Friday, January 30, 2009

Shameless Plug

Don't forget the class trip that needs your help, Internet!

Future City - Team Lenexa
Westridge Middle School
9300 Nieman
Lenexa, KS 66214

Something New, #271

Today was Pajama Day at The Little One's school.

Since I always feel like as a single mom, I'm being more harshly scrutinized as far as my children's appearance in concerned. It makes me nuts if their hair is a mess or they have stains on their clothes. I guess I have to prove to the world that they are being well cared for. So for previous Pajama Days, I've actually either gone out and purchased pajamas that they couldn't wear to school until after Pajama Day or washed, mended and IRONED a newer set.

I was too tired to deal with either last night, so just let The Little One pick out some that looked clean, had no rips and covered her up.

I even let her sleep in them and just get up and put on shoes and socks.

It saved us 10 minutes this morning.

I heart Pajama Day.

I may even toy with the idea of getting her fully dressed at night after her shower, letting her sleep in her clothes, then spraying her down with fabric softener to get the wrinkles out.

10 minutes is 10 minutes, after all.

Something New, #270

As I was taking the exit downtown to my cater-waiter job, there was a homeless man with his cardboard sign on the corner where I stopped for the red light. He was literally about 4 feet from my window, so instead of trying to avoid all eye contact, I opened my window and offered him the orange from my lunch sack. He took it, thanked me, and the light turned green.

When I work a catering event, we usually have a lot leftovers. Since the client pays for them, usually members of the wedding party or host will keep them, but not always. I usually end up taking home a doggie bag or two, but a lot gets thrown out. We ended up throwing out 2 pans of pasta, because no one wanted that much, and it really won't keep more than a day or two.

It occurred to me I should what would have been thrown out and bag it up for other homeless I might come across downtown. I did take some leftovers home for myself, but didn't see anyone on my way out from downtown to give it to. I'm going to do some research to see if there's any place nearby our event space that will take something like what we have.

Something New, #269

I always hated asking for help.

That is until I got so far into it with The Ex and there was no was of getting out of it alone. Now I'm really good at it.

So with the upcoming DC trip for my daughter, I sent out about a dozen letters to various companies asking for donations for her team.

Fundraising is not one of my gifts, as I found out last year when I headed up the bake sale committee to send The Big One's sixth grade to camp for a week. Even though we were netting over $100 per sale (which lasted about an hour an a half over the school lunch hour, once a week and we were selling things like Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Little Debbie snack cakes for a quarter a pop. That's a lot of quarters and Twinkies) apparently, according to the PTA president, I wasn't doing ENOUGH and should have been getting "corporate sponsors" to underwrite the bake sales. I found that laughable: "Dear Ginourmous Corporation, Would you provide Ho-Hos for our bake sale?"

So I'm asking for help. And since I have almost 2,000 hits on this blog, and I know it's not all me, I'm including the address to send donations to send these kids to DC. Seriously, this is the only opportunity most of these kids will have for a trip like this. About half of this school's students are from blue collar families, and a lot of single parents like myself. This team is mostly girls, too, and anything to encourage girls in the areas of science and math is a worthy cause. Even ten bucks will buy a Metro pass for kid for a day. Let's do it, Internet!

Future City - Team Lenexa
Westridge Middle School
9300 Nieman
Lenexa, KS 66214

Don't forget, donations are tax deductable!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Something New, #268

The Big One has been working for several months for her team at school's entry for Future City. They made a working model city, did research and presented it at K-State.

Her team won!

Now they go to the nationals in Washington DC next month. I had a major panic attack - can I get off work, how will I pay for this, what am I going to do with The Little One and The Neuortic Dog, etc. But I've calmed down now, and for the first time, booked a plane flight for myself. FOR ME! I get to go somewhere I've never been, and I don't have to visit relatives and can do what I want!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Something New, #267

I got this e-mail, so I thought I'd see what I came up with. Like I don't do enough self-analysis.

I wasn't clever enough to follow the posting directions, so here it is.

25 Random Things About Me

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you. (To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. I fall down a lot.
2. I get lost a lot. At least twice a week. (Does this count as 2?)
3. I am almost always ten minutes late.
4. I tie excellent floral bows.
5. I can curl my tongue into a U.
6. My second toe is longer than my big toe. Most people find this weird.
7. I can kick almost anyone's ass in the original Trivial Pursuit.
8. I have never had a balanced checkbook.
9. I hate tomatoes, but will eat it in sauces, stews etc. Just plain and raw, ech.
10. I can paint an awesome piggy bank
11. I have a tattoo.
12. I can drive a stick shift.
13. I named The Little One after the main character from my favorite childhood book, Miss Charity Comes to Stay.
14. I can do Columbia's tap routine from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but no one will ever see me do it. Not in a million years, so don't ask.
15. I shoplifted a lipstick on a dare with my BFF when I was in the eighth grade.
16. I wish I had more patience with my kids.
17. I love my meds.
18. I won the Best Legs award at summer camp my senior year in high school.
19. Geraniums are the only thing I can successfully grow.
20. I have Four Degrees of Separation to Paul McCartney- I knew a web designer who was the son of the drummer for Badfinger, on whose single "Come and Get It," Sir Paul sang background. Four, right?
21. I want to visit Greece.
22. I want to visit the Louve.
23. I'm 1/16th Creek, but due to a clerical error from the early 1900's, my card says I'm 1/32. (I really to have the documentation to prove this.)
24. I kissed a stranger one New Year's Eve.
25. I have 6 images of the Mona Lisa in my house.

Something New, #266

I took The Little One to see Paul Blart, Mall Cop, (which was actually much better than I thought it would be) to a theater that had the COOLEST hand dryers I've ever seen.

The Dyson Airblade.

This thing was awesome. We washed and dried our hands several times just to try it out, and I felt like such a hick, but it was such a rush.

It would be totally awesome to have a full size one at home so I'd never have to wash towels again.

Something New, #265

The Little One is just like her father (say that last part through gritted teeth) in the fact that she gets away with just about anything. Seriously, anyone else in the world would be doing time, but not him.

I've tried positive rewards, taking away privileges, and outright bribes, to get her to see that her actions have consequences, but with little affect. It must be some kind of perverse gift from the universe that she gets away with stuff like not turning in homework or losing school library books. She always gets a "Oh, that's OK, just don't do it again."

Seriously, these people are not doing her any favors.

So when she wasn't prepared for dance class by not having her hair up, correct shoes and attire, the teacher scolded her. Her dance teacher has taught for over 30 years and as sweet, kind and cool as they come. All the kids just adore her. Coming from Mrs. S, a scolding had an effect.

I thanked Mrs. S for it, and she totally got it. After all, her Ex is a scumbucket, too, so we have to stick together.

Something New, #264

In my effort to get my weight down to what it says on my driver's license and create multiple streams of income for my family, I've hit upon a sure-fire winner.

I invented a weight-loss plan.

I'm calling it the Dental Diet. Anytime I feel like eating junk or eating out of boredom, I'll brush my teeth. It's only been 2 days, but my teeth feel great.

If this fails, I guess I could eat less and exercise more, but where's the profit to be made in that?

Something New, #263

In my effort to fill time at the office when no one is there, and I LITERALLY have nothing to do, I did an online workout at my desk.

I would have never tried this if anyone was around, but everyone was gone, and I have to admit, the floor at the office is much cleaner than mine at home. No dog and cat hair everywhere. I'll probably do this again, next time I'm sure I'm alone.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Something New, #262

I learned that Spray 'N Wash makes a good spot cleaner for the carpet.

I also learned it's a good idea to put the box of Clementine oranges way up high so the dog doesn't eat them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something New, #261

I, along with probably millions of other Americans, watched my first live presidential inauguration.

I queued up early on CNN, and still had to wait for more bandwidth, and watched it with one of my associates at work. It was nice to have someone to share it with. On Talk of the Nation, callers were sharing where they watched it. One man called in that he had watched it while his fiance was getting her first sonogram. The cherry on top was that they figured out the date of conception was election night. He said that if it was a girl, they were seriously thinking of the name Sasha. Then later, Terri Gross had Shepard Fairey on Fresh Air.

Pretty much a perfect day of programming.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Something New, #260

I am a Good Pet Owner, because with the exception of inclement weather or lack of doggie bags, am fastidious about picking up the poo when I walk The Neurotic Dog.

We walk the route that we do, because it takes us by the park (and TCGIBS42Y's house) so I can dump the presents she leaves me in the bins there, rather than at home in my garage. I only have trash pick up once a week, so I don't relish the idea of poo being in my garage for a week sometimes.

But I was a Bad Neighbor tonight. Since tomorrow is trash pick up day, I dumped the doggie bags in a couple of the bins that were on the curb. If no one sees me do it, does it count?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Something New, #259

When I was little, I'd go spend a couple of weeks with my grandmother in Eufaula, Oklahoma.

Her house had no central air and if you've ever been to Oklahoma in the summer, you know it's brutal. So at night, she'd move the bed to the center of the room, so it was directly under the ceiling fan, and we'd sleep with our heads at the foot of the bed. The idea was that we were closer to the fan, and therefore would be kept cooler. I'm not sure if it worked or not.

Anyway, I thought of this last night and tried it. I figured with all my sleep issues, it couldn't hurt.

It didn't make a bit of difference, and because I have no footboard, the pillows kept sliding off and The Neurotic Dog was restless, because she didn't know where to lie. Plus, I really felt like my head was exposed without a headboard to ground it.

Maybe I just need to get over it and get that Ambien prescription.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Something New, #258

This is my 3rd year as The Little One's Brownie troop's Cookie Mom, and every year, I've sworn it would be the last.

It's really not that hard, but it involves a LOT of bookkeeping, which is NOT one of my gifts. I've managed to get the books balanced the past 2 years, but this year may prove to be different, since I've been introduced to what feels like the world of black market Girl Scout Cookies.

The problem started when one of the mom's gave me her daughter's cookie order after the main order went in. I didn't look at it, but just figured we could make up the numbers from the leftovers of our order.

I was wrong.

Not only were there almost 3 dozen boxes I had to pull out of my botto, she had accepted payment for most of them, so I HAD to find replacements. I cannibalized The Little One's order to fill hers and then had to track down replacements. I called and e-mailed around and managed to find some. I then had to pick them up and pay for them. WITH MY OWN MONEY.

I know I'll be eventually reimbursed, but meanwhile there's a lukewarm check made out to the Girl Scouts with my name on it.

Seriously, my last year.

Something New, #257

A little squirt of caramel sundae topping in my coffee. I keep it in my fridge for apple dipping, and can't believe I never thought to put it in anything else.

Something New #256

Take Your Daughter To Work Day

Since The Little One was banned from school for 24 hours and wasn't really sick, I took her to work with me. She packed up her crayons, books and portable DVD player and as instructed, stayed very quiet. Her dad came and picked her up mid-afternoon, so it went well.

But this is just another problem faced by single parents. I can see where the school would have a "no diarrhea" policy, but she wasn't really sick, just a little OD'd on Thin Mints. I can sympathize with the the school nurse who sees the kids who were sent to school, obviously sick, and think it's irresponsible of parents to knowingly send a sick kid to school. When I worked at the pediatrician's office, I couldn't believe the measures some parents took to keep their kids at school. I swear, I got a call from a mom who wanted to make an after school appointment because her kid had strep. I asked, "You mean he's at school now? With possible strep?" I should have told her to get his ass in the office right away, but HR would have frowned on that.

But she's fine now, and has learned her lesson about pacing herself on the Thin Mints. After all, they're only around once a year, you have to spread them out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Something New, #255

I learned that The Little One's school has a policy that if a child has a fever or diarrhea that it means an automatic absence for the next 24 hours.

I don't think it was really diarrhea. She ate 2 boxes of Thin Mints in less than 24 hours without my knowledge. That would play havoc with anyone's bowels.

Great. Now I have to figure out a creative day care solution...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Something New, #254

I learned that's it's illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon and New Jersey.

Must be nice.

Thanks Car Talk guys for that one!

Something New, #253

Finally, after a 36-hour certification course and a year's work experience, I get to do some "real" paralegal work, rather than administrative stuff. In the limited exposure I've had of the law business, I'm amazed at how much menial work the attorneys do themselves. "Uh, I learned that in school, couldn't I be doing ______ instead of an attorney?"

Anyway, I finally felt challenged!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Something New, #252

Several months ago I purchased some prayer flags and hung them in my front tree. The directions on the bag instructed to burn them when it came time to dispose of them. My were looking pretty ratty, so I burned them up in a coffee can on my driveway.

I thought they'd blaze up and burn out pretty fast, but it took a good 20 minutes for them to burn out. This meant that I had to watch them because I need to do Something New, but burning down the house is not a choice. It was really hard for me to just sit and do nothing for 20 minutes. I kept fighting the urge to go back into the house and do the dishes, or vacuum, or bathe a kid but didn't. I just sat there and watched the flames.

Maybe that's the point of burning them. To just sit and be still for 20 minutes.

I'm not sure what to do with the ashes. Maybe I'll scatter them in the flower bed and then I'll get some new flags in the spring.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Something New, #251

I learned that a 1995 Toyota Corolla wagon will hold 56 cases of Girl Scout Cookies.

Thin Mints, anyone?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Something New, #250

I rarely have extended time off from work, and when I do, I feel obligated to visit my family. I was fortunate enough to get 5 days off over the holiday, and chose to stay home instead.

I have not had 5 days off in a row, with my kids at home in over 5 years. Whenever I do get time off at home (most people call these "weekends", but when you work as many odd jobs as I do, I call them "just another day") I have a long to-do list and spend most of my time frantically trying to complete projects and keep up with the house. I also spend a lot of my time nagging my kids, because they don't keep up with their chores during the week (the chore chart was a huge failure) and therefore, I end up doing their chores.

But this time, I paced myself. I managed to get everything done that I needed and wanted to, AND did it without nagging my kids to the bone. I just need to realize that if it doesn't get done, who the fuck cares.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Something New, #249

Apparently, I am not the only one in the house who is in a rut.

When I suggested to the girls that we switch our places at the table, they acted like I'd asked them to give up TV or something.

The funny thing is, the switched places made more sense than the ones we currently use. Only one person (me) has to squeeze in between a counter or wall, and they have more room. I think I'm going to give this one another try. Just because you've always done something a certain way, doesn't mean it's the best way to do it.

The whole undercurrent of this exercise.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Something New, #248

A few months ago a dog/car wash opened near our house. Since it had been about a month and a half since The Neurotic Dog had her "spa treatment," she was pretty stinky so the girls and I loaded her in the car and took her for a bath.

The dog wash had sinks set up with ramps so the dogs could walk up and were counter level. There was a nice set up just like at the car wash, where you put your money in the machine and selected what function you wanted. Wash, conditioner, skunk treatment, rinse, fragrance and my favorite, the vac-dry. That was a shop-vac with a nozzle like a diffuser for a hair dryer, and you could just vacuum your dog dry.

She didn't like getting up in the sink, and it took a couple of tries, but she didn't try to jump out. Since she hates the vacuum at home, I thought she'd freak out over the vac-dry, but took it pretty well. She smells great now, and is much softer and shinier.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Something New, #247

In the latest issue of Real Simple, there is a short cut card to getting a human being on the line when calling a business. It had the White House listed, and stated that an operator always answered.

I called, and sure enough, "White House."

Good to know my tax dollars are being spent on some one's salary.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Something New, #246

I love Christmas decorations.

This may be a holdover from my first career as a visual merchandiser. Even though we started in September with the Christmas rollout, I never got tired of it.

I have 10 of those Rubbermaid tubs filled with decorations in my basement. This does not include the 4 artificial trees and outside decorations. 3 of those tubs are just ornaments. My mom feeds my habit by getting the girls and I several Hallmark ornaments every year.

I have 121 Hallmark ornaments, 37 of which are just Barbie. (Barbie gets her own tree in our house.) This does not include home made or non-Hallmark ornaments. Those go in another box. 121 Hallmark ornaments that have to be unpacked and packed every year in their original boxes. If I threw out any of the original boxes, I'm sure something really terrible would happen like the earth's axis would tilt, bats would fly out of the sun or my mother would find out.

So this year, I got tired of the tedium of taking out all the ornaments out of the original boxes, then matching back up with the original boxes when the trees came down. I did something really out of my comfort zone.

I didn't store the ornaments in the original boxes. And lived to tell about it.

OK, I KEPT the original boxes, just stored the ornaments in a fancy-schmancy divided storage box (actually two), flattened the original boxes and stored them in another box. Hopefully this will expedite things next year.

And yesterday, I did manage to control myself at Target even though ALL CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS WERE 75% OFF. I only bought one dozen small blown glass ornaments to replace the ones that were broken from the Advent ornament tree.

Again, not a Something New that is earth-shattering, just out of my comfort zone.

Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.

Something New, #245

Seems like most of my Something News deal with technology. I'm not a techo-phobe, just lazy.

I downloaded a whole CD onto my new fancy-schmancy MP3 player that has NO USB cord, just pops into the port. BTW, why can't all devices have this feature? I have about a dozen and half USB cords in a basket for various devices. It would be great to have a camera with this little extra.

Anyway, it was an album I'd heard about on Fresh Air, Feed the Animals, by Girl Talk. It had an interesting idea for the download, just pay what you wanted. I paid $2. I know. I'm a broke single mom. Throw me a friggin' bone.

Every track on the album is made almost entirely of sampled music, with a few original vocals thrown in. I can't imagine what their copyright fees were. Now I feel guilty about being cheap.

Anyway, it's an interesting album and will be great for walking the dog.