June 30, 2019

let's play match the kid with the correct parental unit

Because I was flying solo at Ed's college orientation, there was occasional small talk between the wide-eyed, soak-it-all-in parents.

By the way, do you feel dis-oriented with my apparent lingering presence at orientation?  I am trying to avoid excessively long posts by breaking this down, because it's summer - so free time and fun in the sun and all.  Shorter - better?

Now, back to picking apart my orientation experience . . .

When small talk was able to be avoided, I fully partook in some genuinely entertaining people watching.

I paused more than once wishing I could see whose kid was whose, but alas we were separated from our kin (not sure where that term came from - Ed is NOT going to school in the deep south or anything).  Imagine how fun it would be if I could tag a few kids and find out if Eddie ever ended up crossing paths with them, or their odd parents at football tailgaters or something.

I do not use my phone as deftly as most, but I
 found myself snapping photos of various slides
fearing that I would miss some pertinant piece
 of info.  Pretty sure I will never
 look at these pictures again.
This one dad, 'Mr. Temper' lost it early on.  He reminded me SO much of my father in law.  Not being related to him allowed me to find his presence entertaining rather than frustrating.  Plain and simple.  So, the parents, minus their offspring, had just been lectured on academics  It was an overview.  Credits.  Various majors.  Choosing and switching majors.  How to create your own major or find time to double major.  Parents fumbled for phones multiple times to snap photos of screens displayed on the overhead.

At last, it was time time for questions.  Mr. Temper erupted when someone asked for clarification:  'Are parents really not allowed in the advising appointment when students would pick classes?'  Mr. Temper lurched a little in his seat and hollered:  'This is WHY!  Move on, cut the questions off.'

For the record, this question about parents admittance in the advising sessions continued to be asked throughout the day.  Each time I craned my neck to see if I could spot Mr. Temper to see how he was handling the repetition.

Apparently, Mr. T (how fitting) wanted to rush things along, eliminate further questions.  I could wonder if he had someplace else to be, but I had the orientation schedule right in front of me.  We were all headed in the same direction..  The minute one lecture was done we were herded into another building for the next discussion.  I assume he was at this college with his youngest, and his short fuse was due to this not being his first rodeo.

I was pretty confident there was no 'Oh, look we're done early' option regardless of how many silly questions were asked.  I enjoyed watching him from a distance all day, and I marveled at how his wife didn't try to crawl under an auditorium chair at some point.  Who is his kid?  I will probably never know, but God help us if senior year Ed introduces us to his serious girlfriend and her parents:  Mr. T and Mrs. Patience.

June 28, 2019

fashion police shout out, new dress love, shoe craze, vote before the suitcase closes!

I am sure you are still dying to know more about the meeting or not meeting of another parent at Ed's orientation - that will come.  I promise.  Much more about orientation, in fact.

I begged people to advise my social-media-phobic self, and all (4) of you did, so well done fab-four readers.  Believe it or not, there were about 68 non-comment-makers who read that post.  So, now I invite my fab-four AND the shy folks (that's you Diane) to join this conversation.  I value your opinion.  I got this idea from a recent post on June's blog, which is undeniably hilarious. 

Did you grow up with sisters, who whether or not they drove you crazy- could at the very least be relied on to NOT let you leave the house looking silly?  My sisters are not fashionistas, and while I lived under their constant gaze and scrutiny as the little sister, I would not ask them for fashion input ever again.  When I got married I realized I had no one reliable:  roommate, sisters, mom, to wrinkle her nose or eww and ahh over a proposed outfit. 

Dress with no leggings.  Seen here
 in tangerine shoes that I probably
 shouldn't have shown you,
 because I would never wear
 them for more than 2 hours.
 In my old age,
I crave comfort.
I do have daughters who are old enough to share their opinions now, but I do not always trust their young mindset.  Do they get:  'that is too short for a woman of your age' thought process?

Curly dances at National Championships in Vancouver.  We leave on July 1st, and I usually get dressed a little bit nice for her big competitions.  Remember, I am working on a tell-all book about Irish dancing.  Answers are coming, friends.

So, calling all fashion police.  I invite you to join the squad that I am swearing in for special duty.  Translation:  I am packing and I just bought what I consider a great dress.  I am stuck on a few things: 

Do I need short leggings?  (consider that I do not like to be cold and I do not believe that Vancouver has temps similar to Chicago).  Also, I am not sure if the dress will hang as well with legging - because it kind of gets 'stuck' on the leggings, but I can deal.

Is it fine without leggings?  It is pretty damn sheer.  I don't know if you can tell in the pics (that had to be moved outside because it was impossible to avoid piles of crap in the background - and we tried multiple rooms).  Keep in mind that when I was a kid we had to wear a slip under a skirt if light could shine thru the fabric.  Dear God, when did I start sounding SO OLD!

I blew this up so you could see the shoes. 
Also, that is Mary Any's house in the
background on the right.  Feel free to throw
 imaginary rotten eggs at it or lasers.
Shoes:  I bought red, Mary Jane Mesophisto shoes.  They were supposed to be $225 and were marked down to $56.  If I don't wear them with this dress or on this trip, it makes no difference.  I am never gonna pass up a pair of orthopedic-like shoes that are should by definition be ugly, but are SUPER cute AND magically on sale.  Ever.  So the shoes will remain in my collection no matter whether or not I wear them with this dress.

Gray:  these are Naot's I think and offer decent support, but they do give my toes a workout because they are essentially flip flop design, but think heavy.  I do heart these shoes, but they are starting to look like I have been loving on them hard for too long.  (Curly hated them with the dress).

Tangerine:  these strappy sandals and NOT comfortable.  I have owned them for a few years, but that was just around the time that I recognized that my feet deserved more, and in turn my low back, etc.  I have red slide sandals not pictured, by Jambu.  Decent by not as intensely orthopedic as the red Mesophisto.  Not even sure if I am spelling that right, but dear God the packing and arranging and food prep I still need to do.  (ugh - this was supposed to be a short post and it is almost midnight!)

Enter the new red Mary Jane's.
 Too casual?  You kind of get an idea of
 how sheer it is here.  I feel slightly sad that
 my deck is the cleanest, most organized
 place in my home. 
Maybe I should sleep out here.
Is it a dress or a tunic?  I bought it at Nordstrom Rack, so the free-for-all atmosphere doesn't lend itself to gathering input and style advice from a well-versed staff.  For all I know it is a pool cover up stuck on a dress rack.  I saw it.  Mini thought it was awful.  I said, 'trying it anyway,' and we BOTH loved it on.  I haven't been shopping for a while and I almost wept with joy.  Clearly my life's frustrations could be alleviated with more shopping. 

Shoe price tag.  I mean,
 I know you believed
 me, but still.  It's photo
 worthy.  The sales woman
 could not initially find the
match to the shoe I unearthed
 in the sale room at Von Maur
(my happy place).  She made
 my night when she called me
 minutes after I had walked away. 
Red Mesophisto:  Love.  I am not sure if they dress down the pool-cover-up-turned-my-favorite-dress.  I own red fitted, cropped pants too and they will rock those puppies when I pair them together, so not to be offended if they are not the shoe du jour for the rock-star, sheer-as-all-Hell dress. 

There is one other striped fitted polo dress that I considered bringing on this trip and I will show the photo here (below - unless your version moves things around which I cannot be responsible for): 

Lots of cropping to remove
 the mini-Costco in my
  pantry as I
am posing in front
 of the open pantry door. 
I do love
these navy
Naot sandals.
I am not overly excited about the fitted aspect.  Otherwise I do like it.  I caution you that I am sucking the wind out of every square inch of my gut and begging my abdominal muscles to act all 6 pack-ish even if they would rather relax into the best imitation of bowl-full-of-jelly-belly.  So, not sure from a comfort standpoint, I can rely on the commitment of the abs for an all-day-best-behavior showing.

Navy-striped-leaves-nothing-to-the-imagination dress was marked down crazy low to $15 - probably the only reason it made it out of the dressing room.  (Did you just raise your eyebrows, gasp, and whisper:  'You tried that on first?').  Also, maybe part of me KNOWS my sisters would be appalled if I wore it, yes:  I am 'that' sister.  Sheer, rainbow love-of-my-life dress was marked down, but not like that.  (um, $75).  Only reason I can type that:  Coach doesn't read my blog.  Unless he is one of the shy 68 mystery readers.

Shorter posts coming - this is what I get like when I have a million things to do.  I focus on the least essential task -until the 11th hour.  Then come 11th hour it gets all kinds of ugly.  Embrace your distance, but vote while doing so. 

June 26, 2019

free buttons in a sea of strangers, who are sometimes strange

At Eddie's orientation recently, parents were given a name-tag to fill out with their name and where they live.  Most of the people hail from the state where the college is located - not Illinois.  I found myself searching for another Illinoisan like it was one of those long-drive games you play with the kids on road trips to pass the time.  Before long, we had enough fliers and booklets to keep us busy so they stripped us of our college students and herded us towards an auditorium.

Translation:  I was left to attend various lectures and one meal on my own before being reunited with my kid.  Ed doesn't give me attitude.  He is pleasant company.  We share a similar sense of humor.  He is excited about college.  I am not about to insist he live in a certain dorm, or bully him into signing up for specific classes, but I get that some folks might have a different agenda.  I knew we would be separated.

I did snag a button later as a Dad's
 day gift to Coach, and because I knew
 this would be an upcoming post.
  I had to get my hands on this hot item.
Just before dinner when we were about to be reunited with our rising freshman (just had to work that catch-phrase in), an announcement was made: there were 'insert college name mom/dad' buttons available in the back of the auditorium.  Apparently, the buttons were being dispersed in the right isle and I was exiting from the left isle.  I am not really the 'such and such college mom' button wearing type, so I was not fretting about getting a button.

Low and behold, a mom wedged between myself and her husband in the isle where I half expected to see John Candy pop up and deliver the news:  'Sorry forks, Moose shoulda told ya out front:  no buttons being dispersed here.' 

The woman WAS dead set on scoring a button.  She whacked her husband - insisting he had misled them, fearing that she would not be awarded a mom badge of honor.  The husband blamed her exit strategy- even though the button disbursement hadn't been announced until we were already dismissed.  I tried to work my way around their parental meltdown, but if you have EVER exited a theater in a crowd - then you know. 

I observed a mom just ahead of us trying to conceal her chuckle at the scene  When she rotated around to check out the goofy button-lackers, I nodded at her from my trapped position as if to say:  'Yep - that just happened!'  She smiled at me, with a 'Seriously?!'  Did you know:  smiles and nods speak volumes?

I wished I could see what the kid behaved like - the one raised by this 'I want a free-bee button' couple.

June 24, 2019

Reaching out 2019 style? please vote!

My name-tag - didn't think to take a pic
 of it until after I folded it up.
I attended Ed's orientation recently.  Seeing as Coach and I are lucky to go out to dinner once or twice a year - both of us at orientation was never gonna happen.

So, while Ed was off getting to meet new people and inquiring about their snap-chats, I was left to nod at lots of other parents and make small talk.   I scanned the name-tags for parents who might reside near me.  90% of the people hailed from the same state the college is in, which is not Illinois.

Let's face it, Ed might meet friends that he might hang out with once he arrives at school, but I did not plan on becoming buddies with anyone because unless our college students ended up being friends - there was not much point in newly acquainted parents building a friendship.  Right?  (as a side note: this college is enormous!)

Before I ask you to weigh in on how I should proceed if I met a parent that I wanted to keep in touch with, let me describe the social existence (or more appropriately: the lack thereof) that Coach and I 'enjoy'.

Coach works crazy long hours.  He HAS to talk to people while he attends to their physical therapy issues.   I am the chattier of the two of us (shock).  I am surrounded by tots during the day and I crave adult conversation by the time Friday rolls around, which is when Coach is all talked out.

During sports seasons at the high school, we might speak to other basketball player parents during half time.  We invite people over here -rarely, but by the time we decide we have the energy to whip the house into shape and create a few appetizers most people already have plans.  We strike out often.

Our Friday/Saturday specialty:  collapsing on the couch and putting on a movie that we have most likely already seen and then falling asleep.  We congratulate ourselves if we manage to stay awake until the credits.

So, hypothetically speaking:  if I were to meet another parent at orientation, who lives not far from me, would you urge me to 1.  send her a message on Facebook  2.  look up her address and send her a note in the mail with my contact information  3.  wait and see if her son ends up hanging out with my son?

Please vote in the comments below - come on, it is very low risk.  I will not blame you if I am arrested for stalking this hypothetical person.  I will share with you Ed and Coach's opinion on the matter, so you can look forward to their 'manly' approach.

June 22, 2019

least fav task, a loop comment, & girls ARE funny!

Tonight all the stars aligned and I picked up Tank when he finished at the legit landscaping gig without issue.  Next we headed to the golf course -which is very near the legit business- to grab Eddie from the caddy shack.  He had just finished his loop.  Lad had a car parked there, but he was still on the course.  I'm telling you, I run my own caddy Uber service.  Our family always has a vehicle in the vicinity. 

Both of these pick ups happened moments after I rushed from a building after having completed my least-favorite task of the year . . . (drum roll) my bikini wax.

I will not go into details - you're welcome- except to say that I totally appreciate the scene in the movie '40 Year Old Virgin' when Michael Scott's character gets his chest hair waxed.  I decided about 3 years ago that I could handle this 'thing' (after having tried it once a decade ago and bailing on the project indefinitely), because this 10 minutes of EXTREME discomfort makes the summer bathing suit season less bothersome.  Please do not be confused, I am not sporting a string bikini or anything that would defy my age.  Promise.

As I leave the building (or bolt for my car trying to put the entire experience behind me as quickly as possible), the receptionist always tries to set up my 'next' appointment.  'Not till next summer,' I assure her.  'Will be in touch then.'  I need 365 days to recover.

On the way home, Ed told Tank and I about his loop.  As luck would have it, his golfer is currently in physical therapy for his hip and already feels better thru his knees, blah, blah.  Pardon the shop talk - it comes with the territory of being the wife of a PT.

Ed to his golfer who has just revealed he is a physical therapist patient:  'Oh, where are you going for PT?'
In case you were wondering, this is what caddies
 look like when they come home from a loop -
 Curly in the background.  Dinner about
 to be served, but they feast on dry cereal as an
 appetizer.  Still wearing bucket hat.
 Still not finding me funny. 
How is that possible?

Loop:  'Insert name of Coach's clinic.'

Ed:  'Oh, my Dad works there.'

Loop:  'No way!  What's his name?'

Ed:  'Coach Shenanigan.'

Loop:  'Oh my gosh!  Coach is not my physical therapist but I have gotten on his schedule a few times.  He is soooo funny.'

As we drove along, Tank and Ed sat in silence for a moment mulling this one over.

Ed:  'I wanted to say to him "Oh, OK - I have never heard anyone refer to my Dad as being funny, but OK, sure.'

Me:  'Did you say "Oh, you should meet my Mom - she's the really funny one.'

Then I almost lost control of the great white in rush hour traffic, because of the look that Tank (aka the next Christ Farley) gave me that made me laugh till I couldn't see straight.  I am sorry I did not jeopardize our safety and take out my phone to snap a photo of Tank's 'seriously - you, funny?' expression.

Both of my sons assured me that I AM NOT FUNNY. 

Then Ed read us a tweet from his phone:  'If you find a girl who makes you laugh, keep her.  Girls are not funny.'

By the time we were home, they were still challenging each other to come up with one funny girl that they knew at school, or somewhere.  They couldn't.

I almost reminded them of the obvious choice:  ME, but we had just been down this path and involving other offspring in a discussion about my lack of funny thru dinner would only result in said offspring making fun of me until I laughed my butt off and inadvertently choked on my food. 

Step one to being funny, being able to laugh at yourself.  Am I right? 

What's not funny:  tomorrow I will be 364 days closer to my next bikini wax.  Ouch. 

June 20, 2019

caddies, Uber service, camp schedule, and hassle-texts

Tank does landscaping stuff on his own AND also works for a legit landscaping business here and there on top of caddying.  I think it has bugged him lately that his sibling-caddies have mentioned that country clubbers know all members of the Shenanigan fam except Tank, so he has been showing his face around the caddy shack on the regular.

The lady with the legit business met Tank on Next Door website last year, so this is his 2nd year working for her.  He enjoys it and honestly he might have a future in it, if his stand up routine doesn't pans out.

The landscaping stuff in general drives me a bit batty because we always have a car or two circling the golf course where Tank and the other kids (minus Curly) caddy.  It's like our own Uber service -minus the tips.  Plus (this is to offset the multiple minus mentions) caddies typically make a bundle in fewer hours than it takes to plant a row of bushes.  Mulching and mowing jobs that Tank cannot walk to throw a snag in my regular chauffeuring route. 

Exhibit A:  yesterday I had to drive Curly, Reg, and Mini to high school basketball camps 7 minutes or less from home, because when this crew isn't lugging clubs around a golf course, or snarfing down all food in sight, they are playing basketball.  Not necessarily in that order.  My pick ups/drop offs included:  9, 10:15, 11, 12:30, and 3.  Add to that Tank wanting to be dropped off to do his non-legit gig at some woman's house at 11 (at least he now knows to leave unwanted shrubs behind).  He wanted me to come back and get him at 3.

At 2:00 Tank started to hassle-text me:  'I'm done.'  The longer he waited the more aggressive the messages became.  I was also babysitting for the one baby.  Mini is technically handling this job 2 days a week over the summer, but I agreed to cover for her at our house during the hours when she is at b-ball camp.  Ask me if I regret this arrangement.

Ah, the Great White.  This bad boy can find
 it's way to and from the golf course
 blindfolded.  Picture me sitting in here tooling
 around listening to the radio and still testing
the lyrics of every song in case it is a good
 fit for the next grad video I make.  Nothing
 like making good use of time, right?  By the
 way, a lot of great tunes are centered around
 love stories - not applicable to grad videos. 
Such a shame.
Caddies have Mondays off, so I did have college kid drivers available - in theory (if you count Lad's noon wake-up time as 'available').  Add to all of this that Ed and Lad and I juggle two cars between us.  Yesterday morning we couldn't find the key to the car Coach left me, and three drivers were limited to one teenage car that I hate to drive due largely to the smell.  It's the little things.  Not to mention, I prefer my bird's eye view in the Great White.

A golf round is not exactly a science as far as what time it is going to wrap up, but it is typically easier to guesstimate as compared to Tank's 'prediction abilities' concerning how long a landscaping job might take.  I had a situation arise at home that involved a phone call, waiting on hold, and a hope to have it resolved as soon as possible.  Tank was not enjoying my 'YOU SAID 3:00.  YOU NEED TO WAIT' texts.

Tempting to text him:  'Rub some dirt in it', in response to his whining - since he always has plenty of that on hand.  I ended up getting him at 2:30, and then swinging by the grocery store before we circled back to get Reg at 3:00, which turned into 3:15.  This was my 3rd trip to a grocery in 3 days because NO STRAWBERRIES or other fresh fruit available.

Maybe if Tank plants a garden that offsets my grocery visits, I will be more forgiving of these landscaping inconveniences.

June 18, 2019

living with a landscaper, bush disposal, and timing of friend invite?

 I live with a self-appointed landscaper, but you would never know it based on the embarrassing disarray of our yard.  I mean maybe you would put two and two together if you drove by and saw Tank unloading someone else's shrubs from a pickup truck and tossing them under a tree in my front lawn.  But you would probably just think:  weird.  Not necessarily, 'Oh, look.  The Shenanigan kid is a landscaper.'

I also keep reminding Tank that he needs to be clear with people about his limitations.  He had Coach drive him to give an estimate one day.  The next day he has me drive to the same place to do the work at this same estimate house.  Um.  It was a million plus dollar home.  I was like, 'Coach  - you know he is out of his league, right?'  This million dollar baby wanted him to build a retaining wall.  He took a p;ass but did the other things on her to-do list. 

On the drive home I was like L-I-M-I-T-A-T-I-O-N-S!!!

Several weeks ago, I slept late.  This was a momentous occasion folks, because I NEVER sleep late.  I was enjoying lounging in my pj's with hair sticking out everywhere and my unattractive glasses (not my cheaters) perched on my nose while sitting at my desktop in the study.  That's when I heard it.

Teen.  Male. Voices.  In my house - not all of these voices were familiar to me.  Shit, company?  Now?  It is not even 9 am on a Sunday.  Me sleeping till a glorious 8:45 IS sleeping late, but it isn't so very late that I would anticipate visitors trolling around my house.

Tank burst into the study and his buddy started to follow him, but must have caught a glimpse of my  holy-Hell-of-a-mess-of-a-slept-in-self and suddenly jerked back into the hallway.  Yes, I was repulsive enough for a visitor to recognize my need for space and a shower and contact lenses and toothpaste, etc.

The round shrub was one of 10 initially
 left here awaiting official disposal.  The
 weeds in the background - those I can
 claim as ours.  Of course.  Honestly,
these shrubs looked better than most of
 the unloved and overgrown stuff in our yard.
 Still, I was not up for a replanting party.  I wish
I would have taken a photo before they were
in the middle of being hauled away . . . 
Tank paces after a big day landscaping.  It is unnerving.  So he was pacing around the study - not much room to pace in there.  He started telling me about all the shrubs he pulled out for a friend of ours.  I was unaware he was even doing work for her.  He meets most of his clients on Next Door.

He said he was starving and he and his buddy were about to head out to another job.  I offered to make them breakfast.  Tank does not bring friends around often - so I jumped at the chance to make his buddy feel at home, I mean how much more at home can you get if your pal's mom is wearing pajamas?  I ran upstairs and pulled a sweatshirt on and tamed my (thinning) mop.

A few days later my mom paid her lawn service
to come and grab the unwanted bushes.  It was the
 am before one of the last days of school.  I made Tank
 race out and help the guys load the truck,
  and pay Nana for her assistance.  (note:  Nana lives
walking distance from us, but she has yet to fire her
 well-loved lawn service.  She's not wrong!)
During the breakfast making, Tank came clean.  After pulling shrubs out of the yard of Mrs. Friend, she wanted to know if he would also dispose of said shrubs.  He said 'sure' and his buddy admitted to me that he was nudging Tank telling him, 'NO- WE DON'T DISPOSE OF SHRUBS.'  So- my casual ware must have made buddy-roped-into-landscaping feel at home enough to rat out Tank to me.  Welcome to the family, Buddy.  You are in good company.  Tank's sibs also often have stories to tell about messes he has gotten himself into, and I don't need to bribe them with french toast to spill the beans..

Tank swore that he would figure it out, but in the meantime all of the shrubs he yanked out of her yard were now tossed unceremoniously under a tree in our front yard.

And I wonder why our neighbors dislike us?

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!

June 2, 2019

wait, I think I am old

My grandfather died when he was 97 or 98.  I was due to deliver my first baby about 4 weeks later (ended up being 6 weeks because Lad would not budge!).  My grandpa was quite a character. He survived the depression. Drank a small-ish glass of whiskey each day after running it quickly under the tap, which really only added a drop of water.  Back in his day, he had smoked a pack of lucky strikes a day. He claimed grandma’s cooking and his whiskey were secrets of his longevity.

Back when I was a college student and beyond, I used to call him and ask him the same thing:  ‘So grandpa, how are you doing?’ He always responded the same way, ‘Pretty good for an ole guy.’ He cracked himself up.  

So now suddenly I feel old.  Why? Well let me tell you before I struggle to think of the reasons I have gathered in my mind.  Get it, issue number 1- sometimes I simply cannot think of a word. Tip of my tongue and then it is gone.  I sit at my keyboard and think; what’s the word for (such and such). It often comes to me when I have typed a few sentences later, but sometimes I ask whatever kid is around.  ‘What’s the word for . . . . ‘. They give me a weird look.

OK, really, here is my list:

  1. I have managed to hang on to this pair for
    awhile now, but prior to that I was losing
    them and breaking them all the damn time.
      I hate being dependent on them.  Boo.
    Cheaters.  They suck, bad.  I hate taking my glasses on and off.  I got eyeglasses in 4th grade and have wanted to be free of contacts and glasses ever since.  Since I am a self-proclaimed old person, that is a long fricking time. I have the contact lenses thing down, and NOW I have to deal with glasses on top of my contacts?  No thanks. The minute I put my glasses down, I realize I need them again to read a recipe. To see my GPS, I have begun to drive with them perched on the end of my nose.  (thankfully I drive too fast to have fellow drivers consider me a grandma driver).
  2. The enamel on my teeth is wearing away.  Um, holy horrors. This is a nightmare. Can you say cold sensitivity?  Sweet sensitivity? Air sensitivity? All of the above suck, because I love to eat! I recently ate some popcorn and I thought I had a kernel stuck in between my teeth.  I worked on it all night. I adore those little floss sticks and I would not stop picking at my teeth. No improvement. I had Coach and Mini take a peek.  Mini was horrified when she told me that she saw ‘staining’ on my teeth. I don’t drink coffee., I looked myself. It is missing enamel along the gum line.  I do not have a corn kernel in there, I have worn down my enamel. I think by brushing too hard. It is the left side of my mouth, I am a lefty. I do most things in life quickly, and I suspect that brushing fast and furious is to blame for this sad but true sign of my old age.
  3. You should see me get up and down off the floor to change diapers.  I workout every day, but my hips have been complaining more and more lately.  My back is a train wreck with piercing sciatica pain. I have horrible tennis elbow and I don't even play tennis. My kids already imitate my slow and gradual straightening up process when I get up from a seated position.  
  4. My scalp got so sunburned in Florida on spring break because I didn’t wear my baseball hat one of the days.  My stupid hair is so thin. It has a lot to do with celiac disease and the years it went undiagnosed (could not think of the word ‘undiagnosed’ - see? Who struggles with that word?  It is so basic!). I wasn’t absorbing my nutrients and my hair suffered. It’s never coming back folks. Imagine the great look I will be sporting as my sunburn peels. ‘Hey old lady, there are big white flakes in your hair?  Maybe push your goofy glasses up a little higher on your nose so you can see it for yourself.’