Monday, June 6, 2011

Murphy's law?

Perhaps bad karma. We are not even a full week into June and I hate this month. A lot.

I hurt my friends. I don't need to go into it anymore than that, but I hurt people I care deeply for over something ridiculous and although I have apologized, I am not sure things will ever go back to normal. That breaks my heart.

I think the universe is trying to get back at me.

There has just been little things adding up, over and over trying to make me insane. It's like a scab that never quite heals because someone keeps picking at it.

Then there are the bigger things. My truck needs a new differential. We manage to pick vehicles with weird, impossible to find parts, and things that never break for other people break for us. That just means there isn't an abundance of parts for it out there. So yeah. $2000 repair that I wasn't counting on. Sorry younger kid. Your braces just got pushed back a bit.

My uncle had knee surgery. Shouldn't be a huge deal right? Except apparently it was because he hasn't come out of it the way he should have. He is incoherent when he is awake which is only about 4 hours every 24. So I am worried about him. He is a good man and deserves to be healthy.

So my life kind of sucks. I am in a funk that I would love to get out of. I need a vacation. Or booze. Maybe both.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Girls night in, cards with friends, and maybe even a little bit of sunshine

This weekend is both busy and looking to be awesome.

I spent last night hanging out with friends of mine I used to work with, drinking wine, eating cucumber sandwiches and brownies, and catching up. We try to get together once a month, but we are way behind. I think the last time we all managed to get together was December when I hosted. Last night two were missing, having other plans, but I am still glad that the rest of us got together.

Tonight we are going to play cards with friends, which is always fun. You really can't beat cards and drinks with people who are funny ;)

Today is looking like it is going to be extremely pretty so I am thinking BBQ if nothing else. We need some solid time outside. I know April showers bring May flowers blah blah blah blah but I am so so so sick of rain. Bring out the sun!!

Next weekend is looking to be exciting for the husband. He is taking a motorcycle safety course so he can actually ride his new (to him) bike. After a lot of thought and working out the numbers we decided to sell my car. The insurance was killing us. It didn't occur to me that a Monte Carlo would be considered a sports car. Gas is already up to $4/gallon and only promising to go higher so we were looking for a solution there as well. We need the truck for various reasons, so we sold the car, and used the money to buy the bike and gear. Now my husband can drive the bike to work for the next 5 months, which at 50+ MPG is triple the gas mileage of the truck. I will have the truck for appointments if needed, but I live close enough to work to walk it, which is what I have been doing and will continue doing. Even with full coverage on the bike we are saving $50 a month on insurance, and in the winter we'll put storage coverage on it and probably be closer to $100 lower! What about winter? Well, The man and I can carpool until student teaching is done. After that, the need for a second car is going to depend on when/where I can find work. We need to cut expenses and this satisfies that and scratches the man's 10 year motorcycle itch so I am excited about the win/win.

And yes, I am ok with him having a donor-cycle. He managed thousands of miles in a truck safely, and has a healthy respect for the dangers involved, plus we didn't cheap out on gear ;) That is what I am going to believe anyway.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Destination: Upper Peninsula

That is my hope anyway. Specifically the Hiawatha National Forest up near Sault Ste. Marie. $13 a night camping, right on Lake Superior and close enough to the Locks to take the girls. They have been to the little locks on the Erie Canal. I think the bigger Soo Locks will be cool to see. There is a really cool light house tour that goes through the locks and takes you to all the light houses but at $49/ticket I think we might skip that and maybe do the much cheaper two hour ride just through the locks. Then of course there is the hiking and fishing and swimming that I can't wait for. I am also hoping to get a peek at some Northern Lights. I haven't seen them since I was a little kid.

Of course we have to pay for a second set of braces, court fees and a settlement this summer so we will see where we stand. Sigh.

For now I am excited for a short work week. Tomorrow is my equivalent of Friday and since we have an Easter party planned for the kids I am really hoping that it passes quickly. After that it is getting some school work done, spending time with friends (GIRLS NIGHT IN FRIDAY!! WOOHOO) and more school. I have to put together the class portfolios while I am at it too. Preschool graduation is in June and most of my kids will be going to K next year so I really need to get it set up.

The good news is we might see the sun this weekend! I am so done with the April showers business. It is getting really old to be stuck inside all day. It is also supposed to be something like 60 degrees so I say bring on the BBQ :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mondays suck

Let's just start with what today's prize was

Can you believe that crap? Nothing like a mid-April snowfall to make you really feel like spring is around the corner!

Today we had a birthday in my preschool class, so mom brought in cupcakes. Now as yummy as they were and as easy as it made snack time, cupcakes for morning snack = sugar high. Mid-April snowfall - snowpants that have all been taken home for the year = no recess. Sugar high preschoolers - recess = OMFG ARE YOU KIDDING ME? (I am actually shocked I have any hair left after today)

But, I survived. Somehow.

After work, I walked the snow....uphill ;) About 100 yards from my workplace I hit a puddle that resulted in a soaked sock and jeans. Awesome. It wasn't freezing or anything. Sigh.

Now I am trying to help my husband figure out his final paper for the term. If you have never dealt with WGU and Task Stream, I just want to point out that it is incredibly vague when it comes to the directions, and they expect you to write 5-7 pages based on this hugely broad scope that they have given you. However, if you don't read their minds regarding what they want, they will kick it back to you. I despise Task Stream and I am SOOOOO glad that I am nearly done with this bullshit. As my husband gets closer to his degree, I am hoping that will mean more tests, fewer papers. Ugh.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekends pass so quickly

Especially when you spend a chunk of Saturday driving around trying to figure out where you are supposed to be.

I had to drive to Ypsilanti for my content exam. I was there once for the basic skills test but that was quite a while ago. I am fairly familiar with Ann Arbor but Yspi was not much fun. I am so glad that I left early because it took nearly 40 minutes to find where I needed to be. Google maps was useless. Thank goodness for the GPS on my phone.

I wish I could say I did well on the test, but I have no idea. It wasn't anything like my Bio II test which covered a lot of microbiology and cellular biology. This test had several questions which had more than one right answer, and I was supposed to pick the best one. We will see what happens. I won't know how I did until I get the results next month.

I should be putting together lesson plans for my class today. I was ahead for a while, but slacked off with the last two weeks being so busy. I have yet to work a full week. A day off per week for court, a day off this coming week for good Friday and my first week was only two full days. I don't know what I will do when I work a full five days. I think I will hope for good weather! I have learned quickly that outside recess is a sanity saver. We have 40 minutes outside before lunch and they need every little bit of it, or they start bouncing off the walls. I forgot how much movement 4 and 5 year olds require.

The flowers are starting to pop up and the trees are budding. I need to get my camera out. The girls keep taking off with my camera. They each have their own now, but since mine is "better", they have it more than I do anymore.

The down side to the warmer weather is kid A needs new pants. The jeans I bought her in the fall are all lined with fleece because it was the only way to get her into jeans. I was hoping it would desensitize her a bit so she could move on to real jeans but that isn't happening. Instead, now that the weather is warmer, she cycles through the three pair of yoga pants she has which means more laundry for me. She needs shorts too. At least kid B is set for shorts. Her legs got longer, but the rest of her remained steady so she can wear the shorts I got her last year. I don't even have to buy her shoes because big foot wears the same size I do now, so she has taken my flip flops like they were always hers. Little punk. Now I need new sandals. I can wait a while though. Kids are so damn expensive.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My apologies

I let my anger and frustration of the whole last year get the better of me in my last post. I am much more zen today. I won't delete it but I will admit the whole thing was unnecessary and a bit petty. I should be a bigger person than that.

I am looking forward to the upcoming months being much less stressful. I am back to work, with preschoolers this time which has been a blast. I won't even get into how much I do not miss changing diapers and wiping snotty noses. The kids are all super sweet - very energetic - but a lot of fun. It's nice to lead group and have them actually get into it with me, singing and checking the weather. We planted radish seeds last week and most of them have sprouted. The few that didn't I stuck another seed in because when they go home at the end of next week I want all the kids to have a sprout. Radishes are kind of a goofy thing to plant but I love them because they germinate really quickly and this age group needs as close to instant gratification as I can get.

The weather has been absolutely lovely. It is super windy today but it is still well above freezing which most definitely works for me. I am done with winter. It has been a long one.

I am trying to plan our vacation now. It always involves camping because it's cheap and it's a blast. We will definitely be doing some hiking again but I think this year we are going to stick a bit closer to home. Gas prices are ridiculous! Since I am only working until student teaching in the fall I am thinking it will be late August before we go. There is another big reason to stay in the land of more reasonable temperatures. Last year southern IL was 106 heat index. That does not make for awesome hiking and tenting weather. Thank goodness for the solar shower (if you tent camp, spend the $8. Worth every penny) and we planned every hike for early morning and evening to beat the heat, and that was in June before summer even officially started. This time the kids are coming with us. I know they had a blast with my dad and want to go back but I missed the little punks. The puppy dog needs to come this time too.

Content exam tomorrow. Wish me luck. I have to pass this (it's the equivalent of the PRAXIS II) in order to do my student teaching in the fall so I admit I am a bit nervous. Love the fact that once this is over I have nothing to really stress over for a while.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things I buy while being sued

Because apparently, when faced with overblown lawsuits all life is supposed to stop. I did not know this so I wasted all kinds of money.

I paid for medical care. My younger kid had the bad manners to come down with a serious kidney infection that required three days of hospitalization. Anyone who has spent anytime in the American middle class knows that just because you have insurance doesn't mean the bills don't roll in. If only life were that simple. Of course, a kidney infection wasn't enough for her. This kid afterall spent 10 years of her life being extraordinarily healthy so she had a lot to make up for. A kidney infection led to complications that required her to undergo a procedure six months later. How dare she need to be put under when other people were waiting to get paid. The nerve! Then, mere weeks later there was the unidentified stomach pain the doctors could not find an answer for and were concerned was related. It ended up being an ovarian cyst. Completely unrelated but involved enough bloodwork to fill a mountain of mosquitos and an ultrasound to figure out.

This kid was completely determined to break the bank. Glasses and eye exams were chunked in there. She also failed a hearing test at school which led to follow ups with her doctor, a specialist and of course they want her in hearing aids. Despite what some might think, we are not made of money, so the $3000 hearing aid is on a back burner for the moment since the hearing loss is not bad enough to effect her schooling. We opted for preferential seating instead. At least we have a little common sense!

Then of course there is the other kid who refuses to grow like she should. I suppose we could have skipped the doctor, but I kind of like knowing that she is healthy.

I suppose her braces were just a cosmetic procedure and could have know...for her growth plates to close making braces later take 10 times longer and cause 50 times the amount of pain. Who really cares if she can't close her mouth properly because her facial structure is messed up. Oh wait. I DO! Damn mothers always wanting the best for her kids.

I also paid for stuff like my younger kid's viola. Ugh. Kids don't actually need music right? I also paid for her to swim for another year. Waste of time. She didn't need the ribbons she earned or the self confidence she gained.

Field trips? School expenses? Bah!

Speaking of school expenses, college is a total waste of money. I should settle for making $8.50 an hour like I do now and make the best of it. $1000 a month will pay for...groceries and gas at this point. What, that isn't enough? How dare I even think of spending money on text books and CPR classes and licensing expenses so that I can teach for real and triple my pay. Other people need that money more than I do!

And then I used this timing to pay for the inhaler I needed for years but couldn't afford since I was too busy slinging more money than I had into a house that couldn't be saved. Then there was the glasses I have needed for years but kept putting off.

Be sad for our money management skills. We don't have credit cards. We don't have cable or brand new cars (our fancy "new" truck is a 2003 we have had for years now and our MONTE CARLO is an 01 with 170,000 miles on it we bought cheap to replace the late nineties Malibu with a blown engine. Yeah. Ok then.) We just keep throwing good money after bad like kids and school and medical care. Irresponsible. Completely.

Friday, February 4, 2011

January overview

I can't keep up with blogs, so here is an overview.

We danced our way into the new year with some of the coolest people we know ;)

Kid two performs in her first ever choir concert

The kids enjoyed the Ice Sculpture Festival in town, despite the sub-zero wind chill that day.

Kid two swims in the only home meet of the season. She places 4th in the 100 IM, 4th in the 50 freestyle, and 3rd in the 50 Breast (and first for her team!) She has come a long way with her swimming!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Overview of 2010

I am a few days late on this, but I wanted to recap the year!


I am contacted by the company I previously worked for and asked to return. I accept and plan to start work the first of Feb.

My grandma turns 90!!


I come home from my first full day of work to a message on my answering machine that touched off our decision to move.

We find a place, and manage to move, store or get rid of 5.5 years worth of stuff in 3 weeks!


My baby turns 10!

Warning!! Shit storm commences!

Kid two is hospitalized for 3 days, setting the new family record.


Our 2nd year of college comes to a close and we scurry to get everything finished.

Things quiet down on the extended family front.


We spend our days exploring the new town and gearing up for summer.

I give my notice for my job. Since we moved, I no longer have a backup plan for childcare, and daycare is expensive!


Kids first vacation away! They ride down to Arkansas with their grandpa and spend two weeks having fun in the south.

We are served with a lawsuit! Let the fun begin!

We go on vacation and spend a week camping and hiking before grabbing the kids and heading back home.


We spend several weekends camping with friends.

We find out kid two has mild/moderate hearing loss.


Our lawyer gets us set up with future court dates. No chance of settlement.

I have to buy whole new wardrobes for growing kids. They just keep growing!


The kids start school, both in middle school this year. No more elementary :(

Kid one turns 12!

I turn 30!

Swim season starts.


Deposition time. Hours of my life I will never get back :(

Kid one gets her braces. She looks so grown up!

Junior year of college, semester one, complete.


The year is almost over! Here we insert swim meets nearly every weekend, orchestra concerts, and other various busy school activities.


Happy holidays. First year that neither kid believes in Santa, but had a great time in spite of it.

Kid two goes through all the xrays and whatnot needed to start her orthodontia treatment. Yeah. Two in braces. This will only hurt a little...

I know there is things that I am missing throughout the year, but it will be nice to come back to it later to be reminded of everything. I would like to start doing this every year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let's talk TSA: Trampling Societies Amendments

I am not anywhere near the first person to talk about this, and I should hope that I will not be the last.

For those who are woefully behind on the news, I am talking about the new procedures in place to "protect" us in the friendly skies. When I say friendly, I mean friendly.

Airports all over the United States have new scanners put into place to detect weapons that the metal detectors miss. We wouldn't want anyone on a plane with a non-metalic weapon. A good idea in theory. Maybe. There are two main problems with these scanners, dubbed by many as naked machines or porno-scanners. Yes, these scanners essentially strip search passengers as they make their way through. Remember when every boy's dream was to be able to see through clothing? We have made it a reality! These machines are capable of capturing every intimate detail of your anatomy. As if that were not enough to make the general public seriously uncomfortable, the way these scanners work is through ionizing radiation.

Now, the TSA insists that the radiation levels are so low, that these scanners are completely safe. I don't know about you but when my cell phone comes with a warning about using a headset when possible to keep radiation away from my head, I have to wonder how a whole body scanner is different. Now, since I am not an expert, I have been doing some reading. My favorite source comes from the blog of a biophysicist who was awesome enough to post the details of how they worked here. It has been pointed out to me that some scientists can be perceived as "wackos" but the information both in the blog posting and the linked letter of concern to the TSA seems on track to me. I will be watching for more thorough studies. In the meantime, you could not pay me enough to get near one. Without even acknowledging the complete invasion of privacy, as a woman with a history of cancer on both sides of her family, I would much rather be safe than sorry. I apologize for the tired cliché but it sums it up beautifully.

The good news is, you can opt out of the scanners. Great! Problem solved! Well. No. Starting November 1 of this year, the TSA began doing what it calls "enhanced pat downs"  Now if standard pat downs were not uncomfortable enough, they now reserve the "right" to touch your most private areas. That's right folks. We have given the TSA permission to molest us.

Now in the name of fighting terrorism, a surprising number of people are willing to accept this treatment. Many people feel that if you have nothing to hide, you should not worry about it. Hmmm. Why does this bother me?

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That, my friends, is the fourth amendment. I am kind of fond of our constitution and our bill of rights. The fourth means that we cannot just be randomly searched without probable cause, or a warrant. So why are we accepting such treatment? What probable cause does the TSA have for these unreasonable searches? Well, you bought the plane ticket didn't you? Apparently, that makes you guilty of terrorism until proven innocent. Not good, people. Not good.

So what happens if you are selected for a pat down and you refuse? Well, you can't. If you enter the screening, you are forced to complete it, or they can put you in jail and charge you $11,000. I don't know about you, but I don't have an extra few thousand to just throw around, I don't want to be exposed to radiation, and I certainly don't want a pat down, that to me, would be akin to molestation. Not happening.

I have written letters, and I have opted not to fly at all. I will let my voice be heard and my dollars will not support such actions. Fortunately, I have the option to do this. As a stay at home mom, with family on one side of the country, it is fairly easy for me to avoid flying. For people who fly for work, this could be problematic.

My husband was supposed to fly to Florida in December for a work function/class/expo/training. It's a big deal and he was really looking forward to going. When the new procedures came through, my husband thought long and hard about how important this is to him. Personal liberties won out. He told the regional manager that he will not fly. Period. He is not afraid of flying. He doesn't so much care about having his danglies felt up. It all comes down to the principle, and one thing about my husband is that he sticks with what he believes is right 100%. I admire that in him. The regional manager? Not so much. He has repeatedly tried to pressure my husband into changing his mind. My husband is willing to take a train, take a bus, or even drive. He wants to attend this function. Just not by air travel so long as these procedures remain in place. It's still up in the air how this is going to go, as the RM has promised to talk about this again later. How sad is it that this should even be a fight?

I urge everyone I can - if you have a choice, opt out. We need to take a stand on this. I didn't agree with the patriot act of the previous administration, and I don't agree with the disgusting trampling of the fourth amendment with this one either. Write your representatives, your congressmen, and the president. Let them know that this is unacceptable. We have to make sure that we are heard.