Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Like a roller coaster...

Yesterday I rolled out of bed and grumbled…I am not and never have been a morning person. Then I launched myself into the mindless task of getting myself and my five year old ready for the day. Out the door we went, off to school and work.

Work was pretty non-eventful. I even had a decent day. I got a lot accomplished, everyone was nice to me today and I felt good about what I had been able to contribute. Then the downhill part of the roller coaster began.

I had to leave work at 4:30 to be to the elementary school by 5:30 to pick up frozen cookie dough, pretzels and cheesecakes that had been purchased for a fundraiser by my coworkers and friends. I have pretty strong feelings about these activities so this started me on a rant…

Why the hell do I have to pimp out my kid to my coworkers to sell crap for the school? Where are my tax dollars going? What will they get from the $1 they make doing this fundraiser? I would gladly just give them $50 to keep from having to sell their crap. Not only do I have to guilt everyone into purchasing a $16 box of cookie dough, but then I have to collect the money, pick up the crap and bring it back to work. Of course that is AFTER I have had to rearrange everything in my freezer to hold these items overnight so they don’t thaw out. I had to throw out that kidney I was saving for a future surgery.

The school gives us one week notice that the only day the crap is there to pick up is on the 25th and it has to be picked up no later than 5:30. I live out in the sticks. Nobody lives close enough to the school to make that happen unless they are a SAHM or SAHD. I guess because the PTA arranged this and most of them are SAHM’s they think 5:30 should be plenty of time. I’m just saying…

Gosh, I am sounding a little bitter here….

Then I pick up my beautiful child from her after school program. I hug her tight and kiss her little smiling face.

The roller coaster has headed up the next hill.

We walk out the door and I ask her about her day and she tells me how great everything was. We get in the car, I close the door then I open her backpack. It felt a lot heavier than it should so I was curious about what was in there. In it I find her boots, with the toes completely torn up on the front. The same boots I just paid to have new heels put on because she tore those up. The same boots I told her to be extremely careful with because I had just paid to have the previous injuries to them repaired.

And the roller coaster plummets…

“At least I got a green today Mom” she says. I told her that was a damn good thing because I was pretty ticked off about the boots and a yellow would have been pretty disastrous for her.

Off to the grocery store we go to purchase food for dinner. She is uncharacteristically well behaved and isn’t asking for anything until we are about to leave the store. “Mommy, you didn’t buy me ANYTHING at the store today. Not even a chocolate bar and my feelings are hurt”. I asked her if she thought her actions today were those of a child that deserved a chocolate bar to which she responded with a very sullen “No”. Then she went on to admonish me for still being angry about the boots. “They are just boots” she said. Just boots? JUST BOOTS? I realize at this point that the best way to win is not to play. If I get into it with her, it will end very badly, so I silently walk to the car, put the groceries in the car and drive home. When we get home she asks if I am still mad about the boots. I tell her it is in her best interest to not bring them up again…

My dinner guests arrive, we enjoy our meal, they leave and I start getting things ready for the next day. I open the backpack again and take out the binder to see if we have any homework and then I see her behavior paper. Yellow. She got a G. D. yellow. My mind flashes back to our conversation in the car. “At least I got a green today Mom”. The little shit lied to me about the green. Not only did she get a yellow, the third one in two weeks, but she lied to me about it as well. She’s only five I remind myself before I roar loud enough at her to rip her head off.

I sat her down and asked her why she thought it was okay to lie to me. Did she think I wouldn’t find out? Mom always finds out. She always knows the truth, that’s what mom’s do. We have been grounded from the TV and all video related products for the next two days. The reason I say “we” is because I won’t be watching TV or anything like that for the next two days either.

I wonder to myself if I let my emotions get the better of me. Did she lie to me because she knew how disappointed I would be to see another yellow on her paper? Did she lie because she didn’t want to get in trouble? Do I make it okay for her to fail in our home? These are all questions that I have been pondering today.

Overall, she is a really good kid. She isn’t really being a bad kid at school; she just has a hard time putting something away that she wants to play with. I think she is pretty much like every other five year old that wants to play until they drop. How do I keep myself from blowing up when I see that she wasn’t perfectly behaved at school that day? How do I help her understand that her poor behavior affects the other children in her class? I don’t know, I just pray that isn’t a tunnel I see up ahead…

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blogger Help

I want to change the gmail account associated with my blog, but it says I have to create a new blog to do that. Is that true?

Oh Fernando...

After getting married, a woman goes through all sorts of adventures for all of the different requirements to change her name. She has to wait in lines at the government offices and thinks that is a huge pain in the rear, UNTIL…

Try changing the name on your bank account. No, not your credit cards, those are easy, just takes a quick phone call. Your honest to goodness checking, savings, bank account.

Banker: Hello ma’am, how may I assist you today?
Me: I just got married and need to change the last name on my account. Here is a copy of my marriage license.
Banker: Have you changed your social security card and driver’s license?
Me: Yes, just this week. Here is a copy of the receipts with my new name clearly printed on them.
Banker: I’m sorry ma’am, but we have to have the ACTUAL cards with your new information on them before we can accept them.
Me: Well, I had to show them my marriage license to get these changed in the first place so why do I even need the others to prove my name has been changed? Shouldn’t my marriage license be enough?
Banker: You would think so, wouldn’t you, but sadly no. You have to have the actual cards before I can change the name. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Me (through gritted teeth): Nope, I think I had better leave now.

I mumbled and cussed under my breath all of the way to the car.

Weeks later armed with the ACTUAL driver’s license and social security cards with my new name clearly printed on them I go back to the bank.

Banker: Hello ma’am, how may I assist you today?
Me: I need to change the last name on my account.
Banker: Is this due to a marriage or a divorce?
Me: Which is easier?
Banker: Umm…?
Me: I’m just kidding, due to a marriage.
Banker: Congratulations on your marriage. Do you have your marriage license with you?
Me: No, but I have my new driver’s license and social security cards with my new name on them.
Banker: I’m sorry, but I can’t change the account unless I have the marriage license.
Me: You are kidding, right?
Banker: No, why?

So I explain to him what I had been told the first time and that I had to have the marriage license to get my new driver’s license and social security card in the first place, etc… He was apologetic but said he couldn’t do anything without the marriage license. I think he could tell that he was about to end up in a body bag in my trunk because he lowered his voice.

Banker: I’m not supposed to do this, but I will make a copy of your cards and if you can e-mail me a copy of your marriage license tomorrow, I will change the account.
Me: Really?
Banker: It is the least I can do.

Whew! Fernando lived up to his promise and my account is finally changed. My credit card on the other hand required a 2 minute phone call…have a nice day!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What color are you going to be today?

When I was a kid, parents only got involved with behavior at school if it was really bad. There wasn’t a status chart send home every day saying whether you were good or not. Only if you were really acting up did it ever get on your report card or escalated to the next level.

When my daughter started preschool, there were three color levels available to let the parents know what type of day the child had.

Green = Good
Yellow = Poor
Red = Parent intervention required

At the end of the week, if all greens were received, the child would get to select a small prize from the pirate chest. This seemed to work pretty well and there were very few times that we ever saw a yellow on the behavior chart. Especially as yellow not only meant no prize at the end of the week, it also meant no allowance for the week either. The kids had to be pretty bad to get a yellow so it was considered a serious offense.

Now that my daughter is in Kindergarten, the school has five color levels to indicate behavior.

Green = Good
Yellow = Required multiple requests for compliance
Blue = Loss of privileges
Orange = Call to parents
Red = Sent to Principal’s office

The second week of Kindergarten we got our first yellow. She had to be asked several times to pay attention in class and stop visiting with her neighbor. (Big surprise, I know! I got in trouble for that ALL of the time when I was a kid.) Both her dad and I talked to her about how important it was to pay attention in class and that we didn’t want to see any more yellows. She also lost her allowance for the week. There were some minor tears over the monetary loss, but nothing serious. We didn’t have any issues for another month and then yesterday, another yellow.

We were sitting on the sofa and she suddenly got very quiet. Her eyes began to tear up as she said to me “Mommy, I have to tell you something.” Based on the sudden change in her mood and the seriousness of her tone I prepared myself for something awful. Then I heard, “I got a yellow at school today”. This was immediately followed by some serious sobbing. She was crying so hard she was almost hysterical. It took me at least five minutes to get her calmed down enough so that she could tell me what happened. Evidently the teacher had to ask her more than once to complete an activity as the first time she wasn’t listening.

I held her tightly for a few minutes more just to calm her down and told her that while I don’t want the teacher to have to ask her to do something multiple times, getting a yellow isn’t so bad that she has to cry about it. We finally got the crying to subside, but it really hit me hard.

Have we gone so far with color coding our children’s behavior that a yellow means devastation? How many times did I get in trouble in class for not listening, talking when the teacher was instructing, etc…? A BUNCH! What I didn’t get was a note sent home to my parents every day telling them how my behavior was. The teacher took my overall behavior for the class and listed it on my progress reports that were sent out three times during the year. Overall, I was a good kid. Overall, I did well in class. Overall, I got good grades and was smart. Yes, I am sure I had days that the teacher would have liked to wring my neck, but luckily for all of us there were more good days than bad.

I am trying to decide what to do with this process. Do I call the teacher and explain to him just how upset my daughter gets over the yellow? I don’t want him to overlook her behavior if it is less than stellar. If I change the rules at home and a yellow doesn’t mean loss of allowance would that tell her that yellow is okay and only when she is really bad she gets punished?

I want her to learn to be a good student. Pay attention in class, don’t be disruptive and try her hardest to do her best. Is color coding really the best way to encourage our children to do this?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

For my friends...

I was thinking about the many various friends I have made through the years and it occurred to me that not one of my friends is alike with the exception that I like them. Each one of them is precious to me and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how I ended up being friends with such different people.

I don’t talk to them every day. I don’t call them on the phone regularly. I don’t even e-mail them consistently. What I am good at though is dropping into their lives from time to time to say hi and I’m thinking about you.

I would spend time with each and every one of them every day if I could. If there were enough time to chat it up on the phone or e-mail consistently, I would be all over it. The great part of having these people as my friends is that they don’t care that I don’t call, write or show up every day because like me, they have lives too that take them away to their many responsibilities.

In my early 20’s when going out was all I ever did, I saw my friends on a weekly basis. We talked on the phone in between and had all sorts of adventures. Slowly, each of us got married and stop hanging out or calling nearly as often. Sadly, I did lose contact with some of those friends, but I won’t count them out for good.

I recently got a friend request from my best friend from my childhood. We were best friends until we had to move apart from each other in the 9th grade and even then we tried to keep in touch as often as possible until I finally lost track of her. We talked on the phone for almost an hour and it was as if we had just talked yesterday. My heart was full when I hung up the phone because I knew that we still loved each other in the sisterhood that is friendship.

I think often about each one of my dear friends whether I am still in touch with them or not. I hope the best for them all and yearn to have the time and energy to make a bigger effort to stay current with what is going on in their lives. Meanwhile I will continue following their posts whether it be Blog, Facebook or e-mail and be here for them when they need me.

I love you my friend…

Monday, October 17, 2011

The 5K

I have heard it said that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. Well, last Saturday I felt like I had completed all 1,000 of those miles in one day. We started with the 5K walk for Susan G. Komen. By “we” I mean me, FH and my daughter who is 5.

The walk started off well. Everyone was happy, energetic and excited to be a part of the big event. Almost 30,000 people were milling about and the walk got off to a very slow start. About a mile into the walk, people were more spread out and the walking got a little easier. Then we hit the half way point and the whining began. “My feet hurt, I’m bored, I’m tired” are the comments from several around us. My daughter sensed the opportunity to put in her two cents as well, so I had to teach her a life lesson.

Me: Do you know why we are here?
Her: Yes, to walk for the people with cancer.
Me: Do you know how sick those people are and that they can’t walk with us here today?
Her: You mean really sick, like throwing up and everything?
Me: Yes, throwing up, can’t get out of bed. It would be like when you had the stomach flu but about a hundred times worse.
Her: Worse than throwing up spaghetti out your nose?
Me: Yes, way worse than that. (I had to try really hard not to break out laughing at that one)
Her: I guess I can walk some more if it means those people will get better.

I am very proud of my daughter for making this journey. I am even prouder that she spent the last mile and a half of our walk asking me all about what happens to people when they have cancer. Needless to say this walk made a bigger impact on her this year than it did last year. I think it made a bigger impact on me as well.

Now, I won’t lie and say there wasn’t any more complaining from our camp about sore feet, tired backs and weary legs, but there certainly weren't any further requests to stop walking.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I love Halloween!

For years I have been telling myself and everyone else that Christmas is my favorite holiday. This year, I have finally admitted that it is really Halloween. I now own almost as many decorations for the spooky spectacular as I do for the winter wonder.

What is it about Halloween that appeals to me? I guess it would have to be the mystery behind the mask. As a kid I remember going from door to door begging to be tricked or treated, wondering who was behind each costume I passed. It was a great sense of community and family to be out at night, greeted by neighbors who were excited to see our creativity as we knocked on the door.

As I got older, it became less safe to send the kids from door to door. Soon, nobody was out at all. It was a very sad day when I finally gave up on the adventure of trick or treating. Then I became old enough to frequent the Halloween parties. Those were so much fun with the fake fog, bloody eyeball ice cubes for the drinks and brain dip for the chips. It never ceases to amaze me how a simple grape can be turned into a corpse’s eyeball or a bowl of spaghetti into brain matter.

When I moved into my current neighborhood, the wonder of Halloween was again rejuvenated in my soul. You see, in our little community, people go from door to door with their children. Families sit outside at the sidewalk with their yards all decorated and large bowls of candy to be passed out to the spooks and specters. Who are those fairies behind the sparkly face paint? Who are the goblins and ghosts flitting all about? We even have a family that grills hot dogs for all to enjoy.

Yes, I love Halloween, even more than Christmas!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Writer's Block...

Looks like I am stuck with writer’s block again. I have tried several times to write something meaningful, inspiring or just plain funny, but nothing… I guess the well has run dry, temporarily. I am sure the well of creativity will come back to me again. Meanwhile I will enjoy everyone else’s wonderful posts.

Well, there is one funny thing to share with you. We now have the angel of death and the grim reaper hanging in our front window over our door with a sign that says “Just Married”. LOL!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Name Change Game

Check, check, check…

I have gotten so used to managing check lists for the wedding that I am doing them in my sleep. Unfortunately I can never find that notepad when I wake up in the morning. LOL!

For anyone that has done the name change game, you know how many places you have to change you name before it is official…

First there are the big ones like the Social Security Administration and the Driver’s License Bureau. Then it is the bank, credit cards, doctors, dentist, car, bills, work, auto signatures for all e-mail accounts including the one on my phone…

Next it is all of the places that you shop online – and I shop online a LOT.

Guys have it so easy. They say “I do” then go back to life as usual. Yes, they have to remember to put the seat down on the toilet and to pick up their dirty clothes off the floor, but that’s the easy part.

At least I have a great guy that makes it all worthwhile. Thanks Honey!