Posts by atozstevens

If your kid is in a show at school, here’s how to NOT be a jerk.

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Random cool stuff | 52 comments

Don’t be a jerk!

 

Last night my daughter participated in a talent show. Ella talent show 2

We bought her a special outfit, she went to weeks of rehearsals, practiced her song over and over again and was SO EXCITED about performing. We brought our entire brood, which we do whenever one of the kids has any kind of performance, because we believe in supporting them no matter what, so all 6 of use were there, and my daughter was backstage waiting anxiously for her turn.  The show was done in the cafeteria, so there was a whole lot of echoing.  They were selling snacks and drinks in the back of the room, while the show was being performed in the front.

So, the show begins, right away we cannot understand what the announcer is saying so I’m a bit skeptical of how the whole show is going to go down.  Also, there’s a lot of people in this small space and they are pretty loud.  Here’s rule number one on how not to be a jerk when you’re at a school performance.

design (1)

Seriously. Just be quiet!

Grown adults talking as if there aren’t adorable children performing on the stage for everyone to see.  It takes so much bravery to get up on a stage and perform.  Every one of those kids deserved absolute 100% attention and they weren’t getting it.  Adults were having conversations, even the school employees were talking to each other while children were performing.  People please, if you are at a performance, especially when it’s a bunch of elementary school children, give them your attention!  That’s why they are there, they want to perform for you!  They want you to love what they are doing!

So the show continues, each child bravely walking across the stage and performing their hearts out.  Unfortunately, for this particular show, the speaker was horrible and you could barely hear the children that were singing.   As the show progresses, the noise in the audience just gets louder and louder, until finally a teacher got up on the stage and asked people to please be quiet. Should be common sense right? After that announcement from the teacher, the cafeteria started to clear out. This brings me to my second rule on how to NOT be a jerk.

DON’T LEAVE THE SHOW BEFORE IT’S OVER!

design (2)

Listen, if I have to sit there and endure the pain of listening to your child sing completely off key and off rhythm, which as a singer is incredibly difficult for me, then you better damn well sit there and listen to MY child!  My daughter came over to us about halfway through the show to get a drink of water and she said to me “Where’d everyone go?”  She was sad because half the cafeteria had cleared out because their child was done.  Unacceptable, support ALL of the children, not just yours.

Unfortunately, my princess was the third to last performance.  I say unfortunately because by the time she got to the stage, most of the audience was gone, and the ones that remained were very restless, i.e. LOUD, bringing me to my third rule on how to NOT be a jerk.

KEEP YOUR CHILDREN QUIET!

Please teach your children how to sit quietly and respectfully.  It’s something that they will need as adults, so start when they are little!  DO NOT allow them to run around the back of the room, as if they are on a playground playing tag, sit their cute little butts down and have them watch the show.  There’s a time and a place for playing, teach them when that is.  I have 4 children, and while they are very far from perfect, they do know when it’s time to sit down and shut up.  I taught them that early on by stringing them up by their toes and squirting them in the face with a squirt gun when they made noise.  Just kidding, I’m not a jerk.  My husband and I work hard to make sure that our kids are respectful and that’s part of why we make them go to these performances that are literally excruciating to sit through, it gives them LIFE SKILLS.

My daughter performed beautifully, ignoring all of the noise that was being made while she sang, and she ended up getting the loudest applause when she was done, or maybe I just heard it that way, I might be biased.  When she was done, we sat and listened to the rest of the children, cheered for them and when it was all over, collected our kids and left.

I hope that you take these helpful hints the next time you take your child to a performance.  Remember that yours is not the only one performing!  All of those children have feelings, and excitement and trepidation and they really just want you to cheer loud for them when they are done.

In closing.  DON’T BE A JERK.
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Words, here’s how you use them.

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Random cool stuff | 1 comment

Words are difficult.

I know the English language is hard, but there are mistakes that are made, which just should not be made.  Simple things that really don’t take a whole lot of brain usage, so honestly  you won’t hurt yourself by using them properly.  Nerds like words, and we have a really hard time when people use them the wrong way, so here’s a handy list of the way you should and should not use words.

1.  Irregardless.  Nope, don’t do it. Regardless of whether you think it’s actually valid or not, just don’t.

2.  Supposebly.  Nope. Just NO. There is no B in Supposedly. Please, please just don’t.

3.  I could care less.  Just think about this phrase for a second, listen to it in your mind, let it swirl around in there.  Does it sound right?  I mean, if you could care less, then you would care less right?  So when you’re saying it, does it work?  Nope.  I couldn’t care less, if you could care less.

4.  You’re vs Your. Guys, this one is so easy.  If you just put your mind to it, you’ll see how easy it is!  You’re= you are. Your is yours.  Please word responsibly.

5.  I seen that. Please no.  Just don’t. You can see that, or you can say I saw that, but no one ever seen anything. Ever.

I have to go pick up kiddos now, but I have plenty of this to make a part 2 tomorrow!

 

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An open letter to Destiny haters…

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 in Destiny | 0 comments

rise of iron

Dear Haters,

Rise of Iron is out.  It’s a beautiful thang.

Here’s the thing, there are so many haters out there and I don’t understand it.  I seriously don’t understand why there’s so much dislike for such a fun game!  Haters, just please let me know, right here, right now.  Most people complain about the price tag.  Is it steep? Sure, it could probably be less, they could probably charge us all $15 for DLC instead of $30 and still make a profit.  Bungie has to make money too though, and really they have a TON of people that they have to pay, I bet the orchestra that they had to pay for the soundtrack cost a pretty penny.  Speaking of the soundtrack, it’s beautiful.  It makes you feel things, it really is gorgeous and you can hate all you want, but you really can’t argue that.  As I’m sitting here typing up this blog, I’m listening to it, and I feel like I’m in the game, I need to go defeat all the The Fallen and save the world.

Back to the price tag, honestly the amount of playtime that I have gotten out of this game FAR surpasses how much I’ve paid for it, and that goes for both my husband and myself. We have to buy 2 copies of everything because we both play and in my expert opinion, it’s worth every penny we’ve spent.  If you add up the hours that we have both played it is well over 2000 and we are Alpha players, so we’ve been there since before day one.  Please tell me what I could spend 2000+ hours doing that costs less than roughly $200.

I’m easy though!  Maybe that’s why I’m such a fan and so many others or not, I mean the servers couldn’t keep up with the thousands upon thousands of people that were trying to play the game when the DLC launched, but no one plays this game anymore so how was that an issue? Come on haters, chime in!  Tell me where the game goes wrong!  Is it because you did so much grinding only to have them take away all that gear with The Taken King? taken king

Welcome to the world of MMO’s, which like it or not, Destiny definitely leans toward.  You grind, you get your gear perfectly leveled and then BAM!  New content is released and everything you worked so hard for is obsolete.  Hey, I was forever 29, I remember exactly what a pain in the ass it was to grind VoG and hope I would get the stupid gauntlets that I needed to hit 30. vog

It’s the way of the game yo!  Don’t get mad!  Just get the new stuff and keep on keepin on!

So, you can’t get into the raid? It makes you mad, you stop playing?  You get on social media and talk about how stupid it is that Destiny doesn’t have a matchmaking feature for the raid?  Come on man!  There’s LFG all over the place, hell you can even get on FB on any of the multiple posts about Destiny on Bungie’s page and ask for help and you’ll get a ton of Guardians ready to have your back.  Having matchmaking on the raid would be a mess and people would complain about how much matchmaking sucks because the people that want to raid have no idea what they are doing which makes for a very frustrating experience, then you get those that don’t have a headset and seriously, who raids without a headset?  I’m with Bungie, no matchmaking for the raid, there’s already enough whiners out there.

You guys mad about PVP?  You mad because the meta keeps changing, and they keep nerfing your favorite weapon and then you gotta start loving another one and then they nerf that and UGH!!!  Well duh!  They want you to use more than one weapon!  There’s a huge selection of weapons and they want you to love them all!  So use different weapons!  Do something other than snipe!  Get in there and whoop some tail!  FYI, I’m NOT a PVPer, I mean, I play it because sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s a good way to get some gear, and I’m still working really hard to get the Walkabout shader because it’s pretty, and purple, although I have gotten the SparklePony shader and I’m pretty thrilled with that. sparklepony

I don’t really enjoy PVP though, and sometimes I rage and quit, but I go back!  I go back because the game is fun!

This is just a few of the issues that I’ve ready while perusing the interwebs and reading through Destiny posts, there’s just so many haters out there.

I get that there was a lot of promise before the game came out, and I get that Bungie didn’t deliver what they said they would, and the game is drastically different than what was advertised. I get that, I do!  But the game has evolved, it’s become something that you can sit down and spend an entire day playing happily, or you can sit down and just hang out for a short while, and still have FUN.  It’s a game that allows you to connect with people. It’s a game that literally creates friendships, and I know this from personal experience. Call me a loser but literally some of my best friends are my Destiny friends.  I can’t thank Bungie enough for giving me that.  Every weekend my introverted ass sits on the couch, on a headset, with my husband and my Destiny friends and we kick some Fallen ass, or we beat the hell out of Crota, or we just go collect materials for some bounty. The whole time, we are laughing, yelling, discussing philosophical life stuff and having just as much fun as one would out and about with friends.  New people come in, we help them level, we help them raid, we do what we can to keep the game going and we enjoy the hell out of the grind.

Rise of Iron brought back my precious Gally, I’m basic and absolutely ecstatic to see those wolfpack rounds flying. It’s brought back the Thorn too, can’t wait to take that into the crucible and mess some people up.  thorn

Dude, I just love the game!  I’m not raid ready yet, but my group is hoping to get in there tomorrow and it’s going to be amazing!  Will we get pissed and yell at each other?  Definitely. There will be moments when we’ve died for the 15th time doing the same damn strategy and we will need a break, but then we will get over it and get the loot and do it all over again!

Honestly people, Destiny is a kick ass game and you can have a fantastic time with friends or solo.  If you’ve been drinking the haterade, you should put it down, and maybe give the game another try!  Put yourself out there, put aside all of the politics of it all, stop thinking of all of the business aspects of the game and just PLAY.  Make friends, have fun!  Just play the game.  I am kinda mad that I don’t have a wolf though, for real.  Maybe with Destiny 2…

Sincerely,

A Warlock, and yes I do love the warlock jump. #warlockmasterrace

 

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5 ways kids are tiny little jerks.

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in Random cool stuff | 58 comments

So, I have 4 kids and I love them madly. Unequivocally love them. That being said, there are times where I genuinely would like to put them on top of an elephant and smack it’s butt. When they come to me, and they love on me and they give me hugs and kisses then everything is so sweet. Then they argue with each other about what the actual definition of the word defecate is, and seriously I don’t feel the love. Here’s 5 things that my children have done that makes them jerks… let me know if you can relate.

  1. I keep their bathroom stocked with toilet paper, I mean obviously I would not want them to be without toilet paper and have to improvise, that’s just not a good idea at all, so I make sure that they always have toilet paper under their bathroom sink. Does it occur to them to check under there when they run out? Nope.  Obviously if there is no toilet paper in their bathroom, the next logical move is to go to MY bathroom and take the roll that is on my holder. Friggin jerks.
  2. While we are in the bathroom, we can talk about the shower curtain. It’s a very confusing device, and one just absolutely cannot figure out whether the curtain should be in the tub or out of the tub when showering. The answer is obviously out of the tub, because flooding the bathroom is fun and an easy way to clean the floor.
  3. I love when my kids call me, we chit chat, we laugh and then when the conversation is over, I so sweetly say “I love you”, and then… silence. Don’t hang up on people. Jerks.
  4. I’m guessing that my children assume we have a house elf, as they rarely ever throw away garbage. I’m pretty sure that they think that the house elf just comes along behind them and takes care of whatever mess they make. I mean, I guess technically I’m the house elf, because I do go behind them and clean it up, but I yell while I’m doing it, because yeah… I’m a yeller.
  5. Why are my kids obsessed with knowing ages? They are constantly asking me how old I am. Listen kid, I’m whatever age I want to be! Stop saying I’m 45. Jerks.

5 ways that my kids are jerks. I could keep going, but then I would just be whining. I can’t wait until they are all older, I’m already planning my revenge of waking them up multiple times a night and then super early in the morning. On the weekends. Yes, I’m diabolical.

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Army PCS and the money you should get.

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Army info, Noobness | 0 comments

Housing

You just got orders, what now?! Well first thing you should do, is get on the housing list if you intend to live on post. A lot of people don’t realize that as soon as you have orders in hand, you can get on that list, you don’t need to wait until right before you PCS. I just wanted to throw that info out there in case some of you didn’t know.

What I really want to talk about though, is the money that you should get to help with your move. Useful info, when PCSing, the army considers one travel day to be 400 miles. So say you’re pcsing from Ft. Stewart, GA to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonia TX, it’s roughly 1100 miles from one post to the other, so the army will give you 3 days of travel time. You’ll want to remember that later on in this article. The info that I’m giving you is for Conus moves, I have not personally done an Oconus move so I don’t want to give that info out, but if we ever do one I will totally report back!

Now for the good stuff!

There are several different allowances that the Army gives when one PCS’s. The first that we’ll talk about is DLA. DLA stands for Dislocation Allowance and is meant to offset the cost of settling into a new home. DLA Sheet. Depending on the post that you are going to/leaving, you might be able to get your DLA before you PCS, although more and more posts are doing away with that option since more and more people have to use the Government Travel Card during a PCS. If you can’t get advance DLA, then you can expect it to take about 2-4 weeks after inprocessing for the money to hit your account. Make sure that you request DLA if it’s not offered to you.

Next we will talk about Per Diem. Per Diem is the money that you get to help you move, it’s meant to offset the cost of food, and lodging while traveling. Each year the per diem rates can change, this link will show you the current rates, Per Diem. The service member gets 100% of the rate, the spouse and children 12 and over get 75%, children under 12 get 50% of the rate. You will get that rate for the service member as well as each dependent for each day of travel.

Quick example, The Skidoosh family consists of the service member, one spouse and two children, one that is over age 12 and one that is under, and they are allotted 3 days of travel. You’ll get 100% of the standard conus rate for the service member which is $140, then you will get 75% for the spouse and 75% for the child over 12, which is $105 each equaling $210, and finally you’ll get 50% for the child under 12, which is $70. Each day of travel will be $420, so the total Per Diem that you would get for 3 days of travel is $1260.

Keep Receipts!

Yay money! So we’ve gone over DLA, and Per Diem. Now is a great time to make sure you all understand the importance of keeping EVERY SINGLE RECEIPT! When the service member inprocesses, he/she will need all receipts in order to be reimbursed. When we PCS, we put together a folder that we use for all important papers, copies of orders and receipts we acquire while traveling, that way everything is in one place and my husband just takes the entire folder with him for each day of processing. We keep all of the papers from the movers, because we are all about the army moving us, and the papers from the housing company if we lived on post.

Moving on! Next is MALT, Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation, which is given to offset the cost of gas going from one post to the other. You will be reimbursed for up to two cars, and like Per Diem, the rate can change each year. Right now, the rate is .24 cents per mile. So the Skidoosh family has 2 cars and they are traveling 1100 miles for their pcs, so they can expect to get $264 per car, for a total of $528. Easy peasy.

So I’m excited to tell you guys about this next gem, which I think isn’t very well known. Who here has heard of TLE? I know a lot of you probably have, and you think you know all about it, but did you know that TLE can be used both before and after PCS? Did you know that as soon as your HHG (house hold goods) are packed up by the movers, TLE kicks in? I bet you didn’t, and if you did then yay you, smartie pants that has done your research! So, TLE is meant to offset the cost of food and lodging when you are displaced, meaning once your things are packed up and you can’t live your daily life, you can get TLE.

Now, TLE is pretty confusing, and the army uses some kind of super secret formula so it’s really hard to figure up exactly how much you’ll get unfortunately, you’ll want the service member to ask the secret society to figure it up for you. If you have a big family, like I do, then you’ll most likely meet the cap which is $290 per day. Some people have to use all the TLE after they leave the old post and once they get to the new post, because they don’t have a home yet. If you’re going from one post and you already have your home on the other side, you can use some of the TLE before you leave. So if your HHG is packed up, you can use TLE to pay for lodging and food. If you’re in a hotel room that has a fridge and a stove, then you will get partial TLE, which again is a complicated formula and I wish that I was able to figure it up for you, but I’m not a part of the super secret society that figures up TLE.  It’s always recommended that you utilize the on post hotel if possible. KEEP RECEIPTS! The 10 days that you are allotted can be used however you need. If you need 3 days at the old post and 5 days at the gaining post, you can do that.

Seriously, KEEP THEM!

So to summarize. KEEP RECEIPTS, 10 days max which can be used however you need either at the losing installation or the gaining, it’s meant to offset the cost of food and lodging as soon as your HHG is packed up and also before your HHG has been delivered. Isn’t that awesome?! So when you get to your new home, if you don’t have your HHG yet, grab a hotel room, the army will pay for it! If you’re using the government travel card, then you can put the room and your food on that card and expect that it will be reimbursed to you when the service member inprocesses.

I really hope that this info has helped you, families that are moving on military orders should not struggle to pay for the move, so I wrote this to ensure that you’re getting every single dollar that you can. If you guys have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment and I will get it answered, if I don’t know, I will find someone that does! I intend to do more blogs on making military life as a spouse easier, so please come back to me!

Have a magical PCS!

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