grumpy about positivity – 99 problems

I’m working on being more positive.

Jesse’s workbook on grumbling too much says some people are more positive and some people are more negative. Some people are more pessimistic, some are more optimistic. Some people are flexible, some people are inflexible. Some people are pains in the ass (pain in the asses?), some smell like mangos and buttermilk.

“Who do you know who tends to be negative? Draw a picture of that person.” Said the workbook page. Jesse drew herself and me.


Before you think weird things, I can explain the body drawings. Those aren’t my ovaries dropping into my groin, nor is Jesse portraying us wearing either hoochie-mama outfits or BDSM gear. Jesse has been working with one of those 3D wood body forms to figure out body dimensions and movement points. She draws bodies with ball joints now, and proportions have been out of whack for a while. And now that I look more closely, she does appear to have given me a cleavage. Huh.

Oh. On the “who’s positive” side of the workbook, Jesse drew a picture of Nick with the caption, “most positive thinker ever.”


I think she’s right. You remember that Sesame Street ditty, “One of these things is not like the other”? That’s Nick, trapped in a house with three pessimistic, pretty inflexible people. Poor little awesome guy.

The workbook says you can exercise being more positive and flexible. You have to learn to jump hurdles. See the hurdle. Decide to jump it. Figure out how to do it. Jump.


Four easy steps. Jesse read it a few times and pondered as we sat together. She wanted to know why the pictures showed a cow jumping hurdles. She looked at me curiously, expectantly, but then before I could say “It’s a metaphor,” she wandered off into her own mind and I left her alone.

A while later she came back to me with a sheet of paper. “Look Mom, I took each of the four steps and I wrote them like what they actually mean.”


Not bad. I guess she doesn’t need cows. But her approach is a little abstract. We worked on it for a while and we’ll continue to do a bit of learning every day on this.

Anyway, I decided to work on being more positive today because, you know, I’ve got to be a better role model. Jesse and I spent much of the day together, because Anthony took Nick on a solo adventure. They took the dog to the beach and went out for food and lots of fun stuff. Jesse sat in the house while I painted wood siding. It was a just punishment for when she bit Nick on the face last night.

Oh no I didn’t! That wasn’t a nice thing to out Jesse on – I’m getting negative already!

Come on, girl. I’m trying to be positive here. Reboot.

After I cleaned up from the painting, Jesse and I went to lunch. I realized I’ve been forming a positivity mantra lately without even knowing it. Every now and then I’ll announce to Anthony, “I got 99 problems but [insert whatever I’m thinking about] ain’t one!”

It’s very upbeat, yeah? I decided to use it with Jesse today.

Jesse and I went to Qdoba. On the drive there she started in on her strange penis chatter.

“I got 99 problems but a penis ain’t one!”

That stopped her. “Mom.”

Jesse wanted to eat a not-much-cheese chicken quesadilla, with pico de gallo and corn salsa, dipped into tortilla soup. We picked up our food. “I got 99 problems but my lunch ain’t one!”

“Mommy, that’s weird.”

“I got 99 problems but being weird ain’t one!”

“Mom. Stop.”

“I got 99 problems but stopping ain’t one!”

“Mommy! You’re embarraassing me!”

I don’t think it worked with her. But bellowing it at her cheered me up for sure.

After lunch, we went to the bike shop and spied out bikes with 24-inch wheels. Jesse found a Trek she love-love-loved, jet black with a matte finish. Soooo emo and soooo expensive. I offered Jesse a bribe, part of my stealth plan to sidestep the meds. “You work hard for the next month on two things: following directions, and improving your mood, you know, like feeling better about yourself and being happier so you stop being so hostile to us. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to try really hard. Do that for a month, and then if you chip in a hundred bucks from your savings, we’ll get you the Ninja bike.”

Jesse’s eyes opened wide with optimism and a dream of awesome bike rides to come.

We’ll see what she can muster. I’m not optimistic.

No wait. I AM optimistic, really I am!


I found myself thinking about 99 problems all day long after that. I tried to apply it positively as I bent over to paint board after endless board in the back yard, my back and thighs aching from the uncomfortable position, the thumb tendon of my painting hand throbbing in pain.

I got 99 problems, but rain ain’t one! (Damn. Looks like I’ve got no excuse to quit painting.)

(Ah. That’s negative. Try again.)

I got 99 problems, but making dinner ain’t one! (Because I’m spending the entire f*&^ing day painting these damn boards and I don’t have a kitchen to cook in anyway.)

(Shit. Still negative. Try again.)

I got 99 problems, but Jesse screaming at me ain’t one!

(Because she’s inside playing with her iPad, so I’m just delaying the inevitable. Gawd, I’m such a bad mommy.)


I got 99 problems, but going with Jesse to the new psychiatrist this week ain’t one! (I’m refusing to go. Anthony has to do it. I can’t believe we’re going to be reduced to meds. Shaking my head.)

I just can’t do it. I’m born and bred to pessimism.

I got 99 problems, but a functioning kitchen ain’t one!

I got 99 problems, but a functional toilet on the same floor as our bedroom ain’t one!

I got 99 problems, but being underweight ain’t one!

I got 99 problems, but time to exercise ain’t one!

I got 99 problems, but being positive ain’t one!

One thought on “grumpy about positivity – 99 problems

  1. My great aunt made some bad decisions with her life insurance policy, and ended up oweing the IRS $72,000, money she clearly didn’t have (or else she wouldn’t have cashed out the policy) so she had to mortgage her house to pay it. My cousin had some health issues and ended up needing brain surgery, which may or may not help. So my other cousin and I say, “x or y may not be going well, but at least I don’t owe the IRS $72k, and I don’t need brain surgery!” I’m not sure if that’s positive or negative, but at least it makes us laugh.

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