PJ Answers All: Step-Parents and Addressing Hurricane Flobags

First, I got another anonymous question this weekend from Sarahah. If you want me to give you my thoughts or advice on any subject feel free to send me a message on Sarahah, fill out this SurveyMonkey form, or contact me through more traditional means (see end of page) and tell me that you want it addressed anonymously. Oh, and the incomplete archives with about 100 questions and answers can be found here.

This may be different than your normal questions, but still curious as to your opinion (if you have one). What do you think of step-parents being called ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ by their stepchildren?”

Thanks for the question! To be honest, I have never given this much thought. My birth parents are still married and I haven’t been in a position where this affected my life directly. Though, two of my best friends birth parents are no longer together and so are some of my cousins and other friends. Homes are increasingly diverse, which may be a good thing.

Because this involves language there might be regional differences, but to me “dad” and “mom” are more of an emotional relationship than a biological one. You can “father” or “mother” a child and the word becomes a verb instead of a title, but you can’t “dad a child” or “mom a child”. To me, father/mother is mostly about biology.

So, I might find it a little strange (but really none of my business and not terribly important to me) if a step-child called their new parent “father” or “mother”. But it makes perfect sense to me for them to call them “dad” or “mom” as long as those words reflect the emotional relationship between the two parties.

I really can’t say when the relationship warrants that kind of terminology. I imagine it happens more commonly and quickly in families where the step-parent enters into the child’s life early on. For example, a close friend of mine’s mother remarried when he was in elementary school. His step-father, not his father, has always been his dad. But if my parents were to divorce and get remarried I would probably never call my step-parents mom or dad. Oddly, I do call my in-laws mom and dad.

I think it really depends on the relationship and it is something that should not be forced. I mean really, no title or relationship should be forced. A child isn’t going to love or respect and adult more because they are punished for not making specific sounds out of their mouths when conveying an idea about that parent. In fact, it’ll probably make the child resent the adult.

Thanks again for this question. I like giving thought to new things and this was definitely an issue that never crossed my mind.

Alright, I’ve got another issue on my mind that I wanted to address.

As some of you know, I live in Wilmington, NC and we are currently in the direct path of Hurricane Florence. Yesterday, I posted a quick Facebook post about my decision to (probably) stay and the reasons for that decision.

Unfortunately, some of my Facebook friends tried to talk me out of it. I know they had the best intentions but it comes off as condescending as fuck to try to convince someone that they are wrong, particularly when you imply that they are stupid or haven’t thought things out. I’m a 36-year old, college educated, entrepreneur, combat veteran who spent over two years travelling by bicycle without guaranteed shelter, access to water, electricity, or food. I have also lived in the South for nearly half my life. I love my life and don’t enter into decisions that may risk it lightly. So, you are a dick if you want to publicly shame me on my Facebook wall for my decision. If you really care or are curious about my thought process you should send me a private message. I fucking hate publicly posted unsolicited advice, particularly from people who, despite claiming to be libertarians, think they know my situation and what is best for me better than I do.

Okay, now that that is out of the way.

I am still undecided on whether I am staying or going. A lot is going to depend on what the storm does in the next 24 hours. Regardless, my partner is leaving tomorrow morning with the animals. So, what is my thought process? Let’s lay it out. I think there are four basic scenarios… I feel like this might be a Prisoner’s dilemma type of situation, I should make a four-square chart. Anyway here they are from relative worst to best:

Storm is Really Terrible, I Stay: This is basically the worst possible scenario. As much as I’d like to stay and help my fellow citizens, after chatting with some experts I realize that I won’t really be in a position (nor do I have the tools) to help. I may even be a liability. Even if I end up being perfectly fine I will be stuck away from electricity, water, and additional food for maybe weeks. I have a bunch of reserves but that would suck ass. I also might die (but I think that is actually way less likely than people realize).

Storm is No Big Deal, I Leave: If the storm is mostly a bust with limited power loss and no major road closures then it could be very wasteful for me to leave. Any minor damage that our home has could turn into major damage if nobody is around for a week to address it. A small leak in the roof can turn into a small leak, floor damage, destroyed furniture, etc. if it isn’t taken care of quickly. Of course, it isn’t really possible to know the extent of the damage the building will take.

Storm is Really Terrible, I Leave: This would suck but leaving would be the best call. I would likely be stranded away from home for an extended amount of time, my house may suffer considerable damage, and there may be property loss. We have insurance but this would still suck. At least I would be safe at my in-laws and able to still work.

Storm is No Big Deal, I Stay: This is the best case scenario. If the storm ends up veering away from us (probably North) and we end up with nothing but weak-side winds from 100 miles away then the damage will be light, services will be quickly restored, and I will be home to fix the house and protect it from looters.

So, there are my options. I still don’t fucking know what I’m going to do. As of this post (8:35am EST, 9/11/2018) the storm is projected to center on Jacksonville, which is about 40 miles northeast of me. If it continues to slide north with projections north of Greenville on Wednesday morning then I’m likely to stay. That’ll put me just on the southern edge of the likely 2-day path. If it slides further south towards Wilmington again then I am going to leave. Really, the only tough decision is if the forecast puts it in the same general vicinity that it is now because it could easily either be No Big Deal or Really Terrible.

I guess all I can do is prep the house and wait and see.



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