August 30, 2019

Narcey returns, weigh in PLEASE on how to respond!

I had more of the Vancouver chronicles set to publish this morning, but this just cropped up so I am poking this newsie bit into my lineup.  I am interested in your input, so please vote for an option in my comments:  

First of all, if you have not read about the Narcey nightmare from last winter please check it out here, and here, and here.  (There are tons of posts about this whack-job, but you can do a search for Narcey on my blog and find them).  Or if you aren't interested in reading more, I will summarize.

I babysat for Narcey's kids.  The mom was a big fan.  Mid November she asked me if I preferred am or pm preschool for her triplets the next year.  The VERY next week, there was a misunderstanding.  My kids were cold at the kitchen table, because she was standing in my garage dealing with a 4 yr old meltdown and she left the door open.  I closed the door while saying:  'Just going keep this closed.'  It is a heavy door.  She thought I slammed it.  I told her not my intention.  I don't do anything slowly in the morning.  Duh. 

She lost her shit in my kitchen.  Shouted at me.  Coach used her fit as a teaching moment.  'See kids, this is what selfish look like.  All 'I' statements.'  She quit my in-home daycare a week later.  I babysit for teachers and could not replace them for the remainder of the school year.  Narcey (her blog nickname because she is a narcissistic crazy person) faked that her husband got a promotion and cited new work hours as the reason that they left.  And if that is the case, then why the text message from last night.   

My favorite part of this story:  Ed followed the dad to his car on their last day (gave me an hour notice for, asked that I have all 4 car seats and other stuff gathered at the door).  Ed told him that his mother (ME!) took great care of his kids and that he hoped they showed a little appreciation at their next stop.  BTW the other moms I sit for felt very uncomfortable when they heard this dad lose his temper with his young kiddos regularly on my driveway at pickup.  The dad spun around and told Ed that they were leaving because I was violent.  Me!  Closing the door was violent?  Seriously!

Last night Narcey texted me THIS message below:

My possible responses:  

1.  not text back.  Narcissistic people are icky, crazy people (my sister was married to one) and they will stop at nothing to prove that everyone should believe that they are the almighty.  

2.  text back the first paragraph only (see below) of this lengthy venting text 
that I drafted.  I shared the venting text with Coach and I told Mini (who thinks I should send the whole venting text) that Daddy would just say '1st paragraph only' and when he texted me that exact thing back, she died laughing.  

3.  text back the entire venting text that I drafted.  My issue is that I never got closure.  I never got to stick up for myself outside of texting her and saying: 'Hey, that door closing this morning was not intended as a slam.'  I like closure.   And now she has opened the door (get it - considering this is all over a door closing!) and I feel like I have my chance to share my frustration with her.

4.  text back something in between of the 1st paragraph and the entire venting text.

5.  text back the first paragraph of the venting text and the words 'Sometimes the truth hurts.'  

I have witnesses to her unwarranted outburst.  Coach and my 3 high school kids were shocked by her reaction.  The families I sit for now and those that have moved on for logistical reasons think I am the bomb.  

I am friends with some of the teachers in our district and some of the young families because Mini babysits for them.  I KNOW PEOPLE, and I am not shy.  She seriously was off her rocker last year and it cost me a bundle, and she lied about why they were leaving.  If the promotion was not a lie, then why is she uncomfortable about answering why they left?

Last year, Coach just kept shrugging and saying, 'Yeah, but you dodged a bullet.  You did not want to deal with her for the rest of the year.'

See below for remainder of venting text, then please tell me what you think I should do.  (this next one:  part 2 is supposed to start with 'a week before thanksgiving' but it cut off)
part 2

Part 3
part 5

August 28, 2019

a morphing reservation, where is Chatty Kathy, & damage control

This is the Facebook page where the link to
 the block of rooms is shared.  I am not a big
Facebook user.  Now that I was looking for
some exciting visual to go with this post, I see
 posts from people back in My who decided to
 go to the competition months after the block of
rooms had been opened.  Sometimes dancers
qualify late in the game.  That makes my head spin.
  Anyway, people were writing in on the Facebook
 page saying there was a shortage of rooms.  They
 kept opening extra blocks of rooms, but then those
 filled.  I am so glad I did not see this when I was
 in my damage control mode.  I would have panicked.
  Well, I guess I kind of did and where
 we ended up is evidence of that. 
Vancouver was approaching.  Quickly.  Coach ended up pouring over the tourism books I checked out of the library selecting touristy things to do.  There were notes, a spreadsheet, input from his patients who had been there, etc.  

About 3 weeks before we flew to Canada, I finally called the hotel to scale back the dates of the 2nd room.  In Coach’s research, he surmised that staying downtown made the most sense.  The hotel was about $141 a night within the block.  We had adjoining rooms from the 1st till the 10th, or did we?  

I called the hotel to adjust the dates for the second room since Coach arrived the 4th not the 1st.  The girls and I would manage the Irish dancing tasks best if we could do so minus the boy contingent.  Dancing on the 3rd, boys arriving on the 4th- ready to tour, or eat, or sometimes both.  
More exciting pics:  the link to our hotel.  I was
going to post a photo of our reservation
 confirmation.  That would have been super
 simple to refer to from time to time, instead of
blindly calling up and saying:  'Yo, we are
 good to stay till the 10th, right?'  Anyway my
 reservation confirmation is just not colorful
 and my name and credit card info is kind
of on there, so you are stuck with this.

Imagine my surprise when the hotel man told me that our reservation ended on the 7th, NOT THE 10TH.  Oh.  Shit.  

Well, this is pretty!  This is a glimpse into my
day to day to do list.  And now you understand
why I mess things up sometimes.  The star and
arrow point to the simple word 'Vancouver' from
May 21st.  I was still reminding myself to look into
 other rooms, but I think it started to get lost in
 translation and I no longer knew what to do about
Vancouver.  The other underlined area is the
 name Luigi.  As in - crook of a contractor that
we are contemplating taking to court.  Any lawyers
 out there want to offer some legal advice?
Our flights, booked weeks after our hotel, were as follows:  girls July 1st-10th, boys July 4th -10th.  Somewhere in that relaxing time after I booked rooms and we finalized flights, our hotel dates morphed in my mind to match our flights.  That was just not the case.  The flight dilemma I will not share because it was a demonstration in frustration as we searched for an affordable flight in a sea of no freaking affordable options.  

My to-do list reminded me to research a different hotel, but Coach said 'let's stay there', and I lost my focus.  My fault.  Damage control kicked in.  

First I begged the hotel dude to give me an extension to my existing reservation.  Where was Chatty Kathy hotel lady who-wanted-my-life-story when I needed her?  The guy apologized, but the block of rooms was closed and the best he could do was offer me rooms at the regular rate:  $415/night.  That was for one room and we needed two.  Ouch.  I glowered and hung up.

Now we had to come up with a plan B.  Quickly!

August 26, 2019

blocked from the block-going big, good call?

so maybe the woman responded like a hag
 to me, because I unwittingly
made up a disease called
 the 'cwkiac' disease.  Duh. 
Was supposed to be celiac. Her
 response is in gray below.  She is
NOT nice, but Irish dancing is a universe
 of recourse-less-ness, so I just grit my
 teeth and imagine a day when Curly will hang
 up her dance shoes.  Of course my name was
on my FB message to her, but she is able to hide
 behind the anonymity of  the 'National
 Irish Dance Championships' FB page. 
College drop off story shared:  back to the Vancouver chornicles . . . The day that I needed to book a hotel room for the Vancouver National dancing championships had arrived.  A few minutes before 1:00 I gathered Curly and Reggie.  The stars had aligned and they had a half day from school (this was back in February- like everything else in my life I am just getting around to describing this nightmare adventure), so they were home.  Warm bodies who could dial telephones - just what I needed.  

Whether they liked leaving their friends to hang out in the basement for a few minutes mattered little to me.  Throw your pals an Xbox controller and let's DO THIS!  

I assigned each warm body a land line or a cell phone and a script.  I positioned myself at the desktop with my two partners in crime an arm's reach away.  At the strike of 1:00 we began calling the Sutton.  Curly got thru first.  I heard her stumble thru the script:  ‘Hi.  Um, I want the 2 bedroom apartment for July 1st thru the 7th in the Irish dancing block.’  
I did not share my entire rebuttal with you,
because she never responded.  Can you
 imagine the snarky bitch that wrote this?
 Someone is not loving her volunteer involvement
 with the dancing association.  You people put the
wrong info in the room descriptions, own
 it and apologize - don't act like I peed
 on your Irish soda bread.  RUDE!

I grabbed the phone from her.  The woman took her time clicking away on her computer.  Finally she told me that the 2 bedroom apartment was not included in the block of rooms.  It would cost $800 a night or maybe it was $1,200 a night.  No matter - not feasible.  I tried to argue with her ‘Then why was it listed in the description that our group gave us?’, but recognized that as pure silliness.  This Canadian woman did not control what info the dancing group put together.  I was wasting minutes.  Minutes when other hotels were filling up faster than you can say:  this sucks.’  

I quickly dialed the number of favorite hotel number 2.  The sales agent was as chatty as a granny at a baby shower.  Dear God.  Just plug my credit card in and secure a room at your hotel.  

Me:  ‘You say I will have both a microwave and a refrigerator, correct?’   

'Yes,' Chatty Kathy assured me before asking me more about our involvement in Irish dancing.  Oh, how nice it would have been to just say:  ‘Oh, my book covering all these riveting details will be out next month.  Look for a copy!’  Dare to dream. 

Glad as I was to have secured an approved room in the block, I figured we would check out of the hotel as soon as Maeve's dancing was complete.  I assumed we would want to get out of the city and stay in an airbnb with a kitchen or something.  For weeks, every day I woke up and wrote at the top of my to-do list:  ‘Vancouver - other hotel’.  I could whittle down the current reservations at the hotel where Chatty Kathy worked once we figured out the rest of our family itinerary, or girls-only itinerary. 

This was a very nice hotel - without a
2 bedroom apartment, but still very nice.
Eventually we opted to go big (take everyone to Vancouver) and then go home (and face the bills).  The reasoning was such:  we already planned to buy tickets for 3 of the 8 of us.  I hated limiting our fancy travel plans to the girls.  I was raised with loads of favoritism and no pretense of ‘even Steven’ so I didn’t want to open that can of unpleasant worms (more than it already is, hello Scotland girls-only '18).  

Also, how many more years will we travel with the whole gang?  Plus, Vancouver was not a destination that would likely crop up again sometime soon.  We decided to go for it.  

The question is:  would we be glad we did? 

August 23, 2019

drivers can drive, um -and argue, and fight for the car

I lost two drivers in one day - to college, People, nothing tragic, thank God.  

Part of me is not sorry about being down a few drivers.  I can only tolerate so many conversations about when ‘not-present’ brother will be back with the car and why can I not be without my car so ‘present brother’ can go do such and such until ‘always late’ brother returns.  

Oh, dear Lord - do not get me started on the ‘dearest brother, why is the car on empty when I just filled it up and you used it last’ heated discussion that permeated the kitchen as often as the smell of workout clothes and musty caddy towels.  While it was a joy at times to have two drivers to tap for errands and Irish dancing pick up or drop offs, the impending headache often caused me to skip the ask and just do it myself.  

I informed Coach earlier this summer that this will be our last summer owning 3 cars.  By next summer we could potentially have 6 drivers (including Coach and I), but first I must share with you the dreaded DMV stories from a few weeks back.  (coming up in a subsequent you-won't-believe-this-one post, brace yourselves).

This is Lad and Ed's room before they left.
 It only looks slightly less cluttered now
 that they are gone.  Not a huge improvement.
  I considered going back in there to take an
 'after they moved out' photo, but opted not to
 ruin my day.  I am in no hurry to
 re-enter the dungeon.  Baby steps.
The two college boys have always shared a room.  Now that room is vacant - unless you count the filth and disorder left behind.  Mislaid, discarded clothes - will they want these when they return, or are these the give-to-Tank-or-Goodwill variety?  Ed likes to drink water in his room, so I can now go claim the kitchen cups he left in his wake.  Lad struggles to keep sheets on his bed, but extra comforters are a must.  There is garbage - literally - scattered everywhere.  Packaging from opening new underwear to used Kleenexes litter the floor.  I stripped beds today and while I know I have to go back in their pit eventually, it will wait until I can no longer waste time basking in the sun on my deck lounge chair.

They may have been disruptive or argumentative or self-involved or messy or lazy at cleaning up or overly social or always hungry, but I will miss them both.  Their personalities are unique and different, and there were often mini brawls and arguments in my kitchen.  Good or bad, the dynamic will be different without them.

August 21, 2019

my Scarlet O'Hara twist on things and what is left behind

When asked how I handled dropping Ed off at college, I told my friend that I am focused on what happens next and keeping busy with the daily tasks that lie in wait for me.  Tuesday is orientation for Reg and Curly at junior high complete with laptop pickup, supply drop off, and school pictures.  We will have 3 tots that I babysit for in tow.  

Translation:  I am pulling a Scarlet O’Hara here.  Not familiar with her coping mechanisms?  ‘I will think about that tomorrow.  Tomorrow is another day.’  Call it avoidance, if you will.  That is how I am dealing at the moment.  Maybe I will fall apart later. 

Back when Lad first went away to school, it was an adjustment.  He had been pushing the envelope and testing us on the regular in high school though.  College was a welcome change.  

Lad turned 21 this summer.  Lad:  'Treat me like I am 21!'  Coach and I:  'Act like you are 21.'  Nuff said?    Already since he flew back to New York Monday, we have had multiple phone conversations and there were no doors slammed or harsh words exchanged in the process.  21 year olds should not live at home.  

I know Ed will come home for visits, but I also know that it will never be the same.  He will only be a visitor not someone living under our roof.  He will be focused on seeing friends.  To prepare us, he was singly focused on his social life all summer.  ‘So and so leaves tomorrow.  We are all going over there tonight.’  Me:  'You will see these peeps again and you HAVE been seeing them all summer.'  He was hardly home -always racing off to caddy, to workout, or to see friends.  Meanwhile I whiled away the hours leading up to the day he would leave for college by ordering things on Amazon or interrupting school supply shopping with Curly to grab toiletries for him at Target.
And I am left with this . . .
Tank's sense of humor.
  He sent this text as I drove
home.  Ed does
 not cook and he is not one
 with nature, so
 I was like, 'huh?'  then the
followup text came. 
Wonder if I should start bracing
 myself now for
 the absence of Tank's sense of
humor when he
goes away in 2 years.  

Lad may have left a trail around the house and we would wake up unsure of where he slept the night before:  the basement couch, Coach's family room recliner, his own bed, or maybe he never came home, but I will miss his sense of humor and the stories surrounding the encounters he had with golfers while he caddied.  

I will miss conversing with Ed, because we used to talk and joke about things like school or his sports teams or my babysitting or whatever was happening.  My concerns became his concerns and he was a good guy to have around when I was stressed about something.  

Meanwhile I am left with:  Mini, who likes to talk to me, and Curly, who has a velcro attachment to me, so I have that going for me.  Tank has a few more years to eat entire packages of things and leave his belongings EVERYWHERE before he goes away to college.  He is a one-word responder when asked about usual things like school and team practices and friends.  If Reg is not careful he is going to inhale a basketball while he is living and breathing all things basketball, and I may struggle to remove said basketball from his airway.  A switch was recently flipped from 'good-kid' to ‘teenage-kid’ in Reg and he now has an answer for most everything and a sneer for everything else, so my jaw is often clenched.  

At least the two college kids left their room in a TOTAL state of disarray so I can busy myself fixing that up as a distraction from my 'where the Hell did everyone go?' feeling, which was so thoughtful of them. 

August 19, 2019

where to begin, from 6 to 4

I had a post all set for this morning, but I decided to write about the weekend instead.  Then I was not sure what to say.  Where to start?  It has taken me all day.  Kinda in a funk.
This picture is my shoe vertical -
should have flipped it horizontal.
 Sorry.  Small move-in injury.  I kept
bumping my right foot shoe into my
left shoe ankle bone.  Ouch.  It is like
biting the inside of your cheek and
 then re-biting it multiple times,
which I always attribute to stress. 

This has been the busiest, most hectic, chaotic, stressful summer on record for us.  Now these busy days and weeks have dissolved with one downsizing swoop.  We went from having six kids at home to just four.  

I dropped Eddie off for his freshman year of college yesterday - complete with a 4 hour drive there and a four hour drive home.  All this driving took place in one day on less than 6 hours of sleep.  Not my favorite way to drive.  We were at a 50th b-day party the night before and I wonder if I ate something that had pesky gluten in it.  I didn't feel great.  

Ed and I left the house at 7:30 am.  I warned Ed that if I heard Lad and Coach get up and leave for the airport before 4 am for Lad to catch his 5:55 am flight back to New York for school, then we might have to bolt at the same time.  Once I am awake I have to start driving before major drowsiness sets in.  I woke up at 5:35 am - happily had not heard the earlier college departure (I said my good-byes the night before).  I showered, gathered lunch and snacks, and then dragged Ed out of bed.
I drank the 3rd coke bottle which also had
a college logo on the label. 
One of these may or
 may not be where Ed ended
 up going to school.

Curly was supposed to accompany Ed and I.  She was excited to see Ed's room and help him move in.  I had sold the move-in idea to her, because she would end up being alone all day if she didn't come with us.  Coach was assisting in teaching a class thing (WHY DID HE OFFER HIS SERVICES ON THIS DAY?) and Mini is in Ireland (more on that later) and then Tank and Reg would be caddying.  At the last minute a friend invited her to attend an extra Irish dancing class, hang at friend's house, plus a sleepover.  Sleepovers always win with 11 year old girls - besides I reminded her that as fun as it was to see Ed's room, it would still add up to 8 hours in the car round trip.  Sleepover it was.

We woke her to say good-bye.  It was not pretty.  She leaned out of her bunk bed as Ed whispered, 'Don't get out - we want you to go back to sleep, just give me a hug.'  And hug she did.  She would not let go.  My own eyes welled up watching her little chin quiver as she cried and clung to him in the longest sibling hug in our family's history.  
While in the stupid parking lot I
spotted this licence plate from
 CALIFORNIA!  What?!  Why would
 a water polo player from California
 go to school in the Midwest at a
 school with no water polo team.
I guess it could be a Dad's car and
maybe this kid doesn't play water polo.
 Mr. California, have you
 not heard about our winters?

There were move-in frustrations.  Why oh why did they instruct us to move our cars to the stadium lot after we unloaded?  It was 92 degrees out and I chose to walk back to his dorm about 3 miles because I saw no shuttles or people waiting for shuttles or signs that said 'shuttle here.'  A third of the way to his dorm, I turned and walked back to my car.  'Screw this.  I will find a closer place to park.'  I had no intention of being there all damn day.  We had no dinner plans and elaborate redecorating schemes.  I drove back in my sweat soaked clothes and parked in an academic lot across the street.  What college move-in day would be complete without a painful trip to Target with 5,000 other people?  A trip that I later decided was unnecessary.  Sigh.

Our good-bye was awkward because his roomie was saying good-bye to his folks on the other side of the room.  I dreaded this moment.  I hugged Ed, got choked up, and ran like lightening out the door.  His roomie called after me, 'Bye Mrs. Shenanigan!'  

August 16, 2019

decisions: funds, kitchenettes, & how to accommodate excessive teens

We knew Curly was dancing in Vancouver, but we had yet to decide who we would assemble as the tag-along cast-of-characters.  Before hammering out our decision, the block of rooms opened.  
I have no photos to accompany this somewhat
boring saga setting up the ensuing room-booking
drama, so I decided to toss this your way.  This
 is the scale aka my nemesis in the locker room
of my health club.  I believe the visible appendage
 is my arm.  I did not mean to take photos in
 the locker room at the club.  Imagine how
 incredibly grateful I am (and now in turn
 you are) that there were no naked women
milling around in the background.  That would
have been embarrassing - especially if these
 imaginary women THOUGHT I
 was taking their photo.  Lawsuit or
club expulsion dodged.  Phew.

Really the decision amounted to this:  spend a gross amount of money and travel as a family to do touristy things when Curly’s dancing duties were complete, or invest enough to still make my dance-mom head spin and just take Curly the dancer and Mini the supportive-sister as my faithful travel companions and do very few touristy things.  Decisions, decisions.  Or more simply:  funding, funding. 

Booking a hotel in the Irish dancing block for these competitions is nothing short of stressful, aggressive, and frustrating.  Opting out of the reserved block results in paying a penalty.  Missing the initial offering means choosing from a hotel in a subsequent block once extra hotel rooms are scraped together.  Been there, done that.  

Again:  irrelevant photo.  Tank this morning
(clutching a wad of cash in his fist)
after a rather muddy landscaping instillation
 of a new garden for some new client.
  He netted over a grand, so he was muddy
AND happy and since he is opening the
fridge here:  HUNGRY.  What else is new?

So, it makes sense that I began my research into what hotels bragged about what amenities the night before the damn block opened.  I am nothing if not ill-prepared and frazzled on the regular.  What can I say, the last minute lifestyle such as mine leads to an often miserable existence, but I am rocking it.  Sort of.  

Namely I longed for:  kitchenette, or just a microwave, or just a fridge, or all of the above in some kind of glorious combo.  These details rank as the most important for a goofy, budget conscious, celiac suffering mom who travels with as much food as physically possible.  

I was also moderately interested in how close the hotel was to the venue.  Last year’s dance-bag-left-in-the-cab nightmare is still painfully fresh in my memory.  Had I been awarded my own reality TV show weeks before the lost-bag incident, I would be writing this from my new digs in some exclusive island resort where I would now reside with my family as millionaires.  Sadly, Irish dancing schools are barred from said island, and Curly has retired.  Wink, wink.  Yes, the ‘incident’ would have come across as THAT entertaining had it just been captured by some seedy, go-for-the-jugular TV producer.

I discovered in my I-just-want-to-go-to-bed research hours when I cussed myself out for not investigating earlier, that one hotel had a kitchenette and separate bedrooms.  Apartment style.  This would be ideal to let teenagers sleep late or allow them to stay up later than those family members who are not nocturnal.  Of course I was still not 100% sure excessive teenagers would be in attendance.  Since it was clear as mud, and not about to get clearer - I went to bed ready to try for a room the next day.

August 14, 2019

a new use for deodorant, & funniest text from Coach EVER

I was racing to get out the door to have Ed's wisdom teeth pulled.  My master bathroom toilet would not stop running.  I am not a plumber.  Not even close.  I bravely lifted the cover off the back of the toilet to see all the bells and whistles in there.  Fun.  I jiggled a few things.  Isn't that what one does?

See that damn yellow-ish hose would not stop
with the over the top water supply.
There were teeth to be pulled,
damn it.  STOP!  There is nothing
 gross here, promise.  Clean water, folks.
 Lots of bubbles from the
 constant flow of water.  
I figured out that by holding this one piece up high enough the water would stop streaming out of this angry white hose thing.  All the while I kept reminding myself:  clean water, clean water.  While channeling my inner MacGyver, I thought of Duplo legos.  You know - the chubby ones?  Doesn't everyone think of Duplo legos when the toilet won't stop running?    I know.  It is times like this that my babysitting mind prevails.

With no time to jog down to the first floor and build a lego tower to hoist up the piece, I frantically looked around.  Mini's deodorant, abandoned since our return from Vancouver almost a week ago, was on the counter.  No idea what she has been using to avoid bad BO, but I cross my fingers that she has a spare.  I am way to sophisticated and concerned with my general health to step foot in the kids' bathroom and investigate who has what deodorant.  Trust me, if I ever posted a live action, uncut photo of the kids' bathroom at its finest - we would stop being friends.  Guaranteed.
Note the white Dry Idea bottle perched under
 that black thing sort of middle/ bottom
of the photos.  Also note that the yellow-ish
hose stopped running water.  

So, since tidiness is not the name of the game here, I never removed her Dry Idea from my bathroom.  Now Dry Idea gave me an idea.  I propped it up under the need-some-support part.  I kid you not, the bottle of Mini's under-utilized deodorant fit PERFECTLY.  And I have photos to prove it.

Well this must be your lucky day, because this reminds me of another toilet story.

Before we left for Vancouver, I entered my bathroom to a gruesome discovery.  Someone, overfilled the toilet with toilet paper.  And then didn't flush.  All other evidence had thankfully been flushed away.  Just mountain of TP remained, which I managed to flush.  I ran around the house scolding the general public.

The next day, same thing in the kids bathroom.  We were not so lucky this time.  The toilet made horrible gasping sounds when Mini (who was not the culprit) tried to flush.  Coach had just left the house for Home Depot.  I opted for a text to deliver the time-to-plunge news.  Seemed like he might need a warning before walking back into this.  I do a lot of shit (no pun intended, but it works!), but I don't plunge.

His response text made me unable to move air for a while.  I was laughing that kind of silent laugh that can be misunderstood to think that someone is struggling.  Mini was sitting on my bed as I packed and she kept asking me:  'What?  What?  WHAT?!'  I finally showed her the text from her Dad.  She joined me in basking in the hilarity of it.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how my kids didn't think their golfer actually knew their dad because he described Daddy as 'funny.'  Well, if you wait around long enough you get the much-awaited laugh.

August 12, 2019

hole in 1, new shoes, career woes, & a hole in 1 at my workplace

Last week the guy Lad was caddying for made a hole in one.  I do not golf, but I get that this is an exciting moment in the life of a golfer.  Fortunately, it is also an exciting moment in the life of a caddy.  The golfer paid Lad $500 for the day.  HUGE!  GENEROUS!

This is a FEW of the shoes in the
mudroom.  I opted not to spend
 my entire morning
walking around the corners
of the kitchen and
 the front hall taking pics of all the
shoes abandoned there.
Apparently a golfer scoring a hole in one typically purchases new shoes for his caddy after such a monumental event.  I know, I don't get the correlation either.  Laddie is excited to get new shoes.  Our mudroom groaned a little at the prospect of ANOTHER pair of shoes being tossed around in there.

Not sure my kids believe me, but when I was growing up we each owned a pair of shoes for Catholic school - known as 'school shoes' - very creative title indeed.  They were leather Mary Jane's or Sperry's that we referred to as top siders in the '80s.  Then we owned 'gym shoes' which were sneakers suitable for gym class.  In the summer, the girls owned a pair of sandals.  The end.  And my mother wonders why my house is such a disaster.  It is the shoes.  They are going to overtake us.

Anyway, lately I have been grappling with career woes or  job insecurity/questioning.  Not sure what else to call it.  Similar feelings have crept up on me in the past.  Like:  why don't I get a 'real' job?  I have a degree, why can't I find a way to use it?  (oh, that's right my experience is diapers)  Why didn't I go back and get a teaching degree back in the day?

I would like to think that this real-job-where-art-thou thought process will subside, but I will be honest I only foresee that happening if my book gets published.  Then I will be all 'You see, I have just been carving out time to write during naps.  Writing is also an excellent way to avoid cleaning house.  And look here - now I have a book to show for it.  Piece of cake!'

I am not holding my breath.

What I should do is write a book about potty training, because WHY ARE THERE KIDS OUT THERE WHO ARE THREE YEARS OLD STILL WEARING DIAPERS?  Come on.  It is an area of expertise for me.  The family I started babysitting for when I was 12 yrs old, paid me extra when the folks went to Europe (by now I was 16 because leaving kids with a 12 yr old for Europe probably didn't fly back then even though seat belts were considered decorative devices) for a few weeks and came home to a potty trained kid.  Shazam!

It got me thinking that the families I sit for should perhaps offer me a similar $500 hole in one bonus.  Potty training is a similar concept.  Ready, aim, fire -in the hole preferably - not on my floor.

I will pass on the new shoes, because I am really particular about my shoes and because my house cannot accommodate another pair.

August 9, 2019

common courtesy, who drinks my catsup, & that pudding won't last


I have been actively interviewing new families for my in-home daycare as I still have several openings for the fall.  I meet people on a Mom's Facebook page,, and the NextDoor website.

I have lost track of how many people I have met with or messaged back and forth.  There was the one woman who swore she could taste her own breast-milk when she got full.  So, yes - there are people I am relieved have not called me back.

Honestly though, I have never encountered so many people who fail to get back in touch.  To me it is simple:  'We selected someone closer to home, thanks for your time' or 'We are still deciding, thanks for meeting with us.'  or 'My mother in law decided to watch little Junior, but thanks anyway.'  I could not live with myself if I did not message people back that I had interviewed.

One woman messaged me while I was in Vancouver and asked if I could chat in an hour.  I explained that I was in Vancouver but could we talk in two days time?  'Yes.'  I have messaged her several times.  No response.  How about:  'Sorry, I found someone.'  NO BIG DEAL.  Basic manners.  Speaking of manners . . .


Lad came home from college with an aversion to certain meats.  No rhyme or reason.  I think he doesn't like how some chickens are fed.  I serve up what I serve up.  Feast of famine, people,  Coach laughed one morning.  Lad had ingested most of a bottle of castup with a big bag of potato chips while the rest of us slept.  Evidence was right there on the island.
Trust me, there is a shadow in the pic
 that makes the bottle look like it has half
 a portion in there.  Not the case.

Coach was like:  'Well, he is clearly concerned with what he puts in his body.'  We are a sarcastic breed over here, so be cautious when you show up and decide to be inconsistent with your manifestos.

We were at the dentist early this morning and it was crappy caddy weather.  Ed had his wisdom teeth out yesterday.  They suggested pancakes for his must-eat-soft-food palate, so I whipped up eggs and cakes for an early lunch.  Ed would never eat a pancake normally because he really only eats healthy food (meat works for him when his mouth is functioning).  I urged him to eat a pancake so I could be sure he wasn't messing with his stitches.

I got that whole mess cleaned up and then got out stuff to load my crock-pot.  Catsup, sugar, onions, etc.  I noticed early in the summer that I had overbought catsup.  This morning:  NO FRICKING CATSUP.  Oh, I mean unless you count the half a capful that was in the container in the fridge.  How on earth can one college kid inhale that much catsup?

Is this picture too dark for you to see?
 Pudding on the left and cool whip
on the right.  The stuff dreams are made of.
Maybe catsup lover could mention:  I just opened the last bottle in what was once your very impressive inventory.  And, hey - sorry to be quirky, but DON'T PUT IT BACK IN THE FRIDGE IF IT IS ESSENTIALLY EMPTY!!!


I had Mini make some chocolate pudding and thaw cool whip from the freezer for Ed as he hopes not to lose weight while healing (such a problem to have!).  Well, look who is enjoying a bit of pudding and cool whip?  Yep.  Of course there is sugar involved so Ed has barely touched it.  Why is my genetic pool so lacking in willpower?

August 7, 2019

towels in lock-down, wisdom teeth, & excess of skinny pop

Just a few short notes:  I know I have mentioned this before, but THE TOWEL SITUATION IS OFF THE RAILS 

Our children are missing the use-a-towel-hang-up-wet-towel-on-rod chip.  What the H-E-L-L?

My Amazon cart at the moment.  I am
bummed that the large Rubbermaid container
that is intended for a patio will add no aesthetic
value to my upstairs hallway, but maybe I should
 leave it outside on the deck and make them go
 out there to fetch a towel -
that'll teach them, right?
The situation has escalated.  I have devised yet another new system, because they tune out my badgering, AND embroidering their name on their towel is not a deterrent for children who will grab any towel regardless of ownership.

This time:  a child can only shower when I am home.  Child wishing to shower, hands me a $10 towel deposit.  The deposit is returned when the SAME towel is hung up after the shower on that child's assigned towel rod AND I witness it.  Hard?  I wouldn't think so.  I feel like all I do is collect damp or crusty towels from bedroom floors and other odd places.  Like the formal living room furniture, or in front of clean laundry piles in my bedroom - where some people like to take their chances of having a family member surprise them and enter the bedroom while they are mid-dressing.  That would be awkward.

When grilled, no one knows anything about towel displacement.  It is all shrugs and head shaking and blank stares.  They plead the 5th.

I might make the entire lot of them fork over $10 when I discover a mislaid towel.  That would equate to $60 per towel discovery.  My hope:  they join forces with me and start to pay close attention to their goofy siblings.

The problem here is that this crew of rule-breakers will snag a beach towel from the beach bin or a high end towel from my bathroom (my towels are not REALLY high end, but they are a tad thicker than kid towels).  Solution:  I am currently shopping for a lockable container where I will be forced to store ALL TOWELS.  That's right.  I am kicking ass and taking names towels.  Keep you posted.

totally unrelated:  SKINNY POP

This stuff is delish.  Am I the only one that has my head halfway in the bag chowing down on it before I realize that it can probably no longer be referred to as 'skinny' anything?  Once I swallow half so many handfuls in one standing (I almost never sit), it is not adding to my skinny-self. 

August 5, 2019

donuts overdone, fessing up

Empty boxes as evidence.  I was APPALLED!
Saturday night I brought Curly and Reggie to the grocery store at 9 pm on our way home from a graduation party.  We were out of milk and break.  I tried to remember what else was on my list.  While I waited for my mind to recall groceries, Reg and Curly stared with 'please let us be done here so we can go home now' faces.

There was a woman in the produce section listening to them pester me to BE DONE.  I glanced at her and enlisted her support with my:  'Isn't it funny how they are always happy to eat the food, but they would rather I bring it home and not involve them.  They don't mind if I grab groceries on my time!'

My new produce friend gave me a knowing nod and rewarded me with a chuckle.

I in turn rewarded Reg and Curly with the opportunity to pick out a few boxes of donuts because they were buy one get one free.  Total of 16 donuts.  36 hours later . .  . they were all gone.  I requested that everyone fess up so I would know who overdid it on the donut front.
This is my tally sheet.  I have celiac disease, so we all know it wasn't me!

Me to Coach.
I even texted Coach at work to see if he could claim donut consumption.  He and Mini had been out of town for the weekend, so I knew Mini hadn't eaten any.  Coach admitted that he took one with him to work early Monday morning.  He is not typically a donut eating guy, but I was slightly relieved that he had at least ingested one.  Otherwise the math was downright frightening.

If everyone was telling the truth, then Tank had scarfed down a whopping 8 donuts between Sunday and Monday mornings.  That, in my estimation, is GROSS.

Ed, the health food nut of the bunch, took it
upon himself to give Tank an idea of what calorie
 and fat he took in.   If only Tank cared.
 He's a skinny tall kid, but not for long.
Tank is learning to drive.  I was going to make him walk to the store to buy another box of donuts, but I ended up having him practice-drive his way to the high school with me to pick up Reg.  He bought weak replacement donuts and I demanded that he drive around the corner to Dunkin Donuts.

He had control of the car (interesting because he clearly has no control over his appetite), so he drove back to the grocery store and upgraded from plain cake donuts to cake donuts with chocolate frosting. 

And my kids wonder why I don't buy donuts very often.

August 3, 2019

O.O.O = out of order

I apologize for the dark, grainy
yearbook photo of Mrs. P.
In a recent post, I tried to upload a 3 second video clip.  When it FINALLY worked, it was after I enlisted the service of You Tube, and I was forced to start my post with the stubborn clip.

I explained all of this already (sorry to repeat), but I admitted to feeling a bit out of order.  That term caused a high school flashback circa 1989.

My high school math teacher used to have a place on the board labeled 'O.O.O.'  Translation:  out of order.  If you were chatty, or not following along, Mrs. P stopped teaching and said, 'Ernie Shenanigan, you are out of order, please go write your initials under the O.O.O. on the board.'

One of my classmates appeared
in the yearbook drawing a geographic
 shape in the board.
If you didn't get your act together, I think you might have ended up with an additional homework assignment.  I honestly don't think Mrs. P ever followed thru by punishing the O.O.O. list.  In May of senior year, she did once have me drag my desk to face a wall in order to curb my conversation.  Late May, folks.  Senior year. 

Imagine a class
full of girls swinging
our arms to match the lines
of the above hyperbola.
My initials were an O.O.O. staple, as were a few of my friends.  It was a great class, full of friends, and laughs, and of course math.  Mrs. P was top notch, and it was the last class of the day of my senior year.  Other favorite memories:  when we managed to crack up Mrs. P.

My high school was the all-girls Catholic school variety.  I, for one, felt more comfortable in a class where there were no intimidating boys.  I was able to come out of my shell a bit.  Perhaps a bit too much, because that landed me in O.O.O. on the regular.

On the first day of class, Mrs. P asked us what we preferred to be called.  For example, if your legal name was Josephine, but you preferred to be called 'Jo' give a holler during attendance.  My friend, Sara, randomly requested that she be called 'Sabrina'.  From then on, Mrs. P called her Sabrina every day of class.

In order to explain a hyperbola, Mrs. P instructed us to stand up and sway our arms in the shape of the hyperbola.  I admit that I have never needed the hyperbola formula since that day, but I can still demonstrate one with my limbs, if that is ever required of me.

Mrs. P died too young (maybe late 50's) of an asthma attack not long after I graduated from college.    Now when I create a post filled with issues that are causing me to feel O.O.O., and I label it as such you will understand the terminology, and that I am honoring one of the greats.

Do you have a favorite teacher memory you can share?