Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Picture to the Contrary, Not a Religious Post

Somebody in my neighborhood thinks I need religion. I'm not gonna lie, I could use some. a lot. We didn't do a single thing this holiday weekend. I only went outside yesterday evening for about 20 10 minutes to let the girls get some energy out. Jasmyne chased Taylar, Taylar chased Jasmyne. They went out-of-bounds and we came in. Had baths, got their hair braided up and went to bed. Saturday and Sunday, didn't step foot out the door. So they had plenty of time to do it.

This morning, Lee wasn't home from his domino game yet, so I packed the babies in the van and headed off to work. Couldn't be early enough to take Alexa to school, of course. I mean, I kinda figured she needed to figure out for herself how difficult crutches would be. I suppose I could've made the time to take her. I did drop Lee's shirts off at the cleaners, after all. I coulda skipped that and made him have to starch and iron his own shirt... Yeah, prolly shoulda done that.... Who am I kidding? I'm not winning a parent of the year award anytime soon ever.

Anyway, back to my story... I have the babies in the van and am driving through the lot, when I noticve something under my windshield wiper. Not something small like a flier, no. This was a full-size Bible. I stopped the van and got out to grab it. About this time, some lady I've seen around the complex before walks past. I tell her someone's left me a treat, since she's watching my shenanigans. I look inside, someone's torn out the dedication page. Strange. So either one of my neighbors thinks I need religion or possibly, they tried out a church on Sunday, were given a Bible and decided it wasn't for them and passed it along.

So on our way to daycare Taylar mentions she might like to have That Bible Book. I figure, what's the harm? And let her have it. She takes it in to daycare with her. I tell the story to Taylar's teacher, 'cause she's awfully curious as to why my three-year-old has a real Bible with her. Apparently during the day Taylar told her “Shhh, you has to be quiet, I'm reading my Bible Story.” I told Lee I'd let her take it in. He said something about them having to watch out for Holy-Roller Taylar today.

I did skip the weird interactions I had on the way to the car. Usually, there's no one around when we're heading out. Well, maybe the one upstairs furthest from the parking lot. Today, there was the father of the people directly upstairs and I guess it's his friend coming toward the apartments as we were leaving. One was barefoot and we weren't going fast at all, so since I was carrying Jasmyne, we stepped off onto someone's sidewalk off the main one, to let the guys pass. With a retaining wall of timbers on one side and a yard full of doggie “surprises” on the other, two people can't pass without touching. You're taking your shoes' life into your hands walking in the grass, so usually one person waits while another passes. Unless they're not from here and just cutting through.

Off topic again... So the barefoot guy goes past, but the other one stays and waits for us. I'd said I was waiting because we weren't moving very fast. The barefoot guy said the other wasn't going very fast, either. As soon as they got out of earshot, the tattle-tale lady walked closer and asked did they live above me? What apartment number is that? And she had her cell phone out like she was ready to speed-dial the apartment office. Ugh. She's the one who was calling a tow-truck when someone parked in her assigned space one afternoon.

This afternoon, the guy upstairs got home about the same time we did, but it had totally slipped my mind. I'm sure it had nothing to do with limpy trying to carry Jasmyne and her crutches and her school stuff... Anyway, later I heard noise on the balcony, so I went to let them know something might be up on the landlord front. 'Cause I'd like notice if that lady was ever calling about me. But anyway, that was that. How was your Labor Day weekend?

Monday, August 31, 2009


I’ve never been one to march to anyone else’s drummer. I didn’t follow trends. I wasn’t part of the “in” crowd. I did things my own way and was quite content. Nobody pushed me to do drugs. Ok, there was that one time, but that’s a story I’ll write later. (Spoiler: I didn’t do it.) Last night, I was thinking about my seventh grade year for a few reasons. Boring ones, I assure you. But there were a few highlights from seventh/eighth grade I thought I’d like to share.

First of all, I was alone my seventh grade year. Separately, all three of my best friends had moved away at the end of sixth grade. Living right next to a military base, we were used to seeing people come and go every year. However, only one of those three friends was military. Anyway, they were all gone, so I was left to fend for myself the next year. You may not know this about me, but I’m rather anti-social. (Ha, like that’s a shock.) I’m not a joiner and I don’t make friends lightly.

One major event during my seventh grade year was that I fell from one of the chin-up bars. I’d always been one of the tallest in my class, so I was on the tall chin-up bar. I somehow let go and fell straight down. Landed on my tailbone. It was the least fun I’d ever had on a playground. I spent a good deal of the next few weeks in the nurse’s office. Lots of times I had to be picked up early from school. I was a real pain in my mom’s rear, who had to take off from work every time I called to come get me because I couldn’t sit in those hard desks, I’m sure.
I’ve said I knew I was different from other kids. I didn’t know any other kid who liked going to the office supply store. I loved it. I could spend hours in there. Smelling the…whatever. Old dust do you think? Once, I spent my hard-earned allowance on a roll of tickets. What use did I have for tickets? None, whatsoever. But I was more interested in them than candy. So my next big purchase from the office supply store was a briefcase. Again, what use did I have for it? None.

I carried it with me everywhere. Eventually, I'd take it to school filled with candy I'd bought at the neighborhood convenience store to sell at school. That ended abruptly one day. I was out on the front lawn before school started, doing my thing. A few kids came around. Then a few more. Suddenly I looked up and there was a huge crowd. Like you'd see around a fight. People started pushing and stuff, and I got more than a little scared. So I decided to close up shop. Somebody hocked a lugie in my hair from behind me. I was beyond done. And was kinda getting concerned about getting caught selling candy with all the attention I was drawing.

I went back to just being the weird girl with a briefcase. And then my mom came home with some wallpaper sample books someone had given her. I decided to jazz up my plain brown briefcase. I taped pieces of wallpaper I'd cut out of the books to the front of my briefcase. Interesting southwestern pattern and shapes. They did not go with the brown. But then, neither did the wallpaper, really.

So yeah, that was me. And while the wallpapered briefcase was the strangest thing I did, it wasn't by much. I remember another purse I carried that year was lime green. The only reason I'm sure it was the same time-frame is that I'd caught one of the handles on the doorknob when I was walking out of the library one day. It was hooked over my arm, under my books and I fell. Right on my bruised tailbone. Not my finest day.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

You really gonna wear that?

So last weekend was filled with jobs for Mom’s Taxi Service. I drove Alexa here and there. A lot. Much more than I planned, that’s for sure.

It started with a simple Friday plan. Take Alexa to the library so she could earn a cell phone before the school-year cutoff hit. If she spent two hours with this tutoring program, she earned a Metro POS, I mean PCS phone with service for a month on them. So, I had lunch with my aunt then picked Alexa up, then dropped her off at the downtown library, after making sure she was in the right place and everything. Then I went on my merry way to Weatherford to do an inspection, then back to town to do another. I was closer to the babies than her, so I picked them up first, then we got stuck in traffic. Bad traffic. I'd never seen it backed up that far before. Ever. So the babies and I took back-roads and twisted and turned all over the place, but got there to pick her up before it closed. Whew!

My inspections had taken longer than I expected. We barely made it. But, now Alexa finally had the materials to do the rest of the work. The materials she should have been given 6 months ago. So now she wanted to earn the laptop. The laptop that was really a netbook. But to her, it's a treasure. Friday night, she did some work. Saturday, she got up and started on her work, then wanted to go hang out at the library with them again. I suspect a boy was involved.

I took her to the library and let her stay for the day. She got there about noon and I picked her up about 5. She had a party to go to at 5:30, but she was supposed to bring a dessert and had none. I baked some cookies for her, like a nice mom, while she got ready. I made snickerdoodles, which she doesn't like, but they were fundraiser cookies we needed to get rid of. And of course, I didn't have anything to transport them on, so I improvised. I took a stack of about 5 paper plates and covered them in aluminum foil. Then I stacked the cookies up and covered the whole thing in more foil. Sure, I coulda gone to the grocery store and bought her something, but then we'd still have those cookies in the freezer and she has a new cookie fundraiser coming up for band. I have a feeling we're about to be up to our ears in cookie dough.

Ok, so now we're late for the party. Lee's at work, of course, so we all get in the car and head to the party. She's been to these people's house before a few times, but I never have. I'd looked up the way to get there before we left, and was pretty sure I was going the right way, but Alexa was busy texting on her new phone and wasn't interested in helping find the place. Until her POS had no signal. Ha! Anyway, I mentioned to Taylar that we were taking Alexa to her party. A really bad decision, usually. She said Alexa couldn't be going to a party, she wasn't wearing a dress. Because that is the end-all-be-all of a three-year-old's knowledge of parties. You have to wear a dress. We didn't mention it was a swimming party. That would have been too much for the poor baby to miss out on.

We found the house, no thanks to Alexa. She was back in her phone as we passed the house because she'd given me the wrong house number earlier in the evening. But now, she knew the number. Go figure.

I dropped her off and we headed home. Taylar was upset about missing a party now, so I told her we could go home and have our own party. Would she like chicken nuggets at her party? "No, just cake." What kind of cake? Brown cake. Ok, I had a brownie mix in the pantry, I could do "brown cake". We had party food, first. I made chicken nuggets and gave the girls some queso to dip them in. And broccoli, their favorite vegetable. And some beans, another favorite. And chips to dip in the leftover cheese.

Earlier, while I was waiting for the last batch of cookies, I'd chopped the vegetables for a zucchini casserole. I put it in to bake while we were gone and it was ready to come out just about the time I was ready to put the brownies in. Once the girls saw I had vegetables, they wanted some to go with their party food. So I shared. How can you resist little children begging for vegetables? I know I can't.

Not too much later, it was time to head back to get Alexa. She wasn't ready on time, surprise! But it wasn't too long of a wait. And she was in the first group that came out, so that was nice. The brownies were nice and cool when we got home. I'd even left out the nuts in case Alexa wanted some. But she didn't. She went to her room and I think did some more vocabulary words to try and earn that netbook.

Sunday morning, she wanted to go to church, so I took her there. She was scheduled to work in the nursery, but didn't feel well, so a friend's mom brought her home. She started working on her vocabulary words around noon. The deadline was 5pm, and she was about halfway done. At 4, we left to go to the library. She wasn't done and we needed to talk to the people. They said they'd already told some people they had until 9 to finish, so how could they not let her do the same? But she'd finished the first giant workbook and needed another.

She worked and worked on those words, but she wasn't very good at hitting the keys right, so she missed several. Plus, on some pages, they'd numbered them out-of-order, so she'd do a whole section wrong. I spent a lot of time helping her. Some of the words were kind of tricky. Qualitative had a really funky definition according to the book. Sure, it was a part of the actual definition, but it wasn't a very conceptual answer. Anyway, she worked long and hard. At 9, she was only 10 points away from earning the netbook, so she called the lady to let her know. She needed to finish and call back. Just after 10 on the night before the first day of school, she finally finished. She'd done no preparation for her school day.

She would have been finished before 10 pm if I'd not given her my cell phone to use, because it got better reception. Once I went in to see how she was doing and caught her talking to her boyfriend on her call phone while pausing the system on speaker. She's had her cell phone mearly a week and a half and I've confiscated it at least 3 times so far.

Anyway, she earned her computer, but hasn't received it yet. Not that I'm the least bit surprised. These people are the biggest feet-draggers I've ever met. And I live with Lee, who runs on CPT.

She's signed up with the same company for this school year. At least this time she has a phone number of someone to bug. The grand prize this year is an Ipod Touch. She's really been wanting one of those. I can't see spending that kind of money for something she's going to lose/break within a few months, but if she wants to earn one, I'm all for that. Maybe she'll take care of it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Family Funtime

Seriously, where's the "sarcastic font" on this thing?

So Monday night, I get a call. It's Lee's sister. Is he there? No, he's working. (True story.) Does he not answer his phone while he's working? Not really. If you need him, you can call on his job phone. No, that's ok. Just give him a message. If he cares about his mother at all, call me. Otherwise I won't call him anymore.

Is there anything I can help with? Not really. Then she spills the story. I call Lee at work and tell him what little I know. And I hated to do it because I knew it was gonna piss him off, but I told him her ultimatum. But really, who actually likes being on the receiving end of an ultimatum?

So some of the story is from her and some is from him. I don't think I have any editorial comments. But I haven't typed it yet, have i?

Here goes.

Their mom had stopped taking her psych meds and started calling people telling them she was going to burn the house down with her and her youngest son inside. (He's quadriplegic from an accident.) Some lady believed her and came to the house. She started knocking on the door and wouldn't leave. Their mom kept repeating her story and told her to leave or she'd call the police. The lady wouldn't leave. Their mom called the police. She was belligerent with them when they arrived, plus she'd been drinking. Surprise, they took her away.

They apparently had no problems leaving a bedridden boy (ok, he's 23) home alone. Anyway, so the younger brother called the sister, who was trying to contact the other brothers. The other brother was acting like it was a huge imposition. Lee was unavailable. I could hear the stress in his sister's voice. Her mom had been taken somewhere, she hadn't been successful in finding out where. Something about needing a code word to get information on mental patients' whereabouts.

Lee called her at some point. After work, he went to the volleyball bar with his friends from work. He never called me back to tell me what was going on, or even sent a text, but whatever. He did, however, show up more than a little inebriated in the middle of the night. So that was good. :(

He told me most of the story and that they knew where his mom was. And that his sister couldn't be there the folowing night, so he would be spending the night in Dallas. And of course, being the responsible guy that he is, he stayed up while I went back to bed around 4.

Predictably, he wasn't up for getting up in the morning, so he called in to work. He stayed home and did laundry all day and was supposed to be in Dallas by 6. But he dozed off on the couch and didn't leave until nearly 5pm.

Alexa got home from school and called to tell me he'd left for Dallas. Funny, my phone must be broken, it never even rang when he tried to call me. Yeah, so that started a fight. I was trying so hard not to start one because of all the stress he had going on. But he was apparently in the fightin' mood.

He didn't call me when he got there and was kinda pissed that I called him. But I didn't care. I wanted him to know his daughter was running a fever. So I nursed her all evening. Kept her separated (for the most part) from her sisters.

At 11, he called and woke me up. He was home, the door was locked. B-O-O H-O-O. I wanted to say, anyway. I went and unlocked the door and he said somethign about his brother showed up with his boys, so blah, blah, blah he came back home and would go back the next night for his turn. I was sleepy and stumbled back to bed.

So, Wednesday night, Lee went straight from work to Dallas. Around 10, he sent me a text saying he was almost there. 45 minutes later, I called to find out where he was, if anything had happened. He'd stopped to pick up half-price Pappasitos fajitas and to have a couple of margaritas while he waited and neglected to mention it. So when he left, he sent a text saying he was leaving the parking lot NOW.

Thirty minutes later, I called to see where he was since it was only a 10-12 minute drive. He'd taken one of the guys from his store home. Didn't think telling me was necessary. Um, didn't you just tell me you were headed here and that you'd been drinking? Wasn't it you who I had this very same conversation with less than an hour ago? Inconsiderate prick.

So I started a movie since I was wide awake at midnight. Ugh.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fake It 'Till You Make It

Once upon a time, I worked for a perfume company. It was knockoff stuff that we sold on the streets. You've prolly been approached by someone in a parking lot selling perfume before, right? Well, I'm sure it wasn't me, but that's the kind of thing I did.

It was a great time, not very great income. There was this kind-of pyramid-scheme thing going on. It was a mess. But I learned a lot. The company broke my shell/pushed me out of my cage/whatever metaphor you like...

Here's how it worked. First, there were the mandatory training meetings to learn about the product. Funny how from lunchtime on day one, the class size kept shrinking. Ok, not funny ha ha...

But we were out in the field that first week making money. Right on the spot. They checked out a box of perfume to you and you had a dollar amount to turn in for each bottle sold. Sometimes they'd run a special or something and you'd get a break after selling so many.

Your profit was whatever you could talk someone into. I'm not a seller. It didn't take long for me to realize that. But now I know one thing I don't like. And knowing I'm bad at selling tells me I'd be bad at prostitution, for example, so I don't have to bother trying that.

Ok, so now that you have these newly acquired selling skills and all this perfume stock, what next? Why, you take your show on the road, of course! I had a car and lots of free time. So go I did.

We'd travel to Oklahoma sometimes. But my favorite trips were to south Texas. We'd hit college towns and make some money. Or border towns. Whatever, wherever.

To save money, we'd all stay in one room. Usually 6-8 people. One time, I remember 14 people in one room. Someone slept in a bathtub. Lots of people brought sleeping bags. It was craziness. But youth = stupidity and we were happy.

One trip, 6 of us had gone somewhere. There were 2 girls, so we shared one bed, and 4 guys. I think two may have shared the other bed, or maybe they were too insecure, so three slept on the floor??? The boss decided to graciously take the floor. He was sleeping between the two beds. I had this short-set that I was sleeping in that night. It was from Victoria's Secret, but it wasn't like that. It was plain cotton with the words Victoria's Secret stitched across the shirt. Anyway, someone across the room asked me what my shirt said. I held it out so they could see. Now I was getting in bed, so I wasn't wearing a bra. Didn't think twice about showing someone my shirt. What I had forgotten was my boss, lying on the floor 4' away. He got a clear view up my shirt. I was embarrased, but not too badly.

Until he brought it up at breakfast the next morning. When we met up with another group. I had a red face through the whole meal. Thus the story of the time I accidentally flashed my boss.

After doing the selling thing for a few months, my parents were less than enamored with this company. I was supposed to quit and stop going on trips. But I was 18 and having fun. I wasn't eating much. Breakfast every day, but then I'd snack on oranges and pretzels the rest of the day and was fine. 6 oz. of pretzels in one hand and 6 oz. of fruit in the other is a balanced diet, right?

I got super-skinny. Which for me, was around 145-150 lbs. What? I'm tall-ish. Anyway, when we'd come back into town, I'd stay with friends so I wouldn't get in trouble at home. I'd come home while my parents were out and get clothes or whatever. My younger siblings were supposed to keep me home if I showed up.

My sister's friend parked behind me in the driveway to keep me there. I just drove out through the yard. They were instructed after that to cut the valve stems on my tires next time I came home. It never got to that. I knew I needed to stop running around like that. And I did. Just not on their timetable. But it didn't take long for me to learn.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Baby Nightmares

Taylar had a nightmare last night. She cried for a minute and when she calmed down, her explanation was: “She put books on me.” At least, that’s what I thought I heard at 4:30. No. Bugs is what she was saying. The story trickled out that it was the daycare director who was putting bugs on her. She was absolutely positive there was a bug on her hand. I took my cell phone and used the light from it to show her there was no bug. Then there was one on her foot. Then they were all over her bed. No, those are just the triangles and squares. On my sheep? Yes, on your sheet. Then she pointed out to me which were triangles and which were squares.

Every minute or two, there was another supposed bug until I finally just put her in my bed, told her the bugs were afraid of Mommy’s bed and she needed to go to sleep. It worked, I guess, because I only heard one more peep out of her until I kicked her back into her bed at 6.

Now, which one of you put the sandpaper under my eyelids?

Monday, August 17, 2009

This Mystery Shopping Thing...

Is wearing me out. Ok, so maybe I overscheduled a little...

Tonight wasn't too terribly bad since Lee was home and stayed with the girls. But I had these phone call audits to do and I'd set the girls up in the living room with a dvd each and went in the room to make a call. Well, he came home and pitched a fit because the door was closed to the bedroom. He was yelling some crap about endangering the girls. I heard nothing but the Charlie Brown voice. (Mwah mwah, mwah mwah mwah.)

He was originally supposed to go with me to the fast food dinner, then I was going to the mall. He knew about the baby store, but not the teen store I'd picked up yesterday. I was going to spring it on him at the last minute and only if he came to the mall with me. Or maybe I was gonna play it off and just say I was gonna get another school shirt for Alexa, who knows.

And then, I was gonna go to Bath & Body Works and get some nasty cucumber melon crap that my best friend likes and drop it off at her house because it was her birthday today. But that didn't work out.

I went and picked up chicken for the girls like he asked me to and dropped it off at the house. Wouldn't you know, he fussed because I brought food back forst instead of after my dine-in experience. Um, it was already 7. The girls were due to go to bed before too long. (And wasn't it you just fussing about me putting work ahead of the girls??? But you were too into your phone call to talk to me, but you could open the front door after you ignored me inside and fuss for the neighbors to hear???)

Then I went to the fast food place alone. (They got a bad rating for customer service.) And headed for the mall. As I was walking in, I was composing a blog post about why someone who hates to shop should sign up for mystery shopping. Not ironic at all. The teen store was quick and easy. I knew exactly what I wanted.

The baby store, not so much. For starters, it was waaay ridiculous in price. Or maybe I'm just cheap. I'm sure that's more likely it. I just can't see paying $30+ for one baby outfit. Maybe the kid wears it twice. That's why God invented Wal-Mart. Or something. $5-$7 an outfit is a lot more my style, at least until they're in school. Yeah, I shop the clearance racks for next year's sizes, what of it?

And then, I made a phone call to see if baby Skye had any theme. According to my dad, it's apparently either "strange" or "ugly" so far. He's not a fan of the poop-brown outfits. Something about them looking dirty already. I did get some cute nephew stories, though.

It seems the younger one had a pre-k meet-the-teacher about a month ago. My dad took him. He was apparently good to go and told my dad he could go ahead on. Silly Grandpa, he went ahead and stayed. After it was over, the nephew opened up his book and reportedly looked at it for a good 6 seconds. "Nope, still can't read it." He may have no more use for school. If they couldn't teach him how to read in that one hour, they may not have much of a purpose.

That's it for me. I've entered reports and typed enough to last me all the way until morning. I only have one phone call to make tomorrow. And you can bet I'll have it done before I get the girls, because I have to go to a teen store at a different mall, plus go to a store next to the mall with my screwdriver to check something out. I'll be picking Alexa up and making her go along unless by some miracle Lee's off tomorrow night. (I'm not holding my breath, he's not exactly the stay-home type when there's overtime to be had...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Adventures in Mystery Shopping

So this morning a few weeks ago when I started writing this post, I had a mystery shop at a fast food chain for breakfast. It was only a few blocks from work, which surprised me with its presence, because I don’t ever go to it, even though it’s closer than the other two I do frequent.

Now I know why.

So, the deal is, I dine in. I get paid for the visit plus I get reimbursed for the food I order, although I may have to order within their guidelines or their specific menu item. Today, I had a choice of 3 different things. So, I’m going through my checklist and get my coffee and my food and go sit down.

Within a few seconds of sitting down, a bird flies into the window behind me. Then it just flies off in the other direction. This causes the man in the next booth over to strike up a conversation with me. (Well, that and the delicious way I’ve fixed my food up.)

He starts talking about the signs mentioned in the Bible [of the world coming to an end] and birds chasing cats and every bird-chasing-something-it-shouldn’t story he could think of. He talked my ear off for a while and finally, finally left.

But wait, there's more. (Cue Madison, her voice full of wonderment: "There's more?!?") [Kasey, you were 4 when that movie came out, I doubt you 've seen it.]

So as soon as this guy clears out, another guy who had been staring at me from across the restaurant came over. He was older and had this goofy serial-killer awkward-with-women thing going for him. He said he couldn't stop staring at me because I looked like a schoolteacher. He asked if I was married. It caught me off guard, so I answered honestly. No. He'd been looking for a big girl like me. (He explained he meant tall.) And invited me to his house, gave me the address and everything.

Ok, so here I am, freaking out. This guy is going on and on, nearly drooling over himself in his excitement. Somehow he goes back to his table and I get to finish my breakfast in peace. I still have to check over the restroom, so I quick get that over with. When I come out, he's not at his table. Instead he's standing up against the building right outside the door. I'm about ready to hit the panic button on my car remote since he's seen me and come over.

He wants to remind me I'm welcome at his house anytime, his door will always be unlocked for me. He was going to give me his address again, but I let him know I remembered it. It made him happy enough to not try and abduct me right then and there, so it must have been the right thing. He'd told me his name, and I guess I should have remembered it and given it to someone in case the police need it later.

I didn't leave a trail of burnt rubber on the parking lot, though I really, really wanted to. So of course, the first thing I did was call Lee and tell him about the whole ordeal. His response?

"I think this could be the sugar daddy we've been looking for. You may have to take one for the team, Jen."

Um, no. You can play gigolo for the cougars. I'm not about to be hacked to bits and stored in some man's mother's freezer.

It's been at least a month and my heart still races at the thought of it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blog Guilt

What’s the use in having a blog, if you have guilt when you don’t post? Doesn’t that kinda defeat the purpose? Make it less of a hobby and more of a job?

I’ve recently started a new hobby. Mystery Shopping. Now I have 3 hobbies. Blogging, playing with my virtual money and shopping. Ugh, I’m starting to sound like a girl with all the shopping. I’m sure I can get around that somehow.

I like the mystery shopping. I love the one that lets me eat for free at one fast food place I like. Now if they’d only realize I spend more money at McDonald’s than anywhere else. (Something I found out from my virtual money games.) The coolest thing I’ve gotten so far is a poster print of Van Gough’s Starry night. Or Starry Night by Van Gose, if you’re Alexa. I also got a video game, but I’m not very good at the first one, so I don’t know how much better I’d be at the second. There are some other things that look promising, I just have to wait my turn. Free groceries being one of them. Sure, better if it was someplace I already shopped…

This weekend was a blur of mystery shopping. I had 4 jobs Friday. Discovered it’s not a good idea to read and drive, or you wind up in the wrong city. And waste a lot of gas and time. I also discovered I don’t care for Mansfield. I had 2 more jobs Saturday. I thought about picking another up for Sunday, but decided maybe they’d raise the commission if I waited a week. If not, oh well.

Taylar thought perhaps Santa Claus had come to visit yesterday. in reality, it was the upstairs neighbors thumping around, but it was a cute thought.

Last week, she decided my ring was upside down. Mommy, the broccoli goes dis way. And spun it around my finger.

Jasmyne has been perfecting her acrobatic routine. Twice last week she decided to try out her tumbling moves on the stairs. Fortunately, I was there to catch her both times.

Enough about me, what’s going on with you?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009


So it's been a long week. And I've decided never to sign the girls up for a 2-hour-a-night vbs ever again. Unless, of course, I have the luxury of being a SAHM. Because being a WAWM, it's too hard. (That's a work-at-work-mom for those of you who didn't understand the acronym I made up.) The injuries didn't help. Nor did the psycho ladies at the church. Oh, and all the family discovery and drama. Who knew we had skeletons in our closets? Not me. Not like this.

A while back, our hours got cut back at work. They told me I could choose my new schedule. So I decided to come in at 8:30 instead of 8:00 every day, since I was always late for work, and close to 20 minutes more often than not. So this was great. But I didn't stop the wackiness there. I changed my lunch to 30 minutes on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Wednesday I was going to skip lunch. Of course, one thing that influenced that was my boss having to go for chemo for 6 hours every other Wednesday. I was kinda trying to be helpful. (I can be a team player, even if I don't happen to like you.)

The last thing I changed was to leave at noon on Fridays. To me, that made the whole reduction in hours thing worth it. I could have some alone time, and still pick the babies up early. I could get some grocery shopping done without someone trying to make things difficult or feeling guilty because someone was left at home.

After a few weeks, I realized suddenly that I could have lunch with people. And have time to enjoy myself. I went with my Aunt a couple of times before it dawned on me that there were other people in my life, too. Yeah, I'm a quick one. So I had lunch with a friend. Then it occurred to me, I hadn't had lunch with my mom in a long time. So I asked her to lunch. Immediately I called my dad and scheduled lunch with him for the next week. That lunch was last Friday.

I finally found out why my sister hasn't been talking to him for a couple of years. (She needs to get over herself.) In the telling of the story, he made a comment about being compared to his dad. There was no way I was interrupting his story, so I just kind of worked on it in my mind. But got nowhere, because it was outta left field. This week, I met his sister for lunch and asked her if it meant something. It did. And hello skeleton! How did my younger sister know about this and I didn't? That was crazy! My aunt said she'd mentioned it to her girls, but I know my sister didn't talk to them.

So I called my other cousin. Asked him why I was the last to know. Apparently, I wasn't. But we had a great talk while I kept driving the wrong way. He's the only family member who even knows about this blog. All the rest just get the edited cross-posts I do occasionally. But he doesn't read it all that often and might not read nice things about himself. His fiancée might, though. But that's another tangent.

So back to the vbs. It was from 6-8 Monday-Thursday. If I walk out the door at 5:00 on the phone system (which I wait for because I'm the operator and the phones don't shut off until then) then I'm late, because it's slow. Great in the mornings, because I still cut it close, even though I don't have to be there until 8:30. But not so great in the evenings. So I set the clock back Monday. 6 minutes. Which made it the same time as my cell phone. (And yeah, I was late the last 4 days.)

Monday night, I raced home from work, stopped at Sonic for supper before getting the girls, picked them up, took them home to eat and raced to vbs. We were about 5 minutes late. Really not bad. Tuesday night, I raced home from work, picked up the girls, stopped by Arby's, took them home to eat and raced to vbs. We were about 20 minutes late. Wednesday night was just like Tuesday except McDonald's and we were about 25 minutes late. I was tired of spending money on fast food. The girls weren't getting very nutritious food, certainly not a balanced diet. And I was exhausted!

Every night after vbs, the girls needed baths so badly. They were late to bed every night. Sure, some of it had to do with staying after to visit with grandma and grandpa instead of zooming out right away. But Taylar was behaving at daycare because she was too tired to misbehave. They had less trouble getting her down for a nap.

But I didn't like vbs. Jasmyne was clingy when I took her on Tuesday and Wednesday. She cried and cried when I went to put her in her chair. Monday, Taylar fell and skinned her knee. She also bumped her head on the wall. And on out way out to the car, she slid on the paint on the curb and went down on her other knee. Tuesday night, I had stayed in Jasmyne's class the whole time. So this one lady came to get me. “You need to come here, right now! He has to stay here. He can't come.” Talking about Jasmyne, who was trying to follow me out the door. She was being a jerk, but she's always been a jerk. I've known her 20 years and have never liked her. Anyway, aside from being uber-forceful, she was being secretive. Alexa had been standing on a chair which had broken. She fell and hit her head and neck and back and ribs. She was on the stage surrounded by concerned people. Thank goodness, people who seemed to know what they were looking for. One guy had made a makeshift c-collar with his hands.

She ended up being fine, but 2 kids injured in 2 days was a bit much. Jasmyne had gotten a wooden puzzle dropped on her, too. It was pretty heavy and it hit her in the head, but she was ok after a minute or two of crying on mommy's lap.

Wednesday night after we got home, I started cooking for Thursday. We had lots of food, just not time to cook it and eat it before time to leave. So I made cheeseburger cupcakes, as I call them. They're so, so easy. You press a biscuit into a muffin pan, spoon in some cooked ground beef mixed with spaghetti sauce and bake for 15 minutes. Then you add cheese and bake another 3 minutes. I stopped before adding the cheese, so that all I'd have to do was add it and pop them back in the oven long enough to heat them up and melt the cheese. In theory, that was great. I even didn't wait for the oven to preheat.

But the girls were in no hurry to eat. Again. When we finished eating, it was 6:25. We still had shoes to re-attach, the trek to the car and the drive there. It totally wasn't worth it. Taylar wanted to watch tv, so we stayed home. And I didn't realize how much I needed that break. I knew I was tired, but this was more.

Yesterday, Lee was supposed to get off work at about 3. In addition to having worked every night this week, he was working tonight and was scheduled originally for 11-9 on Father's Day. WTF? He didn't end up getting off early, though. At 5:30 he finally answered the phone. He was about to leave. He wanted to get drunk and was going to Texas Road House. Um, ok. See you later. Oh, did I want to come? Absolutely. I didn't realize you were including me, but I'm hungry and not wanting to make supper, especially since I haven't thawed anything out.

He came home and we all finished getting ready. I was going to drive because he might fall asleep. He was in a really strange mood. Emotionless. That sure changed when we were eating. He was mad at the girls for wanting to play instead of eat. He was mad at me for not fussing and spanking more. I just ate and ignored it all. That was a really yummy steak and I wasn't letting him ruin it for me.

After eating, we headed to Wal-mart to get the girls some shoes. He remembered we were almost out of diapers. I don't know how, he's barely been home lately. I know part of why he's been working so hard is the tickets he got last week. He and that car have been expensive lately! But, we haven't had to cut back anywhere or dip into savings, so I guess that's good. Naps are definitely in order.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Memories of a Cousin

My cousin is getting married soon. I was sending stories about his childhood to his bride-to-be and thought I'd share them with teh interwebs. (I know you read my blog, you can leave a comment to refute anything you think you need to, otherwise, as the older, wiser cousin, my version stands and there will be no more debate about it being your fault!)

We (I) used to bully him into everything. At Aunt Nona's, I remember deleting all the channels off the rotation on the TV because he kept changing it by pressing the buttons on the front of the set. (Clearly, being the oldest and the one holding the remote, I was in charge.) We were supposed to rotate control every half-hour, and I don't recall violating that rule, but we may have. (It was decades ago, who knows for sure?)

Grandma kept us for a summer or two. One day, for some reason, he was chasing me through the house. I didn't look back to see how far behind he was, but as we were running down the hall, I grabbed the living room door and pulled it into his path behind me. He hit it with the heel of his hand and as it was a hollow door, his hand went through. We got in big trouble for that. I said it was his fault because he should have stopped. (Duh, there was a door in his path.) I have no idea why he thinks it was my fault. His hand made the hole, not mine. But yes, more than 20 years later, we still don't agree.

We'd ride our bikes down to see the menagerie around the block all the time. Nothing spectacular ever happened there that I recall. But watching the reyes eat the corn out of their poop was always a treat. (I'll say it for you, um, gross.) Ok, maybe the lion was worth going to see.

There were a few things I didn't mention to her. About going down to the little town library every week or two to check out books. About doing counted cross-stitch. Yes, he had to learn, too. About making those stained-glass things you bake, using little rice-sized colored plastic pieces. And tweezers. About using my dad's prehistoric Legos. They were made of wood (ok, there were some plastic ones, too) they were only a couple of different sizes. And they came with green cardstock for roofs. (I happen to have the giant tupperware container of them in my living room. They will be returning to his possession on Father's Day.)

Every day we'd play with his 'Little People' and matchbox cars and other miscellaneous treasures. We'd put them all in a pile and would draw one at a time to get the best pieces. I'm sure it was fair and we rotated who went first every time. (Actually, Grandma was really big on being fair. Good thing, because we weren't.)

When he was a toddler, he used to drool. A lot. My imitation of him coming in for a kiss was to turn on the bathtub faucet near my mouth. (I told you I was really, really mean. I just thought I was being funny.) He would literally soak your entire cheek. A little bit older, he'd have to stop after a sentence or two (ok, maybe a paragraph or two) and slurp or wipe his mouth so he could finish talking. Especially if he was excited. It was a lot cuter than that sounds. And it was automatic.

One day, we were playing in the back bedroom at Grandma's. He was a little bundle of energy. There were some doors leaning against the wall. He made up this little routine thing. He'd say "Be Prepared" while he jumped and kicked the outer door with one foot. "Be Prepared", jump up and kick the door with his other foot. "BE PREPARED!" And jump up and kick it with both feet. He'd do that over and over. And over.

I’m not sure I remember this one right because he was about 1. I was about 5. I was sitting up with my dad watching The Shining at about midnight. The phone rang. He left and I had to go to bed. The next day the story came out that his mom and dad were driving somewhere – I want to say East Texas – and had run into a bull that was standing in the road. They were in some hospital. I’m pretty sure he only ended up with a scratch or something. The car, perhaps a Monte Carlo(?), was messed up. They ended up fixing it and it was about 4 or 5 different colors after that. (I remember black, red, pale green, primer gray and possibly white?)

The Story of Jen and Lee: Part 1 - How We Met

I was a freshman, Lee was a sophomore. We had one class together, Geometry. Lee says he noticed me because every time the teacher would leave the room, everyone would crowd around me. Looking back, I don’t think it was about being smart. I was good at math, but the other kids were mostly lazy. Duh, they were in high school.

The next semester, Lee wasn’t in my Geometry class anymore, but we had Health class together. Our teacher was the girl’s soccer coach, and our class was opposite a lunch hour, so he had a lot of visitors and we had a lot of unsupervised time in that class. A lot. So there was this group of about 8 of us that chatted in the downtime.

This is some of us (obviously, since I can count) at lunch one day.

Anyway, we got to be friends. We’d talk on the phone sometimes. During Spring Break, my dad had assigned me a research project because I’d failed Art class. Long story. Anyway, back then, my dad worked at the Tandy Center, which was connected via tunnel to the downtown public library. I went in with him to work and spent the day doing research (ugh) the first two days.

One of those days, Lee and his best friend Daniel came to visit. We played all over the place. Watched the ice skaters skate. Spent some time in the arcade. Close to the end of the day, Daniel had bugged off. Lee and I were riding in the elevator in one of the towers. Anyway, he kissed me. It was nice. We got off the elevator and were walking on the main stairs by the ice rink. I remember my knees were wobbly. Yeah, I had it bad.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Talk about your stupid post titles!

Today did not start off well. We not only didn't wake up early, we woke up pretty late. Lee was supposed to go get his driver's license this morning. Oops. Well, he better get on that. Last week, he got some tickets. Speeding of course. No license. And the third was supposed to be because the state inspection is expired, but they wrote down that the state registration was expired. Hopefully, that last one will be easily dismissed. He thinks if he goes and gets a license, which is a long, long story as to why he doesn't have one, it'll get dismissed. And the speeding part, he wants to take to the speeding ticket lawyer everyone uses. Anyway, I supose he better get on that so it doesn't accidentally turn into a warrant.

Apparently we had a miscommunication over whether he was bringing me breakfast at work or not. I'll spare you the details. For once. Anyway, I was starving by lunchtime so I made a less than nutritious chioce. Egg rolls are a food group, right?

I wish we had something better to do at our crappy jobs than check our disappearing 401(k)s which ensures we'll be stuck forever at our crappy jobs

Monday, June 8, 2009

Update on the babies

Taylar’s latest is discovering the letter T. In words on the TV or around the house. It’s complete excitement and yelling when we find one. “T por Taylar! T por Taylar!” Then maybe some jumping up and down, a giggle, perhaps. Her favorite food is porcupines. She always picks them out of my salad. Of course, sometimes she asks to have “pony” for supper. I hope she means “pony food”, but chicken nuggets seem to work. And her name? Taylar Winn Peearro Gorgeous Aussa-girl. (Haven’t translated that last word yet.)

Jasmyne is just learning like crazy. She’s started singing some of her favorite songs spontaneously. She’s all about buckling her shoe. And counting around between 1 and 5, just not necessarily in the traditional order. Oh, and she’s gorgeous, just wait a while, she’ll tell you. I gorjus.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

ATM theft update

I think whoever took my wallet was looking for gas money, because a charge popped up in my account today. They spent $10.01 at a station I never go to. *Sigh*

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What, you want more?

Another long string of days. This time, not all my fault. Tuesday, Lee had traded shifts with someone, but forgot, so he went in to work. The other guy was there, so he hung out a little while then went home. He says he was inside for 5 minutes then came out. I know him. It had to be at least 15 minutes. I love the man, but he doesn't do hurry. Anyway, the car's gone. He calls me at work and goes into this story about a tow truck coming into the lot as he was walking up to the apartment. He said something told him to move the car. And yet, the car got towed...

So, I tell him to walk over to the office of the apartment complex that owns the lot and find out if it really was towed, just to make sure it wasn't stolen. They gave him a number. The towing company wouldn't acknowledge or deny anything. They had to wait for the paperwork to be faxed over. I had him find out what the damage was going to be. He was assuming around $75. Ha! If that was all, I woulda gladly paid it. But, no. It was $252. For the first 24 hours. I asked him how much was in the family fund. (A.k.a. the water-jug that holds the cash he's been stashing.) Only $72 because he'd spent $212 on a new intake manifold last week. Did I know about this? Um, no. He asked me if Alexa's savings account wouldn't cover it. Um, no. I'd borrowed it for school clothes and hadn't paid it back yet. So we were even on that score. One good thing – I'd actually started putting money back in her account the week before. Ok, so it was $5/week, but still, it was something. Right?

Meanwhile, I have to pick him up from the house so he can go to work. As we're at the last light to turn toward his job, he says to me, “This is going to be the fun part” and holds up his foot so I can see he's wearing his dress shoes. I tell him to call and see if the car's made it to its destination yet, so we can go get his shoes. And his wallet. And the charger for his nearly-dead phone. And the jump-box. Again. Because the first several times I asked did he need anything from the car – particularly his wallet – he said no.

I had to wait while they filled out all kinds of paperwork to let me in. Stupid tow lot. I forgot the phone charger. Because I didn't see it. Plus. He wouldn't come with me. Something about his skin color being an issue in that part of town... Whatever. So I got a bunch of stuff, rolled the car window up and took him to work. Then I went back to work.

After school, Alexa had her Robotics awards program. She wanted to leave early because the band was being presented an award at the School Board Meeting. So we raced around to get there. Only to get there after the meeting started. Nevermind that she was supposed to be there 15 minutes early. She decided we could skip it since she couldn't get her recognition anyway. I felt bad, but it was a last-minute thing and we just didn't have time to get there.

Wednesday was his payday, but not until 3 or 3:30. He dropped me off at work in the morning and kept the van. He got his check, went and cashed it and came and picked me up around 3:30. We headed straight for the tow lot. Nobody was there. I called the number – someone was supposed to be there in 10 minutes. My gas gauge was sitting on E, so we decided to get gas. But that neighborhood was high. So we kept looking. Finally, we found something reasonable. It was about 4:15 when we got back. There was now a Jeep where there was none before, but still no one answered the door or window. After a few minutes of knocking, I called the number back. Yes, the red Jeep was there, she'd call and let the guy know we were here. Still nothing for several more minutes. Finally, Lee lays on the horn. It was still a couple of minutes before someone answered.

The guy had been at the lot next door releasing some cars. Hello, have you heard of a note? Anyway, he was a chatty guy while filling out my paperwork. Then this bee came along and was buzzing all around me. I kept moving out of it's way, but it was intent on following me. I told it I was not a flower – no dice. Lee said swat it and handed me a shirt to do so. There was no way I was swatting at a bee. I don't know if I'm allergic. But I am allergic to wasps, so better not to take a chance. Turns out, there was a hive up on the roof. When Lee honked the horn, it woke them up.

So, everything got taken care of, we could get the car now. Except, Lee couldn't go in. The car was in my name, I'd signed the paperwork, I had to go get it. Geez Louise, I was right there and said he could do it. What did it matter? So I had to make the cranky car start. It wasn't interested. By the time we got out of there, it was 5:15. And I was farther away from home than usual. And traffic was extremely heavy. I was much later to daycare than usual. Sigh.

Thursday was take-a-break day. I got to work a half-hour early and skipped lunch to make up some of the time I'd missed. I was pretty worn out by the time I got home. We picked up drive-thru and I did practically nothing all evening. We were supposed to have gone to Alexa's award program at school, but Taylar skipped her nap at daycare and was being a terror. This was the second event we'd missed and I felt terrible about it, but there was no way I could fight both babies through a program with no backup. Lee was working to make up the car money. Again.

Friday was a busy day. I had lunch with a friend at 12:30, but I was misled by the time on Mapquest. Well, maybe it was the stupid drivers that helped some... Anyway, I got there late. Some other people who work with her, one of which I used to work with and the other I'd met before, also came. It was an interesting lunch. The other two girls left and we stayed and chatted a while. It was nice to catch up.

I left there and stopped by Lee's job to get the shirts out of his car to drop off at the cleaners. The cleaners was near my best friend's house, which I needed to go to and drop off some baby clothes anyway, so I went home (the opposite direction) to get them. The smart thing to do would be to get the kids from daycare while I'm a mile away, but apparently my brain was off. So I took the clothes and headed back across town. I dropped off the shirts and stopped to visit with my friend a while. Her grandbaby is really fat, just like her momma was. My friend's own baby seemed to be about the same size as his niece, but I couldn't really tell. He'd just woken up from his nap and didn't recognize the strange white lady.

Too soon, it was time to get the babies from daycare. We still had a schedule to keep! So I got them, stopped by the grocery store for a few sale items, picked Alexa up and we went in search of food. McDonald's it was. Jasmyne got a snack wrap and discovered she really likes lettuce. We changed clothes and headed out. My cousin was graduating from high school at 7. We were early. (That never happens anymore.)

We found the family and settled in. What I should have done was let the kids get some energy out. But again, my brain, only half-functioning. Lee was working, so we were on our own. Things went pretty well until the long speech by the head of the school. Jasmyne had been drinking from her cup, but was getting louder about it. I was giving her a little at a time from my water bottle. But it wasn't what she wanted. Ok, so I put some more. No, that wasn't it either. So, I started re-arranging things. Somehow, she ended up with the cup in her hand, with water in it, without the lid. She decided the water needed to be back in the bottle, so she poured it back in. Except that she didn't exactly aim for the bottle opening. Or pour slowly. So I got drenched. Because she was on my lap. I took her out. Let her play a little. But it was almost time for the graduates to walk across the stage and I wasn't going to be out for that, noise or no noise. I did happen to run into a girl I graduated with. Her husband's cousin was graduating. They also had a little boy who was Jasmyne's age. Who was also causing a ruckus and had to be taken out.

When we went back in, Jasmyne was much better-behaved. Well, she was quieter. Which was enough for me. She'd previously whacked the lady in front of us in the head with the program. (It was a small private school – about 40 kids graduating – so they had money for the heavy card-stock programs.) Taylar had spent all evening pestering my Mom and Alexa. I'd brought a handful of kids' meal toys along to help out our evening. (I don't give them to the girls when they get their meals, I stash them away, sealed, in a bowl on the bar. They don't know about them, so they don't miss them.) Taylar played with the magnifying glass on a swiss-army-knife type toy for a long time. She was picking out the “T” for Taylar on a stack of envelopes. Apparently she's kinda OCD. (Or as I like to call it, CDO – you know, in alphabetical order. Like it should be.)

We made it through the hour-and-a-half long program and took pictures with the cap and gown. Then skipped out on the reception the school was throwing and went home. It's only been a couple of months, but I don't know how I would make it now if I worked a whole day on Fridays.

Saturday morning was Lee's volleyball tournament. He had to be there at 9 to check in, but the games didn't start until 9:30. We were going to follow. He ended up not having time to eat, so we went through the drive-thru and got breakfast. He'd put the picnic blanket and the sports chair (I'd gotten it during Alexa's first soccer season) in the van for us. All we had to do was get the food and all the stuff out to the game area. Which was just a couple of volleyball nets set up in the baseball field outfield. We landed away from everyone else, because they were all capable of stopping stray volleyballs from hitting themselves in the face. My children were not going to pay that much attention. Perhaps there was someone over there Lee didn't want us to meet... He didn't bring anyone over to talk to us... Nah, I'm sure that wasn't it. We'd talked to most of them at the softball game that wasn't, the previous week. Or was it the week before? I forget.

It was in the mid 80's at 10, when we got there. I didn't put sunblock on the babies until after they'd eaten, so they wouldn't get it in their food. I shouldn't have waited. It wouldn't have bothered them. So we stayed for one game Lee was in. I got a few video clips and some still pics. But, we were way back, so they weren't that good. Plus, I was rather distracted by the girls running amok and playing with the umbrella I'd brought for shade.

Lee's team was scheduled to have a break the next game as well, and we were going to leave around 11:30 anyway – too much direct sun for the babies and all. So Lee sent us off. I think the heat had gotten to me. Whatever he was instructing me to do about the girls – the ones I'm solely responsible for 5 or more days a week – hit me the wrong way. I'm sure it had nothing whatsoever to do with him being an absentee parent and basically shooing me outta there with instructions to control the girls better, when they just wanted play time with their daddy, whom they hadn't seen other than in the mornings for a week... I could go on and on. So I was rather teary-eyed about not even a kind word, when he calls across the field that he loves me, have a great day in his passive-aggressive, sarcastic tone. I managed a “You, too.” which he made me repeat 3 times. I didn't have much of a voice, plus I was rather uninterested in wishing him well at that point. So he jumped. See, that's why blah blah blah something something something. I really didn't listen to his crap. We just left.

We got home and I lotioned Jasmyne up on her sunburn. After I had the babies in bed for their nap, I called him. And I let him have it for that crap when we were leaving. He basically tried to put it back on me, but I stuck to my guns, told him it was crappy of him to do and got off the phone. Then I started writing this blog. Which I never finished because eventually the girls woke up.

I fed them pizza because we were going to a bbq and I didn't want the girls to have hot dogs for lunch and supper. As they were eating, I called Lee to see what their upcoming schedule was. He was in a bad mood. They hadn't made the cut to the playoffs. There were 5 teams in the tournament. Only the top 4 advanced. And maybe there was some lingering resentment about earlier mixed with that... The point was, he was on his way home. He stopped and got himself some food on the way home. I had some salad from a bag, which Jasmyne kept stealing.

Late, we headed to my aunt and uncle's house for a good time. Or something. I was inside chatting away with people I hadn't seen in decades. I turned around and Lee was nowhere to be seen. He'd taken the girls out back where there was horseshoes and basketball going on. I guess it was better than being cooped up in the crowded house. The girls were both afraid of the dogs. Little rat-terrier/chihuahua mixes. My aunt came out and put the dogs in their cage inside after a little while. One had bitten this one girl, after all... We sat and chatted with my mom and grandma. It was a nice evening. But it was time to go after a while. The babies needed baths and to get in bed to rest from their busy day.

Sunday morning, we were getting ready to go to my mom's for lunch. Lee had a missed call on his phone from work. He said “This could be trouble”, but I took that to mean it was his mom calling or something. He was an hour late to work. He'd volunteered for 'any shifts they needed' when the car thing first came about and apparently forgot about one they asked him to pick up. Great. It was the girls and me alone again. And this time it would be worse. My sister and her husband would be there. Ugh.

The girls and I finished getting ready and left. I was thinking we were going to be late, but we were the first ones there. Good thing, because I'd forgotten the diaper bag. I had time to run to the store and buy some. Which worked out because we were low anyway. And I had a chance to stash the right size in mom's closet. Jasmyne and I got back just as the others were starting to arrive. Perfect timing.

We had lunch soon after. My sister and her family was supposed to come for dessert, but somehow they were on time. They've never been on time in the history of their relationship. Anyway, it's a good thing they came when they did, because my cousin and his girlfriend had to leave. They had tickets to the Colonial. Once dinner was over and the kids went to play, I went to chaperone. Their kids were ginormous compared to last time I'd seen them. Ok, so it'd been a couple of years since I'd seen the twins. Each of whom had gained a foot and 50 pounds. (Or possibly more.)

I took lots of pictures of the kids. My second niece was wonderful. She played peacemaker between the three year olds. Once everyone got used to each other, I left the kids to themselves and joined the adults for as much of my brother-in-law as I could stand. Fortunately, it was soon well past my girls' nap time, which afforded me an acceptable excuse to leave. It didn't dawn on me until after I left that maybe we should have taken a multi-generational picture while we were together. But I called and mentioned it so they'd have a chance to get my sister's family in one. The babies were looking kinda sleepy in the van, so I didn't turn around. Besides, they still had Alexa. I was going to see them when she was transferred back to my possession. We could have our picture then. Which we did. After the babies had their naps. (Perhaps too soon afterward, they were still a little sulky.) Alexa showed off her bridesmaid dress and a fun time was had by all. Well, they were kinda walking fast to get outta there...

The rest of the evening was spent in relative quiet. I washed a couple of loads of laundry. Lee worked until after midnight. When he came home from playing dominoes at 6AM, I asked him to take the clothes over to the dryer. He came back while I was in the shower. He carried the laundry basket into the bathroom and set it on the counter. He said I should get out and take a look at this. I was totally expecting a family of rats or something. I was so relieved to find it was my wallet and a pile of its contents. Which really shouldn't have been a relief. At least not to a sane person. I looked through the stuff and decided the only thing missing was one of my ATM cards. The other one, the one I use all the time, had been in my pocket. Along with my license. Ok, so reporting it to the bank was quick and painless. Well, painless. They really need to do something about those menus. (There used to be an option to report your card missing, but now it's Chase. And I really hate Chase.) And once you push 0 for the operator, it doesn't need to go over your balance for you. Hello, wet girl wanting to finish her shower here... Anyway, Chase is another rant entirely. There was no apparent activity. I'll have my new card in 10 days or so.

So what had happened was... Sometime over the course of the weekend, I went somewhere without wanting to drag my 30 pound purse. So I took my wallet. Well, it's a huge thing in itself, so I stuck it in the bottom of the console. It fits diagonally in the bottom section. It's in the dark and it's black, so I take out the cards I want for where I'm going and generally leave it in there. Not anymore. While I was in the house at some point, someone opened my unlocked van and took out my wallet. There was no cash in it. All they took was the one ATM card. They left over $100 worth of gift cards. All of everything else was there. Amazing.

On my way to work, there was an ambulance with its lights on about 5 blocks before I got there. Someone had run their minivan into a telephone pole. I remember thinking, someone's having a worse day than me. I don't have things so bad after all.

After school yesterday, Alexa's friend needed to stay for supper. Her mom wasn't answering her phone. Ok, you preheat the oven, so I can start the lasagna when I walk in the door. All that happened, but soon after I got home, the mom called the girl's cell phone. I heard, why didn't you answer your freakin phone?!? and I told Alexa she better never talk to me like that. She'd be standing up for a month, her butt would be so sore. Then the girl practically hung up on her mom to talk to her sister. Ok, so the sister was her ride, but seriously. There's more than one reason I think this girl isn't exactly the best influence on Alexa. She was walking out to meet her sister, and going pretty fast. We followed. I would have given her a ride, but her sister was there. So the girls and I went to the grocery to get some more of the sale items if they had any left before the sale ended. 18 eggs for 88¢, yes. 18 bottles of Snapple for $10, no. Plus, we found a great deal on smoked sausage that wasn't prominently enough in the ad that I saw it. It was a longer trip than I'd planned, but it worked out ok. We got home in time to uncover the lasagna.

Lee played dominoes again last night, but overslept. I didn't give him a wake up call until time for him to be at work. He's a big boy, but he doesn't need to get fired. He'd actually woken up about 20 minutes before he was supposed to be at work. He doesn't multi-task well, so he didn't call me. (Believe me, it's been the subject of many, many fights.) He did call me around 11. To let me know he thought they were sending him home as soon as they could get someone in to cover his shift because he had too many hours and also that he had gotten my call, but things had finally settled down. So when someone finally came in, we went to lunch together. I caught him up on some stuff he'd missed out on. And he told me the guy got the wrong manifold for the car. I am now completely confident in this guy's skills to put said manifold on...

Did I mention it was pouring out this morning when I single-handedly carried both babies, my purse and the breakfast I'd cooked myself out to the car?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Long Week

Alexa went on a weekend retreat with the youth group from my mom's church this past weekend. I left my peaceful blog-reading at 3:45, grabbed up the babies and headed to her school. She had planned to walk home with her friend. Um, school gets out at 4:20. The van's supposed to leave at 5 sharp, and you're supposed to be there by 4:45. And you haven't packed. So I took her and hijacked her friend's plan to walk home alone, because really, it wasn't safe for both of them to walk, let alone just one. We race to the apartment. I give all the kids snacks and juice. I'm sure the friend was thinking I was weird. (Because by snacks, I mean string cheese and baked chips.)

After barely any time at home, we get back in the car to go to drop Alexa off. We get there and Taylar starts crying because she wants to go in and go to class. Honey, there's no class right now. We race to drop off the friend, because there's no consoling Taylar. The friend apparently doesn't have her key, because she bypasses the front door and ducks down behind the air conditioner on the side of the house. I got out to check on her - not trying to bust her for smoking, which she wasn't - she was moving the bricks from in front of the gate. The bricks that both kept the gate from opening and kept the dog from digging his way out of the yard.

Ok, I could accept that. I really wanted to make sure she could get in and didn't have to sit outside in the heat waiting. But it was 5:00. I'm sure her parents or sister would be home any minute. She said she was fine. She's not Alexa. It should be ok.

We go back to check on Alexa. They haven't left yet. She has everything, as far as she knows. We leave her to her own devices, which starts a new round of crying because somebody wants to stay and go to class. We go home and check the mail. There's a graduation announcement from my cousin. Ugh, I still sometimes see him as the two-year-old I used to babysit. There was also a card from Alexa's school. I'm all set to go pick her up so she can't go to her retreat, but it's a good card. Her Texas History teacher says she's a joy to have in class. Um, maybe he has the wrong kid???

Saturday, Lee had to go into work from 10-12 for someone, so he hooked us up with breakfast before he left. Whataburger, in fact. Yum, my favorite! He did laundry most of the day, then in the evening, was outside helping a neighbor fix his gas tank. Or something. On one trip in, he mentioned having spent an hour trying to put something on backward. An auto-mechanics genius, he is not. In fact, I know just enough about cars to know how little he knows.

He came in after 10 reeking of gas. Ugh. A shower washed away anything I could smell, but he still noticed it. Before he showered, I was reminded of the shop my dad used to have and how it used to smell... Ahh, nostalgia.

Sunday, we took the babies to the zoo. Not at 10 when it opened, like I wanted. He waited around partly because he'd told the guy he'd help with the car again and partly because he has his own internal clock that is not set to the rest of the world. Or maybe he's on Mountain or Pacific time, while I'm on Central. We left to go to the zoo at noon. The babies' naps usually start around 12:30 or 1:00. I'm a joy to be around by now because, patience? Not me, so much.

It was 12:55 by the time we got to see any animals. We started with the monkey house. I had to change out batteries in both cameras first thing. So much for planning ahead. We also didn't bring any sunblock. We're not usually outside before 5 or 6 pm, so it really didn't occur to me. I got pink, the girls did not. I carried an umbrella through our entire trek in case it was really sunny. We only made it through about 1/3 of the zoo, and there was lots of shade along the way.

We finally left about 2:30. Just in time to pick Alexa up from her trip. She forgot her suitcase, so we had to go back and get it. Meanwhile, the babies fell asleep during the extra driving. Lee spent naptime playing Donkey Kong Country. Alexa was 8 shades darker after swimming all weekend.

When Jasmyne kicked the machine and it messed up, he went and picked up Subway for supper. All in all, a pretty nice weekend. Except for various attitudes, but that was pretty much a given, right?

Monday night was Lee's softball game. We ran errands all over the place then went to find this elusive field. I'd been telling Lee for months that his sports team adventures were fictional. But we saw him on the field with a bunch of other people in matching jerseys. Nevermind they were the only team on the field... The other team was a no-show. But they got a practice in. After 4 weeks of rain-outs, they needed it.

We took pictures. Met the wife of one of the players Lee talks about all the time. Along with her baby. (He's about 9 months old.) I might have offended her when I told Taylar she couldn't touch his hands or face, right after the mom had just told Taylar he was reaching for her. But, that's been my line for ever. We don't spread germs more than we have to, especially with the under-one set.

Taylar tried to grab a bat and head out on the field. Jasmyne fell backward off the bleacher seat and bonked her head. I took guilty pleasure in the fact that though Lee'd gotten to her first, when she saw me, she reached for me. Taylar was always a daddy's girl. On the way home, I stopped at a stop sign for a while to capture this interview:

We went to the car and ate the pizza we'd picked up. Then stopped by Wal-Mart on the way home. What was supposed to be a quick stop for diapers took nearly an hour. First, we changed Jasmyne's diaper and let Taylar go potty. Then we went to look for conditioner for Alexa. Which. Took. Forever. On the way to the diapers, I actually listened to the page, and wouldn't you know, they were calling my name to the Customer Service Booth. Instantly, I realized I'd left my wallet in the bathroom while on diaper duty. Some really honest person turned it in. The check I'd already endorsed to deposit was still there. My cash was still there. My cards were all still there. Amazing!

Taylar was really tired by the time we left. She'd forgone her nap that afternoon, and it was already bedtime. She was whiny and wanted to be carried. I refused - she had her own feet. It was a mess. We went home and straight to bed.

Tuesday night was Alexa's band concert. She rode the bus home from school. Fixed her own hot pocket for supper. Got her uniform on and was ready on time. Who wasn't on time? Mr. CPT. I told him I needed to leave at 5:45 to get her there in time, and if he couldn't be there by then, let me know and I'd drag all the kids so we weren't late. I called at 4:48 and he was still an exit away. I told him I'd meet him in the parking lot with the girls.

I got Alexa there on time, but with no time to spare. I stopped at the bank while I had a second and deposited that check I'd almost lost the night before since I had a minute. I got a call from Lee asking me what the puddle was. One of the sippy cups of water had leaked on the floor. I played dumb. It was his fault I had to run out the door in the first place. I got home shortly thereafter and made food for the babies. I had some little bit of leftover something and the next thing you know, it was time to leave.

The concert was long. We were not on time, but we were just on time to see Alexa get on stage at the first stage change. Perfect timing. I asked Lee to film the songs. He filmed much more crap than I would have. I've learned to make videos short and sweet. Start when the music starts or you might run out of battery. Lesson learned the hard way.

After the next stage change, another ensemble Alexa was in, he switched to the center section. Leaving the girls with me and my mom. Good thing she was there. I couldn't have gone it alone!
After an hour of keeping an 18-m-o entertained on my lap, she was ready to get down. I'd packed the bag really well, but nothing was going to keep her there any longer. Especially not once her diaper was not in place and she PEED ALL OVER MY LAP! Thank goodness I was wearing a dark busy-print skirt! It wasn't noticable at all!

Wednesday, the only excitement was when Alexa called at 6:30 to say the bus wasn't bringong her home because of a bomb threat, so I loaded the girls in the van just as supper was about to be ready. Two minutes later, Alexa called me back because her grandparents, who were headed to church next door to her school saw her standing on the curb and picked her up and could she stay and go to church? HELL NO! I just dragged your cranky-no-nap-taking three-year-old sister and the other one out to the hot car all in a rush to get you and you want me to turn around?!? I don't think so. You park your butt outside and wait for me.

Tonight was more nothing. I made chicken parmesean for supper, which involved a lot of whining on Jasmyne's part because she wanted to be held, then she wanted some of the broccoli out of the pan, then... I stuck her in her high chair and gave her a sealed can of Play-Dough to play with. She just eats it, so I wasn't going to let her have an open one. It's now my second after-two-AM night in a row. I'm going to need a nap tomorrow.
I like how the steam shows in the pic.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wendsday, Wonderful Wednesday

Wednesdays are always different. At work, I've scheduled no lunch break, so it's my “long day”. Back when I used to let her go to church, it was my Alexa break. My mom would often pick her up from daycare, feed her, take her to church and bring her home afterward, without me needing to rush anywhere to do anything. But that was 2 babies ago. I've stopped letting her go on Wednesdays for a couple of reasons. There was the fact that she didn't get to eat supper until 8:30. That she always had homework left over to finish after church. She had her trombone to practice. And a bath to take. She never made bedtime, or really ever got close, so I axed it. It was a hard decision, but she had too many responsibilities. She wasn't going for the religion, anyway. It was the social aspect.

But I digress. Or do I? Have I even started going anywhere to veer away from? Weekday evenings have been just the girls and me for several weeks months. If Lee wasn't working, which was rare, he had a softball game or practice, or batting cages... And if for some reason none of those were an issue, he usually had some errand or four to run, which kept him out until after the babies' bedtime. I'm really used to being a weekday single-mom. (We won't get into the technicalities of this statement here, ok?)

This week was a little different. For one thing, Lee called me at 4:30. I asked whether he was working, as I do every day. He said he was on the grill. I asked was he home? “No, if I was at home, I'd say I was home on the grill.” Ok, fine. So you're working again. Don't poke me with a feather, I'm liable to fall over. Or something. My mind tunes out the conversation and starts planning what to cook for supper. Anyway, he's got to get back on the grill. Oh, but first, do you need me to drop off your prescription for you? The one you've been refusin to turn in for the past week? It's no problem, I have plenty of time. I'll just get the babies and drag them to the store before Alexa's bus gets home. We'll be fine. Is it in your car? Should I stop by on my way home and get it? (Yes, then no.) Oh, where is it in the house? Ok, I'll find it, I'm sure.

His car wasn't in it's usual parking spot on my way past, but since I was on a bridge, I didn't get a really good look while driving. I could have easily missed it. And sometimes, if he's real late in the morning, he doesn't get his preferred spot. So, no big deal.

I got the babies without running home first because of the traffic and the route I took. We parked down the hill at the apartment, because we were just going to run in, grab the paper and get back in the car. Except that there was a familiar car parked there, also. A quick glance up the hill showed the grill out in the common area in front of the apartment. Hmmm, so you were really at home. And I bet the prescription really was in the car. It supposedly being in the house was a ruse to keep me from hunting your car down on my way home. Punk. You know I hate surprises. And lies for that matter. It's bad enough when you just show up without calling to say you left. I always call. You always know where I am. But you're home. And in a good mood for the first time in a long time, so we'll have this fight another day. I'm sure it'll come up again. (The picture is from Easter two years ago at his mom's house.)

Anyway, so the babies are happy to see their daddy. I'm free to leave them home and go to the pharmacy without them. Yaay! So I go. And I grab a case of water from the back of the store and carry it to the front. Along with the strawberries I couldn't resist. Wouldn't you know that the second I get in the checkout line, Lee calls to ask if I was bringing home butter. Oops, I'd used it all on baked potatoes the other day. Ok. Fine. Luckily I found an abandoned cart on my way back to the back of the store. Those waters were heavy by now. Ok, water? Check. Berries? Check. Butter? Check. Rx dropped off? Check. Away we go.

When I got home, Alexa realized she hadn't turned in her paperwork for this weekend's trip yet. And she needed to go to church to do that. Except that church started in 3 minutes. Her grandma was teaching a class, so she couldn't come get her. Luckily, we didn't have to load the babies up and off I went again. I was back in not very many minutes. The troops were getting restless, though. At least the veggies had been started, so they could soon have plates.

While we were waiting, we were talking. Somehow the subject got around to me asking him “So, if I were bad in bed, would you still sleep with me?” He's typically not a straight-answer kind of person. “If you're the one I'm with, I'd have to, wouldn't I?” So not my question. So instead I said “Well, as you're fond of telling me, we're not together.” Without looking up from stirring the pot, he said really softly, “Well, maybe it's time I stop telling you that.” My eyes got kinda teary and I took Jasmyne in the other room for a minute.

Tomorrow, the 16th, it'll have been two years since we had that big fight and I accidentally told him to move out. Sort of. He came back in September. A few factors were at work there. Mostly, he'd had a fight with the girl he'd moved in with. But also, Jasmyne was going to be born soon, and with an active one and a half year old, I was having difficulty getting everything taken care of by myself. If he was gonna be of any help at all after she was born, he was going to have to live here. Period.

Anyway, he's been doing some soul searching the past month or two. He appears to have come to some decisions, because he's been spending the night here more often, he's been nicer and he just seems more settled. He doesn't feel the need to tell me and for once I'm not pushing. I've got a pretty decent argument to make him tell me what's up, but it *might* be nice if he spits it out already says whatever it is of his own free will, on his own time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Loved Her the Most

Our favorite Great Aunt, my sister (right) and me. Circa '82-'83???

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh Yeah, I *Do* Have a Blog

Sometimes I forget. Or get wrapped up in reading other blogs. I had 964 in Google Reader when I logged onto my computer tonight. Mondays are the the busiest blog days. Everyone telling about their weekend. I really appreciate those who only post once per day, rather than 3-4 times. I've been trying to keep my unread blogs low enough that I don't go over 1000. I'm drowning in a sea of blogs. I only have 114 subscriptions, which means I still have several (read: 50 or so) to import from my other Google account. Ambitious, maybe. Insane? Definitely. Particularly as I've been on a work kick lately. I haven't spent the typical 3-4 hours a day online. Duh, that's how I was keeping up before. That and staying up until 2AM every night. Well, problem solved. Thanks!

Yesterday was officially Mother's day. I'm still waiting for the mother appreciation to begin. It was a busy day, not at all relaxing. But really, what did I expect?

We got up early-ish. We were going to try and go to early service with my Mom, but had watched a movie past the babies' bedtime the night before, so we saved bathtime for the morning. Which meant not just baths, but hair, too. My kids have a ton of hair. Not that I'm complaining. It just means things aren't so quick when it's hair time.

The babies hate the shower-time part of the bath. Where I lay them across my lap and use the sprayer on their hair. It's the noise, it's being inclined, it's being pulled out of the warmth and bubbles and toys. It's whatever. Oh, and for the 3-y-o, it's fear of water in her face.

They always want to hug me after I get the shampoo in their hair. Who *wouldn't* want a big shampoo-ey mess in their face, right?

Lee had to be at work at 9, so he helped as much as time allowed. He even ironed Taylar's dress, although I doubt anyone would have noticed a wrinkle or two. Especially since going anywhere included being strapped in a carseat...

The girls got lotioned, their hair got lotioned, combed out and styled. Then Lee fed them breakfast. Chocolate cereal for one and sticky fruit for the other. And practically another bath each afterward. Alexa got her own breakfast. I missed breakfast. Apparently mothers don't get breakfast on Mother's Day. That's ok, though. We were doing the morning thing for my mother, not for me. I could have gotten up at 5 if I was really hungry. And I wasn't that hungry!
Especially after the early-morning injury someone sustained.

So, church it was. We got there sort-of in time for class. We dropped Jasmyne off in her class. She was good to stay, even though she'd never met these people before. There were toys, so she was fine. Next stop, Taylar's class. The teacher remembered her from before. She was all set to stay, practically forgetting I was there. Alexa went off to somewhere, supposedly her class. And I went in search of the class my step-dad teaches. The youngest person in there was likely my mom, who is 25 years older than me. And she's about 10-30 years younger than the rest of the class. It was a hoot. Of course, my step-dad was a preacher at the ultra-conservative church we used to go to, so I knew what to expect with him. I popped out once to check on Jasmyne. She was fine. And after the bell rang at the end, I popped out to pick her up, even though we weren't dismissed yet. The teacher said she had been great. She bobbed her head along with the singing and had said thank you when given a snack. Apparently that was impressive. Yaay, I had the well-mannered kid for once!

Taylar was holding the teacher's hand and was already just around the corner from me. Alexa had been with her, I think, but had gotten stopped by the youth minister's wife to get some paperwork for a retreat this weekend. She can really use a christian retreat. Hopefully, she won't rub off on the other kids...

So class was over and we were heading out. Mom wanted to take Taylar. Do you have a carseat? No. But she didn't use one last time, she just sat on a pillow. She's over 40 pounds, right? She doesn't need one. Then my step-dad starts in about how I never rode in one and everything turned out ok. Ummm, you can take the one out of my van and use it. Or she can ride with me. So Alexa came and got the seat and hooked it up in my mom's car.

Jasmyne and I went home to grab the flowers from the fridge and I put playclothes in a bag for the babies, so their good dresses didn't end up trashed. Then we went by Pappadeaux to pick up the food. We hadn't ordered all that much, but the bill was nearly $95.00. Glad I wasn't paying. Lee made his boss pick up the tab for making him work so much. (Thursday and Friday nights to close - from 9AM - Saturday from 7AM-6:20PM - he'd been promised he could walk out at 5, or 3 if it was slow. And Sunday from 9AM-5PM, although he was still there at 6PM again.)

Then it was off to Mom's house to eat. We ate out of the take-out containers, because, really, who needs to do dishes on Mother's Day? We left at 1, so the girls could get a nap. I had them mostly asleep by 2, when my step-sister called to make arrangements for supper.

We were going to a hamburger place at 6. Taylar slept for 2 hours, but we ended up really paying for it. Jasmyne didn't let us know she was awake until 5:30, although she was playing in her crib. Quietly. In a dirty diaper. Poor baby! Taylar and I were quietly watching TV on the other side of the door. Ok, maybe I was reading a blog or two online while she was watching TV. Not-so-quietly.

So we got dressed very quickly and left in a hurry. And were not late. For once. But it didn't matter, because step-sister was. Apparently it was a surprise to their mother. Which explains why step-sister was doing the planning. Usually it's me and my dad that make the plans. (We Capricorns tend to take over.)

7 adult dinners and 3 kids meals for 4 kids and it was barely $80. I was going to buy supper, but wasn't fast enough and my dad did. I think he would have let me if the other kids were chipping in. But they're bums, even though it was their mom's dinner. She was all interested in ordering pasta from Pizza Hut. I think she was a little disappointed she didn't get to. But she was surrounded by family, so it ended up being ok. Since it was in the 80's yesterday, I decided not to bring the strawberry shortcake and leave it in the van at 6PM. So we didn't get to do that. :(

Lee was home when we got back after supper. He was headed out the front door with his R/C dragonfly, so we joined him outside. Up until this point, I'd taken zero pictures of Mother's Day. I suppose it was the lack of fun I was having. Not that it was a bad time, it was just a lot of work so far.

We stayed out until 8. Taylar colored with chalk on the sidewalk. Jasmyne colored with chalk on Taylar's drawings, which made Taylar mad, so she colored out Jasmyne's marks. They were both covered in chalk dust. Lee and Alexa and I were bumping the volleyball around some. Something I hadn't done since Jasmyne was born. I'm always holding the camera and keeping her close, especially when the big kids are out, playing rough.

I got 3 figurines for my glass menagerie. A frog, a dragonfly and a hummingbird. The frog was because I have a few toy frogs I've collected since middle school or so. The dragonfly was a nod to the R/C one and the hummingbird was because Taylar broke another of my hummingbirds a few months ago, when they were on a lower shelf.

It wasn't a bad day, but it definitely wasn't a Mother's Day.