Friday, March 30, 2007

Not Very PC, but Oh, So Funny...

My good friend G sent me this picture today. It made me giggle out loud, so I have to post it. (Mom, since I know you're a faithful blog reader, let me describe the picture - It's a photograph of two baby chicks, one with his head cocked to his side, wearing a goofy expression while the other looks peeved. The photo's caption reads: "Retards - We all know one." It's a spoof of motivational posters you see in offices.)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Maybe it's because it's Friday, or maybe it's because the non-retarded bird looks JUST like I do when I'm dealing with the office idiot; whatever the reason, this picture made my day.

The weekend is almost here! I'm very excited, I love leaving the office on Fridays. (Who doesn't, right?) Other than my girls night out that we've been planning for weeks, I'm going to play with my kiddos and read, read, read. Thanks to my cleaning frenzy last night, I got my whole house cleaned. I wasn't even mad at The Husband while I did it! (I have this dumb habit of cleaning whenever I'm really irritated.) Last night I cleaned simply because I could not stand another day of the mess. I'm so glad that I did - It means that I can relax a bit this weekend!

I'm reading a book called "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell". It's very odd. But I'm getting into it - The Husband is mildly irritated because I stole it from him before he could read it - it was a Christmas gift to him from my mom - but I can't pass up free reading material. Plus, he's reading the last book in the Stephen King "Tower/Gunslinger" series. It's a giant book and will take him a while to read it, so I think I'm ok. Anyway, I also have Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" checked out from the library. It's only about 120 pages, though, so I should finish that in a jiffy.

Happy Friday everyone! I hope your weekend is great and that you don't encounter any crazy looking baby chicks.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Crazy Thursday

I don't have a central theme for today's post. Just a few (or many) random thoughts.

Meetings. Meetings. Meetings...

This is my life at work lately. All I do is either dial into conference calls (I'm dialed into one as I write this, clearly ignoring it...), or attend meetings. It's frustrating because when I'm sitting in a meeting, I can't be accomplishing anything that needs to actually get done. To compound that problem, each meeting begets more items for my to-do list. It's a nightmare. I also have a mild form of ADD. I can't handle sitting in one spot for too long. I get horrible restless leg syndrome (psychological, I'm certain), I get itchy and fidgety. I'm on a project that is scheduled to last 18 months. For the entire month of April, I am scheduled to be in meetings for this particular project from 8-12. Then, because this one project is only a fraction of my responsibilities, the afternoon will be crammed full of meetings for other things. Ugh. It's frustrating. But I'll quit yapping about it.

Bumblebee and her Accents

Bumblebee won't say the 'g' sound in any words that ends in 'ing'. For example, the word "amazing" rhymes with the word "raisin" when she talks. The Husband and I get such a kick out of it, because she sounds like she's got an easy southern drawl. She'll talk about 'Thanksgivin', the 'Livin Room', the picture that she's 'colorin', and the dress she's 'wearin'.

She also tends to talk with a Boston accent. She wants to get in the 'cah' and go to the 'pahk' to play and look at the pretty 'flowahs'. This stems from her inability to pronounce her 'R's, but it's pretty funny. I always think of Matt Damon's "How do you like them apples?" in Good Will Hunting.

Girls Night Out

I have a girls night out planned this weekend. I'm looking forward to it, and am glad that my friends G and J and I have been able to do this every few months lately. It's a good time to catch up, let the men fend for themselves, and enjoy each other's company. I used to never do these kinds of things. I didn't like to spend any more time away from the kids because I was away from them so much by working. But I realized that a few hours to myself (whether it's a girls night out or a pedicure) does wonders for my sanity, and that in turn benefits my kiddos.

Lunch

I had lunch with my good friend C today. It was good to see her. She works at the hellhole where I used to work. Sounds like things there are the same as always, which is to say that they suck. I'm glad that I got out of there when I did. I wish I could bring all of my ex-company friends to my new company so they can sit, annoyed, in all of the meetings like I do. Having lunch with C today made me think of all of the good friends I have who I don't get to spend a lot of time with. There really needs to be more free time in the world and less work time.

Roof

We need a new roof. The Husband is working from home today and a few contractors are coming over to give us cost estimates. I'm waiting to hear from The Husband, paper bag in tow so that I have something to breathe into when I hyperventilate at the cost of the estimates. This isn't going to be cheap.

Braces

Oh, and Hollywood "needs" braces. That's another unexpected cost. I am struggling with this issue. She's got one very prominent tooth that sticks out. Otherwise, her teeth look fine to me. Of course the dentists have always said to take her into an orthodontist and I've always ignored them. But she really wants them. The reason I struggle with this, is that I have goofy teeth. They aren't perfectly straight, and on the one hand, I'd love for them to be, but on the other hand, they're uniquely me. The Husband claims that he loves the space I have in my teeth. It's not in between my two front teeth, but on the side. Kind of like how Kirsten Dunst's is. (No - I'm not claiming to look like Kirsten Dunst, but my teeth sort of do.) Anyway, and WOW am I rambling today, Hollywood wants braces really, really bad. So do I cave in and let her get them when there's no reason other than pure vanity to do so? Yeah, probably. But that kid is practically perfect looks-wise anyway. Would one tiny imperfection really hurt her? She knows nothing of the 13 year old HELL that I lived through, with her tiny size 1 butt and her acne free face, and great hair.

Lets See, What Else Can I Babble Incoherently About?

  • The Boy deserves a special treat or money or something tonight. I'm making a mental note of it right now. He cleaned up the dog's diarrhea this morning. What a good kid.
  • My house is a total mess and I am going to go home tonight, change into sweats, put on my iPod (ok, it's not a REAL iPod, it's a cheaper MP3 player, but YKWIM), and rock out while I clean, clean, clean. It's been driving me NUTS!
  • My brother K had a first date with a girl last night and I wonder how it went. He called me last night while I was braving the after-work crowd at Target with a misbehaving Bumblebee in tow. He asked me what a good date would be. I'm not very qualified to pass out dating advice since I haven't dated since frizzy perms went out of style. I wonder how the date went. Note to self: I'll have to call him tonight.
  • The Boy has baseball practice again tonight. It's been rainy all day. I wonder if he'll still have practice. I need to get him some cleats this weekend. Another note to self. Get The Boy cleats.
  • This list of odds and ends resulted in four mental notes. My brain's all cluttered up with mental sticky notes. Time to sign off and get some work done.
Note to readers: I was not under the influence of any mood altering substances (with the exception of coffee) when I wrote today's post. It's just Crazy Thursday, that's all.

It is Thursday, right?




Tuesday, March 27, 2007

ARGHHHHH!!!!

It's 11:22 p.m. and I'm cranky. I had another code deployment tonight, and, as usual, it didn't go well.

Remind me that I love my job.

Well, my laptop battery just told me it's about to shut down. So that means I should do the same.

'night!

Baseball Practice

The Boy enjoyed his first baseball practice last night. I picked him up and his coaches came up to the van to tell me that he's really improved this year. The Boy has unfortunately inherited his mom's athletic ability, so he has a long way to go before he's Kirby Puckett. (ok, how sad is it that he's the only famous baseball player I could think of besides Babe Ruth?)

He bounced into the car and yelled, "Practice was GREAT, mom!" Then he began long and complicated explanation of one of the drills they did. Hmmm. What happened to playing catch and practicing batting? It was great to see his enthusiasm - he'd actually thought about not going out for baseball this year. He said he was afraid he'd get on the 'popular kids' team and feel left out. Secretly, I rejoiced in this potential reprieve from carpooling to practices and games, but then he changed his mind and decided to play ball anyway. And now he's really glad that he did, so that's good.

We got home and I told him to do his chore of taking the trash bin out to the street for garbage day. I expected a grumble of protest, but instead, he said cheerfully, "Sure, mom. And then I'm going to run around the outside of the house three times. Ok?" What a funny little guy. I'm glad he enjoyed his practice. And if it'll get him to cheerfully do his chores, what's a few extra miles of wear and tear on the van?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring is Here!

Isn't springtime nice? Today it's 80 degrees and sunny. The birds are chirping, well, at least I assume they are. You see, I'm stuck in my cubicle and can't hear or see any birds. Or sunshine for that matter. But I know it's out there...

This morning at 5:30, Bumblebee said: Mom? Hear the birdies? They're saying WHERE'S MY FOOD?!

I love the warm weather. Would have liked to enjoy more of it yesterday, but instead, I sneezed and threw my back out. I swear I will never make fun of anyone with back trouble again. It sucks. Who knew that blowing your nose uses BACK muscles?

I can tell that springtime is here, not necessarily because of the birds and the warm weather, but because of how my calendar suddenly has entries in it every single night.

I just got The Boy's baseball schedule. His first practice is tonight. I put the dates of practice and games into my good old Google Calendar (how did I ever survive without this nifty tool?) and I found that almost every time The Boy has a game or practice, Hollywood has a track meet at the same time, in towns an hour apart from each other. Not cool. I'm going to have to either clone myself* or do some serious carpooling this spring, but I'm still not sure how that will happen since the boys on the team live in another town.

*I'd like to clone myself. That might be cool. I could make the 'other' me do all of the icky stuff, like cleaning toilets, scrubbing the pots and pans, and taking the dog in for her shots. Then the 'real' me could do the fun stuff like reading stories to the kids and going to ball games.

April and May are crazy busy. I spend almost every night at the ball diamond, and now that Hollywood is running junior high track, I'll be at those meets as well. This is when I thank my lucky stars that my job is flexible and I can leave early to get to these things. But wow - my van takes a beating and the odometer climbs higher and higher. It was harder when Bumblebee was smaller. Now that she's old enough to reason with (read: threaten), she can be coerced into behaving. And being outside all the time is lovely. But it's tough finding time to eat healthy, and to skip the concession stand. One can only survive on hot dogs and popcorn for so long, though.

And so, that's how my springtime will be. Chaos for a few months, and then a brief respite until Hollywood's softball season begins.

This gimpy gal is going to sign off and hobble to get a cup of tea. I can't stand up straight, or else a pain shoots down my ass and into my leg. I look like the hunchback of Notre Dame, sans the scary face. Happy Spring!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Tenacious Turd

On Friday the girls and I went to the huge mall. Part of the agreement with Bumblebee is that if she behaves herself while Hollywood and I spend a few hours looking at clothes and accessories, she'll get to spend an hour on the playground.

Let me explain the hell that is this playground. It's like any other mall playground, with the springy foam floor and the soft-material playground equipment. There is a circular bench all the way around for parents to sit and watch their darlings. It's tough to see them, though, with the fifty or sixty kids racing all about. About a year and a half ago, Bumblebee gave me quite a scare by walking out of the play area, unseen, and into a nearby store. Because of this, I'm usually vigilant about keeping my eye on her at all times, but on Friday I was seriously distracted.

A toddler skipped along in front of where I was sitting. He bent down to crawl through a tunnel and that's when it happened: A turd the size of an acorn fell out of his shorts. I looked around to see if anyone else saw this. Nobody seemed to notice. The ball of poo rested in the center of the floor, about ten feet in front of me. I could not stop staring at it. I was supposed to be watching Bumblebee race all over the playground, but my eyes were glued to this little round gem.

I did take the time to root through my purse to see if I had a tissue or something that I could pick it up with. But I don't have babies anymore, and so gone are the days when I'm prepared with that sort of thing. Kids raced by the turdball. They came dangerously close to it. I knew it was going to get stepped on, but what could I do? To my horror, a little boy with bare feet planted his heel on it. He noticed it, flung it off his foot, and there it lay, squashed, but still in tact (what a sturdy little feces!) in a new area of the playground. Still, nobody seemed to notice but me.

I was obsessed by now. I had to do something. It was my duty. I kept staring at it, but forced myself to look around for Bumblebee every so often. What should I do? Should I ask a diaper-bag equipped mother for a baby wipe? Should I tear off part of my J.Jill bag to scoop it up? It was my duty to do something since apparently everyone else was oblivious. I stressed about my options for what seemed like an eternity. In reality, it was only a few seconds before a very stylish woman planted that pancake poo onto the bottom of her four inch high Jimmy Choo boots.

I wonder when she noticed.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Hospital Visit

I spent today observing my kids. They were put in a situation that was out of their comfort zones, and they behaved beautifully.

The Husband's uncle has Leukemia and is in the hospital in Minneapolis. We decided to drive up there today to pay him a visit. We spent seven hours in the van together and two hours in a hospital room with a man the kids haven't seen in a couple of years. They might have acted up, or fought with each other like they often do. But today they didn't. They sensed the importance of the visit, and the importance of their behavior. They made me very proud.

As we entered the hospital room, Uncle B was sitting in a chair. His hair was gone, and he had an IV and other tubes attached to him. He looked thin and tired. But he lit up when he saw us. Hollywood, instinctively knowing what to do, immediately went over to give him a hug. She spent the visit chatting easily and generally handling the visit like the adults did. Uncle B didn't want to talk about his health, so we kept to all other subjects. Hollywood chatted with him about boys, school, and other parts of her life. She seemed so completely at ease, that I was surprised when she confided in the hall, out of Uncle B's earshot, that she thought hospitals were scary.

It was easier to tell that The Boy was uncomfortable in the beginning. He wore a Cardinals hat, because that is Uncle B's favorite MLB team. He kept readjusting the hat and fidgeting a bit. He gave his hug to Uncle B, but he seemed reserved and nervous. In typical 'The Boy' fashion, he shrugged a lot and was vague with answers until he warmed to the situation. He does this when he's uncomfortable. Uncle B shares The Boy's middle name and they discussed this. "It's a great middle name, isn't it?" Uncle B asked The Boy.

"Maybe. I guess so." The Boy answered quickly, and with a voice far too loud. I could tell he was just trying to take this all in, and wasn't sure how he was to respond. But after a few minutes, The Boy relaxed and was chatting it up like the rest of us. I noticed him look intently at Uncle B a few times. I could tell he was sizing the situation up, and wondering what all of the tubes and machines in the hospital room were for.

Bumblebee was shy and afraid of Uncle B when we first arrived. She ran and hid under a chair when we entered the hospital room. She wouldn't talk to anyone for a while. The Husband's Uncle J, who was visiting from California, offered to make Bumblebee some popcorn. This seemed to be when she slowly started coming out of her shell. By the time we left, Bumblebee was her normal self (well, that's not entirely accurate. She was her 'well behaved self', which is a bit less rowdy than her 'normal self'). The nurse had brought in some crayons and paper, and Bumblebee had made Uncle B several pictures which she proudly wrote his and her name on.

I watched my children, who have never been in this situation before, handle sickness and the reality of a hospital. I was amazed at how they carried themselves. I was proud that they took the time to talk to Uncle B, tell him about their lives, and let him get to know them better instead of clamming up from unease. I'm thankful that we have three well behaved kids who are thoughtful of others' feelings and can act composed and charming when they should. As we left, we all gave Uncle B hugs one by one. I didn't expect much out of Bumblebee, but to my surprise, she raced up to him and gave him a huge bear hug so big that we were afraid it might hurt. As we left, Bumblebee looked back over her shoulder and gave Uncle B a shy smile.

We walked out to the van, and drove home. There were no quarrels or emergency bathroom stops along the way. The children sat quietly reading or playing games. It's as if they've been enchanted by a 'best behavior' spell all day.

Get Well Soon, Uncle B. We're all pulling for you.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Patience and Fashion

I am taking the girls to the mall today. Not just the regular mall that we usually go to, but the GIANT mall full of expensive stores and a glorious bookstore. We're pretty excited to go.

The Boy doesn't want to go. He wants me to buy him stuff, but doesn't want to 'do his time' walking around girl stores all afternoon. So we're thoughtfully waiting to leave until The Husband gets home from work, around noon today. The Boy and The Husband will likely go fishing as long as the rain stays away.

Bumblebee wants to go NOW. She keeps asking, "When are we going to Jow-dan Cweek?" (that's the name of the mall. Well, it's the name if you can't pronounce your 'R' sound yet.) I told her we'd go after lunch. She just finished breakfast. As soon as she set down her cereal bowl, she asked me, "Can I have lunch now?"

I think it's going to be a long morning.

Last night I took the girls to a different mall - the one that's closest to our house. Our mission was to find a dress for Hollywood to wear in the four weddings we are attending this summer. On the way to the mall, Hollywood and I were talking. She had made a big 'wish list' and was sharing it with me and I had to bust her chops on one of the items. She wants a pair of those big plastic sunglasses. Several months ago, I bought myself a pair of these. I thought if Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan can pull them off, then it was in the bag for me. Actually, I bought them because they do a great job of blocking out the sun, and I'm trying not to make my crow's feet any more prominent. When I brought these impressive sunglasses home, The Husband and Hollywood gave me TONS of grief about them. Hollywood called them my 'Velma' glasses. You know, Velma from Scooby Doo? I haughtily told them that they didn't understand fashion and shrugged off their criticism. As usual, The Boy was on my side. "I think they look great, Mom." He told me. I can always count on my little man to stick up for me.

So what do I find on Hollywood's Wish List? Number four out of a list of thirty things she's just dying to have? A pair of large plastic sunglasses. I saw this on the list and said, "Oh, you mean like the ones I have?"

She said yes.

"The ones you made fun of when I bought them last year?" I reminded her.

"Yeah, those are the ones. They might not be as hideous as I said they were." she cracks.

We got to talking about the dress that we were on our way to find for these weddings. I told her that she could try on a few fancy prom type dresses (because who doesn't love to play dress up?) but that I had a few ideas of what would work for these weddings. We were looking for more casual summery dresses. She said, "Well, I guess I can listen to you. You sort of do have a good sense of fashion."

And that, dear readers, is about the highest form of praise a mom can get coming from a 13 year old fashionista like Hollywood. It made my day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cool Blog

I know I could just start a blogroll, and I eventually will, but I wanted to share this blog. It's pretty good. It's from WSJ.com, and it's called 'The Juggle.'

http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/

Ok. I've been procrastinating too long. Must get back to work now. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Oh, and guess what??? Friday Night Lights is on tonight!! New episode, too! I'm giddy with anticipation.

States Game

I found this on another blog and want to post it. It's so cool!

Click here to see if you can name all 50 states in 10 minutes.

I'll admit. I cheated - I got all but four. Forgot some obvious ones: Louisiana, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. Duhhhh.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Heaven and Hellboy

Conversation on the way to daycare this morning:

Bumblebee: Momma, Heaven is a town where Baby Jesus' house is, right?

Me: Sure, that's a good way to think of it.

Bumblebee: I don't ever want to go there. (getting teary) I don't ever want to die. I never want to live anywhere but with you.

As usual, I wondered what caused her internal thoughts to wander to this topic. We had been talking about the van going 'toot-toot' as we went over the rumblestrips before she said this.

Me: Baby, don't worry about that, ok? You're going to live a long, long time with Momma and Daddy.


Bumblebee: Mom. I want to talk about something else. (her chin is trembling, she's on the verge of tears)

Me: Ok, baby. Can you show me a smile? (I'm watching her in the rear view mirror)

We both shout: TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN!

She smiles and is off talking about her friend Olivia who has crazy hair.

And now, from the divine to the damned...

Last night, The Boy wanted to play his online game. I wanted to preview the site first, to make sure there weren't popups on it that he might click to make my computer die again. I asked for his username and password and he started acting weird.

I knew something was up, but had to download a java plugin, so logging into the site was delayed. As I was downloading the plugin, he said, "It's ok. I don't have to play. "

What? He'd been harassing me for an hour to play this game. And now he didn't want to play? I smelled something fishy.

"What's up? Why don't you want to tell me your login information, and why are you suddenly acting weird?" I asked him.

"I think I did something bad." He replied.

"What did you do?"

"I changed my password so nobody could hack into it. There are a lot of hackers out there, Mom."

"There are? Hackers who want to break into a free gaming account online?" I asked.

"Yes. So I had to change my password. But I think it's bad."

"Well, what is it?"

He paused. He did not want to tell me his password. I feared the worst.

I crossed my arms and looked at him sternly. "Tell me."

He looked at his feet. He wouldn't even say it out loud. Instead, he spelled it. "H-E-L-L boy".

Hellboy? Hellboy? My sweet little angel who tells me he loves me ten times a day chose Hellboy as his password?

I explained to him that this password was in no way more secure than his old one. In fact, it was easier to hack since it didn't have any numbers or special characters.

He expected me to be very angry, but I wasn't. I shrugged it off. But it did make me start to wonder when he went from being my little boy who chose the name of our dog as his email password, to this? Times are changing...

Should I worry that he might be sacrificing squirrels in my back yard?


Monday, March 19, 2007

Hollywood List

I'm working on a two step writing exercise. The first step is to write down everything I can think of, as it comes to mind, about a person I know. The second step is to take that list, refine it, and write a character development piece about the person. I decided to do this exercise three times - once for each kid. I started with Hollywood, and thought I'd post my list, even though I haven't done the second part of the exercise yet.

And now.... I give you random information about Hollywood:

  • She used to crawl around everywhere with a one eyed Pink Panther stuffed animal.
  • She walked at 8 1/2 months and weighed only 14 pounds at the time.
  • She loved the tv guide channel because of the song it played in the background, and used to cry when we wanted to change the channel.
  • She recognized all of her letters before she was two and was reading by the time she was 3.
  • She mooned the kids on the playground in kindergarten and got in-school suspension for it. This was in Catholic school and recess was supervised by a nun.
  • She was a very difficult, headstrong toddler.
  • When The Boy was born, she didn't want to come to the hospital to see him because he wasn't the sister we all though I was having.
  • She used to say 'hangelburger' instead of hamburger.
  • She still likes to sleep with me if I let her.
  • She's got more confidence at 13 than I had at 20.
  • When she was a baby, everyone commented on how beautiful she was - especially her huge eyes. They still do.
  • She slept through the night when she was 3 weeks old, but stopped napping (for good) when she was six months old.
  • She was a colicky baby. From about three weeks of age to about fourteen weeks, she screamed her head off every night from 6-10 p.m. (that made studying for classes and exams a bit difficult)
  • The move to Tinytown was a good thing for her. She made many friends and fit in with the crowd instantly.
  • As a teenager, she's involved in everything she can be: volleyball, basketball, track, softball, band, jazz band, chorus, TAG, etc. She does all this AND gets straight A's.
  • She has a quick temper.
  • She's quick to argue her point, whether it will do her good to argue or not. Her tenacity and logic make for strong arguments.
  • She's always loved the guitar, and now she can play it nicely.
  • Ever since she was a toddler, she has bitten her fingernails and toenails (ick!) to the quick.
  • She's got a sprinkling of freckles on her nose.
  • Her eyes are sometimes green, sometimes brown, sometimes gray, and have some blue in them.
  • She doesn't remember living in California (she turned 2 there), but she thinks it's cool that she lived there.
  • We decided that we wanted to move back to Iowa when she was saying the words 'car alarm' when she heard one - every half hour or so.
  • When she was six, I sent her to daycare with a grocery sack full of cat turds instead of her lunch. I had scooped the litter box that morning, and she'd forgotten her lunch box at school, so I put her lunch in a grocery bag too. I mixed up the grocery sacks. At lunchtime, when she opened up the bag to see what was for lunch, she said, "Oh man... Not again!" (as a joke).
  • She's never broken a bone or had stitches. Once she fell and hit her eye on the coffee table. She watched Dumbo and sucked on her binky. She still has the scar from that fall.
  • She used a binky until she was 2 1/2 years old.
  • She has tiny ears, the size of a quarter.
  • She's only been on antibiotics one time in her life, and that was when she was nine years old. (She's by far my healthiest kid.)
  • She's got a great sense of fashion.
  • She likes Starbucks frappacinos.
  • She can fly through a book in an afternoon (like her mom)
  • The day she was born, after everyone left and I was alone with her in the hospital room, I experienced a few moments of divine serenity amid the chaos and uncertainty of my life.
  • She can sing like an angel.
  • Even with all of the growing up she's been doing lately, she still loves to be silly with her friends.
  • She had her first boyfriend in sixth grade. His name was Rusty. She doesn't like him now.
  • Her snickerdoodles are to die for.
  • She's probably not going to be as tall as me. Which is sad since I'm only 5'2".
There are so, so, soooo many more things I could write. But it's 6:10 p.m. and I haven't started dinner. Stay tuned for similar lists on The Boy and Bumblebee. When I get around to them, that is.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"Hit and Run - Busted!"

No, I was not in a horrible accident. You'll understand the blog title soon.

Last night, my brother L drove up from 'The City in Which He Lives' to fix our pc that was infected with spyware. And, for the sake of you readers, I won't launch into my tirade against the bastards who created the code that embedded itself into my operating system and caused my computer to die a quick (and probably painful - I have a theory that someday we'll find out that computers can feel pain) death.

We decided, wisely, to go out and celebrate St. Patrick's Day while he was in town. The Husband, Brother L, Brother E, Sis-in-Law K, Brother Z, and his GF M, all met out at the bar. The beer was green, the conversation was silly, and we had a fun time. As we were starting to think about calling it a night, the song Loveshack came on.

You know the song. It's obnoxious and only a good song if you're liquored up. My brother-in-law's fiancee talked me into singing Karaoke to it one night. Me. Singing. In Public. It wasn't pretty. But that was a long time ago... And it likely won't happen again.

Anyway, the B-52s were singing their hearts out when it got to the part where they paused and yelled:

You're what?

Tin Roof... Rusted!!

Brother E tells us all that we're wrong and that the song says, "Hit and Run - Busted!" We gave him the appropriate amount of crap for thinking such a thing, and would have let it drop, but he was insistent. He even bet his wife $10 that he was right.

Today we met at our mom's house for dinner. (She cooked us steak and potatoes with lots of other great 'made by mom' food. I'm stuffed and am forcing myself to jog tonight, but it was definitely worth it.) We told Brother E to look up the lyrics and he said he was just kidding last night. My guess is that he secretly looked them up this morning, saw that he was wrong, and hoped that we would forget about it.

It was funny, but as I reread my post, maybe it was a case of "I guess you had to be there." The bottom line is, I had a great time hanging out with my brothers. We don't get the chance to get together like that very often.

This post is courtesy of Brother L who fixed my computer very nicely, after several unanticipated quirks. Thanks for the five hours of your time that it took!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Random Thought Generator

We like to call Bumblebee the Random Thought Generator.

Tonight she says completely out of the blue:

"Goblins are sneaky."

This got me wondering how her little brain works. We weren't talking about goblins. Just before her goblin comment, she had been crying and throwing a pretty terrific tantrum because she wanted to go on vacation to Florida tomorrow. (We are going in November)

So, how does a three year old mind leap from the injustice of having to wait to see Disneyworld to thinking about how sneaky goblins can be? I think it would be amazing to have a transcript of the thoughts in her mind. I think it might run something like this:

I'm hungry. Will mom let me eat something? I feel like running and jumping on something. Why are dogs furry? I think I should put a pretty dress on the dog. 'Freaky' isn't a good word. You can say it, but it's not nice. My hands are sticky. I should lick them. I should find something really sharp and play with it. I'm hungry.Why do birds fly? I want a snack. I think I'll help mommy make dinner. Oooh! A penny! I should put it in my mouth. I like chicken nuggets, but not spicy ones. My pretend clock in the kitchen says 3-1-1. I'm serious! I want a snack...

She's a funny one, that little Bumblebee. Right now The Husband is reading her a Petunia story. So she's quiet for once and very enthralled by both the story and her Daddy. I just heard him say the words "The animals were bruised and bloody..." What kind of story is that Petunia anyway? Oh, ok. He made that part up. He likes to jazz up her story books. I'm not even going to ask...

Hollywood is at yet another party - she's got an enviable social life. Before the party, we had a nice long talk tonight about how the girl she was BFFs with for the past few years isn't really her friend anymore. It was an interesting talk - Hollywood has moved on to a different set of friends, something that I remember doing at exactly her age.

The Boy and I are going to watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire tonight. I still haven't seen it and he's going to do what he does with movies that he's already seen - annoy me by telling me in advance everything that will happen in the movie. Or, he'll say "Watch this - it's REALLY important!" Not the easiest way to watch a movie, but it's good one on one time with him, and so it's worth it.

And onto other news, I survived the week from hell, got most of the problems figured out at work, and didn't yell at the kids even once. And now it's Friday night and I have a full weekend ahead of me. One of my brothers is coming up for the weekend. The Husband and I are going out with him and three of my other brothers for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow night. Life is good.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Worst Day Ever

Holy crap. Today is the day from hell.

Last night's call ran until 2 a.m., and when I got in to work this morning I had seven voice mails alerting me that the code we deployed last night totally screwed up our systems and 1,436 of our Retail partners can't access our website to do transaction processing.

I've spent all day identifying the problem, researching a fix, considering the impact of the fix, executing the fix, explaining the problem to irate senior management, explaining the interim and permanent resolution to our customer service teams, explaining how we didn’t catch this problem in testing, and generally screaming “I FUCKED UP, BUT IT’S FIXED NOW!” to anyone who will listen.

Even though it wasn’t *my* mistake. And I really mean that. I’m not just refusing to accept that I’m wrong like I do when I argue with The Husband. I really mean it this time. It wasn’t my fault! The business unit who asked me to do this task told me the system worked differently than it does. I looked back at my testing documentation, and there was no way we could have caught this error when the code was being tested.

So I tell everyone that I’m sorry, we’ll do better next time, and explain what we’ve done for remediation. That's what you do when you have my job. You accept responsibility, take the brunt of the criticism when it fails, and the majority of the praise when it works... Usually it works out in my favor. But I hate accepting responsibility when IT WASN’T MY FAULT! Ok, I may have mentioned that a few times already. I’ll let it go.

...DEEP CLEANSING BREATH….

...Another one for good measure….

I feel better. I’m going to go home and hope to God that Friday Night Lights is on tonight (it wasn’t last week) so that I can watch the dreamy football coach and the cute high school football players while I forget about work for an hour.



***Update - I just checked TVguide.com. FNL is not on tonight. Damnitalltohell. ***

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Late Night Conference Calls

I have a 10 p.m. conference call tonight. We have these calls when the code changes to our sites get deployed - it's usually monthly, though sometimes it's more frequent than that. We deploy at night so our websites aren't down during the day for our users. These calls are usually a complete mess. They always take at least fifteen minutes to get started. Everyone seems to want to wait for Brent, one of our programmers, to get started. He is the God of our code deployments and they like to hear him say "YOU MAY BEGIN!" Even if Brent doesn't have any code going in, they want to wait for him. Once he was on vacation and someone asked if we could call his cell phone. C'mon people, grow a set and get started without him. The instructions for the deployment are right in front of you! Bottom line is that somebody always has to tell the people in charge of the deployment to go ahead and get started. I think we should start the call at 9:45 pm instead of 10 pm so that we actually start on time. And obviously Brent can't take any vacation ever again.

You can usually hear peoples' kids crying or dogs barking or televisions blaring. There's even an occasional toilet flush. Once I heard a man and woman arguing (really having it out!) in a different language. I tend to get a Cap'n Crunch craving during these calls, so I'm always afraid that my coworkers can hear my crunch, crunch, crunch. But my mute button does work - I test it every time I have to use the bathroom by saying something that requires a response to someone: "Brent, can we test now?" That way if my mute button is malfunctioning, I'll know before the entire group hears me tinkle. Or crunch my cereal. And it won't sound like I'm testing my mute button. I know. I'm a genius.

The hard part about these calls is staying up for them. It's a fine balance between drinking enough coffee to stay awake until 10, but not so much as to be up all night. I fear I've lost the battle tonight because I'm pretty sure I went overboard on the caffeine. Sure, right now I'm as energetic as a kitten on crack, but when the call is done (they last anywhere between 1 and 2 hours), I will stare at the pitch black of my bedroom ceiling for hours, trying to fall asleep.

Speaking of coffee, Bumblebee told me tonight that when my coffee gets cold, she'll drink some of it because, as she put it, 'that's what I like to do.' It cracked me up because I used to do the same to my mom's cold coffee as a kid. Don't think I started at age three, though. She might be hooked on the stuff by age seven if I'm not careful. I'll have to watch out for coffee cups sitting around. Good thing I don't have any Bailey's Irish Cream or Kahlua to put in the coffee. Of course if I did have that, there wouldn't be any coffee left in the mugs for Bumblebee to drink, now would there?

Earlier tonight, The Boy asked me if I'd written my blog yet. He wanted to watch me write it so he could add commentary like he did last night. I told him I didn't have the chance to get to it yet, and he seemed disappointed. I suggested that he write down his silly inventions and funny things to say, and I'll include them in a future post. That's definitely something to look forward to.

I'm off to get some work done before the party starts. Yay.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Warm Weather,The Boy's Giant Book of Choking Hazards, and Stupid Inventions

Is it really possible that spring could be here? I just got back from taking a walk with the kids and the dog. Everyone in our neighborhood seemed to be out and about tonight. Something about the fresh air and the sunshine improves my whole mood. I had a long day, full of brain numbing testing. If it weren't for the extra hour of daylight we get tonight and the warm weather, I'd have felt like doing nothing. But I got moving, made dinner, took the kids out to play, and feel great now. I might even attempt some serious exercising. Ha! Or, I might sit with my book and eat a couple of the really yummy candies my friend J gave me for my birthday. That sounds better than working out, right? Whatever I decide to do, I'll do it with a smile because even if Spring isn't officially here, it's close.

On our walk tonight Bumblebee was trying to avoid the cracks. She didn't want to break my back. (You know, if you step on a crack, you break your mother's back... We were walking with my MIL last night and she brought that game to Bumblebee's attention.) When I wasn't looking, I stepped on a crack and the little Bee said, "Momma, Nanna's crying right now because you broke her back." Sorry Mom. I think I might have broken your back tonight.

The Boy got a new book at the bookstore this weekend. He talks about it non stop. I'm so glad he loves to read, I really am, but if I have to hear more about this book, I might go nuts! Remember the Bionicle set that he wanted for his birthday - the box full of choking hazards? Well, he got a 200 page book of stories about these things. They have exotic names like Toa and Matau, Vakama and Onewa. Wild, huh? He's reading this over my shoulder and wants me to clarify that the book is longer than 200 pages. He's looking up the exact length now. Wow, it's 396 pages. I was way off. No wonder he wanted credit for more than 200. Now I'm telling him to go finish the dishes.

The boy just told me this: "I know what would be the worst invention ever. A garbage disposal with the switch on the inside."

That started a discussion of Really Stupid Inventions. It went something like this:

Hollywood said, "An ejectable helicopter seat."

"Or powdered water."

"Screen doors on submarines."

The Boy: "Or salted milk."

Hollywood: "Or solar powered flashlights"

My kids are dorky. But they're funny as hell.

I suppose I should stop writing away. Bumblebee needs to take a bath. She and The Boy rolled around in the mud tonight, from the looks of it.

Wow, Hollywood needs my help with math. This is a first - I hope I can answer her questions! Wish me luck.

Later!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cilantro - citrusy or soapy?

Question for you guys. And c'mon, post a comment. I allow anonymous comments now.

Cilantro: yes or no?


I've found that people either love or hate it.

I definitely fall into the 'hate it' camp. I love, love, love that there's an 'I hate cilantro' website. (http://www.ihatecilantro.com/)

Wikipedia says that cilantro and coriander come from the same plant. Here's what else wise-wiki says about cilantro:

"The leaves have a very different taste from the seeds, similar to parsley but "juicier" and with citrus-like overtones. Some people instead perceive an unpleasant "soapy" taste and/or a rank smell. This perception is believed to be a result of an enzyme that changes the way they taste cilantro, a genetic trait, but has yet to be fully researched. "

Interesting. Because cilantro does taste like soap to me. Since this could be a genetic trait, do any of my siblings or my parents have this same reaction?

Later!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I Survived the Party

It's 9:55 a.m. The kids' parents will be here in 5 minutes! Right now two of them are rooting through my freezer... One boy is making fun of my frozen bananas. I put overripe bananas into the freezer for when I feel like making banana bread. He thinks they look funny in there.

The party was fine, no major disturbances. Most of the boys have great manners, one of them is borderline, but still a decent little guy. I let the boys have the run of the basement this year. Didn't plan any games or structured activities. I figure they're old enough to do what they want by now. (with periodic looking after, of course.) Boy can they EAT! One of the boys loves my peanut butter cookies, so I had to make a batch of them. There are none left. I think the recipe made five or six dozen cookies.

Well, they're all gone now. The house is almost peaceful! Bumblebee is excited that she can finally go downstairs to eat some of the cheetos she's been coveting since last night.

Today we get to go to the bookstore. Hollywood needs Lance Armstrong's autobiography for school and it's checked out at the library. I told Bumblebee that I'd buy her a new book if she cleaned up her room. Her room is a STY. She'll need help with it, but the book will be enough incentive for her to at least help me clean it.

Well, I'm off to do my Saturday chores, and to go to the bookstore. Happy Weekend!!

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Boy's Party

The Boy has a slumber party tonight. Four of his funny little friends will be spending the night tonight, eating pizza and popcorn, watching movies, playing pool, video games, and God knows what. He is so excited about it, that he does this goofy dance when he thinks about it. He cleaned the house up last night without complaint, and was extremely agreeable. That's the great thing about throwing a party - for a few days before the guests arrive, I get free child labor!

I'm not sure I'm up for it, after the week I've had... It's just been so busy! I had to work late again last night (ok, "late" for me is 5:15, I know that's not really late, but it sure felt like it.) I also had to bring the laptop home and fire it up to work after the kids were in bed. I hate doing that, but have so many projects going on that I had to.

Why, you ask, am I writing my blog at 10:06 a.m. during the middle of my work day instead of actually doing what I get paid to do? Good question. Today's a short entry, I'm off to get some work done so I can leave early for the party.

If you have plans to live it up or relax this evening, while enjoying a margarita or a nice glass of wine, have one (or two) for me, will you?

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Three Little Pigs

Bumblebee is the funniest little budding feminist on the planet.

A few weeks ago, we took her to the pediatrician's office and her regular doctor (a woman) was out for the day. So she had to see a male doctor. The look of surprise on her face when he walked in was a kodak moment. "But you're a boy! Boy's aren't doctors!!" She exclaimed. I explained that her pediatrician and her dentist are both women. Dr. B didn't look as amused as I was, but he handled it pretty well by saying, "Well, Bumblebee, boys make good doctors too."

Today, on our way to daycare, Bumblebee asked me to tell her the story of the Three Little Pigs. This is one of my favorite stories to tell, for a few reasons: 1.) I don't forget how it goes and can tell it without messing it up; 2.) It tells a wonderful story of how hard work is rewarded; and 3.) I get to do really fun voice impersonations. The wolf is my favorite, but saying "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin" is pretty fun too. Wait a second. Is it 'of my chinny chin chin' or 'on my chinny chin chin?' I know I've been saying 'of' for at least 13 years. But that looks wrong in print. I guess it doesn't matter.

Anyway...

As I was getting to the part where the first little pig's house of straw got blown down by the wolf and he had to scramble to his brother's house of sticks, Bumblebee interrupted me by saying, "Don't forget, Momma, that the last little pig is a girl." Say what? A girl? Since when? I've always told her the story with the pigs being boys. But ok, I'll humor her. Why not?

I get to the part where the two little pigs have to run to the house of bricks to escape the wolf, and Bumblebee interrupts me again. "When the girl pig was making the brick house, she wore a yellow worker hat. She worked harder than the boy pigs." Ok, this is a new twist. I love that she has the imagination to picture this. I wonder if she saw something on tv that told the 3 Pigs story this way.

Anyway, we finish up the story. My version of it has the wolf landing in a giant cauldron of boiling water at the bottom of the chimney. I think there are alternate endings of the story.

Bumblebee says at the end that I have to remember from now on that the brick house pig is a girl. No problem. I can remember that!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Chorus Concert and the Speeding Incident

Last night's chorus concert was much better than the band concert. I dropped the younger kids off at my brother-in-law's house before going to it, which allowed me to actually listen to the concert. I was really amazed by these kids, and by the directors who got them to sing together like they did. Hollywood was selected for the Treble choir. I have no idea what all of this means, because I didn't do chorus as a kid, and only sing silly songs with my kids, who don't care that their mom can't sing to save her life. Hollywood apparently sings soprano. I think that means she sings really high notes. :) These kids sounded like angels. Seriously, some of the songs they sang gave me chills. It was beautiful.

I had more 'driving' trouble last night, though. Got stopped for speeding, right in front of my brother-in-law's house. How embarrassing is that? I was supposedly going 36 in a 25. The guy had his lights going the whole time and it had just gotten dark, so you could see people peeping out of their windows at me. BIL (brother-in-law) and his fiancee came out to get The Boy and Bumblebee, and were chuckling at me getting caught. Apparently the town they live in is really getting famous for their cops giving speeding tickets. The cop asked for license and registration. I just got the new registration in the mail on Monday, and had put the new sticker on, so that was good, but apparently my insurance cards expired on February 10th. I assured the guy that the insurance is still in effect, that I just haven't grabbed the cards from the bill tray at home. I tried to smile my most, "I'm so sorry, officer, PLEASE don't give me a ticket" smile. It worked. He gave me a warning. Then he told me to get my updated insurance cards, because if he'd wanted to, he could have written me a $250 ticket.

I noticed on my way home, though, that I have a taillight and a headlight out. (I think my van's screwing with me.) The policeman didn't mention either of those things, and would have seen them both. So that's weird. If I were a cop, and had stopped a woman with a filthy van (I could barely see out the side window because of the filth), with a headlight and taillight out, who was going 36 in a 25, and didn't have an up to date insurance card, I probably wouldn't have been so nice as to give a written warning. I mean, he could have gotten his ticket quota in that one stop! But I'm not complaining. I'd have been really irritated if I would have had to pay for a ticket.

Anyway, it was a much more relaxing night even if I did have to carry Bumblebee kicking and screaming out of BIL's house because she didn't want to leave.

Tonight we have no commitments, except to watch the best show on tv this year: Friday Night Lights. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who watches this show because I think it runs opposite of both American Idol and Lost. But I love it. There are dreamy high school kids on it, and a really smoking hot grown up too. :)

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Freeway Driving

I got rear-ended on the freeway this morning. I saw the guy coming in my rear view mirror and knew he wasn't going to be able to stop. After impact, we pulled over to the shoulder and he jumped out right away. I got out of the van, walked back and saw that there wasn't much damage - just a three inch long patch where the paint had been scraped off the bumper. There was no damage to his Jeep SUV.

The guy who hit me was younger - in his mid to late twenties. He was flustered, must have apologized ten times. He said, "I'm so sorry... I'm tired, and late, and... There doesn't look to be much damage, but you should probably get it checked out." I told him I wasn't going to worry about it. He was surprised. "Are you sure? The paint is scraped off there!" he said. Again, I shrugged. "Not a big deal, don't worry about it." He thanked me, apologized again, and told me to have a nice day.

He acted like I was being overly generous. The reality is that the van's already been in a $10K accident, and the trade in value will be almost nothing. Besides, it's my policy to drive it until it kicks it and is no longer usable. A scrape of the paint on the bumper isn't going to hurt that, so why go through the hassle of reporting something so minor?

After we got back into the flow of traffic, he ended up behind me again, for the remainder of my commute. He definitely kept a good 'space cushion' (as Mr. Bond, my Driver's Ed teacher would call it) for the rest of our trip. When he turned down a street away from me, he actually honked and waved goodbye. Funny.

I guess if anything, it made for an interesting commute this morning.

The Band Concert

This is how my life goes... Hollywood calls me every night after school to tell me how her day went, and to check in since it's about an hour before I get home. Yesterday, she tells me that she has a band concert that night, and that she's sorry that she didn't remember about it sooner. The Husband has been in town for the past two weeks, but is out of town again this week.

This means I have to rush home, prepare a backpack of things to keep Bumblebee occupied, make dinner early enough to eat it and clean up after it before we get to the school at 6:30. I would love to pretend that I had a balanced, gourmet meal ready to pop in the oven for the kidlets, but, the reality was that I ate a bowl of cereal and Hollywood threw in a frozen pizza for herself, The Boy, and Bumblebee. They also had leftover birthday cake. There are strawberries in that cake, so they got a fruit serving, right?

A few minutes before we were supposed to be at the school, I grabbed some toys from Bumblebee's room, and put them in a backpack along with a snack of dry chocolate cereal. Then we ran out the door, while I tried really hard not to be grouchy.

Band concerts are so hard to sit through when you have a bored 10 year old and an antsy 3 year old. This one was especially hard because it was the ENTIRE band program - 5th - 12th grade. Our high school has a great band program - the jazz band goes to state competitions and wins a lot. The jazz band sounded really great. So that part was fun. And the little 5th graders sounded, well, like a 5th grade band. Horrible, but in a cute way. The rest was a blur because I spent the time wrestling with The Boy and Bumblebee.

The gym was packed, and we were all scrunched into bleachers that don't fit grownups. The Boy was sitting on the row behind me, and I told him to sit next to me, since someone wanted to sit where he was. Instead of standing up to come down a row, he tried to 'slide' down to the next row, and in the process, planted both of his feet right in the center of a woman's back. She was sitting in front of us, had a beautiful WHITE coat on (now it had The Boy's footprints on it) and was understandably taken aback at being kicked by two feet in the back. If that wasn't bad enough, Bumblebee kept whacking this poor woman with her backpack. I was a wreck trying to get the two of them to sit still without sending the woman in the white coat to the hospital.

Bumblebee saw a woman we know - she's a sweetheart, the mom of one of Hollywood's friends. She ran down to sit with Pam. Next to Pam, was another girl about Bumblebee's age. They shared the chocolate cereal. This was pretty cute for a while, watching them play and giggle and share. But then they discovered that chocolate cereal that falls to the ground is fun to stomp on, because it turns to powder. Soon they were doing this on purpose, and I was three rows behind them, helpless to intervene. I eventually had to take Bumblebee out to the hallway and put her in a time out.

Earlier in the concert, The Boy had gone out to the hallway to read his book. When I found him out there, he was flinging matchbox cars at the brick wall and making a huge clatter. I told him to stop, and he did - for a minute or so. Then he started up again, protesting that he wasn't throwing them anymore, he was sliding them instead.

Why do I have no control over these monst- um, I mean children of mine? I finally got The Boy and Bumblebee situated in timeouts against the wall, and went to stand in the doorway to watch the rest of the concert.

I was exhausted by the time I got home. Band concerts - see why I love them so much??

Tonight's activity: Hollywood's Chorus concert. It'll be just as much fun, but has the added bonus of being in a town about 40 minutes away. No joke. Fun times!

Monday, March 5, 2007

First Monday of March

Hello. It's Monday again. Fantastic.

The Boy had a nice birthday on Saturday. He got lots of gifts - including a bionicle set that he thought was cool, but wow! Those things are ridiculously expensive. $40 for a box of choking hazards! We went out to dinner and to our favorite college's basketball game (they lost). By the time we got home, it was too late to eat the birthday cake I'd made, so we did that yesterday. The kid is so darn sweet - he must have thanked us a million times.

Thursday and Friday kept us homebound because of the blizzard. Second nasty winter storm in a week. Have I mentioned that I love living in the Midwest?

Bumblebee was telling me this morning that the sun rises in the East, and sets in the West. Not bad for a 3 year old! Then, since we were driving North to daycare, she said, 'We live in the South'. Because she knew that south was behind us, and that's where our house was. Oh, how I wish on this snowy, cold day, that we really did live in the South...

I spent the past four days reading like a crazy woman - being housebound due to a blizzard is good for something at least. I finished up a book my friend J loaned me that was about a woman who runs an orphanage for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. The book was fascinating, and I learned a lot about things I was hopelessly ignorant about. After I finished that book, Hollywood wanted me to read The Lovely Bones, a book my mom got her for Christmas. I read all of it in a 24 hour period, and still feel sleep deprived. It was a good book - sad, though. The best part of it was being able to talk to Hollywood about it afterwards. Can she really be old enough to be reading the same books as me? No way. It was fun to have a mini 'book club' discussion with her.

Not a lot more to post right now, but I'll be back on later.

Happy Monday!!