Tuesday, November 30, 2010


would you please come back to visit me again soon? i know you can't hang out with me ALL the time, but i miss you and i'd really like to see you again.
your friend,

i know you are digging this angst-filled teenager persona you've got going on, but could you try, just a little bit, to get in the damn christmas spirit? i know you don't believe in santa, but, could you WANT to watch some damn christmas movies and listen to some damn christmas music and...you know...be a little damn jolly? thanks.

school system,
for the love of god could you please quit sending home fundraisers? really? coupon books, stadium cups, candles, frozen pastries and pizzas...enough already. the kid i have that needs to sell stuff for her trip to dc is not a salesperson.
thank you,
frazzled parent

hi. you look nice; i like what you've done with your hair. you have a really fine company there. looks like you could use my help. really. i'm a good employee. i play well with others. i follow directions. i have mad communication skillz. i usually show up on time. i would love it if you'd quit dicking around and just give me a job already. and, if you'd like me to start right after christmas that would be groovy. anyone? make me an offer.
desperately seeking employment

guess what? you're down to nine rolls of wrapping paper. you know what else? i don't think you have a stash of christmas cards for this year like you thought you did. guess what else? have you seen the boxed cards this year? yeah....lots of penguins on them. i know, i know. you HATE penguins dressed up for christmas. shhhhh. calm down. you know, you are the only person on the planet who has an issue with penguins being lumped into the christmas mix right? the rest of the world does not care that all of the other christmas characters live at the north pole and penguins live at the south pole. they don't care, really. i'm sure marketers mix them in because they are one of the "cold" animals and it's typically cold this time of year. plus, you know they're always dressed for a party.
your inner weirdo

thank you for being excited about christmas and decorating and watching christmas specials, even if one of the two we've watched so far was a vhs tape of beavis and butthead do christmas. i love your spirit. but, uh....could you stop now with the adding things to your christmas list? seriously, you don't think you're getting all of that stuff right? and...now that you admit that you know there isn't a santa you understand that dad and i are the ones footing the bill for this shindig right? ok, just checking. oh, and one more thing....i fucking love the fact that you are actually thinking about what you want to get me for christmas...but, i like surprises. be a little more subtle about it ok? don't tell me to quit reading the sookie stackhouse books because i'll finish the series and you won't be able to buy me one for christmas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

i have the eyes of a 60+ year old

according to my optometrist these hazel beauties would more likely be found in the head of a 60+ year old person rather than in my 42 year old head. a couple of years ago he told me i had cataracts. he was a bit stunned that someone my age would have them. i have no thyroid problems; no diabetes; didn't grow up on the coast (people who grow up in beachy areas are more likely to have cataracts); and i don't weld or blow glass (also prone to cataracts). mine are most likely congenital. yeah me! he said at some point i MIGHT need surgery. hmmm.

i got my first pair of glasses when i was in 9th grade. i couldn't see the chalkboard. they got a little worse as the years went by. i got my first pair of contacts when i was a freshman in college. i got my eyes checked almost regularly and i almost always needed a new prescription. we've been seeing our current optometrist for probably 7-8 years. oddly enough, his father owns the company the hubs works for and his younger brother is the douche canoe/lucky sperm boy who is the hubs' boss. this guy is nothing, nothing like his father or brother.

for most of my adult life i've worn contacts, which i'd take out in the evenings and then wear glasses. a few years ago it was time to move to bi-focal contacts. for four months i tried different combinations of bi-focals, multi-focals, etc. and i just couldn't find a good fit. exasperated i went to all glasses all the time and that's when i got the pair pictured above.

i knew my eyes had gotten worse since my last appointment (about a year and a half ago). i was having more trouble seeing at night (common in 80 year olds w/ cataracts). when i went for my exam this morning he was shocked at how my vision had changed, for the worse. the cataracts are growing. he described them as mirrors of each other, nice, petal-like cataracts that are actually kind of pretty. but....he's rarely seen such on a person of my age. now it is not a matter of MIGHT needing cataract surgery it is when. possibly 2-5 years depending on how they grow. nice. the upside is that when i do have the surgery i will most likely not need any corrective lenses afterwards and if i do it might just be reading glasses. the downside is that i won't even be 50 years old, they will CUT my lenses out, i will be AWAKE for the procedure and i'm sure it will be expensive, even with insurance. nice.

on the bright side, other than the cataracts, my eyes are healthy. i am getting new glasses. we have craptastic insurance so they are not cheap glasses. the lenses cost more than the frames and co-pay for the exam. i need multi-focal, which basically mean bi-focals with an extra focal thrown in there. they will be progressive lenses, and while there won't be that tell-tale bi-focal line in them, they will take some getting used to. i've heard bad things about progressive lenses, like they're hard to get used to and some people don't get used to them. great. i also needed a special glare coating, because of the cataracts and how they filter light. yep...i'm so excited. not.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

thanksgiving recap

thanksgiving has come and gone and i survived. parts of it were great, parts of it were ho-hum but none of it was horrible.

we loaded up the car a little before noon on thanksgiving day to go to my folks' house. we'd gotten up and watched some of the parade with the kids and then the hubs and i had some stress-relieving sex. oddly enough this is a bit of a habit for us. if we're hosting or going to an event, we have sex beforehand. i think it is either to mark our territories (not the case w/ going to my parents' house) or stress relief. the hubs was disappointed that one of the toys i'd ordered from that party i went to a few weeks ago hadn't come in yet, a remote control, wireless bullet.

we got to their house and it was clean (my mom had taken off all week to get ready for this day, and yet every time i heard anything about it my sister was the one doing the cleaning). my dad came out of his den to say hello and then vanished again. the hubs set up his infrared turkey cooker in the backyard and started cooking the bird. (we watched food, inc. the night before. if you haven't seen it, watch it. really. also watch super size me. we've watched both in the last week and they've left an impression on me; however, i don't recommend watching either the night before thanksgiving.) the hubs sat in the den for a little while to chat with my dad, but he said all he talked about was what was on tv. the only time my dad came out was to eat and then he went back to watching tv. apparently he has realized he's been depressed for quite awhile so that is his excuse for the lact of interaction this time around.

almost two years ago my mom hired my sister's husband to paint the inside of her house. she still had not hung anything back on her walls except family pictures in her hallway that make me crazy. i am not ocd, but, she hung about 6-8 pictures down her hallway and didn't consider spacing at all; there isn't equal space between the pictures, they're all hanging crooked, it drives me nuts. after sitting in the bare-walled living room most of the day i asked her where her picture were and the hubs and i hung some stuff in her living room. half of the nails were still on the walls (who paints and leaves nails where they were?) so it's not like it was a big deal. and? she has some of the ugliest pictures. really.

my kids were pretty good playing w/ my niece and nephew. i know they get on my kids' nerves because they are whiners and annoying, but my kids were great. the boy did start getting pissed off because my nephew kept asking if they were spending the night at my mom's house too. he asked over and over and over again. drove us all nuts. i'd already told my mom no. frankly, neither of my kids wanted to stay there though of course i'm not going to say, 'my kids don't want to spend any more time than they have to w/ this niece and nephew, and, even if they weren't staying the night, they really don't have any desire to spend the night w/ you.' part of me would love to say that to my mom because that's her crop---she's reaping what she sowed w/ my kids. basically ignore them for a decade and this is the relationship you end up w/. but, that would make it my kids issue and i'd rather not do that. instead all she knows is that we said no.

for several days the hubs had been talking about the black friday sales. he has always worked on black friday so we have never done the get up at the butt-crack of dawn thing and go shopping. we have both been in moods lately....those lying beneath the surface moods....he has been thinking about the future and has figured out that if i don't get a job by then, march will be the month that the bottom drops out of the sky; things will get really bad starting in january, but march will be our end. i have been thinking about the dwindling bank account, the bills that need paid, the christmas gifts, etc. i tell you this because most people in this situation would not want to go out shopping; the hubs responds differently. he wanted to experience the day. i put a spending cap on the day (which we didn't meet because we didn't buy one single thing.) it was doomed from the start really. the girl and i went to bed at 1:30am. the boy and the hubs pulled an all nighter. they got us up around 3:30am. we were at the first store around 4:20am. we hit a total of three stores and were home and back in bed by 6am. the girl bitched the entire time.

after our naps the hubs started getting out the outdoor christmas decorations and later we went to my bro's for dinner. since they'd spent thanksgiving w/ my sil's family this was like "our" thanksgiving w/ them. we ate and tried to see who could outdo who w/ quotes from forrest gump and then we watched elf. it was my second time this week. i love that movie.

yesterday the girl met some friends at the movies to see harry potter again. this was the first time we've ever dropped her off, left the theater completely and come back for her. when she got home we decorated the christmas trees. i can't believe we're already this far into the year. i cannot believe another christmas is here and i don't have a job.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

over the river and through the woods

i've been thinking a lot about my feelings about thanksgiving these last few days. i see people's fb status' talking about being excited for the holidays, and looking forward to being with family and how they are already preparing food for tomorrow.

aside from the obvious reason i don't have a warm fuzzy about thanksgiving (given my relationship w/ my parents) i think there's more to it.

when i was growing up, going home for thanksgiving was always a big deal. since my dad was in the army and we moved every three years, going home meant going back to wv, to where both sets of grandparents lived, along w/ most all of my aunts and uncles and cousins. i don't think we went home every year, certainly not the years we were in germany, but when we did there was always excitement leading up until the day we left (probably a day like today). we always drove. from georgia or north carolina or pennsylvania.

both sets of grandparents lived in the same small town so we'd usually have two thanksgiving meals, lunch and dinner. i'm sure for my folks this was quite the juggling act. as i recall though, my dad's mom always scheduled her meal around when my other grandma was having hers because she had more people to coordinate.

the two dinners could not have been more different. my dad's mom set her formal dining table, table cloth, nice dishes, the works. sometimes it was just our family and my grandparents, but i'm sure there were times when my aunt and her family were there too (her husband was in the navy so they were in the same boat as us as far as being home for the holidays).

my mom's mom had a packed house. there were seven kids (my grandma's five and my grandpa's two sons) but i think my mom's siblings were the only ones that made it home on a regular basis for the holiday. so...the siblings and their spouses and of course all the grandkids. my grandparents had a small three bedroom house and had turned the garage into a huge bedroom that turned into a den/tv room when the kids started leaving home. i'm sure they did this renovation on their own because from the outside you couldn't tell it was a bedroom....the garage door was still there. they put up a panel wall on the inside, covering the garage door and carpeted the room, though i think it was indoor/outdoor carpet if memory serves correctly. strange room. during the holidays card tables were set up out there and that's where the kids ate. everyone else gathered around the small kitchen table or ate in the living room. it was chaos, but, it was always fun. at least that's how i remember it.

maybe that's why i'm not so excited about this holiday...there's nothing to look forward to.

Monday, November 22, 2010

monday randomness

we saw the latest harry potter movie this weekend. i wasn't impressed. the girl has read all of the books, numerous times...she does that when she gets hooked on a series. we had already seen a few of the movies when i tried to go back and start reading the books. epic fail. i can't see the movies of something and go back and read the book. i've tried. i have loved all of the movies up until this point, really, really enjoyed them. ron and snape have always been my faves. i cried over last year's movie. this one...i didn't feel like it moved the story on very much. since i haven't read the deathly hallows i have no idea what's in store...but it seems to me they could have done the whole thing in one movie, not two parts. the girl was pleased w/ it though, and i've heard others say it's the best one yet. i didn't think so.

the other day when the boy came home from school he brought the mail in from the mailbox and leafed through it. my kids always do this...curious i guess if there's ever anything from them. usually not. it's typically bills and junk mail. he saw a letter address to me from a local college, i'd applied for a job there. he opened the letter, excited about the fact they might be offering me a job, i knew it was a reject letter before he even opened it. i've mostly become immune to these. the boy read it and then looked up at me, sad, and said "i'm sorry mom." i told him it was ok and that i figured it was a rejection letter. he said, "they're stupid, they should hire you." he can be so incredibly sweet sometimes.

the bedrooms were cleaned...and still are. the girl's attitude mostly evaporated. i say mostly because this weekend we started discussing high school options. up until this point we'd sort of assumed she'd go to one school...but there's a new high school opening that might be an option and there's an option of an ib school (i know very little about it or the concept). i talked to a mom this weekend about the ib school (her kid goes there) and it sounds exactly like what the girl would need....a place where she would not stand out as being the smart kid. a place she'd fit in. when we brought it up to her i thought she'd be thrilled at the prospect seeing as how she's had such a tough time in middle school. she's not thrilled. even though she wants to break away from going to school w/ everyone she's going to school w/--there are a few she doesn't want to leave behind and she doesn't want to be the new kid in school, not knowing anyone. i've been there, done that but don't know how to explain to her that while initially it sucks...it can be the best thing.

my mom had said she was coming to the girl's first indoor soccer game this weekend (it was interesting; the field is smaller and has hockey rink type walls and a net over the whole thing; the ball is never out and the game is shorter because there is no half time; it seems more aggressive too, although that could be because they played a team older and bigger than them) and she didn't. i later had an email where she told me my dad was having a rough time, emotionally, that morning and she couldn't leave him. i called yesterday, not because i really gave a shit but because i felt duty bound. today she emailed me how glad she was i called and explained to me that he's been depressed for years and is now taking antidepressants and is going to see if he can have his meds adjusted.

i don't know what do think about this information. the hubs commented that it is interesting how they always thought once they got money (the inheritance from my gma) they would be alright, money would solve all of their problems. it obviously hasn't. in a parallel universe i suppose i'd be the caring daughter and show support/love/concern. i don't feel any of those things. i suppose in that universe i'd also have learned to forgive and forget, but....i haven't. i will play the part of a child in that i will have thanksgiving dinner with them and we will celebrate christmas with them. otherwise....i just don't have a lot of emotion to give them. part of me feels that's wrong, the part of me that realizes they're getting older and will become needier. i just don't think i can excuse everything to get to the point where i care about them anymore.

i am reading book five (there are nine) of the sookie stackhouse books. in case you don't know, these are the books the hbo series true blood is based on. though i've watched true blood and really liked it i never dvred it and so i haven't actually kept up w/ every episode. the tv series does not follow the books to the letter, at least i don't think so. i don't think this is the best writing i've ever read, but i love the storyline. i am hooked.

Friday, November 19, 2010

a come to jesus meeting

last night the hubs had a cometojesus meeting with the kids to discuss their piginess. the boy (who's 11) is the the disaster king. he moves from room to room leaving a trail of books, shoes, toys, dishes in his wake. we have discussed this over and over again. the girl (13) isn't quite as bad about this...but she does tend to nest in one spot and turn it into a pig sty. while the hubs touched on this issue, reiterating that even though i am home during the day this does not mean i am the maid (thank you very much), his main focus was their bedrooms.

each kid gets $5 a week and for that they are to keep their rooms clean, put their laundry away, feed the cats/dogs and clear off the table each night after dinner. the do not keep their rooms clean; they put their laundry away after i've told them 2-3 times; the girl feeds the cats in the morning but the boy only feeds the dogs if told to on the weekends (i do it otherwise); they do clear of the table.

this could have been a relatively simple conversation. part of it is our fault because we don't enforce these rules and there are rarely consequences for not doing them. the hubs laid down the law last night. you will clean your rooms. that would have been it. but....the girl got sassy.

"why do we have to clean our rooms, nobody sees them?" she asked with that tone in her voice, you the one.

"because you should take pride in your room." the hubs said, calmly but forcefully.

"you want me to take pride in a ROOM?" she asked, like he'd just told her she had two heads or something.

i raised my eyebrows, shocked that she was taking this dangerous path. the hubs looked at me like, oh no the hell she didn't.

"yes, i want you to take pride in your room. would you not take a shower and go to school in dirty clothes?" he asked.

"yeah, i would. it's not like anyone would pay attention anyway." she said in that insolent, goth, emo persona she reverts to when she is pinned in a corner or pissed or upset. (ok, so more and more often.)

the hubs voice raises a little, he's not yelling, but he's being stern. the australian shepherd starts going nuts. she gets ansty when there is tension in the house, i kid you not. she prances around and wants outside and jumps up on your lap (she is not a lapsized dog) she has even jumped on the back of the recliner to lay her head on my shoulder before.

there is more back and forth, the hubs' blood pressure is rising. the girl is sitting in the recliner, acting all dismissive and nonchalant when she's not spewing forth disrespect. the boy is standing in front of the hubs at attention almost (on his own, not because he was told to) and quiet tears are running down his face. he does not back talk. i think if anything he's learned it's a bad idea from his sister.

the hubs lays the smack down on them....no tv and no computer until the rooms are clean. they have until sunday afternoon. this is gracious plenty time because seriously, if they just went in there and spent a solid hour, maybe two, those rooms would be military spotless. but of course it never works that way. they drag it out.

cut to today afterschool. the girl had to stay after for her leadership club. the boy got home, i reminded him no tv, no computer and i'd be back in 10 minutes. i picked up the girl, tried to make small talk and she answered me in clipped tones. when we pulled in the driveway she sat in the car doing her homework for nearly an hour. i let her. the only thing she said on the way home was that she knew they needed to clean their rooms but why did we have to pick on them the night csi was on and she was going to use her stay up an extra hour pass?

the hubs gets home, the kids are sitting at the table. i know their thoughts. they're thinking if they are sullen and dejected enough the hubs will cave. he stands firm. they go to clean their rooms. the girl comes out in 20 minutes and says she's done and wants the hubs to check it. he asked her if she was sure it was clean. she got huffy AGAIN and said "well we don't know what your standards are!" (this is a stall tactic because they both know what i expect of a clean room, we've been over it a million times) there was more back and forth. they continued cleaning. she then reverted to something she has not done since she was in kindergarten and got in trouble.....the dramatic sobbing as loud as she can from her room, ensuring that we will hear her. we ignored it.

during dinner she hung her head, was silent and still sobbing quietly.

the hubs got hard ass on her and made her go to the boys' karate class with him tonight rather than having the extra time to clean her room. she will be bored to death. and pissed. he warned her, several times, that the disrespect and surliness and attitude will not win her this battle. he warned her that he can make her life much more miserable than she can make his.

and so readers....i think we will be having a battle of wills this weekend at chez creative kerfuffle.

my sil just made me fucking day with this bit of info....but it also serves as an example of just how freaking small the world is, even on the interwebs.

a friend of hers on fb made a comment on someone else's fb page and my sil recognized the names as being someone at the hubs' company. omfg---the hubs' lucky-sperm-boy boss's wife has a douchey blog. ok. i will be nice because i'm sure if i were her friend i wouldn't think it is douchey, but, i looked down her list of blogs and they are douchey too. again. so mean and snarky of me but these are....how can i put this....uncool mommy blogs. let me explain. of course those of us who blog and have kids write posts about our little hellions from time to time. some brave souls even post pics of their spawn and are themselves...right out there on their blogs (unlike me who hides behind this ck facade). anywho...the boss's wife uses her full name and posts a jillion pics of her kids and that's pretty much all she talks about. oh, and? how HARD her husband works! i seriously think the hubs might have a coronary when i show him that post. boss dude is the poster boy for a SLACKER; does not work regular hours (and if his wife thinks he's working hard where the hell does he spend all of his time?); he's on vacation all the time (and there are pics on her blog to prove it). oh....i could go on and on. but it just brings me joy that she has a public blog and i can lurk on it and then snicker at her. from afar of course.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

sharing and not sharing

i know i've already posted today but sometimes the brain kicks into overdrive and cannot be stopped.

first....stop whatever it is you are doing and go to my sidebar and read the post from pseudo and only a movie. they contain clips of longish videos (10-20 mins) but are so worth it you will come back here and give me a big wet kiss. ok, maybe not with tongue, but still. these videos and the ideas in them make me desperate for better education for my kids; make me want to break them out of the institutional mold and stimulate their brains; they make me want reform in education (even though i already wanted it) and i think every education major and teacher need to watch these on a regular basis...hell, everyone who has anything to do w/ kids.

ok, go watch.

the other thought i had isn't as nice and fluffy and soaring, uplifting, exciting. in fact, it kind of outs me as a sniveling, petty person. i can't help it or ignore it.

so....i've talked before about this group of friends i've grown a part from; girls i used to work with at my most recent job. i have lost touch with them for the most part. and, while my head realizes that our lives are on different channels and that part of the reason i was friends w/ some of them was just proximity anyway....it still gives me a little green twinge of jealousy when they talk on fb about getting together. granted....most of the things they do are either at times i can't or are just not for me. you know what? it's not even really about that...it's about the fact that i feel rejected by them. i know that i am not the world's best friend...i am lazy and have little time to invest....but aside from one that i still feel close to and talk w/....none of the others really made any efforts to keep the friendship going either. yeah, i know, suck it up and put on my big girl panties right? i so get it. most days i really, really do not care but other days i feel rejected, and not just in an oh i forgot about you way, but purposefully and maliciously.

and then i feel like a huge douche because....i bet this is how my sister feels when we do stuff w/ my bro and his family and don't include her. granted, i can justify it because .....well i just don't like being around my sister all that much. i have nothing in common with her other than blood and parents. i can justify it by saying it's not like i ever was her friend and then stopped being friends w/ her...because we've never had that relationship. ugh....too many thoughts swirling around today.

a gift i will never want

the holidaze are approaching and with it come the barrage of commercials for all kinds of gifts. this morning on the radio i heard an ad for a gift i never want to receive....laser hair removal.

the person in the commercial talked about how convenient it was to not have to think about your outfit each day based on the amount of hair on your body. hmmmmm. is this REALLY a problem? when did shaving your legs and pits become such an overwhelming task that you not only need to pay someone else to remove it but to do so with lasers? the ad said you could get a treatment for yourself and other treatment to give as a gift for one low price. really? i can't imagine getting that gift certificate. hey ck, i noticed you're pretty hairy, try this laser hair removal. uh....no thanks.

i realize that i am probably out of the loop on tons of health and beauty regimens/products/services....hell it's only be a year or three since i got my first pedicure and i'm 42 years old. i don't have my eyebrows waxed, though, i could see the need for that if you were a particularly hirsute person. as i've gotten older i have also come to understand the need for facial waxing in general as i get chin hairs. for now i tweeze them, but, if it gets worse i'm totally going to start having my chin waxed.

still, i can't fathom a time when shaving my legs or armpits would get to be such a chore that it would be easier for me to make an appointment, travel to a spa or wherever you have such things done, wait, spend the time (and money) for the procedure and then drive home. that doesn't sound any easier than lathering up and running a razor down your leg.

am i missing something?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

you want me to do WHAT for $40?

let me preface this rant by saying i am forever grateful for freelance work. really and truly i am. and, for the most part i enjoy the work. for our little local magazine i interview business people and write stories about them. it's basically an advertorial, but i could seriously write these things in my sleep as this type of thing is something i've been doing for decades. because it is easy and right in my hood and the pay is fine. it's low, but fine.

a custom publisher i've interviewed w/ twice (and they hired from w/in both times) sends some work my way once in awhile. fact checking and writing stories. some of the stories are out of my comfort zone (financial) but i get by. and the pay is pretty decent.

a marketing company i've been working for off and on for years also pays well but the work comes in spurts and it's mostly press releases. boring.

so...i troll around the interwebs and local publishing companies looking for freelance jobs all the time. there are two local pubs that i've been emailing back and forth. same owner, same exact type of magazine (you have them in your town, those family/women's magazines printed on newsprint w/ a glossy cover and it's all about local businesses, fluff stuff and they're free in doctor's offices, grocery stores, etc.) so anyway....they pay for shit. seriously.

i have one assignment from them so far. $40 to write a 500-700 word story (that right there is cheap! cheap!) but, if i can do it over the phone i could knock it out pretty quickly. the subject (who i'm still trying to pin down for a day and time to interview and have been doing so for more than a week) wants me to come to her office which is at least 30 mins away. really? so i'm really not to pleased about this at all but i said i'd do it and i will.

today i get an email from the chick at the magazine w/ the editorial calendars for next year. she says to look over them and let her know what i'd be interested in writing. it's like shopping or picking out things on a menu. ok, i can handle that. so i email her back w/ a dozen or more things i found interesting. then she emails me back and says, well, the cover stories are off limits because they have a person they've used for years who does that, ok. and for the other stories? she wants me to come up w/ the ideas for them, basically pitch her story ideas based on the lose references she has on her edit calendar. really? for $40 you not only want me to come up with the story ideas and contacts/references and go far and wide to interview/work on these stories and then write 500-700 words on it? wow.

folks, i'm not saying i'm too good for this work or that i probably won't do some of it, but....that's asking a lot of a person for $40.

*i wrote this draft the other day when i was pissed off. since then i am convinced these $40-paying people are insane. a friend of mine sent an email to several people asking what she should charge a person to interview them and write their 500 word bio for their website. i suggested $100 and everyone on the email said that was lowballing. they would charge $300, at least. wow.

the longest, most random post

lately i have been thinking about just how long i've been unemployed, maybe more so this week because i am hoping for an interview with one company and i just picked up three freelance gigs. i think about how different our lives have been since i've been home. i know for the most part the hubs has worried about and been stressed out about the financial aspects of it, not just the day to day but the big picture. the fact that we'll have the first kid going to college in 4 years and the second one not far behind. the fact that we really don't want to work until we drop dead from exhaustion, never being able to retire and travel etc. those big picture things worry me too.

but, as the one here day in and day out i also see the positives. the girl has been able to be much more involved with the things she loves about school....national academic league (which meets after school) the only place she says she "fits" because of her nerdiness (her words, not mine). the boy is able to take some karate classes that he wouldn't be able to because of their timing (even though the hubs usually takes him). for the most part all of the chores and running errands and housework are done during the week so our weekends are ours--aside from karate and soccer. i think, at least with the girl, we've formed a bond that might have been missed had i been at work. middle school has been hard for her and while she wears her emotions on her sleeves most of the time, there are things that come out in normal conversation that might not have happened before. not big things, but things that let me get into her head, if that makes any sense.

yesterday afternoon she tried out for all county orchestra. i was a little surprised she wanted to because honestly i don't think it's something she's passionate about. she's been in orchestra (viola) all three years of middle school and she's always made an a in that class, but...she's not fired up about it. she practices at home in spurts. try outs were held at a middle school in our county but it was about 30 mins away. they took the activity bus to the school but parents had to pick their kids up afterwards. we were driving home around 5:15 p.m. and the traffic was bad. i realized that this is how it will be when i get a job. rather than being home either making or contemplating dinner and watching over the boy doing his homework or spurring him on to get ready for karate i will be on my way home from work. then i go to thinking about how everything will change--evenings will be rushed, dinner will be a juggling act, after school care (at least for the boy) will be something to deal with. i can't remember how we did it all before. granted, before when i worked we didn't have karate classes going on or soccer and the girl wasn't in any after school clubs/meetings.

right now i am not overly concerned about the after school care issue. most likely we'd let the girl come home alone after school; she'd be here 3-4 hours on her own. i have no doubt she could handle that. however, i also have no doubt i could leave them both home, every day, w/out there being major issues. i'd be getting phone calls every half hour or someone would be maimed or something. it would just not work. there are a couple of after school care options open for the boy, so i'm not that worried about it. it's the summer that concerns me. i'm pretty sure the girl has aged out of any summer childcare programs; she'll be 14 in jan. i can't leave her here, at home, all day, every day all summer. she'd be stuck in the house alone every day. the rules are if she's home alone there is no bike riding, swimming, trampoline. not a good summer. what do people do with their kids who are too old for daycare but not old enough to stay by themselves all summer?

in my last post i talked about how much i'm dreading the holidays. sigh....it's not REALLY that bad i suppose. no, i don't look forward to spending thanksgiving w/ my folks, but there are other things to be happy about. the hubs is looking forward to thanksgiving with gusto. well, i should clarify...he is looking forward to turkey and the food. for the last two weeks, at least once a day we have a conversation about turkey. i'm not exaggerating. one of the grocery stores had a sale last week and i got a turkey (hubs is cooking it at my mom's house for t-day). the hubs asked why i didn't get more than one. today another store has them on sale so i will be getting at least one more turkey to put in the freezer for the thanksgiving weekend. dude is serious about some turkey. however, he has a goal of losing a few more pounds before thanksgiving, which will be his pad, allowing him to eat on thanksgiving. oy vey do not even get me started about this man's thoughts on weight loss. regardless of how crazy i think he is....he is successful with it. he's lost 40 pounds since august. and not in a crazy, starve yourself crash diet kind of way. he's eating healthier and exercising. a lot. people are noticing his loss and commenting and despite the fact that dude has never lacked in the self confidence department, you can tell it makes him feel good.

this morning i went in to wake up the boy (7am) after seeing the girl off on the bus. it's hit or miss w/ him. some mornings i turn on the light and say wakey wakey eggs and bakey or call him by one of his nicknames and say it's time to get up. he'll either roll over and hold up his hand asking for five more minutes or he'll just get up. this morning he rolled around and looked at me and said he didn't want to be eggs and bakey. that cute sleepy face called to me and i snuggled in the bed w/ him for a few minutes. he snuggled in and just out of the blue said, i'll probably test for my red belt before christmas. dude is all karate 24/7! lol. so we talked a little about karate and then he got up.

yesterday the boy got a package of mexican candy from my friend texas. all kinds of different things we'll be trying : ) the boy took some of it in to school today to share w/ his spanish class. he was so excited. kids love love love getting shit in the mail, and when it's candy? even better. the boy still cannot wrap his brain around why my friend, who has never met him, would send him such a gift. : ) it's kind of sad and sweet at the same time.

even though the hubs knows texas and i have reconnected and i've shared some stories from our emails with him and told him, several times, we email almost daily...this morning he finally said, you and texas just picked right up where you left off didn't you? of course he knows her, the hubs and i were dating in high school when texas and i were bff's, but i guess it just finally sunk in that we're so tight again, even from thousands of miles away.

Monday, November 15, 2010

coming up on the dreaded holidays

as i've said before, halloween is my favorite holiday. although i don't always do so, i love dressing up. i love helping the kids pick out costumes or making them. i love candy. i love halloween decorations. i love that you don't give gifts and aren't expected to be the walton's. the last two are the very reasons i dread the upcoming holidays.

we will be going to my parents' house for thanksgiving dinner. this is my bro and sil's year to go to her parents' house for dinner so we won't even have the comfort of them being there. it will be my family and my parents and my sister's family. i am already dreading it. my mom is a horrible cook, worse than me even. my picky kids will eat turkey and/or ham and black olives and rolls. this is partly their fault because they are so damn picky, but also because my mom is a bad cook. in order to provide at least something yummy for them to eat, the hubs volunteered to make the turkey because the one my mom usually makes is dry. as dirt. so much so that the boy even makes comments about it.

so, we will go there and my mom can pretend we're the waltons and that she is this loving mother and grandmother. since the reconciliation, aside from her coming to a few of the girl's soccer games, there really hasn't been any change in our relationship. for the most part i am fine with this because i really didn't want her to assume we were going to be bffs all of a sudden, but i am surprised she hasn't made more of an effort towards my kids. eh...i really shouldn't be surprised. i had to roll my eyes at a post my sister made on fb this morning...she said she is thankful for a mother who loves her kids and grandkids and talked about how much her kids enjoyed spending the weekend w/ her and helping her decorate for christmas. good for her. my mom didn't ask my kids to come over and help, but honestly at this point my kids wouldn't have wanted to anyway.

after thanksgiving we'll have christmas. i do love decorating for christmas and baking cookies and the possibility of snow and christmas music and getting together with my bro and his family. but...this year, since me, my sister and my sil are all unemployed we decided no gifts. for anyone. no exchanging names among the adults or kids. i was all on board with this in my head because i understand the financial ramifications of it. but...i hate it. well...let me clarify...i want to buy gifts for my brother's family. i am a horrible person because i don't like buying gifts for my parents (hard to feel good about giving someone you don't like a gift, especially when months later you find the gift sitting there, unused (which is always the case w/ my dad)). i also don't care so much about giving gifts to my sister and her family. i know that's horrible, but it's just how i feel. the last few years we had drawn names, mostly i think because it got expensive to buy for everyone, even when we had jobs. since my sister has three kids and my brother and i have two, it seemed like i hardly ever got to buy for my brother's kids. that's just wrong.

and, on a totally different note. in the last few weeks i've done something i should have done eons ago. i've cut our satellite and phone bills. not completely, but significantly. the phone bill was by accident. we have our landline and internet bundled together. when the phone was on the fritz a few weeks ago i was looking up the customer service number online and discovered there was a package rate that was much cheaper than what i was paying. like $20 cheaper. so i had them cut my phone bill. then, this weekend the hubs was investigating netflix. we'd been thinking about it for awhile. we compared what we typically spend in a month at redbox. we looked at the premium channels we have on satellite (which rarely get watched). so, we dropped some channels on satellite and are quitting redbox and getting netflix and still saving money. the hubs set up the netflix to stream through the wii. the technology of this blows my mind. but, it was movie overboard weekend around here. omg. i LOVE movies. LOVE them. but even i got a little sick of watching them. hopefully the excitement will die down. if it doesn't i'll have to put my foot down and limit their viewing pleasure.

Friday, November 12, 2010

from one extreme to the other

moss covered roof
old water mill on the blue ridge parkway

yesterday was a good day except for the fact the hubs had to work and didn't get to enjoy any of it w/ us. the kids and i went on a day trip w/ my bro, sil, puddin' and gameboy driving along the blue ridge parkway. we had a picnic at this old water mill. i had more pics to upload but blogger hasn't been cooperating. it was such a relaxing, unplugged day. i won't say we got lost, because we did get back home, but we took a....clark griswald route to get home, winding around back roads...i called it blue ridge vacation. but i love rides like that...seeing the scenery...looking at old houses etc. we had a good time.
last night i went to a...sex toy party! lol. omg. i had never been to one of these parties so i had no idea what to expect. i only knew the hostess. it was fun, and interesting...although way too long for a school night party. at 8:45pm the boy calls me on my cell, "uh, where are you?" i told him i was still at the party and wasn't sure when i'd be home. i told them it was a pampered chef party, not that they really even have an idea what that is. i got home around 10:30 w/ some goodies and a catalog. she showed us everything from body scents laced w/ pheromones (or should it be pheromoans...lol); a variety of lubes; an assortment of potions that, when placed on certain spots (clits) will drive you crazy; dildos (seriously, why would you go for a dildo instead of a vibrator?) and an assortment of vibrators that blew my mind. hundred dollar vibrators. amazing vibrators. seriously, if i were a single woman w/out ready access to a man i'd invest in a few of those numbers. a few of the women asked if the rep ever had couples parties. and, do you know what? it is against the law to have men at those types of parties! no shit. it is considered a form of sexual solicitation. really? the rep told us of a rep who left the company she works for, went to another company, had a couples party and got busted...3 years in jail! for having a couples sex toy party. insane.
this morning when the boy got up he said, "you weren't here when i went to bed last night," in a sad voice. folks, this made me happy and sad. when i was working and traveled a lot my kids got used to me being away from home, out of town for several days at a time. when i'd call from a biz trip they half-assed talked to me, too engrossed in whatever they were doing to really talk. when i'd come home there wasn't a big fanfare or welcome. but, the boy missed me last night. then he started a barrage of questions about where i was. i told him, again, a pampered chef party. what's that? cookware...tools for use in the kitchen...baking stuff. so, he asks, what did you do at this party? we had some snacks and the woman showed us different products and how to use them. he said, in his most sarcastic voice, yeah, that sounds REALLY exciting. ah....little does he know...little does he know ; )

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

a hodge podge

last night the battery in our smoke detector started beeping at around 2 a.m. my first thought was holy hell the house is on fire. my second thought was, omg this is just like the last episode of modern family where the dad runs around trying to figure out which smoke detector battery is dying. i LOVE that show btw. modern family and cougar town. rock.

i got up, got a foot stool and took the batteries out of the smoke detector. the hubs had just changed them about a week ago, but the batteries came from THE DRAWER and when batteries live in there there is no telling if they're good or not. why? because my kids don't throw batteries away when they're done, they put them in THE DRAWER. (you have that drawer too right? the one in the kitchen that ends up jam packed w/ all of the stuff that you always need and can never find? tape. screwdrivers. old tv remotes. dog brushes. nail clippers. ok, you get the point.)

the beeping stopped. then i was overwhelmed w/ this irrational fear that the house would catch on fire and we wouldn't know about it. since the house across the street burned down last year i have had the fear of a house fire in the back of my mind. it lurks there, waiting for a time when i'm most vulnerable to come out and pounce me. it did so last night. i got up a few times because i was quite sure the attic was on fire and i smelled smoke. of course it wasn't, but, you know how irrational fears play tricks on your mind.

over the weekend the girl sprained her ankle in one of her soccer games. i barely even noticed she'd hurt herself until they were subbing another girl in and the girl was walking slowly off the field. when she got to the sidelines i asked her what was wrong and she said her ankle hurt. she'd twisted it running, didn't fall down, but hurt it just the same. lots of ice and tlc over the weekend and yesterday i took her to the dr for xrays. yep, sprained. she's in an air cast for a couple of weeks; hopefully it will heal in time for her to start indoor soccer. she stayed home w/ me yesterday. it was kinda nice to have her around for the day, even though she just watched tv and goofed around.

this morning i was out running errands and though it is only the first part of november i was attacked a little bit but the christmas bug. damn that target. all of the christmas decor/candy is out and they have those christmas cds on the end cap that play through holiday music. i love holiday music. no, i'm not getting my cds out and putting them in the car. yet. but soon, very soon.

i had to laugh when i was at the drug store because the woman in line behind me was scarfing up a cart load of blank vhs tapes. she was talking loudly about how they were going to stop selling them and she wouldn't be able to find any and damn this and damn that and she didn't know anything about dvd players or tapes. i could practically read the 20-something clerk's mind as he told her of places she could have her tapes converted to dvds and she said but then she'd have to buy a dvd player and she didn't know a damn thing about how to work them. it made me reflect on my luddite post a few weeks ago. i'm bad, but not quite that bad.

the boy has to wear a cup to protect his junk in karate class. i realize he's a kid, but he cracks himself up by walking around the house after class hitting the cup w/ different objects. like nun chucks. i think he might have a screw loose.

i have started christmas shopping for the kids. a little here and there to ease the pain of one big shopping trip. i have in mind things i want to get them, but i always ask them for a list as well. should i be concerned that the girl wants colored latex gloves? her list also includes a NICE 3-hold punch (not the crappy one i got her from the dollar store); post it notes; nail polish and black lipstick.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

another world

fall didn't stay here long. it seems i was lamenting about the long hot days just a few weeks ago. we had a few glorious days of fall--when it's 60, low 70s and sunny and you can just detect a hint of crispness in the air. there are still plenty of leaves on many of the trees in our yard, but, there are tons on the ground ready for raking. i had to turn the heat on yesterday--it had gotten down to 63 in the house.

the town we live in is small, roughly 20,000 people, nestled between two much larger cities. it is a bedroom town for the most part. our main street is our historical district and a few of the houses are on the historical registry. the founders of our town were german, and yet not a german restaurant to be found. an old furniture factory on main street was converted into retail space a few years ago. exposed brick walls, hardwood floors throughout. it oozes charm. there are only a handful of businesses in there, most are overpriced in my opinion. there's also a restored train depot (though trains don't stop there anymore) and some simply gorgeous old homes, some of which have been turned into businesses while others are still private residences.

this town is old and there are generations of founding families still here. we've lived here for about 20 years and i'm sure we're still considered outsiders, that is if the insiders knew who we were. there is no doubt a core of born and raised natives who barely realize there is a constituency of inhabitants that hail from other places. it reminds me a lot of my "hometown" in wv. small community flanked by bigger cities. people who are born, live and die in the same place and view anyone who doesn't have three generations behind them as a newcomer.

oddly enough, we don't venture out of our little burg much (other than when the hubs is working and he's all over the state then). when we go out to eat (not often) we stay in town. when we shop, we stay in town. we have a few big-box stores (target, lowes, kohl's, the evil empire) but that's it.

the very day after halloween the town started putting up the christmas decorations. i don't remember it being this early last year. i love christmas and its decorations etc. but, not quite so soon in the season. the hubs is already dreaming of turkey and its yummy goodness.

we have one, horrible, newspaper. it's quite small, privately owned, comes out 2-3 times a week. since we've lived here we've always received the free delivery issues on tuesdays and thursdays. it runs the local high school sports info (which is a whole section unto itself); there are about 2 pages of op eds (one always written by the owner/publisher who is about a million yrs old) and the rest is scattered w/ a few stories about civic groups etc. i have sent my resume to them probably five times in the last 20 years and have never heard even a no-thank you from them. when i interview business owners for a local magazine the only time they reference the newspaper is to complain about it. it's sad really. a town this size could use a good, well written newspaper. i sometimes read the stories and wince. it is that bad.

i do find it interesting for a town this small and seemingly so set in its ways to have a female mayor. she's quite nice and friendly. her son goes to school w/ the boy and we've been acquaintances for several years. she also hosts the monthly lego club meetings for the boy's elementary school. i have no idea if she is an insider or an outsider, but she's roughly my age, married, three kids, quite unassuming. we have crime, like any other place, but it is huge news when it becomes serious. a couple of years ago a man was shot in a restaurant parking lot; his son had had a scuffle w/ a gang, the dad came to help his kid and was killed. gangs and bullying are the crimes we hear about most in our town. not like crips and bloods gangs (at least i don't think so).

when i think about my surroundings, compared to my friend's it seems worlds apart. she assures me that where she LIVES (as compared to where she works) is quite safe and despite the proximity the horror and violence is not the same.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a horrible dose of reality

i don't watch the news much. i used to but it got to be too much. too depressing. too much mayhem and violence and despair. i am one to stick my head in the sand. this week the hubs has been watching a lot of news because of the elections. there was a story on one of the stations about the rise in murders and crime in juarez and el paso. i was alarmed and scared.

the bff from high school that i've reconnected with lives in el paso and she and her husband work in juarez. i asked her about it and i cannot even begin to imagine what her day to day life is like. they take different routes to work every day. they drive modest cars so as not to attract attention. she takes her lunch to work so as not to be out on the street. people in her company have been kidnapped. KIDNAPPED. the cartel left the head of a person on the trunk of a car parked at the entrance to the industrial park she works in. on the way to her son's school she saw a police van flipped over on its side. she's seen dead bodies on the side of the road.

i don't even know what to say about this. what to think about it. it scares the shit out of me. it scares me for her and her husband and her sweet little boy. she is strong and stays positive and probably never would have said a word about it had i not seen the news and asked her. she is amazing. i can't wrap my brain around this at all.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

weird science

a couple of weeks ago the boy's homeroom teacher emailed parents to see if anyone could come in for two afternoons to help w/ science labs. an hour for two days. i could do that.

i should point out that i'm not a consistent volunteer. i've gone on my share of field trips w/ both kids. helped out at a few school parties, sent in supplies when requested, etc. but i don't volunteer for everything. i thought the boy would be excited because even though he's in 5th grade, he hasn't turned away from me yet. by the time the girl was in 5th grade i couldn't get too close to her at school events and she certainly would not come up and hug me or overly acknowledge i was even there. the boy is just the opposite.

turns out i'm not even helping the boy's class. he spends the majority of his day w/ his ag teacher, not his homeroom teacher, the one who requested volunteers. though you would assume science would be an integral part of class each day, it is not this year because they cut the budget and lost their full time science teacher at the end of last year. the kids rotate between teachers for science and my kid is doing social studies now, not science.

yesterday was my first day helping in the class. they were doing weather stations and my station was to observe the effects of wind erosion on sugar cubes. the sugar cubes are hot glued to the back of a shoe box, with the opposite end cut off. i sprinkle sand mixed w/ little rocks and rock salt onto the opening and the kids blow through straws aimed at the mixture.

the boy was in the classroom across the hall and when he came out of his room he saw me through the door window and waved excitedly. i was in the classroom until the end of the day, when they're stacking their chairs and getting ready to leave. the boy comes into his homeroom and comes up and hugs me w/ a big grin on his face. then he says to his classmates, isn't my mom awesome?

it made my day : ) he was also a little excited because i took him home w/ me and he didn't have to ride the bus.

Monday, November 1, 2010

after the storm

....and all is right w/ the world. the "storm" blew in as quickly as it blew out. i am feeling much, much better now. i honestly think it might be pre-menopausal hormone fluctuation or something.

regardless--all is well again and we've been busy.

my sweet, sweet baby boy turned 11 on the 28th. still so hard for me to believe how quickly my children are growing up. i want to capture every moment and hide it away. if i could be a time/moment/memory hoarder i'd totally do it. he is my outgoing happy-go-lucky child. he is fierce and sweet and still affectionate. he hugs me in public and loves when i come to his school or class. he is incredibly artistic and talented and smart as a whip. the night after his birthday he had his first sleepover and invited five friends. although they were loud (much louder than girls) they were mostly well-behaved. there was one boy i won't want to come back---he is obnoxious and egotistic and rude and basically an ass. i can't even believe the other kids can stand him.

sunday we went trick or treating in my brother's neighborhood, like we've done for years. halloween is my favorite holiday--the decorations, the dressing up, the candy...i love everything about it. it's a holiday w/out many expectations, which is probably the main reason i love it. the hubs...dear god i'm so lucky to have this guy...knows what a halloween nut i am and is ever on the watch for halloween decorations on sale (he scored big today so we'll have an even cooler yard display next year). he also embraced my desire to dress up this year. i always like dressing up, but don't always do it because i can't come up w/ a fun/cool/creative costume. this year we went as mr and mrs claus! it was awesome : ) the boy went as a werewolf and the girl went as abby from ncis. it was awesome!

now all of the halloween stuff is down and packed away.