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Heat Advisory: Send Out The Kids

Something just happened that made me livid.

I had Buffy on her leash, and these two kids greeted me as I walked out the door. One asked me if I would take a tract. I took it as Buffy zoomed down the stairs to the grass to pee, and when she was done with her various business, I headed back up the stairs.

The kids were still there, dripping sweat and knocking on doors.

They asked where I lived, so I told them, and they wanted to ask me some questions on the tract.

I had read it while waiting for the puppy to do her puppy excrement things, and there was nothing on there I wanted to discuss, even with a couple of kids. As politely as I could, I told them that my life had taken a different path and offered them some water, which they declined.

“They have you out in this heat?” I asked them.

“Yeah, last summer was bad too.” They kind of laughed it off, but they were sweating through their shirts.

Not only were they out here distributing tracts, but they were doing so for a church that isn’t even in Maryland. It’s in West Virginia. What?

There was a phone number on the tract they gave me. I won’t mention the name of the church because I’m about to rip them up one side and down the other.

First of all, to have children out proselytizing in 106 degree heat is repugnant. Repugnant.

There is a heat advisory in effect until 8:00 pm tonight. Exposure to extreme heat can cause heat stroke and even death.

Secondly, sending children to proselytize is something of questionable morality to me as well. I could write a dissertation about how I feel about a child’s role in deciding his or her own faith, but now is not the time. Suffice it to say that it’s not the role of children to convince adults what to believe.

Finally? I thought for about thirteen seconds, then I picked up the phone and dialed this church.

A woman answered, voice chipper and polite. For about two seconds.

The moment I explained why I was calling, I could almost see spike-covered walls fly up and smell burning naptha above my head, ready to cover my body with boiling pitch.

This is what I said to her:

“Hi. Erm, I’m calling because two children just came to my door distributing tracts, and it’s over 100 degrees outside. There is a heat advisory in effect, and I feel that it is dangerous to have them out in this kind of weather.”

Her response: “It’s all volunteer-based.”

Me: “They’re children. It’s over 100 degrees.”

Her: “It’s the same as kids playing on the playground right now. Their parents signed permission forms and dropped them off. This was a pre-planned event.”

Me: “I’m sorry. That’s no excuse for them to be out there. I would hope the church would take responsibility for the safety of children put in their care and postpone or cancel events in the case of extreme weather. There are better ways to spread a message.”

Her: “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

What?

Anyone who’s ever had someone give that kind of bullshit apology knows exactly how bullshit it is. That’s not taking responsibility for wrongdoing — and do not mistake me, subjecting children to extreme heat in the name of proselytizing is wrong, wrong, wrong — it’s giving someone the finger.

“What, you don’t like it? Fuck you, then.”

Yeah. Not cool.

Volunteer or not, how much say do you think those kids had in doing this today? I used to be very active in church, and I can count on my fingers the number of times I heard kids their age chomp at the bit to go spread the gospel.  In fact, I can count on my fist.

Because uh, NEVER. Even in a thriving church like I used to attend, it was the parents saying, “Yep, you’re going to share Jesus with the heathens.” (They didn’t put it quite like that.)

Having kids hike up and down stairs going door to door to distribute tracts is not the same as playing on a playground — which, if I had kids, I wouldn’t allow during a heat advisory either — it’s more irresponsible and downright endangering them.

So am I supposed to believe these kids were sent out there on their own free volition? Apparently. Apparently I’m expected to think they waved their little hands around, hoping to be picked for the honor of such a mission.

Shame on their parents, and shame on their church.

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Suspended is Right

Sheesh.

It has been quite a while since I’ve deigned to post in these parts, has it not? I’m quite sorry. Writing has taken over my life, much as I always wanted it to, and writing/editing fiction plus keeping up with social networking and a thriving community over at emmiemears.com has kept me hopping like someone put hot coals in my sandals.

But here I am, and there are a few things I’ve been up to that are more worthy of this blog than my writing world. 🙂 Consider this my moment to decompress.

Newlywed life with two jobs is rough, especially when one of those jobs doesn’t send a paycheck. (Actually, neither of them do, but in one of them I get tips.) I sell stuff for a living, and I end up making sort of enough money to get by. Barely.

For the last couple months, I’ve felt like something had to give. I’ve just finished a new novel (which I wrote in six weeks!) and I’m about to start editing it. I’m working out regularly and drinking a lot of water. I spend a decent amount of time chasing the puppy and kitten around the house with the vacuum so their fur doesn’t send me into asthmatic shock.

Breathing is sort of a hobby of mine.

So in the spirit of something giving, last night I went to a Mary Kay party.

I know. Non sequitur much?

I grew up with a friend whose mum sold Mary Kay. I used to mow her lawn to earn gifts for my mum’s birthday et cetera, and I never really thought much about it that Monica had earned a car through her business in Tinytown, Montana.

My financial situation has been very bad for quite some time now. And by quite some time I mean approximately 28 years. I was born in 1984. You do the math.

The party I went to last night was the launch of a new Mary Kay consultant, who happens to be a friend of mine from work. And one of the things they do at those parties is let you know that you can become a consultant as well. The woman who hosted the party is a national sales director who has earned fifteen cars in her thirty years selling Mary Kay. While that is not something I have written in blood at the top of my list, financial independence is.

I’m 28 with a penchant for leather, weapons, and tribal music. Until last night, when I thought of Mary Kay, all I thought of was pink.

But then I had a sort of epiphany.

I want to write. I am doing what I love and I am so thankful for the 1000+ followers I have on my other blog and the enormous amount of friendly, amazing people I have met through writing. I’ve learned so much about the business and the process and the craft that my fiction has improved tremendously.

Unfortunately, my bills really don’t give a shit about any of that.

As much as I love to do what I do, I need to make sure my husband and I (and the little four-legged furballs who depend on us) are taken care of. And I’m getting quite tired of waiting on tables and hoping people will decide that tipping 15% is behind the times.

In case you’re wondering, 18-20% for good service in the US is what is customary, and if your server is awesome, throw her an extra dollar or two. You don’t have to drop her a twenty on a fifty dollar check, but if you really think she did a great job, show it by compensating her.

Every time someone throws me $8 on $35 or $10 on $40, I feel great because I feel like my hard work is recognized. Of course, if you have the funds and want to make your server’s day, dropping a twenty on any check between $10 and $90 will endear you to the serving gods. Believe me when I say I remember those people. I got $45 on $80 once, and I can still picture their faces. When they come back, they will be recognized and thanked yet again.

Server wage in Maryland is $3.63. I do not receive paychecks at all — all my hourly wage goes to taxes. This is the case for the vast majority of servers. We pay our bills with what you decide to give us for the time we spend serving you. If we do a crappy job, that’s one thing, but if we do a great job, make sure your tip is representative.

But yeah. I’m tired of depending on the whims of others for my bills — and the whims of business as well. Monday night was my only scheduled night shift (read: money shift) this week, and we were so slow that I only had five tables. That put a stress on the rest of the week.

So I’ve decided to join the Mary Kay family. Which sounds strange to my ears. It’s not official yet, but it’s in the wings.

Back to that epiphany I had.

Mary Kay can look like whatever you want it to. Sure, the products come in pink tubes sometimes, but you can be as edgy as you want to be. The beauty of Mary Kay is that you make it your own.

This is what I hope to accomplish:

  • Pay off my debt.
  • Travel with my husband around the world.
  • Have more time for writing.
  • Leave the restaurant industry.

I could do some of those things working a traditional 9-5, but if I could get my business going with Mary Kay, I would have the ability to travel. That is something that means a lot to me and always has.

So I’ll leave you with a question: what’s preventing you from doing what you truly desire?