorded a video of the little urchins; it’s not a good video and far from their worst behavior, so I won’t post it. When they started ripping the holes out of the table (that is on the video), throwing the cue ball into the video games, and throwing cue sticks on the concrete floor, I got up and went to tell our server. She made sure a manager heard the conversation. He said, “ok. I’ll tell my dad.” I thought they’d handle it, but I knew they were busy.

    Parent is a Verb

    Bad parUNts are a part of the world that I hate. …and these parUNts were so far removed from their children’s behavior, they could have been anywhere in the restaurant. I wasn’t going to go table to table asking who had the ill-behaved crotch fruit in the game area.

    On the way back to the table, I reached for and asked one kid for the ball. He politely said yes and promptly dropped it. He clearly knew he was getting away with bad behavior. I took it and sat back down. For ~20 minutes, it was bliss. We all thought the manager had come addressed their behavior with their parents.

    Knittiers 1. parUNts 0.

    Confrontations from Entitlement Mom and Bully Dad

    Before management could do anything, it got ugly.

    Mom approaches our table asking if we took the ball. While it was much longer it went a little something like this:

    Entitlement Mom: Did you take the ball from the pool table?
    Crocheting Cat Lover: Yes, they were throwing it into the video games.
    EM: They were rolling it.
    Me: …and throwing it, and screaming so loud we had to yell to hear each other, and throwing the cues on the floor. I have a video; do you want to see it?
    EM: Do you have kids? I can tell you don’t. Well, I’m a it’s a lot easter to tell someone how to be a parent when you aren’t.
    Me: Then I wish you would; Parent is a verb.

    EM: “Parenting is ha-ard” (or some similar whine).
    Me: Kids who act like that are the reason I don’t want kids.
    EM: I’m a teacher and…
    Me: I’m the daughter of two teachers and they taught me respectful behavior in public.
    EM: [repeated requests for the ball; repeated declines…eventhough it was laying on the table right in front of her.]
    [somewhere in the middle of all this, another member of our group arrived]
    EM: So you think just taking the ball from the kid without telling them why is ok?
    Me: It worked quite well; they’ve been good since I took it.
    EM: So your not gonna…?
    Me: I’ll give the ball back to a manager, but I’m not giving it to you.
    EM: Some b.s. about kids are our future, as if to imply that a) hers will be leaders, and b) all kids deserve respect from all adults
    She then accused me of being a cat person, said she was sure I lived alone, and told us to “go back to our knitting”.

    It was funny to watch her try to be insulting and fail so miserably. Not one of us (there that night) has kids. All of us have pets. Half of us are married. Um, telling me to “go back to knitting” when that’s what I came here to do??…well, crochet, anyway. It’s the lamest attempt at an insult. It’s like wishing I couldn’t have kids. Bingo! bitch.

    We collectively weep for our future as one knitter says, “I would not want my kids in her class.” Moms like this woman and kids like hers are the biggest reason I don’t want kids.

    Our server comes back and one of gals tells her that there is only one working toilet. We learn the sad reason: you have to hold the handle down and kids won’t do it. So, “our future” can’t properly flush a toilet or try again if everything didn’t go down the first time. If this is the case, they sure as hell can’t run our world.

    Dad strolls up. He seemed genuine when he apologized for his boys behavior and politely asks if I took the ball from them. I said that I did because they were throwing it and thanked him for apologizing for their behavior.

    Bully Dad: My wife is really upset.
    Me: She’s not the only one.
    BD: No, she’s really upset and angry.
    Me: She’s not the only one.
    [BD: Asked if the manager came to our table.]
    Me: No. [Why would he come to us? they aren’t our kids!]
    BD: Well then. [huh? Do you hear the words you say or do they just fall out of your head?]

    He starts a big argument where if you don’t share his opinion or if he doesn’t “agree with” the facts then you’re just wrong. I hope he’s not registered to vote, the moron. Somehow he hones in our tallest member. When he dragged her in, she snapped her fingers at him.

    BD: You can suck what I wave in your face. [paraphrasing, here]

    She stood up shoving the table in my direction. We were on a stage, so when she stood up, she was a full 2 feet taller than him (maybe more).

    By this time, three servers and half the dining area are watching the very long argument. BD has been joined by his friend and–get this–the boys. They are watching and learning from him! “The Future” my ass.

    She repeatedly told him we were concerned they were going to hurt someone. All I remember him screaming was “nine-year old boy” and how he didn’t want her parenting his child. (Again: Then, would you please parent your child? After all, “it takes a village” to raise your idiot fuck trophy.) And then his friend chimed in that they all play baseball together and know how to throw a ball and wouldn’t hurt each other. What?

    Anyway, it wasn’t even her, it was me. I’m the one who took the ball…but he honed in on her like a yellow jacket. I’m grateful for her and feel guilty that she felt the need to step in.

    None of us know what to do. Just as we were about to pull one friend out from between them, our tall friend tells him she’s getting a manager becasue she doesn’t know how we can help him. He yammers on about how he doesn’t help. (Um, then go sit back down and leave us alone.) I don’t know if she found a manager, but she came back to the table and said she was going home. None of us blamed her.

    We hear another man’s voice, but can’t make it out. Then we hear Bully Dad say, “Well, then there needs to be a sign that says 7-8-9 year olds can’t play pool.” We gather that the manager told him the boys can’t be destructive. Also, they weren’t playing. Give them some quarters if you want them to try to play the game. I bet they will.

    What the bully dad doesn’t know: she’s a peace officer. Between that and the size and height she had on him, she’d have laid him out flat and pinned his arms back before he could even think about a second punch.

    As she’s leaving, she text me from the parking lot that the families are leaving.

    Knitters 2. parUNts 0.


    This is the part of the world I like.

    Server: I’m so sorry.
    Me: Thanks. We just didn’t know what to do.

    A little later in the evening, we hear the sounds of parents and kids: putting quarters to the table. Dad broke the balls (either that or Mom’s on the pro 8-ball circuit!). They taught them the difference between stripes and solids. They taught them the geometry needed to bank a shot. They taught them the rules and played a nice and enjoyable-for-us-and-I’m-sure-them-too game of pool.

    Closer to our usual closing out time, we had one more conversation.

    Manager/owner: I’m very sorry for what happened tonight. I want to apologize on behalf of Maggiore’s and also thank you for taking the ball from those kids. We normally have our servers take it away in the evenings for that very reason, but we just got so busy. Thank you, again, for taking it from them.
    Me: It’s Monday Night Football and y’all are slammed. Thank you for addressing it when you could.
    M/o:  Please come back. We’ll see y’all next week.

    Knitters 3. parUNts 0.

    We won’t be back next week; we have other plans. But, then, we are down to making a choice after many months of searching for our new knitting home. Last night’s group still wanted to give Maggiore’s another chance. If the managers/owner agree that Parent is a Verb, we just might make it our new home.


  • 12Apr

    Recent online “bashing” of the Childfree has morphed into a “why bother” or “what’s the point” mentality as more parUNts have “joined” the, ahem, conversation[1].

    “Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…a Very Good Place to Start”

    If you haven’t read my Parent-to-Childfree spectrum, check it out. Here are the basics:

    • Parent – both a noun and a verb. Parents (n) wanted to have children and parent (v) them well.
    • Childless – someone who wants kids, but can’t have them
    • Childfree – someone who doesn’t want kids, not now, not ever

    But What’s the Point?

    Just like parents want to find families with kids the same age(s) for playdates and socializing, childfree people want to find friends with commonalities, too. Because of their schedules and the time it takes to properly care for children, it is difficult to be friends with parents. They simply don’t have time to be friends. When they do spend time with friends, it’s usually with the ones with kids so they are killing two birds with one stone. They almost never go to the trouble to hire a sitter to spend quality adult time with their childfree or childless friends. In addition, it’s heartbreaking to lose a close friend to the burdens of parenting. As childfree people, we have all been there and miss those friends terribly. In turn, we seek friends who won’t do that to us again….we seek friends who don’t ever want kids.[2]

    Is that really so crazy to believe? ..that we just want to be around people like us?

    Apparently, it is.

    There are several parUNts out there (the three nasties claim to hail from Alabama or Mississippi, London, and Australia) who troll the #childfree tag just to pick fights and argue that it’s not “our” word/tag. So, here are my I-don’t-Tweet-these responses:

    1. Get a life. Please go parent (v) your children.
    2. Um, yes it is too our word. It was our word for decades before Twitter and hashtags existed; hell, it was “our” word before I was born. We don’t troll #parenting. Have a little mutual respect. (Or at least some common freakin’ sense.)
    3. Read a book, the news, a blog, or something and get your head out of your ass. The world does not exist to pander to your offspring. You chose to have kids and claim they are the best things on Earth. If that’s really how you feel, then if I did chose to become a parent, you’d just be arguing with me that your kids are better than mine. Again, please just go away!
    4. Why do you care? I like knitting. I don’t get on #quilting threads and bash quilters. What business is it of yours if I do or don’t have kids? Why do you care that I don’t want them? Do you also seek out people who choose not to own a car and bash on them? Do you also hate vegetarians? Haters gonna hate, I guess.
    5. I don’t even want my own; I sure as hell don’t want to hear about yours….not after the “example” of a human being you’ve been.
    6. Grow up.
    7. I just want to read news stories, blog posts, jokes, etc. about/for the childfree culture. (and yes, we are a culture). That’s why I follow a tag called (amazingly!) #childfree. The fact that you’ve put your crotch trophy to bed is uninteresting and clogs the thread for good stuff. Yes, I have blocked and reported you for spam many times. So did many others. And, eventually, I stopped seeing most of your drivel.
    8. We are only seeking one tiny little corner of the Internet where we can gather. Is your life as a parent really so miserable that you have to impede on our tiny sliver of space?
    9. …and a constant loop of “fuck you!”

    The Culture

    So, what defines our culture, in general?

    1. Adult conversations. There is never any mention of pee, poop, or puke. Rarely is there any talk of kids at all….they aren’t part of our lives. That doesn’t mean we don’t love and adore young family members and our friends’ kids. But we don’t interact with them much, so it’s a rare part of our conversation with anyone.
    2. Spontaneity abounds. We can drop whatever we are doing and head out to Happy Hour without planning ahead of time for a sitter.
      (We did this on Tuesday with our friends Jeff and Judy. And, in 2009, we dropped our lives in BCS and moved to Austin without any cares about the time of year for kids/school, what school district we’d live in, or any safety/financial considerations of raising kids in a bigger city.)
    3. Simple living. We can live our own lifestyle. We can work the job we want/like because we don’t have to maintain the salary necessary to support children.
      (Though we still think we had the most amazing house in Bryan and wish we could have moved it with us to Austin, it turns out we didn’t like being home owners. We don’t like maintenance for the lawn, plumbing, roof, A/C, etc.  We have fallen in love with apartment living….and when a light bulb burns out, we simply let someone know that they need to come change it. If we had kids, we would need a larger place, a yard, etc.)
    4. Environmental. Some people choose to be childfree to minimize the impact on our dying planet. Most childfree people are good stewards to the planet by recycling, driving efficient cars, using minimal resources, etc.
    5. Well read. Childfree people delve into books and movies. And, because we aren’t watching the sproglet’s current favorite for the 842nd time, we engage not only in more books/movies, but also in better quality ones.
    6. Well Educated.
    7. Fun. We user our time to further our on hobbies and interests. On the weekends, we aren’t stuck at 1-year-old birthday parties, soccer tournaments, or dance recitals. During the week, we aren’t schlepping anyone (other than ourselves!) to practices and rehearsals.
    8. Technology not toys. We can have the latest/greatest gadgets.
    9. …and many, many more!

    We are a culture just like any other group with something in common. It’s time for the “nasties” to learn to be polite and respectful; after all, they have young/impressionables at home.

    [1] They haven’t really “joined” and it’s not really a “conversation”. They have mommyjacked (or daddyjacked) the #childfree tag on Twitter, inserted themselves into a conversation where they have no real business being, and have rudely scoffed at childfree people for making a different choice than they did. WTF and why do they care? We all wish they would go back to parenting (again, as a verb) their offspring.

    [2] Living in Aggieland was the same way. Every year, we had a very tearful goodbye to dear friends. One year, we lost three in one week. Someone is always graduating or taking that next big career opportunity. They were ~daily parts of our lives. Then, suddenly, they were gone.

  • 23Sep

    … just providing a child with the basics has become more than most parents can afford.”

    Synopsis on WhyNoKids.com


    Original Article on CNN Money


  • 18Jul

    What Are Babies Good For?

  • 22May

    Last week, our Internet speed was inconsistent, and we ended up with a tech call to have the problems investigated.

    While the tech worked on lines and such, we chatted. He’s lived in New York and hasn’t been in Austin all that long. At one point, he was telling me about living in “this little bitty town…[in Texas]”

    him: “…Franklin”

    me: “oh, yeah!”

    him: “you do not know where that is!”

    me: “Yes, I do. We lived in Bryan before moving to Austin. Emil is a Bryan native.”

    him: “Oh! So then you know why I moved to Austin!” [1] (He now lives here with his wife and two cats.)

    me: “Yes, we moved here for the same reasons!”

    us: LOL!

    He was the nicest guy you’d ever want in your home fixing the broken Internet. I wish it wouldn’t have been creepy to ask him if he and his wife wanted to hang out with us (or the ChildFree group) sometime.

    [1] I spared him any potential embarrassment for his comments and did not tell him how we have several family members working for Franklin schools. We are in agreement, so that’s all that matters.