Safety and Security Notice:

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

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 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."



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."


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





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.





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.