Monday, February 26, 2007

Creative Sanitation Management

Last week we didn't have school on Monday. Therefore, I didn't have work. It was a four day week. The first day back to work/school was Tuesday. I am saying all of this because, I didn't realize that Tuesday was Tuesday. I thought it was Monday. Therefore, by the time Thursday (the real one) rolled around, I thought it was Wednesday. Thursday is garbage day. With a family with four children and two adults, six people in all, we produce quite a bit of garbage. We sort of live for garbage day. I know it sounds like a pitiful existence, but, what can I say. Anyway, I realized when we were most of the way to school on Thursday that it was garbage day, and I had not pulled the garbage cans to the curb. I was sort of hoping that the garbage man would be in good humor and would walk the car length necessary to retrieve our full cans, thus making my day. NOPE! He didn't take our garbage. This drama has initiated our creative sanitation management. Now, we have two weeks of garbage to fit into two garbage cans barely big enough for one week's worth of garbage. I have been struggling to stuff garbage down really tight in the kitchen can. Saturday, I dressed my 10 year old in boots and jeans and lifted him into the outside can (the one without the broken bowl) to jump up and down to try to compact that a bit, to maybe fit 5 more days worth of garbage. By Sunday, it didn't look like anyone had jumped up and down in the can at all. It was full. So, as we speak I have a huge leaf bag beside me, which is getting stuffed and stomped and cajoled into holding garbage for another two days. This is the dilemma of my life right now.
Not only did I miss garbage day, but I also missed the weekly meeting with my 10 year old's teacher. Of course, because I meet with her on Tuesday or Thursday, not Wednesday...and I thought that Thursday was Wednesday. This really messed up my life. Obviously, in more ways than one. I guess the big plus was waking up on Saturday, thinking it was Friday. That doesn't happen all to often. What a pleasant surprise to actually not have to drag myself out of bed at 5:45 am.
The weekend was jam packed with fun...yeah right. Another trip to Sacramento to bring yet more stuff from My One Tru Love's grandmother's house. She passed away in May, and we are still cleaning out and going through her stuff. 32 years in one place is a long time, and she accumulated alot of stuff. My in-laws are keeping just about everything. They have three storage sheds and the garage and the family room and the spare room packed with boxes and boxes of her stuff and her furniture. The job of going through her stuff is heartbreaking. I can hardly look at the welcome sign from her front yard without tearing up, and it's been 9 months. I really miss her. January was hard, as was Christmas and Thanksgiving. Mother's Day will be hard, as she died the day after Mother's Day. I know that somehow it gets easier, but I'm just wondering when. Seeing all of her life packed in boxes and stuck in a garage and storage shed just seems wrong. I haven't been back to her house since the funeral, and I can't imagine going into her now empty house. I think that is part of the reason My One Tru Love is so grumpy after he comes home from another moving session. It has to be so hard. So far, I have successfully avoided going back into her house.
So, here it is Monday, and what a day. It started to rain during the first lunch recess, we had to pull all the kids in. Then it stopped! Then it started up again in the middle of the second lunch recess, so we had to pull the kids in. What fun. Hopefully any rain will hold off until 1:30 pm tomorrow.
Well, all I have left to say is that Thursday can't get here fast enough!

Monday, February 19, 2007

San Francisco

Usually, I love to go to San Francisco. This time was a bit different...I was trying to get a cold, I was staying in a hotel and in a part of town I had never been to before, and I was going as the only adult with two 14 year old girls. I figured it would be boring at best. What follows is how it went.
First, I had promised C that I would take him out to breakfast Saturday morning, just the two of us, due to the onset of mild separation anxiety. I told him we had to go early, so that R and I could leave early. At 7:30 we left and hit Kalico Kitchen for breakfast. It was nice and relaxing. We then hit the few errands left before I left town. We were home by 8:45. The girls had just gotten up and were eating, I jumped into the shower, and finished packing the last few things. My One Tru Love had planned on taking the three boys to the Gun Show (as he is a hunter) for a boys day out. Little did I know that he wanted to leave early also. He started to pressure me, I was looking up directions to the SF Zoo, from the zoo to the hotel, etc, and he was trying to rush me to load the car and so on. Then C announced that he didn't want to go to the gun show. Which was fine. My One Tru Love told him he could stay home and play X box (since our neighbor was home for the day and could pop in on him). R, A (R's friend) and I loaded the last few snacks into the car, got our sunglasses and headed out the door. Did I mention that My One Tru Love and the other boys had left about 10 minutes earlier? Anyway, I gave C a kiss and ran out the door and started the car. As I was buckling my seatbelt, C runs out and says that he wants me to take him to his dad! I told him to grab his shoes and get in the car, because I was leaving NOW! R started to get usual...for the interruption and the change in plans. By this time it was 10 am. I raced over to the fairgrounds, paid for one adult ticket and one child ticket, $6 total, so that I could run in amongst all the gun enthusiasts and find my family. Fortunately, I found them promptly, kissed them all one more time and dashed out. We finally were on the road by 10:15 am. About an hour later than originally planned. Not too bad, we still had time to hit the zoo before we checked into the hotel!
We had great traffic on 5, we stopped at Dunnigan for drinks and $2.49/gallon gas, and hit 505. We were making great time! I was hopeful. We then hit the junction for 505 and 80. Which was closed. Yes, on a three day weekend, they were doing road work on the junction and it was CLOSED! We tried to follow the detour, which didn't make much sense to me. So, I decided to stop at a gas station to get directions. Apparently, the people at the gas station lived as the gas station, because they had no idea how to get to 80. Thanks for nothing. Come to find out the detour put us on 80 going towards Sacramento, then took us off 80 to turn around on the on/off ramp to some road. Where I had stopped for directions. The guy at the gas station didn't even know we already were on 80! OH MY GOSH! Disaster averted, we were again merrily on our way.
We stopped at the rest stop just this side of Vallejo for a potty break, were disturbed to see signs that said that after sunset you had to use the port a potties, don't know why that is, but it was somewhat disturbing. We hit the rest stop at about 12:45. Not too bad, watch out SF Zoo here we come. We got back on the road and hit Vallejo. At 1:01 my mom called to let me know they weren't going to meet us on Sunday, we were just leaving Vallejo, and hitting a bit of traffic. We drove 10 - 20 miles per hour from Vallejo to the Bay Bridge. We paid our toll at the bridge sometime after 3 pm. Traffic was easy going into the city, and we easily found the hotel on Lombard Street, and I only ran one stoplight! (LOL) We checked in at 3:38 pm. The hotel had "Limited First Come First Served" parking. Limited means, six spaces for 30 or more rooms. Just to let you know. We were not first. Street parking or Public parking cost $1.50/hour, and the Public parking structure was only available for parking until 10 pm. So I had to park on the street. But, some spaces on the street were free after 6 pm. Confused? Yeah, me too. We decided to drive to the Wharf and pay for parking there, hoping we could get the parking validated if we ate there. The drive to the Wharf was uneventful. Easy in fact. We found a parking structure. It was a pre pay parking structure, with very unclear directions on it's use. We found a place to park, went to the electronic kiosk, and started to try to figure it out. OK, $1 for the first hour, and $2 per hour after that, $12 for a full day, or $15 for 24 hours. OK, I had no clue how long we would be there, so I figured the $12 option was the easiest to figure, I hit that button. It charged me $15. OK, three dollars more, no biggie, all I had was a 20 dollar bill. I figured that the little machine would give change, since NO WHERE was there a sign that said you had to have exact change. NOPE, no change. $20 to park for about 3 1/2 hours.
The Wharf and the Pier were crowded beyond belief. Have you ever left a popular concert and felt a bit claustrophobic in a crowd? That is how it was everywhere down there! We ran into a literal gang of 14 - 30 year old boys/men, all dressed in red and sporting gang tattoos and personna. I was a bit intimidated. They took, literally, the whole sidewalk, with people spilling into the streets to get out of their way.
We decided to go to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner. I knew it would be a bit of a wait. It was a one hour 15 minute to one hour 30 minute wait. So, we put in our names, and shopped a bit. We returned 1 hour and 5 minutes later, on the off chance that the wait might be shorter. NOPE. We were seated at 7 pm. Our waitress was horrible. I think she came by like three times. Our food took forever, and I couldn't wait to get out of there. We finally were leaving at about 8:30! We shopped a bit more, then decided to head back to the hotel. We got back to the hotel, and I decided to check to see if maybe one of the cars in the free parking lot had left, no such luck. So, we drove around and around and around the block to find a place. Finally, we found a place right around the corner from the hotel, but the space was big enough for maybe a Ford Festiva (very tiny car), A got out of the car and motioned me into the space while I parallel parked. I didn't hit the Lexus SUV in front of me, or the Toyota SUV behind me, and there were easily 3 inches between both bumpers, front and back! Wow! We went to our room feeling a bit proud of ourselves.
The next morning I had to run to Walgreens for hairspray and the few things that we forgot, like toothpaste. I loved the neighborhood we were staying in. It was so nice. We walked to Starbucks, which surprise, surprise, was right around the corner. Who would have thought? we headed back to the room for a bagel and to get ready for competition.
We were lucky enough to find a very close, free, parking place at St. Mary's Cathedral. We made it in to the competition. We needed to pay the entrance fee for competing. Went to the desk, and they had no record of R. So, after 30 minutes of looking for our account every way possible, we made a new one, and I paid and registered her. We were finally on our way.
She competed. This is the good part! She danced 8 dances. She placed in all but 2. She competes in Novice and Prizewinner levels. In her Novice dances she placed 3 second places, in her Prizewinner she placed a third, a second and a FIRST! It was the first time she had competed in that particular dance in Prizewinner, and she took a FIRST! I was so proud of her, and she was proud of herself.
Our trip home began at 3:41. We walked in the door at 8 pm, after a stop for dinner at Cordelia Junction, and a potty stop. We also had to drop off R's friend. We made excellent time coming home. Which was so nice. I don't think I could have handled a 6 hour drive home.
That sums it up! This time, I don't think I left my heart in SF. I usually love the city, but this time it was full of frustrations for me. Next time will be better.

Friday, February 16, 2007


We are preparing for feis (pronounced fesh). R is competing Sunday in San Francisco. She is excited. She spent her entire vacation having a cold and dancing her butt off. She went to dance class three times, sick, and feels totally unprepared. Which is typical. I think she'll do just fine. But, her nerves are on end. I am not looking forward to going this time. We are staying in a hotel I have never stayed in, in a part of town I have never been. I am getting her cold, and am feeling rather icky. But, she invited a friend along, and we will try to have fun. I think we're going to the zoo tomorrow for the day and then we'll spend a little time at the beach. Then we can go to the hotel and relax. Perhaps we'll go out to dinner, or order pizza in. I'm not sure. I just know that at night I start to feel really worn out. So, we'll see.
I have a friend who was planning on coming with us to SF, but she backed out on me. Which I am finding is rather typical. I'm a bit annoyed, but I'll get over it.
I got the deal of a lifetime today. My boys' school hosts a formal event every spring, a silent auction. The dress up night we all look forward to. I thought that today I'd run to Mervyn's and see if I could see anything interesting. I was surprised to find racks of $1, $2 and $3 clothing! I was so excited that I forgot about my auction dress goal. I found two really cute tops for $2 and $3. My girlfriend and I were leaving to make our purchases, when a scrap of lace caught my eye. I pulled out the cutest dress! I figured it was on the wrong rack and checked the price...$3! I went and tried the dress on, it was a bit too big, but that is easily remedied, easier than a bit too small. The straps need minor adjustments, nothing too exciting, and fortunately for me, my mother in law is an excellent seamstress. At any rate, I fell in love with the dress immediately! I decided to buy it. The cashier was a dad at our school, My One Tru Love is working on their vehicle this coming week, and he gave me his discount! I got my auction dress for $2.55! I am so excited! I can't even contain myself. I showed My One Tru Love and he thinks the dress is beautiful. My deal of the year!
Well, I have packing and laundry waiting ever so patiently for me to complete, and I am getting a little I said, by the evening time, I am feeling a little worn down with this cold. So, next post will contain results from the San Francisco Feis 2007.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Fried Chicken

My washing machine is fixed! HIP HIP HOORAY! Now I don't have an excuse for not doing laundry. The night that my machine was getting fixed, a friend had a cookie party she invited me to. I couldn't go because the repair man was here still and somehow I didn't think he would want to be responsible for my four children, and I know he wanted to get paid. At any rate. I stayed home and cooked a really good dinner. My daughter who is quite health conscious right now, didn't want the fried chicken I was planning on making, so I went ahead and made her a chicken breast with no breading and just seasoned with lemon pepper. I made a ton of fried chicken and some rice. I figured that at best we would have leftovers for lunch the next day. Hah. I worked for a good hour making my family a nice meal...and NO ONE ate it. R ate her chicken breast, but no rice, and then T had one piece of chicken and no rice (did I mention, I thought that the kids would all want rice, so I made enough for a small army). I don't generally like fried chicken, and especially dark meat, which is what the men in my life prefer, so I only ate some rice. At any rate, I have a literal ton of fried chicken left over and it needs to be eaten! Gotta love my family!
I've been doing a whole lot of research on dyslexia today. My ten year old son C is dyslexic, as is My One Tru Love. It is such an interesting learning disability. Which by the way I hate that word. I see my son as a brilliant, smart, empathetic, loving boy, who is so sensitive, but keeps all of his feelings locked away. He takes care of me. He loves me.
Each of my four children have special meanings to me. I know that is probably weird...but each of their personalities and the way they relate to me is so different. R, my daughter is my joy, she brings me joy. She dances and brings tears to my eyes. She draws the most beautiful pictures and is so talented. She overwhelms me as I watch her grow into such a lovely young woman. T is my hope. He is my boy who has been thrown so many curves is life. He had a rough start from the beginning, then has lived experiences no child should have to live. He brings hope that all will be well. C is my heart. He loves me and takes care of me. As a toddler, he always saved the last little portion of food for me. He worries about me and is my fiercest protector. Any person who hurts me is his enemy. M is simply my baby. I baby him, to his detriment. He loves on me and gives me the opportunity to see my strengths and my weaknesses. My babies are too special for words.
My heart breaks wide open for C. I know the struggle he will have because of the way his little brain is wired. I wish it could be easier for him. I wish it could be "normal" for him. And it is something I have to remind myself is not my fault. I wish I could take all of the struggle for him. I wish there was some way to make it easy for him. Today I had one of many breakdowns regarding his difficulties. I completely lost my temper and cried in front of many people. I fortunately didn't yell at anyone. I just was so frustrated and angry and pent up. It all exploded. I felt like such a fool, but I just feel sometimes so at fault for his problems. I guess that goes along with having anything "wrong" with your child. It is all a new world to me. As we only have had C diagnosed for about a year. I am through the honeymoon period where I am just happy to have a diagnosis. An answer for all of the questions. Now, I guess I am just in that learning what it really means phase. His teacher right now isn't making this whole process much easier for either of us. But, I have realized that the only one who can speak for C is me. I am his mother. I know him and feel his emotions more than any other person in his school. I am his advocate. I am normally not a confrontational person, and I am learning through this experience when confrontation is necessary. I am learning how to get what C needs.
I know that all things work together for good. I know that there is a reason for everything. I realize that sometimes the things that are thrown at us in life lead us down the paths we were supposed to go on all along. I have made the decision of my life. I never wanted to be anything but a mom. Which I have become. I love my job as Mom. I would not trade a second of it for anything. But, I never had much in the way of career goals. I had dreams, dreams of being a nurse. My mom always tried to convince me to be a teacher. But I really didn't want to be a teacher. I don't like standing in front of anyone at all for any reason. But, I have realized that my son's struggle has opened a desire in my heart to become a teacher. To soldier on and get my credential, to become a teacher for children like him. Special needs children. Children that have difficulty learning, through no fault of their own. I want to empower those kids and their parents to know that they are OK and can be everything they want to be.
My life has changed on so many levels in the last 20 years. I don't know if I even know the girl I used to be. I have become so much more. It is hard. But oh so rewarding to love the five people in my life with such completion, with such ferocity, with such passion. I didn't know it was possible to feel the depth, How blessed am I? I can whine and complain. I can feel overwhelmed. I can want the world to stop so I can get off. But, in the long run. I wouldn't trade any of it for my children and My One Tru Love.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

It happened.

Well, I've been running ragged for about a month now, and it finally happened. It finally caught up with me and I got sick. I know, it's against the rules for Mom to get sick. But, I did. I ended up in bed sleeping for a day and a half. I wish it had felt luxurious...I just felt bad. The only good thing that came out of this virus...I lost those stubborn Christmas pounds. I told M's first grade teacher that I was going on the "Stomach Flu Every Four Months" weight loss plan. I think I could write a book.
Because of my brief illness, my life has settled a bit from the frenetic to simply hectic. Our washing machine broke last weekend, so to the laundry mat I got to go. It was nice, I must admit, to get approximately two days worth of laundry done in 2 1/2 hours. But, it is nice having the washing machine at home too. I do laundry once a week, so it really piles up. I've tried what all the moms of bigger families tell do at least a load a night, but, goodness, who has time for that? When I was a stay at home mom (domestic goddess I heard the other day...) I had a great strategy. Monday was the kids laundry day, Tuesday My One Tru Love and me, and then Wednesday was incidentals, towels, sheets, blankets, whatever. But, now that I'm working....yeah right.
I'm supposed to go to a Super Bowl party with My One Tru Love today. Did I mention that I have pretty much zero interest in football? I tried to get out of it, but I think he is trying to assuage the guilt he feels for going to so many Super Bowl parties without me when we were first married. I am over it...but apparently he isn't...since he has wanted me to come with him and won't go without me. It's kind of sweet.
October 10 I get the joy of celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary with My One Tru Love. He is leaving for Idaho the Sunday before that, so I will be celebrating on the 10th solo...but I just recently found out that his parents have decided that this anniversary is a big deal. So, they want to throw a big party for us. I am NOT, I repeat NOT the center of attention kind of girl. Neither My One Tru Love nor myself are. It is slightly annoying to me to be the center of attention. I don't like the pressure, I don't like all eyes on me, etc. I appreciate the idea that they want to celebrate our long (by today's standards) marriage, but I'm thinking the bigger celebration should have been that I stayed married to him that first year...when he was an incredibly insensitive, self centered jerk. Our first year married was hellish at best. We added a baby right away, and we were 21. He was totally self absorbed and did nothing (I mean nothing) for anyone but himself. It was a tough year. I went through so many changes, from my name, and address, to my body style and my body chemistry, to my brain...when I became a mom. I was no longer the person I used to know. It was confusing and frustrating and ever so painful. We made it through that, and I really think that was more to celebrate than a silly 15 year anniversary.
I guess I'll do whatever I have to to keep the peace regarding this possible soiree. But, I can't say it is anything I truly desire. MOTL wants to have a family dinner, which sounds OK. I want to go to a local Bed and Breakfast and spend a luxurious night of (?) fun. We'll see what happens.