Tuesday, March 31, 2009

When you don't have anything nice to say.....

We had to finish up our taxes yesterday - my hubby had them started but didn't have all the documents he needed, so once he picked Bella up from school he headed over to the tax preparers office with the understanding that I would follow along once I got off work.

Brian had both kids with him, and as I made the half-hour drive to meet up with them I remember wondering to myself - how on earth is he going to keep them busy? My question was answered when I arrived and saw Bella happily slurping from a 20-oz. orange soda and eating doritos and M&Ms. Bubba had a bottle half full of orange soda (yes, I was horrified) and was eating M&Ms that Brian was crushing for him, apparently so he wouldn't choke. How very thoughtful.

I got there just as the kids were finishing the snacks that their father had so thoughtfully provided for them. I sat down at the other chair in the little cubicle and the children proceeded to go absolutely insane - they were all hopped up on candy and soda, and apparently the excitement of seeing old mom after a day away was just to much to bear.

They started pushing and shoving each other to get to me, and then there was a fight over who got to sit in my lap. Bubba won, eventually, and proceeded to alternately shove his approaching sister in the face and yank on the cord of the printer that was beside us. I was trying to keep him contained when Bella grabbed a pair of scissors off the desk and started waving them around like some sort of scissor-armed swashbuckler. I took the scissors away and while I was distracted with that Bubba knocked down a pen caddy, sending roughly two dozen pens clattering to the floor. I was trying to pick up the pens and keep Bubba from them, so he started screaming and kicked his sister in the face, who started whining. When I sat back up to put the pens back on the desk our tax preparer said, "Wow, your kids were so much better behaved before you got here. I guess Daddy is the disciplinarian in this family".

I couldn't even say anything to respond to that. At first I wanted to defend myself ("They were good for him because he was giving them soda and candy!"), then I decided to ignore it, then I wanted to say something snide, but in the end I said nothing at all. I felt utterly defeated. Eventually I just let it go, but not before sulking about it for a little while. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that is the kind of thing you should say to someone. Especially not someone who is about to write you a check for a rather large sum of money for your services.

I seem to fall back on my 'say nothing' strategy quite often. It doesn't make me feel any better, but I don't always trust myself to have a kind reply.

Brian did get his comeuppance, however, for allowing the rampant sugar intake: halfway through his bottle of orange soda, Bubba threw up all over him. And orange soda baby throw-up is smelly, let me assure you.

We are getting ready for our vacation - we leave a week from Friday! This is our first family vacation ever - not just our first with Bubba. We have gone to visit family either in southern Florida or over in Louisiana, but for some reason it was always Bella and myself or Bella and Brian, never all of us together. And not only will it be my little family, but my mother-in-law and father-in-law are going, too. My sister-in-law moved to Virginia Beach last year, so we will be visiting with her, her husband and my new niece, who I just can't wait to meet and spoil. And we will all be together for Easter, which will be nice.

We are planning on visiting Colonial Williamsburg (we are going to rent a costume for Bella so she can walk around in period dress), checking out the VA Beach Aquarium and hitting up a really cool children's museum that is nearby. It should be lots of fun. I loved Williamsburg, so I'm excited to go back. It's going to be a big trip and a fun trip.

I bought a new book the other day to read in the car, and it's killing me to have a new book that I can't read. I actually made Brian hide it from me today, just so I can't get to it. And on that note, I'm off to find something to read. If only I knew where he hid that book....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stormy Weather

This picture was taken by my sister (on her blackberry, as it so smugly and insistently reminds you) right outside where we work. The rain has been crazy. On my way to work this morning I had to change my route three times due to flooded streets.

The location where we currently work used to be a five and dime store called J.J. Newberry's, and back in the day my grandmother worked there, at the grill. And now my sister and I work there - I think that's kind of neat. The grill is long gone but the exhaust vent is still there, along with some original flooring in places and the pay toilet doors. A little history for you. :)

Baby, I'm back (sort of)

Boy, was I sick. Sicker than I have been in a long, long time, and sick for what felt like a long, long time - two weeks exactly. I still have a little rattle in my chest and some sinus pressure/pain, but other than that I finally feel human again. But I'm still so tired! It's like I just can't get enough sleep. No matter how tired I might be, though, I thank God that I am functioning again.

My apartment, though....it has seen some better days. Most nights I just tried to pick up enough to ensure we wouldn't develop an infestation of roaches or rodents in the house, declared it good enough and collapsed into bed. It's not dirty, in other words, there is just stuff everywhere - it's cluttered.

My husband did help out around the house - one night, after he had left for work, I went into our master bathroom to brush my teeth and was pleasantly surprised to notice that he had cleaned. I decided to call him and thank him, while brushing my teeth - that's a bad habit of mine, talking on the phone and brushing. I thanked him for cleaning the bathroom, and we were talking about the kids and Bella's day at school when I suddenly noticed an icky taste in my mouth. This is the conversation that followed:

Me: "My toothbrush tastes funny..."
Hubby: "Uh-oh, like what?"
Me: "I don't know what it tastes like, but it doesn't taste right."
Hubby: "Oh, wait, I might have accidentally sprayed it with bathroom cleaner."
Me: "WHAT? Are you serious? I'm brushing my teeth with bathroom cleaner?"
Hubby: "Probably, yeah, I thought I might have sprayed it."
Me: "Why didn't you throw it away? Or better yet move the toothbrushes when you're cleaning?"
Hubby: "I don't know! I thought you would be mad if I threw your toothbrush away!"
Me: "Madder than I would be for you letting my brush my teeth with Tilex?"
Hubby: "Well, I wasn't really sure which would be worse. And then I forgot."

I rinsed thoroughly, threw away my toothbrush, got another one out of the hall closet and just let the subject drop - I was so grateful to have just one room in the house that was clean that I didn't care about a little Tilex in my toothpaste. So now my mouth is disinfected and lemony fresh, and maybe the bleach will have some whitening effects (but hopefully no other effects). But hey, at least my bathroom is clean!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oops, I did it again

Bella's school must think I am a horrible parent. I expect a knock on the door from child protective services any minute now because, between my own ineptitude and Bella's stories, I must come across as some sort of neglectful, mean mom.

One fine example: I put Bella's hot lunch money in her folder, telling her that I was doing so in the process. When I did that I took her lunch box from the day before out of her backpack but didn't have time to put it away, because her brother was busy falling off the sofa. I promptly forgot about the lunchbox, she didn't hear me mention the lunch money and put the lunchbox (from the day before, remember) back into her backpack. She gets to school, never finds the lunch money, takes her lunchbox to the cafeteria and.....nothing but an empty sandwich box, a warm cold-pack and a used napkin. The school gave her a PB&J sandwich, so it isn't like she went hungry, but man, I felt terrible. BUT - she should have been listening when I told her about her lunch money (I thought she was listening - I made her verify that she heard me, and even had her repeat it back to me) and she should have seen it in her folder - it was right there. It was still in her folder when she came home that day.

Another example: Bella came home from school one day and had supplies in her backpack. I was curious and asked why she had the scissors, glue and markers. She answered: "I told my teacher that we don't have any of that at home, and if I was going to finish illustrating my story I needed to borrow them from school". I could just see her teacher feeling very sorry for poor Bella, who has no supplies at home, but that little tale of woe, my friends, is completely untrue. Bella has a ton of school/art/craft supplies, and even if she didn't, I have girl scout supplies coming out of my wazoo. We could open our own store, we have so much of the stuff lying around. Bella is just too lazy to find them, despite the fact that they are everywhere. I keep a stash in the living room, in case we need them, and her room is crawling in markers and other supplies - they are everywhere. I even keep sets in the car, in case I need them for scouts. And yet she bats her big eyes and claims to not own a marker or a glue stick. Whatever.

We had another episode today - today was school pride day, and they didn't have to wear their uniforms. This morning Bella wasn't exactly certain of the rules, and neither was I, so I went to the school website and pulled up the handbook to make sure. Feeling safe in what she ultimately ended up wearing (after going through about 6 different outfits) I sent her off. So this evening, after working all day and going grocery shopping, I come home and the first thing Bella says is, "I didn't have a collar on my shirt and I was supposed to and so I had to wear a sweatshirt all day and it was hot and it was somebody else's sweatshirt from Lost and Found and it was kind of smelly". Well, then.

I was a little cheesed, at first. It was warm today - around 80 degrees. She wasn't in danger of a heat stroke or anything, but it had to be uncomfortable running around all day in a sweatshirt. Then Bella showed me a printout her teacher had put into her folder from the class web page - not the school, the class web page - that did indeed say everyone had to wear collared shirts, which was contrary to what was on the school web page in the school handbook. I did not check the class page, I admit, and maybe I should have, but frankly I don't have the time or the energy to compare the two sites on a daily basis.

I wrote a note to her teacher, then threw it away. Then I wrote another note to her teacher, and threw it away. Then I went to the store to get stuff for girl scouts, came home, thought about writing another note, and haven't. It's not the teacher's fault, I'm not mad at her, but I think someone should know that there is an error. What about parents who don't have internet access and are going exclusively by the handbook? Although it would be very difficult to send a child to this school without having internet access, since everything is online - newsletters, homework, forms - even report cards, now, are exclusively online. Anyway, all that to say, I was kind of miffed, but I just need to get over it. Although I still want to write that note.

I feel bad - I feel inattentive, lazy, and bad. I sent her to school Friday with lunch money, and the school called me to tell me it was a half day and there was no hot lunch. I thanked her profusely (that was in the thick of my illness - I was running almost a 102-degree fever that morning) for reminding me, and then the secretary said, "So you are going to come get her, right? Otherwise she won't have anything to eat". I understand that she was just doing her job by asking that and she didn't mean anything by it, and I'm glad someone is looking out to make sure that Bella eats, but it made me feel so guilty. Like I was planning on leaving her there anyway and hoping maybe someone would feel sorry for her and throw some goldfish crackers on the floor or something.

Accidents happen, though, right? No one is perfect. I am trying to stay on top of all these details. It doesn't always work out for me, but at least I'm trying.

Happy Saint Patrick's day!

Friday, March 13, 2009


I thought I might be on the mend, but I was terribly, terribly wrong. And I thought my kids were on the mend, but I was terribly wrong there, too. Bella has an earache and poor Bubba has the snuffliest nose in the world, possibly. For right now everyone is in their own beds but iif I was a betting woman I would say around 3Am we'll all be snuggled up together in my bed coughing and sneezing and whining all over each other. Ah, family togetherness.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm having a pity party

It's 1:20am and I can't sleep. I've tried sleeping, and I've tried everything I can think of to get to sleep, and it's just not working out for me. I'm sick as a dog, and tomorrow I have to get Bella up and off to school, then get myself ready for work, drop Bubba off at my MIL's, and then go to work until 5. And that process starts in about five hours.

I'm trying to look at things positively - if I had to get sick, I got sick on Wednesday, just before my Thursday off day. And I didn't have girl scouts this Thursday, yet another thing to be grateful for. And I am grateful things worked out that way - don't get me wrong - but man, tomorrow is just going to be a rough day.

Sorry I haven't posted this week - Brian has been off work until tonight, so that was keeping me busy. Maybe once I feel better I'll have more and better things to talk about than how sick and tired I am.

I'm going to go attempt sleep and hopefully a more positive attitude. And if that doesn't work out, I'm going to lay around and read with tissues shoved up my nose. Because I'm sexy like that. :-)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A reluctant volunteer

I signed on to post tonight in lieu of doing productive household things, you know, cleaning the bathroom, laundry, anything, really. The garbage desperately needs to go out, too - it's been in the house so long that I wouldn't be surprised if it suddenly stood up and took itself out, glaring at me with disgust as it went. And I would say, "What? I can't get up right now because I'm busy sending shamrocks back to people on Facebook. I was going to take you out eventually!"

Today was a busy day. This week has been a busy week. Bubba has spent his time cutting canine teeth, being miserable and sleeping as little as possible, and when baby don't sleep, well....guess who else hasn't been getting her beauty sleep. My under-eye circles are so dark that someone actually thought I had a black eye.

The weekend isn't offering any relief, either. There was a miscommunication between myself and my beloved cookie mom, and I found out today I am expected at a cookie booth sale at 3:15 tomorrow. This promises to be somewhat difficult, logistically, since I don't get off work until 4:00. I did manage to shift some things around (with the aid of some helpful relatives- love ya, Jen!) and I'll be able to accommodate the booth sale.

I have to admit that I really, really didn't want to take the high road with this issue. I had e-mailed cookie mom weeks ago and told her that I could probably, with notice, rearrange my schedule to make one of the two Friday booth sales she had scheduled, if she let me know which one she wanted me to work. I saw her at church on Ash Wednesday and verified that she had, in fact, received my e-mail, and she said that she had and would be replying shortly, and then never did. I had no idea that she had penciled me in. When she said she would see me tomorrow I just sort of blankly said, "Wha?" (because I have a way with words, you know) and she said she had me on the schedule for tomorrow. I wanted to stomp my feet and whine, "But you said said you would e-mail me and let me know where I was needed and you never did that and I am busy and I don't want to do it and I'm not gonna!". But I didn't, I just sort of gulped it all down and said fine, I would be there.

We are selling at the naval commissary, though, which is hard to get to without a military ID. If the gate guys search my car I will die of embarrassment, because it is dirty. That has happened to me before - after 9/11, there was a huge (and understandable) increase in security measures to board any military property in the area. Everyone was subject to search, and one day, going onto NAS to visit the museum with Bella when she was but a wee little lass, I was selected for a more extensive search. The guard had to open all my doors, and stuff fell out every time he did it. And when I opened my trunk for the man he literally laughed out loud, because it was chock full of random stuff. I felt horribly embarrassed and asked him if he wanted me to take the stuff out so he could look around, and he said no, he didn't think we had that kind of time. You would think I would have learned a lesson from that, but no. I spend a lot of time in my car, ferrying children around, going to and from work, whatever else you can think of, and my car looks like what it is: a roving storage unit/office/pantry/insert anything else you can imagine here,because it's probably in my car. I'm working on it. Just like I'm cleaning the bathroom right now.

Bella was invited to stay the night at a friend's house tomorrow night, too. My co-leader has two daughters, one a year older than Bella and one a year younger, so she can play with either or both, and they invited her to stay over. They have a fabulously huge piece of property, with lots of land. They have a horse, they have a chicken coop, they have a heated pool and they have a hot tub. Heck, I would spend the night there. Bella eagerly agreed, which is fine, but they live waaaay out in the country, so the drive to their house is a long one. And I'll have to pick her up before work Saturday, slicing an hour from my time that morning. But that's OK, I'm sure Bella will enjoy herself, and that makes it worth it.

Tomorrow is going to be a even busier day than today, so I probably need to clean the house before the garbage does come to life. It would probably form an alliance with the dishwasher and attempt to mount some sort of household coup, so I must vanquish them both before they have the opportunity. To the kitchen!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I apologize in advance

This paragraph involves some tummy trouble - no details, certainly, but a couple of anecdotes that have amused me. Just a warning! There were some troubling stomach issues happening in my house today. In the midst of the gastric distress the internal flush mechanism on Bella's commode broke off, something I determined to be a matter of replacement and not repair. Since we have to let maintenance handle that and they are not around on Sundays, when flushing has been needed - and it's been needed a lot around here today, I'm sorry to say - I just lift the lid off the toilet tank and pull up the little valve thingy (like my technical plumbing terms?) myself. This distresses Bella greatly, and every time I have done it she shrieks and runs away and then won't come near me for the better part of a half hour or so. If I actually touch her, for some reason, she is completely grossed out - "Mom, you just put toilet water in my hair, that is sooooo nasty". I have explained that the water in the tank is actually clean water, and that I am washing my hands thoroughly after each manual flush, but she just can't see past the fact that I am putting my hands in the toilet.

I wanted to remind her of a time, when she was about four years old, that she came out of the bathroom looking very smug, walked over to me and said, "Mom, I couldn't reach the sink to wash my hands, but it's OK because I washed them in the toilet. And then I flushed it, because it saves water that way". Horrors!

I will segue from there to one more story: a few years ago Brian bought me a nice watch for Mother's Day. A few days later I was in the bathroom, cleaning, and took it off and put it up on a shelf with the towels so it didn't get wet. I cleaned the tub, scrubbed the commode and flushed it, then turned to start cleaning the sink, but when I turned I bumped the shelves with my elbow and jostled the watch, knocking it off the shelf. I tried to grab it while it was falling (towards the toilet bowl), doing this awkward, catching-dropping-bumping thing that felt like it was going in slow motion - I could actually hear myself saying, "NOOOOOOOO....." - and the watch dropped right into the last little bit of water and swirled away, never to be seen again. I had literally flushed my gift down the toilet.

I 'fessed up to Brian when he got home from work, hating it the whole time, knowing full well he would never let me live it down. And he hasn't - to this day, when I say I want something, he teases me about it, in a good-natured way, of course - "If I get you those earrings, do you promise not to flush them down the toilet?". I am exceptional at doing silly little clumsy, awkward things like that, but that is all part of my magical appeal. And that's my story and I'm sticking to it.