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Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Real World

It's a little stressful. Between the job (woohoo! I have a job!) and home and school (still F&^king Algebra), it's rather complex.

I thought that, and typed it, and then I decided I was wrong.

It's not work and home and school that are so stressful and complex; it's specific aspects of these things that make me wiggy.

It's the commute and the fact that even with a job I still have no money.

It's the fact that our kids are getting to be adolescents (at least the older two), and this is a very scary row to hoe in our super-connected world. And Lizzy seems to be more intelligent than her mama, which also scares me.

It's that F&^king Algebra 2 is not going any better than F&^king Algebra 1 did.

But then I look around again, and I think, well, not too bad.

The commute is working a little better each day and although we're still extremely strapped for cash, it will work out eventually.

It's my birthday tomorrow and the Hubs has apparently gotten me a surprise in addition to the cool gift he got me when it came out earlier this month. And my mom is making me my fave dinner too.

Once F&^king Algebra is done, I go back to classes in which I have skill and confidence, like writing and communication and the ones that are in fact useful for me.

It's a good old life. One just needs to look past the scary and stressful to the meat underneath.

Monday, September 24, 2012


You know her. She's the one who works full time, is the president of the PTA, takes the children to ballet and soccer and swimming, puts dinner on the table, has a sparkling clean house, is a trim size six, and is still home with milk and cookies when the kids get home from school.

I am not she.



I mention this because some kind soul on the University of Phoenix student support forums called me 'supermom' because I work full time (now, at last, finally, and oh boy am I loving it!) and go to school (F&^king Alegebra 2), and still manage to keep the kids fed and more-or-less in clean clothing. Now, the spouse does quite a bit (and more since I got the job - he cooks dinner several nights a week and does dishes, supervises homework when Grandma doesn't, does the floors and sometimes the bathrooms, picks up kids, puts Lizzy to bed over her objections on my school nights, etc). Grandma babysits three days a week, shuttles children to school and gym, and is basicallt Supergrandma. but unless I want mornings to be utterly stupid with stress, the laundry and the night-before-lunch-packing is mine.

The people who think I'm Supermom? These people have clearly not seen my house.

I mean, it's not actual squalor, but tidy it ain't, and I'm really not all that bothered by stains on cheap apartment-grade carpet. We often take our clothes for the day off the neat piles (separated by wearer) on the couch and socks out of a basket. And the fruit flies in the kitchen are starting to be a bit of a pain, but they'll go away when we get to winter fruits - nothing but apples and oranges and the occasional banana for weeks on end; the fruit flies do love their nectarines and plums.

Mostly I am content if I can pass my classes (and once F.A. is done that will be simpler) and get dinner on the table, make sure the kids get off to school in good order, make sure Abby is reading and Lizzy is sleeping in her own bed. Make sure they're getting experiences over and above laundry and dishes and school.

You know, life.

I'm not Supermom.

But I'm Pretty Good Mom.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Movies and Pirates and Airplanes oh my

WARNING: Minor Spoilers Abound, Matey.

As you may know, I have a horror of violence in movies where the kids are concerned, and we had decided that The Hunger Games was likely too violent for our kids.

There is also the issue that while twelve-year-old Leanna has an actual goal of watching a Rated R Horror Movie the day after her 18th birthday (such an adolescent thing to do), nine-year-old Abby is less bothered by violence on its own, and more by things like Noble Self-Sacrifice or violence done to the helpless (hoo, boy, last week's episode of Doctor Who, with a helpless herbivorous creature being killed by the Big Bad? She's cried through that scene twice now.)

But when Abby was at a sleepover last night, and she called to ask if it was okay for her to watch The Hunger Games, I thought fast. I came up with these points:

  • I finally gave in on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which she did okay with
  • I gave in on the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which she did okay with
  • The last few episodes of her (and my) beloved Doctor Who have been very very dark in many ways, titles like Dinosaurs on a Spaceship notwithstanding. She does okay as long as there is a responsible adult with her watching these things, so she can ask questions.
So I told her she could watch it, assuming that the supervising parent watched it with them. And this morning she's her normal, slightly-grumpy Sunday-after-a-sleepover self. When asked if the movie bothered her at all she said no, "because it was just violent, not scary". I asked her if it was "dark" and she said it wasn't as dark as Harry Potter Five.

And as we had had a very busy day Saturday, she may not have taken the whole movie in; like her mother, she usually gets more out of something rewatching it later.

Saturday was a blast. We went to the Imagine Children's Museum (to which my mom got us season tickets) and it happened to be Seafair Pirates Day. There was a lot of time spent upstairs listening to pirate songs (and a damnyouautocorrect sequence between me and my mom that should not be shared on this PG-rated blog) and more time downstairs playing in all the cool stuff they have there.

Lizzy's favorite is as always the Imagine Air plane; a bunch of local Boeing engineers designed, built, and donated it to the museum a couple years ago, and she loves it. She flew to "Hawaii, and they Disneyland, and the last time I was the pilot!"

Busy day. No wonder Abby was numb by movie time!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Tomorrow is my first day back to work in about 17 months. Today was Lizzy's fifth birthday. So of course she and I spent it running all over town to get last-minute security forms for getting a badge made. We got to have this little gem of a conversation:

Lizzy: Mommy, how do we bo?
Me: Bo? You mean bowl?
L: No, bo. You said we're going Boeing.
Me: Uh... we're going to Boeing. It's named after a person, not an action.
L: He must have been a very good bo-er. 

Then we met Grandma and Auntie and Cousin at Lizzy's favewit restawonk - Red Robin. This is because Red is her second favorite color, and her middle name is Robin. Uh-huh. Abby's not feeling terrific; she's cold and has a headache and a stuffy nose. The stuffy nose has been going on for a few days but with Abby you never know if it's allergies, and this afternoon she got the headache and this evening she got the chills, and now her temp is 102F.

Back to School 2012
I get the Bad Mommy Award because they're still staying overnight with Grandma tonight; although she managed to convince my brain that Abby's just as fine with her as with me, and that it's better if I don't roust a sick child out of bed at oh-dark-thirty to go to Grandma's because I have to work (Yeah, I can see that, "Um, hi, I'm Jenn, the chick you just spent four weeks and ungodly amounts of cash vetting to make sure I'm not a spy or an evil hacker or something, and I can't make it in 'cause my kid's got a cold!" Um, no.), in spite of what my brain and my gut know, my heart is freaking out (my baby!).

Based on her symptoms and family history, she has a cold, maybe a sinus infection. I'm not worried about her faking anything; not only was she with us the whole time, she likes school. So I will call her in sick, and if she still has a fever tomorrow Grandma will take her to the doctor (Grandma has all permissions). But it still freaks me out.

Monday, September 3, 2012


This is the sort of week that makes more than a few of my online friends say things like, "I'm tired just reading that!" Part of this is that I write it all out, not to make myself look like Supermom, but because it's the only way for me to keep track of it all. So even little things that can be done while other things are in process - like running a load of laundry while doing the dishes for instance - are separate entities on the list. But the basics are this: Tomorrow is the first day of school and Lizzy's fifth birthday (and no, she's not going to kindergarten; we could have tested her in but we don't think she's socially ready, although she is academically. She wouldn't be able to sit still even to the limited extent they require of kindergartners, so she's staying at her Montessori preschool another year. We love them.) Wednesday is my first day back to work after nearly 17 months of unemployment. And this is my last week of F&^king Algebra, assuming I pass the class, which I should. Then on to F&^king Algebra Part Two, but that's a separate issue.

Let's just say that there's a fair bit of labor going on this labor day at Chez Gamers' Babes. For the past four days I've been washing and sorting this plethora of clothing Grandma and Grandpa K sent, checking for fit, deciding what's appropriate for school, etc. Abby's idea of appropriate and her dad's are different, but as long as her Goth remains perky-Goth I'm okay with it, even at nine. If it gets darker we'll have to have A Talk, especially with her dad; he's not unreasonable so if it goes too far for him it is likewise not unreasonable to clamp down. Her back-to-school choice this year skirts (ha!) the edge of how far I'm willing to allow; it's a plaid skirt, black hello kitty knee socks, and a black tee that says, "I Heart (where the heart is a hologram that switches to a set of vampire teeth) Vampires". A picture will be posted tomorrow.

Lizzy's back-to-school clothing choice is more... well, it's younger. Jeans and a green flowered top. But as it's her birthday and the first day of preschool for the year there's a fair bit of stuff that needs to happen. Because it's "little kids" we need a change of clothes, because it's a school in an old farmhouse with cold floors we have to pack slippers, like that. And Birthday Treats (on the first day), and we decided on donut holes; they're small and cheap and the teachers can dole them out as needed. So all that is packed and ready to go.

And today Grandma took them to get their hair cut. Abby's been nagging for color, but neither her dad nor I are comfy with hair color over and above natural highlights in someone so young, at least not during the school year (Kool-Aid rinses in the summer? Be my guest). But Grandma was willing to pay for clip-in extensions; Abby got two, one in a burgundy that looks like it could be natural, and one in a purple that is definitely not. Lizzy got one, in dark blue, and they both got their hair cut (Abby's in her usual inverse bob and Lizzy's at just below her shoulders). Who knew that Lizzy's hair blew out straight? It's a good thing she wasn't wearing those jean shorts that make her look about eight today or I'd have thought they were both starting fourth grade!

So... today I'm finishing all that laundry and putting it away. Getting as much done of my school work as I can for the week. Running the dishwasher (the Hubs emptied and reloaded it while I was out of the house), packing Abby's lunch and making other lunch things (like hard-boiled eggs) and dinner for tonight. The clothes are already laid out for tomorrow morning. Mmm - taking the bacon out of the freezer, setting alarms for an hour and a half before school, making sure everyone goes to bed on time.

Tuesday I take Abby to school, take Lizzy to school and drop off all her stuff, birthday and otherwise. Meet my mom for our last breakfast-without-kids for awhile, get my own stuff ready for Wednesday, pick Lizzy up at preschool. Pack a bag for the girls including Abby's lunch, wait for Abby to get home from school, provide a snack and homework time (if no homework yet then reading for twenty minutes), take them out to Lizzy's birthday dinner with my mom, from which they go to my mom's house (she offered to take them overnight before my first day of work so I only have myself to get ready in the morning).

Whew! Now I'm tired just reading that!