Monday, March 11, 2013

So You Think You're Ready for Kindergarten

Going through the Kindergarten Registration packet is a little less daunting the second time around, but no less annoying.

First and foremost, the amount of repetitive information is staggering.  You know, there is this change management rule that says you have to repeat something seven times before it really sinks in...I don't think that should apply to this packet situation. Just the one page with important dates would have sufficed.  Don't keep throwing out random dates on other pieces of paper that I have to reconcile to the Important Dates page.  (Because, yes, I'm an auditor, and I reconciled them.)

Also, you may think it is 2013, but filling out this paperwork is like stepping back into 1980 before they invented computers, dot matrix printers, and the Internets.  I had to write our address EIGHT times.  THREE times on the SAME paper.  I had to write MY name TWELVE times (not counting signatures).  This better be part of the modernization program our taxes are going towards this year.  Seriously, it's easier to pay taxes than to sign your kid up for kindergarten.

Also, the rest of the world has gone paperless, we don't get "utility bills" anymore for proof of residency.  Okay, I do.  But I'm sure there are people that are more green than I am.

Mixed messages.  On one pages it lists all the things you MUST bring with you in order to register, but then two more pages in it gives you the same list, in a different order and using different terminology and then tells you to just have it all in by August 9th.

Note to first timers:  This August 9th thing is helpful for the health and immunization records.  In case you are like me and have kids with late spring/early summer birthdays and your insurance won't cover more than one well-visit in the same 12-month period, it doesn't make sense to have the doctor fill out all the paperwork now, just to have them update it again in two months when you actually go in for a check up.

In contrast to the overload of repetitive information, there are little tid bits that lack any clarity. For instance...Birth Certificate.  Okay, is that a copy?  A certified copy?  Do I have to go stand in line at Vital Statistics for an official duplicate?  Hint: None of the above.  You have to bring your original and they make a copy of it while you are there.

Now here is where I admit the number of times I started to write my name instead of Zoe's...three.  And the number of times I mistakenly marked her as "male" (in my defense, the lines were confusing).  There's no prevention for user error. 

Number of times I felt guilty...when they asked when my child reached certain developmental milestones and I had no fracking clue because she is my second child and therefore there is no record of ANYTHING.  You have my best guess, people.  All I know is that she took twice as long to talk and half as long to ride scooter as my oldest.  But my oldest spoke early and still has no large motor skill coordination.  So if you average it out, it's average.

Sidebar: I'm mildly offended that they always ask for the father's information first when you know damn well it is the mothers that are filling it out and we are the first ones (with exceptions) that are going to get a phone call if something goes wrong. 

Okay, so it took less than a lunch hour to get it done, so who cares?  (Well, me obviously, because I could have been reading Entertainment Weekly's recap of Once Upon a Time or sending more links of puppies to my husband.)

But just in case you have everything ready and get through this week and think you are in the assured you will get another packet of information at the Kindergarten Open House (not an Open House) in which you will need to write down your address and phone numbers at least three to five more times.

And, oh shit, I completely forgot about Safety Town.  (Which may explain why my kids and I rode our bikes to the playground yesterday without helmets.)  I seriously need a carpool situation for that one.  Calling all SAHMs that want another kid for two weeks.

FYI - to any BV moms going through this for the first time...the alternative transportation sheet is stapled to the back of the transportation packet...get it in early so you know you get your correct bus information this summer.

Now all I have left to do is convince the school I need to be in AM Kindergarten when I clearly live in the PM zone.  Oh, and convince Zoe that she does, in fact, want to attend.  No problem.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Author's Note: Remember that book?  I just bought a copy to put in Morgan's Easter basket this year.  I loved that book.  Also, for the first time in a long time I have THREE blog topics in my head.  But two of them are more Letters to the Editor - esque where as this one is shit that is actually happening to me.  For real.

I believe it has been stated that we live in a century home.  Which is all sorts of wonderful in a Rehab Addict kind of way.  But one of the charms of a century home is that they are not as hermetically sealed as new construction.  Read: the vermin can easily get in.

In the past we have had a mice influx at two points of any given year that we typically have dealt with using traps - the loud snappy kind that ring out the satisfying death toll: when the first frost hits and when the spring rains flood any remaining outdoor populations.

But since we have had HoHo, we have been happily vermin free indoors.  Outdoors, we see the fruits of his labor displayed in attractive sacrificial alters to the gods of food and potential couch time.  This fall, HoHo had so successfully eradicated the mice and chipmunk population he had moved on to birds, including most notably a large pesky male Cardinal.  Impressive. (Actually, just before I left for work this morning, I found him perched on the radiator virtually growling at a Cardinal in the bush outside. He hates those bastards.)

Last winter, HoHo was not allowed in the main living area.  Partially because Scott and I are somewhat allergic (him more than me) and partially because we felt it would be a personal affront to Potter who was not a fan of the feline persuasion despite the fact that he couldn't see him.  So he spent his winter between the basement and the garage. 

With Potter gone, our tender little heart strings have succumbed to his affectionate companionship. 

That, and we have gotten really lazy about catching him after he has sneaked through the door for the hundredth time.  He's like Houdini.

So he spends most evenings entertaining himself with running up and down the stairs as fast as he can twenty times in a row, being carted around like an awkwardly held baby by Zoe, placed up in Morgan's bed where he stays for no more than five minutes before taking the second story leap to the floor, and joining Scott and I on the couch.

If he happens to be awake when I go up to bed, he follows me and we compromise about which quadrant of the bed he can inhabit.  If the girls have left dirty laundry on their floor, he might abandon me for that.  Otherwise, he slumbers on the couch.  And we don't hear a peep until morning when Scott gets up. 

Now, he doesn't bother Scott (that I know of).  He waits until I place one foot outside the bed and comes prancing from his look out at the top of the stairs mewing like he hasn't had a meal in the last 48 hours.  So no matter what time it is, I have to go all the way downstairs to put food in his dish or I won't have a moment of peace.  Then when he's done, he comes to find me mewing like he's had to cross his legs for 48 hours, despite the basement litter box, and I have to let him outside.  I suspect he thinks he is part dog.

Last night...2:30 AM...

I awaken to this ungodly cross between a cry and moan.  A consistent siren of a wail that seems to be getting closer.  Well...this is new.

And then I jump out of bed and sniff the air for smoke because I remember some news story about a cat that saved a family from being burned alive in their own home.  No smoke.  Just wailing.  He sees that I'm up so he turns around and goes back down the stairs, wanting me to follow him.

Timmy better have fallen into the god damn well.

So I get to the bottom of the stairs and he is now hunched over on the rug.  Are you kidding me?  You called me all the way down here to watch you puke up a fur ball?  I switch on the light and lean over him closely, because I don't have my glasses on and am legally blind.


"What is it?" I hear Scott yell from the bedroom.

"He caught a HUGE mouse!"  I mean this was not your ordinary mouse.  It was a cross somewhere between your average mouse and a small rat.  And I am not afraid of mice.  In fact, I once put on a garden glove and picked up a mouse that had fallen into the dog food container and released it into my backyard.  Then I hear a squeak.  "He hasn't killed it yet!"

And then what happened?

He let it go!  It all happened so quickly, much more quickly than I can tell if I want to add anecdotes, that I may have confused his cat equivalent of night vision goggles when I turned on the light and the mouse bolted into the dining room.  He cornered it a few more times but after about a five to ten minute chase, the mouse finally escaped into the fireplace.

So which of the following scenarios is better?

Knowing that there is a live mouse in your home while you are sleeping (which frankly, we have always assumed anyway) or waking up and swinging your bare feet out of bed to step on a furry little body?  Because I can only assume he was bringing ME the mouse to show me how awesome he was.  I mean, he probably would have sat there until it suffocated and then left it either on the floor or potentially brought it all the way into bed.

So everyone went to work this morning.  If HoHo's job isn't done by the time I get home and there isn't a large mouse cadaver on my threshold, the traps are coming back out, people. 

Fierce Creature