Thursday, June 28, 2007

Random Thoughts and Wine

Here is what is on my rather limited mind this weekend:

1) Conniving Witches - I have to deal with this incredibly nasty woman in my volunteer job with #1 Son's sports team. Every time I think of her immature attempts to undermine me at the meeting this week, I want to hunt her down, lunge for her throat, and scratch her eyeballs out take a deep breath, compose myself and decide to take the high road.

But I don't want to talk about that.

2) New Exercise Routines - I just picked up the NYC Ballet workout and book from eBay. I am really excited. HEY! Those of you that know me personally can KISS MY SOON TO BE FIRM AS A DANCER'S BUTT!

But I don't want to talk about that.

3) Ungrateful Kids - What am I, a clown? At what point did my job description include "entertainer?" You wake up at the crack of 2:00pm, unload one load from the dishwasher and declare, "this sucks, I'm not having any fun"?!?!! I'll be happy to show you some fun, Buddy.

But I don't want to talk about that either.

4) Wine - My friends, I love wine. In fact, I love many different wines (though I am not crazy about most reds - I will gladly accept suggestions). My latest favorite is a rather cheap (bonus!) Trebbiano. You sommeliers out there can refer to #2. A few months ago, someone who frequents my local wine outlet also took a liking to said cheap, but rather refreshing and tasty wine. I'm thinking of taping the following note to the EMPTY space where my wine used to be:

Dear Random Wino:

There are apparently only 4 bottles of our current favorite blend and brand ordered and stocked in our local store each week. Ideally that would equal 2 bottles for you, and two for me. For months we have made this silent system work. Why have you now decided to ruin a beautiful relationship?

Your recent selfish streak has upset the delicate balance we have worked so hard to create. Honestly, do you really need all that wine? Would it really kill you to leave a little for me every now and then?

At first I thought you stepped over the line because you were having a party or something. I can understand that. But recent events have proven that you are either incredibly greedy or you have a serious problem. You are now consuming way more wine than you did when we began our arrangement. I think, for your sake, that you should talk to someone.

Consider this an intervention.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Twilight Years

C. - I was on the state employment website today. Guess what position is open as full time?

Me - The same one I do.

C. - Yeah, but it's for a Senior. Did you see the salary range?

Me - Yeah, it's (a co-worker's) job. She went to another Department. I do better as a wage employee anyway. I get paid mileage and travel, so it works out. Besides, I wouldn't want to be in the office when I wasn't teaching.

C. - You're right. The only reason you'd want to be full-time is for the benefits.

Me - Sure, like retirement and stuff.

C. - (with a laugh) You better think about that if you ever want to retire.

Me - What are you talking about? I already AM retired.

C. - ...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"and I saw this land a battlefield"

Friday afternoon I was scheduled to catch a flight to Baltimore for a volunteer gig. Since I was flying on a freebie pass (thanks P.!), I was at the mercy of airline scheduling. As the morning went on, it became apparent that I would not be able to get on a flight until late in the evening. Thus, I would not get to my hotel until long after 11pm, only to have to get up on Saturday at the buttcrack of dawn.

Of course, I made the most logical decision - Family ROADTRIP!! In the span of an hour, we were packed and on the road. Poor #1 Son was roused, showered, packed and travelling before he knew what hit him. It serves him right for sleeping until the crack of 1pm everyday.

My friends, I have been known to schedule a visit to a site of historical importance into every family trip. Due to the spontaneity this weekend, certain ingrates (I mean members of my family) voiced their "concern" that we might not be able to "see any boring stuff" this trip. Amazingly enough, The Princess was surprisingly enthusiastic about our last-minute trip.

Fortunately, our route on Friday had us passing by a civil war site that I had never visited - the Fredricksburg battlefield(s). How convenient! #1 Son (probably still in some deep REM-like state) was excited, and as we pulled into the parking lot asked, "Hey Mom, what are we going to see here?"

Without skipping a beat, The Princess replied, "DUH #1! It's just some stupid old field like always."

My friends, I give you...a "Stupid Field," like always.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

We've Come A Long Way Baby

A few of you know that I have been "around" the web and online communities for years. The Ex and I owned a rather popular BBS back in the day when the Internet was teetering on the precipice of becoming a household word. Additionally, I worked for years as a Technical Support rep for a national ISP. In those days, the employees of said ISP formed a close bond that still remains intact between many of us today. We keep in touch via a mailing list that started as a joke almost 10 years ago. This week a message went out from one of my former partners-in-crime with the comment, "This video really struck me, obviously, we've been around since the very beginning..." Like my friend, it struck me as well. It's really well done, and very eerie. To those of you with "techie" backgrounds (and of course everyone else), enjoy:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Organizing My Organization

There I sat on the sofa, surrounded by my "To Do" list, my monthly planner, the Dry Erase calendar that lives on the fridge and several different colored dry erase markers and highlighters. I go through this ritual every so often, though it usually ends up being an exercise in futility. That doesn't stop me from at least trying to bring some order to the chaos that is my life. There is probably a better way to get everyone where they need to go when they need to get there, but if there is, I can't figure out how to make it work. C. gets to observe this ridiculous ritual, and he always shakes his head (whether in pity, disbelief or amazement I do not know.)

C - Aren't these kids old enough to keep track of their own stuff?

Me - Are you kidding me?

C - Well at what point do they become mature enough to keep track of their own schedule?

Me - When is your next Dentist's appointment?

C - ...

Case closed.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Gratuitous Weekend Kid Pics & Poop

First an explanation:

The stats here have been pretty consistent for the last 3 years. Most of the traffic comes through Monday - Friday. That means that most of you guys are blog surfing at work, you little minxes you. It also means that I don't have to feel so guilty about throwing up the occasional kid picture on the weekend. Let's just call this what it is...laziness.

Also, I have been accused on more than one occasion by more than one reviewer (and once during a blog awards - by a few competitors) of being a "Mommy Blogger." I certainly don't see anything wrong with that at all. To celebrate my return, I felt compelled to thumb my nose at the critics and naysayers of Mommy Bloggers everywhere and not only post a picture of my kids, but also to mention poop in the same post. Because...well, it's my blog and I'll post what I want to.

My friends, I give you:

DJ Poopy Pants and his backup singer Sassy Sissy. Man it's going to be a long summer.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

School? We Don't Need No Stinkin' School!

Can someone please tell me why I sent my kids to school these last two weeks?

Honestly, it is a major pain in the butt to get them out of bed, dressed, throw a bagel in front of them and shove them out the door - only to have to drive them to their respective educational institutions. This is especially true when they have been up WAY past bedtime (unbeknownst to their exhausted parents) in anticipation of their summer break. Why sleep when you know you won't have to actually DO ANYTHING the next day, especially when you can be watching the television (with no sound, lest said parents bust you) or playing on your computer?

This past week was the worst. #1 Son (a Freshman in High School) actually attended school for a combined total of three quarters of a day this week. He was out by 9am on Monday and 11:30am on Tuesday. He didn't even have to show up the last two days (Wednesday and Thursday). It was final exam week, but it seems that teachers don't really like to grade exams anymore. #1 Son's teachers came up with many creative ways to get out of grading finals. A few of them allowed an exemption if you had an "A" in the class. Apparently that standard was a bit high for another of his teachers who declared everyone with an "A" or a "B" exempt. One teacher decided to skip the exam altogether and just count their SOL scores as an exam grade (in VA we have Standards Of Learning tests - SOLs. They really stink, but that is a rant for another day). It worked out that out of 8 classes, #1 Son only had to take 3 "exams." I put that word in quotes because "exam" is a very loose way of describing these "tests."

The final exam in his Tech Draw class consisted of him running a Power Point presentation that he had created in class 3 weeks ago, while reading the captions out loud. His Honors English exam covered only of the parts of the Shakespeare play "Julius Ceasar" that they had actually read together in class. That would be Act I. Oh, and it was open book and open notebook. For his Honors World History class I saw him working on some "project" the night before. It looked like he was using The Baby's crayons. He got a 98.

Where were these teachers when I was in school?!?!

The Princess had it even easier. She spent the last two weeks watching movies. Seriously. Her teachers have screened Holes, The Cat in the Hat (the Hollywood version), Finding Nemo, Akila and the Bee (at least that had SOMETHING to do with scholastics), Napoleon Dynamite and Happy Feet (TWICE!). And this was while getting out of school HALF DAY. Thursday, the last official day of school for our school district, they were out by 10:00am (the first bell rings at 8:05).

The kicker is that for the last TWO WEEKS, neither the High School nor the Middle School (where The Princess attends) took roll!!! They didn't even HAVE to show up.

So please, my friends, tell me WHY I even bothered to send them to school!

Oh wait. I know why.

If I hadn't sent them...they would have been home. Here. With me and each other. Probably fighting tooth and nail.

Happy Start of the Summer Vacation, my friends! I only hope we can survive another cursed break and make it to the fall!

Happy Birthday to Me

I live in a tree....da da DA da da da da....

Anyway, it just occurred to me that this blog was born 3 years ago this month. Wow. Good thing I was a total slacker the first half of this year, or I'd probably be burned out! *snicker*

I decided to give myself a BIG birthday gift. I'm cleaning up around here in preparation. Better here than in my house in real life - now THAT would be exhausting!

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Actual Letter to the Ex

What follows is the letter I sent to my Ex (the father of my two oldest kids) in response to a conversation I had with him yesterday. I had innocently asked if he could help us out with the expense of camps for the kids this summer. I was VERY proud of myself for not actually lunging for his throat during said conversation and scratching his eyeballs out. The names have been changed (and replaced in parenthesis like this) to protect the terminally stupid as well as the innocent. Enjoy.

Hello (Moron):

I hope you and (#1 Son) are enjoying each other. He's definitely a trip! I have thought a lot about our conversation of yesterday evening concerning financial issues and your comment that you pay $800 a month and that certainly includes "extras." I do not in ANY WAY wish to start an argument, however I did want to respond, as your comment kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

I am not sure how far you think $800 goes toward raising two teenagers, but in reality it just scratches the surface, and certainly does not cover any "extras." Here is some food for thought:

Food - As you will certainly see by Sunday, teenage boys eat. A lot. Often. Tween girls eat a lot also. I cook dinner almost every night - good healthy food is not cheap. When they take their own lunches (because the cafeteria food is quite frankly crap and there is never enough to fill them up), my grocery bill goes up exponentially. Add to that breakfast food, snacks, healthy drinks, etc. and it adds up. My grocery bill is $200 PER WEEK. That is currently. It will increase quite a bit in the summer.

Clothes - One shopping trip to buy some new outfits at the beginning of the school year is great, but it doesn't cover the clothing bill. I am the first one to vote for school uniforms every year when the subject comes up, but let's face it - uniforms aren't happening. We do not buy designer clothes for these kids (we can't afford to), but we don't dress them in rags either. Also add shoes to that expense. Both kids are in adult size shoes. Those aren't cheap. And, of course, there is the special equipment for their sports. Women's size cleats run about $90 on the average (and (the Princess) averages one pair per season - last season it was 2 pair). (#1 son) goes through running shoes to the tune of about 1 pair a season (he really should have two a season, as they run through all types of weather, they get wet and he wears them out quick, but he makes do). There's also the Under Armour and other cold weather gear, jackets, practice clothes, etc. I have their clothing budgeted at $100 a month, but honestly it can run much more, or less, depending on the circumstances.

Utilities - 20-30 minute showers add up. (#1 Son) takes much shorter showers now, but often he takes 2 a day. I certainly don't begrudge him that, especially when he works hard doing work around the house and in the yard. (The Princess) averages that or more, as she shaves her legs, conditions her hair, etc. Luckily she doesn't do that everyday, yet. Our laundry load per week is double as well. Then of course there are the peripherals like electricity - it takes some to run their electronics, televisions and stereos, mostly at the same time. Sure, I would have a lot of these expenses anyway, but having older children causes the bills to go up. I'm sure you notice a difference now that (Step-daughter 1) and (Step-daughter 2) don't live there anymore.

Gas - First, the truck has nothing to do with this one. The fact is, though, that we attend almost every soccer practice, technical training, meeting, activity and more (except for the one day a week when (The Princess) carpools with (a teammate) and the one practice you drove her to this season). We pick (#1 Son) up from crew practice EVERY day as well (and give some of his friends rides home). Add to that the fact that we NEVER miss a game or regatta, either home or away. Sometimes that means that (C. my Hubby) has to drive (The Princess) one direction out of town and I drive (#1 Son) in the opposite direction so that at least one of us is there. That means a lot to the kids and we choose to attend - in fact we wouldn't miss any of it. But it does cost money. Additionally, add in the incidental expenses like hotel rooms, food on the road, regatta food cost (each rower is required to provide an assigned food item in addition to the actual time that I volunteer at each race), Gatorade, etc., ad infinitum.

We also are trying to rework our budget to factor in future expenses. (#1 Son) just got his study material to get his learner's permit this week. I have been afraid to ask our insurance agent how much that is going to cost us (not to mention an added car). We're also anticipating college (hopefully you have some $$ set aside for that as well) expenses which are fast approaching. Then there's (The Princess's) braces. The financial fun never seems to end.

There are other expenses, but I think you get the picture. MOST IMPORTANTLY, I am IN NO WAY complaining, because (C.) and I have made conscious choices to raise these kids the way we do. We have chosen to give them opportunities (such as soccer and crew) because we think those activities are important to (and for) the kids and quite frankly, (#1 Son) and (The Princess) are VERY GOOD kids. They deserve everything they get and more (do not tell them I said that, though, lest they expect more! :) and they are very grateful for what they have. They show and tell us that quite often. And again, (C.) and I have made these choices, always after careful consideration and financial planning. We choose to do without some things. The truck is our first "New to Us" vehicle in 7 years. We don't have new toys or expensive clothes, nice furniture, etc. And we're OK with that. We pay our bills and life goes on - I hasten to add on a combined salary of much less than you make a year. So you can see where I was a bit offended when it seemed like you were inferring that $800 is more than enough to include "extras," as you put it. I understand that you have problems with (His new wife's ex Hubby who has custody of her kids), etc. but (C.) and I are not taking the kids' money and flying off to Vegas or taking cruises.

I DO appreciate that you have volunteered to help out with the sports fees. Travel soccer isn't cheap, and neither is crew. We'd certainly appreciate it even more if you would help us help the kids to meet their fundraising obligations for each team. That's another thing (C.) and I spend a lot of time (and money) doing.

Again, I am not wanting to argue over this at all. I just wanted to put these thoughts out to you.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Gee Thanks Kid

So #1 Son was anxiously awaiting the arrival of his latest love interest. He looked great: freshly showered, hair perfectly "messy," cool casual clothes. Apparently the rest of us weren't quite presentable.

To his freshly showered sister (wearing a towel): "You, go put some clothes on."

To C. (who had been working around the house and was shirtless - don't ask): "You, please just put a shirt on."

To The Baby (who had just woken up from his nap and was still sleepy-eyed): "You, look lively! Wake up!"

To Me (who hadn't even gotten out of my PJs, put in my contacts, or even showered. Hey it's Saturday!): " SOMETHING. Or maybe you can just hide."

Found An Old Post

See, I was thinking about you guys during my posting drought. I was cleaning out some folders on my computer and found this one from last fall. It's still in rough draft form, and hey, I'm too lazy to edit it today. Please forgive the obvious errors.

Wits End

To Anyone Who Has Left a Legitimate Voicemail On My Phone In the Last Two Weeks:

Please forgive my failure to return your call. The mid-term election next week has thrown a wrench into my life. Apparently I live in an “important swing state,” according to the media. They say the race between the Democrat and the Republican candidate is too close to call. This means that my phone line, the line that I PAY FOR, has been hijacked by any and every political organization that has ever existed. It is no longer safe to answer my own phone.

To illustrate my pain and frustration for those of you who do not live in VA, TN and that other state with a close race, I give you a recap of my phone messages from the past week:

Monday – 3 calls that did not register with my caller ID. According to my machine, I missed 1 telemarketer and 2 political messages. It’s a damned shame that the politicians don’t realize that I am now so pissed that I am planning to vote for the candidate that pisses me off the least – ie. The one who doesn’t call me/write me, etc. every 2 seconds.

Tuesday – 5 voicemails (since I was not home): 1 hang-up (no doubt a friend of one of the kids with no manners), 1 Soccer Mom with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (I handle the hotel reservations for the Princess’ team and one Mom requires a lot of handholding), and 3 political messages.

Wednesday - I was home, but 2 messages hit the machine in the 30 minutes that I was out picking up the kids from school. Both were from local political candidates. Later in the evening I received 2 additional calls from “concerned citizen groups” urging me to vote their way.

Thursday – Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more annoying, there were 3 messages on my machine from politicians who urged me to vote their way. Instead, I am wishing that they all develop hives.

Friday – I am wondering if anyone in charge of a campaign realizes how aggravating these “vote for him/her” calls are.

I’m turning off the phone. I'll talk to you after Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lord Stanley, Lord Stanley

Gotta LOVE those Ducks!!!

Looking at the Niedermayer brothers, I celebrate the most for their Mom. They now play on the same team, and they have won a Stanley Cup TOGETHER. It wasn't so long ago when they were on opposite teams, facing off against eachother in the finals. Only one child could win and achieve their LIFELONG goal.

See, there's the difference between men and women - Moms and Dads. For the Dad, it's a win-win situation. ONE of his kids is going to win a Stanley Cup. HooYaa! For the Mom, it's agonizing. One of her babies is going to be devastated.

I tried to explain that to my hubby tonight as we were watching the celebrations.

He didn't get it.

Go figure.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We Call Him the Pterodactyl

There he is in all his glory, "The Baby." He has two gears: Full Speed Ahead and Sleeping. There is no in between.

As a family, we had been having frequent disagreements about cutting the child's hair. As a Mom, I know that once you take that first step and CUT the hair, your little one is no longer "THE BABY." He is instead, a toddler.

I took all the mullet jokes and snide comments in stride. This is my last kid, and I was milking the "baby thing" for all it was worth.

This shot is from one of his sister's soccer games last month. Having inherited his Mother's fair skin, the poor kid gets tackled and drowned in sunblock on a regular basis.

Naturally, some Smart Ass (one of my older kids or my Hubby) - felt the need to give the poor Baby a faux-hawk, both on top and with the mullet. The child became known as the Pterodactyl for a week.

I finally gave in and took him for his first haircut.


To Do List

1) Find REAL To Do list.

Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

See my complete profile

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