June 16, 2019

please weigh in & pardon excessive hyphen usage

Another comment that full out hit me in the face when I met with a potential childcare client for next year that might demonstrate the level of peculiarity:
the mom told me that she gets so full of breast milk sometimes that she can almost taste it.  
Riddle me this, 'Why do I attract the cray-crays of the world? WHY, WHY, WHY?'

Another interesting bit:  the woman's family believes that the 3 month old can say 'mama.'  Something about the way the baby gurgles or makes typical baby noises leads them to this conclusion.  If my family was that cocoa bananas (or joked about a baby 'speaking'), I don't think I would have chosen this time to reveal it.

Also entertaining and not at all whack was when the 15 yo asked her mom to tie her shoes as they were leaving my house because she has a strained ACL.  They went on, without realizing that I know my way around physical therapy lingo and the scope of injuries thanks to Coach, to say that she did PT all last summer and how she has another doctor's appointment this week.  Not sure how many times I can use the word 'weird' in one post.  My apologies, but are you noticing a pattern here?

The English?Arabic Montessori teacher who-tastes-her-own-breast-milk-almost left it like this:  she has a few other people to meet with and then she will let me know soon.

I quickly called Becky, my friend who also babysits but tends to attract the MOST normal of people.  I am part of a Facebook page where local babysitters offering services and moms shopping for sitters and nannies post things.  This is where I met one-who-tastes-her-own-breast-milk-when-she-feels-engorged.
Nothing like mixing a batch of my
 favorite protein balls
(not yet formed into
balls, but perfectly
acceptable to be eaten by
 the spoonful) to try to de-stress
from the vacancy situation.

I explained to Becky that there is another mom on FB who has expressed an interest in my childcare services for next school year.  She is a teacher.  Her baby is also currently 3 mos old.  I can probably not take both tastes-her-milk and still-messaging-me's babies knowing that I have a 10 month old (2 days a week) and a 9 month old (3 days a week) next year.  Where the Hell are all the 2 and 3 year olds of the universe?  Just wondering.

Becky advised me to reach out to the other potentially normal teacher and suggest that we get together sooner than later because I had someone else come and meet with me and that I only have so many available spots. I did this and emphasized my not-meaning-to-be-pushy mindset in my message.

Potentially-normal-teacher messaged me back and said that she and her husband talked it over and that they decided they cannot afford me.  I cannot wrap my brain around this.  Potentially teaches at a high school where she most likely makes around $70,000.  A. Year.  My rates are incredibly reasonable and I have not raised my rates in the 4 years that I have done this.

So perplexed readers who are wishing I got a run-of-the-mill job with run-of-the-mill coworkers, what would you do?  If sometimes-tastes-breast-milk calls me up and says:  'We'd like you to sit for baby-that-speaks-at-3-mos next year!', what would you do?  Take a pass, and hope something better comes along?  Or take the job and hope that we can get into a quick and painless drop off/pick up routine? 

June 14, 2019

coat hanger, oat squares, sherbet, suggestions?

Please pass the coat hanger.  I just want to take it for, oh - I don't know like 2 hours, and scratch all the skin away from the inside of my throat.  No big deal though.

Sweet, sweet oat squares
Any other seasonal allergy sufferers out there, who - like me, cannot get any fricking relief from the itchiness in the roof of her mouth and in her throat?  I have sores in the roof of my mouth, and I am pretty sure one of my family members might smother me in my sleep if I don't stop making repulsive throat noises as I attempt to itch my throat through noise and vibration.

Back when I could eat WHATEVER THE F I WANTED TO EAT (aka the good ole days before celiac disease) - I loved, I mean really, really loved Quaker Oat Squares.  Have you not tried them?  Well, you can go buy a box and thank me later.  Those dry oat squares could be positioned on my tongue and then harshly dragged back and forth across the roof of my mouth until (wish I was kidding) my mouth would bleed.

I HATE this time of year.  It is miserable.

This year I am struggling to be able to keep my contacts in for an entire day.  My eyes keep getting all murky and cloudy right after dinner when I start driving peeps all over tar nation, which seems really safe.  Blinking a ton and driving?  Try it - if you have a secret death wish.

I could handle a stuffed up nose or excessive sneezing.  I mean, sneezing is my jam right now, because it automatically itches the throat - at least a full-on, loud sneeze is capable of such joy.  So, what to do?  Carry around sneezing powder?  What is this the 1800's or something?

Real people take allergy medication.  There is no over the counter stuff that will help me.  Not even dent my issues.  Years and years ago, I decided to be allergy tested.  I was in college.  I was on my folks' insurance.  I scheduled the appointment, and went in for a scratch test.

The nurse actually let out a small scream when she came to check on me.  They tested me for like 100 things and I reacted to at least 95 of them.  I left the office looking like the hunch back of Notre Dame with a big swollen back.

I also left the office with the doctor's recommendations for treatment.  The parental units decided that his treatment seemed a bit over the top.  So, nothing.  They did nothing.

And here I am, begging for a coat hanger.  And also thinking this is the year I see an allergist after we've met our deductible of course.  When will that be?  Late October?  Then, when I am not in the throws of severe itchiness (like my eyes itch but if I leave them alone I can survive - but even the sides of my face around the corner from my eyes itch like a mother this year) my allergy needs become less urgent.

I had not had sherbet (I pronounce is sherbert -
 so correct me all you want, but I
 will stick by my original pronunciation. 
Last night Coach and I went for a walk after dinner.  We needed Bisquick.  While there, I remembered we were out of ice cream.  I grabbed some and then I saw it . . . rainbow sherbet.  It suddenly occurred to me that this little low-fat, frozen treat might aid my itchy throat and roof of mouth place with a little freezing cold assistance.  I bought it and I ate two bowls when we got home.

Coach called to me from the family room when he saw me scoop out my second bowl:  'Finish it, finish it!'  I misunderstood him and I thought he said, 'That's the shit!  That's the shit!'

Great, now my allergies are affecting my hearing.

June 12, 2019

openings, meet and greet, oddities, touring

Tis the season, to find new families to babysit for next school year.  In other words:  time to sift thru the oddballs and hope to find someone normal.  This is also known as:  'good fit.'

I hate that there was so much turnover this year in my little in-home daycare.  I mean, I guess I am relieved that I lost Narcey with her narcissistic tendencies, but if she hadn't turned out to be such a wack-a-doodle, it would have been a great thing.  I promise that I am trying to let her nut job issues go and be relieved that I didn't have to deal with her (or her psycho husband).

I am losing a few families to logistics/preschools, like the proximity of the willing-to-drive-to-preschool grandma, and the mom who can do one stop and drop both kids next year at a Montessori school near her home in the city.

At this time last year, I was panicked about openings- and it all worked out.  My kids are experts at reminding me of this.  I cannot even express my nervousness about my vacancies with Coach or I will get the loud exhale, shoulder slouch combined with the eye roll.  So, I am trying to remain chill.  It is complicated though.

I equate filling my openings to buying a house.  What if you put a bid in on a house you like, but a house you LOVE goes on the market the next week?  Huh?!  In other words, what if someone asks me to babysit and I agree, even though would-be-client is a bit odd.  Then next week I hear from queen-of-we're-on-the-same-page client?!  Huh, then what?  I can only care for so many babies, so I hate to give up a baby spot to a goofball.  Goofball tendencies obvious during an interview can only escalate during the day-to-day drop off routine, no?

I should add that because I take part time kids and full time kids, my schedule is a bit like a giant puzzle.  Who is going to be here on which days and what days does each family prefer?  This explains why some in-home daycares only take full time.

Not going to tour this wardrobe
bombshell - and this was on a pretty good day.
Today I met with a woman who teaches at a Montessori English/Arabic preschool who has a 3 month old.  First off, I am NOT a fan of the Montessori concept - hope that doesn't offend, but my experience with this educational approach has left me thinking:  huh?

Initial sign of off-the-wall tendencies:  she explained in messages prior to our meeting that she went back to work 2 weeks after giving birth, and took the baby with her to her one room Mont. school. 

See buried behind that chair stacked with
 clothes is a pack and play.  Proof that
little guys sleep in there -
 hidden behind the mess.
Anyway, she brought her 15 year old high school kid along today, which was unexpected.  15 yo was a bit attention seeking and mom and daughter had a couple of side conversations/debates while we were talking babysitting details.  Mini, whose maturity level made this 15 yo resemble a preschooler, was present during part of the meet and greet and afterwards she was like:  WEIRD!

Other signs of oddity:

The mom wanted me to 'tour' her.  She mentioned in our message exchange that she wanted to see my 'environment'.  Montessori lingo?  We chatted in the family room/kitchen (setup for babies/tots) where a big part of the day takes place.  I showed her my basement where I have a great playroom geared towards the preschoolers.  She then asked to see the bedrooms.

I guess if her kid comes here and she is going to nap here, that isn't totally out of the ordinary, but I have never shown a perspective family my bedrooms and no one had ever requested that.  I told her, 'Well, I didn't ask my kids to straighten their rooms (aka as bombshells), but I basically have a pack and play in each bedroom.'  Not sure if the lack of a tour is going to be a deal breaker.

And I am not sure that I care.

June 10, 2019

Stephen A. - if A is for ass

My boys like to keep the TV tuned to ESPN 24/7.  I win out in the mornings and I tune into my favorite news channel.  WGN - channel 9.  It is a local Chicago station, and I enjoy the antics of the newscasters.  Everyone knows NOT to touch the channel while I have Channel news on.

This morning there was a 'story' about how Zuckerberg invented a box for his wife that would help her sleep.  It wasn't a box that she gets into, silly.  This was a box she would place on her nightstand.  It seems that she wakes up many times during the night and wonders if it is almost time to get her children up.  She needs to have them up between 6 and 7 am.

So, this box assists her.  Her brilliant husband Zuckerberg created it so that a faint light shows from under the base of the box at predetermined times.  Instead of waking up and checking the time on her phone, she can go back to sleep if the light is not glowing under the box.

Robin, the female anchor, had a very valid suggestion.  'What if they got their hands on this other invention called a digital clock?  It can be set to dim, so it is not too bright.'  EXACTLY!  What in the world?
Typical:  mouth open, being loud. 
Who gave this guy
a job on television?

I digress.

Anyway, Ed has been home sick the last few days with a fever.  Today he has been fever free and hopes to go back to school tomorrow, which is good because tomorrow is prom.  I am relieved that he is better because prom is on Saturday.  Do you remember when Lad went to prom with mono?  (Well I just did a search for that post so I could link it here, but I never wrote about it.  I might have to do a retro, because it was interesting - to say the least).  We didn't realize that he had mono until AFTER the prom, where I suspect he kissed his date.  Oops.

So, while Ed was home he flipped on ESPN after lunch.  There was my least favorite TV personality of all times.  Claiming that he has a personality is being generous.  Stephen A. Smith.

If you are unfamiliar, and if that is the case - consider yourself lucky, allow me to describe.  He is a shouting lunatic that thinks his opinion mattes.  He talks nonstop and gets way too close to the television.  Ask the ESPN watchers in your life if they can handle Stephen A, or if they are like me.  I cannot have him on when I am within earshot.  'Turn this crap off!'

Reminds me of my Mom's reaction to the day she caught us watching Prince.  Now this is a link I know I have. (Two separate links).

I looked at Ed and asked the question that most people must wonder about, 'How on earth is this guy on television?  Who cares about his opinions?  Why do people call him Stephen A. instead of just plain old Stephen?'

Ed found my commentary entertaining enough to snap-chat about my strong feelings.  Any other strong feelings out there?

June 8, 2019

technology be damned, more cowbell, and Tank's own 'No BURGER!'

When the music I wanted would not upload to the movie I was making for Ed's grad video, I flashed back to the 2 hour wait phone call.  That could not happen again.  I think I stumbled on a different number on the internet - not even realizing it wasn't the same number.  This time this guy:  'Inder' answered.  He was a prince.  He heared my frustration in the 'we no longer support that software' and he rolled with me.  He remote accessed my computer.  he updated drives, changed my music to mp3 format and shazam - the music uploaded.

I was SUPER grateful, because what good is a movie without an awesome score?

That being said, I have to ask:  Whose idea was it to take photos with phones and ipads and share pictures with emails and downloads and Facebook?  Trying to collect all the pics and video from various locations- mind blowing.  To keep life interesting, our new computer decided to organize all of the photos and video clips in fun hiding places.  If I am anything, it is NOT a person who knows how to navigate computer files, update drivers (and why do drivers need to be updated if I just bought my computer) and hiding places and convert music from mp4 to mp3 formats.

Other highlights of the movie:  I have contacted a few of Ed's friends on the sly to request photos from them.  I have also edited a clip where my kids are dancing as if they are in band - part of a book report assignment that made me want to burn down the school.  I took out the audio and subbed it with the audio from 'more cowbell' - the infamous SNL skit.  Ed probably anticipates the video as I made one for Lad, but I believe that he will be floored by 'more cowbell'. 

I also went above and beyond with a little audio clip Tank provided that is hilarious.  Tank likes to imitate a woman who works at our local Dairy Queen.  He claims he once went in and asked for a burger.  Some Dairy Queens have food menus in addition to ice cream - but this wasn't one of them.  Her shock and disgust combined with her accent has proved to be a very entertaining imitation for Tank.  I insist that he share his:  'What?  We no sell BURGER!  We only sell milkshake.  No BURGER!' whenever we have a visitor.  And now - it is burned on the video file.  

Well, I am getting ahead o myself.  I have yet to successfully burn the movie work of art to a DVD. 

What a boring graphic.  Message from
Nero when it wouldn't upload. 
Why the Hell can I not get this mother to burn to a DVD?  Um, that is why I went to BB tonight.  I just bought a new DVD player so I can download the 50 minute (I know - ridiculous!) video to a flash drive and stick it into the USB port that new and improved DVD players come with.  Technically I think I bought a blu-ray machine. 

I mean the movie did burn to a DVD but the DVD won't play in our machine.  I called the 1-800 number again.  This time I got a guy who had some ideas
, but he was no Inder.  He suggested I export the file as an mp4 file.  (Yeah, look at me - with the lingo!).  I did that.  Success.  Then he suggested I download Nero software.  My file was too big for the free trial.  So, I bought $45 software - that wouldn't load.  Enter Mini's Mrs. Shenanigan loving cookie genius friend. 

Software uninstalled.  Then installed.  DVD burned.  Much anticipation.  Damn thing would STILL  not play in my DVD player.  Tehnology be damned.  So, guess who gets to hook up our new $80 blu-ray thing tonight?  Coach is gonna be thrilled.

This thing is costing a fortune, but hey - value of memories for a graduation party:  PRICELESS!

June 6, 2019

uncovering a gem of a photo, selective perfectionism, support your software, Adobe!

I have been trying all day to sit down and post something.  Instead:  I hauled piles of groceries home from two grocery stores, sweated my butt off at a workout class, and enlisted my kids to dismantle my daycare setting quicker than you can say poop-diaper.  I also ran into Best Buy followed by an unplanned visit to Party City - a place that always overwhelms me.  It was in BB's parking lot - power of suggestion.

All this because I am preparing for Ed's graduation party.  Did I tell you that almost no one has declined the evite?  Only out of town family like Coach's sis in KC who we knew would not be coming in town said no.  I think the guest list is around 80 adults (half of whom are Eddie's friends).  Then there are probably 40 kids/cousins - many of whom are hardly 'kids' anymore in the sense that they will probably eat a fair amount.

Anyway, I left you hanging about why this particular 1-800 number call was so outstanding.  I use an adobe product called Premiere Elements 14 to make movies.  Not like I am the next Steven Spielberg or anything, but the movies are cute - set to music, captions at times, transitions between slides, a mixture of photos and videos.

This is not my first rodeo - I know what I am doing, BUT I have run into issues in the past.  Like not enough space on my hard drive to allow the software to do its thing.  I have hired a classmate of Mini's in the past - he is a computer genius.  He has bailed me out in the past, and fortunately my warm chocolate chip cookies speak to him.

Adobe does not support the software that I use anymore.  I think this is lousy.  They want me to buy the updated version.  I don't make movies often enough to justify dropping $75 on an updated version.  Fortunately I found a loop hole, and managed to fudge my way thru the prompts to get in touch with a live person.  Bite me Adobe.  You should support your damn product!

This is a gem that I didn't know I had.  It is a photo
 made from a video file that I must have created when
 I made my folks their 50th anniversary video.  It was a
 video of me walking to work in my high school jacket -
 wearing, you guessed it - my Burger King uniform.  Note
 the visor and the MAJOR floods!  These p;ants were way too
short.  I suspect that the video was made beccause I was begging
 for a ride so that I didn't have to walk to BK.  Oh yeah, who's
 laughing now?  That would be me.  
A few weeks ago I called Adobe - and admittedly maybe the number I called wasn't the best number.  I found it online.  I was put on hold for 2 hours 15 minutes.  The background music sucked.  No one EVER answered the call.  I just needed someone to help me because I bought a new computer in October and the software didn't transfer to my new hard drive.  A few days later I tried again, and I got a guy.  He emailed me my link to get my software back.  Hooray!

That's when I began feverishly making this movie for Eddie.  I poured over old video and photo files.  I compiled a bit too much.  Hard to explain but with my new computer I could not upload the files the same way - the software forced me to go thru every file on my computer and save them differently so I could find them.  OK so it didn't FORCE me to go thru every file.  That process combined with my perfectionist personality, and my photos/video selections blew up.  What if I missed something great by not looking at my next file? 

My selective perfectionism is a sickness that unfortunately does not carry over into housework.  Had to mention that in case we ever meet.  (Kari, are you listening?)

June 4, 2019

weep-worthy 1-800 call, stressers, sitting gifts, & a plea for tune suggestions

I could weep.  No REALLY.  I could.  So many layers to this story.  I am wishing for a big conference call so that I could just share with you this elated feeling - I want to scream from the mountain tops:


So, have you felt like I have been out of touch lately?  Have I not read your most recent post?  Did it take me forever to respond to a comment you were kind enough to leave on my blog?  Did my most recent posts seem like they were written a while ago, not fresh, up to the minute/news-breaking?  Well, I foresaw this giant busy stretch in my life - so I admit that I wrote several posts and scheduled them to drop - while my real life self was threatening to also drop.  As in me, drop down and thrash around like a fish out of water, or more accurately a woman out of her mind overwhelmed.

So the thrashing that could have taken place, but hasn't (YET) could be blamed on a number of things.  Some issues pending, that I will share later - if all the stars align, or I will probably share regardless if it doesn't happen because I do operate on an open book policy here.

Pile of books - with a copy for our house
so we can remember the cuties.
 Thankfully Snapfish had a
 $10 photo book deal going.
Other causes:  college kid cometh home.  Translation:  missing chargers.  Plus the current stresser:  a ginormous graduation party.  Sunday June 9th.  At my call-the-authorities level of filth house.  Where I make all the food for a lengthy evite list that frightens me - because . .  . kid you not - no one has said 'No, shucks, we can't make it.'  Ed is allowed to invite friends to come a bit after our huge family and handful of close friends come - his list sanctioned at 25 but ballooned to 40.  His separate evite has been receiving similar all-in responses.

AND -I have a few more days of babysitting, so I can only do so much party prep in advance.  Certainly I would be insane to prematurely Windex the family room and kitchen sliding glass doors because this short, diaper-wearing troop tends to smear and lick their way across the glass like it is a competition to see who can leave the most DNA.  I suspect filling poop diapers with impressive size loads is also an on=-the-sly contest.

I apologize for the teenage boys lurking in
my way - but this should give you an idea of
the multiple windows readily available for
snot and spit.  Remind me to tell you what the
 teenagers were up to when I snapped this.
Since three families aren't returning next year, I decided a few weeks ago to whip up super cute, rhyming, photo books at snapfish for them to remember us by.  In my spare time.  Not gonna lie - they turned out great.  Unclear whether or not the parents will realize the COUNTLESS hours I spent selecting just the right pictures for each book.  Thank God for 'save as' - since many pages shared the same group shots.  Mini weighed in on each book, and even my daughter who shares my perfectionist gene shook me a few times with a 'no one cares, just wrap it up' speech.   

The most time-absorbing project of late - while it should be clean the house so our guests aren't offended by our grossness - is making a graduation video for Ed.  Enter Inder my 1-800-number hero.  Sadly I have chatted too much.  More info on the big project soon in my next post - also known as a great way to procrastinate about housework even though other posts sit at the ready.  Teaser:  I cannot wait to share with you the photo of yours truly I uncovered in my data gathering.  Get excited.

Please do share your top song suggestions for my grad video in my comments.  Perimeters:  I do not like country music, and therefore will not attach it to my all-consuming project.  Not really into mushy tunes either.  Counting on you!