Friday, March 7, 2008


The gift that keeps on giving, month after month after month.

I mean it. Really. Nothing makes life more fun than swollen painful joints and insomnia.
Because what I absolutely need this week is less sleep than I'm already getting.

Note to self: Tomorrow, be sure to Google "homeopathic remedies which will completely wipe out the female hormone cycle"

Never mind. I don't actually want to know most of what those links want to teach me.

Parenting skills

I thought I would just take a minute and share the beauty of an awesome celebrity parent.
I just love to see how tender Hugh Jackman is with his daughter. . . And again here, making sure she is safe on the boat. And that in a show of solidarity, he is willing to go shirtless with her. . .
And this picture where his isn't with his kids. Still a great parent, I'm sure. . .
Oops. I wonder how that got here.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I am a Trash Picker

This morning, I was driving past a street which had been hit up for donations for one of the charity thrift stores in the area. There was a really great chair out on the sidewalk, meant to benefit people less fortunate than I. But I REALLY wanted it to benefit me. Except I don't need another chair. And I wasn't sure I could wrestle it into the van. And there was no darkness to prevent me from being identified as a donations stealer. And I suddenly felt shame, remembering how I attacked a homeless guy last month. I didn't want to take anything that might contribute to the well being of homeless people in my area. Or anywhere. So I drove away.

And when I went by again 30 minutes later because the chair was pretty fun, and all of the kids were in school so there would be fewer witnesses, it was gone. But the neighbor had some nice pans out, so I swiped those instead.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A conversation with the Dog

Dog: Hey! Wanna Play? I wanna play! Do you wanna play?
Me: Sorry dude, but I have to take the stitches out of your umm. . .nether regions.

Dog: I'm SOOO outta here.

Dog: Crap! You're serious. You do know that those scissors and tweezers are sharp, right? And my skin is tender? Isn't it bad enough that you removed my parts?
Dog: I'll make a deal with you. I'll just walk myself while you use the scissors on someone else. Nate maybe? He's gotta have stitches again somewhere. . .
Me: Sorry dog, we have to remove the stitches where your boy parts used to be. Pretty much now. Hold still. Let me just get 3 strong children to help me hold you down so I can torture. . .erm, I mean treat. . .you.
Dog: Fine, but I'm going to whine and cry. I'm going to thrash. And you should know, I am going to make undoggly noises in the back of my throat that remind you of a cat giving birth to razor blades. Giant razor blades.
Me: It's OK, I'm almost done.
Dog: It's NOT OK. It's nothing like OK! You have scissors in my previously testicled zone. There is absolutely NOTHING OK ABOUT THIS!
Me: Thanks for sharing. You're done. We can play now.
Dog: I'm never playing with you again.

Dog: Hey! Wanna Play? I wanna play! Do you wanna play?

Cheese Please

This morning, as I was trekking kids to and from standardized testing, I was struck by the desperate need to eat greasy fast food for breakfast. OK, I was just hungry and there was nothing else, but I tend towards the dramatic.

So, Jack in the Box was nearby and I pulled in, hoping I could find anything on their menu that I would not regret 2 minutes after it passed my lips. Fat chance (ha ha ha no pun intended- at least not intentionally). So I asked the very helpful middle-aged and still working drive up at a fast food place lady what the super (greasy) croissant had on it. I could stand 3 of the 6 ingredients and figured the gnawing in my stomach would be satiated by the other 3, with the exception of the American cheese, which frankly, I find to be a travesty against cheese as a whole. (No, I do not want to discuss grilled cheese sandwiches. That is an altogether different post)

So, I made one request, to trade out American cheese for cheddar. And she agreed it was possible and easy. She didn't bother to tell me it would cost and extra 25 cents, but I have no problems spending a quarter for something less than plastic on my breakfast. I said nothing to her about the quarter. Just so everyone knows, I didn't ask how it was possible for cheddar to be double the cost of American, or why she didn't bother to tell me it was extra. Nothing. I just happily pulled forward in the drive-thru.

Me: How much is my total? (brain like a sieve, I tell you)
Her: Yeah. Well, about that. I had to charge you extra for the cheddar. Because it's cheddar. I don't know how else to explain it. It's just cheddar.
Me: Umm. OK. Can I pay you? (and leave with my specially aged gourmet cheddar which was hand crafted in the heart of. . . Wisconsin?. . .or some cheese factory in Mexico?).

Maybe it doesn't sound as bizarre when you read about it. But hey, I don't know how else to explain it. It's just cheddar.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Nate strikes again

Remember that post so long ago about Nate figuring out how to text message me from his email? Turns out he also learned how to leave comments on the blog. With no parental oversight.

Let the entertainment begin.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Typical interactions

I was speaking to a friend a few days ago and discussing the kids and their chores. We are in a bit of a conundrum here. Because of the arthritis, I can't do the house work alone. Because I hate cleaning up after the kids who are too lazy to clean up after themselves, I won't do the housework alone. However, because I am busy with work, school, friends, errands, and laundry, I forget to "remind" the kids to do their chores. And by "remind", please know I mean, beg, plead, cry, yell, scream, and do physical harm to myself. It's ugly, frustrating, and not healthy for anyone involved.

This friend told me that at their house, allowance is entirely based on chore completion and it's all or nothing. Your chores have been done all week or they have not. You receive your money or you don't. No part way. All or nothing. Considering, it is possibly the only thing on the planet that I have not tried yet (and the tickets were a complete disaster, FYI), I felt the urge to put it out there. I'm regretting that now. Let me tell you why.

I have 2 girls in this home who are highly motivated by money. One starts calculating the difference that money will make in her bank account and the other promptly spends it, in her mind. She can calculate a month's worth of allowance in a split second, even if it is an odd number, and in the fashion of The Price is Right, tally every last item that money will buy, figure out the tax, and silently spend the remaining money on candy. It's a talent. The talent she does not possess is to actually do the chore. Because the bottom line is that she really really really WANTS the money, but she really really really is not fine with doing the work. Maximum reward for minimum effort. And she has it down to an art form.

So, I was actually doing pretty well. After all, even though they signed the "contract" regarding this new plan, I can't say that I really expected great things. Even an attempt would have worked for me. And they all picked up an item or two, so I guess they can claim an attempt. But, that is not what made me want to tear my hair out. It was the exchange between the two girls. Rebi knew that Ellie already owed her money, so she made a deal with her.
"Ellie, if you do my chores for me, I will forget the money that you owe me. And, you can also do your own chores and earn your money, and we will both be better off."
(I will leave out the 10 minutes of Ellie clarifying every little point possibly relevant and quite a few off topic. Let's all just know that she agreed to the deal.)
I was worried about this deal. These deals have gone south before. I chose to say nothing.

Time elapses. More time elapses. Still more time goes by. But, I am not nagging. I did remind them just once of the logistics of the deal, but only because I wanted to be sure they understood.

At 9:45, it suddenly becomes obvious to Rebi that not only is Ellie not going to do her chores, Rebi is not going to have enough time to get them done on her own. And now, as can be predicted, all hell breaks loose. Rebi points out to Ellie that if they don't both get to work, no one will get paid and Ellie will still be in debt to Rebi because she has not kept her end of the bargain. And then they start bickering. And Rebi starts getting nasty. And Ellie freaks out and the tears flow and the flopping face down ensues and the sighs and the shrugs and the refusing to make eye contact all make an appearance. And I can feel my headache worsening. And I have to try to calmly point out to each of them exactly what they are doing to make things worse, all the while getting heaping spoonfuls of attitude at every point. I just couldn't find my inner Ghandi. I was nothing resembling calm. Why do the bangs over the face to avoid eye contact make me want to shave her bald every single time she does it?

And poor Ellie, at one point screams at me, "But I really WANTED to do her chores when I made the deal!" And it's true in a way. She really WANTED to be out of debt, something I predict she will struggle with for the rest of her life. She WANTED to spend the money. She WANTED to say, "I did my chores and Rebi's chores" in a semi-snotty voice to Evan. Unfortunately, what she didn't want to do is actually work. In any form. Maximum return, minimum effort.

Finally at 10 pm, I had to give them the 15 minute warning. Amazingly, Ellie kicked her butt into high gear and got both hers and Rebi's chores done, thereby missing the consequences. It really didn't even take her that long. And as she was going up to bed, she said, "See, I can work fast when i want to."
I replied, "Yes, Ellie. I have never questioned your ability. It is the desire that always seems to be the glitch."
To which she says, "You know why I did it this time? I didn't want to be know as someone who doesn't do what they say they will."

So, even if it doesn't last, she learned something. For a moment. And I think Rebi also learned that it's easier to do it yourself that try to get a good result out of bribing a sibling.

P.S. PLEASE let these be those lessons that last!

Just sitting around

I was sitting around today- a rarity in this house- and I found myself looking around my house. I started to wonder how it was possible that in the last week I've hardly cooked, the only laundry to get done was because my mom was here and took pity on me (Thanks, Mom!!) and I have not been on top of the kids to get their messes picked up. At all.

So, I started thinking about what I've been doing the past 10 days or so and it occurred to me that I have spent it all in the car- or on a boat.

Since last Wednesday, I have been to San Diego three times, Riverside once, Ontario twice, San Francisco and LA. And, I've spent an hour or two in Mexican waters. Well, not literally, although Nate nearly had that opportunity. But, on a boat in Mexican waters, which has to count for something in the non-organized situation that is my life.

I think I'll go make cookies.