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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Back Pocket Voodoo Dolls

I recently read Libby Logic’s post about the atrocious customer service her family received at one of their local restaurant chains in Utah, and my feathers got all ruffled and pissed off for her. I got all “what’s the matter with people today?” and “where has common courtesy gone?” and “WTF are people thinking?” and “people think they are all that and a bag of chips!”

OK, you get the point. Customer service today sucks.

Then I started thinking. How can we expect to get a smile and a sincere hello from people we don’t know when there are atrocities being committed by the ones we do? I have two friends that have had horrible things happen to them by the person who was supposedly there to love and cherish them. Which leads me to why I carry around two voodoo dolls in my back pockets. Why there? Because I hope they feel the burn when I sit on them.

Two stories. Two mega assholes. I have changed the names of the innocent but kept the names of the guilty. First, my dear friend, Cicely (name changed to protect her), who doesn’t have an evil bone in her body, was 5 months pregnant when her partner of FIFTEEN years decided he didn’t love her anymore and wanted a divorce. Yeah, so my first voodoo doll is named Mark (name not changed).

Second, my friend, Brenda (name changed to protect her), had given her all to her partner. This dynamo has a huge heart too, so that is saying a lot! She sold her house and put all of her money into making a new, remodeled home with this woman. She became a parent to her child and loved her like her own. Then about five years into the relationship, Brenda was told to move out. No warning. Just get out. And our backasswards laws don’t protect same-sex partnerships, so she lost everything. EVERYTHING. So my second voodoo doll is named Nicole (again, no name change here).

Cicely and Brenda are both strong women with amazing hearts and are moving along nicely. I like to think that my having grudges and fostering ill-will through my dolls helps. I hold the grudge, so they don’t have to. Sitting on Mark and Nicole makes me feel better.

So, carry a voodoo doll around with you. Next time someone stiffs you on the breadsticks, whip it out and twist an arm or two. It might just make you feel better. It works for me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fun for the Family? I Think Not.

I have written before about how I have what appears to be a lifetime subscription to a magazine that claims to be chalk full of fun family ideas. Only, every time I look through the magazine, I’m more perplexed that people actually DO the things detailed in it. Make your own toy bin? No thanks. Make crafty little form letters to fill out for your kids’ teachers? Um, I’m more of an email person myself.

Apparently the makers of this magazine put out colorful books full of all sorts of recipes and crafts “the whole family will love.” I only discovered they had these other publications when one of the moms at Braedyn’s new school pulled out one of the hardcover books, set it down in front of me, and exclaimed, “ I LOVE their magazine!” Wow. I am just *not* that mom. When the kids ask to do crafts, that means I put out a bin of various craft odds and ends – maybe some pipe cleaners, some buttons, markers, colored paper, scissors, stickers, and glue – and say “go for it!”

What can I say? The magazine bugs me, and this month’s edition is no different. It just doesn’t seem practical to me. The only time I look through it is while sitting on the pot in the bathroom. I get 30 seconds of peace (usually) and I use that time to flip through whatever magazines I have put in the magazine rack. Today, the fun makers mag intrigued me, so I decided to flip during my 30 seconds of “pee”ace. It claimed to have creative ways to save money on school clothes.

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You know what their creative idea was? It’s to cut, glue, and sew new clothes out of their old clothes. An example of which, the little girl is wearing on her arm in the picture. Again, I am *so* not that mom. If I had written the article, it would have said:

Want to save money on school clothes? Go garage saling!

Seriously, I have picked up incredible clothing that is like new or new for *PENNIES*! A quarter here, 50 cents there, and you have a new outfit. And you save yourself all the headache that comes with the glue fumes, unless you are into that.

Friday, August 14, 2009

That’s It. You’re Grounded.

When I used to rock Braedyn to sleep as a baby, I used to tell myself that I would never EVER forget how wonderful that very moment felt. By the time Emily was a baby, I realized there is no holding on to a moment like that because all the beautiful intricacies of those precious moments like those I had with Braedyn were gone. I could think of them fondly, but the full-body essence of those moments were gone forever. So, with Emily I told myself that I was going to fully embrace and cherish those precious moments with her as a baby as they happened. Thinking back on them just isn’t the same. Enjoy the moment now.

Because they grow up.

Braedyn knows he is not allowed to, but the little stinker just won’t listen to me. I am always telling him he is not allowed to grow up any more. He thinks this is hilarious. One day after I threatened a good grounding if he grew any more, he said, “but I want to be a teenager.” Oh boy. After a good long sigh, I told him that I would only allow him to become a teenager - one day - if and ONLY if he promised to still love me the way he does now. Again, he thought this was hilarious, but he smiled a huge smile and promised me. After all, in his mind today, there is no world without giving oodles of love to his one and only mommy.

This week proved to me there is just no stopping time. It was a week jam packed with firsts.

First day of Kindergarten. He loved it. Grinning from ear to ear, he wore his Bakugan backpack (“packpack”) as we walked to school. As all the parents were flashing pictures and wiping tears, he didn’t show an inkling of nerves and held his head high.

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He didn’t quite grasp the whole idea of school being something he’d be doing for the next decade or two though because the afternoon after that first day, we had this conversation:

Braedyn: What are we doing tomorrow morning?

Me: You are going to school.

Braedyn: AGAIN!?!?

First lost tooth. And boy, did that little sucker hang on for dear life. It wiggled for about 6 weeks before Braedyn pulled it out. Well, sort of pulled it out. We have his older second cousin to thank for the jump start. While at my sister’s surprise birthday party about a week ago, my grand-niece came running out to all the adults yelling, “Braedyn’s tooth fell out!” My legs were in a running motion before getting off of the stool I was on! I ran to him only to find him crying with a bit of blood surrounding the loose tooth still in his mouth. Upon investigation, I discovered that his 14-year-old second cousin had convinced Braedyn to let him twist it out. Yeah, it gives me the heebie-jeebies too. *shudder* Well, his plan was foiled, and even though the loose tooth was now practically in a horizontal position, no one could convince Braedyn to try and get it out. So, the waiting game continued for another three days.

Before bed after his first day in Kindergarten, we helped persuade Braedyn to try and flop the tooth over the other direction. He was very tentative, but he finally did it as he looked on in the mirror over the sink in the bathroom. One little flip and out it came. It dropped right into the sink and almost went down the drain. I tried to grab it and dropped it back in the sink. Grabbed it again with fingers like the jaws of life and saved it.

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He was SO excited, he just ran around the house saying, “I’m so HAPPY I pulled my tooth out! I’m SO happy I pulled my tooth out!”

First time bowling. While Greg and Emily were on their adventure in Stella, Braedyn and I went on a date together. I took him bowling for the first time and to a yummy hamburger joint where he got to pick the dessert. He enjoyed bowling so much, he asked for (and got) a second game! And after these two games, a small dinner, and a huge dessert, he asks, “What are we going to do now?” “Well, I think I am going to pass out from exhaustion from trying to keep up with you.”

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I don’t think I can handle much more of this growing up stuff in such a short period of time again. But I have great friends with wonderful advice. Amy told me that if he asked to take the training wheels off of his bike this week to tell him he’s grounded. Yeah, I like that. No more growing up this week for my son. We’re done with all that growing up business.

This week anyway.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If You Treat A Woman Right

In just over 24 hours from this post myself, Emily and Charmin will all be climbing aboard Stella and heading out to Lamoille Canyon.  I would be lying if I wasn’t having any reservations.  Let’s see why.

  1. Mom is not going.
  2. Emily is going.
  3. Charmin is going.
  4. Stella is a 21 year old VW Westfalia.
  5. We are driving across one of the most desolate areas in the country in Stella (did I mention she is a 21 year old VW).

Now I knew what I was getting into when I purchased Stella and I fully expect her to make the trek safely.  She in fact has already made 2 long distance treks.  One from Bend to Newport Oregon and then all the way home to Reno.  Another a round trip from Reno to Lake Almanor.  She performed beautifully both times.

This time however, I will be the only “grown up” on the trip and any and all responsibility however is mine and mine alone.  Luckily I am heading out there to meet a group of people for a midweek wedding and I suspect if I don’t show they will make some phone calls (if they have service that is).

I have been giving her lots of love.  Had her reviewed by a vdub mechanic who has given her a thumbs up, checked all her fluid levels and gave her a nice rubdown.  I have been treating her right.

The real comfort for me is that she’s a camper. If something goes wrong, at least we will have a place to sleep till the Cavalry arrives.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It’s Just A Cultural Thing, Right?

I normally don’t blog about work, I mean who wants to get dooced for blogging.  If it meant that I could make a living blogging, hell I might go for it but I don’t see THAT happening anytime soon. 

The prior two weeks I spent doing one on one training with a new employee destined for our China office.  This woman was very bright and friendly.  She was formerly from China, had been living in the states for at least 6 years and was a graduate of an American university.  An American at this point, right?

The second week I was sitting in my cube trying to focus and give somewhat meaningful training. I kept moaning and whining about my sore muscles after spending a weekend towing my family (including Charmin) around on a giant water trampoline tied to my waist.

There I am rubbing my shoulders and she simply looks at me and cocks her head curiously at me.  I assume she cares why I am hurting and I explain what I was doing all weekend and finish up with “I am just out of shape.”

She pauses and like T1000 Terminator she scans me slowly from head to toe and says simply “Yes, you are.”

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wait. What Did He Just Say?

Today Braedyn met his Kindergarten teacher, an absolutely lovely woman I feel is going to do a stellar job with my son. As part of the Kindergarten curriculum, the teacher spends the first week of school meeting with each child on an individual basis for one half-hour. During our time, she showed him where his cubby was and provided some general information about the upcoming school year. Then I waited out in the hallway as she ran through a series of basic questions with him in order to get a feel for where he was with various concepts (ie, numbers, letters, shapes, counting). After assessing each student, she has a better idea of how to teach all these new students as an entity.

During his assessment, I peaked in a couple of times to listen to what he was being asked and to see how he was responding. Bad idea.

Let me clarify that statement. He did AWESOME during his assessment. He wasn’t nervous and he answered what questions he could and said he “didn’t know” on the things he was unsure of. I wasn’t expecting him to know all the answers, especially given my view on pre-school academia. Feeling it was a bad idea came when I overheard things like:

Teacher: Can you count these blocks for me? (Pointing to a board with 3 rows of 10 blocks each.)

Braedyn: 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10… <moving to the next row> 1…2…

Teacher: Can you keep counting them without starting at 1 again? Go ahead and try again.

Braedyn: 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10… <moving to the next row> 1…

Teacher: What comes after 10?

Braedyn: I don’t know. My mommy always starts over at 1.

Me: <Biting my lip>

or…

Teacher: Please write your name here.

Braedyn: <Writes name>

Teacher: Great! Now please draw a picture of yourself here.

Braedyn: I don’t know how.

Teacher: You don’t know how to draw a picture of yourself?

Braedyn: No. I only know how to draw monsters.

Me: <Hand slapping forehead>

Teacher: You can draw monsters?

Braedyn: Yeah, I can draw angry eyes.

OK, so Braedyn KNOWS how to count past 10. In fact, we count to 30 every time we put on a temporary tattoo. And that would be quite often. Thankyouverymuch. And as far as the monster comment? I can only hope she thinks he was talking about the Sesame Street variety. Ugh.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Free Agent? Not Anymore.

I would say that becoming a stay-at-home mom has been one of the most difficult transitions I have ever faced in my life to date. Going from daily speaking geek with adults to speaking infant with two diapered ones was a challenge at best. One of the biggest hardships I have faced has been making friends with other parents. I have made “mommy friends” and been divorced by them.

I have now been at home with the kids for four years. I am happy to say I have a great group of friends that I can call upon for support and who feel they can call upon me for the same. The kids are at an age where they are just as happy playing with one another as they are heading to the beach or the park. And getting them there no longer requires a three week planning session, twelve changes of clothes, two diaper bags, and a tranquilizer (for me). I am completely enjoying being able to pick and choose what to do with the kids any particular week. Tahoe? I’ve got plenty of sun screen! Let’s go! Park day? Absolutely! Let’s pack a lunch! Pajama day? I’ll pick the first movie!

But, alas, all of this is going to change.

Braedyn starts Kindergarten next week. Everyone keeps asking me if I am going to cry on his first day. I hadn’t really thought about that. All I could think about was how much our lives were going to change. Out of the house at the SAME time EVERY day? Ouch. No more cool weather mornings at the park? Eek! No more impromptu trips up to Tahoe? Boo! *sniff* And the coup de grĂ¢ce!? I am going to miss a friend’s wedding because I don’t want to take Braedyn out of school HIS VERY FIRST WEEK. *sigh* So, when asked about the monumental first day of Kindergarten, all I could think (selfishly) was that I was losing my free agent status.

Will I cry on his first day? Well, if yesterday is any indication of what is ahead, I had better take one, no two, BOXES of Kleenex. What happened yesterday that provided this insight? I took the kids up to the school to find out where his room is and to drop off my PTO money and volunteer info. School is already in session right now, and Braedyn’s eyes just lit up seeing all those kids walking around with their backpacks on. For me, it just about sent me over the edge. Oh, I held back the tears, but it took every ounce of will power and thinking of something ugly, like bloated road kill, to do it.

Braedyn, on the other hand, is very ready and excited. He has picked out a backpack (“packpack”) and is feeling like a big boy. And that he is. My little boy is growing up.

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Oh, damn it all. It’s starting already. Where’s my Kleenex?