Thursday, 15 May 2008

Air Condition Me

Frederer and I had these lofty goals of not using our air conditioner this summer -- you know, so we could tighten the belt and save some money. But there's a fine line between melting and paying an extra $50 a month to run the AC.

It's been SO hot here the last few days -- I think I heard it hit 102 here today. And that's HOT. Even mid-90s are tough for me, so I think we'll be using the AC this summer. Normally, we keep the house at a very pleasant 70 but I think -- you know -- in the effort to conserve and all -- we'll set it at 72. :-)

Adam and Eve.... wait, I mean Adam and Steve

I wish we could fire State Supreme Court justices.

Unless you live under a rock (or at least don't have internet access!) you by now have heard that the California State Supreme Court has overturned the voter-approved law that state a marriage is between one man and one woman. Evidently, the voters don't have a say anymore, even when the legislature considers our desires, brings them to the floor, debates them, approves them, puts them out to the voters and then the voters affirm it...nope, these 7 people have decided that they know better.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for freedom. What you do in the confines of your own home is your business. I do believe that people who (albeit, in my opinion, are misguided) are homosexual and in a committed relationship should be allowed the same luxuries of married couples (ie, shared property, health insurance benefits, beneficiary benefits, health care decisions, etc), but it's not the same as a MARRIAGE. A marriage contract between a man and a woman was originally designed for procreation and the building of a family. That was the historical intent. But debating the definition of marriage is not the purpose of this post.

I would have thought that the domestic partner initiative would have appeased everyone, but NO, it's "not the same" they cry, and so starts the lawsuits. But here's what really gets me...

The judges overturned a decision that was the will of the people.

In fact, it went to the voters TWICE and both times it was voted upon that marriage should be between a man and a woman. MARRIAGE has a definition, and similarly, a DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP should be between whomever and whomever.

The gays cry, "But there's not the same rights!" BUNK!

A wife automatically has rights to pull the plug on her husband should he be a vegetable.
A domestic partner has those same rights -- with a Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Directive.

A husband automatically has rights to the wife's property should she die.
A domestic partner has those same rights -- with a Will and Trust.

A wife automatically retains custody of children of the marriage, by birth or adoption, should the husband die.
A domestic partner has those same rights -- with a Will.

A husband, at the wife's election, can be included on the wife's corporate health insurance plan.
A domestic partner -- in the State of CA -- can ALSO be on a corporate health insurance plan by filing their Certification of Domestic Partnership with the employer.

And the tax benefits?
Well, if you're a DINK (dual income no kids) you're screwed if you're married because you have no deductions, so in that case, it's better to be single filing anyway!

This isn't about rights. It's about being socially accepted and these justices are trying to legislate morality. The article today reads:
California already offers same-sex couples who register as domestic partners the same legal rights and responsibilities as married spouses, including the right to divorce and to sue for child support.

But, "Our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation," Chief Justice Ron George wrote for the court's majority, which also included Justices Joyce Kennard, Kathryn Werdegar and Carlos Moreno.

Just out of curiosity why on EARTH does the above bolded phrase need to be put into LAW?
It's not like Domestic Partnerships are denying anyone rights. But, it's just not the SAME as a marriage.

From the dawn of time, marriage has always been between a man and a woman -- and for the longest time marriage wasn't even a political or governmental issue: it was a religious one! God created His economy that way -- it's for the good of the man, the good of the woman, the good of the children.

Nobody is saying that a homosexual couple can't love each other. Sure -- by all means -- find someone with whom you want to share your life and go for it. But, it's NOT THE SAME as a marriage. Perhaps, now that I think about it, I think I would prefer to have the word "marriage" be reclassified to ONLY be a religious term and "partnership" be a political and governmental one. Both are classified the same for benefits purposes, but there's an inherent difference.

I think what saddens me most is that the court didn't listen to the wishes of the voters. It's the same as if the court issued a ruling that said, "Nope, the legal age of drinking in California will now be....ummm, 12!" Uhhh, excuse me? Justices? Uhhh don't you guys work for US, the voters? Didn't we, the voters, vote into law the drinking age will be 21?

We are a country of laws, people! That's what makes this a great place to live! We establish and abide by our laws. I don't have to agree with all the laws, and I'm free to break them if I wish, but there are established rules nonetheless. And if you don't like the laws, you go back to the voters to get it changed. You don't just willy-nilly overturn the law when the voters have said their peace just because justices don't agree with them.

The Court, instead of expanding the Domestic Partnership laws to include those things that homosexuals were decrying as "unfair," just threw us all into one big category.

And, sakes alive, you should see the celebration in the City today. Celebrate all you want...but just like Affirmative Action attempted to correct and rebalance inequities (but didn't), gay marriage won't change the core beliefs of the vast majority of this country -- and the vast majority of the California voting population.

It's a sad day in CA least for me. Thank goodness there's a plan in place to contest this decision.
A coalition of religious and social conservative groups is attempting to put a measure on the November ballot that would enshrine laws banning gay marriage in the state constitution.

The Secretary of State is expected to rule by the end of June whether the sponsors gathered enough signatures to qualify the marriage amendment, similar to ones enacted in 26 other states.

If voters pass the measure in November, it would trump the court's decision.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Mom...I'm Bored!

Remember Saturday morning cartoons, where the Wile E. Coyote would look at the Roadrunner who would mysteriously morph into a chicken leg or perhaps a pot of stew over firey coals? We had that very SAME phenomenon here at our home!

I recently did our summer activities planning and mysteriously enough, both of my children have visually morphed into a dollar sign which is going up in a blaze of glory!!! :-) Goodness gracious! I've heard that "kids are expensive" but man alive, they are EXPENSIVE!

The economy is hitting us hard and we're feelin' the pain of gas prices (anyone else suffering out there?) I drive an SUV and I did a quick calculation, which in hindsight I probably should NOT have done (ignorance really is bliss), and it costs me $16 per day just to drive the kids to/from school. Hence, we've decided to NOT enroll Ruby or Gorby for this year's school summer camp. I would say that I'll probably save at least $100 a week in gas just by NOT driving the 26 mile round trip to/from school. Gorby is still considered a preschooler so he's priced at a whopping $750 a month, and Ruby's fees would be about $600 per month. Oh yeah, not to mention the soft costs of not being with my kids away at camp each day... I wouldn't even SEE them. I really miss my kiddos when they're at school and want 'em home this summer.

I think I'm going to be extra efficient and work M-Th and take Fridays off. We've hired a college-aged babysitter to come to the house from 9-2pm to do crafts with them, play in the backyard, go on field trips, the park, the amusement park, the library, swimming lessons and summer rec classes. I have high hopes and am confident things will be sufficiently balanced.

Tomorrow is the first day of summer registration at our local parks and recreation district. Have you noticed how competitive summer camp and activity registration is? Goodness gracious! People are mapping out the catalog, getting all their contingencies planned and are armed with the exact date and time the online registration opens. It's almost as if folks are camping out waiting for Rush tickets!

That's not everyone?
That's just me?

By now I've scoured the activities guide to make my list (I can hear my Mom chuckling now) of which sessions to enroll the kids.

T-Ball, Soccer, Ballet for Ruby, one-week soccer camp for each of the kids and swimming lessons 3 days/week should keep the kids sufficiently exhausted busy and active all summer long and Frederer's and my checking account fully drained.
I'm armed with our season passes to the local amusement park and am looking forward to the summer reading program at the library. We've identified the free days at the movie theater, SF Zoo, Exploratorium, and Bay Area Discovery Museum.

We're also taking our August summer trip to Colorado to see my family. This annual trek is quite fun and it's great to see family and friends.

Bored kids are the worst. Correction: a bored GORBULAS is the worst. If the