Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pumpkin man

Pumpkin man
Originally uploaded by Ranguard.
Since I love orange and fall is the best season, I decided to blog this pic from flickr. Isn't it great?
This, my friends, takes much thought and planning. Too bad we waited too long to get our pumpkins this year. It frosted and killed most of them in the patch, so we decided not to make the annual trip to pick out pumpkins. I regret it now because I won't have any pumpkin patch pictures to post or scrapbook. They are my favorites.
This pumpkin man would have looked awesome standing in my yard for all travelers to see. It would have been a conversation starter, to say the least.
Check out this guys pictures on Flickr - he has one of a "puking pumpkin" that is hilarious. Or, search on that website for puking pumpkins - there are some goodies.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

When down and out, eat dessert

I just took a batch of brownies out of the oven. It makes the house smell so good. It even said on the side of the box, "at least two whole chocolate candy bars in each batch". What could be better than that?
Then, I went to the store and bought vanilla bean ice cream ("Light") so that we can put a scoop on top of a warm brownie. As you know how things have been lately, we also plan to top that off with a dabble of hot fudge, just so we know we are getting the calories we need. Ha!

If that doesn't cure what ails ya, what will?

I got a newsletter today in the mail from Archiver's, my favorite Indiana scrapbooking store. It has some very cute projects in it for Christmas. Can you believe it is rapidly approaching? I vow to not wait to purchase gifts. I do not want to be shopping the third week in December. That's how the Husband usually does it. Not this year, sweetheart.

We have been kicking around the idea of going off for a few days around Thanksgiving. Not sure where, but just to get away. Warm place sounds great. Any suggestions? I also don't want to spend thousands of hours in a plane, either, though. (The kids will be gone.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Do you hear what I hear?

Do you hear that? That sound? Ding-ding-ding. The sound of the bell in a boxing match. It is ringing in my ears. Get out your gloves, cause it's round seven at my house.

Oldest daughter came home from her dad's last night and said that she hadn't been feeling very well. Have we heard this before? Yes, we have. Repeat. Same symptoms that the middle daughter had the last time she was sick with pneumonia. So, I gave her some cough medicine and some Tylenol before she went to bed.
She woke up this morning and came to me as I was leaving for work. She told me that her head was killing her. I gave her another round of the medicines. I called her immediately after school and she said she had to run in gym class today, and that she coughed her fool head off. She also said that her chest was hurting terribly. I told her I'd be home in twenty minutes.
We took her temperature when I got home. Ready for this? 103 degrees. No kidding! Back to square one with the sicknesses. I swear. When I tell people this, like ladies at work in my department, I swear they look at me like I make this shit up. I mean, after all, how can one person have it 'so bad'? Believe me, I often ask myself this same question.
So, the gloves are on for rounds and rounds of more of the same. And, still battling the lice situation. Just when I don't find any nits, she goes back to school and comes home with a live one in her head. I can't take it. Honestly.
Oh, and furthermore, I find out today that on my "Fall Break" (one day - this Friday), the remod guys are coming to install drywall in the living room. *Bright and early in the morning they'll start, and they'll finish that evening. No going back to bed after the kids are dropped off at school. No privacy in my own home by myself on my ONLY DAY OFF FOR THE ENTIRE SEMESTER!!!!!!!!!!!!! God, why? Simply, why?
What the heck does a girl have to do to catch a break around here?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Two nights of them

I have had two nights of various parent teacher conferences. No, I wasn't acting as the teacher, I was acting as the parent. I attended conferences for my own children. (at the elementary where I am having "issues" shall we say.)

I feel guilty for actually saying what I am about to say. I have been really down lately. Sure, I'm still taking my antidepressant, but it has been a funk that I've been in lately. The reason I feel guilty is because I know, deep in my heart, that it could be so much worse. Yet, that doesn't erase the feelings I have.
It seems like there is this black, thick cloud of gook around me, just hovering. As I was talking to my mom last night on the phone, I was telling her what has gone down at these conferences over the last two days and she stated, "Well, it's just like it is one thing after another with no break." EXACTLY. That's what I'm sayin. If I felt I had a small "let-down" of sorts, I might be able to handle things better. I just feel bombarded. Like I am trying to tread water, but the gulps are getting to me.
Am I taking things like a baby? Probably. I've been told I play the victim well. But why, then, do I have such deep feelings of 'uuuugggghhhhh' and exhaustion no matter how much rest I get?
I'm not posting this here for miracles. I'm not that naive. I guess it is just therapy enough to get things down 'on paper' so to speak, that I can face just one more day. One at a time is what I'm doing here. It has to get better. It just has to.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Release the Hounds!!

Boy, did my Friday the 13th turn out wacky!!
I went to work early for a faculty meeting. Supposed to be there at 7:30am. Since there is construction on the highway that I take daily, I decided to leave in enough time to be sure I was prompt. I got there ten minutes before the meeting was to begin.
As I pulled into the parking lot out in front of the school, it was pitch black outside. I noticed five squad cars parked directly in front of the school. Odd, I thought. Perhaps at these early hours, the police parked a few vehicles around the school to deter mischief. I wasn't aware of that.
Then, in my peripheral vision, I noticed a police car with its headlights on in a far parking lot to the left AND right of the school. Way odd.
I walked up to the front entrance and saw a semicircle of police officers inside the doors. As I got closer, I also noticed a dog, much like the one in this picture, sitting at attention, waiting for me or any other 'visitor' to enter the school. I proceeded with caution. After all, I had a Snickers bar in my purse. Contraband.
I opened the doors and breathed a sigh of relief when the officers at least smiled at me and said good morning. I then thought that we must be having some sort of 'training' or presentation by the officers in our meeting. With all of the recent school incidents around the country, it is a heightened issue.
I went to the meeting, and the main building rep for the teacher's union came in and made an announcement that there would be no meeting. There had apparently been a 911 call last evening to the police, stating there would be a bomb in the school today. This was called in by a student of the school.
As the story unfolded, I learned that the student was one of mine. Sure. The officers and dog found nothing. Each student was wanded and bags were searched upon entrance to the school. Everything was clean. No bomb was found, no residue of anything, nothing. So, precautions turned out nothing questionable. Thank goodness.
Other tidbits: the student called last evening about a bomb threat for today. Not the smartest thing to do. Also, he stayed on the pay phone at a convenience station in town long enough for police to arrest him about two minutes after he hung the phone up. Again, not too smart. The boy was detained in a juvenile detention center and will be given the book.
Apparently, all week long, he had told his friends that he was "gonna get everybody outta school on Friday the 13th!" Dumb. Instead, he got himself locked up for the event.
Just goes to show you that you can never be too sure of your own safety.

Friday the 13th

Even though there will be some out there that will tell me I am overstepping the boundaries of safe internet use, so be it. I can't hold it in.


Gosh, I don't want to keep getting older. Not that I really think 33 is old, persay. But, that means that old years are to come. And frankly, I don't want it.
I have a cousin, who is like a daughter to me, who will turn 21 tomorrow. Remembering back to my 21st birthday...the night before it, I felt that twinge of intuition and went out and bought a pregnancy test. After all, I wouldn't want to celebrate on a pregnant stomach!
Yep. Pregnant.
So, memorable as it was, my twenty-first bday didn't involve the traditions of a normal 21st. I hope her birthday is great. I love her.
And, my biological father's birthday is tomorrow. He will be 51. You do the math. He lives in Florida, way far away. I miss him terribly, and wish I could be there to celebrate with him.

As for the birthday being today, on Friday the 13th? I'm not worried. My 16th bday was on Fri. the 13th, too. And it turned out great.
Hey, I already got the new Lionel Richie CD this morning as a gift so I can crank it on the way to work. It'll be a good day.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This is me.

This is me. Not literally, of course. I mean, I've had three babies. My body won't resemble this ever again. But...metaphorically. Every morning I wake up, it is getting more difficult to face the day - going to work all day long, rushing home so that the kids aren't here alone long, dinner, homework, laundry, dishes, baths, bedtime, try to unwind, count the hours of sleep I am not going to get. Then do it all over again.
I am tired of being a full time working mother. I could handle part time. What I find is that I am so exhausted by the time I get home, I am shortchanging my kids and husband. It's just that simple. And I'm not happy with it. Sure, the paycheck is helpful, but what am I losing for that blue piece of paper?
In other news...
The school. Yep, another incident. This time, it is with the youngest child. Yesterday she comes home, is fine, or so it seems, then at 9:05pm, five minutes after bedtime, she tells me that the nurse came to her classroom to "check heads" yesterday. But that she only checked her crown (she pointed to the area) of her head because the nurse said, "That's where lice usually are." Oh, my, goodness. This, coming from a "NURSE" that is supposed to be taking care of people? Where did she get her degree, The Dollar Store?
So, I said, well, let me check you - go in the bathroom. *Note: I am a lice-o-phobic. Big time.
I checked the back first, right where the nurse did, to see what she saw. Then I moved on to above the ears. Yep. Found some. Did I mention it was after nine at night? And that we live at least 15 minutes away from any store that carries lice products? I was furious. I called her teacher, since we are friends, and let loose. She was furious, too. Said she had contacted the nurse on MONDAY to come and check her kids. She came on WEDNESDAY. WTF?
I can't take this trying to work and trying to take care of everything here. My life is going to hell in a handbasket.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ugly Mom, continued...

Well, good news first - she didn't have to participate in gym today.

Secondly, thanks to the allies that commented, telling me to kick ass and take names.

Lastly, here's how it went down:
After I sent the emails this morning, where I stated to make any and all necessary replies to my SCHOOL EMAIL NOT HOME, I did not get any responses at school. Unusual. So, around lunch time, I sent a second email to the principal, asking that she verify she received a previous email from me. An hour goes by. Nothing. Hour and a half. Nothing. Finally, I emailed Cam's teacher directly stating that I just merely wanted to know if she was forced to participate in gym today, or if she was "allowed" to go to the office and sit. I added that I would appreciate his response, since I obviously couldn't get anyone else in the building to reply. He promptly replied that she did go to the office and read. Easy to respond to me - see principal?
I just thought I would let you all in on just how empathetic this P.E. teacher is. Here is her email to me today. Enjoy, and tell me what you think. It doesn't get any better than this, by the way.

And I quote...
First, let's clear up some false accusations. I did not deny your request last week. I read your note. We were unable to go out for the mile because it was raining. I did not let her run. I did check the doctor's note later and it did not have any restrictions listed. When a student brings me a note from home at the beginning of P.E class, I do not have the opportunity to go to the office at that time. The office usually copies the note if it has P.E. restrictions. Since it had no restrictions, I had not received a copy.
I told Cammi to try to walk when the class practiced for 7 minutes. I checked with her while she was walking and she had no complaints. I didn't see the problem with walking fast, but if she had complained, then I would have let her quit.
She sat at the office today as you requested. If she cannot run/walk the mile next week, please get a doctor's note stating this. We will probably only go out one more time.

Now, wanna hear more? Here is the response I got from the principal, and I quote:
Dear Nina,
Upon checking with Mrs. *****, she did read your note and did not make her run. Cammi walked for 7 min. at the beginning of class in the gym. She asked her at the end of this how she was doing and Cammi told her o.k. No one did the mile run because of rain. Cammi will be allowed to sit in the office area and read today during her gym time since they will be doing the mile run if it isn’t raining. The doctor’s note indicated no restrictions, so if we should need to excuse her further we will need a doctor’s note stating this. This is standard procedure for excused PE classes. Hopefully by next week Cammi will be back to better health.

Any grand suggestions as to what to do next? Do I be a witch and respond back, or let it ride as is? It is difficult for a gal like me to keep my mouth shut ya know.

Ugly Parent

I'm going to be the ugly parent today. The elementary where my kids go to school is going to hate me after this morning. (Not as if they haven't already thought that a time or two, but...)
Last week, middle pneumonia daughter's first week back to school, I sent a note to the P.E. teacher, telling her that Cam was NOT to run the mile. That was their mission for the week. So, Tuesday, her gym day, I wrote a lengthy note. I told the teacher that if she had any concerns, questions, or issues with the note, that she should contact the office to see Cam's doctor note AND email me immediately. Well, the teacher made her "speed walk" the mile. This is for a kid who hadn't eaten a full meal in over ten days. She was on an inhaler, cough medicine, antibiotics, etc. I was HOT!
So, I was informed by Cam that today is the same deal. Running the mile. She is better, but I really do not want her getting that overheated, ya know? Am I wrong, here? She is still coughing at night. She doesn't feel great, you can see it in her eyes. They are glassy and she gets very grumpy by the end of the day due to pure exhaustion. So, I am going to get ugly.
I am sending an email to the principal AND the P.E. teacher. I am having the teacher send Cam to the office for gym class. She can sit and read. And if they have a problem with it, they can call me immediately. I will march out to that school and be the ugliest parent around if I have to. Running the mile at this stage in her life is not critical. She'll have plenty of chances to do it many more times when she doesn't want to, throughout her long life. So, here I come.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It slaps you in the face when you least expect it

Previously on this blog I have talked about suicide. Not my own, but my experiences with suicide in my family. Today, that demon reared its ugly head and slapped me when I wasn't expecting it.
Today, while talking to a fellow teacher, we were discussing some particular E.D. students (that's emotionally disabled/special education). In this discussion, we eventually talked about depression. I told this co-worker of my family having a history of depression, and that, in fact, my mother's father commited suicide. She extended her sympathies and we talked about others who had been through deep bouts of depression, resulting in death in other ways: immobility, eating one's self to obesity and death, sleeping life away, etc. The conversation ended and I did not think any more about it. Until I got home.
After being home for about a half an hour, my mom called. This wasn't out of the ordinary. She asked me if I was watching Oprah. I told her I wasn't and she said, "Good!" I thought maybe she was saying that because the show was almost over and she was taping it for me to watch in its entirety, since I would have missed about twenty minutes of it due to the fact I don't get home in time to watch the first part of the show. No, she said she wasn't taping it. She said it was good, though. What is it about, I asked. She told me it was about people who had tried to commit suicide but lived. She then blurted out a statement I didn't expect to hear: "I'm glad my dad died. I wouldn't have wanted him to live through what this kid has that is on there right now!"
Wow. I just was stuck on the words she said. Not that she said anything wrong. She didn't. It was just weird to hear her say she was glad he died. My mom doesn't often talk about him dying, not as much as I do. I know it hurts her so badly, and sometimes I am tempted to try and stay quiet about it so as to not pain her even more. But honestly, I can't restrain myself.
So, I walked upstairs, turned on the TV and she was saying, "I just kept watching this kid. He blew his whole face off. As he talked, I just kept getting hotter, and hotter, and sweating!" I then saw what she was talking about. I blurted out, "Oh, my!!" She said, "What, did you turn it on or something?" Yes, I told her. I did.
After listening, and watching this boy, I knew what mom meant. I'm okay with the fact that Grandpa died, if this would have been the alternative, or worse. That is one statement I never thought I'd say.
And I wouldn't have thought today would be one of those days I would be reminded of how badly suicide hurts the living. But just as this boy on the show stated, it does.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ex(s) and Ohs

Alright. Big b_tch session here...
I talked to my exhusband tonight because this weekend is his weekend to have the girls. They go to his house on Friday night and I pick them up on Sunday. It is supposed to be 6pm to 6pm. You do the math; they aren't there much.
So my oldest, Mak, is in 7th grade, which you already know. This means she is allowed to attend all of the high school functions - games, dances, etc. So this Friday is a traditional "Big Game" for our school. We play our rival school who is also in the same county as we are. It is called the Bucket Game. Long tradition of the winning team taking the bucket (pail for your n'easterners) and proudly displaying it in a showcase in the school until the next year's game. So after this big game on Friday night (think Friday Night Lights movie, folks), there is a dance that lasts until 11pm. I'm rambling...I asked the ex if Mak could attend, forcing him to drive 15 minutes one way to pick her up at the dance upon its completion. He has stated in the past that he is over the little scheduled outings on 'his time' and wants the girls to be at his house when they are supposed to be. To my surprise, he said she could go. I should be ecstatic then, right? Almost. His comment about the dance is what got me. The exchange is as follows:
Me: "The dance is over at 11 o'clock and it is in the cafeteria, right there when you pull in the high school."
Ex: "So this thing is for high schoolers, too?"
Me: "Yes, it is for both high school and jr. high."
Ex: "Well, I'm definitely not too crazy about that!"
Me: "Oh Lord. You know, most of the high schoolers think it is too dumb to go, so the people who are there are mainly jr. high kids."
Ex: "Well... I'm just sayin'..."
Me: "So she can go, or what?"
Ex: "Yeh, I guess. "
Me: " So what your saying is you'll pick her up. at 11. at the school. right outside the cafeteria. like I told you. "
Ex: "Yeah."(said in one of those 'kiss off' tones)

Conversation over. Me mad that I had to talk to him and get his point of view that makes no sense, given his input on everything up to this moment in time.
I can't win sometimes. I mean, she isn't even interested in boys (on an outward level). She goes to see what everyone else is doing and to dance (fast songs) with her friends. She is much more reserved than that. At least he could give her credit for that.
Oh. The agony. Just let me raise them. We're all better off.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Spa News

So I opened my mailbox today, on a gorgeous fall afternoon, and found a newsletter from a place in my memories. The newsletter was from Juva Spa in New York City. Now, you ask yourself, after looking at their weblink, how does this woman afford a place like this? Let me explain.
On my thirtieth birthday trip to NYC, the Husband and I attended a Michelle Branch concert in Central Park. At this concert, I entered a drawing for door prizes. Since I never win anything, I didn't expect my name to be called. But, to my surprise, it was.
I won spa services from this world-renowned medispa in downtown Manhattan. I was pumped. Sign me up, man!
So, I went for a full treatment and was instantly hooked. If I lived in the city, my extra money would be spent there. The aromatherapy massage was the best massage I have ever had. And the scents have lingered with me so that whenever I smell lavendar or a hint of sandalwood, I am instantly taken back to that moment of relaxation. I love it!
If you are ever in the Manhattan area, make an appointment for this place. It is fabulous. Just reading the newsletter slips me into my memories. I wish I could take the next flight out to enjoy the relaxation once more.