Saturday, October 31, 2009

Costumes and Winter Jackets

I am a California girl.  Halloween and winter jackets are not usually used in the same sentence in my world.  Except maybe if your costume was a skier or some dumb-ass who lives in a cold climate.  File that bit of info away, while I paint the scene here in lovely Illinois.

It has rained.  So much so, when the kids ask me what the weather is going to be like, I don't have to think about it, wet is my go-to answer.  When you step on the lawn it is like a sponge.  Water smooshes up and your feet get wet.  My sump pump is running all the time.  My back-up sump pump has even been utilized.  I know this because a little light goes on to tell you that the regular sump pump can't cope and the back-up, under-study sump is needed.  I comfort myself with the knowledge that after the whole Noah situation G-d promised not to flood the earth again.  Hope he is a promise keeper type of guy.

Yesterday, it was warm and rainy. I think it might have been 65ish.  I was a bit toasty in my rain slicker.  Today, it stopped raining.  This is great.  No rain for Halloween.  Yeah, except, what pushed the rain away was some arctic air.  It is windy.  For all you comedians out there, Chicago is NOT the windy city because of the wind, but rather the chatty politicians.  It is 42 degrees out.  So, technically not freezing.

So, how am I suppose to put the kids in their cute costumes and keep them warm?  Thus, enters the winter coat.  Do they wear it over or under?  Is it supposed to be part of the costume?  Is it worth putting the costume on if all you are going to do is cover it with a coat?  Seriously, Halloween in this part of the country blows.  I wish it was warmer.

I will post pictures tomorrow.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A list

A list for today:

  1. If I don't know what it means does that mean it does not impact me?
  2. If you think you can't do it, be inspired. 
  3. If you say you are going to do something, do it
  4. If you decide you can't or won't do it, tell the person you promised
  5. Do you keep all of your promises? 
  6. None of us do.
  7. Today, try and keep up your end of the bargain a little bit more, by fulfilling your end of promise..
  8. You want to know if I have free time today? 
  9. And you asked me at 10:45pm yesterday?
  10. I did, but I didn't know it
  11. I think I might be loosing it
  12. I am not sure what it is
  13. I want to be on what not to wear
  14. Knitting makes everything better

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Its the end of the world

The world ended, a year ago.  We are celebrating the one year anniversary of the world ending.  It really wasn't this day exactly a year ago, but more like approximately now a year ago.  So, here we are, approximately, one year after the world ended.  Wait a minute, if I am still here, the world really didn't end.  It just seemed like it was going to, but it didn't.

Who remembers the news stories from a year ago?  I shall shoot my hand up in the air and yell, pick me, pick me.  They were all doom and gloom.  Our retirement funds were worthless, our houses were albatrosses around our financial necks, everyone was going to loose their jobs,  and we were all going to end up in line at a soup kitchen.  I kept wondering, if that is really going to happen, what are we going to do with all our stuff?

Think about it, you get booted from you house, what are you going to do with the Wii?  Where are you going to plug in your cell phone?  Where will I put the new flat screen TV we bought last year, because the world hadn't ended?  The past 10 years or so have been marked by getting stuff.  Now that we are homeless, will there be a big pile of stuff somewhere?

I knew everyone wouldn't end up on the streets, because face it, there isn't enough room on the streets for all our stuff.  We need the houses we live in to house the stuff.  That said, there has been some real suffering out there, and our attitudes about things have experienced a huge shift.  For some of that I am grateful.  My family is no longer considered to be freaky frugals, but frugalistas.  The fact that we saved, used coupons, shopped sales and what not used to make us look like losers, now people ask me for advice.

While things have changed, the world didn't end.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clean your kids rooms

I read a couple of parenting blogs.  Sometimes they are very topical.  One such post was about the Columbine shootings.  I think the 10 year anniversary was recently.  Anyway, the post talked about how the mother of one of the boys had no idea what her son was up to.  She was surprised by what she found when she cleaned out his room after his death. 

Imagine, if the shoes were on your feet and it was your kid that was so depressed that he wanted to blow up a school and kill himself.  You have to imagine that there are signs of that somewhere.  A hint that perhaps this might be going through his head.  This mother never went into her son's room, because that was his private space and she didn't want to be nosy.  The author of the blog I was reading said that it is wise to clean your kids rooms occasionally.  It is an enlightening experience to do that.

I do not have teenagers.  My kids are not old enough for me to be really concerned that they might blow up a school.  I am getting close, but not quite yet.  Still, cleaning their rooms is an enlightening experience.  The boys have been cleaning their own rooms since school started.  But, both rooms had gotten to the point where they needed a good once over. 

I donned my cleaning outfit, not a french maids ensemble but sweats and a t-shirt that have bleach stains on them, I am serious about this.  Thoose rooms were taking on an odor, some machinery was needed.  You know, boy funk.  Anyway, the things I found was educational.

The boys are hording toothbrushes.  Both had about 8 of them under there beds.  All unused, some in their packages some not.  I thought, what are they doing with this many toothbrushes?  When I questioned them about it, I was informed that they did not wish their sister to use their toothbrushes so they were keeping them in their rooms.  But 8 of them???  Really, is that necessary?  A 2 year supply?

I also found Valentines Day and Halloween candy wrappers under their beds.  This has not been there since the respective holidays, but apparently one of them was stockpiling their candy and wanted to finish it off prior to the new haul coming in.  Perhaps this is why they needed so many toothbrushes.

Finally, the source of the funk in Sam's room was a rotting sandwich.  One he didn't want to eat, so he hid under his bed.  In Mac's room it was an apple, left from a late night snack.

I learned that house rules, no eating in your rooms, are disregarded.  That there is a dental hygiene obsession and Mac can budget out his candy really well.  It was educational.  No bombs, other than stink bombs were located.  I wonder what I will find next time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Hannah and I survived a field trip to the pumpkin farm.  We went on a hay ride and saw a spooky house and played some games.  It was nice to see who Hannah was friends with and all of that.

After 5 years of preschool, I feel ready to graduate from the hay ride.  I am over it.  So my plan to was to do a whole rant about how I hate hay rides.  Then I looked at the blogs of note.  Blogs of note are blogs that the folks at blogger feature.  Usually one everyday, but sometimes they miss a day.  I know, can you believe it?  They must be falling down on the job.

Can you imagine that it was your job to pick a blog out and feature it?  That is what I want to be when I grow up, Blogs Of Note Selector.  Or, Vice President of Notable Blogs.  How much fun?  There are thousands to pick from.  Some are really interesting and clever, and some are like mine, about families and kids and the art of parenting. 

Every time I read a parenting blog, I think, my kids are just not funny enough.  Seriously, we need to work on that.  Hannah managed to keep herself relatively unmuddy at the pumpkin farm.  She looked adorable in her winter coat, which now needs a spin in the washer.  Did I mention it was muddy?  But there were no grand dives into the mud.  I managed to stay on my feet, which is impressive any day of the week, but so funny.  Maybe I should have pitched into a mud puddle just for blog fodder.

See what I mean, the kids just aren't working with me on this.  How am I supposed to be a blog of note it no one is cooperating with me?

Monday, October 26, 2009


I pray for change.  Every single day, I pray for change.  I do it sometimes hundreds of times a day.  I pray for change.  Many of you who know we well, know that I hate change.  I announce this on a fairly regular basis.  Interestingly enough I am praying for change, at the same time I am announcing I hate change.

So, perhaps it isn't change I dislike so much as just the unknown.  I am not a fan of not knowing what to expect.  Yet, life changes on a dime.  One minute you think everything will be the same and something happens.  Something dramatic, and your life is forever altered.  The course you thought you would take is no longer the same.  Usually at some point in the journey your are glad you are where you are, but I wonder how much of that is a reaction to the fact that being any place else is sort of not a choice.

Today I pray for change, because I no longer wish to be here.  I know that getting to where we are getting to requires that we pass through here, I am done with it and want to move on.  So, perhaps tomorrow is the day everything changes?  Probably not, but maybe soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cherry Cola

Awhile ago I lost my sock mojo.  I was just off socks.  So many stickin' baby blankets to make.  The socks I made my sister-in-law were so yucky, it put me off socks for awhile.  Well, I am getting my mojo back.  I found this amazingly lovely yarn, and am now making a pattern called Mojo.  They are socks that don't match, they coordinate.  LOVE that!

It is called Cherry Cola... I love cherry cola, and I love this yarn.  This yarn did not, could not, refused to go and live with my stash.  It would have been in good company, but it showed me it's teeth.  So I didn't put it away.  Apparently, this yarn does not play well with the other children.

Sock pictures to come!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Driving Miss T

Big cities scare me.  There I said it.  I am a small town girl and lots of people in one place scare me.  Don't even get me started on being stuck in an elevator in a city with lots of people.  I will take the stairs, thank you.

Tonight I got to drive under the El (short for elevated train, is the subway in Chicago, which is really an upway...).  El is suspiciously like elevator.  We were under the el, when it stopped and let people out.  Did I mention is was dark?  We were lostish.  Not so lost as I couldn't get home, but not exactly where we needed to be.  So, here we are, in the dark, under the el, with lots of people, going the wrong way.  Yeah, I was glad I wear underwear, so as to protect my jeans from body fluids stuff.

We flipped a u-turn, which is legal to do at point on the road in the state of Illinois, as long as it is not posted otherwise and you aren't disrupting traffic or crossing a median.  I was glad about this, because did I mention the el had just disgorged people?  Lots of people.  Scary people.  Not a fan of people.  We headed back away from the city.  I am always so happy to head AWAY from the city.  Away from the scary people.

I survived, I know, I was worried I wouldn't be able to write my blog, see my kids....  Ooops, I meant to put the kids first..... especially after the whole forgetting them incident.  I made it to my final destination.

The trip home showed me how to avoid some tolls without much problem.  So it had an educational aspect to it.  Now I know why the mapping systems send you that way. 

I tell Bob about my adventures.  He says to me, "you were where?  Why didn't you take the GPS?"

Eye roll seen from the sky.  "I forgot it you dumbass."  I mean really has he not been paying attention?  I forgot the kids today, the fact that I forgot the GPS should not have been shocking.

I am checking into an Alzheimer's unit in the morning.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It takes a village

Driving home from Hannah's Halloween party, I expected to walk into the house and find two boys who were very angry with me.  I expected Mac to yell and scream at me. I expected him to hit me and kick me.  I expected Sam to be crying in the corner and also be be VERY angry with me.

When I arrived home, I left Hannah in the car, because I was not 100% sure the boys were in the house.  But, then I saw the wet foot prints on the garage floor.  Much to small to be Bob's.  They were home.  I got Hannah out of the car and entered the house, expecting to have everyone yell at me.

They ignored me.  Maybe they weren't aware that I was home.  I said hello to everyone.  They said hi back, and went back to what they were doing.  I sucked in a big breath of air and proceeded.

"Boys, I am sorry, I forgot that I needed to be at school at 12:15.  Once I remembered it was too late to get there."

"It is OK Mom, Mrs. E and Mrs. O helped us.  We all walked home in an umbrella parade and Dad met us at the corner.  Sam was a little scared, and kept asking where you were, but Mrs. O called and Dad answered.  It was actually kinda fun." -- Mac

"I missed you Mom, but I knew you would be coming home.  Mrs. E stayed with me.  She said I could go to her house if we couldn't find you." -- Sam

There was no yelling or screaming.  I goofed, and the other moms covered for me.  My village.  I have a village now.  My boys have other moms who will help them.  We have arrived.  I know that the other moms at the walker door are looking out for my boys too. 

While I feel really bad about what happened.  It wasn't like we didn't talk about it this morning.  It wasn't like I didn't remind about 5 other people that there was a 1/2 day today.  But, I still forgot.  Everyone helped out and everything worked out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


My mom left.  This should free up some more time for me to write blog posts, in theory.  But, my husband is still commandeering my computer, which makes it more of a challenge.  I really, really, really x 1000, want him to get a job so he can have his own computer, cell phone, blackberry, bluetooth, schedule, etc.  Oh, yeah, and the money would be nice.  It would seem out bank account is dwindling, at a rate a bit higher than I would like.

It is a gloomy rainy day.  Very windy and the temperatures are hovering around 45.  Enough to make you want to climb into bed and stay there.  Seriously, if I didn't have kids I would be in my bed with the remote and my knitting.  It would be a glorious day.  Unfortunately, it is Thursday, so I can't consider getting into bed until the proper time.  The weather report would indicate that it is not planning on being sunny anytime soon.  Don't even ask for warm. 

I am hoping Halloween is nice.  In the 8 years we have been doing this, it has never rained on Halloween, I would like for that not to start now!  I remember one year in Cleveland, it rained on Halloween.  I was not a parent at the time and the kids wore trash bags over their costumes.  It looked like they were having fun, but I can not imagine that the parents were!  Our old neighborhood, some folks handed out beers to the adults, that is my kind of trick-o-treating.   It certainly made the whole thing much more fun.

So, it is a dark and gloomy night, and I hope that this post finds you warm and cozy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I know, I know, I have been woefully inadequate in posting anything.  Between my mom being here, Bob commandeering the computer and frankly having nothing to say, you all have been without a blog post for awhile.  I was on a roll for awhile there, coming up with something to say almost daily.

There are so many things rattling around in my brain, but none of them are a fully formed idea.  It is like I am in the early stages of pregnancy with the baby still floating and not quite connected to anything yet.  So, here I am in the embryonic stages of idea formulation and have a blank blog page staring at me.  What is a girl to do?  Exactly, close the page and do something else.  Which is what I have been doing.

Today, we went to look at a gym.  A new gym, with a rock wall, water slides both indoors and outdoors for the kids.  It is really nice.  It is affordable less money than our old gym.  My mom said she would cover the cost for it until Bob got a job.  I sort of want a cleaning lady more than a gym membership, but since I am fat and she is trying to keep me from dropping dead and leaving Bob with three kids to raise, I can see why she would choose gym over cleaning lady.

So, I think I am going to take the plunge and go back to the gym.  This will of course necessitate the purchase of new shoes and some work-out wear.  Hopefully I will be able to zip my jeans again.  Hannah likes the childcare area, so I can go during the day.  All the stars seemingly aligned and there is no sign up fee, but there is a one time administration fee.  How that isn't a sign up fee I don't know, but there you have it.

Shawna, very perky girl, showed us around.  She felt we should immediately sign up.  I like to think about these sorts of things.  I am glad she is busy enough to have not called me to thank me for coming by.  I think I might see if I can negotiate away the administration fee.  Perhaps, I can say, you are so perky, don't you think you can waive that for me? 

So, perhaps next month I can start complaining about having sore muscles.  Maybe it will provide me with fodder for the blog post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lottery ticket, spray bottle and gum drop

What do you ask yourself, do a squirt bottle, a winning lottery ticket and a gum drop have in common?  Well, let me tell you a little story, it is sort of like the little bug who said kerchoo.

There is this medical researcher, who wants desperately to build the house of her dreams.  She finds the land she wants to build the house on, it is gorgeous.  Views of the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other.  Problem is that, while she has the money to purchase the lot, she can not get the permits to build the house.  It seems that there are these very large rodents on the land, and they are a protected by some environmental act.

Try as she might, our fair medical researcher, can not get the folks at city hall to recognize that these unusually large rodents are not the protected yellow bellied marmots, but rather your garden variety of rat.  The environmentalist who looked around, was busy, as he was about to scurry off to meet his lover, and didn't take time to really check things out.

So, after meeting with the town zoning people for the millionth time, W decides to ask them what exactly she needs to do to build her dream house.  She was told that if she was to prove the town environmental impact report wrong, she would have to hire a team of consultants to do a study.  This of course would cost thousands of dollars, money Jane would like to save for the construction of the house. 

"Great," thinks W, "I will have this land, and no money left to build my house."

Just then, the wind starts to blow and a lottery ticket receipt blows across W's path.  She scowls, picks it up and shoves it into her pocket.  Little did she know that ticket was going to change her life.  It was a winning lottery ticket, but you could have guessed that.  The ticket is not a big winner, but enough to pay for the study.  But, Jane does not realize this as she tosses her coat into the wash and destroys the ticket. 

She also has a gumdrop in her pocket, that she had picked up at lunch and after tasting it, wrapped it into the lottery ticket and returned the sticky mess to her pocket.  It was one of those nasty black ones.  The gum drop melts all over Ws favorite blouse, and ruins it.  She grabs her spray bottle, to try and rectify the mess, proceeds to spray herself in the face. 

Sadly, what was in the bottle was not stain remover, but toilet bowl cleaner.  Next stop, the hospital to have her eyes examined.  Since she can not see, she has a neighbor, who she has never met drive her.  While in the car, she tells the story about her land, the dream house and all the issues with the zoning board.

Her neighbor happens to be friends with a private detective who has been following the environmentalist in question, trying to catch him having an affair so his wife can dump him.  Apparently, this environmentalist has a history of making up stories, and declaring that there are endangered animals on pieces of land, so that they will be sold at a discount and he can make a fortune.  His estranged wife wants to get him for it.

Once W recovers from her bout with toilet cleaner, she shares the reports with the PI, and the papers.  She also shares the reports from her newly hired consultants.  She sues the town, gets her zoning rights approved, the money to pay the consultants and she finally builds her dream home.

That is what a lottery ticket, a gum drop and a spray bottle have in common.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Post on Sunday

So much has been happening lately, I haven't really had time to process it all.  Not the least of which, my Mom has been visiting me.  It has been great fun to see her and hang out with her.  The kids enjoy visiting with Grandma as well.  So, I haven't really had much time to write anything.

Tuesday, I pretty much had given up hope.  I was feeling like perhaps all my positive attitude, prayers and confidence that everything would be alright was just bullshit.  I was starting to think maybe I was drinking too much of the Kool-Aid and not dying enough yarn with it.

I was talking to my good friend MJ and she told me that the bible says to ask and keep asking.  So, we kept asking.  She said she would ask more often as well.  Perhaps between the two of us we could get through.  Maybe things would turn around.   While, I do not know if anything will come of anything, which is why I really don't want to talk about it... something, a lot of somethings happened.  It looks like maybe everything will be alright.  Perhaps it wasn't so much bullshit. 

I want things to solidify before I really talk about it, but please ask for us to end this difficult period.  Pray for us to make good decisions and good choices about our next move.  Most of, ask for there to be a job offer!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today it is rainy and cold.  It is a like a late November day, NOT late October.  I am tired of the dreariness of it all.  While driving to school to help in Sam's class, I saw a Cadillac Escalade pulling a boat.  Not a speed boat, but a cruising boat.  The kind you load up with a bunch of friends, a cooler of beer and go water skiing or just chillaxin'.  I thought to myself, self, this would be a good topic for the ole blog.  A lot of other things happened today, but I think I am going to focus on this.

When I was a kid, we pulled a cruising boat, not with a Cadillac, but with a Ford LTD station wagon, with wood paneling.  It was a beaut.  My Dad totaled it when he drove into a parked car, because he was looking at a girl in short shorts in our neighbors garage, when he was driving me home from a friends, but I digress.  This Ford pulled the boat, ladened with everything we needed to camp for a few days.  Which is to say it was filled to the brim.  It is a testament to my mother's love for my father, that she put up with this... it would take weeks of prep work to get ready.

We would go camping and skiing at Lake Havasu or Lake Mojave. This entailed a two day adventure, or so it seemed, my mom just said it was really about 8 hours.  Anyway, the car was loaded with at least 6 kids and my parents.  We sat 3 up front, 4 in the back and the rest in the way back.  It was long, it was boring, and it was hot.  The station wagon always over heated heading up the grade.  It was over 100 degrees outside and we ran the heat to cool the car off, don't even think about asking for A/C.  We would stop, pile out of the car, think clown car, and wait.  My dad would cuss a lot.  Then when all was well, we would pile back in.

When we arrived, my mother would back the boat down the launch pad, with my dad screaming directions.   Left, left, your left, your left.  It is truly amazing they did not divorce over these trips.  Then all the kids would sit on the bow, and my mom and dad would squish in around all our stuff, while we boated to a camp site, for 2 days, sometimes longer, of camping.

I have great memories of these trips.  My family laughs about it every year.  We all had a moment of silence when we tossed the custom built camping equipment my dad built.

Seeing that Caddie with the boat reminded me of all of this.  Something tells me that the kids in that family probably do not have the same white trash memories I do.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday

Hannah is 4.  She is a big girl.  She does all sorts of big girl things, like buckling herself into her seat.  She reads her name, and some of the letters.  She knows her numbers.  She can write her name.  When she is frustrated she says, "oh crap."  Which she learned from her brothers.  She also knows how to play pokemon and use a light saber.

My baby can tackle a kid twice her size.  She can dress up in pink frilly bows and tell you to go the hell.   (Wonder who taught her that?)  Just yesterday, she flipped me the bird.  Don't you just love the education they get from school?

I miss my cuddly little girl, that smelled new and fresh.  No one will snuggle up under my chin with peach fuzz hair anymore.  But, that is ok, my big girl goes to the potty by herself.  She wipes her own butt, which the boys still have yet to master.  She can wash her hair, again, boys still struggling with this.  My baby will be a strong woman when she is older.  But she will always be my baby.

Happy Birthday, Hannah!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last Day

There is a song, not sure who sings it, but anyway, it is about what would you do if you knew that today was your last day alive?  It poses an interesting question, and of course the idea is that you should live your everyday as if it were your last, because, well you never know.

If today were my last day, I would not have gone grocery shopping.  I would not have put money in the bank.  I would not have written this post.  I would not have returned my netflix movie.  I would not have walked the kids to school.  I would have hung with my babies and my husband, who would not have interviewed for a job this morning.

I think it is really not possible to live as if everyday is your last day, because the things that need to get done on the off chance that it isn't your last day.  If it is not your last day, you have to deal with the task of living.  While the message of not having any regrets is a good one.  Surely we should try and live out lives that way, but it is just not practical to live as if you have no tomorrow, when in reality you most likely do.


Totally unrelated to the above, I read this in my husband's October horoscope.

If you were born on March 7, then October 2008 through April 2009 was the most difficult (with March perhaps the hardest).

Bob's birthday is March 8, and this is absolutely correct.  The days are exactly when things were the worst and March was the hardest, before we figured out a new coping mechanism.   The upshot to this, is that, by the first part of the year, we should start to turn things around.  This month should show some improvement.  I am not so confident about that, as all the open doors we thought we had on the job front all closed today.  I hope that we have the future to look forward to, and that this is as frighteningly accurate on that as it was on the bad stuff.

Monday, October 12, 2009


There are somethings we just do not talk about in public.  Like the fact that, if the kids are watching television, and they choose say iCarly, I will not immediately gouge my eyes out.  Hannah Montana does not really offend me as much as it should.  Billy Ray Cyrus is kinda funny, in a uncool Dad kinda way.  As the meanest, uncool mom on the planet, sometimes I like to get tips from his fumbling ways.

I am not the meanest you say.  I have proof.  I make my kids do all of their homework BEFORE they can go play with their friends outside.  I make them eat vegetables.  I put them in time out for being naughty and when they have tantrums.  But, mostly I know I am mean, because they tell me so.

I also know I am uncool, because the shriek with horror when someone from school realizes that I am their mom.  That is not my mom, they will say, that is the nanny.  Since all the other kids have nannies, no one argues.  I hang out with nannies, they are fine people.  So, can we all agree here, I am uncool and mean.

In an attempt to keep my uncool status intact, I make a point to tell the kids I love them as they walk into school.  The other day, one of them responded, "Mac, dude, how lucky are you, your nanny loves you."  I think he went on to say his nanny is mean.  Perhaps Mac might want to mention that his nanny also sleeps with his Dad, birthed him out of her body after 32 hours of labor, has cared for him since birth... but hey, I ask for too much.

This nanny, signing off... I plan to embarrass the kids at Monkey Joe's today.  WAAAAHHHHAAAAAA

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

I have been the recipient of many random acts of kindness.  I have done a few.  My knitting community has a board for folks to "advertise" what they want.  It is always best to send someone something they want.

I read the list every month and try and pick people who want things I have but no longer use or need.  I have a budget of $10 a month for postage for this project.  It makes me feel good.  It feeds my soul, so I feel it is as important as food.

My selection criteria is simple, you have something on your list that I don't use anymore, won't cost more than my postage budget to send it, and I get a good feeling about your post, I choose you.  Sometimes I read a persons profile or blog, sometimes I just choose them.

One such person, S really moved me.  Her package cost my entire monthly budget to send.  I sent her all of my old cross stitch supplies.  I had some Sesame Street kits and some Christmas Stockings.  We all know that the Christmas Stockings are not useful to me anymore, and my kids are really beyond Sesame Street.  I could have made them as a gift, but I knit now.

It took almost a month for S to get her package.  I fretted that it might not show up.  But, it did.  Just as S assured me it would.  She said that she was so moved by my package, that it brought her to tears.  My unwanted stuff made someone that happy.  It was awesome.  She took these beautiful pictures of the things I sent her and put them up on the board.  It made what I sent look like something so much more than what it was.

I read S's bio on Rav, and she says that she has Aspergers.  This is something I have not really shared with anyone, but for quite sometime now, it was thought that Mac might have Aspergers.  He fits the profile, and this was his initial diagnosis.  After much evaluation and testing, it was decided that he did not exactly present enough characteristics and was given a different diagnosis.  Many of his social issues manifest themselves in an Aspergers like manner, he is border-line.  So, while he does not wear that label, I understand what it means and the struggles dealing with this entail.

The coincidences with this woman are too many to ignore.  I feel that I chose her for a reason.  Maybe it was just to do something nice for her, but maybe it was something greater.  Really, who knows.  It will be interesting to see where this leads me.

Edited, I just jumped back to rav to send her a pm... and noticed her name is Sam.  Freaky.


I know, I know, I said I would talk about this topic a while ago.  But, you have to agree, the stories about the bad days were pretty funny!  Such good material should never be put on hold for lesser items that are promised, so dear reader, you were forced to wait.

On the topic of gifts. I think the final straw for me was when I got yelled at for not acknowledging a gift I had gotten about 7 years ago.  My Dad had died, I had started a new full time job, I had company for 6 weeks, my child had surgery, and well, I was a little overwhelmed by everything.  I didn't immediately send off a thank you note and about 3 weeks later heard about it.  I still planned a surprise party, that wasn't a surprise for my SIL, and did a few other nice things.  But, for me, it was over.

My husband's family is different than mine.  I am older now and I appreciate them for what they are and try really hard to ignore the things that they aren't.  I do not know what grace it takes for them to deal with me. 

Anyway, my brother in law's wife does not send out any of the gifts to his family.  I always assumed that after they got married she would participate in that activity.  She did only to the extent that she tempered his generosity, but otherwise, nothing.  Don't get me wrong I am not complaining, just stating the fact.  BIL sends out all the cards and gifts for the birthdays, etc. 

After about a year of this, I stopped doing it too.  There seemed to be a lot of wisdom in this philosophy!  I had a lot of hurt feelings about the whole gift giving topic, so it really made sense that Bob should remember his family.  The problem is that Bob sucks at doing this.  The man owns a card company and he still doesn't sent out stuff to his own family.  I remind, I nag, but I refuse to do it.  As a result, they now don't send me anything.  They punish me for my husband's failure.  I point that out to him, when I nag, remind and generally harp on him like a shrew to remember.  He doesn't.  Short of doing it myself, which opens up an whole other bag of worms, it won't happen.

So, here we are... I do the cousins, under 18, because if I didn't he would either completely forget them or send Ivanhoe to a 3 year old.  So, I suck it up and do it, because it would hurt my kids if their aunts, uncles and cousins forgot them. 

This year it is going to be super hard, because my kids really aren't getting anything from us, because we can't afford it.  It is not likely that I can send super nice gifts to all the cousins.  I really don't know what to do.  I don't want folks to take it out on my kids because we are poor, and handmade gifts have generally not met with approval.   So, we will try and scrape something together.  I have saved some of my birthday money to buy gifts for the cousins and my kids.  Frankly, I needed underwear, so there really isn't enough of that left at this point.  Maybe Bob will have a job by then, even so, it won't mean that their will be any money.  We will have past debts to pay and other commitments to meet.  Baby needs orthodontia! 

Gifts are my love language.  They mean that I am loved and appreciated by the people around me, so giving them and getting them is really important to me.  The easiest way to hurt me is to forget my birthday.  This is why I struggle with this so much.  Granted I love my kids best, that is the way of nature, but I want to remember their cousins, because we love them too. 

So, I try and stretch the meager amount that the state expects a family of 5 to live on, and hope that some where out of the sky, I find some gifts for the cousins and hopefully my kids.  God has been good to us so far, perhaps this will continue. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

A few thoughts for Friday

  • Comcast commented on my post about their customer service.  That was nice of them to notice, but from what I understand the situation has been resolved.  I do think it might be a good general practice to give people some more information on when the item they want might be coming in, or offer a number to call.  To make someone stand in line for ages, is sort of not ok.
  • While we are on the topic of Comcast, who has ever waited for one of them to come and drop by to do work?  On their own schedule aren't they?  A friend of mine, having read the prior post told me a story about how she had them all scheduled, something came up and she had to cancel.  They couldn't fit her in for a month after that.  She works, you know so she can pay Comcast, and they put her on a waiting list.  They would call her on her cell and say, we can be there in 10 minutes, well, she is at work... not like she can be home in 10 minutes.  What a comedy of errors!
  • We do not have Comcast, so I can not comment on them from my own experience! Growing up it was Cox cable.  Say that out loud, cox... yeah, we all thought it was an appropriate name too.
  • One last thought on Comcast, if you don't want people to write blog posts about how bad your service is, you might want to think about improving it.  9 times out of 10, that starts by empowering your employees and treating them well.  No one wants to do a bad job, but often people do because they are so controlled that they stop caring.  Just a thought.
  • While on the topic of service, I actually had a good conversation with someone at ATT.  I know the shock could kill a person.  She was pleasant, helpful, knew what she was doing and, get this, actually solved my problem.
  • Ok, since the fine folks at Comcast and maybe ATT are going to hit my blog today, perhaps we should invite Terminix to the party.  I shall rhapsodize about my bug guy, Adam, love him.  He is like my BFF now.   If only he could kill the darn ants.  Seriously, I am going to get some strange cancer and die and the ants will live on.  Total nuclear annihilation, and there will still be ants.  Cave-wives were after their husbands to kill ants.  Dear, after you slay that mammoth, can you please deal with the ants?  Ants vs. cockroaches, I would take ants in a heart beat.  That said I would also rather have ant in my house than cockroach, those dudes need some serious PR.
  • The girls at school seem to want to kiss Sam.  The teacher says this happens every year.  I think that is so funny.  I remember doing it when I was in first grade too... must be a right of passage.
  • Hannah wants a My Little Pony and a Light Saber for her birthday.  Can you tell she has older brothers?  She also wants to be a pink Darth Vader for Halloween.  We settled on a princess.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Flannel.  I love the sheets, so very much.  I continue to use them long into the spring, after the temperatures have turned quite warm.  There are people that say that they use their flannel sheets all summer, but I just like the crispness of the percale sheets when it is hot out, so the flannel leaves for the summer. 

After hibernating in my linen closet for the summer, eventually the temperatures turn colder and I have to break them out again.  Without an exception, I find a sock in the fitted sheet that hid in the closet all summer.  I never seem to be able to avoid that.  It is a big day when the flannel sheets come back out.  It will be discussed at length before it happens.  Should we or shouldn't we?  You never want to rush this, as it is uncomfortably warm with them on, should we have a warm period.

Usually, this discussion happens about now.  Usually, it is just starting to turn chilly.  Usually, we go back and forth for a couple of weeks thinking there might be one more warm spell.  Not this year.  It was with a heavy heart, I bid goodbye to summer and hello to winter and put the flannel sheets on the bed.  Sure they are heaven to snuggle into, but the fact that it is already cold enough to want to snuggle is concerning to me.  I want a couple more days of warmth before the arctic invasion.

We are already trending a good 10 degrees below normal.  My furnace is already a regular employee in the household.  I am not ready.  I do not want to bust out the winter wear, to be cold again.  I don't want it to be dreary and barren.

But, at least I will have my warm snuggy sheets to keep me comfortable during the winter...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another story from Monday

Seems that the Universe is sort of sleazy, because it really got around Monday.  A story from my friend J.  J is a very calm person.  She does yoga.  She is not usually flustered by anything.  Very controlled lady.

J:  I heard your doing bad day stories for your blog.

S:  Yeah

J:  Well, Monday wasn't so good for me either.

Thinking to myself, this is great blog material.  Must tell more people about the plan.

S:  Yes, what happened?

J:  Picked up M at school, he hit the teacher.  But that really isn't the worst thing, the Comcast receiver had died, so I took it to Comcast.  We waited in line for like a 20 minutes.

Hmm, not so funny yet.

S:  So M hit the teacher and the wait was bad at Comcast, that is all you got?

J:  There is more, after we waited in line, I get to talk to the guy and he says, oh, we don't have that model in stock.  I ask him when it is coming.  He says he doesn't want to tell me because I might come in and they might all be gone by then.

S:  Mass hysteria at the Comcast store, the receivers are in... run now, camp out.  It is like getting a WII.

J:  Yeah, sort of.  Anyway, I ask him if I could call and find out.  He say no.  I ask if he can keep the broken box.  He says not unless I want him to take it off my bill.  If I do that then I have to buy another box.  I say to him, let me review here, you don't have the box I need, you won't tell me when it will come in, you won't take the broken box, so you expect me to come in here every day, with my kids and the box, on the off chance you will have a replacement?  The clerk says me yes, you got it.

S:   That is the customer service you expect from Comcast, isn't it?

J:  Lovely, isn't it.  So, I am all clinched up and frustrated and I storm out.  I get to the stop sign for the pedestrians at Jewel (local grocery) and I stop.  There is this old lady and she is just standing there, not going.  So finally, after like 5 minutes, I decide to go, and so does this other person in the other lane.  So I stop.  The driver is an old man with his old wife.  She couldn't have been younger than 90.  She leans out of the car and calls me a bitch.  I got cussed out by an old lady.  I flipped her bird. 

S:  So lets review here, M hit his teacher, the people at Comcast were a waste, and you got cussed out by an old lady.

J:  Then we had lunch.

S:  Sounds like universe was here.

If you have a story to share, give me a call, send me an email!  We will over come universe.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It wasn't just me

You know how I complained that no one was home to take my call yesterday.  Not even my Mom, seriously what is up with that?  Anyway, I have started to get the I am sorry phone calls from folks who read the post and what not.  Well, apparently, some of you were also having your buttockes (I know, it isn't a word, but say it, buttockes, fun huh?) kicked as well.

A story from MJ.

MJ:  "Sorry I didn't call you back, I was busy."

S:  "I know, everyone was.  It was a massive cosmic period of hyper-activity."

MJ:  "Well, the universe was on my buttocks as well."

S:  "Oh, the universe gets around, I would have thought it was pretty busy screwing up my day."

MJ:  "Yeah, still found time to swing by here.... so let me tell you what happened.  I invited one of T's friends over to play.  Asked the mom to come too, we would have lunch, etc.  She calls me that morning and says her husband would like to come along."

S:  "Her husband?"

MJ:  "Yeah, her husband.  I know weird.  Anyway, so I grab another pizza from the freezer, and then it hits me like a ton of bricks.... the house smells.  Some one had a poop."

S:  "They didn't flush... yeah, yeah, you flush life goes on."

MJ:  "So you would think.  I flushed, and it didn't exactly go down, and now we have the stench of the dead in my house.  You realize I can't smell skunk and I could smell this."

S:  giggling, "You could have the husband fix it..."

MJ:  "I need a snake, and I can't find it and so I have my bathroom filled with cleaner and scented candles and I can still smell it.  I cleaned downstairs, but then had to quick do the upstairs in case anyone needed to pee.  When they walked in my house smelled like raw sewage.  Did I mention the kids were having a melt down?  I think I might have burned the pizza too, but who remembers.  I am not totally sure if my hair was combed when I met this woman for the first time.  So yeah, the universe swung by here to."

S: laughing so hard I was crying, "I think I might have pee'd a little."

Monday, October 5, 2009


Yesterday was a tough day.  I generally believe that circumstances are just that, circumstances.  I generally do not think that the things that happen to me are personal.  But, yesterday, it was pretty hard not to think the universe was gunning for me.  It was all such stupid stuff, but I ended up fighting all day long.  I hate it when you fight all day long.

It all started with a phone call from the school. Mac has run up a 20 dollar tab in the cafeteria.  Which is surprising to me, as we have free lunches due to our financial situation.  Apparently, there is additional things available for purchase, who knew.  Mac was stunned by it all, and it wasn't really his fault, because last year this didn't happen.  I felt bad for him, but I also had to fight with the school because they are letting this kid, with a zero balance run up this tab??  I mean, it is October, you might have mentioned this in say, September??  Someone was asleep at the switch.

Then, Bob's car needed another $300 trip to the mechanic.  Which of course leaves us with a recommended repair list totaling about $2,500.  Do they think we are made of money.  Also, there was a coupon, that the guy forgot to take off the bill.  I now have to fight with them about adjusting that.

Then, Bob and I got into a fight about money.

Then, I drove across town and there was a whole situation at lunch, where some kid stole our chips.  It caused a big ruckus, and was very uncomfortable.  Then I drove home.

Then, I drove across town and the Dr. gives me a whole lecture about opening my heart to my kids more.  Basically, she shoulded on me.  I am having a hard time holding it all together, I do not need someone telling me what I should do.  Then I drove home.

Then, there was a whole uprising on ravelry, because there was Fake Fair Isle yarn in a swap bag I put together.  I mean, heated with mean words being thrown around and what not.  I didn't adequately research the yarns I received and play bad cop and send them back.  OMG!

Then, I felt like I really didn't have any support, because no one I called when I was at the edge of reason was home.  Seriously, everyone was gone, not just one person, the whole lot of pre-programmed numbers.  MIA.  I needed to talk to someone who was sane and they were all gone.  Perhaps the universe was smacking them too, I don't know, but call me k?

Then, I drove across town and I saw my friend M.  She was a smallish gift from the universe.  I felt much better.  Yeah M!  Then I drove home, a little happier.

Then, I got home and I was assaulted by the yarn situation...

Mini Vacations

When my kids were small, and I was still buckling 2 kids into their seats, I would purposefully buckle the one on the passenger side last.  It was like a mini-vacation to walk from the passenger side of the car, around to the drivers seat.  I would walk slow, and relish the quiet that this brief activity provided.  How sick is that, that I would look forward to the 60 seconds I was out of the car and the kids were in the car?  But even more sick, is now that all the kids can buckle themselves, I miss it.

My mini vacations are over.  We all know, I can not poop or pee by myself.  I can not shower by myself.  I am not allowed to get dressed alone.  Nor, am I to be trusted to walk to the mailbox without an under-aged chaperon.  As I go through out my day, sure there are periods of time when no one is bugging me, but the reality is that there are no more mini vacations.  When the kids were buckled into the car seats, they were safe and sound, so I could mentally disconnect from them for a minute.  I couldn't hear them whine and fight, so I had some time to recenter myself.

I am happy that time has passed and my kids are getting older and all that jazz.  But, I still find it hard to take a breathe and find my center so that I can continue to be the one that keeps everything moving forward.  Because, everyone depends on me... that is a lot of pressure, and sometimes I need a mini-vacation.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Just off the Needles

This is too cute not to share.  Hannah thinks it is for her friend Rachael who's mommy is having twins.  But it isn't it is for Hannah.  She wanted to take a picture with Poppy, the name of one of her imaginary friends AND the doll pattern, in her matching dress so she could remember her.  So hard not to tell her the truth, but I was strong. 

She will be surprised on her birthday! When she gets her doll. 

All this birthday stuff has got me thinking about presents, but that will be another post for another day!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Radom thoughts

  1. Random is a lot like Radon, I wonder if random is the 2nd leading cause of anything?
  2. Toy Story in 3D, so excited
  3. Six kids signed up
  4. Now I have to teach them to knit...  
  5. I wonder how this is going to work out.
  6. Don't write checks your ass can't cancel
  7. In other words, do what you say, say what you mean
  8. Mean people suck
  9. SCORE
  10. Why does it look like it is raining when it is not? 
  11. Sometime I might do an entire blog post of just quotes from the kids
  12. "Smell my butt," says Sam.  "I don't like butt," says Hannah
  13. See it would be kinda funny
  14. Knitting might not make everything better...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mac's Teacher

I think I am in love with Mac's teacher.  Seriously.  I wasn't so sure about him in the beginning.  I thought, he might not be the best fit for Mac.  So wrong.  Completely, 100% wrong, heck I was 500% wrong.  I was the picture of wrong.  Look up wrong in the dictionary, you saw a picture of me.  I might knit something for this man.

Mac came home yesterday and told me that one of the kids told him the project he was doing was crappy.  Now, this would not usually be something I would even care about, let alone tell the teacher about.  This year, I decided, I would be super-hyper involved.  I was already teetering on strong like for this teacher, and though I would have a go at it.  Sent him an email.  Well, his response says it all.

Thanks.  I am passionate about these sort of issues.  I am sort of a
perfectionist in building a positive environment for everyone. I hate
the thought of someone being mistreated or having negative thoughts
about coming to school and wondering what someone is going to say to
them.  I take that personally when someone interferes with what I am
trying to do in that area for my students.

There is more about how he talked to the kids involved, and how they won't be doing it again.  He had me at positive environment.   I love this guy.  He brought me to tears.  No one in the last 5 years of Mac being in school has ever, ever stood up for him.  They have always blamed him and punished him.  Mac's first advocate.  Seriously, I am in love.  Watch out Mr. Teacher, I am planting a big on right on ya!  THANK YOU.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Theme Song

Because everyone needs a theme song.  You know a song that plays during the opening credits of your life.  Since our life is like a bad reality show, we change our theme song from time to time.  I can't really remember at this moment what some of the others have been.  Right now, and for the past year, ours has been Going' Through Hell, by Rodney Atkins.  Not one to usually pick a country song, but this one seems to be so appropriate.  It is true to where we are, but not hopeless.  Beside, if you played our life backwards, I'd get my house back, Bob would get his job back, etc, so I feel like I am living in a country song.  So, here are the lyrics:

Well you know those times
When you feel like there's a sign there on your back
Says I don't mind if ya kick me
Seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You'd think they can't get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don't know where you are
Use the needle of your compass
To sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie
In a bottle of Jim Beam
And she lies to you
That's when you learn the truth

If you're going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Well I been deep down in that darkness
I been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons
Breathing fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled
I'd fall right into the trap that they were laying, yeah

But the good news
Is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been draggin' for so long
You're on your knees
You might as well be praying
Guess what I'm saying

If your going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there