Monday, December 31, 2012

Work Center Mayhem

Last month I got to be in charge of the toy section at work.

This week they are having me deal with endcaps. All the endcaps. Of the entire store.

Today was a long day, and not just because it started at 4am. Part of the masterful plan of how the store management is executing these shifts in work centers for me is changing my work center, handing me some vague and poorly laid out instructions, and then coming around to tell me what I have done wrong after I've been working on it for half my shift.

My biggest consolation to myself today was remember my first day over in toys. It was awful. Actually, that's not true. My first day was alright, as there was nobody there paying any attention at all to what I was up to. My second through 4th days in toys were just awful.

But! It got better. In fact, I was down right enjoying myself over there the past few weeks. And boy was I clinging to that memory this morning.

So perhaps I was just jumping the gun by having lots of people around today to pay attention to what I was up to and offer suggestions for what to do differently before I had already finished, right?

With those calculations, things should totally get better by about... Thursday.

Sigh.

If you need me, I will be taking a heavy dose of cold medicine to ease my haggard sinuses and/or liquor to ease my haggard soul and attempting to come to some sort of positive view of the world of Target with enough delusion to be optimistic about the rest of this week. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Rationing of Wedding Bells

December began with me attending the wedding reception of a good friend of mine. A good friend of mine who had been dating (not engaged, not living together, just dating) her suitor for longer than my entire marriage lasted.

My ex-husband got married again this past summer. This was actually a fairly significant delay in their original plannings due to his and my divorce not being finalized until last February (as a direct result of his less than stellar record of getting his portions of the paperwork completed and back to the court in a timely fashion, but we don't need to get into karma for this conversation) and other military influences.

And then there's me.

Personally, I'm coming to the opinion that one marriage per decade is plenty, and having that attitude completely justifies my lack of serious (or like, any) dating for the time being. After all, I'm only 27, I have another 3 years before I would even be eligible to consider marriage again should I follow my own philosophy. 

The biggest positive of the shit show that became my 20s is that I got a marriage and kids out of it. It's amazing how once you have children there is no longer any pressing desire to procreate, and there's nothing like a less than Disney marriage to make one rethink that fear of being alone. Sure being alone can suck at times, but it can also be a whole lot less crappy than many other situations.

And since those boxes have been checked, I have had no overwhelming worry about doing them again. I was all about getting married and having babies when I was 18. Now it's 'been there, done that' (and look how great that all worked out for ya) as I survey my life. And I want to do other things. I want to get promoted at work and feel like I have a career. I want to buy my own house for me and my children to grow up in. I want to spend time with the people who are important to me. I want to dream of traveling the world and creating a lasting piece of literature.

I have my children. I had a marriage. That was enough. Right now, I just want to be me.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Notes to Myself for Next Christmas

You are only allowed to buy one new roll of wrapping paper per year. You just got pink Tinkerbell wrapping paper on clearance. You are not allowed to buy any more for next Christmas. And you probably made Baby Jesus cry with that particular choice.

Prioritize teaching your children to give to others. Adopt one of those needy kids/family paper thingies from the tree in the supermarket. Have your children pick out the items for them and help drop them off. Also investigate whether they're old enough to volunteer for Toys for Tots or a similar program. Remember about this before the third week of December.

Require the girls to clean out their toys before they can receive more. I know, you hated doing this as a kid yourself, but you're still failing to do it for them as an adult and teaching your children that they MUST KEEP EVERYTHING. While you're at it, clean out your own stuff as well....

Figure out a budget for presents before you figure out what toys you want to get them, and make the toys fit the budget. And don't do it the other way around like you did this year. Pricing out how much you think the stuff you want to get them will cost and then saying you're underbudget because you stayed under your initial guesstimate does not count.

Take each of the girls to pick out a present for their sister. You should have started doing this two years ago, now stop being a lazy bum and make the effort to take each of them out shopping one day by themselves in the month of December. It won't kill you, really. 

Bake more Christmas cookies/fudge/treats. BEFORE Christmas. Also involve your children more. I know, sugar cookies with them this year was an exhausting event with marginal results. But come on, they're not going to learn if you don't teach them. And if they don't learn, they can't make you delicious peppermint fudge in a few years.

Make gifts for the grandparents with the girls. If you need to do this in September to get it done, so be it. Paper cut out mittens never go out of season when properly sprinkled with love and glitter.

Remind people at work that you worked Black Friday Open, Black Friday Close, Christmas Eve Close, and 4am on the 26th of December AND the 1st of January this past year. You earned selfishly picking which holidays you want off this upcoming holiday season. So take them.

Watch more holiday specials. Sure they get cheesy after a while, but a little classic Grinch cartoon goes a long ways in making it feel like a special season. Even when you're all grown up and cynical of the idea of any special magic associated with any specific day on the calender.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Month of December

Everything has been frantic.

There are the early mornings and how all day every day Target is a mad house, with a constant GOGOGOGOGO demand from superiors overriding every simple action I do.

There are birthday parties and homework and school registrations and sick days and doctor appoints for the kids, with just keeping track of it all becoming a major accomplishment in of itself.

There is the lead up to Christmas, with presents to buy and wrap and give.

There are cookies to bake and fudge to make and candy canes to eat, with my personal motivation to do any of it a half an inch off the floor which only leads to being sad about my lack of fudge.

There are the houses to see and the finances to wrangle, with hopes and dreams being balanced between time and money in a soul-crushing situation. 

There are board meetings to attend and fundraisers to do and emails to send and thank yous to write, with a grand scheme of which I believe in but the daily stuff is hard to care about and even harder to not excuse with such poor excuses of 'I'm a single parent with a full time job'.

There are trips to plan and travel to book and suitcases to pack, with parts I don't want to do making the doing of any of it all the harder.

There is snow to drive in and boots to find, with picture perfect beauty to look at but causing all the more delays and stress.

There is sleep, with which I am not getting nearly enough of.

There is blogging, with which I long to do more.

There is life.

And in the month of December, my plate of life is heaped to a daunting height. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Why It's Good My Children Can't Read My Mind

"Is that Rylie's car?"
"No Honey, that's only a generic asshole who just cut me off in the roundabout."

"Mommy what are you eating?"
"Chocolate. The good stuff. And it's ALL MINE!" 

"Who's that?"
"Random drunk person in Mommy's facebook feed which you shouldn't be looking at."
 

"But I don't want to have a sister."
 "Tough shit kid, you don't get to argue with biology." 

"Santa Clause is scary."
 "Does that mean 'Santa' doesn't have to buy you presents this year?" 

"Can we have a treat?"
"Can I have a martini?" 

"I want to make cookies!"
"I want to lay on the couch and take a nap, guess who's not getting their wants today!"

"My sister isn't listening to me!"
 "Welcome to my world, child, welcome to my world." 

"How come we don't have a dog?"
"Because Mommy decided two small needy demanding creatures to clean up the poop of was enough." 

"Where do babies come from?"
  "Stupidity and sex."



Friday, December 14, 2012

Shot Through the Heart

This morning I drove the girls to the elementary school, where Kristina went into her Kindergarten class and I brought Adrianna into the preschool classroom next door for her to visit before she starts after the winter break. She was evaluated again last month, and Child Find determined that needs continuing speech therapy services, but now that she's going to be three they require it to be through the elementary school therapist program, hence her starting at the preschool.

After visiting for a while, I drove Adrianna to her regular preschool and headed home myself for a much needed nap. After all, yesterday began with a 4am shift at work and ended with Adrianna's preschool post-holiday performance potluck dinner, so I felt somewhat justified in my overwhelming desire to spend what little time was left in the non-kid part of the day with my pillow.

A few hours and two snoozes later, I pulled up my facebook feed.

And it was filled with comments about the elementary shooting in Connecticut.

No sooner had I tracked down and read a couple actual news articles about it than emails from the Nederland elementary school started showing up in my email.

And I find myself in an interesting place.

I was in middle school here in Colorado when the Columbine High School shootings happened. I remember my mother being freaked out by it, and watching the news as it was unfolding and they kept adding to the victim count. The effects were felt for years afterwards, as we practiced drills all through my high school tenure about what to do in a "lock down" situation (aka someone is on a shooting rampage) and had regular assemblies on everything from depression in yourself to watching your classmates for troubled behavior indicators.

And at the time I thought the level of fear and paranoia being shown was unwarranted. 

But now I am a parent of a Kindergartener. I totally get the base emotional response of wanting to go snatch them up immediately and not let go of them. Because somehow, if you just hold them tight enough, they will be kept safe.

The world doesn't work like that though.

Horrible things happen in seemingly senseless and cruel ways.

If it's not a shooting in a Kindergarten class, it's an airplane being hijacked, or a military base being targeted, or a drunk driver fatally crashing into a dozen cars.

You cannot live your life terrified that at any second something like that could happen to you.

It could. It totally could be you or your child or your family any one of these times. And the most pragmatic reason for it NOT being you or your child or your family lies heavily with dumb luck.

However, it also can be statistical.

Yes, today 18 small children went to school and didn't come home. However, how many days in how many Kindergartens across the country was that not the case for how many years? You have to trust a world that is entirely unpredictable and untrustworthy that tomorrow will hold true to yesterday, and that today is an extremely rare unlikely anomaly in what will happen. 

Of course, telling a parent of a dead 5 year old that their baby is a statistical anomaly doesn't mean jack shit to them.

And so then balancing objective reason, personal emotion, and compassion becomes an even more complicated juggling act.

Personally, I am glad for my time as a military spouse. It gave a crash course in dealing with that soul crushing wave of fear that came every time there was another casualty within his deployed unit. This fear is real, but so is the ability to control it within oneself, and the knowledge that you cannot let it consume your life.

The fear for my children is real. But Kristina will stay at school until the last bell rings and she is loaded onto the school bus to come home today. And I will hug her and ask her how her day was and we will walk into the house with her chattering a million miles a minute about her friends like she does every day and I will smile at her being incredibly grateful she is safe. And come Monday morning, I will load her back onto the school bus to go back to Kindergarten just like nothing changed at all.

Because that is all I can do.

And hope and pray that the next statistical anomaly isn't going to be my family, isn't going to be someone I love.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

An Extremely Random Tuesday

We got just enough snow to make the ground slick last night. When Target called their plow company first thing this morning to get the lot covered with ice melt, the trucks didn't even have the plow blades on them because they've been using them to prune trees. Could be interesting to see what happens if it ever decides to snow in Colorado again....

***************

This may or may not be fake. That detail sure doesn't stop me from including it in my very random random blog post! 


Did you know dinosaurs made lemonade? Like there weren't enough reasons to think a Velociraptor would be the BEST PET EVER, now it will totally be a business investment for your lemonade stand too!

************

I impulsively ordered Christmas cards with family pictures on them this evening. 

(Hey mom, I ordered Christmas cards with family pictures on them that may or may not make it to the relatives before Christmas. I know how you like to keep these things classy.)  

I like to remember the first year I did it with baby Kristina and how I swore up and down I would do this every year with a big long letter of life. It's fun to remember how comically naive you were. 

There will be no letter this year. But you're going to get your picture card. Maybe even before Christmas. And you're going to like it. 

I also like to have goals. Like next year, perhaps my goal will be to do this before the second week of December. Or to consider drafting a Christmas letter. Or maybe just writing a really good blog post that doesn't include questionable homophobic literary illustrations about lemonade loving dinosaurs and include my blog address on them. That's totally the same thing, right?

*************

Adrianna is starting a new preschool part time in January for her continuing speech therapy services. Her current preschool teacher asked me last week if they have any requirements for potty training. I spoke to the new preschool teacher yesterday, and asked her. 

Apparently the answer is yes, the class is potty trained. 

However because she has an IEP ("special ed") plan for language development (which is why she's attending this school at all), they will let her start in pullups with the expectation of her transitioning to underwear in the immediate future. 

Alrighty then. 

Potty training.

I'll get right on that. 

Now where did my copy of Toilet Training in Less Than a Day go???

************

All of our "fresh" bakery goods sold at Target come to us frozen. We literally take the frozen cupcakes and loafs of bread out of the freezer, put a shelf-life date on it, and set it on the shelf to thaw. It's really hard for me not to tell people they're dumb when they talk to me about only liking the "fresh" bakery items. 

However, we just started carrying "fresh" previously frozen apple pie. This will make people super excited, since they were all dissing on our frozen apple pie in the freezer. 

Like I said, it's really hard for me not to tell people they're dumb.

************

Kristina dislikes Kindergarten because they make her sit and learn stuff instead of just letting her run around and play.

I think Kindergarten is just fucking awesome. 

***********

I hope you have many hours of restful slumber tonight and a wonderful day tomorrow. Or at least, no less than normal rest and a day that doesn't make you want to drink any more than you already do. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Did You Know There's an Elf?

Did you know there's an elf? Did you know there's an elf on a shelf and he sits there talking to himself?

Did you know there's a mama? Did you know there's a mama in a pajama who doesn't understand all the shelf elf drama?

So, now we get past the cute and only slightly plagiarized from the adorable book Bedtime Mouse part where I confess my horrible parenting.

My children do not have an Elf on the Shelf.

And it's not even for a good reason beyond I just don't feel like doing it!

You see, I think the Elf on a Shelf is incredibly dumb. Actually, I have to try really really hard to see the appeal of any of the "lying to my children" aspects of Christmas. Kristina asked me how Santa knows she's been good. My best answer was a slightly exasperated "because he just does".

But getting back to the elf.

The Elf on Shelf comes out every December for families which are not mine, and every night the crimsonly clad creepy creature moves around the house to prove it's "aliveness" and "watching of the children" to get them to behave.

And I just have so many moral issues with this.

(Clearly my own parents failed in their parenting of me by not elfing it up so I would do such with my own offspring for the sake of nostalgic tradition.) 

The blatant lying to your children aside, there's the part where you are convincing them to be good by making them paranoid that they won't get stuff. You are artificially inflating the wanting of toy crap to an even higher than it already was AND teaching them that their only motivation to behave is because a doll might see you being naughty.

And even if that was the preferred method of parental enforcement for you, why on earth would you relegate it to only be a one-month-a-year thing? Make them freak out because there's a gnome in your home and he's watching you every second of every day forever, so you better behave, or else you won't be allowed to live here any more.

Just for the record, there is no gnome in our home sort of scare tactics being used on my children.

(For now...)

We do not elf in this family.

And it's probably for the best, as I'm quite certain I would totally be THAT parent.









Luckily thanks to the internet, I now know I would not be alone in my horribly inappropriate for small children shelf elf antics. 

[Note to self: bring this tradition into the house when the girls are teenagers to make sure they have appropriately developed senses of humor]

Sunday, December 9, 2012

How to Feel Better About Your Parenting

  • Watch an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras. 
    • Between the kids acting like complete terrors constantly and the parents doing appalling things from maxing credit cards to pay for pageant dresses to drugging their small children with Redbull, you'll suddenly feel like you have the best parenting morals of all time because you don't spray tan your 2 year old and you actually send your children to time out when they scream at you and start smashing things on the coffee table.
  • Organize their toys. 
    • Nothing makes you stop feeling guilty for not buying your child more stuff than realizing just how much stuff they already have. And then swear you're getting rid of half of it before you let Santa Clause so much as think about coming down that chimney.
  • Show them pictures from when they were littler. 
    • They just love this, the little egotistical creatures that they are, and hearing the stories about how that was their first trip to the zoo and here is them with their cousins a few summers back. Plus then you get reminded of all the fun stuff you've done with them (plus the hell-on-earth part of "plane travel" and "long car rides" seem much less important a couple of years later).
  • Remember what it's like to be little.
    • Sometimes it's hard to be little. Also, remember that you totally turned out fine despite the occasional bad day on the part of your parents (unless of course you didn't, and then you can just tell yourself how much better you're doing than your parents ever did until your child rats you out in therapy 12 years later).
  • Spend an hour at home without your phone/computer/other adults. 
    • Don't know what to do with them? Sit on the floor, and ask them what they would like to play. They will take care of the rest so long as you're not distracted. And then you become the most awesome parent ever as you make a blanket fort and eat 37 pretend dishes of ice cream and let them win at Candyland, and then can totally return to the world of doing laundry (or procrastinating doing laundry by playing on the internet) guilt free for the rest of the afternoon.
  • Snuggle with them at bedtime.
    • It's not much, but a few minutes of quiet time together can go a long ways to making you feel more rewarded by being a parent. 
  • Let them have a treat occasionally. 
    • Not often mind you, only every once in a great while, but perhaps just that one night you could hand them a piece of left over Halloween candy even though they didn't eat their dinner, or stick in a package of those horribly tooth rotting fruit snacks they love so much into their lunch. The simple surprise of getting it is almost as good as the treat itself.
  • Buy yourself a new shirt/pants.
    • I'm sure you had a favorite piece of clothing that your child destroyed or stained or otherwise made unwearable thanks to your post-baby-belly-boobs combo, replacing it will make you less begrudging of the basic hardships (like the horrors of blowout diapers) of being a parent. Plus feeling that you look good in the body your children left you with is at least 85% direct influence from how your closet is fitting you (nobody feels good about themselves in a shirt two sizes off with milk stains).
  • Look at them when they are sleeping. 
    • Yes yes, there is always that chance of waking them up, but nothing is more endearing than that little monster in peaceful slumber. You may want to take a picture of it, and keep it handy for the moments when your child is truly being a terror (after all, they're only like this half the time, the rest is spent in the much-more-appealing state of slumber). 
  • Laugh
    • No really, just laugh. Laugh with your kids. Laugh at them destroying your upstairs bathroom plumbing by flushing Spiderman down the toilet. Laugh at them dumping a big bucket sand on their sister's head. Laugh at yourself when you reach the ultimate moment of mommy-low by having peanut butter sandwich in your hair at the grocery store, snot striped sweat pants you swore you'd never wear out of the house, and a cart-full of screaming children and quickly melting popsicles. Laugh at all the times you want to put your head in your hands and cry in despair, because sometimes, it actually makes you feel a tiny bit better (or at least distracts your children from screaming long enough to enquirer as to why you are laughing and not screaming back at them).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip

I wrote this for a writing challenge with a friend of mine. The premise was a 600 word children's story, but then there was a joke about it being about turnips, so I totally went and actually wrote mine about a turnip. I hope you enjoy. And just in case you care, it ended up being 671 words in it's first draft seen here.


It was a sunny afternoon as Celia Bubbles skipped down the sidewalk. She wasn’t a very good skipper, mind you, as she was a turnip and it is difficult for turnips to skip. Most turnips don’t ever get around to leaving the vegetable patch, preferring the company of rutabagas and kale to people. But Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip wasn’t like most turnips. You see, Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip wanted something that the vegetable patch couldn’t give her. She wanted to go on a grand adventure. And so, today, she had decided to go have herself a grand adventure. Getting out the vegetable patch proved a bit of a pickle for her, as she almost fell into the gardeners pickling jars being used for the poor cabbages in her attempts to detach herself from the soil. But after that slight mishap she managed to roll herself under the garden gate and set out at an awkward skipping past towards a grant adventure. However, that had been some time ago, as the near pickling happened nearly first thing that morning, and Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip was beginning to wonder where she might find herself a grand adventure, or if she had accidentally gone the wrong way. She started to plop her little turnip self down on the curb to ponder which direction a grand adventure would be, when the crew of the Fresh Salad Food Truck across the street happened to lay eyes upon the biggest and most delectable looking turnip they had ever seen.  Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip only managed to avoid becoming the dinner special by quickly rolling herself onto a passing wagon. The owner of the wagon, Little Rita Redding, hated eating vegetables and was absolutely terrified by the turnip appearing in her wagon, so she set off running full speed ahead. This was just excellent for Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip getting away from the Fresh Salad Food Truck crew, but wasn’t so good for poor Little Rita Redding who quickly became tired from eating so many gummy bears at lunch time. No sooner had Little Rita Redding stopped to catch her breath and rest her chubby little legs, than a vegan St. Bernard named Waffles caught scent of the most glorious turnip he had ever smelled sitting in the back of a little girl’s little red wagon now parked in front of his yard. He knew his vegan family would praise him as the best dog of all time were he to bring home such a delectable looking fresh turnip, and as he was always eager to please, he immediately bounded over the recycled tire fence to catch that perfect smelling turnip. Poor Little Rita Redding spent all of her time playing video games and thus had never played with a dog, and was even more terrified of the approaching Waffles than she had been of Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip. However, this time when she set off running again as fast as her poorly conditioned heart and lungs could stand she left her little red wagon behind, and Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip soon found herself covered in St. Bernard slobber as Waffles carried her back over the recycled tire fence surrounding his hard. Luckily, those recycled tires had holes in them just the perfect size for a larger than average turnip, and she was able to make a quick escape once Waffles was distracted by an invading Squirrel. Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip had never cared much for squirrels before now, but decided that perhaps she had been a bit harsh to judge them, as the Vegan St. Bernard seemed noticeably worse for her condition. After escaping from Waffles, Miss Celia Bubbles the Turnip decided she had had quite enough of looking for a grand adventure for one day, and started to skip her way back home to the vegetable patch just as the sun was starting to set. Another day, she told herself, and I will find myself a grand adventure.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Perks of a Sick Baby

Sick babies and/or children aren't one of those things you think of as having a lot of upsides.

After all, there's the part where they threw up on their bed (and in all likelihood, your bed as well), and the part where they can't go to their normal activities (which often causes inconvenience for those who do things like "plan" around preschool and gymnastics). You get to spend all sorts of time exposing yourself and your sick child to the germ infested cesspool that is the pediatricians, and then the possibly even more questionable cesspool that is the pharmacy. And then, when they finally are sleeping you still can't relax or get anything done because you're too busy calling the nurse hotline to make sure you're not overlooking something like that little cough that actually might mean they have pneumonia instead of just the stomach flu and need to be rushed into the hospital.

However, once you get past the part where you're washing vomit out of your hair and unable to go to work, there are some ups to a sick kiddo.

They are totally happy to sit with you and watch Disney movies all day. A normal day requires lots of mommy energy to take them to the park and play a dozen games of candy land, but when they're sick they are SO chill. And it's kinda nice occasionally for a little change.

Naptime is back in full force. And you are just being a GOOD PARENT when your kid is sick and they want to nap with you. You are just prioritizing by ignoring the need to fold laundry in favor of making your sick baby happy with a little co-napping. Also, you get to nap too, which is great since you were up half the night before dealing with vomit.

There is no expectation of you making cook dinner. They don't feel good, all they want is to drink some juice and maybe get coxed into eating a few crackers, they certainly aren't going to notice the lack of full meal being presented to them.

And my personal favorite, you get a total pass on all the normal behavior that you feel guilty about as a parent. Like sippy cups, that Adrianna is getting kinda big for and I've been trying to use less to her great disappointment. The doctor saying to keep her well hydrated is a total pass at letting her carry around a sippy cup of apple juice 24/7 again. And we don't even need to go into the pacifier thing beyond the part that the sick baby (who may or may not be a month shy of her third birthday) wanted blue pacifiers and so the sick baby (who is supposed to be getting weaned from these things) got a new package of blue pacifiers when we were picking up her prescription.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Brief Hello

Hi. How are you? Are things going well on your end? If you're American and into things like gorging yourself on turkey, did you have a nice Thanksgiving? And if you're not American or not into gorging yourself on turkey, did you have a nice non-holiday last weekend?

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging more. Today is my first day off from work since before Thanksgiving, and much of it ended up being spent with Adrianna, the doctor's office, and the pharmacy. There has been all sorts of fundraisers efforts going on with the preschool that I'm on the Board of Directors for (and for some reason, these people keep expecting me to like, DO stuff for these events....) which will continue into next week. This weekend is also jam packed with stuff going on, including more fundraising efforts (this one specifically involving gift wrap), a birthday party, a wedding reception, Christmas pageant practice, and seeing the Nutcracker.

And unfortunately, I keep doing crazy things like attempting to go to bed before midnight. I worked 6am shifts all week, that 4:45am alarm is cruel if I don't make that self-imposed bedtime.

However, I did have a really awesome idea I wanted to share with you real quick.

I think there should be a room filled with paper and paint and canvas and yarn and pens and glue and feathers and clay and those awesome rainbow catchers hung in big sunny windows. I think People should be able to say "I need a creative break from life" and be allowed to temporarily give up all normal responsibilities to spend however long they need locked in that room until they don't feel overwhelmed with ideas and thoughts and colors that they simply don't have the time and medium to express because every second is spent being busy and feeling overwhelmed. 

And in conclusion, I hope you all have a pleasant weekend doing enjoyable fulfilling things with the company you prefer.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Toy Time

For the month of December I am in Captain of the Toy Team at Target.

Ok, admittedly I'm the only member of the Toy Team at the moment,  but I've been assured there will be probably 2 and maybe even 3 other people on it starting possibly as early as next week for me to Captain! 

Today was my first official day executing Operation Toys, and it was a lot of fun.

It was also a LOT of work and nobody seemed nearly as excited about all my awesomeness and working-ass-off-ness going into the toy section as I was. But hey, that's what working hard is all about, that under-appreciated warm fuzzy feeling that builds up in your chest as you remind yourself it is the season while taking up some hard drinking. 

My main focus right now is setting endcaps to the official Target brand* Plannogram sent from HQ in Minnesota, however it will progress to much more flexing** of sale items into prominent locations and managing the large quantities of PTM*** as the section gears up for the post-Christmas transition reset and massive toy clearance.

Aka, I get to be the one dealing with the massive cluster fuck that becomes the toy section a week out from Christmas. Somehow I will magically make less of a shit show than it often is. And soothe irate parents annoyed that we are sold out of Furbys. Or so they tell me I will. I suspect I may just start playing with the My Little Ponies instead of working at some point. But I think I'll try and hold off on that for another few days until it's too late for them to change their minds about me being there. 

Overall, I am excited to be in the position and the general consensus across the store is that it is very good for my personal development.

You know, there's always the possibility that eventually they'll decide promoting me up to an actual manager would be good. We won't go into how they like to say there's a difference between being a good worker and being a good leader (hence why I've been a top performer and yet still not really promoted, according to the higher ups) while slotting me into a position where I'll be a good worker for them to develop me into a better leader right now.

And I promise I will only discuss the merits of toys once a week or less this month.

You know, unless it's been REALLY exciting or I have absolutely no other ideas for blogging material. 





*brand is looking especially Target. For example, a clean and very neat shelf would be considered 'brand'. 

**flexing is when you ignore what the plannograms say and just put product wherever you want. It can be both liberating and challenging, since it often means you're trying to fit 20 of an item in a general space designed for 2. 

***PTM stands for pre-transition merchandise. When aisles are going to be reset, the product in them switches to ptm status a few weeks ahead of time, which means there is lots of flexing going on in the hopes that the stuff will sell before the aisles reset and it gets marked clearance. It also means no backstocking is allowed, you HAVE to find a place to put all of it on the sales floor.




Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Quick Post-Black Friday Update

First of all, this was my first Black Friday working retail.

Second of all, Oh. My. God. I think I'm going to pack up my children and go move to a hut in the woods as far away from humanity as I can possibly get.

Third, I'm cranky for a serious lack of sleep and/or any amount of down time BECAUSE OF AMERICAN'S BEING OBSESSED WITH SAVING $20 ON A STUPID IPAD. Nothing has made me hate the iPad more than being swarmed by an insane mob wanting to get their greedy little mitts on a pathetically small percentage discount. And no, I don't know what the damn difference is between the generations since I've only touched one twice in my life because I'm getting paid to sell them to you at a rate where I'd have to dedicated an entire two weeks of pay just to buy a cute overpriced toy.

*ahem*

Fourth, I was Cashiering in Electronics when the store opened it's doors at 9pm on Thanksgiving Day instead of leisurely eating a 3rd helping of pie. I was still cashiering in Electronics at 4am on Black Friday itself instead of sleeping off a food coma. I finally got home, slept for 5 hours, and went back for another shift still on Black Friday instead of stuffing my face with leftover mashed potatoes and turkey. I am scheduled to continue to work Saturday and Sunday of the Black Friday weekend. Do you Americans see what your stupid mass consumerism has done to my life???

I hope you feel sufficiently guilty about it when playing the Star Wars edition of Angry Birds on your new iPad.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Every Storm Runs Out of Rain




By Gary Allan

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ten Years of Dread

Alright, I'm a little nervous about the teenage years.

After all, the teenager is a strange and frightful beast to the parents. Plus it hasn't been that long since I was one, and remembering THAT is just down right terrifying.

Their personalities are so clear to me for what they will be. Kristina will loud and dramatic about everything, her world will be ending at least 3 times a week, she will be on her cell phone constantly, and doors will undoubtedly slam on occasion. Adrianna will have her moments, but for the most part be calmer and quieter and getting better grades. And sneaking out of her bedroom window because she's small and cute and trouble like that.

But my biggest worry is the learning to drive part.

More specifically, how Kristina will learn to drive several years before her little sister, and how I can just SEE her teaching 12 year old Adrianna how to drive while only possessing a learners permit herself.

In my car.

Because that is the relationship they have. Adrianna is a risk taker, and Kristina likes to feel as though she is taking care of her baby sister, even when it's more of the "enabling" sense.

So please, when I get that phone call from the police about pulling over my 12 year old for speeding on the interstate with only her permit-holding sister in the car, remind me of how cute they were when they were little.

Choo-Choo

My parents saved a lot of the toys (and books) from my childhood, and there really is something kinda neat in watching your children play with things like the train set you played with as a kid.

video

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Unfortunate Story of an Unfortunate Foot

The day was Thursday.

It had been a pretty mild day at Target thus far.

We had a food truck delivery, but it was a small one and had been pushed to the floor with minimal time and stress.

I had taken the large metal cage of empty cardboard boxes back to crush them into the large bales that get recycled, and one of my coworkers was about to help me lift it up onto the stack of collapsed cages per standard clean up routine.

I went to slide it into a slightly better position for the part where we had to lift 100+ pounds of awkward metal up four feet into the air, and managed to slam a wheel into the inside of my right foot in the process.

It hurt. A lot.

But don't worry, all coworkers who witnessed and whom encountered me shortly afterwards as I bemoaned my hurting appendage were full of concern and sage advice.

...........if by concern you read "told me I was dumb to do that" and by advice you heard "just walk it off".  

*ahem*

So, being the slightly prideful person which I am, I attempted to not be wuss and gimped my way out of the store, consoling myself with thoughts of ice packs awaiting me at home.

But then I couldn't even drive on it (luckily my car is an automatic and I have left foot dexterity), and it kept hurting and swelling more and more on my way home.

So upon my ever-increasing-gimpy-status arrival home my parents had a brief logistical consultation, and my father whisked me back down to Boulder to have a few xrays taken.

Now of course, no visit to a doctors office for pain is complete without having the pained part thoroughly poked and prodded, and this one was no exception.

A few pokes and xrays later, I was informed that my foot was decidedly NOT broken, and that I just got to suck it up for a few days.

They did, however, put me in a walking boot cast for a week (to protect it from getting banged more than anything else, but as shoes are still uncomfortable from where the bruise is, I'm happy to wear it), and put down a work restriction for me of walking less than an hour a day.

And so, I got to witness first hand the selling out of our entire stock of Twinkies before 8:15am on Friday after Hostess announced their factory stopping production as I was reassigned to cashiering on a stool after going through the incident report process.

I also took full advantage of my familiarity with the Market department to get a bag of frozen peas to use as an ice pack on my breaks.

Most remarkably, between the stool assignment (which I may or may not now have butt bruises from), regular dosing of ibuprofen, and ice on breaks I made it through the work day with minimal discomfort.

And then I got home.

And small children do not understand nor properly respect doctor notes requiring limiting mobility like the Target Corporation does.

Or like, even how they probably shouldn't try to stand on Mommy's boot cast while it's propped up on the coffee table.

Which is how the few hours between when I got home and when they went to bed were substantially more demanding of my walking around and caused noticeably much more soreness in my foot than the entire workday had been. 

And so, it is with great anticipation I return to work on Monday, eagerly anticipating my stool and frozen peas that are awaiting me and the piece of paper that allows me to shuffle off to rest at any moment I happen to want to.

Yep, it's good of them to let me work instead of making me stay home and "rest".

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Confessions of an Ambivalent Shopper

I like to go into the really fancy clothing stores, like Nordstrums and Banana Republic, and make/try on outfits for a life I will most probably never have.

I often buy stuff from the children's stores just because I feel guilty for the havoc brought by my children, with the full intention of returning it the following week.

I hate the annoying kiosk people with a passion normally reserved for... um.... annoying kiosk people.

I often accidentally walk into the manikins in department stores and then apologize thinking they were a person.

I have the compulsion to say "it's ok, you don't have to give me the sales speech" to the sales associate starting into her required promotional spiel, but just politely listen to it anyways before declining.

I impulsively start fixing stuff in stores I don't work at because things being shelved wrong bothers me.

I am intimidated by the makeup counters.

I love nice shoes, but am far to cheep to ever buy any.

I am horrified by the idea that I won't be able to shop for Kristina from the children's stores soon at her current rate of growth. 

I like the newness, especially the smell, of new clothes and hate washing them before wearing them because then they don't seem knew any more when I first wear them. 

I can't walk past the jewelry stores in the mall without rubbing my ringless ring finger and feeling sad.

I only buy one meal at the foodcourt for me and my children to share, because it's so overpriced and I hate how much we throw away if I get them their own meals, but now they eat more so I end up not really eating lunch.

I still forget my purse somewhere on one out of every three shopping trips. Somehow, I always thought I'd be better about that after 10+ years of doing it.

I deeply ponder if there's any real difference in getting all your name-brand clothing as hand-me-downs and from goodwill instead of buying them new from the store as I stare at little girls' dresses in Gap.

I hate skinny jeans, and glare at all the racks of them muttering about what I'd pay (which I totally actually wouldn't) for a nice pair of boot cut khaki cords. 

I still buy most of my clothes from the juniors department.

I am always paranoid someone will walk in on me in the middle of changing in the dressing rooms.

I haven't had a friend I would hang out with at the mall since I was in high school, and I miss having someone to talk to more than I like to admit. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness

Americans like to throw around terms like "we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

Now ironically, it is also often while impinging on other people's attempts at pursing the exact same things, like their basic happiness. However, I think we're actually making some progress here.

Our presidential election was last week, and ushered in another 4 years of Barack Obama.

(Oh, and just in case you didn't see it, go watch Chris Rock's petition to white voters, as I cannot stop laughing at the mention of the president wearing mom jeans.)

My personal happiness on this development aside (what can I say, I have some seriously fundamental issues with old white men saying dumb things regarding my reproductive organs and equally poor biological and theological interpretations of it's my body so shut the hell up already the issue which shouldn't be an issue at hand), we also made some huge strides elsewhere on the ballot.

Colorado, my beloved home state, legalized Marijuana in a ground breaking measure which has huge implications (even beyond the part where everyone is already stoned, so it might as well be legal instead of just for those with "back pain") for redefining the legal system and to stop the continued disproportionate targeting of minorities for incarceration for minor none violent offenses (and we'll just ignore the language double standard concerning crack vs. cocaine a little longer). Along with the changes in the justice system and presumed decrease in spending on the prison part of the federal budget, it will be taxed and create an additional source of revenue for the state, not to mention all the exciting jobs in the pot and pot regulation industry itself.

Also, we just might now be seen as being cooler than Oregon.

Even more exciting, three more states legalized gay marriage. There's going to be a chunk in the south holding out until the bitter end, but I think it's quite clear at this point that it's just a matter of time before it becomes an accepted nation-wide practice (which is just so totally awesome).

And because this is how I like my political activism, I give you the ultimate reason to let gay people get married.

[Warning: Language]

(I feel really dumb putting warnings like that in, but as someone who sometimes browses the internet with small children surrounding her, I feel it's good to give a heads up so your not accidently teaching your children that saying "a mother fucking quiche" makes mommy laugh.)


Monday, November 12, 2012

Like a Lady

A truly accomplished young lady should have a certain skill set, hobbies, and personality traits to maximize her potential for finding a good husband. Or kicking some serious ass in the world. You know, whichever she'd rather do.

She should be equally capable of making a gourmet sandwich and chocolate chip cookies.

She should excel at cursing when the occasion calls for it.

She should know how to punch so it hurts.

She should keep her hair clean.

She should be competent at using a hammer and electric drill. 

She should read books.

She should own at least one fancy dress and feel no shame in scaling fences, rolling in mud, and hiking it up to her waist to run faster should the evening of her wearing it be improved by such behaivor.

She should drink beer, whiskey, and wine with an even hand.

She should be kind.

She should appreciate loud music on occasion.

She should never let a stupid person talking cheap talk make her feel less about herself.

She should be good enough at sewing to re-attach a button and own enough duct tape to serve all other occasions.

She should laugh loudly and often.

She should remember to run as fast as she can just to feel the wind on her face.

She should know she's beautiful in her old patched jeans.

She should go through each day with the self-confidence to take over the world if need be.

She should be awesome.

And above all else, she should be memorable. 




Sunday, November 11, 2012

Choosing Books

I read two categories of books.

The first is books that I have heard about or otherwise am inspired to read (like Jurassic Park), and therefore I seek that specific volume out (by which I mean order from Amazon) to read.

The other category is what usually ends up happening if I need to get a book on my lunch break from Target, by which I mean I select one from a very limited selection almost entirely on cover art alone.

The most recent one has a castle on it.

Oh, it also has a title.

Which I would be happy to tell you.

Once I go find the book so I can look at it and tell you what it's title is.

*ahem*

Ah yes, here it is.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.

And I am so not kidding when I said I got it because it had a castle on the cover.

It also has New York Times Bestseller splashed across the top, which I didn't pay much attention to until I picked up Water for Elephants (again, based on cover art alone) and ended up just loving, and the half I have red of The Distant Hours has also been quite good, so now I'm thinking I might give it some more creed.

A long time ago, I read Where the Heart Is as an Oprah's Book Club edition, and then tried several other books marked as such with high expectations that were not met.

Since then, I had a strange avoidance of otherwise "popular" novel choices due to mistrusting society (and to be fair, society has just been raving about things like 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight), but now I'm thinking that I may need to reconsider that bias some, at least where the New York Times is concerned.

However, pondering the book cover method of obtaining new books has made me wonder what makes other people grab one volume instead of another.

It is also how I identify books. Sadly, I am disgracefully bad at remembering titles and authors, but am extremely good at recognizing cover art and associating it with it's interior contents once seen.

And this odd attraction to the pictures on the front just might be my biggest reason for not being overly inspired by e-books thus far.

I'm also highly scornful of the cover on the copy of The Shining Amazon sent me not too long ago. Luckily, Stephen King does a good job content wise to make up for the horribleness left over from the 80s sense of color and composition.

Yep, books are an interesting breed to look at, and the appreciation for one is something I hope I manage to pass on to my children despite the current age of technology.

After all, I want to make sure they have plenty of opportunities to tease me mercilessly in their teenage years about my old fashioned was as I found with my own parents and their record player and slide rules.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Night the Dishwasher Broke

This is a tale from a different time and a different place. 

We were living in Oklahoma. It was a quiet night, much like this one. Kristina was a year and half, Adrianna was yet to be conceived, and Peter was spending the week on base for military training purposes.

It was about 10:30pm when I clicked the dishwasher on as I headed off to bed. I liked to shower in the evenings, but the hot water tank in the rental house we were living in just wasn't sufficient to support both of those things happening at once, so I had waited to run it until after my evening bathing routine was completed.

It was truly an unremarkable evening as I climbed into bed. 

I dozed and drifted for a while in a phase of not quite sleep. Kristina woke frequently during the night, and my ears were always straining to hear her. Suddenly I was fully awake. I listened. Something was off.

It took me a minute. Was that... water splashing?? It must be raining, with a clogged gutter on this side of the house... but, the moon is out, I can see it from my window.

I got up and looked in Kristina's room. She was soundly sleeping in her bed, but the sound of water was noticeably more clear in the hallway.

I followed it out into the kitchen, where water was pouring out of the dishwasher at an alarming rate.

I sloshed through the quickly-becoming-pond-like galley kitchen and opened the dishwasher door, to find my clean dishes inside and the hot rinse water still flowing in at full force.

Oh shit.

Um.. a shut off valve? There should be one of those... somewhere........ right?? That would turn off the water from the main source?

I gingerly peered underneath the sink. Having no idea what it was I was actually looking for and failing to see much of anything that looked particularly convincing of "all important valve", I went over to the boiler closet and looked at the various pipes coming out of the water heater.

Again, there was nothing that struck me as an "all important valve", so I quickly grabbed the phone and started making some calls.

The emergency line for the rental company took three tries before anyone even answered, and they were not particularly helpful and said they would see if they could get a plumber out tonight, but it would probably be tomorrow. My father, despite being woken up by this and living in another state, was at least able to tell me where to find the all important shut off valve (turns out it WAS under the kitchen sink).

Except that I couldn't get it to turn. Like, at all.

Another call to the completely unhelpful rental company later (seriously, an on call emergency number should connect you to people capable of handling your EMERGENCIES, how much of my stupid house has to flood before it counts as one??), I started to panic a bit.

I called several plumbers in the phone book, totally not caring that we would have to pay for their services of shutting off the water ourselves right then, and left several messages on after-hour emergency lines.

I tried to shut off the water coming into the house from the main street line, and was completely unsuccessful in that endeavor as well.

I called water company, and was stuck in the business hours and bill pay options recording.

I called the police department, and quickly regretted not setting something on fire to get SOMEBODY to come out to my fucking house and help shut off the water.

And at some point during all this, Kristina woke up and came out to the kitchen and started playing in the water that was now several inches high and covering over the entire kitchen and dining room area.

Soon she began to giggle as she ran and jumped through this personal horror of mine, and her slipping onto her bottom guaranteed that she was soaked from head to toe even before she started to "swim" along on her belly. 

It was about that moment I started laughing hysterically, watching my little girl gleefully splashing in the middle of the kitchen, because the whole situation was just reaching a level of ridiculousness that you have to either laugh or cry at it. 

And I did observe that our living room appeared to be on ever-so-slightly on higher ground, which kept the bulk of the furniture and carpet from suffering water damage.

Eventually, through more sheer desperation than any real expectation of it doing anything, I started banging on the stupid shut off valve under the sink with a wrench, and miraculously it finally started to turn and I was able to get it mostly turned off.

The sigh I gave when the water slowed down to a mere trickle from the full on rush it had been is one of the most relieved sighs I have ever made in my life. 

The culprits of the night.
I had just come back out to survey the damage and figure out what on earth I was going to do with a house full of water at midnight after getting Kristina into a dry sleeper and putting back to bed when a plumber showed up.

(Thank you rental company for bothering to tell me you ever did get a hold of someone who would actually show up that night. I might not have been quite so panicked for like, an hour in there, had I known someone was actually going to eventually come help me.)

He tighted up the water shut off a little more, poked at the dishwasher for a minute, and said someone would come back out tomorrow with the needed new part.

And then I began the process of moping up stupid amounts of water for the next few hours.

Finally, about 2am, I found some dry pajamas for myself and crawled back into bed, still cross at all the forces in the world that had completely failed me that night. My own physical limitations and lack of plumbing knowledge, the military and subsequent lack of on-hand husband and other support figures, the property management company we were renting from, the local plumbers who never answered/returned my phone calls, the lack of help within the city services, my lack of knowing the neighbors and not feeling comfortable going over to their houses in the middle of the night to ask for help. 

However, I did learn the very important lesson of where the dishwasher water shut off valve is in most houses and that when all else fails, just hit it with a wrench.

And in retrospect, the flood of clean warm water was MUCH better than the flood of sewage I had to deal with in our house in New York. 




Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Adrianna's Articulation Assesment

Adrianna has been receiving in home speech therapy services through the state funded Child Find program (which any child under the age of 5 and living within the Boulder Valley School District is eligible for evaluation with). However, she is only eligible to continue in that program until she turns 3, and if she needs further state-funded speech therapy she needs to be enrolled in a program with the Nederland Elementary School for preschoolers.

Yesterday I brought her to be evaluated to determine whether she meets the delay requirements to be enrolled in the preschool program.

Yep. She does.

I got to watch most of the evaluation through the secret window/mirror, which was an interesting experience in of itself, but there were a few moments that made me cringe.

The evaluators asked her what her sister's name was. She certainly knows it (heck, some days I'm quite certain she hears it more often than her own name), and answered the question with what I recognized as how she says "Kristina".

The evaluators couldn't understand it. At all. They ended up looking her sister's name up from her file.

That is one of those basic things that should be understood. Although I guess in all fairness, Adrianna tried to tell them the name of her cats, Whispey and Diamond, as well and was as equally not understood for those.

Her Significant Articulation Delay is, apparently, still significant, despite all the improvements she's made working with her therapist the last couple of months. 

Sigh.

On the upside, she scored very high on the cognitive part of the evaluation (at least at the level of a 3.5 year old, if not older), and her understanding of the language of others is not a concern as she responded appropriately to the evaluators' directions and prompts. 

However, she also had fluid in her ears (the subsequent visit to her pediatrician said they didn't look infected), and had trouble hearing some low tones on one side during the basic hearing and vision tests, so she will also be going to an audiologist for a full screening, and possibly an ENT (ear nose and throat specialist) to talk about tubes, for persistent fluid (infected or not) is not a good thing, especially if it is negatively affecting her ability to hear. Oh, and her tonsils apparently look quite large, which may or may not mean we're on track to have them out just like Kristina's were.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

Today is our presidential election in the United States.

And all I can say is that I am sooooooooo happy that the political ads will finally go away now.

I mailed in my ballot a couple of weeks ago. Look at me being all lazy good citizeny and totally on top of my stuff. Occasionally it does still happen. Lets savor this moment.

Also, I am working this evening, which means I'll probably find out how the official count is going through glancing at facebook on my phone during my breaks this evening. And I won't even need to know what the actual status is, just who posted and whether they're cursing or celebrating.

Oh, and you should totally congratulate me for making it through this election season with a bipartisan facebook friends list, as many people didn't..... 

Yep, that's how things roll here in America.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Wonderful Wrap Up

Halloween was a success on all accounts for us.

The girls got to wear their princess costumes for the holiday themed events going on at their respective schools (although the skirt Kristina wore TO kindergarten and in whatever amount of time there was pre-costuming has yet to show up again, and Adrianna apparently threw a bit of a fit when her teachers suggested she remove her much beloved red wig for naptime), then my folks took them over to the preschool Halloween party where they enjoyed the extra special occasion of the fire pit (which was graciously loaned to the school by, well, me... even though it's more of my father's and required him and his truck to transport it to/from the facility)  and then took a quick jaunt through the part of Nederland commonly refereed to as "old town" (it sounds better than 'concentrated region of dilapidated old cabins') for some brief trick-or-treating (along with every other child in the vicinity, as it's the only place where houses aren't at least a half mile apart).


I pulled off my brilliant Wonder Woman costume with much success (I really did think I was exceptionally clever to come up with such a good actual COSTUME that totally still fit the Target dress code), and I have to admit, I rather enjoyed being referred to as "Wonder Woman" over the walkie by all of my coworkers that day (I may need to wear the costume more often), even if they were slightly critical of my lack of actual super powers (if only I had worn a cape....). I also managed to gorge myself on Halloween themed snacks and candy in the break room (thank you most awesome HR girl Becky!!), and sweet talk my way into leaving an hour early (mostly just because I had stayed an hour late the night before and was NOT authorized for overtime that week) so I got home just in time to convince two sugar-coma-stayed-up-late-bemoaning-removal-from-friends-and/or-red-wig little girls to go to sleep. Yay!!

Also, I have completely accidentally come up with the most amazing solution for not scarfing my children's Halloween candy! Remember the day I worked some crazy double shifts? Well, the closing manager that evening had me pick out a couple treat bags and a TON of candy to bring home to the girls since I didn't get to see them at all that day (it was a really sweet gesture on his part), except that, being the somewhat rational parent which I sometimes am, I only put a couple of pieces of the candy into their treat bags when I left them out to surprise the girls when they got up in the morning. Thus three LARGE bags of candy have been sitting in my bedroom this last week. And they have been being eaten by me. Ahem. But I'm being so good! I haven't even LOOKED over my kids candy haul to see if there's anything I want yet! And all it took was copious amounts of candy at my disposal. Yep, I think there may definitely be a lesson here for Christmas. And possibly Easter....

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Princesses Have Arrived

It is once again that magical time of year when small people are turned into goblins and ghouls and are let loose to terrorize their neighborhood under the quest of obtaining ridiculously quantities of sugary treats.

Or in some cases, the small people become licensed product characters and have the unfortunate fate of being given organic kale chips as an alternative to the more traditional snickers bars and popcorn balls.


But hey, it's Halloween.

May your day be filled with cute frights and so much sugar you're ready to puke by the end of it (but not so much that you're actually puking).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

School Pictures

Things to add to the list of why it's totally not fair to have a big sister because she just gets to do everything: school pictures.


Things to add to the list of why the baby of the family is ridiculously spoiled: Mommy is taking her to her very own private portrait session on her day off from work instead of keeping in her preschool so she can do selfish Mommy things (like napping) out of guilt over her not having any professional photographs taken within the last 2 years.


Monday, October 29, 2012

What NOT to Say to Someone Getting Divorced

Many people have genuinely good intentions, but don't always know the right thing to say.

Don't worry, those moments happen to the best of us. 

Many people are surprised when they first learn about "big news" things, and don't always think their immediate responses through very well.

Unfortunately sometimes the mouth opens before the brain can click on. 

And some people are just socially inept morons.

Oh yes, yes they are.....

So here are some basic guidelines I have come up with for dealing with people going through a divorce (or really, any big personally challenging time period in their life where socially inept morons often have the overwhelming urge to open their mouths).

You're welcome. 

Take their lead on how they want to talk about their ex. If they aren't trash talking them, you sure as hell better not be. On the other side, if they want to curse the filthy bastard to hell and back, by all means, dish it up with them and recognize this is not the moment to be "fair" and pointing out "good qualities". This is a very personal thing, and how they think about their ex will change as the work through the stages of grief divorce. The last thing they need to be doing is feeling like they have to defend their ex because you, their supportive comrade, is ranting and raving about how much of a selfish idiot they are.

I mean, they probably do agree with you to some extent, but loyalty is a funny thing sometimes.

Words aren't always necessary, or even wanted. Empathize a basic sympathy (ie- "oh hon, that's gotta be tough") and then just give them a hug or otherwise sit close with them in silence if they aren't talking right then. Sometimes the silence does more good than the most expressive soliloquies detailing how their ex is a jerk. If they need to talk, they will speak. If they need to cry, their tears will fall. You don't need to do anything more than being there, presence is enough.

I cannot emphasize this one enough. Sometimes, the best friend is the one who knows when to just shut up. 

Don't ask divorce-specific questions. There are two types, the juicy details and the philosophical reflections, and they both SUCK are hard to answer. I don't care how much you want to know all the inside gossip, it's none of your damn business. And asking existential questions like "why" or "couldn't you guys try to work it out?" do nothing more than make the person being questioned feel bad because they can't answer them.

No one can. Why does any marriage fall apart? If the fact that the couple is getting a divorce is widely known public knowledge, you better believe it's past the 'working out' stage.

Bring them ice cream sundaes.

It's my signature move to help people when they break up with a boyfriend, get fired, or otherwise have a notably crappy day.

Don't quote scripture or other cliche sayings. I mean it. There is NOTHING like the stupidity of "everything happens for a reason" and "time heals all things" to make all that pent up anger at the world get channeled to you, the unsuspecting (and perhaps moronic) well-meaning friend. Sometimes life just sucks. Sure, in 5 or 10 years it probably won't suck any more, and maybe they'll have the distance and perspective to look back and be like "oh I'm so glad I got divorced from that moron, my life turned out so much better" but they certainly don't have it right now (and there's also certainly no guarantee they will have it then). The closest thing you're allowed to utter is something very basic like "it'll get better", but then preferably only if you've actually been through it and actually know that, otherwise you still might get called on talking bullshit.

You want know one of the most comforting things anybody ever said to me regarding my divorce? It was one of the slightly older gals at work telling me that her husband (who incidentally is also a Target employee) is hubby number 3. It was that simple. A small smile, and that sentence followed with "it'll be ok" did more for me than anything else could. It gave acceptance to the part that sometimes marriages don't work, understanding that right now it's really fucking hard, and hope that a failed marriage doesn't mean a life of being alone and unhappy. Nobody else gave me that, and it was what I so desperately needed right then. 

Unless you are going through the exact same situation, please don't tell them how whatever your-totally-not-the-same situation that you presently have in your life is just like theirs. It's not, and your poor attempts at fabricating similar life experiences don't help when stated in the manner of "oh I know just what it's like."

This one is also very important to apply to situations like deployed spouses (no, frequently taking business trips is NOT the same, unless they are being shot at on their way to the conference center) and single parenting (again, working opposite shifts is certainly hard, but NOT the same thing as being a single parent). 

When all is said and done, someone getting a divorce mostly just needs acceptance from you of whatever stage they are in so they can accept it themselves.

Or a sharp ax, good alibi, and a pig farm.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sleepy Snuggles

One of the girls' occasional special bedtime routine additions is when I let them snuggle together after stories before they have to go to sleep.

Every night, Kristina asks if they can sleep together. On the nights they get some snuggle time (read: on the nights they haven't been deliberately annoying each other for the past hour, and subsequently driving me nuts from needing to referee every three seconds), I tell her if they fall asleep before I come back to turn off the light I'll let them stay in the same bed.

Some nights, they try really, really hard to convince me of their sleepingness.

Do you buy it?


Nope, not asleep in the slightest....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Theory vs. Reality: Target Overtime

In theory, accruing some overtime at Target doesn't sound terrible.

In fact, it almost sounds like a big exciting treat, as I regular manage to accidentally accrue 40.02 hours for the week, thereby hitting overtime for .02 of an hour, and thereby getting in trouble.

(Occasionally I even remember to sit through those scoldings from my boss without rolling my eyes....)

So when the powers that be in Target started offering up overtime to employees like a forbidden fruit (you can get paid time and a half! That's your normal shitty hourly wage, PLUS another half a shitty hourly wage on top of it!!), I took it.

Which is how I ended up working from 9:30am to 11:30pm yesterday. Well, that and the part where both Market closers called in that day and the store was already swamped from it being Halloween weekend and college students are just fucking insane and... yeah...........

I was doing good with it until I hit right about the 12 hour mark, then the going started to get real painful real quick.

And I totally could have done that exact same fourteen hour day again today if I had wanted to! Somehow, that little extra cash didn't seem worth it anymore........

I was tired. I was tired of being nice to snarky people. I was tired of cleaning up after spoiled college students who were dumping random crap all over the store. I was tired of doing physically demanding work with aching legs and blistered toes. I was tired of running up to the check lanes every 20 minutes for backups. I was tired of taking phone calls to tell people that no we don't have sombreros, we're sold out of spiderwebs, and I don't even know what that movie character reference is but we probably don't have the costume for it because A) our selection of adult costumes was rather lame in the first place and B) all the good shit was gone as of last week. 

So I went home. And I have a whole 10 hours before I have to be back on the clock again!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Failings of October

So, some of you may have noticed it's October here.

Well, actually it's almost the end of October at this point.

Which is really bad, since my children still don't have things like pumpkins...

But they do have Halloween costumes!

Did I end up making them? Well, no.... but sometimes buying stuff is ok too!

Ok ok, it may have been a combination of laziness, lack of excessive amounts of free time on my part (dude, I did years not getting sleep for these children, now I am all about being like "stay up late making a costume for you? eh, I actually feel like a hot shower and pillow snuggle right now..."), and a deep down desire to have nice store bought costumes for my kids as it is somehow a mark of better parenting on my part which I miss 98% of the time with the hand-me-down-holey-kneed-questionably-fitting-poorly-matching clothing galore that makes up the vast majority of their wardrobes.

Also, I may have irrational guilt over my personal lack of buying them stuff more often which may or may not be directly tied to my serious lack of larger paycheck. 

BUT THE POINT OF THAT WAS... they do have their (very nice brand new store bought) Halloween costumes!! Therefore, I have not completely failed them on being a parent for the month of October.

I mean, I may have still marginally failed them for their lack of jack-o-lanterns, but I really suck at carving them, and it already snowed! And I'm pretty sure there may be some more failing to come, with a lack of personal motivation to take them trick-or-treating in the snow, but really, I work at Target, can't I just buy away their disappointment with enough buckets full of candy brought home with me??

OOOH! Idea!!! Maybe Halloween should be more like Easter, and all I have to do is hide candy all over the house for them! I like this idea. This idea does not require me trekking for miles along snowy and muddy mountain roads in the dark and cold to reach a few houses to beg for candy when they probably don't even have any on hand since nobody trick-or-treats around here.

[Note to self: see if Target has those miniature plastic pumpkins to fill with candy and hide in a similar fashion to Easter eggs.]

[Note to self: make up good story about the Great Pumpkin hiding eggs pumpkins for them and/or be prepared to convince children that trick-or-treating isn't what they think it is.]

[Note to self: get lots and lots of candy. If all else fails, just start throwing it at them.]

On a positive note, I am brave enough (after I absolutely epically failed to find a reasonable priced version to buy) to try and make a piece of my own costume to wear to work on Halloween. I keep reminding myself that once upon a time (in a land far, far away....) I was almost crafty with stuff like fabric and glue. Somehow since then, I've developed a crippling complex of my inability to do much of anything (see also: why I am still working at Target), which makes me incredibly hesitant and scared of trying.

But tomorrow morning I have a date with a fabric store before work, and I have every hope that the creative pixie dust they sprinkle around in there will take over my psyche and I will instantly be filled with the confidence to say "sure I can do that!!" (while still hopefully keeping track of the sanity that reminds me how much better I am at glue than sewing no matter how cute their sample sewing projects are).


The Compliment of Online Dating

I've realized something over the past few months.

I really like having my okcupid profile. Not because I'm fostering high hopes of tripping over Prince Charming, nor am I any more active on the dating scene than I was before (hehe I even said that with a straight face! Now if you need me, I'll be over here typing on my computer....). But because I keep getting the same sort of compliments that keep my interest in blogging.

Oh my fucking god that is THE BEST PROFILE I'VE EVER READ. THE END

You actually, genuinely made me laugh. Not a chuckle or pitter patter, a deep loud laugh. Thank you for that. Anytime you want to have a drink it's on me.

You like smiling? And plotting to take over the world? Ermahgerd, ME TOO! 

I saw you on here (and our whopping match percentage, not that I take this website all THAT seriously) and started reading your profile, and I must say a couple things. A) I love your writing style. I too am a writer and I would love to check out your blog. You have voice, and literary charisma. :) and B) I felt like I was watching a 20s coming-of-age drama flick when I read your description. That's not supposed to be mean, by the way. I liked it. I can picture Zooey Deschanel playing the lead.

Your profile is brilliant...although I'm getting so conditioned to asking how many 14ers you've climbed and if you have a good sense of humor I am not sure what to do with an honest profile... 

 Oh my, you are adorable.

Your profile is frightfully real. I give a lot of credit to someone that can be real, be vulnerable for everyone to see, make me laugh.. all in all just entertain. Your profile entertains. I can hardly say that about anyone else's profile.

I find it truly interesting that you plan to take over the world, yet consider yourself a hero, rather than villain.

Very interesting profile. Once I started, I could not stop reading ;) 

You had me right up until My Little Pony, and then you lost me a little. But then you did the dinosaur thing and it all got better. Oh and I did clap a bit as well.

You quite honestly wow me with your literary ability and intelligence. 

Apparently, I am a total sucker for being told I'm smart and/or hearing praise about my writing.  Eh, I suppose there are worse things in life to occasionally be vain about....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Earrings

Some of my more dedicated readers may remember my post last year about Kristina getting her ears pierced.

Which ended up being a ear being pierced.

Which ended up being taken out as soon as we were home, and therefore her left ear is very much without earring hole now.

I was slightly disappointed in all of this, and not only because of the huge fit at the mall. You see, I had a bit of a thing for earrings in my early elementary school years, and getting my ears pierced was just HUGE for me. And I wanted to share that with my little girl.

However, I do have a second little girl, who appears to be making eyes at the big fancy earrings every bit as much as I did judging by her re-purposing of happy meal keychains.

Yep, Adrianna just needs to get big enough to actually ask to go get her ears pierced, and then I can live out my little-girl-in-earrings dreams through her...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Red Flannel Plaid Family Matching Award

It's hard to say for sure, as I've only been mildly interested and/or accidentally aware of the Super Family Matching holiday outfits for a few years now. But.... I think they're getting worse.

Or is it better?

Eh, I'll let you have your own opinion on the matter, as I'm sure some people aren't quite as fond of making everything (or in this case, everyone) ridiculously matching.

However, I'm sure we can ALL appreciate the top contenders this year for the Super Match Award, being done in the season's best Holiday Red Plaid Family.

Personally I'm rather ridiculously fond of the Red Flannel Plaid Family from Hanna Anderson. It has a nice aspect of "mountain casual" to it, while still appearing incredibly cheesy soft. And the shade of red makes it particularly festive. OR I've become so brainwashed by Target I have an unknown underlying preference for the color now. However, there is no Mama red flannel plaid, so it is technically disqualified by in the inability to have EVERY family member looking equally..... um..... plaid.

Gymboree did include a red plaid dress for the Mama in their Festive Collection, and therefore, the award for the seasons best Holiday Red Plaid goes to them. However, their particular choice of plaid isn't my favorite, and it's just... not flannel? Too picture perfect and not actually wearable? I don't know, something about it just doesn't appeal to me, even though it scores high marks for the required cross family matching aspects. Perhaps I'm spending too much time surrounded by real people and not all day staring at stuff I want to buy on the internet, as clearly my personal priorities seem to be slipping. After all, isn't the ultimate goal of life to achieve that picture perfect family to take a perfect picture of to convince the world that your life is calm, orderly, and above all ridiculously well coordinated?

The Wooden Soldier can ALWAYS be counted upon for over-the-top sibling coordination (also, tasteful use of smock for those like Rachel to appreciate), and they get a special honorable mention for their Christmas Dreams sleepwear collection. The overall plaid effect is a little lacking, and again, there is no coordinating parent plaid present.

But they do have a matching doll nighty... I'm pretty sure there are very few people who would happily buy coordinating pajamas for the whole family INCLUDING THE DOLLS.

And I'm pretty sure I'm one of them.