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Sunday, December 29, 2013

This Week I Learned...

... that even if you don't have medical insurance, when you cough hard enough to throw up / feel it in six-and-a-half-year-old C-section scars / get a six-year-old telling you that if you can't even shout at her you must be sick... then it's time to go to the doctor.

... that because I am an existing patient at the Evergreen Healthcare Network (Lizzy was born at Evergreen Hospital), I get a 10% discount on self-pay office visits to Urgent Care. I call this the Frequent Flyer Discount.

... that because I have no insurance  (it kicks in January first, natch) I get an additional 15% discount if I pay it within 30 days. They will bill me so I didn't have to pay it today.

... that all the help I got, pharmaceutically speaking over the past few days wasn't really doing a lot of good, because my blood oxygen level was so low (about 89-90%) that the prednisone and albuterol and whatever is in the coughing-aching-sneezing-sniffling-stuffy-head-fever-so-you-can-rest-medicine wasn't going where it needed to go... no oxygen left over to get it there. This also explains the temporary narcolepsy recent tendency to drop into a chair and doze (hypoxia = fatigue).

... that yes, albuterol rescue inhalers are  terrific, assuming the crud in your chest isn't so thick that the meds aren't getting in there. That's why the breathing treatment at Urgent Care, even though it's the same drug - has now brought the previously-mentioned low oxygen level all the way up to 98% (it should be above 95; as an example, when Abby was in the E.R. having an anaphylactic reaction to tree nuts about two-and-a-half years ago, hers was 93%).

... that all this means that the prednisone and Zithromax I just took should actually work this time.

... that the time I spent on my ass in the slush last week, the hairline fracture in my toe, the assorted bruises from said incident (including the one I can't see but that +Laston Kirkland says looks like a map of Germany's WWII invasion of France) and the resulting slow-moving / spending lots of time lying down and sitting down actually does affect something like this, in spite of germ theory. Because it works on the same principle as elderly people with broken hips getting pneumonia; it's all one system after all.

... that I should go back on the generic Percocet I was taking for the broken toe, at least at night. Because the reason that they give you cough syrup laced with codeine or Vicodin is not because these drugs are cough suppressants; they're not. But they are muscle relaxants, so they keep your lungs from spasming so much when you do cough. Assuming, of course, that your blood oxygen levels are such that you are getting said meds where they belong.

... that my husband is good in a crisis (this is one I relearned this week; he has really picked up my slack in a big way).

... that while we really would rather have not spent the extra money just now, getting the best washer / dryer / couch / desk chair we can possibly afford is the better choice... because we won't have to repurchase in a year or two. Dining chairs in a few weeks when this year's models come out at Costco (thanks to +Carrie Miller for that idea).

... that my love for the Internet still applies. Where else would I find people like +Kristi Forcier, who has been a Google Plus circlite of mine for several months, but who came and assembled furniture for us - two days in a row - even though we had never met in person?


Friday, December 20, 2013

Kirkland Calls for Aid

Help us, Seattleite friends. You are our only hope.

Maybe what we need is... a Doctor.

Choose your fandom, but Chez Kirkland needs your help if you're willing. You see, we're moving.

You knew that, because I've told you before, but there have been a few... let's just cal them "complications" because "clusterf&^ks" is a term that violates my self-imposed blog standards.

So, we're moving. As some of you know, +Laston Kirkland is currently out of work (though he starts a new job January 12), so he has been working his ass off getting our stuff packed and ready to go.

We have a... let's just say a "plethora" (because "sh!7-ton" is a term that violates my self-imposed blog standards) of stuff. Part of this is a tendency toward pack-rattiness, especially on Laston's, Leanna's, and Abby's parts (Lizzy too, but she is prone to out-of-sight-out-of-mind-itis where things are concerned. And me, but mine is mostly books). Part of it is two adults in their forties, three kids ages 6-13, and a cat. Part of this is being crammed into too small a space for 4.5 years. And part is very generous grandparents.

So we were moving along - not tossing as much as he'd like but not as little as the rest of the family would, and then the kids' new beds came. Merry Christmas.

Holy um... cow. These things are heavy. So we get them to the new place and there's a couple of problems. Each problem in and of itself is kind of minor, but piled together they are, well... there's that other word again. The first one that violated my self-imposed blog standards.
  1. Beds for Abby and Leanna say 4-6 hours to assemble. Okay. Oops - that was for two people. Triple the time and it's more accurate for one person. This has slowed Laston down considerably, and there's a couple of pieces he can't get on because the beds are too heavy for him to move.
  2. A couple things are not quite right with the house. Of course, these are both things (and one causes a third thing) that we really want to be right with the house. As soon as possible, like yesterday. 
    1. Thing One is that the water heater is not working properly, and there is sediment. They tried a new heating element and no dice, so they have to replace the heater, tank and all. 
    2. Thing Two is that we have no cable, the cable guy can't find the cable, and the landlord (we're buying the house but renting the land) swears up and down it's there. We really do need this, because while we can run to Star$$ or up to my mom's or whatever, we're so connected (Laston job-hunting stuff, my school, and just our considerable online life) that this is a right royal pain in the ass. 
    3. Thing Three is caused by Thing One - the icemaker - which is a make-or-break thing for Laston - is not working. We can't tell if this is due to the water being turned on and off all the time or if it's a problem with the machine itself.
  3. When going down the porch steps at my mom's to take some more stuff over to the new place, I fell. I am a person of considerable heft and so when I fell on slippery slushy steps, I appear to have sprained my right ankle, broken or dislocated (probably the latter) my right big toe, and I have assorted scrapes and bruises (and uncomfortably cold wet clothes). Probably a few more sore spots I'll find in the morning. Mom lent me a cane and an Ace bandage, and I have an old Rx of Oxycodone handy, but... well yeah.
So... we are not as packed as we thought we would be, I can't do as much as I thought I could (or drive), and we have no hot water or Internet service. And very little ice. Laston is close to tears of frustration, I'm starting to get foggy from a mixture of pain and off-brand Percocet, and we could really use some help if anyone is up for it. We have movers to do the actual hauling, but we could use help with last-second packing, unpacking, keeping my leg up and out of the way, and general moral support.

My mom has our three kids and my sister's child, though, so if you'd have to bring the kids, please just send good wishes, prayers, woo-woo, whatever you've got instead; we got ours out of the way for a reason. I love you all, but I can only deal with very little more right now.

I'm going to throw clean clothes into plastic garbage bags while I still can. Give me a heads up if you can help. We'll feed you something.

Pretty please?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Today I learned...

Pre-pubescent girls are noisy, excitable and shrill when traveling in packs. But they're harmless until you get them to Justice, and then it's all texting their parents to find out whether it's okay to spend their movie-snack money on friendship bracelets for each other, and asking them over and over to chill out and then facepalming when they think this is hilarious because you're on your way to see Frozen.

Do not frighten the Snow Queen until she knows exactly what she's doing. Before she has control she will hurt you.

An act of true love does not have to equal romance.

We're moving next week (it's real now, because they put the carpet in).

Abby's friend C has a mother who is a braver woman than I, because she's having Abby and S overnight after I took them to the mall and the movies and they're hyper to the ears.

Although Disney still (in my opinion) has a fetish for wasp-waisted heroines, those girls are getting more and more badass and strong in their own right. The last three movies - Tangled, Brave, and now Frozen - have some seriously Girl Power characters.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sundae Sunday

Lizzy is a strange child. 

She has - for weeks - been talking about making a sundae on Sunday. This is a very specific sundae. It is not a banana split, but it has bananas. It also has four kinds of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate chip mint), chocolate syrup, mini marshmallows, sprinkles, whipped cream, and two cherries. It is apparently supposed to be served in "a golden bowl" but I refused to buy a golden bowl for the sake of a sundae; that's expensive.

There was much discussion and angst when we were at the store, because I had to convince her that we could use one scoop of Neapolitan in place of three separate scoops, one of each flavor. And of course, Lizzy being Lizzy, she has to have the ingredients put in the not-golden bowl in a certain order. Just like her clothes when I lay them out for her.

This is not all that strange in and of itself. Not around here anyway.

What's really strange is that she has no idea where she got this concept. 

From TV? No. From a book? No.

"Mo-om, I thought it up in my own head."

And as I said she's been talking about it for weeks.

So we're having a Sundae Sunday.

And it is glorious.

And it's unlikely to happen very often, because oh my god the sugar.

+Laston Kirkland calls it the diabetenator.

It's a good thing we're having chicken and salad for dinner, because I think the Hubs and the kids have used up their calorie quota for the weekend already.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful

On this last day of November, I would like to share the things I am thankful for:

  1. I am thankful for my mom, who is not only my mom, but my primary babysitter and chauffeur and all-around helpful person. Even when she doesn't feel like it, when her sister is ill, when she has other things to do, whenever.
  2. I am thankful for my husband, who whether he actually groks is or not, is completely accepting and supportive of things like mom and me needing to spend an occasional afternoon together without the children and with no responsibility. 
  3. I am thankful my auntie is recovering.
  4. I am thankful that I have a job I really enjoy and that it is nearby.
  5. I am thankful I earned a B in Communication Law, because it was a hard one for me.
  6. I am thankful that the kids are basically healthy and generally happy people.
  7. I am thankful that my Abby's father is a good dad and a conscientious ex-husband.
  8. I am thankful that the new place is almost ready for us to move into: we're just waiting on a final date before we give thirty days' notice at our current apartment.
  9. I am thankful that even though we are not at all sad to leave here - the cost is very high and the space is too small and we'll probably have to pay over and above our damage deposit even though we have been here for four plus years - that we have always felt safe pretty content here.
  10. I am thankful that although we will not have enough money to get all the things we want for the kids (new bed frames, new bedding) or for the household (linens, dining room chairs, a new couch, etc) as we move, we will soon after that. Our new place is so much less expensive - just over half our current rent - than here that it will only take a few weeks to catch up again, especially if the Hubs gets a job sooner rather than later.
  11. And on that note, although I am not thankful his employers decided he wasn't "the right fit" my silver lining here is that there is someone to oversee the packing and moving and all that. And to keep the kids on those few days when my mom (see number 1) cannot keep them.
There you go, eleven things for the eleventh month.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spoiled Spoilers

Miss Abby is a fairly responsible child. But she is still a child, and normally we try to make the consequences fit the action. Or lack of action, in this case.

But it wasn't completely her fault.

Yes, she did leave her beloved sonic screwdriver in her coat pocket. Her bad.

But we washed the coat without the usual warnings ("Yo, kids, washing coats, clear the pockets or lose the stuff...") and without checking the pockets ourselves. Our bad.

What we thought was the noise of zippers in the dryer was sonic screwdriver bits, at least partly.

And we can only find half of it. Not even enough to build a cabinet.

Abby gets attached to her things anyway, and this one was special even by her standards, given to her by her Aunt Laura for her last birthday.

"Can we get a new one?" She asked tearfully this morning.

"Well... normally I believe in suffering the natural consequences of not taking care of your things; you know that."

A nod, fresh tears, dripping on my night-gowned knee.

"But I think that in this case, since you didn't know I'd be washing the coat, and I didn't check the pockets, and your birthday is coming up, how about we get you a new one for your birthday?"

Sniffle. Nod. "Okay."

---------
SPOILERS
---------

Okay (in case you hadn't guessed), on to the spoilers for the 50th Anniversary special of Doctor Who. DO NOT CONTINUE UNLESS YOU WANT TO RISK SPOILERS!

These are just random observations.

I'm sure I am not the only fan to notice that the broken statues scene had the music from Time of Angels, and therefore was intended to mislead the audience into believing that it was that kind of statue <shudder> with which we were dealing.

I was Osgood (although I was more of a Doctor McCoy fan at that age than a Doctor Who fan in the US), as I'm sure many of us were or are, and that may have been a nod in our direction.

I thought they had blamed the TARDIS-from-a-helicopter incident on Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame. As an American this made perfect sense to me. But the lovely Claire of PlanetClaire (where I get my quotes when I write Who fanfic) explained that Derren Brown is in fact a British illusionist. This makes even more sense.

I cried (both times I saw the show) even though I knew who the curator was. I may be an Eleven fangirl in many ways, but Four was my first Doctor.

And as pointed out by my mother, Clara was born to save the Doctor... and in this special she truly did. She saved his soul. Sniffle.

The trailer I saw for the Christmas special had River Song's voice. If they don't find a way to (a) get her out of the damn Library, or (b) get a copy of Eleven into it with her, it will give me a sad. I've seen it (and written it) in fanfic, but there's nothing in canon of course. Besides, if they do it the way I imagine it, they could also get Jack Harkness reacting to a Doctor who looks alarmingly like one John Frobisher (and yes, a gazillion spoilers there).






Monday, November 25, 2013

The Day of the Doctor, Revisited (no spoilers)

video
It was a rough weekend in many ways, but some of it was great. Leanna and Abby and I joined Grandma in watching The Day of the Doctor Saturday for the simulcast, and that was fun. Miz Liz is now practically a caricature of a six year old, as you can see above. We attended a birthday party for the girls' friends. All good things. But some of it was really hard too.

So tonight, Grandma and Abby and I saw The Day of the Doctor again, this time in the theater, as a present for Abby's upcoming 11th birthday. Since she is as much an Eleventh Doctor fangirl as her mum is, this was extra special, and she was totally gleeful in the evening but too wired and excited to sleep. She went to bed at - you guessed it - eleven, so... we'll see how that goes.

And then - and THEN (about 1:47) - a good online friend and fabulous fan artist +Dangreenacres sent me a piece of fan art he made just for me. It's totally Whovian and brilliant and creative, and I adore it; he made it as a lock screen for my particular phone, as well as a companion (hee hee, I said 'companion') piece to a story I wrote in the Whoniverse (and no, I don't usually share my fan fic publicly; if you want a link, pop me a private note. You won't understand it unless you're a Whovian anyway). The story isn't done yet; Real Life got in the way. But feel free to squee over the art as I did.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's Just as Well...

...that this was Leanna's weekend with her mom.

Because historically, she's here during her stepmom's (hi!) worst days.

I don't like myself like this. And I don't even have the excuse of PMS.

It wasn't really anything wrong - just every little thing was pissing me off; sometimes it happens. Right now I am typing this so I don't shout at Abby for chewing her toast too loudly. Lizzy's been at her very attention-grabbing worst (I-want-Mommy vied with I-hate-Mommy most of the weekend), and I have three papers to complete.

I'm sure that's part of it; Lizzy trying to grab attention when I'm typing homework is the same as Lizzy - or any kid - trying to grab attention when mom is on the phone.

However, the dishwasher is running, Lizzy went to bed on time (she was also looking super tired) and lunches are packed. Except for socks, we're ready to go in the morning, and I'm almost done with the first of the papers (the others aren't due until next Monday, a week from tomorrow, but I want to get them done early so I can take it easy a bit next weekend).

I think I need a day at the spa.

Or failing that, the massage place, the hairdresser, and the nail spa down the street.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Anxious Revisited

Some is better. Some is worse.

My aunt is doing better, although she is still in the hospital.

My step-grandmother (my dad's stepmother) passed this afternoon. We haven't been close for a long time, a couple of decades really - maybe fifteen years since I saw her last. But she was my last grandparent, and that feels... odd. I'm sad, more on behalf of my aunt and uncle - her kids and my dad's half-siblings - than for me. And I feel... old, I guess.

The Hubs did in fact lose his job; just wasn't a good fit for him. It's stressy, although as I said, the money sitch isn't as scary now that we're moving soon. Which brings us to...

The house. It will be ready (fingers crossed) my no later than the end of the year. This is a Good Thing (though we'd like it to be earlier), because at least we know. Assuming nobody gets sick again or what-have-you. This also means we'll likely be moving over Christmas.

Which is complicated under the best of circumstances, with divorced and remarried families (although we get along, thank goodness). This year it's even more complicated than usual, because Abby's dad is going out of the country for work, and nobody knows his schedule yet, including him.

On the flip side, the Hubs - who is in fact certified as a K-12 teacher - is getting re-certified (as a teacher, silly, not because he's certifiable). We sent off the paperwork today

This is a very mixed report. And my fingernails are still too long, dammit.

Ooo - I said the D word.

I want to talk to Abby alone because of her dad's work thing up there, and I have an opportunity when I take her to a sleepover tonight. If Lizzy ever stops behaving as though I'm pulling her fingernails out one at a time by not letting her come with us. "But, Mommy, I'll do anything if you're just let me go with you. I literally already put my shoes on even. Mommy, please, I'll do anything."

I suggested she go to Toshi Station to get some power converters and she said, "Okay. I said anything." But when I showed her the clip she was Not Amused, and accused me of mocking her.

Which I am.

Wow. That is a tired kid, I think, because that last bit was very Elmer Fudd. And now she's kicking her bedroom door where Daddy put her in there in trouble for whining and nagging over and over.

And when I get back I have homework to do.

At least I got us insured, and my anxiety meds will come in Tuesday

Sigh.




Monday, November 11, 2013

I Can See Clearly Now...

...and I had forgotten what it was like.

You see, I had terrible vision s a child, and I was never able to manage contact lenses. When I had LASIK in 1999 (I think it was) my vision was -8.75 - that's something stupid like 20/1100 - and the surgery corrected it to 20/20 in my right eye and 20/22 in my left.

It was freaking amazing.

Sort of like when you get new glasses and you can see all the leaves on the trees and feathers on the birds, but with actual peripheral vision.

Freaking.

Amazing.

But now I'm 45 years old, and I'm seeing just fine at a distance but I'm starting to get headaches at the end of the week. I mean, think about it: I write blogs eight hours a day at work, then come home and work on my school work online for three or four hours, and I write for fun. That's about 14 hours a day and that doesn't even include reading on my Kindle (also electronic) or reading other things (paper) or watching TV/playing video games.

That's a lot of eye use. Overuse even.

So today on my lunch break I had an eye exam. Eyes are healthy (yay!) and distance vision still good - it's only slipped a couple of bits (now 20/25 left and still 20/20 right, yay!). I need reading/computer glasses though, and my prescription is so minor that I can use standard drugstore cheaters at 1.00 strength (my astigmatism is negligible). This is very good, because prescription reading glasses are like $400 without insurance. So I picked up a couple of pairs at my local drugstore and I'm wearing one now, as I type.

And you know what?

Freaking.

Amazing.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Anxious (with a bajillion links)

I have a newish job, which I love. But it's still new, and my recent (the last several years) job history is such that I don't feel like I can relax into it for fear it will disappear because I'm too fat or my writing style is too weird or there's some personality conflict I'm not even aware of.

The Hubs has a newish job too, and while he enjoys night shift, he's apparently having trouble with ten-hour days nights. And although he knows what to do and when to do it and even how to do it, he has problems remembering the vocabulary when they put him on the spot with a pop quiz. He's convinced they think he's stupid, which he is not; he just isn't a pop-quiz kind of learner. (I am not very concerned about money here, which is unusual, because our new place - once we get there - will solve that problem.)

My aunt is in the hospital (she'll be okay per the doctor) and will likely be for another several days. I fret.

Our landlord cum builder (we'll rent the land and own the house) has been quite ill too, and the house / moving is therefore behind schedule. Not a big deal, and certainly not his fault, but another thing to add to the pile.

My clone Abby is an ASB representative, is in Glee Club and Girl Scouts, and her birthday is coming up, along with the holidays. All of these are Good Things, but oh, the scheduling! Thank Google for my rational ex-husband and my helpful mom / childcare provider / chauffeur.

The class I am currently in isn't quite F&^king Algebra, but I am not really enjoying it. Thank Google that my team is great, because my individual work in Communication Law is average at best.

I have to fix this issue with our medical insurance (when the Hubs changed jobs he lost his insurance) and I have two choices. COBRA (the same coverage as we had before) for $1357 a month (I already sent off the paperwork for the first month but this is as much as our rent for crying out loud, and quite a bit more than the rent/mortgage once we move), or the Washington State Health Exchange (assuming I can ever (a) get all the way through their web site and (b) find Lizzy's social security number).

Oh, and my false nails are getting too long to type comfortably and I haven't the time to go get a fill and trim.

I realize that last is pretty minor.

Thing is that situational anxiety isn't something my normal SAD medication or my sun lamp or copious amounts of Vitamin D can take care of. Assuming I can get it at all, given the insurance snafu I've created. And before you as why the Hubs doesn't deal with the insurance thing since he's home during the day, well... I speak Insurance courtesy of my abortive career at The Duck (which brings us back full circle to the first paragraph of this post, doesn't it?)


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gorgeous Gamers' Girls (well... Gamers' Gorgeous Girls)

Sadly I do not yet have pictures of Leanna; I don't know when the middle school picture day is, especially as she's in a different district (although, when they're available, my mom would like a 2x3, okay, Leanna's Mom? Pretty please?)

But I do have - legally, no less - electronic and hard copy pics of the younger two. Cheers:




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

She Shoots! She Scores!

Abby and the Lizster
Abby ran for Student Body Representative in third grade. She didn't win because other people actually asked for votes. Would you believe?

She ran in fourth grade. She didn't win, and this time it was bribery, I tell you, rank bribery!

But this year, fifth grade?

She won.

And she won by saying in her campaign speech that if she is responsible enough to to take care of her little sister and other kindergartners every morning before school, she can be trusted to go to all the meetings and to bring her classmates' ideas to the ASB.

She told them some of her own ideas for fun things they could do in school, like pajama day and wacky hair day (this is her favorite part, she admitted to me later).

She then explained that other kids had gotten a chance previously, and she felt it was time for a change.

And she won.

Normally there is one representative from each gender for each classroom, but there were no boys who wanted the job, so another girl is Abby's alternate.

I'm so impressed. I was so not that child. And it looks like Abby is. Maybe it's down to the Girl Scouts and their emphasis on leadership. I don't know.

But I am impressed.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Transitions suck

And Sunday night is usually a transition, from the play-and-work days to the work-and-play days. And from Lizzy either being here by herself and the big kids gone, or from the big kids being here and Leanna going back to her mom's.

I understand that Lizzy is overtired and overstimulated - it was a very exciting weekend, what with carving pumpkins and fall carnivals and a new movie and most of all Game Night at the home of her BFF.

But here it is, ten-thirty, she's been in bed for three hours, she's still not asleep, and she's having hysterics because I won't put up with her BS; I need my sleep too. Thus she is keeping everyone up. The Hubs is dismayed with me because I shouted at Lizzy (he tried reason and that didn't work either - sometimes with Liz you have to shout to get her attention before you can reason with her). It isn't helping matters any that Abby is (truthfully) saying things like, "I don't like you very much right now."

I try to keep these posts rated PG, so I won't say with I'm thinking right now.

You know, she's calming down now, sounds like (knock wood, crossing toes as I need my fingers for typing), and I have to wonder. No matter how much we did the great No-Cry Sleep Solution with Abby back in the day, she still needed to cry herself to sleep about once quarterly. I wonder if this is similar; when Lizzy is overdone, does she just need me to be the Stern Mommy long enough get herself calm?

If nothing else, blogging will help Momma keep from strangling her child. Tonight anyway

Oh, here, have a picture of the finished punkins. The one to the left is Leanna's; she was excited that it had enough space for two faces. Abby's is on top (and those are wings, "like the kind on a helmet" so don't assume they're ears, please) and Lizzy's is in front (Lizzy designed and Abby carved). The knobbly one to the right is the one I couldn't even get a knife through.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

And They Were

They did in fact listen today, probably because a) they got enough sleep, and b) most of our day was fun.

I got up late, and +Laston Kirkland went to bed. Lizzy and Abby and I had breakfast, but Leanna slept in until after the Safeway.com guy left. Then we got down to mostly-fun-some-work day. We had lunch, did some laundry, I did homework, they watched TV and played games. Around 2, I got up to do some punkin prep.

Ugly Cute
Now, Abby already had a pumpkin from her last weekend at her dad's - he's spectacularly good about things like pumpkin patches and school supplies and stuff. But Leanna and Lizzy did not have pumpkins, and we needed some of those carving and scraping tools, so we stopped by the store on the way home from the fall carnival (the carnival itself was fine... if you're very young. Definitely geared more toward Lizzy's age than the other two, but we did okay anyway). Lizzy chose a little pumpkin that she could carry herself, and Leanna chose this ugly cute specimen. Both Laston and I thought it was great with all its little knobbly warty things; it looked very spooky haunted house to us.

But it turned out I couldn't even get a knife all the way through the rind. I tried four different knives of varying sizes, even sharpened them, and no dice. Leanna is disappointed, and beating herself up a bit for choosing "the worst pumpkin available". But Abby is happily carving up (with the little tool that comes with the carving kit) the pumpkin that Lizzy has already "poked" a face into, and the Hubs is here though asleep. There's a store across the street, so Leanna and I take off for there and find a much more manageable (though even bigger). I thought for a moment that it was a fifty-dollar pumpkin, but it turned out that it counted as 'large' rather than 'jumbo' so it was less that eight.

So Lizzy's pumpkin is done, Abby's and Leanna's are emptied but not carved, the seeds are in the oven (though not roasting yet), and we're going to Game Night with dear friends. A good day, altogether.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Eternal Whine

Is, "nobody listens to me!"

And here I thought it was bad in the long ago when I was a teenager. And I'm sure that teen Leanna and pre-teen Abby feel the same way. But it was nothing like this bad back then.

I appreciate that the Hubs does not get enough sleep because he's working nights. I appreciate that he works long nights; he's on a ten-hour shift. I'm sure the below issue is because of his lack of sleep. I try to mitigate this as best I can but I cannot be in two places at once, being only Supermom, not Superwoman. So therefore I asked him to grab the younger two from the school bus and run to pick up Leanna; then they can come back here by way of something cheap and quick to eat (preferably healthy-ish), and I'll take the kids to a fall carnival so he can have nap time before we come home and I go to bed.

I expected him to focus on the quick part so he could take that nap.

He focused on the cheap and healthy part.

So I called to find out where they were; it's almost time for this carnival to start, and while we can show up any time after 5:30, Abby's girl scout troop is expecting us. He says, "Oh, we're at that Chinese Buffet (the implication is lots of sushi and broiled this and steamed that, so healthy-ish) across town."

<sigh>

Men.

Because we still have a carnival to get to, two pumpkins and a carving kit to obtain, and Lizzy's costume to pick up at Grandma's.

And they're all the way across town near where Leanna and her mom live. A twenty-minute drive when there's no traffic, but at Friday night rush hour Google only knows (and I mean that literally; thanks Google Maps).

If I had know they were going to do that, I could have stopped for something nicer than Chicken McNuggets myself.

Bah. Humbug. (Wrong season. Shut up).

I guess I can do my homework while I wait.

If they don't listen to me tomorrow while he's sleeping, heads are gonna roll. In the figurative sense, of course (although I will have a carving knife out for the pumpkins, so you never know...)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Power Play

Oh for the love of...

Sunday I set up a payment for my power bill at Snohomish County Public Utility District's website. Let me tell you, they're called SnoPud for a reason.

Not the people, at least not those I talked to. +Laston Kirkland had rather a different experience though.

Anyway, so I paid my (late) bill Sunday, set up for Friday (which is payday for the Hubs). Today at break time I called to see if I could split the payment, as my payday for my new job isn't until November 4th. "I'm sorry," says CS Rep, "But you didn't call us with the confirmation number and we cut your power an hour or two ago."

Expletive.

Okay, how do I get it turned back on? I pay the past due amount today, give them the new confirmation number, and they'll turn it on sometime this afternoon. No help for it, I guess. Let's do that. Um... little problem. Their system - in spite of being a power company based in Everett WA - is on Eastern Time. It won't let me pay it today because as far as their system is concerned, it's tomorrow already.

Expletive again.

But sweet CS Rep, who is too new to be jaded, is all sympathy. "Let me see what I can do," she says, in that tone that in new CS reps means, "I don't know what to do with this crazy woman on the phone, so I'd better ask an expert." She goes off and explains my predicament to her manager, who obligingly shows her how to enter a manual reset ticket into the system. "Okay, Mrs GamersMom, we'll be out sometime tonight to set you up."

Good enough, I suppose, and I thank her and talk to the supervisor, who agrees with me that their payment system is indeed crap (although I did not use that word. Not out loud anyway), but that New CS Rep is a total gem. I text the Hubs so if he wakes up - he's working nights - and there's no power he doesn't panic.

It doesn't really work.

Because apparently tonight is the night when his new job has a test for the newbies to make sure they know what they're doing and are allowed out on their own. He wants to study.

I leave work and take the kids to dinner and bring Laston some home. It's dark and cold and smoky from candles for light (and did I mention I have a cold? I do. Yay). The Hubs is a) fretting because he can't get online to study his stuff for work, and b) suffering from ComputerWithdrawalitis. This is never pretty.

And then the smoke alarms go off because of the smoking candles. Yay again. Expletive again.

And just for giggles, when the power does come back on (around 7PM), our brand new DVD won't work in the Sony PlayStation 2 game console we use as a DVD player. It works in my computer, but the screen there isn't big enough for all of us to watch. And older games and DVDs work in the PS2, so I think maybe it's a copy protection thing that the old PS2 can't get behind? Dunno.

Anyway, on to schoolwork now, at 8:45, and then bed.

Because I still have that cold. And I need some rest.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall is my Favorite

It's not just that it's my birthday season, although that's nice.

It's gifts arriving late for Lizzy's birthday back at the end of summer.

It's the way the house smells right now, with 'camping soup' (beef vegetable rice this time) on the stove top and Abby-friendly (no nuts or Worcestershire) Chex Mix in the oven.

It's the way there are bits of assorted Halloween costumes all over the house - a Day of the Dead 'señorita' dress and sugar skull half mask for Leanna, a pirate lass dress with leggings and long-sleeve tee for Abby, and a fairy princess outfit with light up skirt for Lizzy.

It's knowing that Abby fully intends to 'zombify' Lizzy's fairy princess costume after school (they're not allowed to do gory makeup at school) and that Lizzy is completely okay with this. The only Tinkerbell on the block with rotting flesh, I bet. (And she'll almost certainly tell me she's not Tink; she's a different fairy).

It's that my workplace is having a Halloween party and costume contest for just the employees. I've got big Mother Nature plans (I'm shaped like an Earth Mother for certain), and I even went so far as to ask my nail artist if she could do autumn leaves. She said (in her hesitant way; she does not speak much English) that she could try, but that maple might look like 'the smoking leaf'. All righty then; let's got for a different leaf pattern.

It's that my ex-husband sent me a picture of our daughter at the pumpkin patch.

It's being aware that we're moving in a month or so (although that is a special case for the Fall of 2013).

It's the smell of woodsmoke and fog and falling leaves.

It's breezy and damp weather.

It's my favorite.





Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Annoying Bits of Six (Especially to Thirteen)

Lizzy has a few very bad habits.

I'm not talking about the fact that she watches too much TV (though she does), or her tendency to holler for "just one more" of whatever it is, or that she jumps more than she walks. Or even that there's a running monologue about everything she does. These are normal and while regrettable, not so big.

But there are two of her habits that drive me up the wall.

The first is that she has a hair-trigger temper. This means that she goes from zero to screaming fit in no time flat. Not tantrums as such, not anymore. But the la la la I love life oh my god she made me move Mo-om Leanna pushed me off the bed bit. Now, I know full well that Leanna would not push her off the bed. But Leanna's got a temper too, and while she wouldn't deliberately hurt Lizzy, she goes into defensive mode almost immediately (I did not! She's lying!). What really happened was that Lizzy was crawling on Leanna, Leanna got tired of it and pushed her off onto the bed, and Lizzy then got all drama-queen and flopped gracelessly to the floor to better illustrate her case. By this point, neither of them are listening as the adults try to sort things out, because Lizzy now truly believes that Leanna pushed her with malice aforethought, and Leanna thinks that we're not listening to her and that we will automatically believe Lizzy because she's little and perfect. Lizzy is little. She is not perfect. The adults know this, but Leanna is in full-on defensive teen mode by this point.

The second - and this is a big one - is Lizzy's apparent inability to grok the concept of Funny Once. She just. Keeps. Going. When she is asked to stop, she doesn't stop. This is where she is like the Energizer Bunny (just like her favorite mode of transportation is like Tigger.) This is also very common for six years old, but for Lizzy is a way of life. It makes everyone - even Grandma - bugnuts, but as is usual, it makes Leanna extra super bugnuts (as I write, Leanna is asking me what 'bugnuts' means, and objecting because bugs don't have nuts. Thirteen - especially nature-loving-animal-and-bug-obsessed thirteen - has its moments too.) Anyway, Lizzy's habit of doing whatever-annoying-behavior just once more (and again, and again, and...) pushes everyone's buttons.

Don't get me wrong, Lizzy is a sweet little girl. Helpful and generous in a six-year-old way, smart as a whip, and more likely to persevere when frustrated than either of her sisters. But she's not perfect; she has her faults.

Now if we can just convince Leanna (and Abby) that we recognize this, we'll be in great shape.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall Randomocity

Fall has fallen, and tonight is pretty much Fall in the Pacific Northwest. Damp, a little breezy, a little chilly. It's been a busy few weeks, what with new jobs for both of us, and school for everyone but the Hubs, and parent/teacher conferences, and birthdays and Girl Scouts and the upcoming Halloween holiday.

Not to mention that we are moving, and packing, and we're wondering whether the landlord can build us a second shed. The sheds he builds are beautiful, with power and lights, and it would be super cool if we had one for Laston's Man Cave of Tools and a separate one for things like bicycles and hula hoops. A child-safe one, in fact. But we are moving, and the rent / mortgage combo (we'll own the 3-bed, 2-bath, 1360sqft house but not the land) is slightly over half what we pay now for a 2-bed, 2-bath, 1120sqft 2nd floor apartment. And in the same school district. And within walking distance of my mom (but not so close that she can hear us yelling at her granddaughters, which I just finished doing for the nth time today). This is a Good Thing.

Other good things:

  • Got a Halloween costume for Leanna, who is going as authentically Day of the Dead as we can manage with a $40 budget. That is to say, a "señorita" dress, face paint, and we'll scrape up a bouquet somewhere too. Abby's dad always buys her costumes; it's a little thing they do. And Lizzy is going to be a fairy with a light-up skirt (Grandma bought that one). 
  • Our pantry, fridge, freezer, and fruit bowl are full; you know how I feel about that. 
  • I made a good friend. You know how sometimes you meet people and you just click? This is what happened with Camille. I've known her for just under five weeks, online only (we share classes) and I feel like we've been friends for a very long time. I love when that happens. She even lives close enough that we could manage a coffee date halfway (although, to my shame, I don't get together all that often with other friends and family members in her area).
  • I have a job blogging. It's mostly SEO stuff, blogging for various online companies on their assorted products and services. They give me a phrase - like 'baby clothes for girls,' say, or 'dog obedience training' - and I write a couple of paragraphs on the topic, incorporating the phrase into it in a logical fashion. I love it. It sounds a lot easier than it actually is, and I've already picked up a lot of information on assorted topics. I love stuff like that.
  • Arrow. Because John Barrowman. And Paul Blackthorne. And later Alex Kingston. And (as my husband pointed out) "your kind of man-candy, honey." He was tired.
Bad things:
  • I got nuthin'. Maybe I should re-title it "Not-as-good-things"
    • Although I am really enjoying this session's class, it's hard. First 400-level class, with a new job for me, a new schedule for the Hubs, parent-teacher conferences and Abby running a girl scout meeting, I'm... a little overwhelmed.
    • A little freaked about moving itself; moving is expensive, and so are the fees for breaking a lease (but cheaper than paying month-to-month) and we need some new furniture. We'll get there, but it's still niggling away in the back of my mind.
Ugly things:
  • Nothing here either. So let's go the other way.
Cute things:
  • Leanna has introduced us to a show that hurts my ears. It's a documentary series called Too Cute, and Abby and Leanna are squeeing so loudly and in such a high pitch that my teeth ache (this is where I want a smiley emoticon).
  • Lizzy is obsessed with - of all things - compound words. Every time she spots one (or a word she thinks is one, which is often any two-syllable word) she claps her hands and shrieks, "two words pounded together make a compound word!" The one that actually impressed me was milkfat.
Happy things: Life, really. I'm feeling pretty good about it.

And now that I've written a blog post, I can get back to writing this paper for my last week of class.,


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jobful!

Oh.

My.

God.

I got a job.

I got a job blogging.

It doesn't pay a lot, but it meets my minimum requirements, and it's writing, and the commute costs are almost nil because it's just down the street.

Just.

Down.

The.

Street.

Seriously, like a mile away from my apartment, and even when we move it'll only be about three miles away. The only way to beat that commute is to work from home, and that makes me bugnuts, at least on a long term basis. Snow days, fine. Sick days, ditto. But not every day.

And this one is not listed as temp-to-perm. If I can do it (and I can; it's blogging), I can keep it. They know I can do it because they gave me a little test yesterday at my interview. Two little tests, actually, because I apparently also qualify as a content editor. Go me.

Details may be forthcoming; it depends on what NCAs and NDAs I have to sign on Monday. At eight.

When I start my new job.

SQUEE!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

References

Not the ones my previous bosses are giving the current placement agency.

Literary (or theatre) references. Gamersbabes style.

So Lizzy (6) has discovered Animaniacs, and she likes it so much (and +Laston Kirkland can stand it) that we found several discs on eBay today, so she can watch on her own. In the meantime, we're using the YouTube Channel on the Wii to watch episodes catch as catch can.

I had forgotten - or more likely never knew - how much Parental Bonus there is in this show! West Side Pigeons. Oh. My. God.

So we're watching it, and the Hubs and I are getting all the West Side Story and Goodfellas references, and the kids are asking us what's so funny, and Lizzy's yelling at us because we're laughing so hard she can't hear the words, and Abby (10) asks about the story it's based on. I start going on about Romeo and Juliet, and Laston says, "Well, see, there are these two street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, and one of the Jets falls in love with one of the Sharks--"

"Are they gay street gangs?" Abby interrupts innocently.

"Um, no," says her stepdad, "They have girls in these gangs too."

I can't wait to share this in my Media and Society class; we are discussing stereotypes in the media, and Abby's assumption that all street gang members are male... it slots right in there.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let the Festivities Begin!

Birthdays around here tend to be more like birth weeks. sometimes months.

Take me, for instance. My birthday is this coming Monday, September 30th. (I want a good job for my birthday, but that's a separate post). I'll be 45, and if you can subtract, you now know my birthday. Congratulations.

At any rate, I am also a mom, a student, and either a job hunter or a worker at any given time. Busy. So we take our celebrations when we can. For us, this was Monday. I got off work unexpectedly at midday (which probably should have been my first clue, but I digress) and came home. The Hubs was home early too that day, and so he took me out to lunch at a favorite restaurant. To him, this is not "special" enough to be a birthday thing all on its own, but to me it is, because it's a child-free experience for us. It's too spicy for all three kids, and too dangerous for Abby, so we usually only come here when it's just the two of us. For me, that's plenty (although if there was a new eyecandy Marvel Superheroes movie out, I wouldn't object. Again, I digress.)

So there was that, and then today I got a check and a card from his +Laston Kirkland's parents, which I shall use to buy clothes (the check, not the card). Saturday we plan to do the Girls Birthday Meal Out for Leanna's birthday (she and my Mom, who organizes such things, have not had coordinating schedules for weeks). And then Sunday we have my Birthday Meal (we don't usually do Girls Only for me; we usually all go over to my mom's and she makes my favorite foods).

Monday is my actual birthday (oh, gotta buy that can of Nalley's Original Chili for Sunday), and that should pretty much cap it off.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm Not a Fan...

...of temporary jobs. I decided this today, because while intellectually I realize that temp-to-maybe-perm jobs can end at any time (any job can in this state, actually, unless it's union), I thought it would be at least a few weeks.

Two days weren't exactly what I had in mind. Two half-days at that.

Don't get me wrong; I'm okay with contract positions, even short ones, though I'd prefer some permanence. But I wasn't expecting two mornings total.

I gather that they didn't actually need two new people after all; one was sufficient.

There are more things in my personal pipeline.

Silver Lining: I have more time to pack up for our move (assuming we can afford to move). I have more time for school work (400-level classes are intense). I'll probably have my birthday off work (it's next Monday).

Speaking of which, I'm getting too old for this.

So here I am, republishing my skills and wish list from a post a ways back:

Skills - I'm especially good at customer service and what my friends and family call nerd-wrangling - keeping all the truly technical people moving in the same direction. I have experience in computer and console tech support (both hardware and software), experience in software testing, and lots of experience in documentation of everything from games to business utilities to healthcare policies and procedures. I excel at translating Tech into English. I can use (and support) Windows or Mac operating systems, and I'm proficient in Microsoft Office, Google Docs, and a lot of other software too numerous to list here. And I'm basically a good person, a hard worker, and a reliable employee.

Minimum Requirements (that phrase reminds me of writing documentation for Atari back in the day here) - $12/hour (or the equivalent in salary) for full time work in the northeast end of the greater Seattle area (more for downtown or east side or south end to cover commuting costs). Regular business hours, although weekends are currently acceptable working hours.

Wish List - $20/hour+ (or the equivalent in salary) for full time work, regular business hours with option to work from home on occasion, paid vacation & holidays, 401k or equivalent, opportunity to help people. Oh, and a bus pass, why not?

See? I really don't ask for much, and I'm willing to work for it.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Days Like These

I'm having quite a lot of trouble concentrating on this paper due tomorrow.

Or the laundry, packing of lunches, laying out of clothes... all those things that must be done before tomorrow morning.

I mean, the Hubs did the dishes and bought some groceries. Abby is capable of packing her own lunch, both Abby and Lizzy can do some of the laundry (and have already gathered up all the dirty stuff from their room, as well as some packing for our move in a couple months). I'm not in this alone.

But I'm really having trouble concentrating on this paper, in spite of it being a topic I'm interested in - Sex and Violence in the Media. The minute another person - in this case Abby - shows up, Lizzy becomes a nutjob, out to get attention in any way possible. Usually this manifests in very in-your-face behavior, at the moment insisting that I write numbers for her and do her homemade dot-to-dot. (The occasional guffaw from behind Laston's desk (as he takes a break from his own studying for his new job, which starts on the 30th) doesn't help a lot either, and it looks like everyone's ADD is in full force today, not just mine.) I'd send the kids outside but it's raining, harder than I think they should play in when everyone is getting over a cold.

And I'm not sure it would help anyway.

Because most of the problem with this (I suspect) is that I'm a little nervous about the job I start tomorrow. In part because I didn't get the paperwork I was supposed to on Friday - it's a little confusing when your staffing agency is all the way across the country, because I can't get hold of them on a Friday after about 2pm.

And now that I've written all the frustrations out here in my blog, I'm feeling moth less frustrated and much better able to concentrate.

That's the blog's function, after all.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

An Autumn Harvest

Sort of. Maybe next year for the real deal, since then we'll have been in a home with a yard for a while.

This year it has more to do with the cooking than the actual harvesting. And with my tendency to feel more secure in general when I have a full pantry / fruit bowl / refrigerator / freezer.

Leanna is learning to cook - she is taking a class with her mom  - and some days when she's here, she has been known to cook for us. She's getting pretty good, especially with things requiring saucepans and the like, and in fact she and her mom had invited the Hubs over for dinner but as they are feeling under the weather today that's not happening. Which is too bad for him because Leanna - as I said - is getting to be a pretty good cook. She is also the most adventuresome of the three when it comes to things like our salad bar or baked potato bar days. You'd think it would be Lizzy, but no, Leanna makes a mean salad. Yum.

However, because I start a new job on Monday, and it's fall, I have plenty of food in the house, so it's not like anyone's going to starve. I've already steamed a whole small salmon (only $2.50 a pound at Albertson's!) and there is spaghetti sauce with meatballs in the crock pot, and tomorrow I plan to make banana bread and boil eggs. But I digress; this is about the kids and cooking.

So Leanna is currently in cooking class once a week. Abby took a cooking class too, over the summer, but her specialty is presentation of cannily-cut fruits and vegetables. And scrambled eggs; Lizzy likes hers best. There have been a couple of amusing issues with this however, such as her not realizing that the sliced avocado she put on my roast beef sandwich should actually be peeled, and yesterday's misunderstanding at her dad's house; she hadn't quite grokked that when she asked if she should "put the foil on top," that he meant on top of the cookie sheet, not on top of the potatoes themselves. Not very crisp that way.

Lizzy's not up to cooking itself yet (mostly because of heat and sharp objects; she's a wiggler), but she is past master at things like rinsing vegetables and organizing cabinets. Today she and I went through what we still call the Tupperware cupboard, although only one or two things in there are actually Tupperware branded, and sorted and stacked and washed and tossed containers as appropriate. Fun times.

And there's still homework, and packing to move, and neverending laundry.

Not quite as fun.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Random Thoughts - September 2013 Edition

Edited to add other exciting news about +Laston Kirkland!
  • This blog is usually G-rated, occasionally PG. Every once in a blue moon PG-13 (*cough*nitrousoxide*cough*). Regardless of topic, from terrorism to gay adoption, I have never gone so far as rating it R (because I bleep things like the adjective I use to describe the word "Algebra"). 
    • Every so often, however, the obstructionist nature of certain branches of my federal government makes me want to scream pejoratives in their direction.
    • Because how F&*%ing stupid do they think we are?
  • I start my new job on Monday!
  • The Hubs starts his new job on the 30th - my 45th birthday (see below).
  • Abby's girl scout troop made toys and beds for a local animal shelter last night. Abby takes an unholy sort of glee in shredding paper for gerbil cages.
  • Holy cow; I'll be 45 in less than two weeks.
    • And moving in two to three months.
  • Lizzy is sometimes scary smart, sometimes adorable, and sometimes just plain weird. I wrote this answer for a question regarding media effects on children in my "Media and Society Class" yesterday: 
"I think that the biggest thing isn't the medium involved, but parental involvement. Example: My little one watches preschool shows on her own (as I type she is arguing with Dora the Explorer, that yeah, Map is the best person to ask, but really, Dora could ask her Papi where the barbershop is too), and ones for older kids with her sisters or parents. She plays preschool games on the computer or my phone under loose supervision, with an adult available to answer questions ("Mommy, is this twelve or twenty-one?") She plays games for older children or adults with tighter supervision (Minecraft with Abby or Daddy helping, or Dreamhouse Designer on my Facebook account sitting in my lap and animatedly discussing neutral color palettes.) I just got a, "Mommy, Dora says they need to take the right path. Does she mean the one like the way-to-go-right, or the not-wrong-right? And does it start with R or W?"
  • That's what I've got today. Random! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Woohoo!

I am jobful!

Or I will be once I pass the background check and drug test.

These are not a problem; I am a fairly open book. What you see on this rated-PG blog is what you get. As long as they're okay with ibuprofen and Benadryl we're good, because the only bad thing in my background is my credit... and they don't care about that because this is not a financial job.

It's a customer service job.

And one that involves helping people take care of other people; it's a medical supply company. I like that. It makes me feel like I'm doing something useful, helping people get their oxygen tanks and walkers in a timely manner.

It was amusing the way it worked out though; I went in for an interview this morning and the office manager was under the impression that her corporate office was sending her a temp-to-perm employee from the staffing agency ready to go today, and she wasn't sure she was ready. I explained I was there for an interview but I'd love to be her temp-to-perm employee, she asked me a few questions and we hit it off right away; she wanted me to start Monday. Which I would happily do if I could pass the checks before then.

But I can't; I just finished the paperwork and submitted it; I imagine I'll get the list of drug testing facilities here locally they want me to use, and the next day we'll be good to go.

In the meantime, I'm working on my Society and Media class, doing laundry, and helping get things ready to move in a couple months. Leanna is here this weekend and she and Abby are making mac-n-cheese and fruit salad as I type. We've got a birthday party to attend on Sunday (Lizzy's BFF Natalie, of birthday party and county fair and mother-with-the-lovely-baked-goods fame), and a gift to shop for. Some cooking and cleaning to do. And little time to mindlessly munch on junk food.

I love being busy.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Whew!

Today I have:

  1. Gotten kids off to various places for the day.
  2. Done a load of dishes and one of laundry.
  3. Applied for a metric ton of jobs, arranged for two job interviews and canceled another (because it conflicted with one much closer to home).
  4. Took an assessment test for a tech support position.
  5. Done homework due today, started a conversation with my learning team at school, and answered Daily Questions.
  6. Supervised Abby's homework.
  7. Begun dismantling the bunk bed.
  8. Retrieved Lizzy's new-used DS (bought with the money sent her by her paternal grandparents) and set her up on it, playing Pinkie Pie's Party. She's a mite confused because it appears to be set before Friendship is Magic and therefore not all the ponies are ones she knows.
  9. On that note, sent an email to Hasbro on her behalf, asking if there will ever be Seahorsesponies.
  10. Got my nails done and got three new tops courtesy of my mom (because she loves me and because my birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks).
I also have been fretting since early this week (but chose not to post about it yesterday) because I keep getting call backs on sales jobs. Now, I am not a particularly good salesman, I know it, and I am content in that. But when sales jobs are mislabeled as customer service jobs, I go in for an interview and end up wasting everyone's time. Retail and customer service (online or otherwise) of the sort where a customer comes to me saying, "Hey, I have x problem," and I can provide them with y solution? That's the sort of sales at which I excel.

Anything more aggressive is notsomuch my thing. I didn't sell a single bloody policy when I worked as an independent agent for The Duck, and I lasted a whole day in collections as we all know. I'm just not that assertive a person on most topics. I want a job in customer service, admin, or writing/editing. And those employers who cross-post their listings just to catch anyone who might possibly have once talked to a customer are doing me - and themselves - a disservice. It seems wasteful to me to say you want customer service skills when the job is really for sales (or collections). Then you end up interviewing a bunch of people who don't match your needs, and there is frustration all around.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Memory

The plan today was to write a long and rambling post about the frustrations involved in job hunting, while simultaneously trying not to sound like a desperately needy whiner.

And then I remembered the date.

You see, job hunting is kind of timeless; one remembers the day of the week but not necessarily the date. So to me - until I listened to the radio on my way back from taking Lizberry to my mom's - today is Wednesday, the first early release day in our kids' school district, and Abby's first girl scout meeting of the year. That is is also the anniversary of a horrific attack on American soil hadn't really occurred to me.

And that's when I decided that I will leave the plea to prospective employers post until tomorrow, because this is more important. So I intend to spend the day looking for a job, doing my homework, and domestically being all mom-and-apple-pie (well, mom-and-salad-bar), and then taking my eldest to make friendship bracelets at Girl Scouts. Nice, all-American activities that are more suited to the day than whining about unemployment is.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hello, Kitty!

And Pony.

And Humaniform Pony. Yeah, she was pretty much a testament to marketing aimed at young kids this weekend. At one point she was wearing a Scooby-Doo T-shirt and Minnie Mouse socks, with a Hello Kitty bow in her hair. For the party itself at least we stuck to Kitty attire, though many of the gifts were other licenses.

We've done Lizzy's birthday at the park before - that's the advantage of a summer birthday - but this time it was at a much better park for our purposes, because there are a lot of trees and therefore shade.

We played pin-the-bow-on-the-kitty, and ate Hello Kitty themed cupcakes made by the Happy Little Cake Company (aka my friend Carrie, aka Lizzy's BFF Natalie's mom). We had kids ranging from two-and-a-half (Natalie's little sister) to ten-and-a-half (Abby). Speaking of whom, she and her friend did face painting for all the kids who wanted to have it done. We played on the playground.

Lizzy got to have most of her favorite friends, including a couple from preschool, and of course she made out like a bandit. When she went to bed last night, she was replete with cupcakes and a new DVD, toys and a new water bottle from the Hello Kitty lunch kit her aunt and uncle and cousin got her. And more than a little tired and excited and spoon-droppy.

And that was before we discovered that their bed is broken. Slats have broken before; this is no big deal. But when a side support for Abby's top bunk mattress goes kablooey, it's not safe. So they both slept on the floor. We're moving in a couple months, so for now we will remove the top bunk and the three girls will just have to share the lower bunk and the trundle for a few weeks until we can move and get them new furniture. It should have lasted longer than that.

The point being that at the moment we can't find a couple of the gifts, presumably because all the birthday stuff and all the bedding is on the floor in the girls' room. Sigh. We'll get it done. But it adds another layer of stuff, both literally and figuratively, to Life.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Today I Learned...

...Lizzy's favorite punctuation mark is the "explanation mark because it's kinda like crazy." I am unsurprised by this, both the favorite mark and the mispronunciation of it; this is the child who - even with her huge vocabulary - she still says "restauronk" and "conculator".

...The people who want to hire me are the same people at whose job I suck large. Trust me; I've tried selling insurance and I'm really really bad at it. Customer service or claims, I'm your gal, but sales of same? Notsomuch. So much notsomuch.

...Tad of LeapFrog fame (in the cartoon) looks remarkably like the Honey Smacks Frog (at least from a few years ago; the current Dig 'Em looks rather older than Tad Pole and Lily Pad). This one was pointed out by +Laston Kirkland.

...I only get enough sleep on weekends, even when not working, because I stay up too late reading and watching old favorites on TV. I'm not yet as far as re-reading this series though, so although stressed from joblessness and so forth, I'm pretty much okay. And the Hubs kept Lizzy out of my hair so I could sleep in, for which he is commended.

...WebMD now covers non-humans (at least cats and dogs). And there is another site - PetMD - with even more complete information. Using their symptom checker regarding Tiger, I'd say she's just old, hot, and cranky. Moving more stiffly than usual, hair loss (summertime shedding) and therefore hairballs in spite of her special food, sleeping a lot even for her. She is over fifteen, and while most cats in my life have lived a lot longer, Tiger has always been a little delicate.

...Summertime colds are teh suck.

...After reading the first two Oz books to Lizzy (Abby and I read them together when Lizzy was a baby) we can now make the "Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my," chant out of anything. My personal favorite of late is "Broccoli and Bacon and Cheese," used for Potato Bar Dinner Day.

...Some of the best jobs on the boards can be found on the weekends. Now if they'd just call me back we'd be in great shape!


Friday, September 6, 2013

And There's The Difference

Between our girls.

They're bright little things, and Lizzy's a good reader for her age, where Abby is good with math (she must've gotten it from her dad). Lizzy's pretty good with math too, but I think that has more to do with 'playing school' with her big sisters; she's already been drilled in her times tables up to threes for instance.

They're list makers, too. Abby prefers grids, and finds a lot of satisfaction in simple spreadsheets or bulleted list, where Lizzy wants to write it down in words. Again, literacy versus mathematics.

But Lizzy grew up with more tech than Abby or Leanna did, and big sisters to boot, and she is in some ways much more self-sufficient. Leanna is the nature girl, Abby is the socially adept girl, and Lizzy is the practical girl. So when she sets out to make a list of TV she wants to watch this weekend, and she asks an adult to help her spell, and the adult says, "sound it out," she goes one better.

She asks for the TV remote so she can use the Netflix and Amazon Prime queues to learn how to spell the names of the shows. She did the same last spring when she wanted to make a poster like the big girl scouts, and needed to spell Samoas; she dug out the box.

As for the other two, Leanna gets more nature loving by the day; whenever she's here and the girls play a game together they're migrating wolves, or birds building a nest, or flower fairies or something. Abby is so adept with the younger kids - and Google knows that with Lizzy she's had practice - that she has been put in charge of walking morning kindergartners from the bus to the gym where they all meet.

There are our girls, nutshelled.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Now We Are Six

Hello Kitty!
Lizzy and Mrs. M
 Yeah, yeah, not my favorite either, but you kind of have to use it.

Six years ago today, I had Lizzy (surgically, because Abby's birth was both difficult and emergency surgery, and why go through that again when the same outcome is likely?). There was a spike in the local birth rate then (Lizzy was not the only child born nine months after that loooooong power outage in December of 2006) and our kindergarten population shows it. But Mrs. M, her kindergarten teacher, used Lizzy's birthday (as good teachers do) as a object lesson. "This is how we do the birthday routine here in our Dazzling Dolphin afternoon kindergarten class," she says, and leads twenty lisping five- and six-year-olds in a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday (shut up, they aren't performing it for anyone). She also gave Lil' Liz a birthday sticker, a couple of cards (one from her and one from the principal), a couple of pencils ditto, and a handmade birthday crown in pink and blue.

It just doesn't get better than that when you're six.

And a sleeping bag!
Twilight Sparkle and
Rainbow Dash?
And then Grandma took us out for the Girls Only Birthday Dinner (at Red Robin, natch; it's Lizzy's favorite) with Auntie and little four-year-old cousin, where Lizzy got some of the things her little heart desired (and a free sundae and a song with lots of clapping), and we came home to Daddy's gift (she'll get gifts from me at her party on Sunday). Daddy got her a set of four enormous floor puzzles, with a Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme.

Again, it just doesn't get better than that.

Mmmmmmm
And yet it does, because Herself is having a party (nothing fancy, cupcakes and pin-the-bow-on-the-Hello-Kitty and park play and face painting) on Sunday afternoon. A couple of kids from the neighborhood, a couple from her preschool (she doesn't really know her classmates yet), her bestie Natalie and her baby sister, some family. Should be fun.

Here's hoping the weather improves after the rumored thunderstorms and flooding tomorrow and Friday.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Of Dolphins and Invitations

Fifth Grade!
Ah, back to school...

Busy afternoon. Abby off to first day of fifth grade in the morning, and Lizzy in the afternoon, then me off to a job interview, then to the bus stop to wait on their bus. And wait and wait and...

Kindergarten!
...the first day of school is hard on the transportation department. The bus was about a half hour later than they claimed it would be, and about twenty minutes later than I actually expected it. You see, Lizzy is not the only child beginning kindergarten today; there are so many kindergartners in our school this year that the bigger kids overflowed into the five portables... and five new ones as well. All those little ones in new situations, overwhelmed with information and new experiences, all that makes for a very slow transportation day.

And all Lizzy noticed about the bus is that there are no seatbelts. She was very impressed. But of course she was in Pre-K for two years, so it's not like she doesn't have experience in school; the bus is a whole different thing.

She really likes her teacher though, and so far I do too. Kindergarten teachers are a special breed. And Lizzy's looks like a good one. For instance, she has already worked out how to deal with Lizzy's birthday tomorrow, explained that there are no known allergens in her class this year (always a concern for me) and somehow managed not only a little treasure hunt for the kids today (their class mascot, a plush toy called Dazzle the Dolphin, went missing, and in their quest to find him they took a school tour, only to find him in their classroom, where he had apparently been procuring goldfish crackers for a snack), but also wrote up a newsletter and a separate postcard for each child about their first day (I compared Lizzy's to another child's, so I know they're not boilerplate, though they may have been mostly pre-written. But still).

Abby's teacher, as indicated previously, is a Shel Silverstein fan (and besides, her name is Liz, which my Miz Liz finds to be almost as impressive as beltless school buses). We like her.

No homework tonight, except that there is a "My first day" paper for Abby and a "what I did this summer" poster for Lizzy, both due Monday.

As for my school, my class is done, and I know I passed. I got a high score on my individual paper, so all that's left is the team assignment. That week break between classes was seriously helpful.