Friday, May 28, 2010

Family first.

On the Biggest Loser, Sam and Koli always said, "Family first." You know, they are right.

When I was growing up, we were always with our cousins. We went back and forth, spending the night, having birthday parties, the big 4th of July blow-out, Memorial Day picnic and so forth.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to my cousin's daughters birthday. While I was there, my cousin Jenny asked, "So, when is K-'s birthday?"

"December 20."

"Make sure you let us know when her party is. We want to be certain to bring our kids up with the same cousin relationship that we had."

Boy, I felt bad. She didn't mean it that way, though. I explained that we didn't invite for a few reasons, but mainly because of K-'s birthday being December 20, I didn't want them to think that I was a present hog. Presents aren't necessary. She understood completely, but I appreciate her bringing it up.

LeAnne, my sister, has had a festival of birthday parties going on. My nephew's birthday is May 16. My niece laid birth claim to May 20. For the last two weekends, we've been partying on Sundays at my sister's house. This weekend we get a break (my SIL is in town, so we'll be with her), then we have two more. Her partner's daughter has a birthday June 9. My other niece is June 10. Each child is getting their own special birthday weekend. Why? Because my sister and I have birthdays three days apart. One year was one kid, the next year was the other. What did we get? School clothes in boxes. Everyone got what we got, but we got them wrapped up.

It kind of bummed us out. We were poor, though. Mom did the best that she could. Still, that is the main reason why my husband has declared gift giving holidays in our home to be frivilous items only. "If you want underwear, go buy them." Now, he has bought me jammies, a fleece sweat shirt and a nice sweater (because they were on my list), but he really only buys what could be termed as optional items.

Because of our birthdays, we are very birthday particular.

My point is, it's a lot of time to set aside every weekend. It is a chunk of at least 4 hours dedicated to just partyness.

Hubs and I talked last night at length. At first he thought it was a bit overkill, but I explained to him that if I had an opportunity to have K- spend some time with her cousins, I go out of my way to try to make it happen. I wouldn't consider otherwise. We want the kids to grow up together and not just in passing.

This weekend, my sister-in-law will be in town to run a 5k or 10k. (She's a marathon runner.) She'll be bringing her girls along. Where I admit that watching someone run is sometimes not the most exciting activity, we wouldn't consider not going. They all live in Chicago, so K- doesn't get the time with them that she does with her other cousins. We try to make the most that we can with the time that we get with them.

Hubs was close to his cousins. I was and am still very close to mine.

Family is a blessing that we believe she absolutely be cherished. We don't stand on formality. On my side of the family, we divide and conquer when it comes to the kids. We put kids in time-out if needed (if you were the one to see it, just deal with it), we bandage boo-boo's, issue hugs and referee. (Though that is an extremely rare occurrence.) We're not physical punishment people and know that each of us isn't going to go overboard.

I love that we co-parent when we're together.

So, we look toward a long weekend of family time together. May you be blessed with the same.

Smiles in my day:
- Figuring out the cause of the apparent humming migraine that I have. Now, if I can continue to keep it under control instead of having it roll back and forth, I'd be in business.
- Comfy summer dresses and being thankful enough that the weather is nice enough to enjoy them.
- A beautifully sunny day and sheets on the line.
- My sister and I working in force at the grocery to get her list handled.
- Hubs actually continuing to feel better after his funk last week.
- K- walking to school, holding my hand.
- My brother, Dumpy, has an extra 3/4 yard of black mulch and offered it to us. How wonderful! He doesn't even want anything for it. We needed some, but hadn't been able to get any delivered yet. So thoughtful!

Taking a bloggy break 'til Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I didn't need to know that.

Working retail has given me years of stories to tell. Today is no exception.

At 5:10 PM, we had two ladies come in. They were probably rockin' in their mid-50's/early 60's. First, they asked for a garbage can. Immediately after throwing their garbage away, they asked for a bathroom and followed up with additional detail.

"If you don't tell me where the bathroom is, I'm liable to leak on your floor."

"Well, we don't want that!"

I told her that it was in the next room and around to the right. It never ceases to amaze me that people have difficulty with the simple directions I give. The Russian coworker that I worked with used to just say, "Right and right!" They got it!

Anyhow, she was distressed that, "Well, this is only a one-seater!"

"Yes it is."

So, after they got the bathroom detail handled, they began looking. On their way out to our middle garden area, the one woman asked if my boss had gone to the one local university.

"He did his graduate work there, I believe."

She went on, about one of the artists at the university. I said that I had taken a class with him.

"Figurative sculpture?"

"No, when I was taking a class with --, he was working with -- on an installation project."

"Oh, I [can't stand] --."

I just kind of shrugged my shoulders knowing that my previous prof could be a bit of a pill.

She went on, unsolicited, giving me the reason for her hate of this man. Folks, she had made a very damaging and slanderous accusation of this particular professor. She said that when she told her professor (the one that was his partner on the installation project), she was kicked out of the university. This happened in 1976. She's still running around telling this story.

The accused professor is a very accomplished artist. He is a very prominent artist, with a piece in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian. I'm not speaking for his life choices. I don't know what they are. I know that he is married with children. I've been to his home studio with my class. He showed us where he worked, how his studio was set up and even how he shipped his most delicate pieces. I consider it an honor to have had the opportunity to learn from him, regardless to how bipolar he could appear some days.

About 10 minutes after they went to our sister store, my coworker announced that she was offended. (I'm hard to offend, but she's even harder to offend.) She agreed that it was just unthinkable to come in and to tell-- with detail words-- of the accusation of this particular artist. I agree. I told her that it wasn't as if I baited the lady for more information. She said that she knew and neither one of us could figure out how she had come to that place in conversation. The conversation we had had only involved maybe 3-4 sentences.

My comment to the customer? "Well, I could see how you would feel that way." I didn't want to feed it and get more.

I was so shocked. It literally came out of thin air.

So, have you ever had an encounter like that? Do tell.

Smiles in my day:
- I got all of my display work done in time for my days off. Oooo! And I get Monday off-- paid! :)!
- A coworker happy to pick up the slack when the display I was doing had turned into an engineering project. Don't forget that it has to look good and be approachable, all the while fitting in all of this stuff that doesn't necessarily go together.
- K- and I were able to swing together, we climbed up her tower to work on Word Wall words and even busted out a chapter of Junie B while we were there.
- Drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.
- Coming home, taking a bath because I had to wash the day off and wearing the airy spring dress that I couldn't wear to work today because of all the manual labor involved.
- Visiting with the neighbors in the evening.
- K- enjoyed her sundae prize for hitting the school reading goal for 100 book challenge.
- How tall K- is getting. I swear, I do not know where those legs came from. When I asked K-, she told me, "I grew them!"
- We're growing a vegetable garden at work. The boss had some extra giant pots filled with dirt and nothing going on with them. He gave us permission to plant a patio garden. I planted runner beans, onion sets and basil. We have two tomato plants, cucumbers and pumpkins. I have a sneaky suspicion that it will grow even more over the next few weeks. We're so excited to see it grow!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I did it!

The Community Building Meeting this evening confirmed that all of my hard work got the school board and senior staff to add 3 more classrooms! I am so excited!!!

It was a great meeting. Not only did they give more classrooms, but by taking 15 sq ft from each classroom, they were able to make our LRC bigger, so maybe we can still have the Little Theater that we presently have. (They use the Little Theater for harp practice and the librarian uses it to read to the younger children.)

The speech therapy room is bigger.

The community bathrooms are bigger.

The OT/PT rooms are bigger.

The mechanical room is smaller and that suggests that they are going geothermal as they were discussing.

Oh, my heart is smiling! I was only involved in the classroom additions. Hooray for everyone else that spoke their mind to get the extra spaces added!

Smiles in my day:
- Hubs is feeling much better!
- The building meeting.
- K- went to bed nicely this evening. Monday night, a bit of over tiredness was involved and bedtime was a tad ugly.

So tired. Happily ready for bed.

'Night! Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: A - Z

I admit that I stole this from the Redneck Diva. It seemed like a fun, easy post.

A - Age: 36

B - Bed size: Queen

C - Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom.

D - Dog(s') name: No dog here, but when I was growing up, we had dogs named Snoopy, Lady, Sassy (my vote was for Dirt Ball), Sooner (as in later) and Pepper. I had nothing to do with the name choices. I called Sassy Dirt Ball so often that she did go by it, which irritated my family. She was the same dog that came upstairs to wake me up, very gently snuggled her nose in next to me, then barked in my ear! Don't worry. I got her back. I did it a few times to her.

E - Essential start your day item: Clothing.

F - Favorite color: Periwinkle

G - Gold or Silver or Platinum: White gold, though I've never had platinum.

H - Height: 5' 3/4"

I - Instruments you play(ed): The recorder in elementary school. I could probably bust out a pretty good tune on the triangle, though.

J - Job title: Gallery display/sales. Don't forget maid, laundress, cook, gardener, cabbie, teacher, disciplinarian, wife, mama and all that. (My husband helps a lot, so he could have many of those titles, too.)

K - Kid(s): Two daughters

L - Living arrangements: A 1008 sq ft ranch home on a 40' x 120' city lot that is fenced, basically organically kept and every single critter within a mile radius seeks shelter here. It is like Over the Hedge and our fence is Steve.

M - Mom's name: Linda

N - Nicknames: Mom, Honey, Ame, Amka, Amos, Maime, Meeme, Meemers, Maimie

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: ACL reconstruction.

P - Pet Peeve: (Just one?) Double parking in tiny parking lots.

Q - Quote from a movie/show: Copperboom! - Gilmore Girls.

R - Right handed or left handed: Right

S - Siblings: One older sister, two younger brothers.

T - Time you wake up: 6:45 AM.

U- Underwear: Certainly. Thank you for asking.

V - Vegetable you dislike: Beets. Uck. They flat out taste like dirt.

W - Why you run late: I try to cram too much into too little time.

X - X-rays you've had: Teeth, lungs, leg/knee, hand.

Y - Yummy food you make: Homemade cornbread stuffing.

Z - Zoo favorite: Giraffes

Smiles in my day:
- One of the senior staff members of our school district called me personally to tell me that they've read my letter, looked at all of the information that I provided and changed the projected enrollment from 450 to 500! That means that they will give us two extra classrooms! HOORAY!
- Apparently we had a customer who was so pleased with our help at Christmas, that she gave my coworker a gift card to the Cheesecake Factory to buy us a cheesecake to share. She bought 75 individual gifts that all needed wrapped. As a staff, we handled all of it for her and she was pleased as punch. The cheesecake? It was yummy!
- Line dried laundry ready for me to pull from the line when I got home. Mmmmmm!
- Crock pot dinner that my husband loved! Finding a common meal for all of us to eat is a difficult thing. He asked me to make it once a week. We'll see what we can do!

Have a great day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nothing says fun like chasing the Sunday School teacher with a Bomb Squad robot.

As always, we had a busy weekend. I've said it before. Folks, I need a weekend after my weekend.

Friday was Field Day. I volunteered all day and shuttled roughly 523 children through my game. I was working with one of the moms I've become friends with, so it was all good.

After Field Day, we had K-'s friend B- come over to help break the new swing set in.

Oh, it is lovely.

Oh, it is big.

The most delightful thing? It is so heavy duty that we can all swing on it-- and we do!

Saturday was the Lowe's Build and Grow workshop. (A shout out to Lowe's-- Thank you for such a great program!) After that, we were on deck to help out at the church Safety Day. We were on for a water station, and they were kind enough to give us the one outside the bouncer. K- was in heaven.

Since the water station didn't really need manned that much (check for water level and for cups), we were able to walk around and check out the safety stuff. Since we were there before the crowd came, K- was able to operate the Bomb Squad robot long enough to chase her Sunday School teacher around the parking lot. It was cool! Since it had cameras, we were able to watch Miss Pam run! It was a really great day!

Saturday afternoon and early evening gave us showers. K- decided that she wanted to go on a walk after the rain had cleared, so I had her suit up in her puddle jumpers (Teva sandals) and off we went. We found the "juiciest puddles" for her to jump in. It made the folks in the neighborhood smile as she ran, jumped and skipped her way through the puddles.

Sunday was my niece's swimming party. It turned out to be warm enough outside, though the pool was a tad chilly. The kids had a great time. C- wanted a "taco bar" with the kids making their own tacos. I noticed that the lettuce was flying and it seemed to be an issue, so I did my best impersonation of a Taco Bell associate and I ended up slinging tacos. "Next up! What would you like?" :)

Hubs and I straightened out the tree. The neighbor said it looks like it belongs on the Serengeti. Oh, well. She's suffering and the only way to try to help it along is to ditch as many diseased branches as possible and to "punch holes" so that the light can come in. I had a nosy neighbor come by to ask if we were cutting it down. Uh, no.

Though Hubs has been trying to recover from a digestive funk other than his typical issues, he mowed the lawn this evening. No easy task when all branches that we cut down needed shortened and bundled.

We just watched the Celebrity Apprentice. HOORAY BRET! :)

So, I'm officially tired. This is K-'s last full week of school left. My big kindergartner will be a big first grader soon. I was able to talk with the reading tutor on Saturday. She seems lovely, understands our wanting to keep K- on track and will be also combining some speech therapy in with her reading tutoring. K- is doing so well with reading and we just don't want her to lose that momentum.

Though I look at the weekend with tired eyes, we did a lot. We had a lot of fun. K- and I spent a lot of time together. We had been having some communication break-down issues, but I'm hoping that the two week phase she had rolled into has rolled right out the door. We both really enjoyed being together. We love the swing set and she was even outside playing at 7:50 AM on Saturday morning! It's nice that we can swing together and just talk. I think that she learned a lot with her recent attitude adjustment, and so did I. I learned that my baby is growing up. (Well, I knew that, but still . . . ) I need to let the lead out a little bit more.


Smiles in my weekend:
- Sprinkled in above.