Category Archives: Something to complain about

No School – huh?

Last week the infamous snow storm that took the midwest by, well, storm, largely missed the northeast despite dire predictions. While our neighboring state to the south called for a shortened school day or even canceled classes before any snow had fallen, our town held school as scheduled. I was proud and happy that our superintendent had sense to pay attention to the actual weather (flurries is pretty much the worst we got) instead of the mass hysteria.

Rrrrrrring! (actually more like a chirrup) at 5:30 this morning, woke me from my slumber. (a much needed slumber, I might add)

The automated recording from the superintendent announced that “due to weather conditions, all schools are closed.”

I’d been up with the dogs at 3:30 am and it was perfectly clear – I guess it started right after that, is what I was thinking.

I was wrong.

It is 8:20 am as I write this. No snow has fallen. The roads are clear. The sun is shining.


Oh, Brother, Mother

Last year at Christmas I was disheartened at the multitude of gifts my children received, both from me and others, that have never been used. We talked about taking a trip next year (now this year!), and keeping the gift count low. At their ages, I knew I would have to revisit this, since Christmas is way more about what you get to unwrap than any meaning it might or should have.

So this summer I brought it up again, and they were both enthusiastic about a trip, “as long as it’s someplace warm.”

I belong to an online community of Disney enthusiasts, and as it turned out, a full weekend of events was planned in Florida for Dec 10-13. I decided that was close enough to Christmas, and booked a trip. I asked my mother if she would like to come with us (partly to act as babysitter) and she enthusiastically accepted. Traveling with my mother has not always worked out for me in the past, but this was short enough,, and the kids would be around, so I figured we’d get through it.

I held off on telling the kids until Thanksgiving! Just two weeks notice! I said, “Hey, we’re going to Disney World for Christmas!” and there was much cheering. Then I said, “And Mimi is meeting us there!” Silence. Then, “Oh.” and “Does she have to come?” Not good. Unfortunately, things went downhill from there. A summary, in the form of an instant message chat with a friend (so I don’t have to retype everything!):

Me…     so, thursday night, we get to the resort, and grab some dinner

Me…     we basically ate ice cream for dinner (yummy!)

Me…     then we were headed to dhs

Me…     i said, “shall we walk, or take transportation?”

Me…     everyone said they didn’t care

Me…     so i said, “well, i just ate a huge ice cream, let’s walk”

Me…     and everyone (including my kids) started whining

Me…     soooo typical of my mother – she expects you to read her mind

Friend  lmao

Me…     when i ask what you want to do, if you have a preference, i expect you to SAY SOMETHING

Me…     otherwise, don’t get mad at me when i make a decision

Me…     ok, so that irritated me, but it was NOTHING

Me…     friday morning i had a seminar that got out about 12:30

Me…     i met up with my mom and the kids in epcot around 1

Me…     i was STARVING

Me…     i showed up and said so

Me…     my mom says “we had a big breakfast.”

Me…     let me ask you – if someone said that to you, what would you think?

Friend  that they wouldn’t need lunch

Friend  maybe a small snack a little later

Friend  so go ahead and get yourself something

Me…     yeah, that’s what i thought too

Me…     so, i say, “let’s go to morocco”

Me…     and we head that way

Me…     and my mom starts in with her passive aggressive talk about how she’s afraid of morocco

Me…     yes, afraid of a “country” in EPOCT!

Me…     we get there and she starts throwing a fit how i never asked what SHE wanted to do

Friend  lol

Friend  you’re like, all I want is something to EAT!

Me…     so i say, “fine, what would you like to do?”

Me…     “not eat here” she says

Me…     i say, “you said you had a big breakfast”

Me…     “no, your CHILDREN ate a big breakfast – i just had fruit”

Me…     omfg

Friend  lol

Friend  oh, okay but that’s NOT what you said!

Me…     exactly!!!

Me…     which i reminded her!

Me…     she has bad feet

Me…     so i suggested she find a table and sit down

Me…     later, she grumbled that she was assigned as the “table holder”

Me…     i said – i would have held the table and you could have stood in line! i thought you’d rather sit!

Me…     good lord, i can’t do ANYTHING right!

Me…     at lunch she decided she’d had enough and was going to head back to the room

Me…     the tension immediately lifted when she left

Me…     the girls (esp krystal) filled me in on her meanness while i’d been away “please don’t leave us again”

Me…     unfortunately, she took the girls’ park tickets with her, so we couldn’t get any more fast passes

Friend  oh no

Me…     which, when she heard that later on, accused me of blaming her for not letting the kids go on any rides

Me…     which i wasn’t! it was just a fact!

Me…     we found plenty to do

Friend  lol

Me…     friday night i went out drinking with my geek buddies

Friend  geek buddies

Friend  lol

Me…     saturday we had a fairly decent day at AK

Me…     except

Me…     i had made reservations for lunch at tusker house, which was her request

Me…     and when i reminded her of that she said “i didn’t want lunch, i wanted dinner!”

Friend  lol

Me…     again, i can do nothing right!!!

Me…     Saturday night i went out to the private party at toy story mania

Me…     didn’t get home till 1 am

Friend  ooooh

Friend  lol

Me…     ex-freaking-zausted on sunday

Me…     we did rope drop at MK on sunday

Me…     but as we were getting ready to leave in the room, my mom got both girls crying

Friend  because they were going to miss her soo much?

Friend  lol

Me…     she had a fit over some yogurt that belle had spilled on a chair and she had sat in, and had to get her pants all wet to wash off

Me…     she really lost it

Friend  oh boy

Me…     and krystal wrote a note to me that said “i am a terrible child. i hate myself”

Me…     because of how my mother had been treating her

Friend  😦

Friend  i’m sorry!

Me…     she’s awful

Me…     i don’t want to see her for xmas

Friend  how? why?

Friend  like how did you manage to grow up?

Friend  🙂

Me…     i don’t know!

Me…     she’s always admitted she liked us (my sister and me) more as we got older

Me…     and i guess i’m the same way – i like kids better than babies or toddlers

Me…     and she’s always been passive aggressive and expecting the mind reading thing

Me…     but now she’s doing it to my kids – making up rules as she goes along and coming down on them for the littlest things!

Me…     that’s my job!

Me…     i took the girls on this trip to make memories

Me… they didn’t come away with the kind of memories i had in mind…..

Music to my ears

We have a new nighttime routine in our family. Like most things, it sort of evolved slowly over time, but I’d say we’ve been living our current version for several weeks now.

It goes something like this:

I leave work and pick up one child. Usually Krystal is first, but depending on my schedule for the day it might be Belle. Either way, whichever child and I have an enjoyable enough drive to pick up the other child. Sometimes we share parts of our day, sometimes we talk about what is for dinner, sometimes we sing along to the radio. It’s nearly always a pleasant time.

Then we pick up the next child. Cue the ominous music now.

Bicker, bicker, bicker, bicker.

That’s mine! You did it! No, you did it! Get out of my backpack! Don’t touch my homework! Mom! She’s touching me! Make her stop looking at me! She pinched me! Copycat!

I am serenaded by this all the way home. It really puts me in a “coming home at the end of a long day” state of mind.

Once we get home it’s not any better because suddenly there are chores to do. I need to get dinner on the table. Dogs need to go out and get fed. Krystal has homework. Often laundry needs folding and putting away and of course there are always toys, clothes and whatnot to be picked up everywhere we look. Couple this with the duet my children play with each other and it’s a real recipe for stress.

But last night in the car, somewhere after a “Stop breathing at me!” from one child to the other, my hero intervened. Taylor Swift, singing “You Belong with Me” started wafting over the radio, and both girls were suddenly focused only on that song. They quieted down to hear it, and then joined in.

Music to my ears.

Fall Back Schmack

Just checking in for my annual rant on the “fall back” time change. I hate it. Some people say “Oh, but you get an extra hour of sleep!” I’m here to tell you – when you live with children and dogs there is no such thing. Their clocks are not turned back at 2 am. Someone should really do something about that.

And of course tonight we’ll see it get dark an hour earlier, and earlier, and earlier all the way up to the winter solstice in December, which I hate even more. The getting dark earlier part, I mean. And winter too, now that you mention it.

With that, I’m off to enjoy the day- rant over!

Just a quick, stress-filled update

We booked a family vacation, with another family, a year and a half ago. Ever since it’s seemed so far away that it would never arrive. Now that we are 3 days away from leaving, there is suddenly not enough time left to deal with everything that needs dealing.

Belle’s lice situation is not under control, as I had hoped. On Sunday I pulled 10-15 live ones out of her and am starting to freak out. I called the doctor to ask for a prescription treatment, since the OTC one obviously did not do anything. They did give me one, after much begging on my part, but I must say they were way too nonchalant about it all for my taste. It would be one thing if we were going to be home, but I am not dealing with this on my vacation!

Things at work have taken a sudden and dramatic turn for the well, dramatic. Call it Murphy’s Law if you will, but many of my projects are in crisis and need my full attention. Which is so nice since I’m blogging about it during working hours. Like how I do that? I need some sort of release, or at least that’s the story I’m telling.

I have to find time to mow the lawn, do laundry, get to the bank, pack (!), get the dog to the sitter and all the other little things that need to be done before you go away. Newspaper and mail have already been stopped. Our flight leaves very early Friday morning, so I am oh-so-quickly running out of time!

I swear, if the lice would disappear I think I’d feel a lot more in control….

A House by another name….

Let’s see, in my adult life I’ve rented an apartment, owned a house and owned a condo. I’ve even done some of those things more than once, though always just one at a time. I’m no real estate tycoon!

When my ex and I divorced, and I was moving out and away with Krystal, I gave serious thought to buying a condo versus a house due to not having to worry about outside maintenance. But a friend talked me into giving my child a yard and a neighborhood, and in the end I agreed. I bought the house we live in now in September 2005, which just incidentally coincides with the absolute peak of the real estate market in my area. Lucky me.

It’s becoming clear to me that I am not cut out to own a house. Parenting two kids, working full time (and a dog!) are taking up all my time and energy. Finding time to mow the lawn, worry about a new roof (which it seems clear I now need), painting, siding, yard work and all the worries that go along with home ownership are pushing me closer and closer to the edge.

OK, so here’s where it gets dicey. Major brain spillage ahead:

I want to move to a warmer climate (Florida, or if I can get a relocation package through work, I’ll take North Carolina). I do not have a timeline for this, but due to external factors, we are probably looking at 3-4 years. Unless I get laid off, in which case that may accelerate things – after all, if I have to look for a job anyway, I may as well look where I want to live. Right?

Alternatively, I don’t want to have to live through another New England winter! And certainly not in a place where I have to worry about shoveling/plowing my driveway.

My roof likely needs replacing. There is a spot on my bedroom ceiling and the whole thing looks pretty ugly from the outside. In today’s buyers’ market, I’m sure I’d have to replace it before anyone would buy my place.

I need to do some landscaping in the front of my house. The mulch around my foundation plantings gets splattered up onto the ground level windows every time it rains and makes the house look dirty and dingy. I need to put down rocks instead, but man that sounds like a lot of work. Just thinking about it makes me tired.

My “lawn” is just green stuff that needs to be mowed. I’m not sure how much of it is actually grass. Lots of clover and other stuff. But it does look pretty good for 24-48 hours after I mow it. I sometimes think I should invest in some sort of lawn service to increase my “curb appeal”, but the thought and money involved don’t appeal to me terribly much.

Are you wondering yet why I bothered to buy a house at all?

Oh, and because, as I stated earlier, I bought my house when prices were at their highest, I’d be lucky to sell my house for little more than what I owe on it, provided I actually sold now. Which is one of the drivers to waiting a few years before the move south. But that’s so logical.

As is my way, I’ve done a lot of browsing online. I’ve found some condos in our area that sound appealing, and I’ve even driven by a few of them to see how they “really” look (pictures in a real estate ad can be so deceiving!). The girls have started asking, “Are we moving?” and the answer is not so easy. Probably not, at least not now, as much as I’d like to. And by “like to”, I mean to already be in a new place. The thought of actually packing and moving makes me want to claw my eyes out.

Oh, and if I act now (before September – so not happening) and move to a place with full day Kindergarten (which is not available in our state, but we are very close to a state where they do offer it, and which I’ve considered), I could save myself a year of private Kindergarten tuition for Belle, which amounts to no small sum.

Do I sound totally flighty yet?

And yet, I don’t want to move the kids twice. I can’t imagine, knowingly and purposely, moving now (unless we stayed in the same school district), and then completely relocating in 3-4 years. Plus, moving for a short time period like that would eat up closing and moving costs, making it financially inadvisable. There I go, getting all logical again.

I just want something to be easy.

What My Kids are Learning from Michael Jackson

Before June 25th my kids never heard of Michael Jackson. And why would they? He hasn’t put out an album in years, and he’s been mostly out of the public view for their entire lives.

They didn’t hear about his death from me. While I was aware of it from close to the moment it was confirmed publicly (since I live on the Internet, pretty much), it wasn’t something I even thought to mention to them. But they heard about it at camp and seemed to pick up on the enormous public interest and media frenzy right away. They wanted to know who he was and why he was famous.

So I pulled up Thriller on YouTube (I thought they’d be scared, but they understood it was a “movie”). They had a hard time reconciling the Michael Jackson in the Thriller video with the current version of him. Belle kept asking why he looks like a woman now. Krystal was curious about the changing color of his skin and shape of his nose.

My kids are Asian, living in a mostly Caucasian world. Even at their tender ages they’ve been targets of kids pulling their eyes into slits to make themselves look like them (News Flash: When you pull your eyes into slits you just look like you pulled your eyes into slits – you do not look Asian in the slightest. Also, you look ridiculous. And racist). Krystal in particular has said more than once that she wishes she looked like me. When she says this, she means she wishes she were not Asian. “I don’t want to be Chinese and American. I just want to be American.” This makes me sad to hear, and I hurt for her. Obviously I think she is beautiful just the way she is. I happen to think she is physically beautiful, but she is also pretty gorgeous on the inside too. But kids never want to hear that and she has dismissed my praise as “Of course you think that, you’re my mom!”

And so when they see someone like Michael Jackson deliberately changing his looks so drastically, I cringe. I cannot speak to his claim that he had a skin lightening disease. I’m not a doctor and frankly it’s not really any of my business. Regardless, his features have been radically changed through plastic surgery, and he no longer looks like the same person he was in the 80’s. I wish he had been happy with his looks. I wish that for him, since I have to think he must have had a lot of self-hatred to make the changes he did, but I also wish it selfishly, for my kids. For my kids whose looks do not fit the “norm” and who already sometimes wish they looked different. Krystal and Belle have both said about MJ that “he should just be happy with how he looks”, and I’m glad they can say that. It’s the longer term message that might seep in when no one is looking that conerns me.

Bogged Down in the “little” Things

April is a particularly busy month for me, logistically.

In my state your car registration and inspections are done in the month of your birth. For me, that’s April. Oh, and taxes are due in April (I filed mine in February, but still!).

Let’s see, what else do we have? This month I also have to get back to the lab for a blood draw to check my cholesterol level after changing my medication in January. Belle is going to counseling once a week, which she can’t get to on her own. I have my semi-annual dentist appointment next week and oh yeah, I’m preparing to leave my children for 5 days in less than three weeks, and the preparations required for that (for me, them, but mostly my mother, who will be staying with them while I’m away) are substantial. Things on my “would like to do list” before that trip are: get a hair cut, pedicure, clean the house, ensure food in the house for all meals my mom will need to prepare, and probably too many other things to list since I’m already stressed out just writing that little bit out!

So back to the car. My car is four years old and the front tires have been looking pretty bad for awhile. I had intended to get them replaced before the long trip we took just after Christmas, but that never happened. It was the looming April inspection deadline that spurred me to do something about it (finally!), and last week I had 4 sparkling new tires put on my car. My credit card is still warm after that $700 charge. This morning I had a half hour buffer between dropping Belle off at school and my next set of meetings, so I swung into the quick service oil change place on the corner for an overdue oil change and inspection. Some 40 minutes later I rolled out of there, having turned down every extra service the young, eager and well-schooled technician tried to push on me, with my shining 2009 inspection sticker and (presumably) fresh clean oil coursing through my car’s veins.

I feel lighter, knowing the car stuff is done. None of it was particularly difficult (though expensive), but it took time, which I have precious little of. Now I can concentrate on all the other things on my to-do list, and hopefully be able to kick back and really relax when I leave town on May 9th. Not that I’m counting down or anything.

Report Card – Too bad it doesn’t go both ways

Krystal brought home her third quarter report card today. I don’t know if this is true everywhere, but at her school the first and second grade report cards are, how do I put this, a joke. No, that’s not fair. They’re not jokey, but they’re not serious either. Her report card tells me nothing as a parent about her mastery, or not, of the subjects. Let me be clear in that I do not have any concerns about her academically (if I did I would have been talking to the teacher way before this), and in fact I’ve so far been fairly impressed with the curriculum. We live in a “blue collar city” with some more affluent towns around us – and I think her education, so far anyway, rivals any in the hoity-toity towns to our north and west.

Her report card, which was otherwise plastered in meaningless “3”‘s (for “Meets grade level expectations”) and “S”‘s (for “Satisfactory”), had a lone personalized comment at the bottom, which the teacher apparently had to enter into a computer. The comment read: “Krystal continues to excell in all areas. Keep up the good work!” The principal had then hand-written a smiley face and her name.

Oh, if only I ruled the world….(Even WordPress knows it’s spelled wrong!)