Monday, March 31, 2008

Smart Kid

It may have been an accident, but I just have to share how incredibly intelligent my little Bumblebee is. This morning, as I was brushing her hair, we were talking about our family members and Bumblebee said, "Mom - Kim and Girlie are your sisters-in-law, right?"

Yep, that's right. 99% of the population pluralizes SIL as 'sister-in-laws' and my 4 year old said it correctly. I am so proud.

(I expect compliments in the comment section similar to 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.' Don't disappoint me, people.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

She Said Yes!!

I'm going to have another sister-in-law! I'm gathering quite a collection these days. Growing up with five brothers and marrying a man with three brothers and a step brother means LOTS of male company. Slowly we've been adding girls to the mix...

Last night, my brother K asked his girlfriend D to marry him. They called me as they were coming home from the restaurant.

K called ahead to the restaurant and told them that he was going to be proposing and that he wanted the waiter to put the ring in the bill at the end of the night. He ran in ahead under the guise of seeing how long the wait at the restaurant was. That's when he slipped the ring to the staff. They put the ring in the leather bill holder thingie and set it in front of D. She thought that was weird, and when she opened it, there was the ring!

Aw... Congrats K and D.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

High Pressure Sales Tactics

How to Unsuccessfully Sell a Gym Membership to a Chubby Thirtysomething Woman:

First of all, let me begin by saying that I am out of shape and willing to pay just about anything for a glimmer of hope that I might shrink the size of my ass sometime soon.

Maybe I was on a Biggest Loser induced mission, I don't really know what possessed me to drag my walking buddy into the gym we walk by every day. I was hoping I could pop in and get a price sheet and mull it over. But no. We had to have an elaborate tour, given to us by someone who has got to be new to sales. After the tour, we had to go into this guy's office, just so I could learn what the membership fees were.

Here are a few of the snippets of the gym visit:

high pressure gym salesman douche-bag: so (he looks me up and down) have you ever been a member of a gym or done an exercise program before?

me: um, yes. I work out regularly. (thanks for thinking I'm a fat ass who doesn't exercise, though.)

HPGSD: So, when were you thinking of moving on this?

me: Soon, I really would like to get into shape. But I need to talk to my husband before I make a decision.

HPGSD: Oh. So your husband does the bills then?

me: (seeing red) Not necessarily, but I think it's considerate of me to discuss a large expenditure with him before I actually make a decision.


Yeah. Won't be going to that gym. Not only was he a condescending prick, but he asked me if I would be using the tanning beds and I said, "No, I'm not really a tanner." Then he tried to push the tanning services to me again later.

Dude, I was an easy target. A few comments like "And over here, miss, you'll find the treadmills..." (you know, 'miss' instead of 'ma'am') and he'd have gotten his commission faster than you can say flattery will get you everywhere.

Backpack Surprise

Two things that don’t mix well: an open container of strawberry banana yogurt and a backpack full of notes sent home from the school. I found these in The Boy’s backpack this morning. Both items were placed crammed into the backpack before spring break, which means they were two weeks old.

It wasn’t pretty.

Should I punish The Boy by making him watch TiVoed episodes of Mission: Organization on HGTV?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Overextended...

Guitar lessons, track practice, Confirmation class, cub scouts, league softball, school softball, little league, swimming lessons, band concerts and chorus concerts. All of these things happen this time of year. Every spring, we overdo it. Each year I freak out about conflicting schedules, concession stand duty, washing uniforms, and getting the kids carted off to the right practice at the right time. I worry about forgetting things. I worry about forgetting a practice, a homework assignment, a game.

But what I should worry about most is losing my sanity. I admit it - I am at the breaking point.

As March comes to a close and April is on its way, I see in my future the months ahead of scraping together a meal in fifteen minutes so that we can be at the ball field for the game. The endless weeks of not getting home until after 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. The days and days of chasing Bumblebee around a set of bleachers.

Our lives have become a circus of chaos.

I was a spectacular underachiever as a kid. I went out for softball once or twice, and ran track for a couple of years in High School. I was abysmal at both sports. I played in the band, but didn't do anything outside of the normal band activities. My brothers were involved in sports, but I don't remember it being the frenzied run here, there, and everywhere event that it is for my kids today.

The general consensus these days is that it's good for kids to be involved in extracurricular activities. It'll help with college scholarships, makes them well rounded, etc. Yeah, maybe. But at what cost?

At first glance, it looks like there isn't much of a cost to them - they're happy kids who get great grades, they have fun with their activities, it seems to be a win-win situation.

Until you look at their burnt out mom. Which definitely is a problem for them, as they'll tell you when I've snapped at them for no reason; or when they catch a flesh eating bacterial disease because I haven't cleaned the toilets in six weeks ; or when they are left to wear jeans from two years ago because the laundry is piled to the ceiling. Capri pants aren't such a great look for a fifth grade boy - too young to pull off that metrosexual thing...

Anyway, I'm on the verge of veering into a tangent from which I fear there might be no return. So I'll bring this to a close. Suffice it to say, next year we're not doing the extra softball league, and we'll stick to one sport per season. Because this mom's at the end of her rope.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Grouchy Mc Grumpypants

I'm in a shitty mood. I don't know why, really.

I have an urge to go out and spend a lot of money on clothes and jewelry and things that will make me look prettier in the hopes that it will improve my mood. But I know it won't. At least not when I go to look at my banking statements.

Why do people get moods like this? There is not one thing that can be pinpointed to the cause of this mood. No PMS, no headache, no unforeseen expensive thing to take care of (other than the ones we've already dealt with this year.) I'm sure there is a physiological explanation for my bad mood - like I don't have enough selenium in me or something. Hmmmm. I'm going to google that and see what I find out.

Back in a sec.

Nice. What would the world do without its handy dandy crap-corralling google? Where else can you pull together content on sexual frustration, drug addiction, dieting, chocolate, mascara (??), and pregnancy all with the common denominator of 'bad mood'??

I'm in too much of a bad mood to even care why I'm in a bad mood. I suppose I could try eating chocolate (not after yesterday's overindulgent Easter meal) or having sex (which isn't very convenient at the moment since The Husband is at work, and I'm sitting in my cubicle here at Giant Ass Bank.) Or I could try some drugs or maybe a new tube of mascara.

But probably I'll just go for a walk, get some coffee, and hope and pray that this monster of a mood doesn't follow me home tonight.

Growl.


I do have a cute Bumblebee story to share, though. And it's actually somewhat relevant to the bad mood blather.

This morning, as I was taking Bumblebee into daycare, I caught sight of her staring intently at the 1.12 millimeter length scratch on her pointer finger. It had the nerve to leak a minuscule drop of blood yesterday, so in true 4-year-old fashion, Bumblebee is convinced that her finger is falling off.

While examining the scratch (a gaping wound in her mind's eye) she said to me, "Momma, if Daycare Friend tries to hit me today, I'm going to show her my sore finger and tell her not to hit me there."

I immediately jumped to horrible images of Daycare Friend terrorizing and pummeling my precious and obviously innocent Bumblebee. "If Daycare Friend hits you, Bumblebee, you need to tell Babysitter."

"I know that. I tell on her for hitting me all the time."

"Mmmm-kaaaay... is Daycare Friend hitting you a lot?!" I asked, worrying even more.

And without a second of hesitation, Bumblebee sighed, rolled her eyes at me in the rear view mirror and said, "Mom. You KNOW how it is. Sometimes we just get really grumpy at each other and fights happen."

So that's that.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring!

Happy Spring, everyone!

Y'all know I'm sick of winter. Today is a happy, happy day.

Here's what springtime means to me:
  • Track meets
  • Baseball games
  • Softball games
  • Gardening
  • Walks with Bumblebee and the dog
  • Running with The Boy (and Hollywood if she's not exhausted by track or SB practice)
  • Using my new BBQ grill
  • Thunderstorms - oooh, I love them!
  • The scent of earth mingled with the sweet smell of flowers
  • Tossing the baseball or softball around in the back yard
  • Being able to open the windows in the sunroom and letting the fresh breeze in.
I could go on and on and on. But I have a meeting.

HAPPY SPRINGTIME!!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Late to the Party

I promised myself that any time I felt like eating junk food in between meals I would do something constructive. The plan is that when I'm at home, and feeling that bored/need to snack for no reason feeling, I'll go clean the toilets or scrub out the sink or do laundry. When I'm at work, I'll do something productive. You know, like, um... work.

So, here I sit at my desk in the middle of a cube farm at Giant Ass Bank, and at this moment, I'm craving that weirdly orange peanut butter on cheese crackers snack. I have a package of them on my desk. It's taunting me. "Eat me! Eat me!" it's whispering. There are worse things I could be craving, but the point is that I am still full from my oatmeal and clementine breakfast. I do not need to eat right now.

So, I should do something constructive here at work. I have a requirements document to write and twenty thousand emails to return, but where's the fun in that? So instead, I'm writing a blog post. Which is better than eating a packet of crackers. But not as productive as finishing those requirements that were due last week.

I did have an actual topic for today's post, though. Other than the three paragraphs of blabbering above, that is. I am reading the Harry Potter series. Finally. I read the first two books years and years ago. When the second book came out, I read them both. Then I stopped. My kids are obsessed with the books, everyone on the planet has raved about them. Still, I didn't read the rest of the series. There were other books to read, other things to do.

The Boy has been begging me to read them. Mostly because every time he wanted to talk to me about the books (especially the last in the series) I would shush him. "Don't tell me! I'm going to read them. Eventually..." I would say.

Last week, I picked up the third book. I flew through it. On Friday I started the fourth book. I devoured it. I am now 1/4 of the way through the fifth book. And I really want to be reading it right now instead of sitting here at work.

I am so amazed at this world Rowling has created. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful and imaginative and funny she is. And have you ever read an author who had better character names? Hers are fabulous!!

I am completely sucked into her world and will likely not read anything else until I've finished this series. And I can tell you, I already know that when I'm done, I will be in a foul mood. I'll be depressed that there is no more to read about Harry and his friends, and whatever book I try to read after this series will not gain my full attention unless it's really, really good.

The Husband asked me if Rowling is better than Stephen King. Because I'm not the King fan that I once was, I immediately answered yes, but after a lengthy discussion with TH, I eventually said that comparing them is an apples to oranges thing. I think comparing Rowling to Tolkein is a more relevant comparison. Though I couldn't tell you who has the advantage in that contest, I did explain to TH that what makes both authors in a league of their own is that they've created these amazing worlds. I am completely in awe of these two people (Rowling and Tolkein) who built these worlds from scratch with only their minds!

Yeah, most people knew of Rowling's genius years ago. I've known she has amazing talent since I read the first book to my kids before they were old enough to read it by themselves. I'm awestruck by the fact that she's gotten better with each book - interweaving all of the characters and past events into the later books. Usually books in a series start to weaken towards the end. Not this series!

Anyway, I'm sure most of you readers have already been where I am now - rapt, not wanting it to end, eyes greedily devouring the words to get in as much of the story as possible before you have to put the book down. That's me, though, late to the party as usual.

Hmmm. I still want those damn crackers. I guess I'll have to write those requirements after all. There's an hour before lunch.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jazzy Cat isn't so Jazzy These Days

We had an interesting weekend. On Friday night, our two cats slipped out of the house for a night on the town. They are both indoor cats and rarely get out for more than a few minutes. Unfortunately, they got more than they bargained for this time.

Mabel (the cat we took in on Halloween) has a big scratch by her mouth. Jazzy (our 7 year old cat) is in considerably worse shape. The kids noticed that she wasn't walking and that she kept meowing if her left hind leg was touched. Because our regular vet was closed, we had to take her to the vet ER. We spent a few hours there and it was determined that Jazzy was bit by another cat. Since cat wounds are notorious for infection, and because she was running a fever, they inserted an umbilical tape drain into her leg, took X-rays to make sure her leg wasn't broken, and gave her some meds. The poor thing has to wear a cone on her head too. (I won't even go into the cost of the vet ER visit. Let's just say that it was several new outfits' worth of my savings account.)

She is a wreck. And it's really freaking me out. I'll admit, I'm not a gushy, lovey dovey cat person. I don't play with the cats, I usually just grumble about them being underfoot or depositing massive amounts of cat hair onto every surface of my home. But it makes me sad that she's this way.

First of all, the cone is making her run into everything. When she gets freaked out, she goes berserk and runs zig zaggy everywhere, bumping into things all along the way. She strongly resembles the ball in a pinball machine. Which would be funny if she weren't in pain and oozing blood and goo from her leg. Secondly, her pain meds make her sleep. All day. Last night I found her under our bed. She'd been there since we'd last administered her medicine. I reached under the bed to pet her and my hand touched her back hind quarters (is that what they're called on a cat?) Anyway, the hard part of her leg. I withdrew my hand and got all skeeved out. I had visions of her being dead, rigormortis already setting in... I grabbed a flashlight and was very relieved to see her breathing.

She won't eat. She won't drink. And I really don't want to come across a stiff catsicle one of these days. So I had to pull her out from under the bed last night (not an easy task with a sore leg and a head cone). I took her into the kitchen, removed the cone, and sat her in front of her food and water dish.

She refused to touch them. I sat there on the floor with her for about 45 minutes. No dice. The Husband thought it was weird watching me 'baby' the cat. I was petting her and coaxing her and calling her sweetie... Definitely not the normal behavior.

But I want her to get well.... I don't like seeing her this way, it's sad! And it's ruining my tough on cats image.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Isn't She Cute?

Isn't my mother-in-law just the cutest thing ever? Don'tcha just love this picture of her with Barack Obama? She's heading to the state democratic convention this weekend and wants to 'campaign' to be one of the 22 delegates to the national convention. Cross your fingers for her!!

Here's her flyer:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Saptastic Show Tunes

I admit it - I'm a sap.

Especially when it comes to show tunes. Especially when those tunes are from Les Miserables.

I had lunch with my pal Webgal today and on the way back to work, I popped in my Les Mis CD. I was sobbing like a baby as I sang at the top of my lungs in my car.

I realized that my moon roof was open only after I'd parked in the garage at work.

Oops. I'm sure people thought I was a freak on wheels. Which isn't true at all. I was a freak in wheels. (bah dum dum... try the veal, it's fantastic!)

But c'mon... Who doesn't sob when the Les Mis song "I Dreamed a Dream" or - and this one kills me every time - "On My Own" is played?? GAH!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

48!!!

Oh My Gosh.

It is 48 degrees outside!

And I'm stuck in a 7 ft square cubicle with gray walls.

But not for long...

I'm SO making The Boy run with me tonight.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Organizational Changes...

The theme of today's post is organization. No, no! Don’t leave! I know, I know. I hate it too! But bear with me.

These are a few of the things I did this weekend…

1. I created a calendar with all of our household activities for the rest of March and April.

I quickly found a calendar-generating website, then I spent an hour messing with my possessed printer before it finally bended its will to mine and printed the damned thing. Then, I had a stack of papers from the school and updated dates and times of school things – band concerts, Kindergarten meetings, book sales, fun nights, baseball practices, track meets, softball games, and so forth. Then I added the ongoing things like guitar lessons, religion classes and cub scouts. And then… I added the other activities like first communions (my nephew and my best pal’s daughter – how can they be old enough for that?!) and birthday parties and so forth. By the time I was done, there are like three days without any writing on them. Oy.

2. I prepared for spring sports by buying equipment before the season starts instead of halfway through.

The Boy was wearing skuzzy old gym shoes to his basketball games until halfway, er, two-thirds of the way through the season, when I finally managed to get him real basketball shoes. All of the kids on his team had flashy shoes with Shaq and Michael Jordan and whoever the current NBA stars are (because I know Shaq and MJ are sooo old school) on them. But The Boy, being the sweetie that he is, never uttered one word of complaint. I finally couldn’t take it anymore when the sole of his shoe was flapping on the gym floor during a game, so I got him some real basketball shoes. Last year, I think I managed to get him a new set of baseball cleats about halfway through the baseball season. Hollywood made do without spikes for all of last year’s track season because I never got around to getting any for her. See my pattern here? I’m L-A-Z-Y or maybe just B-U-S-Y or C-H-E-A-P. (Probably all three.) At any rate, my poor kids never seem to be fully prepared for their sports seasons.

Not this year! I vowed to have them all outfitted and ready to go before their first practice. So… on Saturday, I took all three kids with me into the bowels of Hell (also known as Wal-Mart) to get as much as we could before heading to the expensive sports stores. As the cart kept filling up with bats, socks, pants, belts, balls, gloves, baseball bags, etc, I started feeling clammy. This was going to cost a fortune. During this fun-filled shopping extravaganza, I was on the phone off and on because our systems at Giant Ass Bank were down much of the day. Which was a very bad thing. On top of that, Bumblebee decided to behaviorally revert to a temper tantrum throwing two year old. She threw fits and ignored me much of the trip. Wheeee. It was fun. FUN, I tell you.

After Wal-Mart, we went to three different sports stores to complete our list, because God forbid that one sporting goods store would have everything we need. The final damage was over $500. (FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? As Hollywood would say, "HOLY CHOW!") I was instantly in a foul (ha! Get the sports pun?!?) mood and felt like I was going to hurl over the expenditure.

I’m happy to say that they are set for their spring sports. Hopefully for a few years. They may not have food to eat for a months on end, but they’ve got their sports equipment.

3. I created a menu of healthy meals and purchased the ingredients for these meals.

I am ashamed to say that I gave in to laziness twice last week and had The Husband pick up take-out. For Chinese food and Long John Silver’s!!!! (Barf. It always sounds much better than it is, and boy do I pay for eating that stuff.) After spending a night of regret for that LJS decision, I decided that I was going to take the time to plan a healthy menu for this week, and I was going to get groceries to make these healthy meals, so there would be no excuses for ordering crap food. It took me almost an hour to come up with a good menu. Then it took longer still to create the grocery list. It took even longer to get the actual groceries, and then I spent another two hours prepping meals for this week. (made ahead a lasagna, boiled some chicken for my lunch staple of curried chicken salad, etc.) It was exhausting!

But. Here’s the upside… I put a roast in the slow cooker this morning. Tonight, when I walk in the door, the scent of dinner being almost done will greet me. That, my friends, is worth spending a Sunday afternoon prepping for the week.

If only I could do it every day.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mothers and Daughters

I spent a few hours with my mom last night. She came with me to Hollywood’s honor choir concert. I don’t get to see Mom as often as I’d like – we’re both quite busy with our lives - and that's sad, really. We got a chance to talk in the car and that was great. I always feel a bit guilty after chatting with my mom – I worry that I talked too much while she listened. She’s a great listener, and as you might guess by the length of some of these posts, I’m quite skilled at talking…

I sat and watched Hollywood sing at her concert. The music was beautiful, and so was she. I always feel so proud of that kid when I watch her succeed in one of her gazillions of activities! I don't know how she keeps up with it all, how she does so well in everything she tries.

Anyway, I wrote this, uh, thing (it’s not quite a poem) because these thoughts of mothers and daughters kept swirling around in my head. Fascinating that I can be at a point in my life where I admire and look up to both my mother and my daughter. (I think that means I’m getting old, but we knew that already.)

***

Mother
She is stingy with her advice
And yet I crave it.
I want to ask if I’m doing this right.
How can I achieve the results in life, in parenting, that she has?
Am I afraid of what she might tell me?
She doesn’t criticize my decisions, it’s not her way.
I hang on each of her words that hint of the way things ought to be.
Not because I am unsure of my abilities,
But because she is twenty years and thousands of experiences smarter than me.
And I will always want to know what she thinks is right.

Daughter
I watch her walk across the stage to her place.
She tosses her mane of silky brown hair,
Opens her mouth, and sings like an angel.
Is it possible for someone to be too pretty and too talented?
On the drive home, we talk and I’m in awe of her.
Amazed by her vibrancy, her attitude, and her confidence.
How did this child get to be this way?
She is so unlike I was.
And yet I see myself in her too. The need to win an argument,
The desire to find out how things work.

Two amazing women – forever connected through birth. They are both my heroes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Favre


Brett Favre, the scruffy, supremely attractive, charismatic, and amazingly talented Packers QB, has finally announced his retirement. He says it's time. He's going to focus on his family. He's had a phenomenal career.

What he really means is that he's going to finally have room in his schedule to be my love slave and personal trainer. (The Husband won't mind, right?)

Sad, sad day. Sunday afternoons in the fall will never be the same. I'm telling you, between this and if Friday Night Lights gets canceled like they're saying it will, I will be in mourning for years.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Happy Birthday to The Boy

My "little man" is 11 today. Not so little anymore...

Happy Birthday, The Boy. I love you. Best Little Guy in the World!!

(Click to enlarge the photo)