March 15, 2009

Grumpy McGrumperson’s Guide to Good Grumping

WARNING --- I am SO grumpy. If you have nothing nice to say...come sit by me. *grin*

Alternate title: Five Things I Purely Hate.

1) Boundary testing. Beautiful Maisy who is about to be barely seven has entered a PHASE---you know the kind. The other day I told her to do some minor chore and she resisted and flopped and wailed like the Sabine women and asked WHY she had to do it, and why NOW, and WHYYYyyyyy in the particular way I wanted it done, why why why, until I finally pulled rank and intoned, “WHY? BECAUSE I AM THE BOSS OF YOU. AND I SAID. THAT IS WHY.

She rolled her little eyeballs upward, pursed her mouth into a pious wad, and said, “I have a better boss than you, Momma. My boss is The Lord God Almighty.”

Not just plain God, you understand. Not The Big Guy, or Jehovah, or The Man Upstairs. Not even I AM or Supreme Being. She unleashed the WHOLE formal title and job description on me. THE. LORD. GOD. ALL. MIGHTY. Eh-herm. I see.

I was raised ARMY, Oh my best beloveds. That dog, as we say in Georgia, will not hunt. I took her gently by the ear in a Spock-hold and sat her down and explained CHAIN OF COMMAND, where God is God of all, but he is MY direct supervisor, and that almost seven years ago He placed her via her birth DIRECTLY under my command, and now she had ten seconds to get her patootie upstairs and begin the chore or I would declare a Righteous Parental Patootie Open Season and begin laying about with the spanks.

The chore itself took less time than the discipline…

2) The new Facebook homepage layout. BEFORE it had little FORM that began with your name and IS (Joshilyn is…) and you could fill it in with whatever you WERE. You could fill in with an emotional state. Joshilyn is...grumpy, for example, or you could get detailed and say things like Joshilyn is ...ready to trade in long-term investment PARENTING for a more IMMEDIATELY rewarding career, like Circus Clown who Follows the Elephants with a Giant Pooper Scooper.)

NOW it says “What’s on your mind?” And then it has the space where you type. When you FINISH typing, it seems to expect you to press a button labeled SHARE. Um, I will share my cookies. I will share space to sit on the bench. I will chant the word SHARE at my squabbling children in the backseat as we drive the 3 hours home from Unicoi State Park today, O YES I WILL, I will chant the word SHARE as if it is a MANTRA.

But …I am not going to SHARE my feelings. I refuse to self actualize my personhood on FREAKIN’ Facebook, and when did Facebook go all LIFE ON MARS and wake up in the 70’s. Dearest Facebook, love you, love yours aps, but FACE it, I’m Okay, You’re…Not.


A) I hate being called Josh. Hates it, preshus. The H in my name is silent, and the short version is Joss or Jos.

B) EVEN MORE THAN THAT, I hate that I have never YET found a way to correct people who begin calling me Josh without mortally insulting them. I don’t mean to mortally insult them, I just don’t like being called a boy’s name. If your name was JULIE ANNE and I kept calling you JULIAN, and if it bugged you, then I would WANT you tell me, and I wouldn’t think you hated me if you told me how to pronounce your name.

4) AMAZON is eating reviews. I was blog-bouncing and read about this guy who had his book reviews eaten, so I googled, and found even more writers who had lost reviews, so I went and checked my own books. HMF!

gods in Alabama used to have around 130 reviews, and a ranking of 4.5 stars. NOW alla sudden, it has 102 reviews….and a rank of 4 stars. OKAY. I get that sometimes computers glitch and things get eaten, BUT REALLY AMAZON???? Did you have to munch exclusively on FIVE POINT REVIEWS? I would not have begrudged you a EVEN few of the really nice fours...if only you could have also chocked down a couple of the less, er, glowing ones and left the delightful 4.5 AVERAGE intact? I know 2 star reviews taste like CRAP (believe me!) but perhaps they are good for you, like beets or shots of B-12 administered directly to the buttock. WHY eat the ones by folks who REALLY liked the book and lower poor gods's overall rating? WHY? WHY?

(and now I sound like Maisy! I have whine-regressed to NOT EVEN SEVEN!)

5) Waiting to hear what my editor and agent think of the new book.

OH WAIT! I think I am about to have a flash of 70’s style actualization insight!!!

DO you think MAYYYYBE number 5 has something to do with why numbers 1 – 4 are GETTING TO ME and making me so gruuuuuuuumpy?

Heh. Please remit chocolate.

Posted by joshilyn at March 15, 2009 8:34 AM

Haha I was confused by how to say the short form of your name at first, but I am glad I know now! The tricky part is just to catch people early on in the mis-pronunciations and then the correction is less guilt-inducing ;)
Love your story with Maisy and the chain of command - I think you handled it perfectly!

Posted by: Heather at March 15, 2009 9:44 AM

Oh, well, maybe #5 does have something to do with the State of the Mood, perhaps. Given #5, I think you're doing quite well, actually!

Posted by: ccr in MA at March 15, 2009 9:50 AM

I notice that Gods in Alabama (the paperback, the Kindle edition, the Large Print edition, and the Audio CD) has 102 reviews, and Gods in Alabama (the Bargain Hardcover) has 23 different reviews. Maybe the reviews haven't vanished, they've just been segregated off to the different page?

(Maybe you can get Amazon to put them all back as different editions of the same book?)

Posted by: Laura at March 15, 2009 9:52 AM

I have to say that no more Life on Mars is making me grumpy. Only 3 episodes left!

Posted by: heidi at March 15, 2009 11:28 AM

Lillian just made cookies and if she wasn't sending them off to her brother in Iraq, I would immediately send them out to you with a huge note that says, "Joss(sssss, darn it, no "h" in sight) does NOT have to share these with anyone. Because. I. Said. So.

However, since I cannot do that (and wouldn't do that to Curtis anyway), I will tell you that your editor and agent are probably about to call or email you and tell you how much they LOVE your new book and it's the best one of all, and please, pretty please, won't you consider writing another, which might live up to how great this one is, but this one is the PINNACLE of all human writing ever and everyone will be talking about it, whole cities will make it their book choice and you'll be featured on Oprah for a WEEK, it's so good.

In fact, you should probably check your email for that very message right now.

Loved the Chain of Command, though. Bloody brilliant, if I do say so.

Posted by: Fran at March 15, 2009 3:50 PM

Your agent and editor LOVE LOVE LOVE the book. They haven't gotten around to calling b/c they are too busy figuring out the new fb format.

And their moms made them clean up their rooms first. Ugh! Sooo boring!

Have some chocolate while you wait.

PS Anyone who is offended when you correct them about your name is so hypersensitive that they are probably not worth being friends with. As long as you don't act snotty about it or, you know, invoke the Lord God Almighty. That's a little over the top.

Posted by: Jen at March 15, 2009 4:41 PM

About the Joss/Josh thing: I have this really, well, STUPID coworker who pronounces numerous words however she wants to, no matter what you tell her. But the thing that drives the rest of us the craziest is that our boss's name is SHAUNDRA, and from day one this coworker has insisted on calling her SONDRA. The boss is the type who would never mention it; in fact her name must challenge a lot of people because she says her own mother-in-law calls her SHAUNUKKAH! (Another friend named Candace says her inlaw of 20 years still refers to her in all seriousness as Kansas.)Anyway, since I had a previous acquaintance with that first coworker, I pointed out to her on DAY ONE that she was mispronouncing our boss's name, but she just gave me a glazed look and said "I say Sondra,"--like it's up each of us to decide how to pronounce the names of others. So I doubt you'll mortally insult anybody. If they're intelligent they'll only be embarrassed to have pronounced it wrong to begin with. And if they're like my coworker they'll just give you a dumb look and say, "I call you JOSH."

Posted by: Kim Foster at March 15, 2009 9:36 PM

“I have a better boss than you, Momma. My boss is The Lord God Almighty.”

That is absolutely priceless!

Posted by: catherino at March 15, 2009 10:23 PM

Luckily for you, The Lord God Almighty knows EXACTLY how to pronounce all forms of your name. :) And I, considering myself a long-term FTK-er (going on three years now) do too. It is not offensive to tell someone how to pronounce your name. We all have names, and we are all a little sensitive about them--especially those of us with the slightly unusual moniker. My name is Roxanne. Do not call me Roxy.

I teach school. In Houston. I have name spellings of every flavor, denomination, nationality, etc. For the past few years on the first day of school when I take roll, I call out the LAST name and have the kid answer with what they want me to call them. Therefore, were you in my class I would say, "Jackson." And you would reply, "Joss-uh-lyn" and in my gradebook I would promptly mark through "Joshilyn" and write "Jocelyn" and all would be well with the world. You would never know that I had misspelled your name, but you WOULD know that I didn't mispronounce your name.

Posted by: Roxanne at March 15, 2009 10:33 PM

Now, I am not the parent of an almost-seven-year-old, but having one's CHILD, for whose benefit you have maintained a home, paid enormous quantities of money for food, shelter, medical care, etc, (NOT to mention cheerfully and LOVINGLY accepted an average 20-point increase in one's Mental Illness #, due to scary things like seizures and WHOOPING FRICKEN COUGH) decline to recognize one's AUTHORITY as her PARENT, would justify grumpiness in MY book.

She is a smart (not to mention smart-alecky, at this age!) cookie, and your reaction was JUST PERFECT IMHO (speaking as someone who would probably overreact DRAMATICALLY, and stomp and yowl). Have you explained to her that this is a PHASE and SHE WILL GROW OUT OF IT RAPIDLY?? (yowl yowl)

PEE ESS I have been reading your blog, and the blog archives, and became nervous when I realized that I was AT RISK of having read EVERYTHING AVAILABLE that had been written by Josssssssshilyn Jackson, so I rushed out this weekend and bought gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia. -whew- I feel much more secure now. And am enjoying "Between." (Haven't started gods yet.) Can I put a review on Amazon even if I didn't buy the books there?


Posted by: Jennifer at March 15, 2009 11:26 PM

I prescribe two chocolate covered cherries, three chocolate covered potato chips and call me in the morning.

Posted by: Lia at March 16, 2009 1:41 AM

I don't have to worry much about the pronunciation, as the liklihood of an actual face-to-face meeting is a tad miniscule, but I HAVE fretted about whether it's OK to type "Josh" or if the typed version should be "Joss". So I have remained semi-formal and always type the full "Joshilyn".

I am sending thoughts your hubby's way, so that he will "magically" know to pick up some chocolate for you on his way home.

Posted by: Brigitte at March 16, 2009 7:43 AM

Love the 'chain of command' idea. It would have saved me a ton of grief when my 2 were young. Something that worked well for me was after giving them their job-marching-orders was then adding the phrase, "..and do it to MOM's standards." This prevented them from claiming a job was 'done' when it actually wasn' taking a stack of neatly folded clean laundry and cramming it all any old which way into one dresser drawer instead of puting it away where it belonged. Got this idea from a friend who discovered a hidden bonus when her children started using it on their dad when he'd 'do the dishes' by putting everything in the dishwasher but wouldn't do anything with the icky pots and pans. HA!

Posted by: JeanEva at March 16, 2009 8:10 AM

If only I knew where to send the chocolate mice.

Posted by: Patti at March 16, 2009 9:25 AM

"Hates it, preshus" heeee!

Posted by: Amanda at March 16, 2009 11:59 AM

Oh sweetie.... YOU come sit by me. I am grumpy too, yes, but I also have no freaking qualms about correcting people on my name. EVERYONE spells it wrong, and it frosts my patootie mightily, especially when the someone is replying to an e-mail with MY NAME, spelled PROPERLY, signed at the bottom of it and proudly dislayed at the top. Jeez. AND I don't believe in shortening the name of anybody who hasn't expressly invited you to do so, as in "Call me Joss." So there.

I too am cranky about Facebook. I hatesssssss it.

What I'm not cranky about? The fact that my new Kindle 2 is en route to me!!!

Posted by: Aimee at March 16, 2009 12:20 PM

Josh vs Joss? remind them. now in exciting orange!

Posted by: debra at March 16, 2009 1:33 PM

I know how you feel about the name thing. My name is Ruth and growing up in the 70's when Ruth Buzzie was sorta big wasn't the most fun.

I'm nearly 40 and new people who meet me STILL make a Baby Ruth joke. I always say (with a big smile on my face), "That's the first time I ever heard THAT one, again."

Or Ruth Ann or Ruthie. "Ruthie" makes me want to lay about people's heads with a heavy stick.

Whenever people continually call me by the wrong name, I always, quietly say my real name right after. Eventually, even the slightly aware will ask why I keep repeating my own name. I tell them, "You're saying my name wrong. It's Ruth, not (insert wrong name here)". Usually does the trick.

Posted by: 5elementknitr at March 16, 2009 2:30 PM

Roxanne, I feel your pain! I taught in a Southwestern high school for ten years, and as soon as I got my rosters, I went to teachers who had had students with unusual names before me to ask about how to pronounce them.

Aztec names like "Xochitl" were the hardest, I must say.

Posted by: Fran at March 16, 2009 4:50 PM

I know just how you feel about the name alterations. I will tell people, "I'm CariAnne." They will reply, "Nice to meet you, Cari."

Wow--did I say, "Cari"?! NO!

Posted by: CariAnne at March 17, 2009 11:05 AM

I believe one of our first bonding convos was one about the silent "H".

Posted by: Meaghan at March 17, 2009 3:06 PM

The new facebook layout makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a bottle of Chloraseptic spray. Why did they go and mess up a good thing?

Posted by: Amanda of Shamelessly Sassy at March 17, 2009 8:17 PM