Sunday, July 31, 2011

Adventures in Welfare: CCAP Denial

I have been in the process of trying to get approved for the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and it just hasn't been going well.

There was a small saga involved in finding the proper paperwork to complete in the first place, but it was really nothing compared to where we are today.

I knew when I went to orientation that I was going to be naughty and not have the girls immunizations since Adrianna needed her 18 month ones (and once I realized that, I did get her scheduled pronto), but I had been reassured I could fax those in later and it wouldn't be a problem. Sounds good to me!

But I was missing more than that.

One part was verification of employment. Usually they just have you bring in the last three pay stubs, but because I had just started I was given a form for my supervisor to complete. So I brought it to Target and asked my Team Leader to fill it out. He said he couldn't, and directed me to see one of the top HR people. She said she couldn't, and wrote down a phone number for the CCAP people to call to get it confidentially verified. I thought this was strange at the time, but then my mother told me that IBM had done the same thing for verifying my father's employment/wages when they were getting a mortgage, so I went with it as just being big corporation policy. And then the CCAP people said that the phone number didn't give them enough information, and told ME to fill it out and have it notarized. AND THEN, when I went to do that, the notary signed it instead of me (as she had no idea what they wanted on the form either) so it suddenly was wrong, which they so graciously informed me about after I turned it in the day it was due. So I got to play phone tag with my social worker to get her to email me another copy to fill out and notarize again and fax it in to her all in a few hours that afternoon.

But it gets even better!

You see, the other part I was missing (which I didn't know I would need before attending their delightful orientation) was verification of legal separation. Because Peter and I never filed anything with the courts! So now we had two weeks to also file for divorce, just so I could prove eligibility for the assistance program. And so, I went to work on that and did a consultation meeting with a lawyer who gave me the forms needed to file a joint petition for the dissolution of marriage. I filled them out as instructed, and mailed them off for Peter to sign and notarize and mail back. And then spent a week pestering him to get it done. Which he never did. So I got to fill them out again and take them to the court and file them by myself.

After the court house, I went to the offices for CCAP to drop off the paperwork I had been missing (including my hot off the presses divorce filing), hopeful to speak to someone who could assure me that everything was in order.

The front desk lady was less than helpful in this matter, and just told me to call my social worker and I ask her about it later. Which I did. Which was when I learned about the issue with the employment verification.

But I took care of that! The only other thing she mentioned was not being able to look up the provider numbers for the local preschools I put down for the girls, but that was a small detail and one which didn't even need to be done for the application to be approved.

Ok, I should be all set here, right??

Well, the following morning (after not hearing anything back from her after sending in the final verification of employment) I sent an email asking such.

And heard nothing back, until I opened my mail that night to find a simply charming letter detailing how my childcare assistance request had been denied.

Aw, thanks Tanya! You really stepped up there as my social worker and helped me through the whole process. I'm so glad I was assigned to someone as personable and understanding of people working incredibly hard to get everything just how you needed it by your immobile deadline. And because I really wanted you to know how much I appreciate all your hard work and assistance in my case, I sent you a brief email telling you as much!

[The actual email I sent my caseworker]

Hi Tanya,
Thanks so much for keeping me informed about this whole process! I know how hard it must be to respond to email inquiries like I sent this morning about such, so I thought getting the letter detailing how coverage was denied for me was just so thoughtful. I really liked how when I specifically called you after turning in my paperwork to make sure everything was correct and in by the due date that you didn't mention anything about my failure to verify my residency in the county. I mean, why would you have wanted to do that when I could have still faxed you whatever paperwork was needed to comply with it? I also just LOVED how I jumped through hoop after hoop after hoop to get my employment correctly verified for you before the end of the day, just to find out that you leave the office before the close of business and therefore didn't give a damn. It would have been really super for you to mention that you needed it by three during one of our phone calls or when you emailed me the form at 2, as I had been foolish and thought as long as I got by the notary and back home again to email AND fax it to you before 5 that it would be ok. I know, silly me! I also wanted to mention how awesome the part about my child being ineligible for childcare because I hadn't chosen a provider within 30 days when it has only been 15 was. It's so nice to have those little inaccurate extras thrown in! So, I just wanted to say thanks, it's just been wonderful working with you and I am greatly anticipating the joy I'm sure the appeals process will bring to all involved! Also, please call me, as I'm still under the probably mistaken impression that it's your job to help me and I would really love some help right now getting childcare assistance all set up. Thanks again, I hope you have a wonderful day! 

Admittedly, this *might* not be the best thing in the world to have done to improve the situation. But writing it did make me feel better, and as I didn't actually say anything inappropriate or hostile (well, unless you count the occasional moment of sarcasm as hostile), I don't think it was the worst way to go about things.

Now who wants to play GUESS THAT SARCASM! and take a stab at what I was really thinking!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

When Vaccines Make Me Twitchy

Keeping the girls up to date on there vaccines has been a bit of a pain since every time we move (Kristina was living in her 4th state before she turned 2) we go a new doctor who decides that somehow their vaccines which were totally ok in the last state are now horribly messed up.

Further complications come about with using the local small town doctors, with issues like the one here spending half his time giving out medical marijuana cards and doesn't always have the vaccines they need in stock when they're scheduled to get them.

However, I have been pretty content to just keep bringing them back in and saying they need shots and letting the doctors fuss and fume over their charts and decide what exactly we shall do here.

But then, I realized something.

I was updating Adrianna's vaccine records to turn in for getting child care assistance (CCAP) and had been using Kristina's still nicely updated and in pretty typed form from the second pediatrician's office in NY since she hasn't needed vaccines since as a bit of a guide.

And as I was looking over Kristina's vaccine record in much more detail than I ever did before, I noticed that she had a record for the varicella vaccine.

Wait, isn't that the chicken pox one??

Why yes, yes it is.


Right, because they weren't her pediatrician when she was 11 months old and HAD the chicken pox!

Obviously they couldn't be troubled to look to see if there was any notation as to why she didn't receive the vaccine at 18 months when everything else was updated, or be bothered to ask me if there might be a reason for this particular missing one. No no, much better to just freak out about her being WAY behind on her shots like it's somehow my fault and start stabbing her with needles.

Dear Carthage Medical Facility: You suck.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Little Girl, Big Tractor

My father has been wanting to expand the driveway, and last week a friend of his came over to help with the project.

This friend had been a (very successful) farmer up in New York before retiring to the mountains of Colorado, and had brought some of his toys with him.

And then was kind enough to bring some of his toys over to help with the moving of some dirt, rocks, and tree stumps.

The girls found the whole thing just fascinating and spent much of the day with their faces pressed to the windows watching the excitement.

And then they were sad we couldn't keep the new toys.

"But I want that one!"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Coveting Houses

I like houses.

No really, I watch all the house hunter shows on HGTV just so I can check out all the different places.

But it has lead to some frustration in recent months as I keep wanting to find a place for me, and continue to have a serious lack of supporting income to match the available market.

So I had stopped browsing craigslist for the perfect rentals, and was even loosing interest in the Sunday newspaper real estate pages, when I looked up the priciest place currently listed in Colorado.

And for a mere $19,500,000 I could be the proud owner of 50,000 square feet and 24 bathrooms.

I cannot fathom for the life of me what you could possibly need 24 bathrooms for. Although, I suppose with that square footage, it may just be an unintended consequence of trying to make sure there's a conveniently located WC every 300 yards or so.

But it was fun looking at the sheer ridiculousness of the place. And then I had an even more brilliant idea! If I was go to be spending ridiculously amounts of money on some monstrosity, I should just go get a castle!!

I was surprised to find castle listings in America at all, but quickly dismissed them as horrible facades that share nothing more than inspirational design with the real thing. So I decided to hearken back to some of my ancestral roots and check out the Ireland castle market.

That'll do. You know, for a starter place and all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Doctor of Philosophy

I am in the process of forming a new life plan.

Previously I had dismissed the idea of more school from a combination of factors (mostly my idealistic thinking I'd be able to get a reasonable job), but now I am starting to reconsider.

Working at Target has actually been a lot of fun for me, which either says something about the level of my former isolated miserableness or that the Target training program really isn't that much different from Outward Bound.

However, it still rather falls into the "not succeeding at life" category, and I suspect it might become less fun over time.

So when I happened across an advertisement for 50% off the cost of taking the GRE in August or September, the wheels started to turn a little more.

I never did take the GRE, since I wasn't particularly interested in doing a masters program, and I had already (on a whim) taken the LSAT (law school version of the test), which I scored quite well on and was totally content doing that route. But now law school isn't looking all that promising, both for a future career and for the three years of intensive study.

And hey, 50% off ain't bad.

So I started to browse the University of Colorado's higher degree programs. First I went with journalism, but their school of journalism has been recently gutted to the point of no longer offering the undergrad degree going through some changes and I'm not entirely sure about the future of the industry.

But then I had a truly inspired thought! I should get a doctorate of philosophy!! Because really, how cool would that be?

(Why yes, I DID just pass over a possibly dying field for an undeniably dead one. Because I really like accumulating the most impractical degrees I possibly can.)

The requirements aren't bad either. You do NOT have to have a masters to get into the program (although killer GRE scores sure help there), and pretty much the only difference between the two is you go from 30 hours to 45 and have to do more big paper type stuff.

(I'm not entirely sure what all they were talking about with dissertating this and defending that, but I'm sure it's not anything all that much to worry about, right?)

And then I pulled out the handy dandy desktop calculator to see how long I'd have to be in school for this (remember, I went to the one course at a time school where we didn't DO credit hours in threes and fours, but rather the much more logical one credit per course scale), and came up with the amazing number of 2.8125.

Why, that's less than three semesters, I could totally pull that off in a year!

Well, that is assuming I'm taking 16 credit hours at a time, which breaks down into like 4 or 5 classes, right? Is that a lot to take at once? Doesn't sound like all that much. Someone told me a full semester at the masters level is only 12, but that just seems so wimpy. I suppose I do need to factor in things like having children now. And if I kept a job while doing this... it could get a bit intense to try to pull in 30-40 hours a week working on top of 16 doctorate credit hours and seeing my children and maybe even occasionally sleep. But I'm still young! I thrive on intensity! I can do anything!!



I know! I'll start drinking coffee, then everything will be just fine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Awkward Years

Everybody had them. Some were briefly passing, others were long drawn out grueling affairs. And a few never quite ended.

Through exhaustive research (as I personally lived through adolescence and haven't gone senile yet), I have determined that most people encounter their awkward years somewhere around the age of 12. This is a hard age in life, as one attempts to move from childhood into the not-childhood-not-adulthood phase which can last up to another 12 years in of itself.

And Mother Nature doesn't help matters by making all sorts of strange things happen physically at this very same socially awkward time. Overnight you become too tall, or too short, or not developed enough, or over developed, or developing in all the wrong places at all the wrong times.

The dentist puts you in braces, your skins has a new crop of zits awaiting every turn, and you have the horrible awakening that day you suddenly realized what deodorant is for.

And even though nobody else is actually having a better time with it, insecurity crops up more often than pimples and you quickly become convinced of others' superficial superiority.

Your peers become the base for everything (which really is stupid, since they're just a bunch of awkward zit faced clueless punks too), your parents live on another planet, and your time is consumed with trying to figure out social roles and norms and how you possibly fit into them.

These years are fleeting, popularity in high school means very little a few years later, and nobody else will remember that big zit on your nose.

BUT.... there is something that isn't fleeting. It will stay with you for years and years, always that little nagging reminder of what things were. Sometimes this can be good, for it boldly shows how far you have come. But sometimes it just serves to remind you that moving past the awkward years has been more of an elaborate illusion [LINK WARNING: LANGUAGE] than any true achievement of personal growth.

It is the infamous framed family portrait of you in the awkward years proudly displayed in your ancestral home. For reasons I do not yet comprehend, it seems to be a favorite stage with parents and grandparents to immortalize upon their wall that picture of you with ratty hair and braces and big round geeky glasses.

(A babysitter who has known my family for a few years now was remarking on mine the other day, and joking about me bringing all future potential boyfriends home to see it. I am consoling myself with the knowledge that potential him's potential parents probably have an equally bad one of him proudly displayed on their potential wall.)

And you know what? I want to see yours!! I want to celebrate in all the awkward years un-photogenic glory, as a wonderfully reassuring message that everyone had them.

(No really, I do want the physical evidence consoling me that everybody had them.) 

So what I REALLY want from you is an awkward years picture. If you're so inclined, please feel free to also include one of you now (you know, to assure the world that you did leave the 80's big hair and questionable fashion choices behind eventually).

My hope is to get enough of these together to make an awesome blog post with them, but what all I can do with them does depend somewhat on how many get sent in. So, should you happen to also have your spouses/siblings/evil ex's/random guy who lives next door/cousins awkward years photos available as well, by all means, send those in too!

PS~ I thought about bribing you with promised shameless self promotion for whatever blog/website you keep (or random one you just really like) to go up with the pictures, but then I thought that it might be more of a deterrent than incentive depending on how much you're embracing your awkward years pictures these days. So at this point that's totally your call on the amount of internet anonymity you'd like to keep. I will be putting up at least one or two of my own, to lead the way in publicly embarrassing the crap out of oneself, and would love for you join me :-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Political Cartoons

I adore political cartoons.

In general I think humor is just an excellent medium for sharing what is otherwise a miserable slophole of stupidity much of the time, and combined with the never failing awesomeness of the cartoon genre it is often nothing short of awesome.

I remember the occasional history text book from back in the day (you know, practically forever ago with my impending getting old) which would have accompanying pictures to the various chapters and occasionally those illustrations would be cartoons from the period pertaining to the issue at hand. And I loved them.

I would flip through the text books looking for the cartoons, and then read the accompanying section if I didn't understand what the cartoon was referring to.

And because of the appeal of learning about history this way, I have often wished that there was simply a history book complied of political cartoons from the last century (or two) and accompanying blurbs about what was the issue at hand and what view the comic was expressing (and perhaps even how the general masses reacted to it, if it was of particular note).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rockstars in the Making

Just look at all this untapped musical talent I have here. A bonafide future surely awaits them with Stomp.






Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why I'm Probably Going to Hell: Blogging Edition

I am an marginally wicked blogger on occasion. 

I do things like write about big life events in my blog only, and then instantly know 30 seconds into a conversation with someone whether or not they have been keeping up with reading it regularly.

And then I may start forming deep dark feelings of resentment towards the non-martyblogreading individual in question.

I also tend to have the overwhelming urge to just respond to all well intentioned general inquiries about how life has been with my blog address. Do you see me writing in depth about everything of excitement (and even many things of non-excitement) over here? Do you know how much time I put into this just so family members across the world can see the ever important videos of my girls running around screaming and pictures of them eating paint? I started keeping this blog in part because I got tired of writing the same story over and over again in emails to assorted family members and friends. Now I just put it up here, and should never have to rewrite stuff ever [EVER] again.

But that's not even the worst of my blogging demons!

Presently I am WAAAAAAAAY behind on reading other people's blogs. There certainly isn't a requirement that to be a blogger you MUST read at least a dozen other blogs a day, but I do think there is somewhat of an unwritten rule of blogging etiquette that you at least occasionally pay attention to the blogs of the people who consistently read yours out of at least minimally polite interest. You  know, kinda like at a party when after you spent 45 minutes discussing in depth the idiocies of your job/spouse/parents/children/life, and then ask "so how are things going with your job/spouse/parents/children/life" just because it seems like the thing to do even if you don't really care all that much.

Plus it totally is a great way to get good ideas to steal borrow for your blog. 

But the blogs I regularly read (and totally haven't for the last week or two) are usually just awesome in of themselves! And the people who write them are so cool! And most of them even occasionally stop by here!! Which means I'm almost a cool blogger through association!!!

But I totally haven't been hanging out at my blog cliques, with the whole new "oh look, now I'm going to spend 40 hours a week doing this crazy thing called work and then be all tired when I get home and just go to bed like I'm old" thing going on. And I'm not even going to get into my seriously lame ass attempts to create my own super cool bloggy clique hangout which pretty much crashed and burned two days after conception and the low level of overhanging guilt I still have for neglecting that project so entirely.

I'm also pretty sure this blog was supposed to have more work done on those little top header things which are probably super duper awful right now (although I don't know for sure since I haven't bothered to look at them in forever and a day), and I feel more blogger guilt over that as well.

Which brings us to something else I've been contemplating.

I have been thinking about stopping the blog-post-a-day regiment, because as much as I love the strong routine and consistency factor, I've also been putting up more cop out blog posts than I should on top of feeling as though I never get a chance to do anything more than the minimum maintenance to keep the blog running, which is ultimately making me into more of a bad blogger than anything else.

But I'm not sure what would be good to replace it.

Some bloggers of the awesome blogs I follow manage to regularly update 3 to 5 times a week without a set schedule (that I'm aware of, at least), and I think this is a good model for my blog to evolve into. However, I'm also not sure about my ability to just pull posts together in a timely and regular fashion without deadlines.

I may have a *slight* tendency to procrastinate things in life (even the things I want to do), and to get easily distracted by other things (have you SEEN the internet????) unless there is a big looming "get it done and get it done NOW" mark right in front of me.

So, since you are the delightful people who actually read this and I greatly value your opinion (please like me!), I would love any feedback you might have or suggestions for where to take this blogging venture.

Also, I love this kitty picture. It doesn't really have anything to do with the post, but come now, cute captioned cats are what the internet was invented for, right?? I wouldn't want to deprive you of potentially spending 10 minutes online not seeing this adorableness. Also, did you know Wikipedia now has an entry for lolcats? I find this both amusing and mildly disturbing.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Can I Get Workmans Comp for That?

I'm just rounding out my third week of working at Target, and I have made some milestones along the way.

Most remarkable, I am completely done with my "training" period, and am scheduled to test over it today!

(Yes, I have to take a test over whether I have managed to learn my job. No, I don't know what happens if I don't score passingly. Yes, it is at least theoretically possible I could cease to have a job after today. No, I'm not going to fail and subsequently add a second record of holding employment for exactly 3 weeks to my resume. Yes, I'm glaring at you and forming a deep-seeded life long grudge as we speak. No, I will not forgive you for those implications. Ok, maybe I'll let this one slide if you bring me that new triple chocoholic blizzard Dairy Queen keeps cruelly advertising on tv in the evenings when I can't even go get one because I have to be all "responsible parent" and not leave my sleeping children all alone for the hour and a half it would take me to drive to DQ and back. But only because I'm cheap and easily sell out for chocolate ice cream.)

My other work excitement for the last week included my first paycheck (which I already spent on babysitters), my first on-the-job injury, and my first time calling in.

Now the call in was totally not my fault, although it dose have quite the back story leading up to it. 

You see, I had originally been scheduled for a three hour shift in the middle of the week, but with my built in free babysitters folks being out of town and the fact that I'd spend half as much time again just driving there and back, I stuck it up on the job swap board.

It was picked up the same day and promptly approved, so I didn't give it another thought until someone asked if I could pick up an 8 hour shift for them that same day. And it was a really good thing I agreed to it, because otherwise it wouldn't have been run through Human Resources and they wouldn't have scolded us for trying to double schedule me.

Wait, what?? I thought I gave up that shift....

Well, turns out the person who had taken it had gone through and whited out their name and the HR approval at some point in the last three days. Which totally caused me to doubt the integrity of the job switch board AND to keep muttering "those bastards" repeatedly.

Then I got to go home to a power outage which totally aided getting a babysitter lined up on 12 hours notice for the stupid 3 hour shift. But I did it, and then even left for work 10 minutes early because I am a total kiss ass prone to working way harder than I get paid to do awesome.

But then it was only to discover Boulder Canyon had been closed mere moments before I made it through and half a mile from where it hits the city and becomes a normal road. All the emergency responders would say was that it was closed due to an accident and would remain so for quite a while. And then they were directing everyone to drive back up to Nederland and take an alternative route down. Which, had I done so, would have put me at Target at least half way through the cursed shift if not more so.

So I got to call in! I'm hoping my Team Leader (that's the nice Target lingo for lowest level of direct supervisor) actually knows what Boulder Canyon is, and can properly appreciate how it being closed IS a major hindrance to me getting into town with no prior notice, because whomever it was the operator patched me over to on the phone sure didn't seem to properly grasp the situation and my complete inability to "just drive around it" in a reasonable fashion.

The traumatic work-related injury involves a large blister having formed on the bottom/side of my second to smallest left toe. I'm still rather puzzled by how, exactly, it came to be there as it seems strange to get a blister there and only there to me. But I'm waiting to see if it turns all green and pussy before I go whining to HR about needing to make an accident report for it.

(I'm kinda hoping this amazing show of stoically not being whiny can somehow counter-balance the calling in incident in my permanent employee records.)

During orientation they did specifically say to report ALL injuries, and used clumsiness with a box cutter as a specific example. It was a rather ironic example to me as I use a box cutter pretty much constantly during my elite in-stock job, and would just like to credit my trainer, Alika, with giving me the dullest piece of crap box cutter in existence which is undoubtedly the sole reason for how I have managed to NOT inadvertently injury myself with it thus far. It has also honed my ripping into boxes like a kid who just drank their first Red Bull opening presents on Christmas morning skills. I think those will be an excellent addition to my resume. You know, after they give me a non-dull-as-shit box cutter (I'm assuming it will presented in a nice ceremony today (preferably with cake) alongside my certificate for passing my training examination) and I promptly sever my thumb and get forced into early in-stocks retirement and need to apply for jobs elsewhere so as not to appear as though suing Target for an on-the-job box cutter injury is my master plan for success in life while I am suing Target for my on-the-job box cutter injury.

Yep, always good to have a plan for where you're going with a company. After all, upper management just isn't for everyone.

By the way, upper management, my orientation person totally said you monitor stuff being posted online about Target (in reference as to why we shouldn't bitch about it on facebook). I'm informally testing that theory by regularly blogging about working there. Should you actually come across all this awesome employee Team Member personal reflection, I would love a pay raise and maybe a not-injured-by-box-cutter bonus every so often. Thanks.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Dumping Stage

Parenthood comes with many stages. And I haven't even gotten to many of them yet! I'm sure the school age years have a flavor all their own, and we won't even touch teenagehood yet.

Some are a wonderful relief, like the sleeping through the night stage. (Dear Adrianna, anytime you'd like to reach this stage I would be eternally grateful, Love mama.) Some are full of endless challenges, like the tantrum stage. Some you wish would never end, like the sweet baby falling asleep in your arms stage.

And others you just can't get through fast enough.

Adrianna is currently in the dumping stage. Big time. On the plus side, this behavior usually enables her to reliably "play" by herself for a solid 10 to 15 minutes.

And the down side? Well, the room in the picture WAS all picked up 10 minutes ago.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How Hummingbirds Nearly Caused My Untimely Demise

My parents have a hummingbird feeder they like to put out during the summer. They have a regular seed feeder they put out by the deck during the winter, but because they don't want bears raiding it (you think you got problems with squirrels? We get bears!) it comes down in the spring as hibernation ends, and then the hummingbird one goes up out on the second story eaves.

I am fairly indifferent to the whole affair most of the time, as I'm not actually particularly fond of birds (add that to the list of why I'm probably going to hell). But this past week my parents left town. Which means no-one was filling the hummingbird feeder on a daily basis.

And the feeder got empty.

Admittedly, had I needed to go to much effort to make or otherwise procure hummingbird food I probably wouldn't have bothered with the endeavor at all. But my folks cook the sugar syrup up in big batches and store the left over in a refurbished apple juice jug in the fridge, so all that was required to refill the feeder was to physically bring it to the kitchen and fill it up.

Sounds easy enough, I can handle that. Right?

Well, getting the empty hummingbird feeder down went alright. And I filled it without incident, and even managed to walk back across the house with a full hummingbird feeder without dropping it or spilling it or walking into the wall (don't judge, those walls can be tricky).

Then, I opened the window and stuck out the delicious sugar water filled bright red delight still attached to the end of my arm outside.

And the hummingbirds were ecstatic!

And I was very disconcerted by the loud humming coming directly towards me and hovering over me as I attempted to hang it up without actually loosing my precariously perched window sill balance or dropping the feeder.

(Ok, I almost dropped the feeder. But only almost. And only twice.)

So that is how the sadistic hummingbirds almost killed me caused brief distress on my part during an otherwise simple task.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vacationa Merit, Amended

A few days after publishing the Vacational Merit post I came to the striking realization that I totally forgot about a specific vacation! VISITING FAMILY! How could I forget those vacations? Visiting family is totally the reason I travel these days!

(By the way, any cousins who feel so inclined to move to Ireland would have my full support in the matter. Especially if you moved into a castle. Heck, how about I just come live with you? I can tend to the... uh, sheep? Yep, sounds like a plan.)

Genuinely enjoying a vacation centered around visiting family is a learned skill. And as each family is totally unique with it's own strange quirks to tackle there is no one-size-fits all guide to thriving in it. But there are a few basics.

There will be chaos. A visit to family nearly always coincides with an extended gathering (often for a meal, either as a cause or effect of people coming), and the more people the more chaos. And when the small child generation is up, the compounded hordes will only add to it. So be prepared for it, make sure you know when you need to take a break, and figure out how to facilitate this (having a nursing baby is a WONDERFUL excuse to need to go find a quiet corner every so often).

There will be food. Family gatherings often focus on a large meal, either as the cause or the consequence of people visiting. Which means many people will be crammed in together cooking all sorts of delicious food. Lots and lots (and LOTS) of food. Lets hope you really do like the family recipe legacies (there is a certain Grandma Whalen fudge recipe in my family tree that is AWESOME), as not only will you be eating them, but you may get the honor to be the one to make them as well.
There will be hugging. Some families are huggier than others, but good luck getting out of a gathering without at least a few. I remember visiting my father's extended family a few years back, and the few remaining great aunts (his mother's sisters) all still calling him "Little Denny" and remarking on how he still has his family trademark red hair.

There will be defined family roles that will never changed. The baby will ALWAYS be the baby of that generation (even when they're pushing 60, or more). The oldest will ALWAYS be in charge. And that's just how those things are.

There will be story telling and heirloom bestowing. It passes down the family history to the next generation and gives a common theme to the visits (especially when it's the same story shared every year). Sometimes I take pause, and wonder what stories I will be sharing with my children. What snippets of life will turn into family legacies for my generation, and which will forever be lost with age. I doubt many people have a rhyme or reason to it, and that the shape of the ancestors is molded by whatever small pieces were taken a fancy too. Will I remember the story Aunt Leslie told me that one time about when she was a little girl and got the bridal doll she so dearly wanted, and how it was broken shortly there after? Will I think to tell my children? Will they listen? Will the antique trunk with the doll's homemade dresses end up in my closet? Or in someone elses? Or in no-ones at all?

There will be advice. It's one of those generational things, the older generation must impart their wisdom and judgment onto the younger, and the younger must weigh the value of life lessons lived in eras past and what applies to the shape of the world today. Also, the younger generation must nod a lot, as being agreeable to the advice of your elders is seen as having been raised well, and you really don't want to end up in the middle of THAT argument should you demonstrate otherwise.

And finally, there will be love. Perhaps not in large quantities in every family, but sufficient amounts will be present in most. And that is why you do the family visits in the first place. Because they are family, and on some deeper level you both respect and love them for that simple fact.

Monday, July 18, 2011

She Dreams In Color, She Dreams In [Target] Red

I've spent two whole weeks working at Target at this point. And occasionally, I'm not the best worker.

You see, I have a long history of spending substantial amounts of time in that store browsing shelf after shelf of fascinating merchandise. And this habit of finding all the different shower curtains and types of tea fascinating isn't necessarily a good one when they're paying me to be doing something else.

This is how it goes....

Ah yes, stock college bathroom trashcans, those goes on the endcap of C10. Oh hey, those are some new shower curtains. OOOOOOOHHH, that pink and brown circle one would just be PERFECT for a bathroom for the girls when we get into our own place. And they have the whole matching line! Do we really need a matching hand soap dispenser? Yes, yes we do. And maybe we should get two of that matching pink and brown circles rug. It's a really cute little bathroom rug. Would the pink potty match ok? It's a brighter pink... I suppose it wouldn't look bad, pink is pink after all. And that set has almost enough of an adult look that we could get away with it in a single bathroom place, a truly perfect balance of little girl pink and trendy modern. I wonder if I can find something like that to make a playroom out of... actually, some of the back-to-college storage stuff might work. But I should wait to check it out until it's on clearance. All the summer stuff just went 75% off today, and there's a TON left still.

Oh right, TRASHCANS. On it. 

Lets see what else is in the stock cart... I got some hippie brand of yoga licorices tea. I'm pretty sure even the weird tea goes over in the grocery section somewhere, instead of with the other health stuff by the pharmacy. Was it in the aisle with the coffee? I think so... Hey look, cookies are on sale! I should pick up a package for the girls later. Did I remember to bring my employ discount card? Oh but wait, I don't even have cash for it, they said they won't apply the discount unless you're using cash or a redcard. I still need to get a redcard. I should get it from that girl who trained me on cash register, she was really nice. What was her name? Erin?? Maybe.... I still suck at remembering those little things. It's really awesome that Target employs have to wear nametags, otherwise I'd NEVER have a clue who anyone is. I wonder if mine has shown up yet... it's probably for Martha, they said it was ordered back before we ever started work. Can I get a new one just because I want it for Marty? Probably. I could totally "loose" the other one if need be anyways. But then I have to keep wearing the New Team Member one until it arrives, I'm getting tired of everyone asking me who I am all the time. Crap, what was I doing?? Oh right, tea.... 

Alright, just gotta do the gum and then I'm done with this cart. Why are they so many types of gum? Seriously, I can't imagine for the need of a hundred different choices. And those new "dessert" flavors just look nasty.... Although, I suppose it's only the reasonable counter part to bubble gum ice cream, to make mint chocolate chip gum. I remember that one time I got bubble gum ice cream as a kid. I thought it was really neat because it was pink, but then it tasted kinda gross. And picking the gumballs out was really messy. This Target has a really nice selection of Ben & Jerry's. They totally pander to college students. Supposedly the week around dorms opening is busier even than Christmas. Makes me glad I did all my vacationy stuff back before I even got hired, because otherwise I sure wouldn't be going anywhere this summer with how blocked off August is. They keep saying all schedules are going to be super full that whole month, and they flat out said they wouldn't hire me if I couldn't work then. I have 30 hours scheduled next week. I wonder why Toby gave me more hours than that other instocks girl. What was her name? God damnit, I hate names. Although she did say she never worked Sundays when she was talking to Alika earlier, she might have other restrictions on her availability which bring her less hours. Alika's really pushing for me to cross train in everything. He's probably right that it's a really good thing to do, I just feel like my brain is going to explode right now if I try to absorb anything else. That and my legs.... So freaking tired! But I'm getting an awesome workout doing all this. Pay money to join a gym or take classes? No no, just get a job at Target, then you can spend 5 days a week walking mile after mile around the store. Although donuts day last week was NOT good for me. I can't believe how little self control I have when sitting next to a table FILLED with Hostess products. But I guess that's why I stopped buying them in general ages ago, because I'll totally eat through disgusting amounts in the first two days. And then have no more in the box. And be five pounds heavier. I wonder if I'll keep loosing weight from working here, or actually gain some back on from new muscle growth. I put on like fifteen pounds of muscle when I was doing the dojo regularly. I wonder whether a scale is really worth much of anything when all is said and done. Is that my walkie going off? Oh man, not another focus walk... I still have to stock that gum!

Betterman, by Pearl Jam

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reading Books and Mountain Lions

Now there totally should be some exciting narrative about how adorable and cute they are, but I worked a late shift last night and was totally bad and didn't think to plan ahead on blogging and kinda forgot about it until this morning so this is what I threw together in 10 minutes in between being awesome mommy and making my children french toast for breakfast and taking them to church. Isn't it just fabulous? You're welcome.



Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Babysitter Saga Pt. 2

My previously mentioned pleadings towards the other preschool mommies had some yields, and as I'm sure you've all been sitting at the edge of your seat anticipating with great anticipation the anticipated final result of whether I will have a babysitter come Monday or whether I will be choosing between letting Kristina watch Adrianna (AHHAHAHAHAA... ha......) or fake calling into work sick for the first time in my life, I will tell you all about in more detail than you can possibly want to know.

(Because it's been occupying a big section of my brain the last couple days it's what you get for inspired blogging. Woot.)

A few more recommendations of teenagers who turned out to be unavailable or just never bothered to call me back trickled in from various sources, and the repeated suggestion to try posting on Nedmamas.

Nedmamas?? What on earth is that? Why I have not heard of this online amazement?

Turns out it's a very local, very small online posting forum not dissimilar from craigslist. It's part parent (crib for sale, looking for baby clothes), part community (lost dog, volunteers needed), and totally caused my stress level to drop down about three levels generated a nice list of highly recommended local babysitters and nannies right to my email.

So I started to email/call through the list.

And then totally had sticker shock. One woman said her daughter was 10 and wanting to learn to babysit (which sounds all fine and good), and that the two of them would do it for $12 and hour (damn, really??).

Many others said they charge $15 an hour, including one of the teachers at Kristina's preschool when I bemoaned the ridiculous prices during drop off. Do you KNOW what I am making at Target?? I would be spending substantially more than I would be earning per hour on such a babysitter, and that's not even factoring in things like I have to pay the babysitter for the time it takes me to go to/from work while work does not feel the need to pay me for that time nor the fact that my wage is taxed while there's is exempt. 

(And I only briefly reconsidered taking a career in babysitting, since I have yet to make an hourly wage that high.)

Finally, in semi-desperation, I called that friend of the high school girl at church.

And I was surprised.

I had spoken with or listened to the voice mail of 4 other teenage girls in the last two days (one of whom's phone kept calling me back from her pocket), and this one was far and away the sweetest and most professional sounding of the bunch of them.

(In fact, she sounded just like 16 year old me!)

And then I felt incredibly guilty for not giving her a call in the first place just because she hadn't been recommended by a parent.

And she was totally available!! AND happy with the amount for the week I'd been expecting to pay! Which  meant guilt was quickly followed by being ecstatic I had finally managed to secure a sitter with exactly two days to spare. Go me!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Messages and Me

On occasion I get rather annoyed with people not listening to what, exactly, I said in a phone message or to what, exactly, I wanted them to leave in theirs.

The other day I had a few minutes before a work shift started and I was trying to get some little things done since I wouldn't have a chance the rest of the day as a result of (brace yourselves) working.

I called the pediatrician and asked about changing the days of an appointment for Adrianna to get her immunizations. The receptionist said they were reconfiguring the schedule right then and would probably have time on Friday afternoon for her like I wanted, but they would have to call me back. I specifically told them that I wouldn't be home the rest of the afternoon, and said we could do any time that day and to just please schedule her and leave me a message with the time.

So, when I got home from work there was a lovely message waiting for me from the doctors office discussing how they wanted to confirm a time for Adrianna (without telling me what that time might be) and to please give them a call back.


But it gets even better!!

I ALSO called the other local preschool who now has a toddler program (which Kristina's much awesomer preschool does not. Because they are lame.) and left a message asking if there was any current availability in it. The woman who called back left a message saying she'd be happy to schedule a tour for me and didn't say a damn thing about whether there was any space in the program.

 *Twitch twitch twitch*

Adrianna and I already toured the program 4 months ago. When they were completely full. WHICH IS WHY I WASN'T ASKING FOR A TOUR, I WAS *ASKING* IF THERE WAS AN AVAILABLE SLOT.


In mostly unrelated news, I'm beginning to suspect trying to deal with phone messages when I just got off a late shift and haven't gotten a chance to unwind or eat or drink anything and am tired and a little bit stressed about life and can't actually call anybody back because it's 10 o'clock at night might be a bad idea.

But that's just an unsubstantiated hunch.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacational Merit

There are several different sorts of family vacations one can take, and each one brings a different flavor to the bonding experience.

The Beach: The beach has a high level of appeal just about all ages. Babies are happy to sit and eat sand, teenagers can try out some "yes this will probably almost kill you so when it doesn't you'll be super cool" sports, and a large amount of time will be devoted to just sitting around doing nothing. Some families are lucky and live only a short drive away from the beach, and a day or weekend trip isn't much of an ordeal (those lucky bastards). The rest of us living in land-locked states get to treat going to the beach just like any other big vacation involving either extended driving or planes and some lovely hotel rooms.

(WHY are there not baby-proofed hotel rooms?!? Seriously, I would pay a premium to spend a week in one that wasn't filled with knee high toddler finger smashing drawers and far to easy for a barely crawling baby to remove from the wall full length mirrors, and don't even get me started on the need for shoving those little plastic things into wall sockets and removing jumbles of cords from under the complimentary desk. Throw in a rentable basket of toys to check out from the front desk and a playground out back, and I might never leave.)

The Outdoors: I am separating this out from the beach (even though the beach is usually found outdoors) because the accompanying activities often involve a great deal more physical exertion and much less sunbathing while reading trashy novels. And you often stay in things like "tents" instead "comfortable indoors" during it. Things like rafting, backpacking, horseback riding, and mountain climbing fall into this category. Many of these activities can vary in intensity level from a few hours in an afternoon to several weeks of hell adventure. I tend to think people who try to do anything beyond an afternoon with young children in tow are just plan nuts, although my parents supposedly quite successfully went backpacking with me on several occasions when I was quite small by bribing me every step of the way with M&Ms. I do think doing a week of rafting with your teenager could be awesome (and hey, it'll get BOTH of you away from your smart phones), but that is also assuming you are not too old and decrepit during their teenage years an adventuresome sort of person.

Kristina has been bugging me to go camping for the last month, so I may brave 16 hours in a tent with them some place local (why, is that our backyard in the middle of the forest I see out my window?) to appease her yet this summer. We shall see how it goes. I do kinda want to have a campfire and teach her how to make s'mores, but then I start having visions of spending half the time keeping Adrianna out of it and the other half dodging flaming marshmallows that Kristina is waving around.

The Amusement Park: It comes in many varieties and it can last from an afternoon to a full week. But it nearly always involves lots of other people around and lots of walking. However, probably thanks to ingenious cultural integration and marketing by the company (and my natural inclination to craziness stupidity illogical hopefulness), I still keep dreaming of taking the girls on that perfect Disney vacation. You know, the one where they'd be excited to be there and enjoy all the unique quirks like meeting their beloved characters and riding all the cute rides and not spending much of the day in tears. Oh, and gleefully eating Mickey Mouse head shaped ice cream covered in chocolate on a stick, we gotta do that too (of course that would be an excellent addition to ANY vacation in my personal opinion).

The Tourist Destination: This vacation involves going someplace (usually old) and touring all around to see the various sites and unique cultural amusements in that particular region. It gives you a great freedom to pick and chose what you see to suite interests and age levels, and there is a nearly limitless amount of potential locations to go be a tourist at which can easily accommodate a wide range of budgets. However, it require extensive research prior to the trip and often comes with desires to do crazy things like try local dining establishments that might not come with french fries and an indoor playground, and may not be ideal with a herd of very young children along (although it could be an awesome family vacation if you took a nanny along to shepherd the children off to bed while you and your significant other got to enjoy the afore mentioned local dining experience and perhaps even a little local post dinner night life as well).

The Cruise: Ok, I have never been on a cruise, so I'm a little baffled by their appeal. The really fun looking ones appear to pretty much just consist of doing things any nice resort would offer, so why you would need to be on a large moving vessel on water is somewhat beyond me. (Side note: have I ever mentioned I'm not a huge fan of boats?) But I would love to hear any thoughts/experience others have in this matter, especially with young children along.

Did I miss any? Any good perks or demerits I failed to mention? Any awesome vacation horror stories to share? Lets discuss!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why I Need To Learn To Crochet

I'm fairly certain these give you super powers, so we could become a seriously awesome reality tv show cross between Wonder Woman and The Brady Bunch. 

And then when we start racking in truly ridiculous amounts of money just for letting a tv crew full of cameras in our house when I'm cranky and have the plague flu and start yelling a lot in the mean mommy voice about why the hell are you even awake and no you cannot get up it's 3 o'clock in the morning and if both of you don't go back to sleep right now there will be NO crime fighting OR chocolate chip cookies tomorrow and I really mean it, I can totally afford to buy that seriously awesome custom built tree house for us to live in when we're not touring across the country and being paid even more ridiculous amounts of money just to let people look at us and snap a few pictures.

Yep, sounds like a perfectly reasonable plan to me. Now I just need to go buy some yarn..... lots and lots of yarn..........

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Babysitter Babysitter, Where Art Thou?

An untimely combination of me actually getting a job and my parents going on vacation has created an unusual predicament for me.

I need a babysitter.

And not just for nice normal hours when center based childcare is available, but for three 12:30-9pm shifts.

I have used babysitters exceptionally little over my career as a parent. Between factors of moving so much that I didn't have connections to any and a fairly complete lack of working since popping out babies, there just hasn't been the need. I also tend to rely more heavily on formal child care centers, which may be in part influenced by my time working in them and also their easy commercial location and use.

Finding a babysitter is hard.

I started by hitting up a neighbor and good friend of my mother, as she watches them for free knows the girls pretty well and has enjoyed the few other occasions where her child care assistance was needed. And she very graciously agreed to take the late afternoon/bedtime/evening shift. Woot!

But I still needed afternoons covered.

One day happens to coincide with my weekly "morning off" day, so both girls are already scheduled at preschool and an in-home toddler program, and both places were agreeable to letting them stay later than normal (for a combined cost of WAAAAY more than I'm making in those few hours at Target, but we won't go into that right now), so that was one afternoon down.

But there were still two afternoons to go, and they have been tricky ones.

Next I started badgering a couple of former Kristina preschool teachers who both took wimpy part-time jobs for the summer before going off to gradschool in the fall (the slackers). They had great appeal in the babysitter mindset as they are older (read: my age) and also already know the girls pretty well. And were both unavailable. Damn.

So then I did a little small town reconnaissance and got the info for the teenage girl who likes to hang out with the babies (and by babies, I pretty much just mean "my children") in the nursery at church, as she was my ultimate back up for this week. And she's going to be in Wisconsin! GAAAAH!!

She did give me a name and number for a friend of hers.... but I'm really nervous about getting some punk teenager who I don't know (much less the children). I totally was one of those dumb punks a few years back, who totally got referred for jobs just like this and did great with them. But these are MY babies. MY babies are special. MY babies can't be left with just anyone. MY babies can smell fear. MY babies will eat wussy sitters alive....


Alright, perhaps I am thinking about this a little much. After all, MANY children have been left with MANY babysitters and nothing bad happens. Except for those few instances where the children are found smothered and dumped in the woods a week later. But really, most of the time this is just fine. I could even just post an ad to craigslist asking for someone for those specific hours....

*Twitch twitch*

Ok, maybe I can find somebody who I have a little better connection with.

A few desperate pleading emails to the always awesome director of Kristina's preschool (because she should totally have all the babysitting connections in town, right??) and all of my lame ass friends who are apparently holding full time regular hour jobs now (seriously, what's up with that?), and I started to get a little stressed out about things.

And then wrote a blog post about it. Very constructive and finding-a-babysitter of me, no?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Little Red Riding Trike and the Big Bad Flying Pig

As previously mentioned, we spent the Forth of July participating in the local parade with Kristina's preschool.

We brought along Kristina's little red tricycle for her to ride and the wagon for Adrianna to chill in, adoringly decorated them with flags and assorted patriotic bling, and both girls seemed ready to rock and roll come parade time.

Kristina did fabulous riding her trike down to the parade starting point and was still going strong after one round-the-block parade route lap, so we went on to ride through the two blocks of cheering crowds again.

But this time, we had company.

A few random persons had joined our large congregation of parents and children as we walked, and the atmosphere was a relaxed one of 'the more the merrier'.

Except for one little detail.

One of the additions just so happened to be someone wearing a pink pig costume complete with wings.

Several of the children thought the pig was just charming, and even posed for pictures with him.

I was doing my best to keep my children away from the little piggie,  having a sneaking suspicion of what my oldest daughter's reaction might be.

But then Kristina noticed the commotion around said pig. 

And lost it in good old fashioned hysterical sobbing fashion.

Devoted readers should remember that this is not the first time such an event has happened when large costumed characters are involved, as there was Disneyland. And Halloween. And Santa Clause. And the Easter Bunny.

And Mommy may start drinking to get through the upcoming holiday season if she doesn't grow out of this "phase" soon.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Code Yellow

As part of my training for working at Target, the various people in charge of training me have been drilling the codes.

And a code yellow is for a lost child.

(I find this subject matter particularly fascinating as there have been a few occasions were I personally have come exceptionally close to actually loosing a child in Target.)

The company has quite the plan in place to locate the child. The team member first alerted to the situation by the parent is to put out the code three times followed by a description of the child (no names), and then proceed to bring the parent to the front of the store where they will wait with the parent until the child is found.

Once the code goes out, every single employee in that store is to stop what they are doing immediately and begin looking for the missing munchkin.

The front doors to the store are to be monitored to ensure that the child does not leave (particularly with someone other than the parent), and the bathrooms will be checked and then have continued watching until the child is found.

Children are most often found in the toy section, in the back of electronics playing with the wii demo, or hiding inside racks of clothing. But irregardless, the entire store will be searched section by section by the entire team of employees.

And then, once found, the news is put out just like the original code was over the walkie system and the child is escorted to the front of the store to be reunited with the parent and the rest of the store goes back to normal.

So yeah, that's what happens if you lose your kid in Target.

Not quite as sparkly as this terrifying children's television character, but not to shabby either.
It's called a Boobah, but I like to think of it as the Code Yellow Troll.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Splish Splashing Fun


I wish I had that much fun in a small container of water. Then life could just be awesome as long as I never left the kiddie pool.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Little Girls and Earrings

When I was little, I wanted EARRINGS!

Large dangley earrings were my coveted desire, the fancier the better in my book. And also in this book, by Judith Viorst, which does an excellent job outlining just how important they are for certain little ladies.

And finally, after much insensate pestering articulate deliberation, I convinced my mother to let me get my ears pierced when I was 7, a noticeable change from her originally decreed age of 12. 

I was ecstatic!

Then a year or two later I ended up with some infection issues (which, in retrospect, were actually probably an allergic reaction/skin sensitivity from prolonged exposure to the very questionable metals they used to make the posts for the uber cheap variety available at Claires) and the holes closed up when I stopped wearing them all the time. 

And although I was saddened, I wasn't exactly rushing out to get them re-pierced. The sort of earrings worn by little girls had not been of the properly grandiose level I had imagined. And having earrings really had been hurting (there was scabbing. And puss. And a high level of general eww.) towards the end, and I've always been a bit of wuss when it comes to pain.

A few years later, I came across an old pair and while playing around with them in the mirror, was truly shocked when the earring completely accidentally went through the hole.

I had pierced ears again! This was awesome!!

And since I haven't had much trouble with them, other than needing to buy decent quality posts and take them out regularly (otherwise my ears go right back to being sore and swollen just like when I was a kid).

But the earring debate is something I have had to face from time to time with my own little girls.

I decided against piercing their ears as babies since I like to lean towards the "lets not cause small babies unneeded extra pain" point of view on most things.

Kristina's tendency to SCREAM bloody murder during shots may have also contributed to my disenchantment with the whole stabity process. Had sweet (and mellow!) tempered Adrianna come first I may have been inclined to make a different decision, but I couldn't very well go and pierce the second child's ears without getting the first one's done, and that SCREAMING baby of Kristina sure wasn't much better at the age two.

However, several of Kristina's little friends have had pierced ears, and seeing that coupled with me putting on earrings from time to time have prompted her to ask to wear real earrings on occasion.

And I simply tell her that to wear real earrings she would have to have ears pierced which feels like a shot and puts a tiny hole in her ear to put the earrings in.

She declines.

But my offer is still good, if she understands what it means to get her ears pierced and is willing to suck up the (very temporary) pain for it (and preferably promise not to SCREAM during it), I'm willing to let her get her ears pierced.

But I will not make her do it.

I have to make that child do enough horrible things (like stand on the scale at the pediatricians office every so often or occasionally eat her dinner) that she fights me on with every ounce of her (very loud) soul, holding her down to be pierced just doesn't need to be one of them.

I'm anticipating it will actually be Adrianna who declares that she wants her ears pierced, and that Kristina will go along with the process out of a sense of sibling rivalry. But we shall see, the little boogers don't always do the things I expect how I expect them to (mostly on principle, I think).

What are your opinions or experiences with little girls and ear piercing??

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Parenting Rule: Art Supplies

Parenting Rule #16:

Buy only non-toxic AND washable art supplies.

Crayola washable stuff is seriously awesome (note, not all crayola crayons are specified "washable", read labels closely), and totally worth the cost increase from the knockoff brands when you go to remove it from your floor/walls/table/clothes/child.

Because, lets face it, the toddler eating paint should be some of the least of your parental worries.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Potential Proof that I am Getting Old

Preface: apparently there are places in the world, like Canada, where everyone does not have a Target within 10 miles of their home and subsequently some are unfamiliar with what the Target stores are, those poor deprived people. Essentially Target is a classy version of Walmart, or in other words, a big chain discount retailer who stocks everything from swimsuits to condoms to cat food to lawn chairs to duct tape to peanut butter, usually at fairly attractive prices no less.

(Side note, do not buy those above listed items in a single shopping trip without some other things tossed in. It starts to look intriguing. And not in a good way.)

So I had my first day of Target new employ orientation yesterday.

And you know what I took away from it?

That I'm getting old.

By my best calculations from casual discussions of school graduation years and scrupulous over-shoulder peering at what was probably semi-confidential paperwork, I was at least a solid 4 years older than anyone else in the room.


But that wasn't even the worst part, for when we had all showed up for the day I had totally assumed everyone was around my age. I strongly suspect this means that if given a group of 20 year olds and a group of 30 year olds and asked which ones are my peers, I'd totally be circling the 20 year olds, while assuming that I have just graduated college.

But I haven't.

I did the math driving home from the first day (and then almost had a heart attack), and I went through the commencement ceremony for COLLEGE 5 years ago.

Turns out I did NOT just graduate from college, irregardless of what I still seem to think in my head.

One of the guys there went to the same high school I did. And he had just graduated this spring. You know, only a mere eight years after I did.

(And then I started having panic attacks about quickly approaching my 10 year high school reunion and being practically decrepit already.)

But I also found it almost comical, as all these punk kids were talking about graduating and what types of jobs they were going to get with their physics and accounting degrees, and alluding to the awesomeness of finally reaching "the real world".


"The real world" pretty much just sucks unless you manage to have some exceptional dumb luck (or exceptional dumb connections) and actually land a ridiculously nice paying job as a stark few are fabled to be able to, at which point you can devote your time and energy to all that all important interpersonal relationship and starting a family crap since having a baby and never sleeping again is just freaking awesome!

Otherwise you can look forward to living in your parents' basement and working at Target for a single digit hourly wage while totally wishing you were back in college where it was ok to not be particularly successful at life yet. Woot!!