Safety and Security Notice:

I never include last names or specific locations here, for the safety of our children. If you or your child is a friend of me or mine, and you approve a first name and photo being posted as appropriate, please click this link to email me with written permission. Thank you

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Overnights, Flowers, Gems, and Fighting Games

We had a sleepover at Chez GamersBabes last night. Three girls - our own two (10yo Leanna and 8yo Abby), and the neighbor (9yo "Kay", who has informed me she'd prefer "Kiki" since I don't want to use her real name on my blog). Plus 3yo Lizzy of course, but she was not part of the sleepover, being "only little" and she slept on the couch. She usually falls asleep for the night on the couch in any case, so last night I simply did not move her into her bed after she conked out.

500 Aster China Flower seeds Mixed Colors Superb semi-double mixture with a full range of colorsGladiolus - Blue Isle Flower BulbsKiki brought over her video game (after clearing it with me because it's "rated T and none of us are Teens"). It's rated as such for cartoony violence and because one has to choose the color of female characters' panties (so when they do flips and high kicks it doesn't move into rated M territory, I guess) which counts as "Suggestive Themes". All three girls are totally scandalized by this, but the panties default to white, and that just won't do, except in Kiki's character named "Pearl". They decided to design their characters after their respective birthstones, plus a couple others... so we have Pearl for Kiki, Turquoise (or Blue Topaz) for Abby, and Peridoe (sic) for Leanna, all dressed in the appropriate colors. There's also a Sapphire (maybe for me, maybe for Leanna's mom, maybe for Lizzy). This also led to a Wiki Walk and a Google Image Search to discover each person's birthstone(s) and Official Flower (Rose for Kiki, Gladiolus for Leanna, Aster for me and Lizzy, and Narcissus for Abby).

I first noticed inappropriate attitude in Abby (well before they were playing the game, so I'm confident the game had nothing to do with it... and that's a soapbox for another post in any case). Then I noticed it in Leanna - nothing major in either of them - just pouting and whining about things like being required to get dressed and comb their hair (I'm such a mean (step)mom!) and when even Kiki - usually the most level-headed and responsible of the three - was getting all cranky about taking turns in the game, I decided - and informed them - that the next time we have a sleepover, they're going to have to go to bed earlier or get up later or both. This brought a chorus of protest - as expected - but as now all three of them are actively cleaning the kids' room without more protest, clearly it did no lasting harm. But I did have to ruin Abby's surprise (her dad coming to pick her up for lunch) because she was weeping at the unfairness of me making Kiki leave at 11AM.

The theme song from this game will be in my head for ages though; when they left to clean up the room, they left it on. Not that I really mind. I like video games as much as they do. Or more. I used to be pretty good at Mortal Kombat... I wonder if I can kick that bad guy's butt.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Healthy Food as Seen by a Child

Abby has recently had a Health and Nutrition unit at school. One of the projects the kids did was to take a photocopy of a local grocery ad (Safeway in this case, but I would not have known this had some of the ad items not been house brand) and circle the various foods with Green (Healthy), Yellow (Occasionally), and Red (Rarely). Some of the issue here may be interpretative - how often is "occasionally" versus "rarely"? There is also one item blacked out on the copy, because it is something that they can't present to second-graders (alcohol, tobacco, or condoms would be the only things I can think of, although I suppose feminine hygiene may be on the verboten list too). Her list went like this:
  • Coca-Cola - red (reasonable)
  • Nabisco Crackers and Cookies - yellow (I suspect she dithered over this... crackers are okay, but cookies not so much... what do do, what to do?)
  • Fresh Ground Coffee - red (sure)
  • Bottled Water - green (she doesn't know about leechy plastics and so forth at eight, so sure)
  • Microwave Popcorn - yellow (okay - occasionally for microwave popcorn sounds fine)
  • Instant Oatmeal - green (she probably is unaware of the amount of sugar and fillers, so good)
  • Rockstar Energy Drinks - red (great - at her age, she doesn't even need to know about these)
  • Tortilla Chips - yellow (reasonable - chips are chips)
  • Fruit Snacks - yellow (all righty)
  • Pepsi - yellow (why is Coke red, but Pepsi is yellow?)
  • Licorice Whips - yellow (why not red? does she think of them as fruit snacks rather than candy?)
  • Multivitamins - green
  • Chocolate Chunk Cookies - green (Wha? Is it because they look like a smaller package? Does she recognize the logo as the same people who brought us Goldfish Crackers? Is it because the price is higher than the other cookies above and we equate higher prices with better quality? Or was she getting silly by this point?)
  • Pasta Sauce - yellow (one jar says "CHEESY!!" and the other says "GARDEN VEGETABLE". Did she split the difference?)
  • Peanut Butter - yellow shaded with green (looks like she started to circle it with yellow, but decided that for most people it's green)
  • Apple Juice - yellow (Why not green? It says "100% Juice" on the bottle...)
  • Pork Back Ribs from the butcher - green (the other white meat?)
  • Spaghetti and Tuna on a buy-together deal - green (okay... it is whole grain pasta)
  • The Blank Spot, where she wrote in "BEER" - red (this cracked me up)
  • Red Seedless Grapes - green (fresh fruit = green, yay!)
  • Chicken Tenders from the deli - green (Huh?)
  • Gatorade - yellow (okey dokey)
  • Salad Dressing - yellow (she knows the dressing is not the most nutritious part)
 I have not laughed so hard over her homework in weeks.

As one might expect from my auditory learner, the other thing she showed me proudly is that she can read intervals. The music teacher sings three notes and the kids multiple-choice which of the three notations is correct. She got all three of them right.

Game Night and a Blogspot Question

It's Game Night, although we have a number of "maybe" players tonight, so who knows what we'll play. GURPS, Mage, Paranoia, that new board game Laston bought at Norwescon - whatever works. At the moment I'm just concentrating on the usual day-to-day, and being glad my cat is not dead in a ditch. She seems none the worse for her adventure earlier this week, except that she's pretty much just eating and sleeping. Tired out, I guess.

So, I've discovered that this blog views the way I intended in IE and Firefox, but not in Chrome; in Chrome the thumbnail to the right linking to the Unshelved comic is all stretched out and annoying. It's one I put in using specific HTML coding provided by the Unshelved people, and I am not HTML-savvy enough to know how to optimize it for Chrome while still making it work correctly in IE and Firefox. Any ideas from the more techo-minded among my readers?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Where oh Where Has my Little Cat Gone?

My cat is missing.

She's an indoor cat, and while she occasionally goes out on our (2nd floor) deck to scratch her back against the rougher flooring, this is not something she does in April, and certainly not with the weather we've been having here lately. She didn't leave during Norwescon (I saw her yesterday (Wednesday) morning). I can't find her anywhere in our house - none of her favorite hiding-from-Lizzy spots nor the place where she lives at night and when we're gone. She hasn't been locked in the dryer or anything gruesome like that (I did check) and there has been no change in the level of the food in her bowl (although some water in her other bowl has evaporated).

So she's either outside, or dead. Or both. Even Hubby (who is not a fan) is a bit worried (probably more on my behalf and Abby's than on Tiger's, admittedly). Given that Tiger is a scaredy-cat anyway, it would not surprise me if she sneaked out on the deck and got frightened off by the power-washer guys yesterday.

My first husband (Abby's dad) and I got Tiger from the Humane Society on Halloween of 1998. They told us her name was Tiger (which she answered to as much as cats do or we would have changed it to something more unique) and that she was "about six months old, spayed and with her shots". So we decided that our timid kitty had a birthday of April Fools' Day. She's always been timid and shy, especially of children or women with high-pitched voices, but she can get used to them if introduced slowly (we brought Abby's first shirt home from the hospital for her to smell before we brought Abby home). And while she is not a huge fan of the kids, she has never ever hurt them in any way; she seems to understand that they are my kittens and therefore to be treated gently.

She's just 13, which is middle-aged for a cat. But she's always acted a bit elderly; even as a kitten she was quiet and shy. She may be all right... but I don't hold much hope in that direction.

ETA: Now I'm wondering. Was she here Wednesday morning? She's so quiet that I might not notice her absence for a day or so. What if the morning I'm remembering was Tuesday... and she got out while I was struggling with moving stuff in from the patio so they could power wash, or when the grocery delivery guy and I had the front door open to get the food in. It seems more likely. And in some ways I hope so. Finding the body of a beloved pet is something I think I could handle myself... but I don't want the kids to go through it.

ETA: Apparently a cat answering Tiger's description was reported to the apartment complex yesterday afternoon; they went out to take a look and got scratched for their trouble. She may now be at PAWS - the apartment complex people do not know whether the reporting neighbor had the shelter come get her or whether she has slunk off to be alone, but she's not where she was reported to be yesterday...

FOUND HER! In the bushes under the staircase where she was spotted yesterday. Poor little kitty - at least 24 hours of the Big Scary Outside. She scarfed her first bowl of food and I'm sure she'll throw it up (it's not designed to be inhaled), but she's working a little slower now. And hiding from the preschoolers.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tidy Time

I've been trying to keep the house tidier than usual this week. I mean, I'm home, my mom is back in town and watching the little one while the elder is at school; why does there seem to be no time to do more than the usual lick-and-a-promise? Instead, my home looks like a Hidden Object game - with random things strewn about everywhere. Can you find the Left Shoe? How about the Heart-Shaped Mirror?

Part of it is the host of other things for which there is now time: running to Marysville to retrieve a forgotten backpack, doing the banking in the bank, running to Bellevue for a job interview. And I am spending a fair amount of each day actually looking for a job, online, on the phone, in person. But it seems as though I spend more time doing other-than-household things when I'm not working as when I am.

But I am slowly catching up - today I got three-loads-more caught up with the laundry, tomorrow morning early I intend to re-populate the porch with its furniture - the pressure washers have been here - and vacuum the whole house from stem to stern (the downstairs neighbors' daughter - Lizzy's best friend - will be here with us tomorrow and I'll make an effort to do the vacuuming when her baby sister is not asleep - so C... let me know, would you?) And then the rest of the laundry should be done tomorrow too, along with the usual day-to-day. That's probably enough for one week.

But it still feels like I have no time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lizzy's GamerMom Wants a Job

So this morning on my way to drop Lizzy at the sitter's (my mom) so I can houseclean and job hunt without her assistance, she pipes up from the back seat with, "Mom? Why do you want a job? I miss you when you have a job". "Well, sweetie, I want a job so I can earn money and then I can buy you clothes and food and pay for our apartment and maybe get you into swimming lessons like your sister". She thought about this and said, "Well, mom, we don't have time to wun home and pick up a job now, so I guess you have to take me to Gwamma's house fuhst."

After I stopped cracking up - why do they throw these things at me in the car all the time? - I told her it wasn't that simple; I have to earn a job, like she has to earn a Treasure Chest Pick, by showing the person who has the job (or TC PICK) that you can do what they need you to do. This stumped her for a couple minutes - it is fairly convoluted for a three-year-old - and then she said, "But you can do a job - you do jobs all the time".

Would that it were that easy! But for those of you with jobs for the taking... remember that I have not only a great resume and a ton of skills... I have a preschooler with faith in me. That helps my motivation a lot.

Monday, April 25, 2011

She Can See Clearly Now...

... although the rain is certainly not gone.

We were able to pick up Abby's new glasses today. They are adorable; the slightly-rounded rectangle frames suit her round face pretty well, and the ladies at Bella Vision were just as kind and patient as they were last week when we chose the frames. There was a small bit of running around trying to find something with small enough print to properly test her prescription, but that was still simple enough for her to read; the usual things were rather dry treatises on presbyopia and the like. But she found a flyer and asked rather diffidently if it was okay for her to read the numbers to them instead of the letters. It was, and we went away happy, after snapping these pictures.

So in case it doesn't show up well, these glasses are a pretty plum-purple (say it five times fast!) with tiny clear rhinestones on the earpieces, shading to a slightly lighter metallic purple on the frames themselves. They are pink enough to please Abby and blue enough to bring out her pretty green eyes, which pleases her mom. Maybe tonight she'll be able to follow along while I read chapter eight of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ("The Potions Master"). She is not yet mature enough to understand the... dichotomy... that is Severus Snape, and even if she were, we haven't gotten that far in the series yet (huh - I just looked up "dichotomy" on dictionary.com to provide you lovely folk with that link, and the Word of the Day was "antihero"... which also is a fairly good description of the character, no?)

Anyway, we shall see over the next couple days whether her glasses prescription is appropriately placed. I think they've done well. Since she has two days' worth of homework to do (she left her school backpack at her dad's house this weekend) we may even be able to tell tonight.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Norwescon 34

Lots of fun this year. Panels on writing, and women in the gaming industry, and magic systems in fiction, and assorted -isms (and how not to be a jerk to people different from you). Gaming - old games and new - and watching others game. Discussions with other semi-crunchy Gamer Moms in the hallways. Watching people sew, spin, knit, and otherwise create textile arts. Heck, watching people create any kind of art - visual, textile, musical, costuming, wearable masks; you name it.

There were a few favorites. I especially enjoyed the Tardis to the right - very inventive costume! Steampunk was very much in evidence this year - lots of teeny top hats and bustles and Mad Science Goggles - and Furries were out of fashion for the most part (about which I am just as happy - some of the subsets of Furry Fandom squick me). I also saw a number of Steampunky Pirates, which was an interesting combination. We learned about an upcoming indie film called Project London, talked with the nice and knowledgeable ladies at Blue Falcon Editing, and learned about other various upcoming cons.

I bought the girls each a couple little gifts; this is also traditional. They each got a coloring book - the very detailed ones for the older girls (dragons for Leanna and fairies for Abby) and a far simpler one for Lizzy (bugs and crawly things). I got Leanna a pretty little ball point pen in the shape of a dragon, and Abby a dragon charm for her MedicAlert bracelet, and Lizzy a giant 20-side die (too big to put in her mouth). Hubby bought me the now-traditional anniversary gift of a piece of jewelry (usually a pair of earrings or a ring); this year's is a pair of earrings from Velvet Mechanism in which each earring is a dangling set of 3 metal (stainless steel?) Clockpunk cogs/gears.

My favorite vendor - as is usually the case - is Pamela ("Raven") Rapinan. She's a licensed massage therapist and she does massages at Norwescon every year. She's good at them, and trust me - a lot of the people at these things are like me; forty-something out of shape geeks who are fairly sedentary and not used to walking as much as a con of this size requires - and Pamela deals with that sort of unaccustomed muscle pain really well. She also can work around costumes and that's no easy feat; we don't all wear T-shirts with clever sayings on them.

All in all, a good con this year. Last year was more fun for me - and I think for Hubby too - but that's more a function of us coming home each night rather than having a room in the hotel. Rooms allow for things like siestas, and bringing food with one, and not-having-to-drive-home-wiped-out. And that's a big difference in maintaining energy through something like a major science-fiction convention.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Old Email

So I was looking through my old (like 6-8 years old) Sent folder on my Yahoo mail account, trying to find some old character backgrounds from uh... four computers ago, so I can tighten them up into short stories (I got lots of good ideas at the panels I attended tonight at Norwescon).

I haven't even gotten to the ones from my first game with hubby, much less more recent ones than that... because I'm having Old Home Week with other emails.

I've always been good about categorizing and regularly purging work emails, but the ones in my yahoo account? Which is at least... eight-and-a-half years old now? They just sit there in my sent items folder, gathering Nostalgia Dust.

Jenn at just-34 seems awfully young to me... and yet the eight-year-old to the right was in her final stages of fetal development around the time of these earliest emails.

Today at Norwescon I saw a gangly girl in a cute medieval-style green dress. I babysat her about once a month when she was new.

She's fifteen. I'm blown away.

Klingons and Gaming and Comics oh MY

Norwescon. We try to make it every year, as stated here. I don't think I'm going to get everything on that list done, but there are at least clean clothes for everyone through the weekend and Monday for school/work. And my mom is taking Lizzy from about noon on, which will give me some blessed time (a couple hours anyway) to myself. I intend to spend some of it cleaning, and some just relaxing (maybe even a nap!).

Glorious, friends!

The first thing I'm going to attend tonight is a panel on fictional languages. I like to attend the writers' workshops; there's always room for improvement!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Favorite Local Business

Nails are a funny thing. One never has to adjust one's bra strap, scratch one's nose, or use the bathroom quite as badly as when one's nails are wet. It's really a strange phenomenon.

Every so often a local business will impress me enough to give them a shout-out here on Gamers' Babes. There's a family-owned place - Nail and Spa - within a mile or two of my place. They have great prices, which is why I went in in the first place (home of the twelve-dollar manicure).

I went in this afternoon. They were very busy but they took the time to set me up to soak my hands while I waited. My nail artist - Lin Da - has a very limited English vocabulary mostly consisting of phrases of her trade, such as color names and words like "polish" and "top coat", plus a few standard phrases. She is however a master of the meaningful gesture. She used these to indicate she wanted my other hand and so forth, and in case of a communications breakdown, she called over another artist to help.

After filing my nails and all that, she started massaging my forearms. I must have looked as blissful as I felt, because that prompted a smile and another of those pantomimes that very clearly said, "turn around". She came around and gave me possibly the best chair massage ever - certainly the best impromptu one I've ever had. She finished up, went back around the little table, smiled at me, and said, "I think you need, yeah?".

OH yeah.

After we finished the manicure (after she disapproved of the color I had chosen because she had one that better matched my lipstick and asked using only inquiring looks whether I preferred this new one), she extracted my keys from my purse for me (I had paid before applying polish so as not to be rummaging in my wallet with wet nails - and I gave her a BIG tip - that chair massage was over and above) and sent me on my way.

And when I messed up two nails putting on my seat belt, she fixed them for free on the spot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grandma's Back!

And her front too! My mom (that's her to the left) has been on vacation with dear friends for the past ten days. Leaving aside her babysitting services (which are legion) for the moment, I find that - even at that age which is The Answer - I miss my mommy when she's out of town.

She's also watching Miz Liz while hubby and I go to Norwescon, which we try to do every year as an anniversary treat to ourselves, come hell or high water, feast or famine, jobs or joblessness. This year we won't be staying overnight at the con, but we are still very much looking forward to it! Hubby goes to all the Weird Science stuff, I hit the writer's workshops, and we both game. A lot. I dance too, if we make it that late, and we usually catch the Masquerade.

So my tasks for the next two days? They are also legion:
  1. Continue the job hunt; there was some good activity on this today but nothing's a done deal yet
  2. Finish the laundry (insofar as laundry can be finished without washing clothes naked)
  3. Pack everyone's bags for their weekend activities (and charge all phones and bluetooth devices!)
  4. Take Abby to school (both days), Lizzy downstairs (Thursday morning), Lizzy to Grandma's (Friday), Abby to her dad's (Friday after school), myself to the Con (after that).
  5. Get a manicure so I look like a grownup at the job interviews I hope to have next week.
  6. Get this place tidied up, vacuumed, and generally clean (mostly Thursday morning and Friday while Lizzy is Elsewhere) and take out the garbage.
  7. Boil and dye eggs
  8. Contact the apartment complex and explain that the socket in the master bath has enough power to charge my toothbrush, but not to run the hair dryer. After the bathroom is clean. Socket is working now. No reset button on it, but there IS on the hair dryer. Weird.
Whew! Hey, honey...  you're on pre-con garbage detail. Just thought you'd like to know.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting New Glasses

Abby - at eight years old - is a bit of a fashion plate. She doesn't care about labels (except Twinkle Toes, and that's content, not the label itself; she'd be happy with a knockoff). But if it were up to her she'd dress in pink and purple and sparkly, full stop. In fact, when I was pregnant with Lizzy, Abby felt we should name her "Magic Pink Purple Princess Rainbow Makeup Sparkle" (or something close to that; I may have the order mixed up). At that time she was four and a half. Her tastes have broadened but not changed a whole lot.

She is now allowed to choose her own school clothes, with three caveats:
  1. They have to be within the stated budget
  2. They have to meet school dress code (fingertip length skirts, two-finger-width straps, no profanity, etc.)
  3. Parents always have veto power
So I figured we'd do the same with her new glasses frames, although only rules one and three would likely apply; how often does one find children's prescription eyeglasses with bad words on them, after all?

I did not expect the process to take two hours.

First she made several "piles". These were tacitly labeled "Definitely Not", "Probably Not", "Maybe Not", "Maybe", "Probably" and "Double-Probably". Then she tried on every kids' frame in the store, as well as two or three of the smaller adult women's frames. Three went into "Definitely Not" and the rest got scooped up to try again from the beginning, using the process of elimination. When we were (finally) down to five or six pair, she started asking me and the optician our opinions, pro and con (she called them "good and bad") for each pair.

This got us down to three pairs - one with metallic blue rectangular frames that were a bit small so we'd have to order them (my favorite), one with pink-metallic oval frames with "JUICY" written in hearts on each earpiece, and one with purple earpieces with tiny rhinestones, shading to lighter lavender rounded-rectangle frames. With the optician's silent collusion, she was talked out of the JUICY ones without outright veto on my part. The blue ones (my favorite) were discontinued and none of the ones left were Abby's size. Which left us with the purple-rhinestone (a lot less garish than they sound).

As soon as they come in - 7 to 10 business days - we'll get pictures and post them.

TV Tropes to the Rescue!

WARNING: Potential spoilers, if you are one of the half-dozen adults or teens on the planet who has neither read the Harry Potter books nor seen the movies.

Eight-year-old Abby and I are reading the Harry Potter books, one chapter a night. We've only just gotten to Hogwarts in the first book, and this morning before school she wanted to be "Sorted".

According to this online test, she's a Hufflepuff.

She is seriously disappointed; she wants to be a Gryffindor. I explain that a big part of it is that Hufflepuffs tend to be basically good people, nice people whom you would want as friends because they're loyal. She's not buying it. I explain that some Gryffindors are, well, jerks. She scoffs. I explain that one James Potter was mean to other kids when he was at Hogwarts and she protests that "he was a great Quidditch player!"

Ha! Finally a point I can work with! We've talked about my favorite web page - tvtropes - before (she's the Tomboy Princess a lot of the time herself) so I explain that James Potter fits the Jerk Jock trope to a T. Having seen the Jerk Jock archtype herself in shows on Nickelodeon and Disney, she groks this.

But she'd still rather be a Gryffindor.

Depending on the test (and my mood), I'm either a Ravenclaw or a Hufflepuff. Smart and nice!

End spoilers. Begin shameless advertisement.

Hubby and I have started a new blog, where we plan to post short stories set in his Shattered World RPG setting. Check it out!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mondays Can Be So Random

They really can. This post is full of the weird random things that have occurred this morning (and it's only 11 AM!). From lost belongings to cheerful and polite government workers, it's been quite a morning!

Abby(8) has lost her glasses. At least she had the courtesy to do so after she got a new lens prescription. I shudder to think where they might be... my suspicion is behind that blue bookshelf at the head of her bed (the one her lamp is on in the picture). Her vision isn't so bad that I feel we have to move all that before her new glasses come in a week or so.

So then in the car Abby fires off this gem: "How do mermaids go to the bathroom?" I told her I assumed the same way fish do and she said, "but then how do they have babies?" Uh... hmm... maybe they lay eggs like fish do? She doesn't like that idea, because they're "human on top". I told her about Red Martians but she wasn't buying that either. We have tabled the discussion for now, but I suspect - since she knows the basics of obstetrical surgery in that "I got stuck so they had to cut a small hole in your tummy so I could get out" - that we'll go with C-Section as the usual option for mermaids giving birth. Since external eggs are unacceptable.

Lizzy made me another scale today. This consists of five duplo blocks in a rough V shape. She's been doing this all weekend and then demanding that I "scale things" (she means "weigh things"). Just at the moment she's using the duplos and "making stayas with moh stabilizing blocks and decowating them with squayas". Yes, thanks to her Gwandpa's influence, my 3yo - who cannot yet pwonounce the letter R with any weliability - is using wuhds like "stabilizing" cowectly in a sentence.

I called the Unemployment Insurance people today, because the online claim process didn't like my birth date (turns out I had typoed it when making my application). I don't get any money this week because it was my waiting week, but I just have to give a shout out to the pleasant and cheerful people at the Washington State UI office. They're dealing with angry, sad, and depressed people all day every day, and their computer systems are slow as molasses... and yet I've never had one on the phone who was less than polite. Some of the best customer service people out there and I just wanted to let them know they are appreciated, even if none of them ever read this.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pity Party All Gone

That was lame. A moment of frustration does not have to equal a whole pity party post. And when Lizzy told me in her adorable Elmer Fudd way, "Mom, you ah my Special Thing and you ah even specialah when you give me loves," well... that sort of made the whole day okay.

Because you know what? Unemployment means I don't have to do it all Sunday before bed. My frustration in the earlier post was primarily lack of me-time and what looked like consistent drudgery until I could get a new job. Then Lizzy did something miraculous.

She took a nap.

Of her own volition even. And I did not fold the laundry while she napped (I did keep swapping it out, hanging that which must be dripped-dry, etc.) I played a video game. The big girls were playing outside with a friend. I had me-time - a good solid hour of puzzle-solving and BSU. And then I - quite happily - made breakfast-for-dinner (pancakes & bacon & fruit) and ran the dishwasher and said screw it to folding the rest of the laundry for today.

I feel so much better.

Just Griping

I hate housekeeping chores. Basically, I'm a decent cook and a craptastic housekeeper. This is a big part of why I prefer to work outside the home; then the day-to-day chores aren't so much of well... chores. If I'm at work, the kids aren't here messing the place up (they're at Grandma's house, messing it up instead). And I'm pretty sure that we all slack off on the basic tidying tasks when I'm home - even the adults - because there's this unspoken assumption that I'll take care of it. And of course, my guilt-ridden little self feels like if I'm not bringing in income, I should be doing it all.

I'm far far better at mental tasks than physical ones. Organization, I'm your girl. Tidying it up, which everything in its specific place, that's me. The constant round of laundry-dishes-tidy-dust-vacuum... not so much. It's so endless. The kids help, of course, but the youngest is at the age where help is more hindrance, and the others are still young enough that they need to be followed up on. Shoving things into the corners of the room does not constitute cleaning the room. I begin to feel much sympathy for my mom, when I was about 14 and a total pain in the butt about housework. She put up with a lot.

And if this kid yells "Darn it!" that loudly in my ear one more time - they're playing Lego Indiana Jones - I won't be held responsible for my reaction.

I just sent them in to clean their room and they're both grumbling about how mean I am and how there's so much to do. Well, kiddos, if you had not shoved it all under the bed, this would not be an issue now, would it? And Abby's muttering, "Grandma wouldn't make me do this," (which is crap; of course Grandma would), and Leanna's complaining because Lizzy put something on Leanna's shelf that didn't belong there. 

Remember... it should look like these pictures from the last time Mom did it herself, right after we got the new bed.

I'm gonna need that break when hubby comes home from taking Leanna back to her mom. Me and Calgon and - sigh - this mountain of clothes that I won't be able to fold until I'm behind locked doors.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday's Situations

The kids got up at 7 and bless them, let me sleep until 8. Since they were up until 11 last night this strikes me as a good day to enforce a nap on Miz Liz and enforce a decent bedtime for Misses Abby and Leanna.

In many ways, it seems that Leanna has had a growth spurt. Not of her body, and not of her feet (which all three are prone to - their feet seem to stay the same size for ages and then suddenly jump two sizes). But of her maturity level. She's better at getting jokes, not taking gentle teasing as personal insult, and cooperating with me with less-than-usual fuss. She is still a little kid, however, in the need to have my attention right now the minute I pick up the phone. She and Abby are watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in their room while Miz Liz and I are out here watching Bedtime for Frances (it's Rest Time After Lunch as I write this).

Abby herself is vacillating between 'I am So Grown Up' and 'No Responsibility for Me' this week (i.e. she wants the privileges but honestly does not see why she should have to earn them). She's generally pretty good about this stuff but has had issues here the past couple weeks. Why should she have to do all the cleaning? I mean, Mom does some but nobody else even helps. She clears the table after meals, is responsible for tidying up their room (since the other regular inhabitant is three), and has to put away her own folded laundry about half the time. For jobs other than these she gets brownie points (assuming she does them cheerfully and without fuss) with which she can earn Treasure Chest picks, but these she's expected to do as part of a family. Such is the tragic life of an overworked eight-year-old.

Busy Lizzy is wiped out. She was up until almost eleven last night and got up this morning around seven and eight hours is simply not enough for her. she's been lounging around watching The Backyardigans all morning and now she's clutching my elbow frantically while lying flat on the couch next to me.

I'd better go. My elbow is "too bended" as I type for her to take comfort from it.