Thursday, January 5, 2012

The little things.

K- is currently outside with E-, playing in the bits of melting snow that we have.  The back yard is still fully blanketed, but won't be for much longer.  Tomorrow it is to be 45 F+ and that means a whole lotta notta snow.  That will make K- very sad.

Yesterday, K- brought home a pile of papers that made me cry and scoop her up and spin her around in the kitchen. 

My back didn't even beg to differ.

You see, K- was bombing reading tests before school let out for break.  When she got one D, we knew that she had strep that re-ran, had the antibiotics that wreaked havoc with her digestive system (still isn't quite back yet) and the kids start winding up for break.  The second time was not okay, then topped off by a D paper that week, K- could just color herself grounded 'cause it wasn't pretty.  She admitted that she was rushing, her teacher was frustrated by it and I was just flat mad.  To get D's because you don't understand the material would be one thing, but to get them because you aren't taking time is unacceptable.

All of the grounding taught K- that she might want to slow down.

And the poem that I wrote for her.

So, the papers came home in a giant stack.  We found out that on the last day of school before break, her teacher gave the children two major tests, sandwiched between a book giveaway, the Polar Express and hot chocolate and K-'s birthday. 

Can we all say, "Wow!"

I'm amazed that any child was able to keep up with that. 

The test results are as follows:  Math- 15/15!,  Unit Skills Test- 28/28, Spelling test (from the Friday of the week prior)- 15/15 +2 and the Reading test (taken on the same day as the spelling test)- 82% B-.  The math curriculum that the elementaries in the school district are forced to use gives the kids only 2 tests per grading period.  The tests are 50% of their grade.  They have a reading and spelling test each week.  Those, we have some extra padding for.  It's that whole math test that gets me all tweaked.  Given that K- was having some issues understanding the materials, I took every worksheet from that particular unit and made a practice test for home.  It had an obnoxious 48 questions, but I covered everything.  She took the test twice, and each time I had her go back and correct her mistakes. 

That test at home made all the difference and was well worth the hour and a half that it took me to write it. 

The reading was on a story that was rather difficult.  The reading subject was "The Life of Trees," and it spewed out so much misinformation that Hubs' head was spinning nearly off his body.  I told him to teach her the wrong stuff and then to re-program.  The test is largely multiple choice and if he corrected all that was wrong, she would get an F for sure.

We've re-instituted game time in the evenings.  After dinner, K- does a 10 minute tidy on her room.  She does whatever she can in 10 minutes, knowing that the next day she can do more.  After baths are done (and given that homework is complete), we get to play a game all together.  The last few nights have been Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.  Believe it or not, she is reading the cards pretty well!  Of course, I know nothing other than Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.  (Well, and that if K- was a boy, she would have most likely been an Ian Anakin.) 

For today, the grades are good.  We'll see what tomorrow brings, but K- is a pretty good student.  If she can only slow down and worry about just herself, we'll be in business!

Smiles in my day:
-  K- and E- enjoying the snow!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The day for panhandlers.

I work kind of in the hood.  The neighbor works for the local phone company and they term it a "2-man area."  It's fine during the day, but I wouldn't want to take a long walk in the dark there. 

Panhandlers stand at the lights on the expressway off-ramps with stories of whoa.  Now, I know it sounds unfeeling that I state it that way, but they are a network of liars who work for some guy, panhandle money, give him a cut and cruise away making far more money than Hubs and I do together in one year with two Bachelor degrees added in for fun.  (I'm truly serious about the amount that they make and the story that I give.  It's a well-known fact in that area.)  In the land of the homeless, those that are truly homeless know where to secure services.  I state this having volunteered at a homeless shelter and having worked directly with the women (Hubs the men) that were homeless in the area at the time.  These men (and occasionally women) stand out and put their hands out for money that was hard-earned by the folks, kids and occasionally parents who put their kids through the university that sits within a block of the ramps that they panhandle at.  It drives me crazy that people would rather sit on a ramp giving some fake sob story about their hardships rather than take a job.  I know that jobs are hard to find.  I understand that, but when I had the dopey guy in that I had today, it makes me angry.

First, we had a gentleman stop in with a shovel in hand.  Now, he had apparently come in the week before soliciting for money (no shovel because of no snow) and a coworker listened to him and gave him a dollar. 

That's a no-no. 

He came back today with the shovel.  I admire that he was willing to offer services for payment.  Still, we can't encourage that and believe me, he would bring friends.

So 10 minutes after he scoodled off, this dude comes in.  I knew he looked familiar.  "Yeah, I have the minivan out there and I just went to the gas station and they couldn't help me, but I'm almost on E, rolled in on fumes and I know that you don't know me from Adam, but . . . " 

"No, I don't." 

"But, do you have $10. or $15. for me to make it to Beechwood?" 


"You don't, well, um . . . "

"No.  I don't and we are a dry land.  They don't over there, either." 

He got back into his mid-1980's Astrovan that most assuredly would not have made it to the east side of Cleveland on $10.00 worth of gas if it could make it at all.  Here's the bit.  He's run this exact same spiel with us before. 

And with our co-worker who works at a record store a handful of miles away. 

The exact same story. 

He was the same one panhandling customers in our parking lot. 


Can anyone say, "Addiction problem?"

In a way, I feel heartless, but I know the game that he's playing.  Frankly, the other guy is too, but at least he isn't quite so stupid about it.  The shovel was a nice touch.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tales from the Trenches: As seen on TV goodies.

Let's first consider the Forever Lazy.
Have people considered that they are:
1.  Encouraging yet more people to go out into public with their pajamas on?  I mean, how hard is it to just wear a pair of pants AND! shoes while you are out?
2.  Wear them to a tail gating party?  Um, yep.  People sure will be talking then.
3.  You have little trap doors so that you can do your business?  Nice . . .
4.  The Huffington Post made me laugh. 
5.  Do the people who are wearing them realize that they look like Booh Bah?
6.  Fleece is plastic.  Correct me if I'm wrong, and I may be, but I don't believe that fleece breathes.
7.  Don't forget that you get a free pair of fleece footies to go with AKA HOSPITAL SOCKS!  Sounds like a great deal!  :S

Let's move on, shall we?  Another favorite is the Hot Booties.  What are Hot Booties?  They are linseed filled slippers that you heat in the microwave.  Let's truly think about this a minute.  You take these things, heat them in the microwave, wear them on your feet to make them warm (even suggesting you sleep in them), then after you've gotten foot funk all over them because your feet sweated to the high heaven, go ahead, put them back into their little baggie and microwave them again!  I realize that they are lavender scented, but truly, all I can think of is that your microwave is gonna be stinkin' of some major foot odor.  Ewwww!

We have the Ahh Bra.  They claim that all sorts of sizes of women can wear these.  I have a friend who wears a DD and I tease her that she is the only person that I know that could have cleavage in a turtleneck.  The Ahh Bra would not work for Kim.  I just don't see it happening. 

What about the My BFF- My Best Fish Friend.  Go ahead.  Read all you want and I'll sum it up with one product name-- Sea Monkeys.  Sea Monkeys cost a lot less, too.

One of my co-workers said that her mom bought her the Salon Express nail decorating kit last year.  She said that the nail polish dried before she could get it on her nails.  Could you imagine trying to stamp a French manicure onto your nails?  I mean, you are doing it rather blindly so good luck getting it to line up.

There is also the Insta-Hang.  I have many things hung in my house on push pins.  The "angled pen design" doesn't convince me that it will hold "the big stuff."  Could you imagine a big, fat mirror on the wall with glorified push pins?  Yes, I can't either.  I'm display staff at an art gallery and can't imagine using this thing effectively with the stuff I have to hang.  Give me my drill, please.

Shoot!  I almost forgot about Pajama Jeans!  They "fit every figure perfectly!"  Really?  They hug your every bit and I don't suspect that they are hiding anything.  They look "great with sandals or sneakers!  You'll wear them everyday!"  They are also a fashion sensation.  Well, thank God for that.

The Wuggle Pets are on deck at our house to do.  My mother bought them for K- and an additional crafting kit.  I'll have to report back on our success.  I didn't even know that they were a "As Seen On TV offer."  I think that she bought them at CVS, where she scores a host of other fine products.

Santa brought K- the Bedazzler.  (You can find them at Michael's.)  The child loves herself some rhinestones.  How could Santa go wrong with that?

The Slumber Pillow made me giggle.  "Soft fur on your head area, where you are going to lay."  Um, I'm going to lay somewhere else?  You can curl up with a good book or go onto the plane with a square stuck to your hand.  Now, that's a good look!  My husband's response would be, "Now that's the woman I married!"

Sift and Toss is the one that makes Hubs shake his head.  He is the litter scooper in our house and I know as well as he does that all litter doesn't come out into giant hunks like that and this would miss about 1/2 of what it is supposed to take away.

K- wants the Touch and Brush.  She thinks that it would be a great thing to own.  It's "easy and fun for the entire family."  Fun?  Well, thank goodness that someone made toothpaste dispensing fun!

Can I tell you how much the thought of the Potty Patch completely grosses me out?  "At the end of the day, just pour out the liquid."  Ewwwwww!

A French Toast Stick Maker?  Can't people just make it in a pan and use a knife?

I do have the Ronco Food Dehydrator.  I bought it when I still lived at home.  You know what?  It works like a dream.

My brother laid the Bug Zapper down on my hand.  It hurt and it left a huge welt on my knuckle.  Don't use it on humans. 

I have Aqua Globes.  They work well, when you don't stab them in too hard and snap the stem off.

What about you?  I haven't done an As Seen on TV bit for a while.  I know that Rachael is a fan of the Sham-wow.  Anything else?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A post for the New Year.

After church, we raced home to get the Christmas decorations taken down from outside.  High winds and the possibility of inches of snow moved us at a quick pace, as we aren't that thrilled to have to chisel lights from the gutters or to have the lit critters freeze into the ground.  Not fun.

As Hubs pulls the tree apart, I hear the swish of the collapsed branches hit the box.

The smell of pork and sauerkraut hangs heavy in the air.  Interestingly enough, no one in the house eats sauerkraut, but I make it each year with the pork in a crock-pot because it makes me think of my grandma.

K- is lying on our bed, watching a movie on Nick. 

We had a pretty laid back night last night.  We aren't drinkers.  We aren't party people.  K- had a jammie day, I enjoyed playing with my Christmas gift and later we watched the movie, Happiness is a Warm Blanket.  K- has a blanket that she has hauled around since she could walk.  I named it Linus a long time ago and laugh at the fact that they both have blue blankets and both sucked their right thumbs.  K-'s is more tucked away than out these days and the thumb only plunks in her mouth on a sneak attack while she's sleeping. 

The furniture will soon be moved back to the traditional positions.  The floor will be swept and the couch cushions will be freed of the major glitter they have collected in the de-Christmasing of the house.

Smudge will be happy that she'll be free to roam the house unmonitored.  She has a thing for the Christmas tree, has eaten lights, climbed the middle and caused other damage that leaves her living in the basement when we aren't at home during Christmastime.

Sure, we have "resolutions."  The turn of the new year will do that to people.  We've both obligated ourselves (and as a partner system) to read the whole bible this year.  I think that I've tracked down a nice version on the Kindle that goes chronologically, as opposed to just from one book to the other.  I believe that it will make more sense to me and not have me dropping off of my signed obligation to God and the church. 

I'd like to lose weight, but know that a "diet" just isn't the way for me.  I'm glad that with the broken foot and limitations that followed that I didn't gain weight, but I'll tell you that I didn't lose any either.  Now that I've passed the caution release point of the new year, I'll be able to do my walking on the tread mill in the mornings before work.  I do miss walking K- back and forth to school, but even if they weren't in a swing space, I couldn't have done it until now anyhow.  The heal time on the broken foot is 4 months (hooray for the fact that I'm there!), but caution still plays for 8-12 months afterwards.  I'm not going to go all crazy about it.  I've declined ice skating and K- will have to roller skate on her own, but I can't see why I can't snowshoe.  That will be a nice bit of exercise, too. 

About the diet, I'm not really a big eater of funky food, but find that the rush of the holidays left me to do a drive thru run from time to time.  Though I get foods that are, in theory, not so horrible, they are still instant yucks and aren't that fantastic.  I would like to lose weight, and Hubs would like to, too.  I'd be thrilled to drop 15-20 pounds, but it's not going to happen overnight.  That's okay.  A goal isn't a bad thing to have.

I need to institute meal planning again.  It's just the way to go.

So, there you have it.  Hubs' Boca Burgers and sweet potato just dinged in the counter top convection oven.  K- and I will be having the pork with "no sauerkraut, please" and the new year begins.

May it smell better than my house currently does.