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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Singing is a Free Action

After the mess of this morning, we went to Guys and Dolls. Just the Four of Us - me, my dad, my sister, and my stepbrother. No spouses, nobody else. Just Us Four. And it was a total hoot.

First of all, there's the theater - the 5th Avenue is gorgeous, old-fashioned, and has these great Asian details (I especially like the Chinese-style Exit signs). Seattle theatergoers are a mixed lot as well; I saw people wearing everything from biker leathers to evening wear, with the whole scale between these extremes. Then there's the play itself. It premiered in 1950 per wikipedia, and the year 1948 is mentioned in a song set in the Hot Box cabaret, so I'm assuming it's set in '49.

There are things you notice when you see a play as a child and then skip 30 years before you see it again. Although I haven't seen it before tonight since I was twelve or so, I've heard the songs ad nauseum, as they are part of my culture. I never felt sympathy for Adelaide before tonight; usually her voice in her signature song is so over-the-top as to be a caricature of itself and I find it annoying. But the actress who sang Adelaide was great. The Guys were wonderfully done, especially Nicely Nicely and Nathan Detroit, and the Dolls were terrific too. The General of the Salvation Army was clearly having so much fun! Sarah Brown and her Grandfather Abernathy had this sweet relationship and Sarah and Sky Masterson  had major chemistry.

Singing is a free action in musical theater; it's especially evident in the scene including Luck Be a Lady; the Guys are all horribly impatient for Sky to start rolling the dice already.... until he bursts into song and they all join in for a good four or five minutes. Even the Bad Guy of the piece. From a gamer perspective, this is hilarious. I've played a character who was a musical theater actress before, but her power didn't lie in her music; theater was her day job (well... night job; she was a vampire). But now I want to play a Bard (or an Ecstatic Cultist) just so I can sing Luck Be a Lady and mean it.

And Then There Are OTHER Days In the Life

Hoo boy, what a morning! Yesterday was nice and calm and relaxed, and this morning I was rarin' to go, knowing what was on my plate and how it was going to happen. But I spoke (or at least thought) too soon. Car license  tabs are due, so the plan is to get Abby off to school, Lizzy to my mom's, car emissions checked, get tabs, clean out car and run it through the car wash for a date with my dad tonight, come home, hunt for a job, clean house, get ready to go. I thought I might get held up a bit at the emissions place or the tabs place because it is the last day of the month, but that was planned into the schedule. And the fact that I don't get my UI check until tomorrow (because yesterday was a holiday) can be dealt with too.

Of course the schedule assumed that my car passed the emissions test. Which it did not. Take deep breaths, Jenn... you have no money (over and above this week's pay from UI; that goes to rent) but there are always ways around this sort of thing. Maybe the nice folks at Goodyear can give you a fifty-bucks-a-week plan or something. No, actually, they can't, but my mom - being a mom - leapt to the rescue; she can put the Goodyear bill on her credit card and I can pay her back in weekly installments. Whew. Okay, so change of plans then - take failed emissions results to tabs place and get a 3-day pass, fill the car with gas and go through the drive-through car wash as planned, then do the vacuuming out of the car and head to Goodyear to have a chat.

While I was vacuuming the car it started to rain.

The car is not clean inside; that would take a carpet steam and an act of Congress (or maybe God) but it no longer contains an entire forest's worth of pine needles or a grocery aisle of the little wrappers on juice box straws. And I worked it out with Goodyear; Lizzy and I will meet Mom there tomorrow morning, mom (who is a regular customer of theirs) will leave her credit card number and authorization up to $x.xx with them, and she will drive me home; she will pick up Abby and school later and bring her to me. Excellent. See? I told you it could be worked out.

As I'm leaving Woodinville to come home for job hunting and house cleaning, I get a call on my (now almost dead, because I have been on the bloody thing all day) cell phone. It's my old credit union. Where is the money you said you would pay every Tuesday morning (it's noon, you understand)? Oh, well... the check won't come in until tomorrow because of the holiday. Tough, they said, it needs to be paid right now because that's the deal you made with us to pay a lesser amount every week instead of the full amount once a month. Sigh. Fine, I said, I'll go back to the shared branch and transfer that money right now so you don't have to wait eighteen hours (note that I kept the exasperated italics out of my voice when talking to the guy). BEE-beep (aw, man, my phone really is going dead now). I drive back to the credit union in Woodinville (there aren't any in the network in my town) and transfer the funds, call the guy and leave a message stating that they have been transferred (BEE-beep BEE-beep) and request for him to please verify by email. I turn off my phone.

I have not eaten, I'm grouchy, and nothing has gone as planned today. I stop by my storage to ditch the stuff in my trunk (mostly desk toys from my old job), come home, eat lunch, look for a job (applied four places) and write in my blog. Next I take a shower (again) get pretty, pick up kids at respective places, drop them home with hubby, and meet my dad at the ferry to take him to our dinner-and-a-play date. Just him, me, and my two siblings, like the old days (we're seeing Guys and Dolls). I suspect by 4:15 ferry pickup I'll have recovered from this morning.

A person could develop a cold with this kinda stress.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day in the Life

It's Memorial Day, so we're all at home today - there's no school and it's sort of like an extra Sunday for us - fairly lazy and a day when we just kind of hang out. But one with Laston home as well (he usually works on Sundays). I haven't been feeling well for several days - the allergies are getting just stupid this year and I might be coming down with a cold - and the holiday job listings are slim-to-none pickings, so I'm taking advantage to just kind of chill out.

Lizzy and I took baths, Abby went out to play, and Laston played computer games. I'm hoping (but not really expecting) to finish The Wise Man's Fear today so Laston can have it. We've had a few of those sweet family moments today where nobody did anything deliberately funny, but it cracked us up all the same; my favorite was this one.

Scene: the living room of Chez Gamers' Babes. Eight-year-old Abby is sitting in a chair, having just learned to wash infinitesimal specks of crud out of her eyes and feeling pretty adult about it. Three-year-old Lizzy marches out of the bathroom, dressed in nothing but training pants and Mardi Gras beads, and plunks a pink feathered tiara onto Abby's head. Abby looks resigned and patient and long-suffering, so as Lizzy traipses back into the bathroom, Laston (46) carefully balances a dolls' dress on top of the tiara. Lizzy comes back in, exclaiming, "Daddy! That's not nice!" while Laston doubles over with laughter.

Just a simple thing, but a fun sort of bit of ridiculousness in our day.

ETA: And then, Laston and I were discussing the character alignment of assorted Harry Potter characters and decided that Minerva McGonagall is Lawful Neutral. Abby asked about it and we explained a bit. When she asked, "What's 'Chaotic'?" we both said, "Lizzy," in unison, and cracked ourselves up again...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Interlude

So yesterday was a quiet day - a Saturday at home, Abby out playing, Lizzy in here, me looking for a job online. Then my mom called for me to give an assist in a task. This is no problem; she's about five miles away and she's the one who helps me with - you know - everything, so what's a quick trip up there gonna hurt? Nothing, but it started a what-happened-here?! trend for the following 14 hours or so. When she called Abby was outside with Kiki. Kiki has her own cell phone, so I called and said I was running an errand; I'd be back between 4:30 and 4:45 - half an hour or forty-five minutes. No problem, they said, we'll just play. Great; they know the rules and are good about following them, so the only difference here is that I'm not actually home in my neighborhood for that little bit.

I drive up to Mom's, perform the task she needs done, and Lizzy and I head back home. Since it's taken so little time, I decide to stop and pick up the few things we need at the grocery store. I call and leave a message on Kiki's phone, explaining that it will be closer to the 45 minutes, and go into the store. She calls back at 4:35, saying, "I had to go in early so I left Abby out with the other kids. Don't worry; she's not playing with the big kids or anyone like that.". Sigh. Kiki is not quite ten, and it's not her job to watch my 8.5yo... but it would have been nice if they had thought to let me know when Kiki got called in early. So we beat feet home ASAP in case Abby is upset or lost or playing with the forbidden big kids and... she's sitting on the doorstep, patiently waiting for us. This was a great choice, for which she received much praise. She was alone for maybe five minutes and all was well. While making supper, I broke a glass, yelled at Lizzy ("Stay out of the kitchen!"), cleaned up the glass, finished making our carbariffic supper, waited for Laston to come home, got a short bath in, snapped at Laston, and finally settled down for a calm evening.

This morning I stepped on the one sliver of glass left on the floor. And spent a while hopping on one foot trying to pick glass out of the other with a pair of tweezers. While trying to get Lizzy ready to go, and answering Abby's questions about the play we were headed for. Since I had never seen it, this was problematic. Once we dropped Lizzy off with friends and got to the ferry doc, I had regained equilibrium 

The play itself knocked my balance all wonky again. It was very well done, and had a great story. But I'm not sure Quilters is really children's theater fodder. Apparently this is a children's version, but even so, I think perhaps 12- or 14-year-olds are better equipped than my 8yo. The mood whiplash is incredible; it goes from sweet courting stories to prairie fires and windmills to miscarriages without much transition. It's a great play. Not what I expected at all though.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Who ARE These People Anyway? The Home Team

I don't know that I've described the denizens and usual visitors to Chez Gamers' Babes except sporadically as the posts go on. So I thought I'd take a moment and let you know who I'm talking about!

Me: I'm Jenn - 42, fat-but-losing, jobless-but-looking, generally cheerful, occasionally-stressy, chronically-tired, gamer-geek-girl. I have green eyes, red-to-brown-hair (depending on the time of year and my mood), and fair skin. I've lived in Western Washington all my life; I didn't even go away to college. You'll know me the best of the bunch because... well... I'm the author of this little love fest.

The Hubs: He's Laston - 46 next week, has a degree in Education (although that's not what he does for a living, except in the one-to-one customer service sense). High Intelligence and high Wisdom... but with the Oblivious disadvantage. He is currently taking network classes in addition to working full time, and far more employable than I am. He's generally very laid-back but bites if he's concentrating and you interrupt him. He's addicted to Internet games (one at a time) and Diet Coke. He's losing impressive amounts of weight using the Four Hour Body and has a gray beard, not much hair, and dark blue eyes.

The Eldest Daughter: She's Leanna - 11 in a couple months, asthmatic, our wild animal SME, completely besotted by horses and other animals, with very fair skin and  thick dark wavy hair and dark blue eyes. She lives with her mom and spends weekends, a couple weeks in the summer, and some holidays with us. She's sensitive, easily offended (normal for her age), and tends to take things personally (ditto). She has this way of making sudden statements that only later does the listener realize are hilariously funny.

The Middle Daughter: She's Abby - eight and a half years old, anaphylactic to tree nuts, our genre-savvy media child, Tomboy Princess, and Perky Goth (kind of). She has fair skin with a few freckles, green eyes like mine, straight and fine brown hair (but a ton of it) like mine, glasses, and a round face. She lives here and goes to her dad's place on the opposite schedule that Leanna comes here, so some weekends we have three kids in residence, and some one. She's an auditory learner, has never met a stranger, and is big into Girl Power in her reading and TV habits.

The Youngest: She's Lizzy - four in September, our wild child, and a real pistol. She's constantly on the move and sometimes referred to as "the spawn of Tigger and the Energizer Bunny". She seems to grok pre-literacy skills and is particularly good for her age with minutiae... assuming one can get her attention. She's also pretty technically-adept; she can for instance run the Netflix Instant Play on the Wii. Her sleeping skills are improving; her potty-training skills are not, and she's about the sweetest child on the planet once you get her to slow down a bit. Her wildness and tech-savviness are belied by her big blue eyes and Jane-Austen-esque curls.

The Cat: She's Tiger - a name she was given before Abby's dad and I adopted her from the Humane Society, or we would have named her something original. She's oldish, cranky, easily confused, and tends to allergies as much as some humans around here.

The Other Parents: I haven't asked their permission to mention them by name, but they're Leanna's mom and Abby's dad from our respective previous marriages. Good people. They each live near enough (in opposite directions) that visitation is fairly simple. Unless it snows, but that's another post. They both do a great job of treating their respective daughters' half-and-step-sisters as though they were essentially nieces, which is hugely appreciated.

Grandma: The kids have a lot of grandparents - his, mine, and their other parents' parents. But my mom is the one who lives nearest and is most often involved directly in our household. She's the younger girls' primary babysitter, the frequent school-driver, the one who ferries Abby to and from swim lessons, and the one whose time-share we visited earlier this week. She's very involved in the girls' lives and when I'm working, she tends to see them more than I do.

So that's us...stay tuned for the Regular Visitors Edition of Who ARE These People Anyway?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Disconnected

I have been - from  my computer - for the last 24 hours or more, although I've been checking email by phone.

Yesterday was very busy; I had two job interviews (I think I did well, but we shall see) and then we drove up to my mom's time-share on the Olympic Peninsula. My mom, my girls and me. This serves the dual purpose of giving us some Girls' Time Away, and giving hubby some Alone Time. And I'm still obeying the Rules of Unemployment ("You must be physically able to work, available for work, and actively seeking suitable work."); I am reachable by phone and email, and I could make it to the other side of Puget Sound in an hour or two if need be. There is wireless internet here, at the office and "coffee room", a small condo that was formerly the dwelling of the office manager. It doesn't reach as far as our condo though, so we go to the coffee room for connectivity. We can sit in the playground and be connected too, but it's kind of wet out there today, although the sun is out.

Because the trip to the condo involves an hour-and-a-half or so of driving (not including the trip from my mom's to my second interview and waiting at a local indoor play space for my interview to be done) and a ferry ride, Lizzy was a wreck when we got here; she was so tired she could hardly see straight, but insisting she wasn't. Thank goodness the staff of Jalisco Fiesta Port Hadlock really mean it when they say "family dining". And there is much spoon-droppage today on her part. And a little on mine (but I'm blaming mine on the sofa-bed on which I spent the night). Abby's not doing a whole lot better, frankly, but she's at least basically reasonable, if somewhat loud.

There is a pool and hot tub, a game room and tennis courts. This wet rainy May is not the best time to enjoy these however; although it is nice right now, it has been iffy all week. This place is right on the Sound, so it's windy and chilly, and they "shocked" the pool earlier this week and the sunlight was insufficient to get the extra chlorine out as quickly as they'd like. I do love it here though - it reminds me of my childhood, and it's soothing. Cheap vacation too; just ferry fare and a cleaning fee.

A couple truly-hilarious things from the trip over. Lizzy screaming at the top of her lungs, "I think we need moh LOUDNESS in heyah!" in the car. But my favorite trick of the trip so far was when Abby spotted a NOAA First Responder in uniform on the ferry, and asked him if she could say the Pledge of Allegiance to "his arm" (by which she meant the American Flag patch on his uniform sleeve). And then she did it. He said it was definitely a first for him. Schoolchildren and Scouts... who knows what they'll do next?

My mom had recently come back from a trip to North Carolina and she brought the girls each a Magic T-shirt from Asheville (they oonly come in kids' sizes where she got them). Lizzy got this one, and Abby this other one. These are amazing. They don't require direct sunlight - any natural light will do - but the brighter the light the brighter the colors.

Good trip so far, tired children (and women) notwithstanding. Tomorrow we go home (this is essentially a mid-week weekend for us), but this has been a refreshing change.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

They Did It AGAIN

I've already said this here and here, but I love the HairMasters in Woodinville WA. My mom and I have been going here for years and I in turn bring my daughter (the little one has only had a bang trim but I should probably have her come in to tidy up dry ends). All the stylists are good at what they do and - this is key - they really seem interested in why you're getting x done and make helpful suggestions.

Today for instance, I told Amanda I wanted to look like a grownup for my job interviews tomorrow and she suggested good cuts based on my hair type (baby fine) and my current cut (grown-out bob with bangs) and my preference (looks good even when I don't do a thing beyond washing it - I'm a busy woman), as well as the job types I'm interviewing for (desk jobs, meaning drying air-conditioning, but limited weather exposure). Lacey cut my daughter's hair a couple weeks ago in the perfect cut for her (see link above), and my mom always has Charlie do hers when possible. Carole, who runs the place, asked me on my way out to let her know if I got either job. I always get the impression that they really do care. And that's nice.

Speaking of those who care, there's my friend Nate. He's one of the Friday Night Gamers, and father of my probable future son-in-law Greg. I was fretting about going to get this done with my mom - my usual babysitter - out of town and he offered to watch Lizzy. I was flabbergasted. I know he and Lizzy get along fine - although she was a little perplexed at him coming over a) on a day other than Friday and b) without bringing Greg with him - and I have no compunctions about males watching my kids. It had just never occurred to me. So here's a shout-out to Nate, for babysitting a rambunctious three-year-old (of course, he has practice with Greg, for whom rambunctious is a mild descriptor).

So now I have pretty hair and pretty nails, and two job interviews tomorrow, directly after which we are leaving for my mom's time-share (Hubby's staying here for work and Alone Time; this is Just Us Girls). I'll be close enough to Seattle to keep tabs on  the job-hunting front and get home quickly in case of interview. I've done my three for the week already (or will have by the time we leave) so I'm obeying all the unemployment rules. Sounds about perfect.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shiny Shiny Chrome

Chrome Plated Steel Socket Cap Screw, Button Head, Hex Socket Drive, #8-32, 1" Length (Pack of 10)I like Google Chrome. I have since I started using it for Google Wave (the other browsers didn't care for Wave's Gadgets add-ons) around a year ago. Wave is no longer supported by Google I believe, but Chrome works best for Wave. And Chrome works nicely for Blogger, of course, as they are by the same people. So I was using Chrome for Blogger and Wave, and not much else, because I had Firefox set as my default and just never got around to changing it. Chrome is faster in many places too - like Facebook for instance - and on many other pages. So this morning - it's slow on the job-hunting front - I decided to export my Firefox bookmarks and import them into Chrome.
Chrome Superman Belt Buckle
This is harder than it sounds.

And it's not Google that made it harder. Firefox kept claiming to have exported the bookmarks so I could import them. But if it did export, it didn't put the exported file(s) anywhere I could find. So I did it the old-fashioned way, page by page. Since there are a bazillion pages I have bookmarked in Firefox and don't need, this is no great task; only about a third of the junk I have bookmarked needs moving over anyway.

PUR 3-Stage Vertical Faucet Mount Chrome FM-3700BAnd holy cow, I knew it was faster but I hadn't realized how much faster Chrome is. It's almost comical how pleased I am when something loads up quickly. Some of those more elaborate Facebook games, for instance, take eons to load on Firefox or IE. Chrome, not so much.

I still like Firefox's logo/icon better - I think it's clever. But from now on, Firefox is my browser only when Chrome is not supported on a given page. The only task left is to convince Firefox it's not Favorite Child anymore, and convince Chrome that it is instead. Shiny shiny Chrome.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

And Then There was Sunday

Yeah, not nearly as much sleep Saturday night as Friday. I just could not settle. But I still feel pretty good, springtime allergies aside. Could getting (more than) enough sleep one night help one save up for other nights of sleeplessness?

Today is a quiet day. Lizzy's watching Word World, which is a cute pre-literacy show on PBS. She's just clued in that it's called that because everything is made of words! This was such a lightbulb moment for her; it was hilarious to watch that aha! happen on her face. I'm on laundry and the like today. Abby's still at her Girl Scout retreat; we expect her home around five.

She'll be annoyed that she'll have to do her homework right away upon getting home. Thus is the price of spending the weekend away from home having a fine time; the real world comes crashing down eventually. This is a short week at school for her as next weekend is Memorial Day.

I have an interview to prepare for on Wednesday, and yesterday I started the prettifying process at Tina's Nails. Tina is an energetic woman, Vietnamese, and just the tiniest bit aggressive in that she gently bullied me into using O.P.I.'s Sonora Sunset. "You the customer, you get what you want but this Dusk Over Cairo not right for your skin". This was said in the same doubtful tone I use when saying things like, "They're not banned so you can take them to school but don't expect sympathy from me if they get lost or broken". I really like Tina and the lady who actually did my nails, Tammy, was great. They're neither too long nor too thick for typing! That's huge in the world of artificial nails. They're reasonably priced, too; a full set of artificial nails was $25.

Better go - it's a "scawy paht" in Lizzy's show and she needs to be "cuddled up".

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Amazing Power of Sleep

Mommy,  Lizzy (then Ellie)
and Tiger have a nap
Abby at 17 months
I slept until 10:00 AM. I believe that this is the first time in nine years I have done so. I'm a mom; my sleep schedule is not completely under my control. And today Abby kept Lizzy in their room, playing quietly and watching DVDs of The Backyardigans until they got hungry. Abby was apologetic; "I'm sorry, mom, I really wanted to wait until ten 'cause I know you want to sleep in sometimes, but Lizzy started getting too loud and it's only 9:56". I assured her that this was more than fine, and made them breakfast, then had them get dressed while I showered. There was a minor snafu over something getting overturned in the dishwasher and therefore spilling water all over the floor when I opened said dishwasher, and the issue of the girl scout leader not having Abby's medication release form (we switched troops midstream and it never got transferred). 
Lizzy in Spring 2011
But these were minor bumps in the road. If I had had my usual 5-6 hours of sleep they might've caused much angst and frustration and Bad Language, but as it was, all I needed was a towel for the one and a pen for the other. The game last night (which was a ton of fun!) featured sandwiches for Gamer Food, and therefore the dishes were not a huge mess this morning as they oftenare on Saturdays, too... which probably helped my mood. Abby and her fellow Brownie and their leader took off about half an hour later than planned but since they were planning on getting there earlier than check-in time, this was no great calamity. 

Miz Liz and I went out to lunch. I don't think I've ever gone out to lunch before with just Lizzy and me; no Daddy, no Grandma, no other children. She behaved perfectly. She was friendly. She was even polite (insofar as a three-year-old can be; that is to say she stayed in her seat, didn't yell, and didn't throw anything or spit it out). She charmed the heck out of our waitress, who was great herself. Any customer service person who is willing to have a serious discussion with a three-year-old about the relative merits of the various Care Bears, complete with leaving stickers in the bill just to amuse said preschooler, is okay by me.

Does that mean that I'm usually intolerant of perfectly normal preschooler behavior because I lack sleep? Or does it mean that Lizzy got enough sleep too and is therefore a decent human being today? Or just a happy coincidence? I'm going to go with d) all of the above.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Game Night is Back on Track!

Friday Game Night has been a little hit-and-miss of late; too many people had school or work or other real-life things interfering fairly regularly, and now we're down to one or two of our nine players who have conflicts. And also many of our FNG-ers prefer Mage to GURPS (those of us who don't - like me - don't care what we play so long as we play).

So we're rebooting in Old World of Darkness, in Detroyt. We have our usual eclectic mix of characters, which is what makes Mage so much fun. Mine is a Hollow One - a Mage without any specific Traditional framework in which to work - a college student who is usually a very quiet and subtle Mage. The one time she's overt about her magic, she gets caught by the Technocracy... and because she is not part of a Tradition, she has no advocates on her behalf. She's been tossed into the local asylum, as have most of the rest of the characters. And that's where this particular story starts.

Should be fun. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In the Swim

Usually my mom takes Abby to her swimming lesson, and I stay home with Lizzy. Lizzy's a runner and can't be trusted near water unless she is one-on-one with an adult's full attention on her (as opposed to - say - watching her big sister's swimming lesson). We use Safe-n-Sound Swimming, which has a location in downtown Seattle and here in our school district as well.

They are great. Abby has a history of being a little timid in new physical situations (she's not at all timid in social ones however). Water was a big one - she would barely go deeper than her waist even walking, and putting her face in the water would have been unthinkable. After a year or so of weekly lessons with SnS, she's what I would call an "intermediate" swimmer; she's able to do three or four different strokes, a couple of different floats, stand on her hands in the water, and do water somersaults.

I hadn't realized when posting yesterday how much of my unease regarding her Brownie Scout retreat wasn't about her allergies at all; it was my lack of faith in her swimming ability. Well, now I see that lack of faith was unjustified. Abby's hard work, SnS's teaching, and assorted family members' support, I feel much more comfortable about her going with her troop to this water park resort this Saturday.

The new dolphin-shaped hot-pink swim goggles are a hoot too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Random Post of Randomness #2

No particular topic, so this is going to be a fairly random post.

I am seriously tired today. Not really sure why, unless it is the wonder that is Spring (and tree pollen) in Seattle. It is in fact spring today. It hasn't been much here lately. Lots of rain, which usually has let up somewhat by May, romantic comedy movies notwithstanding.

I'm also a bit worried today. Abby is going with her Brownie troop to an end-of-year retreat at a water park / resort. This is a Big Deal, and I would never spoil it for her. But it's the first time she'll be further away from me than about five miles (overnight), except with family. Every-other-weekend at her dad's or overnights at nana's or my mom's don't worry me like this. Abby's a strong swimmer, is suspicious of any food offered her (a required skill for the severely-allergic), and groks Stranger Danger. It's not that I don't trust the chaperones implicitly either; they know how to use the epi-pen, have my contact info, all that. I trust them with her. But they are not me. I suspect that this is a mommy-thing and therefore logic does not come into it. Gosh dang it to heck.

She also earned a fair bit of Girl Scout Stuff and "Cookie Dough" (good toward purchases of Girl Scout Stuff) from the cookie sales pictured above. A plush kangaroo, Girl Power bandana and book-bag, and assorted patches. Then with the Cookie Dough we ordered her a I Heart Brownies t-shirt and a Girl Scout charm for her MedicAlert bracelet. Fun.

Lizzy's arm is clearly feeling better. She only frets about it when we have to bend it far enough to change her shirt for instance, or getting her into and out of the car seat straps.

Because hubby has class tonight after work, we girls are taking advantage of his absence and having a fairly carbariffic supper. Cheeseburgers, oven fries, and corn.

There you have it folks. The no-energy, no-topic Post of the Day. Come back tomorrow - maybe I'll have something more interesting for you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

For Crying Out Loud

The road to hell is paved... yeah, that kind of morning so far. The tree pollen count in Seattleish is moderate-to-high this week. Therefore, allergic-to-alder-and-ash Jenn took Benadryl last night.

And slept through the alarm and woke up at ten past eight.

Abby has to be at school no later than 8:35. We usually leave the house at 8:15. We had not eaten, showered (in my case) dressed, or brushed hair and teeth. So we dressed quickly (except Lizzy who was being at her obstructive-dawdling-preschooler best, so I just stuck shoes on her), brushed & brushed, and left the house at 8:20, with the intention of driving through McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin. Except that I had forgotten that I was very low on gas... so low that we might not have made it up the hill to school. Instead of McDonald's we stopped at the gas station.

Do you know how hard it is to find acceptable breakfast food for a anaphylactically-nut-allergic and somewhat picky 8yo at a gas station? We ended up with chocolate milk and a cream cheese Danish, which aside from the lack of produce isn't as bad as it could have been, I guess. I made Abby promise to get lots of food from the five-a-day salad bar at her school at lunchtime.

We're on our way up the hill to school and we're behind a school bus and then behind a garbage truck and I'm muttering to myself in the front seat, when Abby says, "Mom? What does 'for crying out loud' mean, anyway?" Hmm... I thought for a minute, and then said, "Okay, you know about the Bible, right?" (we're not churchgoers; we're what my Jewish brother-in-law and I agreed is "culturally Christian" in that we celebrate Christian (Protestant) holidays, but fairly secularly). She said,"Yeah, it's the book that talks about God and Jesus and the guys from the Prince of Egypt and Noah and all them, right?" Uh, indeed. "Well, one of the rules that Moses - the guy from the Prince of Egypt - brought to the Hebrews..." (Aside from Abby - "is that Hebrew like my name?" - yes it is, now hush) "... one of those rules is "not taking the name of the Lord in vain". That means you're supposed to say, "Gosh darn it" instead of, "God damn it" and you're supposed to say, "for crying out loud" instead of, "for Christ's sake". It's politer when you're talking about God".

She accepted this, got out of the car at the school (at 8:32, thank goodness), and went in. Lizzy and I drove home, discovering along the way via phone that a check I wrote to my mom for babysitting had bounced (gosh darn it!) because of another check (for crying out loud!) from wayyyyyy back that had cleared out of turn. (why can't people cash them when they get them? Checks from five months ago - I wrote this other one just after the first of the year - should not be clearing now... for crying out loud. And what's with the arbitrary decisions the credit unions make as to which overdrawn checks they will honor and which they won't? Mom will forgive me and I'll make it good and that's great, but there's no guilt like bouncing a check to your mother. But I digress.)

We got home. I went to get Lizzy out of the car. And discovered that in the confusion, Abby had left her school backpack in the back seat.

Oh, for crying out loud. Gosh dang it to heck.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stay-at-Home Plan of Attack

Today after dropping Abby at school we took Lizzy to the pediatrician for her arm injury follow-up, to the drugstore for the Awesome Power of Children's Ibuprofen (doc said to make a Big Huge Deal of said Awesome Power to encourage her to use her arm, because it's 30% pain and 70% fear) and some melt-away diphenhydramine to pack in Abby's bag for her Brownie Scout trip this weekend, and home for lunch and job-hunting.

I got the good news while we were out that I have an interview scheduled - at a place I'm really interested in working - for Wednesday the 25th, and that a LinkedIn connection has referred me for three jobs at another place I'm interested in. So in spite of last week's slow-moving job listings, I'm feeling pretty up about things here and back in the life-organizing mood. The weekly Rx-strength Vitamin D probably didn't hurt any either - I take them on Mondays.

The house is a little bit of a wreck, due to job-hunting blues and the apparent inability of every adult in the house (including me) to Get Things Done when Lizzy does not nap during the day. At least more than the usual round of dishes and tidying. It's been one of those things where we were maintaining at "basically-tidy", but the mere thought of trying to actually organize more than the kids' room (which we've been keeping up pretty well since they got their new bed) makes everyone want to cry. And, being us, when it's time for people to come over (like for Friday Night Games, for instance), we clean the living spaces and close the door on the master bedroom.

My mom (Lizzy's sitter) is out of town and my husband (the Other Adult in our house) is in class after work for two weeks. So I'm playing Single Parent, which I have done before (with only one kid, but for two years) and can do again (phht - two weeks is nothing).

So the master bedroom has a few things that Do No Belong. Most notably flung tags from new clothing, used dryer sheets, and eight empty Girl Scout Cookie cases (yeah, those in the picture. Still on my bedroom floor). Few of my books are actually where they belong - they're on the shelves, but in no particular order. I hate that. And that's not even counting the other half of my books, in our storage unit, which I have not seen for a year and a half or so. It's making me crazy. So I got organized and this post is serving as my list to myself - it's the best way for me to Get Things Done - to make and maintain a bulleted list or two.

Bedroom:
  • Sort the clean laundry into (three) separate baskets for folding
  • Fold the laundry (one, two, three)
  • Remove the Girl Scout Cookie Boxes
  • Ditch the trash
  • Organize the books
  • Dust
  • Vacuum
Other rooms:
  • Usual maintenance stuff - cooking, dishes, tidying, dusting, garbage. Recruit older kids (my own plus Kiki) to help in exchange for Treasure Chest Picks
  • Laundry (Lizzy can help for Treasure Chest Picks and color-sorting practice)
  • Usual job-hunting stuff
  • Using the freaking Wii Fit as more than just a scale!
When Mom is home from her vacation (assuming it ever stops raining):
  • Go through storage and divide into groups of keep, sell/donate, ditch
  • Rotate books and toys between storage and house
  • Organize Lizzy's stuff (impossible to do with her here; she immediately wants to play with whatever I'm organizing)
The job I'm interviewing for on the 25th does not start until mid-June. If I get it, there will be three weeks of Gramma-home-but-Jenn-not-working to get some of this accomplished. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Injuries as Drama

I think Miz Liz still has an achy elbow. She's using it although she is favoring it, and I saw the x-rays myself, so I know it's not still out of joint. But it still "huhts a little and I'm afwaid it will huht a lot". Tylenol and ice are our friends, and since we aren't going anywhere today I went ahead and left her in her jammies so we don't have to deal with taking off the pajama top. But oh the drama of it all. Abby's friend Kiki came over with another girl, and Lizzy felt she needed to explain the whole thing, to each of them, separately. "I huhted my ahm because I wan into the stweet and Leanna gwabbed me so I don't get hit by a cah and that huhted my ahm but Mama says it's bettah than getting hit by a cah."

Indeed it is.

At the moment, Lizzy is sitting cuddled up to me, with her left arm wrapped in a Blue Ice pack I got from my chiropractor a couple years ago (she had to be convinced that it was "weally ice", because it's not hard). We're watching the Backyardigans. If she weren't hurting she'd be jumping around like a maniac, trying to keep herself awake. But as I said above, the joint itself is no longer injured. I suspect several muscles or ligaments got pulled in the process of either dislocating it or reducing the dislocation. I have a call in to the consulting nurse at the hospital to see if lingering pain is normal. If it is, no worries. If not, I'll ask the nurse whether we need to go back to the E.R, or if going in to her pediatrician tomorrow is appropriate. Lizzy is not enjoying this booboo.

She is definitely enjoying the cachet of having had an injury however. This was not only bad enough to require ice, it necessitated a trip to the doctor, where they took pictures of the inside of her arm with "an x-way" and told her she was a brave girl and gave her a popsicle. She even got to talk to the ambulance dwivahs - "they dwive sick people who don't have mommies to dwive them to the hospital, you know".

I just hope the overall experience is enough to make her think twice about running into the road in future.

ETA: The consulting nurse agrees that this issue is many-fold - Lizzy is older than the last time this happened so she is not as "loose" and may be sore, and she recognizes the attention an injury gets her - and suggested fashioning a sling. This gives Lizzy a) physical support of the sore limb, and b) a visible "bandage" to satisfy her band-aids-as-body-art-three-year-old-ness. And we should switch from acetaminophen to ibuprofen, as the latter is an anti-inflammatory. Nurse said if Lizzy refuses to use it tomorrow or starts crying in pain (as opposed to whining with irritation as she has been all day) we should take her in to her pediatrician.

Now, what to do about the crick in my neck due to her glomming onto me all day...