Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guest Comments

On your receipt from purchasing something at Target, sometimes it will print out instructions for taking a survey online about your shopping experience at that particular store that day.

How the store is scored is a VERY big deal for team members (well, at least it is for a couple choice executive managers, and they certainly do their best to make it a big deal for everyone else), and there is a section towards the end for writing down whatever comment you so wish to share with the store (might I recommend "Marty is ridiculously awesome" for all you local Boulderites??).

If you really want one, purchase something from the electronics counter, as those registers automatically print one out with every transaction. And as another fun insider fact, they will totally ring you up for purchases composed completely of unrelated-to-electronics merchandise, you just have to ask nicely.

No really, you can totally go buy a toothbrush and bag of potato chips from electronics (and you certainly wouldn't be the first person to do so). 

But getting back to the open ended comment section. Every week someone from HR puts the current ones up in the staff hallway, and all employees can pull them up for themselves on the computer at any time if they know where to look for them.

This is something I don't think people necessarily realize, that these comments, the good the bad and the ugly, really are seen by all 240 employees at that store and not just one individual in Minnesota (the home of Target).

People often contradict their experiences, one will say team members wouldn't leave them alone while the next will say they couldn't find anyone when they needed help. Some say we have great stuff, while others demand better selection. For every person who says prices are too high, there's one saying they love how cheap everything is.

And there's always someone furthering the Boulder anit-plastic-bag-usage campaign! 

But that never changing dribble doesn't matter much at all compared to a comment that came through the week before last.

  • It was after this purchase that it came to my attention that Target has chosen to endorse homosexual marriage and donate large sums of money towards that end. As someone heading up a family of eight, it disappoints me that Target has chosen sides in the culture wars. We have regularly shopped at Target, but are sad to say that we - along with many families we know, will be taking our business elsewhere. It is not true, by the way, that our rights are unaffected by the homosexual marriage agenda. Parents across the nation are finding their rights to raise their children as they see fit taken away as soon as it becomes 'legal'. In every case, once this passes, religious freedoms go out the window. Maybe you don't want to hear this in your feedback, but if you care so much about how tidy or friendly I think your store is, I suggest you not ignore the matters of conscience that will keep large families from even GOING to your store. And frankly, we're the kind of people who spend lots of money at Target. Or in mine and other's cases, USED to. Sorry for the rant, but you've really touched a button with this one, and I think you'll start seeing sales slipping even further the way JC Penny's have. Feel free to contact me by calling (626) 369-3630 and ask for Rick.

Everybody read it. Everybody.

And everyone I spoke to about it was disgusted by it (not to mention confused as to what he's even talking about regarding Target supporting the homosexual marriage agenda). This is Boulder, it's not ok to say shit like that here. 

A part of me wants to call, both out of disgust and out of morbid curiosity (can he REALLY believe that his rights to religion are being compromised by allowing others to marry??).

But I also know it would be a frustrating and futile experience. And whether I could call as a Target employee would be even more questionable....

But as a person, I mostly want to just wanted to smack him for being an idiot.

You have a right to believe what you want as your own person, even if I strongly disagree with it. You have just as much a right to boycott businesses like Chick-fil-A for being hyper conservative Christian (or at least, to want to boycott businesses like Chick-fil-A for being hyper conservative Christian, if only their chicken wasn't so damn good.....) as those whom you see as being overtly liberal and progressive.

(Not only will Target hire female employees for all positions in the store, but they even let them wear pants!!) 

But profusing those beliefs in a narrow minded and ultimately hurtful manner to the entire staff, 99% of whom are just as much slaves of the corporate bureaucracy as the shoppers are, is wrong.

And thankfully, most people just dismissed you as being a homophobic asshole and/or bigot, and didn't give you much more thought than you deserve.

But then again, a few of us think you're being an homophobic asshole and/or bigot, and keep personal blogs to ramble about such views for as long as we like, and make sure that those same questionable views and phone number are now on the internet for the world to do with what they will.

Good luck trusting the rest of humanity to be better than that.

Also, have fun shopping at Walmart. I'm sure there won't be this issue with them, as they aren't nearly as concerned about their community involvement image, and therefore don't do things like publicly give lots of money to local non-profits and schools.

Or like, donations to the Redcross to help the people evacuated from their homes in South Boulder a few days ago with the Flagstaff fire, and have an outstanding offer from the HR executive herself to help any employee affected by it however the store can (clothes, food, a place to stay). You know, just the stuff to help people living in the same city and to take care of the people who work at the store in a time of crises.

You know what, you may be right. It does sound like Target is furthering the culture war for genuine local community involvement without discrimination. What an evil corrupting institution I work for indeed. I'm sure that your 6 children can read all about it in those nice books Target donated to their public school library.

Oh, and you totally left out the part about us being socialist by donating non-sellable food to the food bank so homeless people can continue to subsist on corporation's discarded bananas and state welfare (did you know the homeless shelter even has BEDS for people to sleep on?? Those transients sure as hell won't want to go get their own housing with accommodations like that on top of getting free bananas AND a shower). I wouldn't want for you to miss a talking point as important as socialism in your enlightened ranting about how we're destroying the moral fabric of society.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go look at the restoring faith in humanity pictures again and find that happy place where there's hope for the world to become a better place. And possibly considering moving to Canada.....

Friday, June 29, 2012

Beaching, Marty Style

Some people live right by the beach and go out to it every weekend during the summer.

Some people like to take annual trips to the coastline and their kids anticipate it every year.

Some people make their backyard setup a fancy recreation of the droll Americana summer.

And then again, some people don't.

But you know what?

Sand and water make them very messy happy anyways.

(Also, my method significantly lessons the chances of being eaten by sharks. Just sayin'.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I took the girls to the pool a few weekends ago, and discovered the semi-tragic side effect of chlorine significantly decreasing the pink in my hair.

This may have been an obvious inherent risk to some, but as I haven't exactly done much hair dying (or swimming, for that matter) in my life, it was a rather shocking discovery for me.

So then after a week of deliberation over what to do with it, I decided the only thing that might help would be a repinking.

First was the challenge of separating out the previously pinked chunk of hair, which was looking a pretty poor shade of blondy-orange thanks to the pool water (although everyone kept telling me to just be glad it wasn't green).

Next came the liberal application of pink goop. I happen use kitchen gloves for just about everything besides washing dishes. You know, just in case you ever decide to wash my dishes and see some yellow gloves under the sink, you might want to know that odds are they're not actually the sort of thing you'd want to use with food-holding-stuff.

Then the wrapping of the hair like a burrito and customary watching tv to keep track of time.

Pinking process = 1 Daily Show w/o commercials

Then after the washing and drying, my hair was once again awesomely pink. This is the first time I've kept a hair dryer for the purpose of drying my hair in at least 8 years. I feel so grown up, and it almost makes me want to go live on the wild side and get a curling iron.

I really have grown quit fond of the pinkness. I also continue to get lots of compliments on it at work, and occasionally even from people other than 8 year old girls!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Future at Target

I was approached today by one of the managers at Target about possibly taking a more specialized role over in the market area. He claims it's a good stepping stone towards being a team lead, and it does come with a pay raise. But all the people he has had over there since I was hired have been miserable, and some even gone so far as to quit in a dramatic fashion because of the stress of working that very specific job.

Oh, and the STORE MANAGER was the one who suggested me for it in the first place.

But you know, no pressure to take it or anything.

My boss is out of town this week, so I sent him a text message about it (but I'm really not that horrible, I asked him how the beach was first, then I told him Boulder was almost on fire, and then I launched into the dramatic updating of why he's not allowed to ever take vacation again because crazy shit always starts happening and my stress level gets all spiky and I have to start eating copious amounts of cupcakes just to make it through the days), as even though I had specifically stated I wanted to talk to my boss about it before giving an answer regarding the position (and only in part because I was a little skeptical about how taking this would actually be a promotion in the sense of how I want to be promoted), I wasn't real confident everyone would just wait until he got back.

[See also: Marty is a decent human being who doesn't just spontaneously switch work stations the week her boss is on vacation.]

And he told me that the electronics boss had ALSO been talking (just not to me) about wanting to move me over to his team, so I could probably have that position as well if I wanted it. That one is also a slight pay raise (although less than the market one), but I'd be even less inclined to take it since the prospect of answering questions about printer cords freaks me out way more than rearranging the bananas does. 

He also said he'd miss me on instocks, but would agree to me changing work centers so long as it was something I wanted to do and to a position I would enjoy having. 

Once I was able to wrap my head around all of this (it took a little while), I started trying to look at the different aspects of the store.

First off, there is the changing bosses. I like working for my current boss. We get along well, and he is very accommodating to things like my scheduling whims and sporadic rounds of artistic creativity (and even tolerates me texting him about work issues when he's in Florida). When there was talk a few months back of him and the market boss switching roles, I was threatening to request a transfer into the backroom specifically to avoid working for Mr. Market. Taking the market position would be serving myself up on a silver platter to his leadership. And would require me to potentially stop referring to him as "such an ass" all the time. *ahem*

Next there is the potential role itself. I think I would do fine in either area (assuming I did some crash course training in stuff like what LCD means in reference to television sets), and actually suspect I would excel at the market position with the challenge of it. The market scores are AWFUL right now, and have been for a while, which means if they were to get way better after I went over there I would have some serious awesome points accumulated. Of course, I am very sure that the instocks team scores have been all over the map since I started working at Target, while the team itself has operated almost exactly the same the whole time, and therefore I'm not entirely sure whether I could really even change the market score, or if it really is a matter of dumb luck (which I don't usually have a whole lot of....).

Both market and electronics would have me boxed into a much smaller area of the store, and as I think about that component of it I ponder whether the store really wants that. Right now I do a LOT across the entire store, and actually really enjoy having complete jurisdiction to be all over the place on my personal whim. Taking phone calls, backing up, filling endcaps, fixing zone issues, correcting signing.... it's all me in the morning, since there's often nobody from the general sales floor in until noon. And those are things they NEED somebody doing. There's also the part where I would have to adjust to not physically moving around the store the entire day. I think that could be hard at first, I like my constant walking. Also, both potential jobs have a much higher amount of boredom with them from what I can tell from the employees who work there, where there are sometimes long stretches where you just aren't doing much of anything. Instocks doesn't have that, and I've really grown to like the fast pace of my days (well, most of the time...).

And there's the part where I would be leaving instocks. I like being on instocks, and much of the time I am the person carrying that team. This morning the other opener called in, and I scanned the entire store by myself. That sentence probably doesn't mean ANYTHING to anyone not intimately familiar with Target's inner workings, but it is a pretty notable feat to simply complete the work of two people and one no-one on the team besides my boss ever manages to pull it off successfully. Also, change is hard for me.... especially when I'm very comfortable where I am. And I am very, very comfortable on instocks.

But pondering all this has led me to one conclusion amongst all of the personal confusion. I am doing well at that store, and other people are aware of that. I may even have more power than I previously thought over directing where I go.

I just need to decide what to be and go be it....

The Avett Brothers, Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kristina's Pet Logic

Kristina asked me if we could get a dog.

I told that we have two indoor cats instead.

She looked at Diamond asleep on the floor for a moment, pondering deeply.

And then looked at the door.

And then looked back at Diamond.

"So, if we didn't have the cats, then we could get a dog?"

"Maybe. But we still have the cats right now."

"What if they die?"

"Hopefully that won't happen for a long time, and we'll talk about new pets when it does."

Kristina looked at the door again.

"What if they run away outside and got ate by a bear?"

I looked at Kristina looking at the cat lounging obliviously to her plotted doom in the sun.

"Don't you even think about letting the cats go outside on purpose young lady. You will NOT be getting a dog if you do that, you hear me??"

Kristina looked down at the floor by her feet, pouting ever so slightly.

"Yes Mama."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Colorado on Fire

A wildfire was started two weeks ago by a lightening strike north of me up by Fort Collins.

The fire is massive at this point, hundreds of houses have been destroyed, thousands of people have been evacuated, nearly 70,000 acres have been burned, and overall containment is back under 50% again.

This is a big fire.

Wildfires are common in the summer months for Colorado. I don't remember a season that went by where there wasn't at least one or two of news-worthy size.  The parents of a good friend of mine from high school have been evacuated three times in the last 10 years for living in the wrong canyon. And these things are an accepted part of life in Colorado.

But the current burn situation is starting to make people nervous.

This big fire is not a short lived thing. Evacuation isn't a 2 day event. And there's no end in sight as record high temperatures continue to be clocked and most of the state is under a red flag warning.

But the real fear is the possibility of another one starting.

There are four other good sized wildfires burning across the state right now, including one that's causing evacuation of areas by Colorado Springs.

Last week my father responded to a cabin fire, also started by a lightening strike.

Cabin fire battled in part by my father with the Timberline Fire Dept. 6/15/12

It was only a few miles from my house, and literally just down the road from one Kristina's best friends, whose house we were at the next day for his 6th birthday party.

Had the volunteer firefighters not been able to contain and extinguish the blaze, it could have easily turned into another big one, and almost certainly would have put our house in the immediate evacuation zone.

We have a fire evacuation plan taped to the inside of a kitchen cupboard. Copies of it are the glove box of each vehicle we own. My father has drilled me on what the procedure is from how to leave the house to where to go to how to get messages to everyone else. My mother has drilled me on what exactly she wants saved from the house, should I be the only one home when the reverse 911 call goes out. I have drilled Kristina on what to do if there's a house fire, telling her over and over again not to chase after the cats she always worries about and where to go once she gets outside.

The fire danger is very real. And a little scary.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Birthday Party Notation

I've been making a bit of a study on children's birthday parties for the last 4 or 5 years, and have come up with a few notes about the whole affair. These are as much simply notations to myself about the whole thing as a casual guide for those yet uninitiated to the birthday party madness of the preschool age, and I would love any input from the battle-scarred birthday party veterans on regional/cultural differences, ones I may have forgotten, or other opinions and takes on the madness that is an American kid's birthday party.
  • You have to invite twice as many people as you actually want to show up if you want any number of children there at all. Parents are flaky, often double schedule, and are also prone to forgetfulness. And it sucks when you promised your child that all of their friends would be there and then only 3 show up.
  • Assume siblings will be coming along, and be extra kind to those families you don't know very well and include "siblings welcome" or whatever on the invitation. It's a pain to try to find someone to watch one child while you take another to a party, but then you feel guilty and mildly embaressed when that baby is no longer a baby and eats just as much cake and expects a goodie bag like the rest of the big kid birthday guests when you're trying to be all polite because you don't know the birthday child's family at all.
  • Any food besides chips and cake is superfluous. That pasta salad and veggies with dip is for parents to eat and/or to make you feel less like you're just feeding your child and all their friends complete junk for the day. But they sure as hell aren't going to actually be EATING any of it so long as the cheese puffs and ice cream hold out.
  • All beverages should be single servings, as pouring into paper cups is a preschool hazard and spilled milk is a tragedy to the little ones. 
  • Remember the adults. Being at birthday parties is a drag if you're not close friends with the other parents, the least you can do is make sure they also get a piece of delicious cake. Also, beer in that drink cooler next to the juice boxes automatically makes you the coolest parent ever so long as the children are still young enough to be super excited by the prospect of having Capri Sun or orange soda.
  • Invite at least a few people for you. Yes it's your kid's party, and yes they get to have all their friends over, but if you aren't friends with the breeders of their friends know that it really is ok to invite a few extra guests, assuming you have a pal or two who don't mind the afternoon of pinatas and rambunctious small people and know enough to show up with an appropriately wrapped and ribboned gift. Usually the individuals willing to show up to a kid's party without kids at all are so awesome, they'll even be all about organizing and playing with the screaming hordes birthday guests.  
  • Keep the at-the-party present load minimal. Large extravagant gifts from grandparents (or very indulging parents) should be done at another time. 
  • Do not feel obligated to buy your child lots of crap presents on top of throwing them a party. Their friends will show up with plenty of new toys and packages to provide the coveted present opening experience, and the cost should come pretty close to breaking even as far as how much you spend on the party and how many presents are brought to it, assuming you're a cheap and basic sort of person like me who does a pool party by filling the plastic kiddie pool with 6" of water and letting them spray each other with the hose. And if you're not, feel free to buy my children a pony at any time.
  • Party decorations are ultimately a waste of time and money and should only be bothered with if you really want to. Kids love balloons, so you gotta have those, but shit like streamers are SO not worth the personal agony they usually entail to put up. 
  • Party favors should be cheap. Kids sure don't care about whether you tried to buy them all a few really nice personalized things or just got the super mega bag of dollar store junk to split between some goodie bags, neither should you. 
  • PiƱatas are always a huge hit, probably because they are both EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and filled with candy. Use caution, as children are really dumb inexperienced in the ways of the world (by which I mean they haven't watched enough youtube videos of this) and don't understand not to stand right in front of the blind-folded 5 year old swinging a baseball bat with every ounce of candy motivated force they can muster. [And would somebody PLEASE explain to me how beating the shit out of your favorite beloved fictional being somehow became the thing to do?? You like Elmo? That's awesome! Go beat him with this bat until his head falls off spilling his candy entrails all over the ground for you to gobble up in a vicious every-kid-for-themselves manner.]
  • All the kids really want to do at a birthday party is run around with their friends. Give them the space and lack of structure to do that, and it will be a good party. 
  • All cakes may not be created equal, but they all get eaten just as fast. Indulge the birthday child on whatever their personal cake-wants may be as much as you can, and know that it'll be eaten regardless of bling status or flavor (even if it means a cake other than chocolate..... *sniffle*)
  • Goodie bags need to be handed to the party guests as they are walking out the door. Plain and simple. 
  • There's a reason all birthday parties are 2 hours long. Remember that. And woe to ye who forgetith when thoust third hour cometh.
  • Above all, remember that the point of this is for your child to enjoy themselves. They don't care about stuff the way adults do, and the memories of having a great birthday party are created by things completely unrelated to whether or not the decorations blew down or a well-meaning relative accidentally dropped your camera in the punch bowl. Let that crap go, smile for your child, and remember that you get to have all the leftover beer as soon as the party is done know that it only comes once a year (per kid) remind yourself that you only have to this until they're 18 eat some more cake.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Small Town Bullhorn

The big Turtle Float Fundraiser for Over the Rainbow Preschool is coming up this weekend.

(It's still not too late to buy turtles!!)

It's a small town event, and relies heavily on support of many different components in the community to pull off. 

I had been told that another board member had spoken with the Nederland Police Department about using their bullhorn for the announcing of the turtle numbers, and that the PD had said that they did have a bullhorn, it might work, and we were more than welcome to it.

So I agreed to pick it up today when I was in town fetching the girls home from preschool.

It took a few minutes of searching for the officers who were there to locate it, as it was sitting on the receptionist's desk three feet away from where I was standing and not in any of the back supply closets like they thought it would be.

As promised, it was not working, and they set right about in that wonderfully manly way of trying to fix the damn thing for me.

The first step was, of course, taking it apart.

After learning that it appeared to run a 9-volt battery, they had to go search up a new 9-volt and see if that would fix the problem.

Well, first one was daring the other to touch it to his tongue to see if it still worked, and the other one was saying he didn't want to because he knew who else worked in that office and that they had probably already done that.

And then they went to get a new 9-volt to see if that would fix the problem

When they were taking the old one out, they noticed that it had been taped in at some previous point in time.


Eh, no worries, it probably just falls out easily when jostled around, I was assured by the two uniformed men.

But then it got really interesting, as they quickly realized that the battery holding connection spaces weren't the right distance to actually accommodate a standard 9-volt, nor did they have any idea what size battery WOULD fit in the very unique fixture inside of this quickly becoming exceptional bullhorn.

And after that great moment of pondering silence and briefly wondering whether the department had the budget to get a new bullhorn eventually, one suggested to the other that they see if it'll work just holding the 9-volt as much against the connectors as it would fit.

Lo and behold, the very special bullhorn WORKED!!

That was also the moment the light bulb flashed as to what the tape had been for, and one set right about finding some more tape for this truly unusual government issue voice amplifier.

A quick tape job later, I was in possession of a mostly working (so long as I don't mind that it doesn't turn off) bullhorn for our fundraiser!

The parting words of the police officers: Don't worry if it falls into the creek or anything, it won't break anyone's heart in THIS office!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some New Music

They say it's Indie Pop, either I don't understand what Indie means or the world is wrong about it. But regardless of name disagreement, I've been enjoying it, and hope you do too. 

Ryan Adams, Lucky Now

The Lumineers, Ho Hey

Awolnation, Not Your Fault

Of Monsters and Men, Little Talks

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Birthday Chainsaw Massacre

Kristina had been invited to a birthday party for one of her friends yesterday.

The accompanying parents were all hanging out in the living room, while the horde of children were playing in the next room over where the toys were.

And then some screaming started.

There were enough giggles thrown in that nobody was overly concerned as to what, exactly, was causing the shrieking, and therefore we adults continued on with our miraculously-not-being-interrupted-by-children conversations.

And then 4 of them came running through the middle of the living room screaming, quickly followed by Kristina holding a toy chainsaw and laughing manically.

And the entire company of adults just burst out laughing.

I have no idea where she got the idea of chasing her friends with a chainsaw, but it was so simultaneously hilarious, adorable, and disturbing that I couldn't bring myself to tell her to stop.

Also, that may or may not have been because I was laughing so hard I snorted red kool-aid out my nose. It's just really hard to put on a stern mommy voice when you're snorting stuff out of your nose. Or like, speak....

And just in case anyone wanted some suggestions of birthday presents to get her come August, it looks like a toy chainsaw would be a big hit. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Doll Play

Do you remember our trip last Thanksgiving to the American Girl Store with Aunt Leslie?

And how Adrianna was even more enamored by the dolls than Kristina was??

Well, I have finally done it.

I have finally given over one of my personal and very precious American Girl dolls to my two year old child.

She loves it dearly.

So dearly, in fact, that I have gotten her previously beloved "Baby" away from her.

Which is a good thing, as it is now missing both legs and an arm in addition to sporting a fine head of hippie-worthy dreadlocks.

And which is also why giving up my prized (and like, expensive...) doll to her two-year-old self gives me some pause, as I would really hate for her to become similarly de-limbed.

I keep telling myself that the doll is A) of a much higher quality, and therefore more likely to stay intact in the first place B) limb repairable, with the American Girl hospital and C) can be ordered a new head if the hair situation gets truly horrifying.

However both girls are cute enough with them to make any concern over the dolls' well being almost inconsequential.

Additionally, I had also turned over some of my dolls' clothing to Kristina at Christmas, which means now the girls get to play with pieces like the nightgown Adrianna's doll is wearing that my mother had made for me when I was young.

It makes me remember how much I adored the dolls I had (have, technically, as they sit there on my shelf...) and makes me see how many fun years there will be ahead for the three of us to spend playing with the dolls together as the girls fall every bit as much in love with them as I did.

It also makes me into the really good mama who happily sits on the floor with her children changing doll outfits and brushing doll hair because I'm enjoying it every bit as much as they are, instead of the mama who really just wants to cruise facebook and other equally worthless internets while her children play on their own.

Now if only I still didn't fear slightly for own doll's metaphorical life.... 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why Potty Training Sucks: Example 2

It's been what, at least a week since my last Adrianna-pooping-in-a-horrible-fashion story?

My goodness, where does the time go!

This afternoon Adrianna asked to go pee-pee on the potty. I went along with it (of course... because I want to continue this behavior to the point of it being the norm and diapers becoming a distant quaint memory), and smiled encouragingly at her three microdrop tinkles.

But then she wouldn't put her pants back on, diapered or not.

And then she took off her shirt.

And ran around the house completely naked.

And then put on a pair of my high heels and her winter jacket and asked to go outside to play.

(For some extremely strange reason, I said no to that one.)

After a bit of clomping around with her still very bare bottom hanging out, she decided to take off the coat and shoes and set about just changing Barbie's shoes.

As she was sitting down quietly and nicely playing with her toys in a very appropriate fashion, I may have sort of forgotten about her a teensy bit.

Not like the forgetting your child is still there at all sort, but the forgetting that your child is still completely naked and not yet overly house broken toilet trained sort of forgetting.

Puppies do not come house broken. Neither do babies.
Plus I was rather busy taking a very important pony personality quiz. Can you believe they said I was Applejack? I am SO Fluttershy, thankyouverymuch.

But moving right along....

2/3rds of the way through the quiz, Adrianna jumped up and started exclaiming "pee-pees potty pee-pees potty!"

"Yes yes, lets go!" was my immediate response as I left my incomplete pony personality quiz and rushed right over to her.

To discover that it was a little late for the potty thing, as there was a nice tell-tale smear of feces on her leg already.

But I still rushed her into the bathroom, plopped her down on the toilet, and told her not to get up until I came back.

And then I set about finding the dreaded poo-pile.

It took me a few moments to locate the delightful little present, but sure enough, there it was behind the toy kitchen.

And next to the dress up clothes.

And over by the Barbies too.

Dammit child, did you toddle around playing and pooping as you went?! I thought you were a little better trained than that!


Now my only fear is that I missed a spot, which will be discovered in an even grosser than fresh-and-steamy state and undoubtedly in a very undesirable-for-discovery manner (most likely I will end up unintentionally sitting in it in my khaki work slacks, Murphy's real sweet to me like that).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When It's Too Easy

Yesterday I took a proficiency test for a Court Clerk position with the town of Parker.

But before I tell you all about that, I should make sure you understand that Parker is as far away from where I live as I could possibly get while still managing to fall under the Greater Denver Metro Area label.

Which means it's probably the one job I might actually get as it's incredibly inconvenient to drive to and would demand an almost immediate move, you know, assuming Marty doesn't really want to spend 4 hours a day driving in shitty freeway traffic.

Which brings me to the next point of note: oh my god there was TRAFFIC.

See, my commute to Target clocks in at 35 minutes each way, 30 of which are spent on scenic mountain roads with minimal amounts of other cars.

I am SO not accustomed to using freeways these days. At all. And was kinda freaked out by the congestion. And how there are just sooo many cars. Who are stopping. Why are they stopping?? WHY????

Or you know, what everyone living around Washington DC calls "a normal day".

But after all that, I did indeed make it to the Parker town hall.

Parker is an interesting town. It's all really new, but was built in the style of it being old. Because because it's new, the old looking stuff just looks really fake. I also liked the incidents of full fledged farms being right next to notably large and grandiose new construction houses. I'm kinda sad I didn't get a picture of one, the house was even larger and more castle-styled than most, and right across the street was a farm with cows (although I will put both Iowa and northern NY to shame by not being able to tell from my brief glance whether they were dairy cows or steak cows).

But back to the test....

It was not unlike other pre-screenings I have taken. The typing portion was pretty standard (by which I mean the subject matter I had to type was simultaneously nonsensical and boring), and they only required 35 wpm to pass, which is comically low compared to EVERYONE else. My typing speed has come out as a solid 70+ wpm on several of those tests, despite my hesitation still to claim anything higher than 65wpm, so I'm pretty sure I passed that part regardless.

The math section, although not dissimilar in format, did have notably easier questions than ANY other one I have taken. Like, I kid you not, I (yes ME!!) did every single one quickly in my head, without needing the scrap paper AT ALL.

This may not be impressive to those of you who excel at adding large sums in your head, but it will be to my parents but math has never been my favorite subject, and every time algebra or advanced geometry makes an appearance I start to get all twitchy again and don't even trust myself to do but the simplest addition without checking it twice.

(Did you know my ACT math score in high school was so good I automatically was passed out of the college math requirement at Cornell? I don't know if that means I just got VERY lucky that particular testing day, or whether my math classes in high school actually were as ridiculously overly hard as I sure thought they were.)

But here, let me share some of the questions with you:
  1. Kyla bought something that's regularly $300 when it was 50% off. How much did she pay?
  2. Eric drives East 5 miles, North for 6 miles, and then West for 8 miles. How many total miles did he drive?
  3. Seven men and 3 women went into a building. Three men and 1 woman came out. How many people were still inside?
So what do you all think? Those seem rather like 7th grade level math, yes? Or maybe I'm just waaay smarter than I thought I was. That would be pretty cool, especially considering how I almost failed out of my higher level IB math course my senior year. 

But then, it got even creepier!

The spelling part was unlike other spelling tests I have taken (by which I pretty much just mean it was easy and I think I may have even *gasp* done well on it).

There was a sentence with a blank, and you listened to the audio and typed in the correct word.

But see, that wasn't SPELLING so much as WORDING. Or is it grammar? Reasonable grasp of the English language and how it works??

Like, how you affect the outcome by having effective word selection. And whether you know what weather you want. And how too many there's bring trouble to their new knowledge of what they're sure they already knew.

There was one that gave me a little pause though. I knew the word for the sentence was "incidence" from the singular use of "has" later in the sentence, and not incidents as it sounds exceptionally similar to on the audio as it would have used "have".

(I so smart, I know 7th grade language arts AND math.)

I just wasn't 100% certain of how to spell "incidence"..... but as I'm typing here correctly, without spell check fixing it, I'm hoping I was right on autopilot for the test as well.

Also, I'm pretty sure my tendency to do things like read big books with complex language (and unrelated, but also with involved and complicated plots) and keep a blog totally helped me out substantially on that section in comparison to how I would have preformed had I spent the last two years only watching tv.

I sure do love me some written words when I'm not so sleep deprived I can't focus my eyes enough to actually read words. 

Now for all those who make these typing tests, couldn't you just put in an excerpt from one of the Game of Thrones books instead of the made up nonsense dribble? Pretty please? Or better yet, how about somebody hire me to make typing tests that are both interesting AND requiring all over keyboard usage?? I bet I would be pretty awesome at that. Oh, and could you make a 32 hour work week but still keep a decent salary and benefits package? Yep, that sounds like an excellent plan.

The only other point of note about the day was attire. I wore my very bright short dress again (which happens to look FABULOUS with my pink streaked hair, justsoyaknow). And again, everybody else was in those half yoga/half slack stretchy looking black pants that I passionately don't like.


I think I'll just keep on being a little more me, and a little less concerned about everybody else's opinions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sharing Ice Cream

We were getting lunch at McDonald's a few weeks ago when an employee approached us and asked if we'd like a free ice cream cone.

I do think it was just because somebody just goofed and made an extra one or whatever, and not an extremely magnanimous gesture on behalf of the organization.

But hey, free ice cream is free ice cream, and this family sure does love ice cream.

However, as there was only cone I was slightly worried that there might be a sharing problem.

(And only briefly debated whether I was going to have to go buy another one just to avoid the potential impending ice cream drama.)

But Kristina was a very gracious big sister, and Adrianna didn't even blink an eye over the fact that she didn't get to hold the cone, and they shared that unexpected little bit of ice cream in an outstandingly awesome (and dare I say adorable?) way.

It was a very pleasant lunch, after a very pleasant morning out and about. So see, every so often the horrible pooping and loud screaming of raising children gets interrupted by a perfectly pleasant day.

But don't tell the girls Mommy actually enjoyed our time out, they might see that as a challenge to make sure I don't have a pleasant day with them again until they're teenagers.

It's Turtle Time

It's time once again for the annual Turtle Float Fundraiser at the girls' preschool, Over the Rainbow.

In addition to selling $5 turtles (much like a raffle, but with higher levels of adorableness and not using the word "raffle" as it is, apparently, very illegal to do so) again this year, we also set up an ONLINE AUCTION.

Buy a turtle, or you make baby Kristina sad
I have to admit, I had some trepidations about this effort, and whether it will actually be bringing in the sort of profit the fundraising committee chair seems to think it will.

But it's up and running, so by all means, go bid on a fancy Vancouver hotel or Eldora ski tickets! 

And should you be feeling especially supportive of a small town non-profit business my children enjoy on a daily basis (and want to make me appear super awesome when ranked against other fundraising parents), feel free to get in touch with me about sponsoring a turtle (or twelve) and I'll get you all the super exciting ticket details.

Also, I am looking forward to this being done so I can stop making posters for it.

I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard, except that I've been doing it in MSPaint. Fear my MSPaint skills, for they are fierce. And a little lacking something desirable. Like perhaps competence?

But come June 24th the event is done for another year, and we will all be truly greatful.

HOWEVER, the auction and turtle dump aren't the only parts of it this year! We're also hosting a fundraising post-turtle-dump prize selection and music shin-dig at the local Whistler's Cafe that afternoon and 50% of all sales (including alcohol!!! everybody needs some post-turtling drinks!! or at least I sure will!) during that time go directly to the preschool. 

So come, buy a turtle (or twenty-seven), float it down the river, and eat a little dinner afterwards.

It just so happens that the High Peaks Art Festival is that very same weekend (it's almost like we planned it that way or something really crazy like that), so there will also be lots of other fun things to do in Nederland June 23rd and 24th in addition to rooting for your turtle and voting for the best dressed duck on Sunday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Birthday Dress

Kristina has talked about her upcoming birthday party in August since about half a moment after her one last year ended.

What theme to have, who to invite, where to have it... all of these have been greatly pondered by her (and had her mind change several dozen times).

But today she said something that was truly remarkable.

She said she wanted to have all her party guests dressed up. The girls need to wear fancy dresses and the boys need to wear nice shirts and pants.

Now, I already had an inkling that her mind was going this way from when we were browsing the super-duper mega clearance sale at Gymboree a few weeks back and she wanted to get a specific extremely nice party dress to wear to a party. When I gently pointed out that I didn't think she would have any fancy parties to go to this summer, she thought a moment and then declared that she wanted to wear to HER birthday party.

And as the dress in question was marked down to the $10 and under range, I was agreeable for this plan.

But see, you remember the part about her really wanting her party guests to also be in nice clothes?

Well, it just so happened that I made that EXACT. SAME. REQUEST. to my very own mother in regards to my 4th birthday party.

And yes, I was rather disappointed in the boys' lack of appropriately fancy clothes. Even when I was 4. The girls totally got the memo and arrived in picture perfect party dresses. And then one of them even got the whole "hey lets take a picture" idea and smiled adorably at the camera!

Sadly, I was not that adorable child. I was the one with a pink balloon behind her head looking sullenly at the boy, probably begrudging him showing up to my fancy dress party in his classy 80s sweat suite.

                   Damnit, when I say black tie on the invitation, I MEAN black tie!

Or you know, whatever the four-year-old version of that idea would be.

However, as understanding as I am about Kristina's desire to have a party with all of her friends in their best dresses, it complicates what to do for her party slightly.

Some children I'm sure would be agreeable to things like a tea party or other such activities. But Kristina's love of birthday parties is centered greatly around running all wild with her friends (and balloons and cake, of course).

But I had been thinking of just doing it in our backyard with the zipline, sandbox and trampoline out in the beauty of summer in the Colorado Rockies.

(By which I mean it'd be in the morning before the regular afternoon hail and thunderstorm starts)

And as much as I'm willing to take a deep breath and just let my child go roll in the dirt in her new fancy dress (after all, it was pretty cheap and bought specifically for her to wear and enjoy on that day), other parents might not feel quite so inclined with their offspring and said offspring's best clothes.

But then again, this IS Nederland. People take children playing outdoors and getting dirty as a way of life here. Perhaps the other parents wouldn't mind too much if it also just so happened to involve fancy party dresses??

Sloppy Real Estate

As some of you may have noticed, I like looking at houses.

A lot.

But there is something I see CONSTANTLY that irritates me to no end.

Crappy pictures taken by the Realtor. 

Now I know and understand that some spaces, like smaller bathrooms, are very difficult to get good angles or full room shots in regardless of skill, effort, or equipment.

I get that. I do. Really.

But when pictures of things like the living room are not only poorly done angle/cropping/view wise, but also out of focus it just bugs the shit out of me.

If you're making a living by doing this and a key component is taking pictures of these houses, invest a small amount into a halfway decent camera. Because really, for $200 you could get a fairly nice and respectable one that you would use constantly and which would serve you well for many years. Only having the super cheap poor resolution and 10 year old digital one is just shooting yourself in the foot.

Also, learn to use the flash. Sometimes you want it on, sometimes you want it off, it is a setting button on ALL cameras, it's really not that hard to try taking pictures of a room both ways.

And for the love of all that is sacred to even the most dimwitted photographer, HOLD THE DAMN THING STILL WHILE YOU SNAP THE PICTURE.

Do you know how much a tripod costs? We sell some at Target for under $20 if you're hands are really that unsteady. Also, many modern cameras that aren't at the complete bottom of the digital camera spectrum have a built in shake stabilizing function that will help as well. They also have things like really awesome auto focus settings. You know, in case you'd want to try having your living room picture be in focus for once.

I wonder if I could make a career around taking decent pictures of houses for Realtors....

If anybody is curious, the fuzzy living room picture example came from this pretty house HERE, which I came across after applying for a very low level administrative support position with the District Attorney's office in Greeley, where it is both cheap to live and there is a resolvable stock of cool older houses available. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Bubble Trauma

The weekend Cassi was visiting me was also the same weekend as the Boulder Creek Festival.

Now admittedly, I haven't been to it in nearly 20 years, but I do remember it quite fondly from my childhood.

Well, I remember the inflatable pink flamingo my father got for me quite fondly. That flamingo was awesome. And then my mother threw it away "because it had a hole" but I think she just didn't like it very much AND I was slightly aghast by their unwillingness to try and patch it (Pinkie was part of the family for crying out loud). 

But moving back to present day....
But I wanna go in a bubble!

The very first thing we saw upon our arrival was a game where children were placed inside large plastic bubble and allowed to flounder around for a bit in a pool of water.

The only way this game could have been improved was if they put the bubbled children in the Boulder Creek itself, as seeing your own offspring inside a hamster ball is truly one of those priceless moments in parenting.

However, Adrianna thought the bubbles looked every bit as cool as Kristina did, and was NOT happy about my decree of no bubbles for the two year old.

When it was Kristina's turn to bubble, she climbed into the deflated plastic and looked back at me as they began to blow it up.

THAT look.
It was THAT look.

That look she gives me just before she loses it. It was the look she gave me when getting her ears pierced, and when her dance instructor mentioned Santa Clause.

I know what that look means, and what will quickly follow, and I stepped up and asked if she was ok and if she wanted to do it still.

She nodded that she was ok, and plunged right on into the pool before I could tell them to take her out.

And appeared to enjoy herself for about 2 seconds before completely freaking out and sobbing.

The crew running the hamster balls were great, and pulled her back out as soon as the bubble that had been in the process of being filled at her moment of panic vacated the in/out stand.

But she didn't calm down as soon as she was out and being carried off by mommy. Nor did she let the incident go, as she spent the rest of the day begging for us not to put her back in the bubbles again.

Cassi and I kept telling her over and over again that she wouldn't do the bubbles ever again if she didn't want to wasn't as reassuring as one might hope, and our patience with her dramatic reaction long past the scare quickly wore thin.

And it's that part of life where i just feel defeated. All I was trying to do was a be an indulgent mother to her child's whims during what was supposed to be a fun day at the festival.

But no, it ended up being a day of dealing with two very whiny and inconsolable children who just wouldn't let that first disappointment of the morning go no matter what other fun things we did that day, like overpriced bouncy house turns and souvenir toys.

Ah well, at least now we know she's scared of heights AND somewhat claustrophobic. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Something's Gotta Give

It's getting to that point again.

That built up frustration at everything that just makes me want to scream.

The stupidity of Target.

I spent an hour this morning fixing the purses and wallets so they were in the correct places. It took an HOUR to do it, and I backstocked an entire tub of stuff that was past capacity or shouldn't have been out on the sales floor at all. I felt proud of it, because it looked damn good in addition to being 100% correct. I told my boss I did that when he came by shortly later (probably wondering why I hadn't advanced any in my scanning task list for the last hour), and he smiled and said it looked good (which is as much praise as he ever gives). The older gal who works in the neighboring jewelry department and saw me banging around in there the whole time later asked if my boss knew how awesome I was for doing that. The fitting room operator agreed that it must have been horrid as nobody ever touches it zoning.The softlines Team Lead thanked me profusely.

But yet, none of that really matters. Nobody looks at what I do at the store and says "well gee, Marty sure does a lot, lets give her a raise". I get an annual review. I got an "Excellent" ranking on my last one, and a 5% pay raise as decided by the Target corporation (each rank had it's own pay raise associated with it determined at levels far beyond anyone in the store), which was only 3.7% after they did the stupid prorating of it because I hand't worked there a full year. And that will be it until next April. No bonuses, beyond when someone on the sales floor might feel magnanimous about giving in the way of stuff like $5 Target gift cards. No raises, or other performance reviews.  Nothing.

Eventually, a Team Lead position might open up. The store is only allowed to have so many, and when they're all filled they're all filled until a Team Lead leaves (requested to be transferred to another store, quit for bigger and better opportunities, was fired for being exceptionally stupid, etc). Then if it's a position I want (and to be fair, there ARE some Team Lead positions I don't want), I can apply for it. My application and my previous work at the store are compared with everyone else who also applied for it. If they think I have potential, I go through multiple rounds of interviews with all sorts of levels of store management including the ones that are way above the store itself. Then if they decide I'm the one they want in that position out of the selection of applicants I would be promoted to middle management. I'm not entirely sure what happens after that point, although I suspect it means a month of doing everything wrong and everyone being on you like nothing else for always screwing up from the little I've seen from when they switched around some of the Team Leads a few months back.

The frustration of children.

They won't go to bed. Ever. If I sit in their room for 2 or 3 hours, I can usually manage to get them to sleep. If I leave before then, all hell breaks lose. They need to be in separate rooms. Or straight jackets. Or drugged. Or SOMETHING. But see, what really makes this so incredibly frustrating to me is it that has ALWAYS been this way. Always. Kristina has always been a total pain to put to sleep. And it has always taken hours. And always been frustrating as hell. And always made me have that same sick feeling of carve the shit out of my arms with a knife. Or to smoother her with a pillow. But I don't. Sometimes I scream at her. Sometimes I slam her bedroom door when I leave. Sometimes I wish everything was completely different. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I cry. But every night I try again, and hope that maybe this night will be one of those special few where she just gives me a kiss and says "I love you Mommy" and rolls over and goes to sleep. Without getting up a dozen times. Without talking to her sister. Without throwing a tantrum after I wouldn't let her get up for the third time to go to the bathroom in the last 20 minutes. Without doing any of it.

Adrianna whines at me constantly. Kristina at least whines while speaking and will usually manage to say something like a normal person if I tell her I can only understand big girl words. But Adrianna just makes this awful whiny noise at me. And doesn't stop. And no-one can understand what she's saying even when she tries to use words, which isn't very often, or it's for things I've already told her no about half a hundred times. Like band-aids. Dear lord, is that child ever going to single handedly make Hello Kitty and Scooby Doo band-aid stock holders very rich. But see, buying multiple boxes of them a week starts to add up, and sometimes I do crazy things like tell her "no" after her third one for non-existent injuries in the last hour. And then she whines at me all the more. So I give her the stupid pacifier that I want to throw out just to make her stop making that horrible noise. But she doesn't stop, not really, she just whines at me around the damn pacifier in her mouth. 

Everything Adrianna does that she's not supposed to Kristina has to do, and everything Kristina does that she's not supposed to Adrianna has to do. Kristina threw her ball into Grandma's garden and HAS TO go tromp through Grandma's flowers to go get her ball back? You better believe Adrianna is half a step behind her. Adrianna got into Mommy's bedroom stash of chocolate? No way am I getting that put away without giving Kristina a handful of the goods, which of course means Adrianna needs some more too. Thank god we're past the patty-cake stage with Adrianna, I felt more than a little ridiculous indulging the rather large for her age 3 and a half year old Kristina's demands to do it on her as well. And at least Adrianna's imitating Kristina jumping off of rocks is a little less terrifying these days as Adrianna has managed to do things like master the skills of climbing and jumping, instead of her previous technique which was whining at Mommy until I put her up there and then falling off unexpectedly with the full confidence in Mommy's reflexes to catch her.

The housing arrangements.

I don't like living with my parents. They provide so much for me, and all the while I just feel horribly incompetent and guilty over the fact that I'm very nearly 27 and incapable of self sufficiency. I have invaded their space, and not just with myself and my physical crap, but with this pair of screaming banshees (aka children) who have no concept of personal space or that someone might not want to play with them at any moment during any given day. And then because my parents are there they end up providing all sorts of childcare for me because of the stupidity of hiring a babysitter when there are two other adults sitting in the house already. But then my going out is very dependent on them and their schedules and how they're feeling and whether they want to and how much they've already had to watch them in the past week. And it's like, I really think things like my parents watching the girls on Saturdays when I'm working would be SOOOO much easier for everybody if the girls weren't underfoot for them the rest of the week. But I can't keep them from being there, and wanting to help with everything my mother tries to do in the kitchen and following my father around outside as he picks up deadfall and always needing to come say hi right when they started watching the news. So my parents are always burned out on grandchildren and I always feel guilty for us being here. And I'm incapable of changing any of that.

I do things at weird times, like suddenly wanting to make brownies at 11pm or forgetting about laundry that was in the washer and that desperately needs to go into the dryer until I'm falling asleep. But my parents go to bed early, and their bedroom is right next to the laundry room and kitchen, so I try really hard not to be thumping around up there any more than I have to after they've gone to sleep. I don't like doing big stuff like the massive moving around of furniture and cleaning when they're sitting right there because they tease me about it (or rather, my lack of doing it most of the time). I don't want to go out and buy a bottle of Windex because I know my mother probably has a bottle from Cosco around here somewhere and yet I don't know where that somewhere would be and so I just end up not using it. For a year and a half. And all of it is so fucking stupid. And yet it's still there. And it's still how I live when I live with other people, especially my parents, and I don't know why. Why is it I can only clean when I don't feel like anyone is watching me clean? Why is it I only like to cook when I can cook by myself at odd hours? Why is it I don't manage my own life at all if someone else is there who might kinda sorta take care of some of it? I don't know. But it's how I functioned as long as I've been aware of my functioning, and my house was notably cleaner every. single. time. Peter was gone than compared to when he was home. And my parents are that much worse, because they somewhat expect me to be a totally incompetent slob (they did live through my teenage years after all) and I am all about living up to people's expectations.

Every week I look at houses that are on the market. And my bank account. And crunch the numbers. And every week I come to the same conclusion that I simply would not be able to afford even the old crummy looking little houses in the less desirable outside-of-Boulder areas on my present hourly wage in a long term sustainable fashion. Also, I keep really wanting to go to the bank to see if I could get pre-approved for ANY amount of loan, but then not wanting to because I really don't want to hear (again) how much my finances suck. They've gotten so much better... which doesn't mean a damn thing for anther 4+ years, since things like creating savings and paying off debt are done slowly in the best circumstances. And Target salary isn't the best of circumstances. Nor is incidents of car crashes and needing to see the eye doctor three times in two weeks before I was eligible for Target employee health insurance. And I try really hard to tell myself that my ability to just pay those bills out of my checking account and not have anything horrible happen to my savings account or have to put them on the credit card I just payed down shows that things really are doing pretty damn good. But I still sit here and go "but... what I want is to buy a house.......and can't."

The job search.

I apply for positions, but 85% of them are straight up rejection or I just never hear anything back. The other ones want me to things like drive an hour and a half to take a typing test on two days notice when I'm already scheduled to work that day, and even the ones I do make it to get me absolutely nowhere, so I'm all the more reluctant to inconvenience myself to take more typing tests and the like, but still constantly frustrated over my lack of better job opportunities. And I'm so sick of it. But frustrated enough about housing and Target that I keep doing it anyways all the while thinking how pointless it is.

My degree is useless and I have no applicable or relevant experience in anything, or so I've gathered from every single job posting I've ever looked at. And I keep feeling like the system lied to me. There was this clear and constant message my entire childhood and early adult years where if I went to school and did advanced courses and scored well on tests and went to college and graduated with a good GPA I could somehow do life. But I did all that, and I still can't do life very well. So why the hell did everyone tell me that was how I was supposed to do it? Is it just that I had the luck to graduate and enter the work force at a really shitty time in the economy and job market? Is it just because I keep looking for a salary that will support two children in a middle class upbringing while only have the qualifications for a studio apartment ramen eating lifestyle? Is it that I thought my degree mattered for something and just haven't gotten past the constant prickle of not even finding jobs where me having a BA matters in the slightest? Because really, it's just a very depressing thing to have been doing continually for the last year and a half.

I have friends I went to school with who have good jobs. In fact, some of them even have down right respectable salaries. I hate them almost as much as I hate the ones with happy marriages and glowing pregnancy pictures. And I don't understand why other people's lives came together so much better than my own. So I tell myself that they're probably just as miserable it just hasn't hit on facebook yet. Or that right now the trend is everyone getting married and pregnant and being super happy about life, and in another few years everyone will be divorcing and loosing their minds over the horde of children and an incident with peas just like I have. I'm just ahead of the game. Right? Or horribly behind. Or not even on the same playing or field. Or doing the same game. Or even in the same solar system some days.


So there you have it, the long and melodramatic ramblings of why Marty was quiet today. Because she was brooding about all of this. And these thoughts make her less than patient for stupid shit. Which is how she ended up pinning one of the backroom guys to the floor when he was teasing her by taking her key of power.

But hey, maybe now I can be quiet at work tomorrow and people will just leave me alone. Or give me chocolate. Chocolate is always a safe way to go.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why Potty Training Sucks: Example 1

Devil horns or pigtails? You decide
Adrianna wanted to go potty this afternoon.

As I really want Adrianna out of diapers, I am ALWAYS very encouraging and indulgent of her toilet-using requests.

However, right that exact moment in time I was in the middle of fixing the girls' dinner.

So Grandma helped out and brought Adrianna to the bathroom.

Adrianna happened to be wearing a pair of pink panties over her diaper from preschool that day (why? I don't know, but some things you don't really want the answers to...), and so after she peed those wonderful few tinkling drops Grandma asked Adrianna if she wanted to just wear her panties.

Adrianna was excited about it, and went on her merry underweared way.

After feeding the girls' dinner, I happened to be in the kitchen with Kristina cleaning up while Adrianna was off by herself playing in the play room.

Or so I thought.

When I went to see how she was doing in there, I found her sitting on my chair at my computer desk chowing down on my chocolate chips.

However, when I started to approach her I realized the situation was much, MUCH worse than originally anticipated.

She had pooped in those pink panties.

And then taken them off, with the expected skill of a two year old (by which I pretty much just mean she very thoroughly smeared shit all over herself in the process of "cleaning herself up" by removing her soiled bottoms).

And then sat down in my chair with her very poopy butt.

And THEN proceeded to grub around my computer and eat my chocolate chips with her very poopy hands.

So, after my three-second OH. MY. GOD. moment, I went right about cleaning up the poop-and-chocolate smeared child.

And after getting her cleaned up and re-clothed, set right about grabbing stuff to go clean up my chair and desk.

(Because really, EWW!)

However, the moment I had released the freshly cleaned Adrianna back into the wilds of the playroom,  she had bolted right back over to my desk, climbed right back up into my still-very-poo-covered chair, and made another pass for the contaminated bag of chocolate chips.

So I got to clean her up again, after throwing away the contaminated bag of chocolate chips, and then get my poor poor chair and desk sanitized.

But then, as I was regaling my parents with the poopy-chair-and-chocolate-chips story, Adrianna came running upstairs completely naked but for a set of suspenders she wanted to put on.

Eventually one of us stopped laughing long enough to try and explain to her that you have to have something, like pants, to use suspenders on.

And I promptly decided that it was most definitely bedtime right then.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Bows

February 2010
I have to admit, I am a big fan of hair bows on little girls, and have greatly enjoyed having two little girls to bow up.

However, it's been a solid 2 years since my last real bow purchasing spree (well, besides a few very small not really counting clips at Target), and our stock has gotten very depleted.

(And yes, I was THAT mother, who had to get matching bows for all the special outfits.)

(But don't worry, I've been substantially stressed sleep deprived busier poorer enlightened  since then, and no longer see it as pressingly important.)

So when I came home from work yesterday to learn that Kristina had gotten herself dressed, brushed her hair, and made it look nice by putting a bow in it all by herself without even needing to be asked that morning, I decided we needed some more bows on hand ASAP.

I've ordered bows online from a couple different small businesses and ebay sellers, and by far my favorite for overall best selection, quality, and pricing is Five Blessed Bows.

And RIGHT NOW they have a sale going on where several basic styles are 50% percent off!

Now, a few notes about their various bow options that I have come to learn from when I was a regular bow shopper:
  • The grippy material is great for the newborn sized bows on semi-bald children. It's a pain on any bow larger that you're trying to put in actual hair. 
  • The only size bows that will stay on a small baby's head are the small baby bows. Even if they have babyhair, there just isn't enough of it nor is it strong enough to hold the weight of the big ones. If you really want the little baby to wear supersized bows (although I personally advise AGAINST putting a bow on a child that is as big as her (or his...) head), they have to go on a bow headband.
  • The alligator clips are THE way to go for the toddler/preschool crowd, and work quite well stuck into ponytails OR just clipped in on their own.
  • Light colors look good on dark hair and dark colors look good on light hair. 
    • I would argue this point holds true in clothing too, as Adrianna looks MUCH better in light yellow than Kristina ever did, and I think it's because she doesn't have blond hair. 
  • I really like the classic look of the basic bow. The butterfly bow is poofier and nice for a little bow variety, but just doesn't have quite the same "timeless little girl" effect when worn to me. 
  • I like the look of the bows with tails on the computer screen, but find they do funky things in my children's hair while being worn and that the tail-less bows are much easier to work with. 
  • The supersized baby corkers are very similar to the Gymboree barrettes, but having them on regular little alligator clippies makes them waaay easier to use (and they are also sturdier than the Gymboree barrettes). I have not ordered any of the larger corker sizes, although they look somewhat intimidatingly huge from the pictures.
    • Again, I don't think bows should be larger than the head of the child wearing them.

And now we're just (slightly impatiently) waiting for our very exciting package of NEW bows to arrive!

August 2010

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stuff I Need to Do this Summer

  • Read Jurassic Park 
    • I've never read the book, and only seen the movies. Many people have told em the book is quite good. Plus I'm a fan of reading in general. But Target doesn't stock it, so I actually have to put in effort (by which I mean order it from Amazon 2 days ahead of time) to get it, which is why it hasn't happened yet. 
  •  Get rid of stuff
    • There is a lot of just STUFF piled all over my space (and the garage, which I've somewhat taken over) in this house. And it needs to go. I started by making a pile of stuff to go in a corner. It needs some massive adding to, and then to actually make it out of the house. Desperately. For my own sanity as much as appeasing my (slightly cranky about the overtake of the garage) parents. 
  • Teach Kristina how to ride her bike
    • She's close, so very close..... 
  • Meet with the bank
    • I do a lot of online house shopping and subsequent day dreaming. It would be nice to know whether there's a snowball's chance in hell of me getting pre-approved for a mortgage of ANY amount. 
  • Potty train Adrianna
    • Because we are so done dealing with diapers around here
  • Survive the Turtle Float
    • It's the preschool's annual fundraiser coming up in a few weeks. And I'm already soooo wanting it just to be D-O-N-E. And it's only going to get worse between now and then. Le sigh.... 
  • Get a tattoo
    • There's one I've been wanting to do for years and years and years. This summer is an excellent time to make it happen. I just need to do it.
  • Foster friendships
    • I'm really excited about kinda sorta almost having REAL friends. Like, in real life. With people who I see regularly. And whom I adore. I'm not real good at making lots of friends, I usually just find one of reasonably good companionship and character and stick to them like glue, but then get overly dependent and have issues when the said friend might have something (anything) in their life outside of ME. 
  • Do super awesome at work
    • In general I've done well during my time at Target, but I really want to do exceptionally well during the back-to-college insanity, so then I can turn around in October and be like, so you're promoting me to Team Lead when....?? 
  • Turn 27
    • This one's easy, it happens in a week and a half whether I do anything regarding it or not. But I like putting easily checked off goals on my lists to make me feel accomplished.
  • See an adult-oriented concert and/or show
    • Any concert or show, really.  Although, seeing things at Red Rocks is extra cool because of the location and Avenue Q is playing at the always awesome Boulder Dinner Theater in September. You know, if anyone felt so inclined to join me...
      • The adult part is because my parents and I already have tickets to take Kristina to see Cinderella at the Boulder Dinner Theater next month, which will be a ton of fun in it's own right, just a totally different experience from what I was referring to.
  • Get the new blog website up and running
    • I've been wanting to do this for ages, and took a huge step a few days ago and actually bought a web addressing/hosting site. Now I just need to build the rest of it. Oh, and like, learn how the internet works, because it's a little more complicated than I thought it was. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Dressed Up Attitude

Sometimes a picture alone says it all...

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Question to Answer

Each year Target does what they call The Great Team Survey, where every employee fills out an anonymous survey about their level of personal satisfaction with working at Target.

The idea is that then the store can then take that specific feed back and use it to change certain practices in the upcoming year.

You know, personal improvement on the corporate level or some such thing.

Most of the questions I gave "satisfied" marks to, as overall I do like my job, and I do think well of my boss, and I do think that Target does a lot of good things for me (like a matching 401k retirement plan and providing health insurance) that not a lot of people my age have these days.

But the one that threw me off was the one that asked how long I expected to work at Target for.

Obviously, as I have already been there for almost a year, the one of "less than 6 months" is out, and realistically the "more than 6 months but less than 1 year" isn't looking real plausible right now either as I'm fast approaching that hiring anniversary.

But then I couldn't decide between the 1-2 years and 2-5 years options. How long DO I plan to work at Target?

Most of the time I like the job, and even when I don't particularly like it I find it tolerable.

I'm frustrated being on the bottom much of the time, but I somewhat suspect that the corporate hierarchy exists in all professions and therefore dealing with bosses is just a part of life that won't dramatically change by working in an office instead of in retail.

(Although by all means, cubical workers of the world, feel free tell me Office Space was totally wrong. Bonus points if you are looking at your red stapler right now!!)

But then there's the part about the pay....

Remember my mathematically advanced calculations about how the increase in pay does not match the increase in living costs for this area?

Yeah, that didn't even cover how "competitive wages" for the industry as set by Target exclude places a block away from us like Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, and Whole Foods as not being "like" retailers (and where the bottom feeder employees also make more than us Target minions). So pretty much the only thing compared is Walmart, but there's not even one of those in Boulder, so that part about paying better than other similar retailers is somewhat a joke at my particular store.

(But don't tell HR, they get really huffy when people diss the entry level sales floor wage, while somewhat ironically making substantially more themselves being at the Executive level and all.) 

And that's why the people who only care about their hourly wage leave in less than a year.

But some people stay....

I have continued to apply for other positions the entire time I've been at Target.  Granted not with as much consistency or veracity as when I was completely unemployed, but applications still go out on a regular basis.

Which means it's been a year and a half at this point that I've been seriously looking for a career, and have yet to feel like I've gotten anywhere at all.

And unlike some of my peers, I don't see much point in quitting to work an equally crappy job for a dollar more an hour, nor do I feel as though I'm in the position to just quit and not work at all until something else rolls around.

And lets be honest here, if I'm not working I lose my childcare state assistance AND a good chunk of personal income, which means I can't possibly afford childcare on my own, which means I'd be spending those 40+ hours a week sitting at home with my children.

Yeah, some days at Target kinda suck, but 95% of the time I'd rather be there than back doing the stay-at-home-mommy thing since that sucked waaaaay more for me.

(Go thank your mother/neighbor/friend/cousin/stranger on the street who manages to spend every waking second of their life with their offspring and don't have the overwhelming urge to go postal on the world, for they are truly remarkable individuals who are in NO WAY properly appreciated for all that they do and put up with by anyone in this society.) 

So I'm very personally motivated to keep my job at Target until such time I actually manage to end up with something notably better.

And at the rate of progress thus far, I'm estimating that to be some time between 5 years and never from now.

[Note to Self: go find some fucking optimism]

[Note to Note to Self: my pessimism is a direct result of having hope crushed over and over and OVER again, and therefore is totally reasonable at this point. But feel free to make life shoot me some amount of amazing awesomeness at any time to change my mind real quick.]

In the mean time, I couldn't decide which ones of these I liked more for a mostly-unrelated illustration of the last ending side note of this post. So please enjoy lots of them.