February 16, 2019

traffic or groceries, tough decisions like this keep me energized

After school on Wednesday, Coach picks up Curly from school.  They rush in and grab the clothes that Curly is supposed to lay out for b-ball and Irish dancing.  Plus:  food.  Curly either inhales something in the kitchen or I toss something to her as she races out the door.

Basketball practice is about 17 minutes north of our house, but it starts at 4:00.  Curly doesn't get out of school until 3:30.

In case you were wondering where I spend my time.  Riveting stuff, right?  And by the way, that 'not drawn to scale' bit was meant to be humorous.  OBVIOUSLY this is not drawn to scale.
Coach usually comes home, but I instructed him to go straight to another school after dropping Curly off.  Reg is the 8th grade team b-ball manager.  This translates into him being invited to practice with the 8th graders.  His 7th grade season already ended.  The 8th grade class is a weird group.  Not many know ANYTHING about basketball.  This might have killed Reg, who wishes he could play but you only get to play on one team.  The saving grace is that the 8th graders who have no idea what they are doing keep Reg entertained.

In the first game, the coach told a kid he could sub in.  The kid knew nothing about subbing in, so he stood up off the bench, and ran right onto the court.  In the middle of the game!  Reg was busting a gut laughing when he relayed the story to me.

Anyway, Coach had to go to that school and watch the end of that game and then bring Reg home.  Easier and faster than getting him later after he takes the team bus back to school.  He has travel basketball from 7:30 - 9, so the sooner he gets home the better.

Meanwhile back on the baby-screaming ranch, I handed kids over to their parents as they arrived to collect them.  My eyes were burning because of my earlier sob-fest.  I could not wait to take my contact lenses out.  I insisted on accomplishing SOMETHING, so I started to mix a batch of these awesome protein balls that are gluten free while Mini told me about her day.

Just as Scary's mom left, my mom walked into my kitchen carrying a Nothin' Bunt Cake box and a little gluten free bunt-ette box.  Woo hoo!  I chatted with her for a few minutes but kept looking at the clock because I had to get Curly.

I used this time to casually mention that I did not think we were going to Yellowstone this summer.  'Um, I haven't told dad yet.'  Mom:  'Oh, I think he kind of knows that already.  Didn't you tell him that?'  Well, I mentioned the conflicts, but hadn't decided yet.  (I could almost feel myself standing taller as that weight was lifted).  Mom insisted that skipping Yellowstone was not going to be a big deal.

Um, I hadn't shared our final decision, but we are most likely going to take the kids to Vancouver.  Now, if Coach and I could just converse in the same room long enough to buy the flights.  Big deciding factor:  not liking our reservations for the dates we could travel, and not knowing how many more all-in family vacations we would have with our gang before they all grow up and do their own thing.  Plus, whale watching!

Anyway, I didn't have enough quinoa cooked for my recipe, so I tossed some on the stove top, instructed Mini on how to finish cooking it, and bolted to scoop up Curly.
This is before I roll the protein balls into balls.  I love this stuff and could easily just scoop some out of the bowl in the fridge.  Forming them into balls is safer, so I don't get carried away.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I can easily devour several protein balls at once.  I am limited in what I can eat, damn it.  Why should I deny myself here?  Right?  Of course it didn't dawn on me when I ran into the grocery store to buy more quinoa -even though I finished the last bag.  WHY DO I TORTURE MYSELF SO?  There's always tomorrow's grocery stop.  Grrr.

B-ball ends at 5:15.  Dancing is another 10 minutes north, but doesn't start until 6.  I bring Curly's dinner in the car.  This time the lights were on in the studio early and I sent her in the minute she was done with her dinner.  We needed lunch-meat.  Sit in traffic, or kill time buying lunch-meat down the street from dancing?  Such are the exciting decisions of my life.  Traffic or grocery shopping?  Two of my favorite things.  Stay tuned, again- for the conclusion.  Promise.  You won't be disappointed.

February 14, 2019

setting the Wednesday scene

Coach comes home early on Wednesdays, which is a lifesaver considering what goes down on a Wednesday.

Before I bore you with details about who goes where on a Wednesday, let me set the scene for this particular Wednesday:

Scary, on a better day, playing on a play
 mat and Mack helping him find the toys.
FIRST:  I have a new baby I sit for whose blog name is Scary, because he was born on Halloween.  His mom reserved a spot in my home back in the summer, (lest you think he is a replacement for psycho Narcey's kids).  I had high hopes for a chunky, easy-breezy, three month old. 

Scary has reflux.  He has a milk protein allergy.  His formula expires after one hour.  He needs to gain weight.  To that end, he NEEDS to eat.  Guess what?  He struggles to drink a bottle.  Can you hear those soft sobs?  It's me whimpering.

His folks have been thrilled that I could get him to drink his bottles better than anyone.  They asked me to ramp him up to 5 ounces from 4.  Me:  'I got this.  Hey, this is my domain.' 

Wednesday:  Scary arrived with a cold (thanks to Joey who came with a really nasty cold last week, which earned him free-play, solo in the basement playroom each day.  No germ sharing on my watch).  Damn germs spread anyway- I must've blinked.  Scary WAS IMPOSSIBLE.  It took me 2 hrs to feed him 3.5 ounces.  After he had a huge blowout, I suspected that it was more of a tummy issue than his cold.  Coach thinks I'm crazy for blaming everything on poop, but I am rarely wrong. 

THEN:  We believe the novelty of being far away from home at college has worn off for Lad.  He calls home daily- sometimes more than once a day.  If I was in a joking mood, I would ask my readers if they remember how impossible he was before college?  Rants about 'I am never coming home to visit during college!' are a distant memory. 

My non-joking manner stems from the fact that Coach and I have been quite concerned.  We don't dare say, 'Why are you calling home so much?  Do you miss us? (bust a gut laughing because that COULDN'T be possible).  If we ask why he is calling home so much, and he needs to feel a connection to us - then what happens if he is embarrassed to call home, who does he reach out to? 

Anyway, it has been weighing on my heart.  Then Wednesday:  Ed texted me during school to say that he is worried about Lad.  My weighted-down heart sank.  Ed was all:  'Talk tonight' - I was all: 'No you tell me what is happening right now!'  Apparently, Lad texted Ed reminiscing about childhood.  I called Coach who was all:  'I have patients.'  And I was all:  'No God damn it, your patients can wait!'

So we decided to contact Chip -therapist who worked with us when kids had issues related to ADD.  I still see him a few times a year when I need to sort shit out.  I highly recommend this to anyone.  Well worth the money.  Stigma, pigma.  I, for one, am over it. 

Chip calmed me down.  He believes that Lad reaches out to us when he is overwhelmed or stressed.  Initially he thought it could have been because he was lonely, but I pointed out that he 1-has a girlfriend.  2- is thrilled the crappy assistant water polo coach quit.  3-had the whole team over to his apartment for the Superbowl.  4- seems to have friends and says he likes the school. 

Chip admitted that all of his kids went thru a phase in college where a flip was switched from 'I am going far away from you' to 'Can you visit me every other weekend?' 

Chip's advice was for Coach and I to call Lad a few times a week to check in with him.  Make sure he feels our presence.  Good advice, especially because then I can control when I call him.  Don't get me started about my kid's ill-timed phone calls.  Never fails.

Well, now you know what was stressing me out, I will need a whole other post to tell you about the perfect ending to my day.  Come back!  Promise?  I am vulnerable, are you not getting that?!

February 12, 2019

Lulu who?

For Christmas one of the moms I sit for gave me a red Lululemon quarter zip.  Mini gasped when I opened it.  I have never owned a Lulu.  It was a very nice gift, but red would not work with the majority of my workout wardrobe.  I decided to exchange it for something in the gray or black family.

I almost fell over when the cashier told me how much money I had to spend for my exchanged item.  I started to feel like maybe I should buy something more like real clothes, because why spend so much on something you just intend to sweat in?  Remember me?  I am SUPER practical!  I had sworn that I would not spend much time in this store.  Get in.  Get out.  No chance.

This is the kind of store where the employees act like they want to be your friend.  I want to whisper to them that I do not have all that much money to spend relative to their usual customers, so they probably don't need to bother with the buddy routine.  I tried not to feel self conscious about the fact that aside from a pretty intense workout schedule, I did not feel like I belonged there.  I am not a regular.  Could they tell that?  I did not have money to toss to the wind.  Was that obvious?

exhibit A:  super warm coat
Side note:  I was wearing my very expensive winter coat.  I LOVE the fact that it is super warm and that it zips to the top of the hood.  I purposely spent a lot of money on this coat, BECAUSE I wanted warmth and I didn't want to have to shop for a winter coat AGAIN any time soon.

Well, I have had it for 3 years, and the seams on the insides of the arms are coming undone for no reason.  (see photo).  So now it looks like I am wearing a cheap coat.  I bought it at Nieman Markus, a place I don't normally shop.  When I called recently, they told me to find my original receipt and then they could have their tailor do something with it.  They no longer carry that brand.  Really?  An original receipt from 3 years ago?  What is the tailor going to do?  A friend suggested that I color the white parts with a sharpie.
See what I mean?
 This should not have happened!
 The coat is by Duvetica. 
Other than this - I lovve it!

So, while I was shopping at this pricey, wealthy -people magnet store, I was trying to peruse the racks without showing my white seams - which is to say that I was trying not to move my arms all that much.  Not an easy task while shopping.  It didn't take long for the employees to decide that they didn't want to be my friend.

I took some things in the changing room and decided that I looked like an old lady with my granny, cheater glasses (which are necessary if I want to see the mind-blowing price tags) and my damn thinning hair.  The lighting in these places (and the strategically placed mirrors so that you CAN see all the angles whether you want to or not) just kill me.  The angles I hate most are the ones where I can see my scalp from the side of my head.  Before I can try anything on I end up fluffing my hair to hide the sides of my exposed head.  To other people, it probably isn't that bad - but I am sensitive.
This is the one that is
gray but has a lavender
tone to it.  It got pretty solid
reviews from the fam.

(Not sure why I look
 jaundice here).
This is the quarter zip. 
Also high marks from
 the peanut gallery -
that included Coach. 
Found out later that he
didn't know I had an item to
 exchange at the store,
 and he thought I just decided
to start shopping there.
  Interesting though, because he
didn't complain. 
I was like, Have we met?
Family members
 voted this one down.
I ended up buying three different things.  Um, yes - this means that I spent more than my allotted over-the-top, exchanged-item budget.  I decided that I needed the girls and maybe (if I am feeling like his opinion matters) Coach to vote.

One is a black, quarter zip.  I don't typically like quarter zips, because I only wear them before and after my workouts.  Pulling things over my head when I start to get sweaty is rough because I always workout in a baseball hat.  But this quarter zip was very flattering.  Who can say that about a quarter zip?  The other is a full zip workout jacket.  It looked gray in the store, but maybe it is a little lavender?  And a gray sweater kind of thing.  Decisions.

The whole thing left me looking around my classes wondering, how do these women afford to almost exclusively workout wearing Lululemon?  (Not to mention, how do they know how to get the dang strappy tops and bras on?  Notice, I steered clear of those.)  And why did I not create a silly-sounding, brand name that would be comfortable to workout in and super stylish, that I could charge ridiculous prices for?

Then I remember my former zoo-member t-shirt days, and I answered my own question.

February 10, 2019

fact: my wardrobe once included a free zoo t-shirt

I just added this shirt
to my workout wardrobe.
I work out every day -almost without fail.  With the horrible cold weather and the warnings to stay  indoors, I didn't even travel to the health club.  I cleared a path in my house that included a flight of stairs.  I ran that path about 35 times, which took about 30 minutes.  Maybe 3 miles?  Then I did some floor exercises.  I totally prefer classes where someone barks at us what to do and keeps us motivated.

My workout wardrobe has improved along with my cardio commitment since my early workout sessions.

I cringe now when I think back to the first workout class that I attended shortly after Mini was born.  I showed up all decked out in my finest, over-sized, free, Brookfield Zoo t-shirt.  The zoo gifted zoo members with these giant cotton keepsakes, and I wore mine.  To the gym.  I assume that I wore baggy sweat pants, too.  Mercifully I am unable to recall that wardrobe malfunction.

Not sure if I have described where I workout, but it is a very pricey establishment.  The kind of members it attracts are typically quite well-off.  Coach's physical therapy clinic is located in the same building, just down a hallway with a separate entrance at the rear of the building.  The health club gives us complimentary memberships.

This is a photo of me wearing one
of my zoo t-shirts.  This was one of
the more reasonably sized ones.  I
 was pregnant with Ed here (but not really
 showing yet), so I wore the zoo t-shirt
when we took Lad to the St. Louis Zoo.
  How I remembered that and
 found this photo in an album? - no clue.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoy this perk.  Remember, Coach works crazy hours, and I often feel like a single parent, so I will take the occasional, life-altering perk.  Damn it.  If Coach starts to talk about bucking the system and going opening his own clinic, I break out in a cold sweat - unprepared to kiss away my membership.

For years I walked on the tread mill a few times a week when Coach was home with the kiddos and the weather kept me from walking outside.  The first class I tried was a step aerobics class on a Saturday.  I attended it while wearing the cringe-worthy free zoo shirt.

That class made me anxious, because I didn't know the moves.  I thought I was smart when I selected a spot in the back of the room where I could hide.  Oh, that was an epic fail as the regulars spun around to face the back of the room multiple times.  They ended up facing me.  Me, with a confused look on my face, and a baggy-ass t-shirt.  I kept at it though, and became a regular, front-row participant for about 13 years until they cancelled the class last year.
These 3 year old outfits are a bit too
colorful for me nowadays. 
Seemed like a good idea at the time.

When Curly and Reg were old enough to tolerate the playroom without crying, I ventured into a class during the week.  Gradually I added more classes to my favorites.  When I was without a drivers license for 7 weeks (don't act so surprised, you know this story, right?), I tried out a few crazy early classes with a neighbor who offered to drive me when she worked out - crazy early.  Folks, I got hooked.  I now LOVE getting my workout done before 6:30 am.

Gradually I invested in a dry fit workout shirt now and then.  A pair of black stretchy shorts.  Staples.  About three years ago, I went to Marshalls and bought enough stuff so that I didn't feel like I was wearing the same thing to every class.  After 3 years though, I am not in love with some of my Marshalls choices.  Some were just down right jazzy.

Then Christmas came, and I stumbled into a whole new, dangerous, workout-attire arena!

February 8, 2019

'I am not trying to cook a turkey, just my damn oatmeal!'

Sometimes I go thru my google photos and I find a little gem that was taken specifically for the blog, but then I neglected to write about it.  How could I have glossed over this?

I wonder if there is any video surveillance footage of me melting down in the hotel in Louisville over Thanksgiving weekend for the Irish dancing championships.  Ironic to label it 'melting down', because my fit of rage stemmed from a microwave.

Let me back up.  You know I travel with my own food whenever feasibly possible?  Thank you, celiac disease - you stupid, shit head.

I called the hotel in advance.  'Can I request a microwave in my room?'  The rooms did not come equipped, but I could request one.  They made a note of it.  I stressed the importance of it since I had dietary issues that sometimes made it difficult for me to eat out.

When I checked into the room, I asked about my microwave request.  This is when I learned they don't have microwaves. At all.  Who took my request?  Now, if you recall, we were given a party room with an extra bathroom next to our regular hotel room - on the top floor, overlooking the river, so I hate to be picky.  Crazy thing is the woman at the concierge desk who checked us in had the same first name as me, AND. . . she also had celiac disease.  What are the fricking chances?!

Well, the other Ernie explained that they didn't have microwaves because they were fire hazards.  She gave me a key to the room a few floors down from mine that had a microwave in it.  (How is that room OK to not be fire proof?)  It didn't thrill me, but I have had to go to a lobby before to use a communal microwave.  No biggie.

The next morning I woke up and ran 4.5 miles on a tread mill.  I was famished and I needed to eat.  I grabbed my special key card and headed down a few floors in the elevator to cook my oatmeal.  Only, there was no microwave room there.  The room number didn't exist.  BECAUSE, the microwave room was in the other tower.  Humph.
Still don't get how this room would somehow
 manage to not burn the entire hotel down
 if the microwave malfunctioned.  What gives?

I found the room that held the microwave, but the key would not work.  A housekeeper called the front desk for me.  She said they would send someone up.  Her key wouldn't work for that room.

Minutes went by.  She called again.  I called the front desk.  I called the front desk again.  I was SHAKING.  My body was in need of calories.  Something always goes wrong at these dance competitions.  I wondered if this would be the thing.  I would pass out in front of this random room in the neighboring tower and not be found for hours. maybe days.  Why the Hell was NO ONE coming to open the damn room for me?

I am not proud, but hunger can make people do nutty things.  I tried to kick the door in on this empty conference room.  To no avail.  During my last phone call to the front desk (not as in the last phone call before I was arrested, it didn't end that badly, thank goodness), I uttered these words:  'I am not trying to cook a turkey, I just want to cook some oatmeal!'  This was sort of fitting, it being Thanksgiving weekend and all.

I do not think the hotel management realized
 that they were more at risk of having
someone do damage to their hotel by keeping
 my hungry-ass self out in the hallway then they
 were if they had just equipped my
 damn room with a microwave.
Eventually security came - to open the door, not because they had seen my feeble, weak-ass, malnourished attempt at kicking the door in on some hidden camera, but because they had finally decided to meander up to open the damn door for me.  No exaggeration, I waited over 25 long minutes.  Don't get me started on my disappointment that my namesake couldn't have hooked me up with a functioning key card in the first place.

The real question when I finally got in the empty conference room is why on earth is it even locked?  It was nothing special.  Unless of course you are on the verge of passing out.  Then, and only then, would this room be like a heaven on earth with a beckoning, run-of-the-mill, functioning, f-ing microwave.

When I got back to the room. the girls were like, 'What took you so long?'  Don't ask


February 6, 2019

Good riddance & Eddie to the rescue

I had all of Arrogant’s kids in their coats and shoes by the time he arrived.  Their car seats were set at the edge of my garage.  The rest of their stuff was gathered up in a bag in my mudroom.

Arrogant walked in and started to lead the kids out the door.  ‘OK, have a good weekend guys.  Bye!’  I called after them.  Arrogant just herded the kids into the questionably-dangerous garage.  ‘OK, let’s go.’ he said to the kids.  No ‘thank you for everything’.  Nothing.  I was flabbergasted.

I stood in the mudroom at the now infamous garage door watching them walk away.  Then I called into the garage, ‘You’re welcome!’  And then, my friends, I did slam that damn door.  

I turned to Eddie who was working on a college application on his laptop at the kitchen table.  ‘I wish your father was home.  He would have said something to that guy.  I can’t believe he just walked out of here and didn’t even thank me!  I have done nothing but bend over backwards for them and take excellent care of their kids’  

Coach should have been home, but he was running late.  Eddie stood up, ‘I’ll do it.’  He put on his coat and shoes and went out to the driveway where Arrogant was loading his kids into the Tesla. 

I stayed in the house but I could hear Ed’s voice.  He told me afterwards that he just looked at the guy, who was kind of surprised to see him standing there, and said:  ‘Hey Arrogant, you have some good kids there.  I suggest at your next place you show your sitter some appreciation though.  My mom has worked hard for you.’

I am down to one preschooler now -
but these three one and a half year
 olds are a hoot.  I like to call this
prizewinner 'babies playing babies.'
Arrogant got all worked up.  (Eddie pointed out that he managed to maintain his composure and keep his emotions in check, but that Arrogant started losing his shit.  I have suggested to Ed that he might consider becoming a lawyer.  He told me that after this encounter he was actually thinking about the lawyer route).  ‘She’s so violent.  We cannot have her sit for the kids,’ Arrogant hissed in his Lebanese accent.

‘Oh, you are talking about the door thing.  Yeah, I was here.  You weren’t.  That was just a misunderstanding.  That’s all.  My mom is not violent!  Well, good luck!’ Ed called as he started back to the house.

Arrogant desperately wanted the last word.  He kept calling after my 18 year old, ‘She’s violent!’  Ed just kept wishing him luck louder and louder drowning him out.  

So, I am violent?  Me?!  This from a guy who screams so much when simply getting his preschoolers into his car that other moms I sit for shuttered when they witnessed it.  

I turned other families away in August because I couldn’t take any other kids.  In the middle of the school year, it's tough to find a teacher in need of a sitter.  My income took a direct hit.

While the parents that interview me often want references, I find myself wishing that I could ask them a few questions . . . like:  'Are you a jerk?  Are you crazy?  What kind of parent are you?'  You know, just the basics.

The other interesting thing is that had Lad been home instead of Eddie, and if I had asked him to handle Arrogant -he might have grabbed a golf club from my ‘dangerous’ garage and knocked out a few of Arrogant’s headlights on his coveted Tesla.  Dare to dream.

February 4, 2019

when does that fake promotion start?

On Friday, December 7th Arrogant texted me just before pick up:  ‘I will be there in 30 minutes.  Have all of the kids things packed up and their car seats out of your car.’

just call me Sherlock Holmes
Wait a minute, when does the fake promotion start anyway?  According to Narcey, they were hiring a nanny for their house because Arrogant's new promotion was going to make it difficult to pick the kids up on time.  I guess she forgot that I could see her job posting on - there it clearly stated that one parent would always be home by 4:15.  Oops, then I guess Arrogant's promotion was not legit.  It left me wishing that Hallmark made a card for fake promotions. 

Now, 30 minutes is not a lot of warning to ask me to crawl around in my big van to remove car seats.  This is when babies are waking up from naps and other parents are arriving at my house.  I often need to be on hand vs. rolling around in the back of my car AND it was FREEZING out.  

I was shaking.  The nerve.  No two weeks notice - not even a few hours notice!  I raced around and gathered the potty seat and the pull-ups and the extra stuff in the designated locker in my mudroom.  Then I braved the cold and crawled over two rows of seats to unbuckle and un-tether their seats.  

This is the kind of stuff that
 gets created in my basement
 where a bazillion toy bins
 for preschoolers reside.
Arrogant’s kids were playing in the basement.  I went down and supervised clean up.  I told them that they weren’t coming back to play at my house again.  I don’t think they really understood, or they weren’t really processing the info.  After the older brother and Suzie went upstairs, I turned to Zach.  ‘Are you going to miss coming to my house, Zach?’  He tilted his head and said ever so sweetly, ‘You know I like you, Ernie.’  

Two other moms came to pick up their kids and I shared with them the last minute text from Arrogant.  They both had already heard that the triplets’ family was planning to leave after Christmas break.

One mom shook her head.  ‘Well, she isn’t the friendliest person.’  It’s true that Narcey often plays the ‘I have triplets’ card.  Hard to explain but it is something in her attitude, everything is a chore.  Then this other mom added something that she had observed just the day before while Arrogant was loading his 4 kids in his car.  When this mom realized that lotion had fallen out of the diaper bag, she got out of her car to pick it up.  That’s when she heard Arrogant screaming his head off at his young children on my driveway.  She said she had NEVER heard anyone talk to kids in such a mean way!
This is a glimpse of the homemade ornaments
that Curly and Reg and Mini and I made
 for the kids I sit for.  Even though I knew
they planned to leave after Christmas I was
 still planning to make ornaments for Narcey
and Arrogant's kids.  Well, when notice
shrunk to 30 minutes, I did not
 have their ornaments done.

The next day, another mom said that the way Narcey and Arrogant spoke to their kids made her uncomfortable.

Now I know you are just reading my blog, so you don’t really know me.  You will just have to take my word for it.  The other moms I sit for are really very happy dropping their kids off with me. They have offered to act as references anytime I need it.  Even Geraldine who I parted ways with last year wrote me a very nice card on her last day stating that it would be hard to find a caregiver that could measure up because I had raised the bar so high.

This whole ordeal really upset me.  What the Hell!?  Oh, it gets way more interesting.  Of course.  I think the ending will blow you away.  Tune in next time!