Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Night Lights

Nice title, huh? I'm pretty sure it has something to do with football or a football show or something. Anyway, I know it refers to playing football in high school under the lights on a Friday. Right? Right?

Tonight we went to the high school football game. It was very crowded. We stood in line to get in and got in just about.....halftime. There was no place to sit. But my husband and I did find a nice piece of fence line upon which to lean, so it wasn't all bad. We went to the game at the request of our daughter, who just HAD to go. But not to watch a football game, heavens no! Only the high-schoolers and the parents watch the game. The under 15 crowd shows up to see and be seen. And to see who can wear the most outrageous outfit, hair extensions in approved school colors, glitter, make-up, face paint, fishnet stockings under shorty shorts, and all manner of shredded apparel in school colors.

Not being a huge fan of football, I only remember attending one high school game. It was fun. We won. It was big deal because it was some sort of championship. I don't really remember the details, but I remember rushing the field after the big win and thinking, hey, this is fun! Did I know the score? Did I even know who the opposing team was? Nah. In college, I never attended a single game. Not a one! My college experience was more work/school/sleep than football games and frat parties. I did attend a college game once, but it was at another college and only because the friend I was visiting for the weekend invited me along.

Thus, I have never painted my face in the spirit of the game, never shredded a t-shirt, never sat stuffed like sardines on metal bleachers shouting cheers and fist-pumping my way through a football game. And now, well, it's just not cool to paint your face after 40. So, I go to the games when my kids ask me to take them. I watch the game (sorta). I people-watch a LOT and I overhear things that would shock the parents of the children I know saying them (oh my, I don't remember using that kind of language when I was 13!). Once we hit the main gate, we don't see the kids until they need a ride home. I have no idea what they do during the game - for all I know, they sneak right out the gate and go smoke pot behind QFC. Haha. Just kidding. I think. I know what they do. They walk around, bump into similarly-dressed friends, chat, move on. They circulate. For the most part, they are not even aware there's a game going on except for the sudden burst of cheers when their team makes a touchdown. Then they look up, vaguely aware that they are, in fact, at a football stadium, not a spirit-wear fashion show that serves pizza.

But sometimes they surprise you. Tonight, after the game, I asked our daughter "who won?" and she said "we did!" then added "32-30". Wow. She knew the score. They grow up so fast.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


There. I'm done with curriculum nights. This year I only had to attend two, even though we have three children still wading through the muck that is public school (haha, just kidding, I LOVE PUBLIC SCHOOL....most of the time)...two of the kids attend the same school which stupidly schedules all three grades on the same night (the high school does, too!) so I was only able to attend one while my lovely husband attended the other. So, forevermore I will not know a whit about her teachers because I did not get to meet them personally, and husbands are notoriously bad at deciphering teachers (um, they stuff?).

Here's my take on "curriculum night". Please don't spend a lot of time talking about the curriculum. Just write it down and provide a nice handout that I can take home and never read. I mean, read over thoroughly! Since I only get ten minutes to get to know you, dear teacher, please spend at least five of those minutes telling me a little about yourself. Did you always want to be a teacher? Do you enjoy children? Are you just in it for the summers off? Then, spend the next five minutes answering questions. Done. Ten minutes and no boring me with the details of your curriculum which is probably on your website anyway. But getting to know you? That's why I'm here. Are you nice? Creepy? Funny? Burnt out on teaching?

Chances are you'll never remember my name or my face, but you have my child in your class every single day.   I won't get the chance to tell you about my child, about their strengths and weaknesses, what they're excited about, what makes them tick. So, at the very least, tell me about YOU, so I know who's influencing my child each and every day. We get one chance to meet you, for ten minutes and it's likely the only time we'll see you all year. "You only get one chance to make a good first impression". So true. Make it memorable!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I want a job!

I want a job.......
That pays well, as I need to pay bills,
A job that contains some laughs and some thrills.
A job that won't bore me,
Or drive me to tears.
A job that is challenging
Where good work's met with cheers.
This job should take place
Between eight and two
Because my children have so many
Activities to do!
And dentist and doctor appointments abound
And someone needs to drive them around!
Flexibility is key, for often they're ill,
And I'll need to take a day just to chill.
I must not work summers,
That's when we all play
But I'm willing to work,
Perhaps half a day.
This job should inspire
And let me create,
And my boss shouldn't care
If I'm a little bit late.
A lingering lunch
At a corner cafe
Is not much to ask
For working all day.
From time to time
A coffee break
Will help me stay on task
Alert, and awake!
I promise to work hard,
Be part of the team.
And take doing a great job
To the very extreme.
Won't you please hire me?
Give me a shot?
I've got some great skills
You'll like me a lot!
To this perfect job,
Someone, please take me!
And if does not exist.....
Please do not wake me!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Don't be the smelly kid.......

Remember in the movie "Big Daddy" where Adam Sandler's character is told, not so delicately, by the crotchety old teacher that his kid is the smelly kid? I'm here today, as a public service, to inform you how to NOT have the smelly kid (or BE the smelly kid, let's face it, children will read this).

First of all, I'm a firm believer in daily baths/showers for all people, even the smallest of people (exceptions being those who suffer terribly from eczema and cannot possibly be subjected to hot water on a daily basis. You get a free pass. But no one else!). I simply have never understood the logic behind having "bath night" since the invention of convenient running water in our households. Kids, of all people, get dirty and sweaty and crawl around on the floor and pick up bugs and are exposed to zillions of germs every nanosecond of the day, and certainly could benefit from at least a quick "baby wipe" bath before being put to bed.

I understand that some children reach an age where showering and bathing become unpleasant chores that they wish to avoid. I do not understand this foreign concept, as my own children were always bathed daily and incorporated that as part of their nighttime routines as soon as they were old enough to be in charge of themselves. Taking a bath was never an option, but, rather, an expected part of the grooming process that one performs daily, much like brushing teeth or combing hair.

However. I work in public schools and I am APPALLED at the state in which children arrive to school. Now, I am not saying every child has an attentive parent who grooms them or teaches them proper grooming techniques, and therefore some children must be given a pass for being "the smelly kid" due to lack of parental guidance or neglect. That is, perhaps, the worst of all, because it's heartbreaking to see a disheveled child who KNOWS they are disheveled and therefore, uncomfortable.

But it's the children from affluent homes, children of means, who arrive to school in clothing that smells soured (yes, you do actually have to remove the load from the washer before it sits in 80 degree heat in a moist environment all day), or with matted hair that smells of maple syrup (did you know that's what dirty hair smells like? Maple syrup. It's true). And, really, once your child reaches fourth or fifth grade, you really do have to purchase them deodorant. Running around and getting sweaty on the playground really works up a stink and better to have your child protected with a sweet-smelling deodorant rather than have them go around smelling of onions the rest of the day. Don't think your child is old enough to wear deodorant? Think again. Just take a sniff next time they run around and get all sweaty. You'd be surprised how early kids need deodorant!

Worst of all, perhaps, is coats, backpacks and lunch boxes that are NEVER cleaned! Yes, even these items should be run through the washer/dryer or dishwasher (in the case of the lunch box) from time to time. Water bottles? Those are just little petri dishes unless you have your child bring them home frequently for a good washing. And in our school district, many children eat their lunches at their desks. If you could see their desks.....well, let's just say if your table at a restaurant was a child's classroom desk, you'd ask to be moved to another table. Why not send along an anti-bacterial wipe to clean off their space before putting their sandwich on it?

And before you think I'm a germaphobe, think again! I've followed the "five-second" rule for dropped food, wiped the baby's pacifier on my shirt and let my toddler eat Cheerios off a public meeting room floor and didn't really think twice. But my kids were bathed daily, their hair was washed and their clothing, backpacks, lunchboxes and coats cleaned on a regular basis. I once had a teacher tell me "I like your kids because they're so clean" and countless people ask what laundry detergent I use because my kids' clothes always smell so good (Tide and Clorox bleach, nothing else compares!). Disclaimer - my kids now do their own laundry so if they are smelly it's their own fault!

But, please, send your child to school clean. Wash their coats. Teach them to wear deodorant. For the sake of teachers everywhere, teach good hygiene. Because a classroom of 28 preteens can get pretty ripe. And you don't even want to smell high school. Smells like teen spirit? Not so much.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Take daughter to college, get a free kitten!

So, it's over. Two utterly exhausting but really fun days getting Hayley settled into college. Hayley learned the joys of attempting to make a "loft" bed (struggling with a fitted sheet five feet off the ground is enough to drive a person crazy!), we found out how many things you can hang on a wall with just a pushpin, and we discovered that in the absence of a tape measure, one can use toilet paper (albeit a bit embarrassing to pull out at Fred Meyer when measuring shelves). All told, we got her settled into her dorm room in about three hours (give or take a few hours), met the roommates, met the roommates' parents, made a trip to Fred Meyer for all the stuff we forgot or needed, and finally settled down to a "free" lunch in the SURC. Of course, it wasn't "free", it's all rolled into that huge monstrosity called "the bill for college", but it was nice to not pull out the wallet for once.

We ventured into the student store and dropped $150 on sweatshirts and t-shirts for the whole family (Go Wildcats!), enjoyed another "free" barbeque dinner, and spent some time lounging around waiting for the evening presentation which included an address from the president and presentation from "The Dating Doctor", David Coleman. It was a VERY long day! After the evening event, we walked over to see the boyfriend's dorm, then made the long, long trek back to the car. Sad note: I lost my camera bag somewhere along the way, although my camera was around my neck, so THANK GOODNESS for that. I will have to replace a few things, but, hey, what's a couple hundred dollars compared to college tuition! HA! (not)

We left our eldest child to sleep in her dorm for the first time, and collapsed into our hotel bed where we slept in the next morning. Then, we met for a quiet lunch and headed back to drop her off at her residence hall. We said goodbye with little fanfare, a couple of pictures and........well, let's face it, my heart bursting with pride because I raised this amazing, adorable, incredible daughter who was making her way into the world with such confidence and ability. And just like that, the umbilical cord was severed. I did feel a gripping pain in my stomach as we drove away and a wave of emotion, so I guess it was symbolic. But mostly I felt happy and proud and like we were exactly where we should be after eighteen years together. I will miss her terribly, but I'm beyond excited for her to have this experience on her own.

And then I got a kitten.

Perhaps I should explain. I used to have two cats. They were lovely creatures, sometimes exasperating, but mostly enjoyable. We acquired them when my youngest was a baby, and my first worry was that they would smother him while he slept. They actually DID enjoy snuggling up to him, but he managed to keep breathing. And they were so tolerant of his toddlerhood when he would sprawl across them and fall asleep. They didn't scratch or bite when the kids carried them around by their necks. They purred and snuggled on my chest at night when I was laying in bed reading a book. But, sadly, when we moved to a new house, the cats started to venture outside and pretty soon they were missing for days at a time and, eventually, we didn't see them again. Coyotes, raccoons, who knows what got them, but they disappeared. And for a long time, we decided no more cats for us.

But then, you see, we have these three dogs. And dogs are just not cats. Not even close. Dogs are so messy, and loud, and smelly. Dogs lumber through the house and eat food off counters and tear open packages of snacks. Dogs are oafs and cats are dainty. So, after a while, we started thinking about how much we missed cats. Lovely, aloof creatures that can be left alone with just some food and water for a few days, as opposed to dogs who need to be let out every couple of hours and bark non-stop.

So, Hayley came up with the idea that she would get me a cat before she left for college so I wouldn't miss her as much (haha, as if a cat could help with that!). But Jeff gave a resounding "no" to that plan. He didn't want to clean up after it, feed it, or otherwise care for another four-legged creature (understandable, since the bulk of "dog duty" goes to him). I wasn't so sure about another cat. My previous cats were declawed (a practice apparently now banned), and my furniture remained intact. I worried about scratches, and box-training and whether the cat would be fun or nice - the exact opposite of a stray cat we once took in who ate the head off our 9-year-old goldfish (Hello? PAWS? We want to relinquish a cat!).

I arrived home this afternoon, weary and sleepy, and the first thing I was greeted with was two scheming girls showing me pictures of kittens on a cell phone and begging "PLEASE!". I told them if they could convince Jeff, they could have a kitten. And, somehow, he said yes. Or something along those lines. Or maybe they just told me he said yes and they told him I said yes and we've been duped. Either way, we decided to get the cat.   So, we made a quick trip to the store for cat supplies and our "free" cat started out costing just under $100, and then we gave the family $20 for the kitty because they had already procured the first shots, flea treatment and de-worming. Free cats are so expensive!

Now, we have a kitten. And the empty space left by my child is now filled with a kitten. And you know, that tiny kitten doesn't even come CLOSE to filling a fraction of the space voided by my firstborn. And that kitty can't laugh with me, or come into my room late at night to say goodnight, or text me in the wee hours to let me know she's home. That kitten can't go shopping with me, or make cupcakes in my kitchen wearing a cute apron, or bring her boyfriend and friends over to fill my house with shenanigans. But maybe that kitty will cuddle on my chest, or purr in my arms, or just slink around the house in my shadow and keep me company. We named her Matilda. She's pretty cute. Not as cute as my college freshman. But still pretty cute.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday musings..........

I opened up my email and a news story popped up. "See the latest trends in lingerie for fall". WTF? Isn't the "trend" just "wear something frilly, small and silky and get laid"? I didn't know there were "trends" in lingerie.

I left for work at 8 a.m. and got home at 9 p.m. I'm only mentioning that because IT SUCKS.

I ate a piece of cake at a meeting tonight and thought "wow, that frosting is too sweet". This is earth-shattering because I love sweet stuff and I do not recognize this person who thinks something is too sweet. But do not despair. I had a small bowl of chocolate chips before bed, so all is right with the world again.

My daughter had to wear paper shorts at the hospital today for her arthritis checkup. I wrote "property of Hannah" on her butt with a Sharpie.

My baby leaves in two days for college. TWO DAYS! This makes my tummy hurt a little. Tomorrow night we are having "the last supper". She picked cedar-planked salmon, corn on the cob, sweet Hawaiian rolls and Ben and Jerry's. At least I can send her off in the world knowing she appreciates the finer things! :)

I am so, so tired. Can I just call in "tired" to work tomorrow? No?

I love my bed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This isn't really a blog post..........

It's actually a really long Facebook status. Because I ran out of room. So. Here we go.

I am way too busy for a job. I've been working full time since last week (haha, all you full-timers, go ahead and laugh, but this is MY life and MY blog, so I'm gonna whine if I want to). The thing is, working is just one more chore I have to do. And so working all day just takes up too many hours of my time so that I fall way, way behind. I know, bummer huh? But I'm a tried and true part-timer. Four hours a day is about all I can muster and still stay on top of everything else. I haven't filled my son's prescription or called the college financial aid office because I simply haven't had time. Crazy, I know, but I work in a school and I don't get ANY breaks in which to make phone calls or do anything other than work all day. I do get a lunch but it's a "working lunch" where I'm meeting with the other teachers and assistants so I can't even skip out for an errand or phone call at all. So, blah, blah, that's my whine about working. Yes, I'll have a smile on my face when the paycheck comes. But honestly? I'd rather be a "stay at home" (hahahah) mom any day over working. There, I said it.

Also. The kids are in a performance tomorrow (and the next day and the next day) and tonight was the dress rehearsal. And those damn kids, they grew again, so of course we discover five minutes before we leave that their pants from last year don't fit, one only has tan jazz shoes (not black, as required), one has only brown shoes, and one needs a fitted, solid-colored t-shirt. And, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, I do not have time to purchase these items before tomorrow. oldest (thank GOD she can drive and hasn't left for college yet and doesn't have to work till 11 tomorrow) is going to purchase the t-shirt and some black spray paint for the jazz shoes. The brown shoes will just have to do. But, if you wanted to be my good fairy tomorrow and magically bring me a pair of size 4 black jazz shoes, a pair of size 11 black tennis shoes, and a size small solid-colored t-shirt by tomorrow morning and leave it all on my doorstep, I'd be eternally grateful.

Additionally......tomorrow night is THE BIG PARTY. This party is being thrown by my husband's company to celebrate FDA approval of a new drug. That cures cancer. Yeah, pretty big stuff. So, they rented out the entire Showbox theatre and two super-secret bands will be playing but they're not saying who. Jeff is rooting for Pearl Jam. Who knows? Our "ticket" to this event is a rubber bracelet (think "Livestrong") with the name of the company and the drug imprinted on it. We cannot lose this "ticket" or no big super-secret band party for us. So, I've been wearing mine for two days since Jeff gave it to me. Stylish. Speaking of stylish, the dress is "concert/party" attire. Well, now. If I were going to concert, I'd likely wear a t-shirt and jeans. If I were going to a party I might wear a dress. Dilemma. So, I went shopping. Now, where do you buy an outfit that's a cross between jeans and a dress for a girl like me (read: not skinny). Why, Lane Bryant of course. And it's cute - black pants, cute tank and sweater combo in a lovely shade of deep turquoise - but I'm still not sure if it's the right thing. I mean, what if people are wearing cocktail dresses? What if jeans and concert t's are the order of the day? I HATE THIS. I wish they would have sent out suggestions (complete with photos and links to ordering) of outfits to wear. I'm still debating, too, because I have this other cute top.....oh well, I got some shiny new shoes (under ten bucks at Ross, but still). So, tomorrow, the minute I get off work, I have to dash home to get dolled up for this soiree and, you know, put on the "this is my wife, isn't she cute?" outfit. Sigh. At least I'm funny.......I am funny, right?

Then, after staying up half the night at this fabulous party, I have to get up and go to work again! Groan! And I have to work all day! Augh! And then, if that's not horrible enough, there's a performance Friday night. And likely a restaurant outing afterwards. And a football game where daughter #3 is cheering at 8 a.m. the next day. And then a matinee performance. And then another evening performance. And Sunday......oh, blessed Sunday, day of rest and relaxation! But guess what? Monday I have to get up and work again! And I haven't been to yoga or seen my friends in AGES. Yep, this working thing is for the birds. I wonder if I could win the lottery? Or serve nothing but oatmeal to my family? Surely there's a way out of this Hell.........

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our fifth anniversary! Ironic that my blog about being mad at Jeff is followed by a blog about being married to Jeff, but hey, that's what marriage is all about. Ups and downs. Trials and tribulations. Cheesecake in bed. Wait, that's what this morning is all about! We're eating cheesecake in bed to celebrate our five year anniversary and debating how to spend this beautiful sunny day.

Five years ago on this morning, we were busy getting ready for the wedding. Our wedding included only our family - me, Jeff, Hayley, Hannah, Arlie and Harrison. Hayley and Hannah were my maids of honor, Arlie was the flower girl and Harrison was the ring bearer and usher. We had decided to get married with only a couple weeks' notice (after having spent the last year living together as a family and waiting to tie up loose ends from our  previous marriages!). That meant we planned, shopped and bought FAST. The best decision we made was to have our wedding at the Coeur d' Alene resort, where we got an all-inclusive package and a wedding planner that made it all SO easy to do long-distance. We got married on a weekend most of the family was gathering anyway, so no one had to do any extra traveling. Granted, our Seattle friends couldn't make it (with the exception of my best, best friend Tonya and her family - still love them for making the trip!), but most of the immediate family was there and some good friends as well.

In typical mom fashion, I busied myself with getting the kids ready and spent very little time getting myself ready! In fact, I quickly put my hair back in a couple of barrettes right before I had to walk down the aisle and didn't even pay much attention to my makeup, but it was fine because my kids looked beautiful and perfect! My dress was picked out by Tonya on a rush trip to Macy's the Monday before the wedding. We also found the girls' dresses there and found Arlie's flower girl dress at a boutique shop in Bothell the next day when leaving the orthodontist office. Right in front of us, in the window, was a perfect-looking dress and wouldn't you know, it was the right size too? Amazing. The boys got rented tuxes, which turned out great except that we picked them up on our way out of town, and didn't check the sizes. Harrison, age 7 at the time, ended up with men's pants, which Grandma Linda "hemmed" with a couple of safety pins right before the wedding!

I loved that all we had to do was show up in our finery and walk down the aisle. I loved that the minister included the kids in the ceremony, essentially marrying us as a family. I loved the food, the decor, the stunning view of Lake Coeur d' Alene, and the cake. Oh, the cake! The cake was, hands down, the BEST cake I've ever eaten in my life. It was created at Just American Desserts in Spokane and was covered with "tuxedo" strawberries (dipped in white and dark chocolate), cascading down the entire cake. Yum, yum, YUM. I still have never had a better cake. I wish I could replicate that cake every year for my anniversary, but that would require a five hour drive. Sigh.

The funniest part of the wedding was that Jeff's sister-in-law, Heather, decorated cans of "Flarp" (the "fart putty") with wedding pearls and set them out on all the tables. We had been hysterically laughing at this fart putty at the pig pickin' the day before, and so Heather thought it would be funny to classy up the cans and put them out as favors. It was hilarious and actually created entertainment for the many kids in attendance. Such a fun day!

The most touching part of the wedding was the toast Jeff gave. He had practiced it and even had it written out and in his coat pocket. It was sweet, touching, funny and really the nicest thing anyone's ever said about me. The part I remember most was that he said I made life a celebration, even the most mundane things. I loved that part. Because we've been doing it as a family ever since that day, and it's made us have so many laughs and good times.

I'm really the luckiest girl ever. Who could ask for more, really, than a great husband and an amazingly funny family who loves each other so much? Not me. I'm happy.