Friday, June 25, 2010

Oh, hi!

So, it's Thursday, and you've yet to see a post from me.  Well, technically, you are seeing one now, but it's probably Friday.  I'm such a creature of habit-I don't really have a specific topic in mind, and I'm too tired to come up with one, but it's killing me to not have a Thursday post!

Whew-it's been a busy week! My daughter's softball tournament was this week, which went well, then got rained out, then went well, then went badly, but still kind of good, and then turned out reeaaaaallllyyyy bad. Sorry, I know that makes no sense.  Did I mention I was tired? We are also preparing for vacation, which means I'm constantly doing laundry in order to pack, and then yelling at calmly and rationally chiding my family for wearing the stuff, so that I have to wash it AGAIN.  Actually, the kids knew better, my husband gave them clothing out of the "to pack" stack to put on today. Argh.  Don't screw with my organization. 

Packing for 3 people is a daunting task, but one that my control issues won't allow me to give over to my kids or husband.  Actually, I may be packing for my husband, as well.  On a trip a couple of years ago, we reached our destination before he realized that he "forgot" to pack his clothes.  Conveniently for him, there were lots of nice outlet malls nearby, so he bought all new clothes.  If I pulled that, with my luck, there'd be nothing but a Dollar General or a farm supply store within 50 miles to shop at.  Which means that I'd be wearing tube tops, overalls, cheap flip flops and a John Deere hat everywhere.  Another time, he forgot all of his socks and underwear, so our first order of vacation business was undies shopping at Walmart. Yeah, I think I'll pack for him-I already tell him what he likes to eat when we go to restaurants, and remind him to take his medicine, so, why not?

We're going on a 13 hour road trip, and I'm halfway wishing I could send them along without me.  Did I just admit that out loud? Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and kids, I really, really do.  Pinky swear. I could wax poetic about how much, or write some nauseating, public love letters, or post some softly lit, artsy fartsy pictures of us frolicking around a field in coordinating clothing with goofy smiles in order to prove it, but...yeah.  I don't do that crap here, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  Your welcome. It's just the whole, cooped up in either a minivan or a small hotel room together for 7 days thing that concerns me. Once we are there, I'm sure it'll be good-it's just the getting there that mostly concerns me.  Vacations (at least the preparation and travel parts) stress me out-anyone know what I mean? I always get stressed and grouchy before a trip, and then we have a wonderful time, after all (except for that one horrible trip to Chicago which I may share someday).

Anyhow, it's not storming here for once! We've had storms nearly everyday for the past several weeks-bad ones, too.  My poor son is both fascinated and terrified of storms. His little eyes get huge when he sees storm warnings scrolling along the bottom of the tv screen, and he flinches and cries out when he hears thunder.  He worries that every lightning strike will hit us, and that every tornado watch will send a tornado right to our house.  During the second storm that forced us to run off the softball field and to our cars last week, Tot kept telling me through clenched teeth, "Mom, I NEED to see a radar.  I won't freak out, Mom, but I NEED to see it." I have a weather radar ap on my phone, and he knows more about what all the radar colors mean than any 7 year old should.  Poor kid, we try to convince him that he is safe, and everything is ok, but he is such a worrier. My husband was teaching the kids how to read the maps for our vacation route in mini-atlases in great detail, and before my eyes glazed over, I heard my son ask whether there would be a Tsunami there. (Trust me, if we can drive there from Indiana in a day, there can't be a tsunami there.)  Any tips for helping Tot not be so afraid?

Well, that's all I've got for tonight. My posting may be a bit more sporadic than usual for a while, but I'll be back!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Five Question Friday

Today I've decided to participate in Mama M's Five Question Friday.  Why, you ask? Why not? I like Fridays, and five is a great number-just enough, but not so many that you get bored, right? (Hopefully.)  Also, questions are good, too-unless it is one of my kids asking me to repeat myself for the zillionth time.  Seriously, everything I say lately (whether I'm talking to them, or not) is met with a "huh?".  Annoying.  Anyway-I have a few questions for you, in this post from yesterday.  Check it out if you haven't already, and give me some blogging ideas feedback.

Ok, back on track.  I do love me a tangent.  Click on the button below to visit Mama M's blog and to find more Five Question Friday responses.

1. What is your favorite thing about summertime?
What isn't?! I love summer! The warmth, the sunshine, the flipflops, the relaxed pace that life takes on-it's all good! It's nice having the kids home from school, although I do miss having time alone.  It's great not having to worry about them getting piles of homework done, or going to bed early for school.  Softball and baseball season is almost over, so it will be even better soon!

2. What is your ideal retirement location (if money didn't matter)?
We would probably live the cliche and move to Florida, at least for winter and spring.  We love Florida.  Winters in Indiana? Not so much.  Most likely, though, we will probably live wherever our children end up-you know, so we can hang around and pester them all the time, ala Frank and Barbara on Everyone Loves Raymond.

3. Do you live in the same town you grew up in?
Same county, but one town over.

4. What nervous habit did you have as a child that you kicked to the curb before becoming an adult?
I had loads of nervous habits as a kid, and I'm not sure I've grown out of any of them yet!  I was afraid of everything, I was timid, and I was a major worrywart.  I suppose I don't worry as much as I used to, and I force myself out of my shell more now, and I actually sleep with my bedroom light out now. Imagine that.   Of course, I've manage to replace those nervous habits with all new ones....

5. What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you while on the job?
The only ones that come to mind are goofy wardrobe malfunctions, because I'm smooth like that.  One day when I taught Kindergarten,  I was wearing corduroy Winnie the Pooh overalls.  (No, wait-believe it or not, that's NOT the embarrassing part-it was, like 1999, and that stuff was in style! Seriously! Sort of.) I had to teach a lesson that was part of a very restrictive, scripted curriculum that was timed.  (Because they assumed that teachers were brainless, untrained circus monkeys instead of educated professionals, I guess.) If I didn't start and stop at exactly the right minute, I could get in trouble-no exaggeration.  (Don't get me started on how much I hated that developmentally inappropriate, educationally unsound crap....)  I was being observed by someone from central office, so I was nervously going through the lesson, praying that no one would take the opportunity to puke or pee their pants (that seems to happen a lot in Kindy) and throw off my timing.  I was moving along well, when the button for my overall strap flew off.  The kids giggled as I caught the button in midair, glared at the kids until they stopped laughing, and continued on, all without missing a beat.   I was newly pregnant at that time, and fairly emotional, so I was trying to hold in tears as I finished the lesson.  The administrator told me later how impressed she was that I was able to remain control of the class and my outfit, and just keep going. 

Another day, at my current job (I'm an Assistant Director of Education for a tutoring company-fancy title that basically means I do whatever needs to be done and they don't have to pay me very much), I was training a brand new teacher.  She was very quiet, and hard to engage in any type of casual conversation, but I noticed she had a slight smirk on her face as she followed me to another room to do some training on the computer.  I just figured she must be nervous-new job, and all, so I walked back to my desk after getting her set up.  When I got there, I happened to look at my chair-there was a big, smooshed in lump of bright pinkish-red lipstick that had fallen out of the tube the last time I had reapplied.  Horrified (and amused, actually), I turned around and looked at the seat of my light khaki pants.  Yep.  That's why she was smirking.  I walked into my boss' office, turned around and said "Does this lipstick make my butt look big?" Oh yes, I did.  We spent the next 20 minutes or so giggling, making bad lipstick/butt/butt kissing jokes, and Googling how to remove lipstick from pants.  Ah.  Good times.

So there we go.  (Heck of a conclusion, huh? Sorry, that's all I got.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Imperfect Mom Needs You!

I need blog fodder your help! Do you have questions to ask me, or certain topics you'd like to see me blog about?  Do you have a parenting/housekeeping/family/social dilema or question that you'd like to have a sarcastic answer to? Who wouldn't, right? Is there a particular type of post that I've done, that you'd like to see more of? Just let me know in the comments, and I'll see what I can do!

Sorry for the short post today.  I'l try to come up with something entertaining for tomorrow!

Friday, June 11, 2010

If I Wrote a Parenting Magazine

Do you read those parenting magazines? You know, like Parents, or Parenting, or the uber snobby/trendy, but ill-fated, Cookie?  I used to, but now that my kids are school age, and not babies, toddlers, or preschoolers, nothing in those magazines seem to apply to me anymore.  There doesn't seem to be a magazine for my parenting demographic-I wonder why that is?  Occasionally, I'll wistfully look at the headlines of a Parents.  Sometimes they make me roll my eyes with an "Oh, please.  Who does that?" thought.  Maybe that's why there aren't many periodical choices for Moms like me-by now, we've read all the advice, and we've realized that half of it doesn't work, half of it requires too much work, and yet another half (it's my blog, I can have three halves if I want to!) is the same old advice we've read or heard a million times before.

So, just for kicks, I've decided to do a little magazine writing, the Imperfect Mom way.  All of the headlines I'm going to respond to are actual headlines that I just found on parenting magazine websites.  The rest is aaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllll me.  You're welcome.

8 Power Snacks They'll Love
Hmmmm.  Power and Snacks  "Power" must require sugar and carbs, right?  Give my son a Mountain Dew, and he can "power" on for hours!  But Mountain Dew isn't a snack-unless...... we freeze them! Mountain Dew Popsicles! I've just thought of my first recipe for the food section of my imaginary magazine! Ok, I don't actually give my kids Mountain Dew often.  But my husband does.  Power Snacks-my kids like Cap'n Crunch (well, except for Tot who has cerealophobia), chocolate graham crackers, Dip'n Dots ice cream, carrots with ranch dip (but those don't "power" them up), and a bunch of other stuff.  I'm tired of this already.  They also really like fruit, yogurt, string cheese, and organic fruit snacks, but those just aren't funny to write about.

Breathe Easy With Cabin Air Filers
Ok, this one may actually have been an ad, but I'm going with it.  These are air filters.  For your car.  Aren't cars supposed to smell like stale McDonald's french fries, mildewy chlorine from that pool towel that got left in the back, and old farts?  Or is it just mine? How are we supposed to pass on time honored traditions, like the "smeller's the feller" phrase, and the fun game "find the water bottle/sippie cup with the sour milk in it" ?  If you have kids, especially small ones, you really need to be able to smell what's in your car.  "Who pooped their pants? Oh, that was just Daddy farting." Maybe a filter wouldn't be half bad, afterall....

When Public Tantrums Strike
Ugh.  I don't miss these.  Tantrums in public-run and and hide, or become invisible. Take the obnoxious little brat poor, tired, overstimulated darling out to the car as fast as your legs can carry you, him/her, your 10 pound purse, diaper bag, and other child(ren).  Vow in embarrassment never to return to that store again, at least not until you've had the chance to cut and die your hair, find some large sunglasses that you can see through indoors, and grow (or shrink) 4 inches.  Cry all the way home, while your child (now probably happy as a lark because they got to leave the store, which is what they wanted anyway), sings along with the radio or talks to their reflection in the window.  When you get home, hand the offending child(ren) off to your husband, go to your bedroom, slam the door,  and call your Mom or best friend to complain about how you never get to finish your shopping or go anywhere alone.  Ever. 

Fun Indoor Activities
Need rainy day activities? Here you go. Super Mario Galaxy for Wii-keeps my kids busy for hours, and gives me plenty of time to blog, gripe about all the dirty laundry, and Facebook.  Oh, wait! Is that supposed to be stuff you actually do with your kids? Oh, ok then.  Pay your son fifty cents to sweep the kitchen floor.  Briefly show him how, then send him off on his own.  Pay him in dimes, and since there will be 5 coins, he'll think he's getting a lot of money. Bribe your more sophisticated older child with extra Wii time to vacuum. Hand your children dust rags, pre-sprayed with Pledge, and tell them they can have a contest to see who can dust the most furniture while you "supervise".  My kids still actually fall for this one.  Have another child no more than 2 and a half years older than your last child, so that they always have a partner in crime playmate.  It worked for me-my two keep each other entertained pretty well.

Get Your Groovy On-How to Tie Dye with Kids
Oh, my.  That's a frightening thought, if there ever was one.  When I was much younger and more patient, I tried tie dyeing with kids as a summer camp counsellor. Dis. As. Ter.  Really-everyone's tennis shoes ended up multicolored from the drips, and the shirts just turned out a nasty brown from the colors being mixed.  Just save yourself some time, and damage to clothing, shoes, carpet and furniture and go to WalMart and buy a tie dye shirt.  Let the kid draw on it with a Sharpie, if you want to be "creative".  Just do it outside, in old clothes. When we're in an artsy mood, I have a box of miscellaneous craft supplies and paper, and every once in a while, I drag it out and let them create to their heart's content.  I'm big on the non-directed art project stuff. Just not the mess it makes.

Fun Ways to Get Your Kids to Exercise
Fun for me? Or them? "Run upstairs and get my shoes, please." "Oh, those are the wrong ones.  Get my others, please."  "Thank you, now run up and put these away for me."  "Oh, wait! I think I need those afterall-bring them back down." Heh-heh.  Seriously, my kids have a swingset, and bicycles, scooters, and friends to run around with.  I just send them outside, and they get plenty of exercise on their own.  Fresh air and unstructured free time-I think kids need more of it.

                                                                      shirt from Cafe Press
Healthy Pregnancy Diet
For my first child, I ate fried chicken and strawberry pop tarts and drank lots of sweet tea and 2% milk. I was living in the South, where sweet tea and fried chicken were plentiful and teaching Kindergarten where milk and Pop Tarts (the generic school cafeteria ones) were plentiful.  With my son, I ate cripsy bacon, sour cream, and mayonnaise.  Together and separately. I highly recommend it. Wait....does that say "healthy"? Never mind.

So, there we go.  I don't think I will be pursued by Conde Nast any time soon to write my own parenting magazine, but that's ok, since i have this blog to spew pass on my random, snarky thoughts parenting advice!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday 13

1.  It's been a stressful few days here.  My Mom had surgery yesterday, and she's doing well now.  She has a lot of health issues, and almost died the last time she had surgery, so we were all very worried this time around.  I'm so relieved and emotionally spent.

2.  I went to pick up lunch for work today at Five Guys.  The dude in front of me was wearing a skirt and carrying a "man bag." Yup.  Actually, it was a black kilt, but he sure didn't sound Scottish.  Now, if men wearing skirts is normal in your area, or if you or a male loved one is a kilt/skirt wearer, then forgive my snark, but male skirt wearing is not typical here in the midwest.  (Unless said skirt wearer is playing bag pipes, then we think it's sort of awesome.)  My Facebook friends think I should have taken a picture, but really? Hairy, middle aged man in a skirt? You don't want to see that.  Trust me, I know what's best for you.

3. Skirt guy had 2 teenage girls with him.  Now, when I was a kid, I thought my parents did embarrassing things.  Can you imagine?! Daa-aaaaaddd! Please don't wear your skirt to Five Guys! I will so die.

4.  The worst part of the Skirt Guy Sighting? I didn't have a friend there to exchange amused looks with.  Some things are just more fun with a friend along.

5.  We  are planning a vacation here soon.  It will require a 13 hour drive, and I'm so not a road trip kind of person.  I'm not even looking forward to going, because of the mind numbing boredom of the drive.

6.  It will be fun once we are there, but I will be dreading the trip back the whole time.  I wish we had a transporter beam.

7.  I introduced my kids to their first Weird Al tune this week.  "Eat It."  They loved it, and my husband thought it was scary awesome that I knew all the words.  Have a banana, have the whole bunch, it doesn't matter what you had for lunch, just eat it, eat it, eat it....

8.  I don't think I'll make it to 13.

9.  If I do, I don't think you'll still be awake.

10.  I was working with a kid at work who was filling out a questionnaire. He asked me how to spell "chihuahua", then needed to know how to spell the dog's name, Poppy.  I didn't know if he meant "Poppy" or "Pappy" or some other variation of Grandpa, so I asked him, "Poppy like the flower?" He looked at me like I was totally nuts, and said "No! Poppy like the dog!"  Oh, of course, THAT Poppy!

11.  Most cats like to sit inside and look out the window.  My cat likes to sit outside and look inside the window.  Does that make him a Peeping Tom?

12.  For more Thursday 13 posts, click here .

13.  This video is fairly awesome-I laughed out loud.  Not the fake, LOL-I'm-laughing-on-the-inside, but for real.  I hope this works....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Second Grade Lovelife

Second grade was a good year for me, boyfriend-wise.  In fact, I had the admiration of more males at the ages of 7 and 8, than I did for the whole rest of my school career.  While the rest of my elementary school, junior high, and heck, even high school years were filled with 99% unrequited crushes, I had the boys swarming around me back in Mrs. Alverson's class at South Elementary School.

As a very shy little girl, I no longer cried everyday to go home, like I did in first grade.  I was a little more confident socially, although I was the youngest in the class, and most kids treated me as if I were a younger sibling.  Our teacher was an older lady (or at least, she seemed that way at the time, because I think she's still teaching almost thirtCOUGH*COUGH years later), and she either overlooked a lot of things that went on in the class, or had a high tolerance level.

Many of us would draw or color pictures in our spare time, and then sell them to each other for pennies, nickels, or, if you were a really good artist, quarters.  We would advertise our art sales during work time, with handwritten signs, written on notebook paper, scrap paper, or manila drawing paper.  We'd hold the signs high up in the air, and wait for our classmates to come to our sales.  Looking back, I can't believe our teacher let us do this, although I do remember the day when an aid stepped in to watch our class, and put a stop to our booming art careers.

My friend Chip would write me love notes, usually asking me to meet him at the Ramada Inn (for dinner, people!), with the ubiquitous check yes or no boxes.  Nearly every day, he or Steven, his 8 year old nemesis, would write me a love note of some sort, which I would take home and put in a pink and white gingham, heart shaped valentine candy box that my Grandma had given me.  I wish I had kept those notes, but they are long gone.

Chip, Steven and I would spend our recesses playing Dallas.  The television show.  I'm really not sure why any of us, especially me, were allowed to watch Dallas, but we did-things were different back then.  This one particular jungle gym, which I can still picture, was our Southfork Ranch.  I was Sue Ellen Ewing, and Chip and Steven fought constantly over who would be JR and Bobby.  Naturally, the "who shot JR" theme was played out many times over.  Occasionally, other kids would join in to play the parts of Miss Ellie, Jaques, and whatever Bobby's wife's name was.

Another boy, Shannon, slipped me a ring during reading group one day.  I believe the ring came with a marriage proposal.  You know, because everyone gets engaged in second grade, right?  Looking back, Shannon probably swiped the ring from a sister or his mother.  But I never gave it back. It was a real silver spoon ring.  (As in, made out of an actual silver spoon-if you aren't old enough to remember these, then you are probably really confused right now.) I wonder whatever happened to that ring? It might be worth something!

I apparently really had it going on back then, because there were two other fellows who sought out my attention that year.  There was Frank, who used to try to convince me to kiss him.  He told me that he'd hold up his red Reading folder so no one would see us.  Sorry Frank.  However, I did kiss another boy, behind the shed in my backyard.  Obviously, it was just an innocent quick peck, but word got around school that I kissed this boy, and well....let's just say that was a bad social decision for me to make at that time. Or any time. That bad decision followed me to fifth grade, where the whole story got brought up again, causing me, and perhaps him, great humiliation and stress.  Fifth graders can be such cruel little snots. I'm still not over it, though.

Where are all these fine Casanovas now? Well, one of them is serving life in prison, one of them lives in another city with his boyfriend (I tend to have that effect on the fellas), and the others? Who knows.  One is probably either a lawyer, or sitting on his butt playing video games in his Mom's basement (it's a toss-up, really), and the other two, I don't recall seeing since elementary school. 

I didn't have any boyfriends in junior high, I never attended a Homecoming dance, and I only went to one of my Proms.  I was pretty much off the radar of the boys in my class at that time. Most Friday and Saturday nights were spent at home, or with my boyfriend-less friends. Too bad they didn't have a Homecoming dance in second grade, because I would have owned it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lost and Found or One Wedding, Two Wedding Rings

If diamonds are a girl's best friend, then I suppose that you could say that I have misplaced my best friend.  More specifically, my wedding ring.  I have mentioned the fact that I am the owner of two wedding rings here before, and thanks to Mama Kat's great prompts for Writer's Workshop, I finally have a good excuse to explain why.  Click the button below to go to Mama Kat's blog to view all the prompts, and to read other blog posts!
My husband and I have been married since 1997.  In fact, our anniversary is on Monday.  I am "celebrating" by working all afternoon and evening.  (Thrilling.) Then, he will be taking the kids camping.  (I don't "do" camping.)  Anniversary? What anniversary? Anyhow, I'm getting off track here.  I've loved my wedding ring since the first time I saw it-it's just totally "me".  It's not too flashy, but it's pretty, and I love the style of it.  That creepy looking picture is actually my hand and original ring.  I sort of like my hands, but that picture just kind of freaks me out.  My stellar cell phone photography "skillz" don't do my poor, decapitated looking hand any favors there...

A few years ago, I realized that my wedding ring was missing.  At first, I wasn't too worried.  I would frequently remove my rings, watch and bracelets at night, and just leave them sitting somewhere-on the end table, the night stand, the kitchen counter, etc.  My husband was always bringing my ring to me, telling me that I'd better put it on before it got lost.  So this time, I figured it would turn up eventually.  After a few days passed, my ring never was found.  I proceeded to tear the house apart looking for it.  Well, my kids were both small then, so the house was pretty much torn apart already!  I searched every flat surface in the house, felt around in drawers, looked under every piece of furniture, and even had my husband bring in the trash from the garage to look through.  My worst fear was that I had laid the ring on a pile of newspapers that got picked up and thrown away.  When it was still not found, we searched in the crevices of the couch, chair and loveseat.  No luck.  I convinced my husband to cut the cloth on the underside of the furniture, in case it had fallen down inside somehow.  We never found it.  I was heartsick.

Naturally, I started trying to convince him that I needed a new ring.  A girl needs a little sparkle on her hand, right? For a long time, he balked at the idea.  With my brother in law's help, we finally convinced him that I should have a new one.  I think it was the whole "you don't want other men hitting on your wife because they don't know she's married" thing that did it.  Not that that actually ever happened, but still... 

So, one day, I settled in front of the Zales website and searched for a new best friend.  Instead of being excited, I was actually a little sad.  I really didn't want a new ring, I wanted "my" ring.  Ring styles had changed quite a bit since 1997, so it was hard to find a similar ring, but I finally settled on a replacement.  When it arrived in the mail, I rushed to put it on.  It was bigger and flashier than my old friend, but still not too showy.  My husband (playfully?) warned me that I'd better not lose this one or I would be out of luck, as we'd be paying for this ring for a while. We'd gotten a Zales credit card just for this purchase.

A couple of days after getting the new ring sized, and showing my new bling off to work friends and family, I was sitting on the couch pinning up a pair of my daughter's pants.  She's always been a skinny little thing, so I keep a coffee cup full of safety pins to pin up the waist of her pants when needed.  I was poking around in the cup, when I noticed something metal that was not silver, like the pins.   An odd mixture of surprise, joy, guilt and chagrin filled me as I pulled the object out of the cup. It was my ring! My old ring!

"I found it!" I yelled excitedly.
"You found your ring, didn't you?", said my husband, his excitement level not exactly reaching mine.  "I knew that would happen as soon as we bought you a new one." Bethany's Law.
"But look!! It's my old ring! I missed it!", I replied, thrilled to see my old friend again.  She was not as sparkly as her new counterpart, and was much more modest, but she belonged on my finger.

A couple of years later, I'm much more careful with my ring.  I rarely take it of at all now.  Lately, I can hardly even get it off my finger-I'm not exactly the same size I was in 1997... I do wear the new ring on occasion-on my right hand, which I feel a little silly about, since it's obviously a wedding ring, but since we're still making payments on it, I figure I'd better wear it.

A lot of things end up lost around here, DS games, actual DS's themselves, socks, library books, etc., but the wedding ring is the most memorable of the "lost" item stories.  I'm often asked to explain why I have two wedding rings, and I endure some good natured teasing from family members and coworkers, but it's worth it to have my old friend back where she belongs.  On my sallow, puffy, wrinkled, decapitated hand.
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