Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Damn Yankees

But before I get to those Yankees...

The other day we finally got to turn off the air conditioning (but today it's back on). I went around the house opening windows and had a sudden burst of nostalgia. It was early evening. The traffic had died down and you could hear the wind in the branches and the birds and the waves on the lake.

I was suddenly transported to North Main Street circa 1980. I'm six years old. In this memory, I'm at the Sivinski's and we've been sent inside to bed while the parents stay up around the campfire built in the empty lot between Sivinski's and Dillon's.

I'm on the floor of living room on top of one of the madras plaid sleeping bags. I remember those because the outside of them were itchy. This was before the sleeping bag that looked like a bag of Doritos made it's way into their linen closet.

**Sigh** those were the days. So maybe we do need to buy that house next to the Kerber's, so we can send our kids in to bed while we throw back a couple PBRs? Then again, would we ever trust Zoe and Paige together...unsupervised?

And now those Yankees....

I park at Progressive field because it is cheap. Really cheap. The downside to this is that on game nights you have to be out by 5:30 pm or you are charged another dollar each additional 15 minutes you are over.

I have no problem with this rule, as I will gladly leave work as early as humanly possible without getting fired. And I typically have no problem with traffic at that time (especially since the Indians suck so bad).

But only possible explanation for this scenario is the onslaught of Yankee fans coming to watch the game.

I have never seen such incompetent parking skills in all my life.

1. It is essential that they back into the parking space. Because god forbid they have to wait an extra 60 seconds to back out of their parking spot when they want to leave after the game. Never mind the fact that this person, namely - ME, is trying to leave NOW.

2. In spite of their deep desire to back into a spot, they cannot accomplish this task in less than 20 maneuvers ("Man-oooo-vers" - Eddie Izzard). I will freely admit that I am not good driving in reverse, but here's the difference. I DON'T BACK INTO MY F-ING SPACE!

Sidebar: Equally annoying, but quite infrequent compared to last year, the Little Missus across the street, taking her Maserati out for a spin. The amount of time it takes her to get turned around in her driveway is ridiculous, and that car is LOUD. If you can afford a Maserati, you can afford a valet to turn your car around for you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat

Kindergarten Readiness Update:

There is no update. I have now e-mailed and left a voicemail. The school opens for business next week anyway, so I can just conduct a stake out if I have to. I am now researching other transportation options.

1. Hire a town car with dark windows and driver to whisk her to and from, but charge the bill to the city. As Denise pointed out, my taxes should definitely cover that.

2. Teach her how to skateboard so she can grab hold of the bus bumper as it speeds past Thea's house in the morning, refusing to stop to let her on.

3. Drop her off on their doorstep when I leave for work in the morning, supply her with finger paint, and tell her to be creative.

4. Teleportation or Worm Hole. Both, highly viable solutions if we lived in Eureka.

Lessons Learned Over the Weekend:

The weekend consisting of Tina's birthday dinner on Friday night, driving to Columbus for Kelly's birthday party Saturday night, a Triathlon Sunday morning, the final day of the Tour De France and an episode of True Blood.

1. There can only be one Uncle John.
Mommy: Uncle John's waving at you. Do you want to go see him?
Zoe (adamantly): Not Uncle John. Uncle John not here.
The fact of the situation is my Uncle John (my father's brother) was in the room. But Zoe's Uncle John (my brother) was not. I stand corrected.

2. If you ever want to get attention, borrow a kid with curly hair. I can't go 2 feet next to Zoe without someone stopping me.

3. It is possible to sneeze non-stop from Cleveland to Columbus. Just ask Scott. I offered some of the girls' clean socks that I happened to have in the car when we ran out of tissue, but he declined. I would not have been that proud. Not with that amount of snot. The related lesson learned: Generic truck stop sinus medicine works better than Claritin, which did absolutely nothing.

4. I kick ass at Beer Pong. Okay, maybe not kick ass, since we didn't win, but I have shockingly improved since the last time I played.

5. There are still a lot of people that do not know how to estimate the kilometer to mile conversion.
"More mature" ladies to each other: "Well, now he has to run. I wonder how long that is?"
Me, butting in: "It's a 5k for this one."
Lady: "But how much is that in miles?"
Me, resisting urge of sarcasm: "A little over 3 miles."
Lady: "So how long will that take?"
Really? It's a race! It will take some people a short amount of time, and some people a long amount of time. Get with the program.

6. I don't know the name of who won the Tour De France, but I did see Lance Armstrong finish. Because it's all about the US, isn't it? (Okay, I personally should know the name of who won, since Scott watched all 20 days, and I'm sure that I heard it said, but I honestly don't remember, so maybe it's just all about me.)

7. Sookie is too dumb to try her electric blue fairy power on Lorena. Humans can bite through vampire's skin, but they can't make it look real with special effects. Russell didn't believe Bill's allegiance, but he believes Erik's despite the weirdo smile Erik plasters on his face every time they are together. There is only one werewolf in all of Mississippi that is not white trash.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What I Learned From a Funeral and Other Stories

What I Learned From a Funeral

Being of the soundest mind I could possibly have, given my life, I want the record to show that you should donate what you can then cremate the rest of my body. Under no circumstances do I want people coming to gaze at my corpse. Yes, one of these days I'll have my attorney (AKA husband) put that in a legal document, known to most people as a will. Until then, you have been warned! Don't make me haunt you.

Guess who?
"Sometimes at cemeteries people stand in a circle while they put the box in the ground."
"Where did you learn that?"
"Jaws IV"

It actually is acceptable to jostle an open casket around in the middle of a viewing while family and friends look on, because it wasn't quite sitting right on the pedestal.

More people wear their keys attached to the belt loop of their nicest blue jeans than I had imagined.

What I didn't learn from a funeral, but wondered on the way to the cemetery: What happens if an emergency vehicle was traveling in the same direction as the funeral procession? I mean, I realize the emergency vehicle would have the right of way, but how could one possibly get around that line of traffic? I should have asked Morgan, she probably knew.

Other Story (not for the squeamish)

Scott calling from the back door: "Anna, can you bring me a rag...quickly?"
Anna, debating in kitchen between drawer of dish towels and roll of paper towels: "How big of a rag?"
Scott: "BIG. I dropped the pruners on my foot. Just so you know, it's bleeding...a lot."

Anna gets to door where pools of blood have developed and sees a trail leading back to the potting shed.

Anna: "Do you need me to have someone get you to the emergency room?"
Scott: "Just call my dad."

Oh, that's right, Papa Turtle, DDS. I love our family.

Dentist (AKA Dad) arrives while Anna gets Scott to sit down on the garage floor and let her apply the pressure.

Scott: "I think I might be going into shock"

He does look quite green and is sweating more profusely than even this hellish weather should permit. I don't know why. He only spurted out enough blood to supply a Wes Craven movie.

We lay the patient down and I get him some water. After working through the shock, showing Morgan his bloody foot, one trip to Walgreen's by the good doctor, an unpleasant moment involving anti-bacterial sanitizer in an open wound, butterfly bandages applied and a wet Cinderella wash cloth offered by Morgan to clean him up, he's ready for his next triathlon.

On a side note we pulled into the girls' swimming lesson a couple hours later and see the Red Cross is there and set up a big sign that reads "Blood Donors Needed". The irony.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mommy Day

As opposed to a "Thea" Day. Formally known as Morgan and Mommy Day, but I'm trying to break Morgan's habit of calling it that, since I'm sure it will be yet another scar on Zoe's psyche. This was intended to be a day in the week that I didn't work and spent quality time with my children while doing 500 loads of laundry.

This week, however, was actually back to "Morgan and Mommy" because Morgan got a photo shoot in Columbus and while the original plan was to take Zoe with me, the more I thought about the trip, the less optimistic I became. So I shipped her off to Thea's instead.

7:30 am - Out of bed and do the normal making of beds, getting laundry to the basement, emptying dishwasher type work. I had promised a stop at the library in the morning and my plan was to have the car packed for our trip by 9:15.

Items that thwarted this plan...unable to find power adapter for portable DVD player (still in Scott's car), unable to find DVD that was due at the library (ended up renewing it and finding it later when we get home), unable to find cream colored tights to take to shoot (never existed, except in my head, apparently). Actually, compared to some days, we didn't do too bad, although I did have to run back in the house because I forgot to close the downstairs windows after I turned on the AC. That could have been bad.

9:35 am - Leave for library. The girls have to show their summer reading contest treasure maps to get their stickers and prize drawing entry. And Morgan wants new Strawberry Shortcake DVDs. I figure we can leave by 10:15.

Items that thwarted this plan...Snuggle Bugs started at 10 for the 3 and under kids. Zoe usually goes to this, although we haven't been all summer, but I felt bad because they saw all the other kids going into the room so I made the deal that we could go but had to walk out of the library as soon as Snuggle Bugs was over.

10:30 am - Leave for Thea's. Mapquest says it's a 2 1/2 hour drive, but we know that is an over estimate and I planned on being on the road by 10:45, which does happen, So I should be there by 1:00.

Items that thwarted this plan...My laptop, which I brought for Morgan to watch the DVD since the battery was completely charged, has an automatic screen saver on it that requires a password. So I pull into a parking lot in North Olmsted, unlock the screen saver and try to get into my settings, which freezes the media player. Have to reboot the entire computer and then change the screen saver settings and then restart the movie before getting back on the road. 15 more minutes into the drive, the screen saver comes back on. Ugh! But Morgan actually was content to listen to the entire movie without being able to see it. We still made it by 1:20pm.

1:30 pm - Call Time. These contracts usually say that Morgan gets paid for a minimum of 2 hours, but it rarely takes more than an hour. I figured it would take the full 2 since I was told she would be in 3 separate outfits this time, so that puts us on the road back home at 3:30.

Items that thwarted this plan...She didn't get called to hair and make up until 2:45 and her first picture was taken around 3:00. This made Morgan a little antsy and more concerned with how tight the shoes were, which meant a longer time getting the shot they needed. All the outfits of the day could be stepped into, so they would do her hair and then put the outfit on, but in her second change the dress suddenly had to go over her head which had just been topped with a tiara. This meant the tiara had to come off, dress put on, and hair re-done. (Also, I do not recommend the "Snow Princess" pattern, as none of the fabric laid nicely and Morgan hated how it slipped around her). Since she was the only kid there and they were trying to set up another shot for the next day, they kept using her to take test shots in between her outfit changes.

4:30 pm - On our way home. Nana T graciously agrees to pick Zoe up from Thea's for me. Home by 7:00 pm. (stopped to get gas and decided Morgan should probably eat more than the snack food she had all day, and I figured we were so beyond late that stopping at Burger King was the least of my problems)

On a related note of Murphy's Law, Scott stayed downtown for a "going away" party for one of the firm's secretaries and had to take a cab home, because his car got locked in the garage after 10:00 pm. Classic!

Oh, but I do wish I had a tape recorder going during hair and make up, because Morgan never shut up. "You sure have a lot of stuff. This is a big mirror. The chair is weird. Are you going to use that brush? Do I get to wear lipgloss? My sister tries to wear my lipgloss and she makes a big mess Is that the dress I'm going to wear? What shoes am I going to wear? Are they going to be tight? Those flowers are pretty. You have more make up than my mom. These shoes are just like Zoe's only bigger..."

So watch your Joann Stores' Halloween ads (both newspaper, mail and website). Morgan will be Belle (from Beauty and the Beast), a pink Snow Princess, and then just a cute pink and brown patterned mini dress (which was completely darling, so maybe I'll actually get that sewing machine out of its box!).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Very Merry Unbirthday

In keeping with the theme of forgetting everyone's birthday, I will not be wishing Kelly a Happy Birthday in this blog today.

BC (before children), Scott and I longed for a dog, so upon entering home ownership, we immediately set out to do just that. We knew we wanted a bigger breed, and preferably one that was not too active, since we both worked full time, so St. Bernard seemed like the obvious choice.

An ad placed by a Mennonite family had the right price on it, so we took a drive into pseudo-Amish country to take a look. With a mother and father that topped out at over 200 pounds, we picked our little bundle of joy from the two males that were left, based on the fact that he was just slightly bigger than the other one.

I was at the height of my Harry Potter obsession, so he was christened Brittany's Sir Potter with the AKC and just plain Potter to his friends. He was a rather large ball of fluff and since Mennonites (at least these ones) don't use vets, he still had his nonfunctional dew claws sticking out. But we loved him anyway.

I had been assigned to a client that made me drive all over the greater Cleveland area auditing apartment complexes, so I got to do the majority of my work from home. Perfect time to get a puppy.

Two weeks later I was re-assigned to what turned into an eight month commute to Augusta, GA every week. So there went obedience school.

We first tried keeping Potter to the kitchen. This was our starter home, and we had big plans for a kitchen remodel so we weren't too concerned with what he did to it. Overall, the pee did loosen up the linoleum tiles and made them easier to pull off!

I don't exactly remember when he took the time to beaver his way through each leg of the dining room furniture, but when I tried to donate it to the furniture bank, they said they couldn't take it.

Eventually, he was banished to the basement on our departure, but it wasn't a bad deal. It was bigger than the kitchen and he had his own bar.

Midway through his first year, I came home to find a plant knocked over (must have been before his basement days). Later he proceeded to puke up bright green bile...every hour...all night long. He couldn't eat or drink without puking.

He had his stomach scoped...twice. The only thing they could find was chew toy stuffing, and we all know that is edible. The puking went on for SEVEN days, as did the hunger strike. Never did find out what was wrong with him, but on day eight he started eating again. If you've followed the blog at all, I don't need to re-hash his Irritable Bowel Syndrome "incidents". He topped out at 130 pounds and I blame that plant.

To most people, 130 pounds is quite substantial, but every time I see another St. Bernard, I realize how puny ours is. Adding to the puniness is the fact that the damn dog never sat still! He was in your face, on your lap, hogging the bed covers. He was a menace on a leash, chasing after every squirrel, chipmunk, and rabbit that crossed his path. Most often without any warning.

These days he finally lays low and spends more time chasing rabbits in his dreams than in real life. He turned 8 last week. In people years that's technically 56, but you gotta add on some more time for the larger breed and he's probably more like 80.

Last night Zoe laid across him giggling because he was panting so hard from the heat that it was like a ride for her.

I have a feeling his eye sight and maybe even sense of smell are fading. (Crumbs that I leave on the floor have to eventually be swept up.) He can barely navigate stairways (I have to actually stand behind him and prod on the ones that come in from the garage) and there is a permanent hitch in his step (which always becomes more pronounced when we leave him in someone else's care while we are on vacation).

So to my first born for his birthday...I will try to not yell at you so much when you take Oreos out of Zoe's hand while she's still eating them, I will turn on the air conditioning, and I'll let you have a Beggin' Strip, even if it means I have to wake up at 3 am to let you out of the house.
Taken August 18, 2008

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill and Other Chapters

Morgan is officially concerned about our house burning to the ground.

In the past week, she has asked me multiple times about whether or not I remembered where I bought Poohbear blanket and Beluga? "Because if they are in the fire, I can't go get them."

"That's right. The most important thing is to get you and Zoe and Mommy and Daddy out of the house. And Mommy and Daddy will worry about Potter."

"But what if you can't buy another Poohbear and Beluga."

"Okay, you do know that it is highly unlikely that our house is going to catch on fire, right?"

"I think so."

"Well, I happen to know exactly how to get a new Poohbear blanket and Beluga."

"So I can't go back for them."

It then dawns on me that this is why she is taking this tote bag around with her everywhere. If she has the bag with her at all times, these items will not be caught in the house fire. I can't believe I missed it before.

Probably the drawback to having a "bright" child (not saying she's Einstein or anything) is that they worry about everything. I remember in Little Man Tate, the child prodigy had severe ulcers at age 8 because he was worried about nuclear war and teaching his mom how to balance her checkbook.

I can totally see this happening to Morgan, but she will be more concerned with what Poohbear and Beluga are doing while she's at Kindergarten. And how long it will be until she can watch her Strawberry Shortcake video again.

In a related story, at dinner last night she announced that she wished she were a bee.

"I could have a tiny Poohbear and tiny Beluga and carry them in a tiny backpack. Then I could have another backpack to collect my pollen."


Meanwhile Zoe has gone from single words to stringing sentences together like,

"Wait for me, Morgan." (used any time Morgan gets outside before her)
"Don't look at me, Mommy." (used when she is dropping a load in her diaper)
"Juice in Daddy's bottle." (used when she wants the left over Gatorade from Scott's bike ride)
"Get out of way, Potter." (used whenever she feels he is obstructing her path, no matter how unreasonable)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Holiday Moments!

(Welcome back to the living, Professor! I missed you.)

So how about this oppressive heat wave? Fun times.

Morgan tried to play outside Monday morning, but came in after a few minutes declaring, "The flies and the hot are annoying me."

She walked through the kitchen with what has lately become the ever-present Camp Rock tote of all her worldly goods (beluga; pooh bear blanket; library book I thought we lost so I paid for it, only to find it under the stove when we moved it to bring in the refrigerator; etc.).

Scott responded, "Carrying that bag around would annoy me."

To which Morgan's instant reply was, "You talking about my bag annoys me."

If she hadn't said it in a tone of utter innocence, she probably would have been in trouble, but as it was, we burst out laughing.

* * *

Morgan has graduated from the carnival kiddie rides! I think she was a little skeptical at first, so we started out on the Scrambler. I don't think I've ever heard anyone laugh for that long since Denise and I thought it would be good exercise to play racquetball together.

She asked me who I went on rides with when I was younger. Oh Aunt Tina, you will have to meet us at the fair and do the Himalayas and Flying Bobsleds with us!

Now I can't wait to take her to Cedar Point and show her the big dogs. Circle rides are for weenies! Bring on the roller coasters!

* * *

And for those of you wondering...yes, we caught the Jaws marathon on Encore. Even though we own all of them, it was just fascinating to turn the TV on at any given time and jump right in!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bay Days

(Day 1)
I should preface this with the fact that Morgan has been on countdown to Bay Days for at least two weeks. When I pick up the girls from daycare, Morgan's first question is "Do we have to walk there? Driving will be faster and use less energy?"
Yes, we have to walk the two whole blocks to Bay Days. I don't know where she gets this laziness from.
More than the rides, Morgan is very intent to "win" a prize. This is because there is a specific game where you pick a rubber duck out of a baby pool and whatever color that bottom is tells you what level of prize you "win." Basically, Mommy pays $3 each for a prize that probably costs 10 cents each in bulk. But sometimes $3 is worth it.
And another $20 in ride tickets doesn't get you nearly as far. 24 tickets, but each ride is 2 tickets, divided by 2 girls is a whopping 6 rides!
Finish that off with a funnel cake and a bottle of water and Mommy is tapped out. Have to settle in for the free entertainment.
No, this picture was not taken in 1982. To be fair, they had beautiful tenor voices and did a very good job. Well, except for the guy on the left who was barely moving his lips and looked like he was afraid his mom would beat him if he didn't pretend to sing. Mom was running the CD of orchestral accompaniment and introduced each song with a brief origination history. Fun and educational.
Fortunately for the girls, Nana and Papa show up and are suckered into shelling out for more games and rides.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Road to Kindergarten Vol. 3

Some of you may recall the great Kindergarten transportation conundrum we have found ourselves in for the fall. This was a question I specifically asked at Information Night, because our home address makes Morgan a PM student, but our sitter's address is located with the AM students. You may also recall that the answer to my questions was to "Just turn in your form and we'll take care of it."

I turned in my form.

Yesterday, I got a call from the Transportation Department.

"Mrs. Norcross, we seem to have a problem with your form. See, Morgan is a PM student, but your daycare provider is in the AM zone. I won't be able to pick her up."

Excuse me?

"My buses don't go over there at mid-day. We'll be able to take her there after school, because the buses run everywhere in the afternoon, but not midday."

Again, excuse me? This is their way of taking care of it? Not providing transportation to my child? And P.S. Bay Village is 5 miles long by 1 mile wide at the widest point, how much of an inconvenience could it possibly be to run the bus over there?

"Well, when I asked this specific question at information night, I was told that all I needed to do was fill out the form and there would either be an arrangement to pick her up, or she would be placed with the AM students."

"I can't do that. She's been assigned to PM by the principal. You would have to ask him to re-assign her."

Okay, there is only one due date on the transportation information. it says to turn in my form by July 1st and I will receive a letter in August notifying me of the AM/PM decision and where the bus stop is. apparently, for kids on the borders they may switch them around after they have a total headcount. There is no talk of principal interaction here.

"So when I was told to 'just turn in my form' that really meant that I also had to petition the principal of the elementary school?"

Okay I didn't say that. What I said was, "Well, do you have the number where I can reach the principal to take care of this?"

"Well, obviously school is out."

No shit!

"Sometimes he goes in during the summer, so you can just call there in the mornings and try to catch him."

Okay, I'll just spend the rest of my summer hoping I will randomly catch the principal at the elementary school.

I mean, am I wrong to think there should be a more appropriate solution? And why do I have to do the leg work here? So on my next Wednesday off (because I had planned a zoo trip that was not about to be cancelled due to imbecile negligence) I will be harassing the Board of Education until they give me a way to contact this elusive principal.

And the worst part is, he's going to immediately think that I am going to be one of those pain in the ass parents, when IT WAS NOT MY FAULT!