Sunday, January 29, 2006

Work for it

We were lounging around in our room last night, watching tv, when Mr W announced that he was "getting kinda hungry."

"I'm not making anything until you put out.  You gotta work for your dinner, baby!"

Of course, I was only half-kidding, and he knew it.

I was quick enough to dodge the pillow he threw at my head.

Better move on to the Six, before I get into trouble. 

Saturday Six - Episode 94

1. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?

My Nana.  She's recovering from a broken hip...

2. How many jobs have you held in your life? How many of those were part of your chosen career field?

I've had four jobs, give or take the odd babysitting gig in high school.   The last one has been in my chosen career field, even though I've switched labs due to downsizing, being bought by other companies, etc.

3. Of those, how many did you leave voluntarily? of the labs laid us all off, so that one is not technically fired, but not leaving voluntarily, either.

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What animal were you in a past life? (Thanks to RedSneakz!)

 You were a Parrot: You are a master of language, and you use your wit to mock and tease others.
But you are also wise, and you often think carefully before you speak.


5. What animal were you expecting you'd be?  

I hadn't thought about it.  

6. Time to pull this tactic again: Your turn to come up with a Reader's Choice Question. What question would you like to see asked in a future edition of "The Saturday Six?" (Don't answer it...just provide the question.)

Well, I guess I better think about this one.

And that means I'm gonna sleep on it ::yawn:

Good night!




Thursday, January 26, 2006

They listen to every word I say

The Science Fair was tonight.

I didn't want to go.   I'm not a bad Mom,  I'm just a little tired of being at the school.  I was sporting a mild headache.  Bring on the Advil.

Besides, the terror had not slept, and even I know that the answer to this equation is not a neat one:

Tired toddler + lots of people  = _______

Even as I told Ben, "We're not going,"  I could feel myself start watching the clock as the time approached.

All because he'd given me the puppy dog eyes, the ones that said, "Come on, Mom, PLLEEEEEAAAAAAASE? "

Oh, alright. 

Mom's putty in their hands, and they know it.

I'm semi-glaring at him in the kitchen, as Ryan is pilfering through the pantry to get a snack, and saying, "Look, I'm only looking at yours, Nolan's, and Ryan's stuff, and we are leaving.  No socializing or goofing off.  When it's time to go, it's time to go, and I don't want to hear you bitch..."  I pause, and before I can go on, I hear a little voice from the pantry say:

"and moan." 

I bowed my head.  Thanks, Ryan.

Thanks for providing me yet another reason for watching my language.

Damn it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Then this happens and I feel like an idiot

I spoke with Ryan's teacher yesterday morning.  She said she realized " looked funny to be writing 'pencil sharpener' on the sheet, but he seriously has been at it for a week no matter how much I've told him not to..." and that "he doesn't bother other kids, other than the pencil sharpening."  Apparently, he contemplates his own pencils, or picks at his own fingers, when he doesn't want to focus on his work.

I am happy for the small victory, that it's not his nose he's picking.  And that he is not using said fingers to poke at the other kids.

What can I say?  I listened to her, I said a few words, and that was that. 

Why?  Because he is the one who is out of line.  Sure, she could put the sharpener away, I know that I would, if it is such an issue.  But he has to be responsible, too, and resist the Draw of the Electrical Pencil Sharpener.  Even if it is a bit odd that this should be an issue to begin with.


Today Ryan is home with a funky, itchy rash. 

I left a message telling his teacher that he was not coming in because of it, and she called me. 

Partially to tell me that she didn't notice him scratching yesterday.  (I'd mentioned it during our conversation re the pencils.)  She was concerned, and totally appropriate in her attitude.

Partially to remind me that on the sheet the school sent home (a list of guidelines for "should I keep this maybe-sick kid home or not?") that "Rash" is on it.  I'd consider this an amicable gesture, too, if I didn't know she's a little germophobic.

She is so nice about it, though, that I feel a little idiotic getting so worked up about her to begin with.

And I hate that.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Here we go again

I have mentioned before that I experience some dread when Ryan gets into the car and the first words out of his mouth are:  "Mom, I have some good news and some bad news."

Usually he comes up with some good news, but today it was Ben who spewed the bad news for him, and after that, there was no good news for me to hear:  "He got a 'Think Sheet'!  For just ____!"  (I left it out to build the suspense for this next part...written in red ink on a hot pink page, you know, easy to read...)

"Ryan continues to go to the electric pencil sharpener very frequently each day during work time.  He has been asked not to do this and told that there are sharpened pencils in a can on my desk that he can get anytime.  And today, he didn't even check at his table where there were 3 extra sharpened pencils.  The loud sound is very distracting to the other kids.  Ryan is also working on staying in his seat and staying on task, so this doesn't help.  And mainly, I've asked him countless times not to get up and use the pencil sharpener during work time."

So now, he has to write a few sentences to answer the question, "What can you do differently next time that will work better for you?"

Hmm.  Let's just look at that again:

"Ryan continues to go to the electric pencil sharpener very frequently each day during work time.  He has been asked not to do this and told that there are sharpened pencils in a can on my desk that he can get anytime.  And today, he didn't even check at his table where there were 3 extra sharpened pencils.."

"I will try to use the pencil I already have.   If I can't find a pencil that I deem usable, I will use crayon.  If that doesn't work, I will prick my own finger and write in my blood, as I don't want to risk leaving my seat and getting a pencil from the can on your desk."

"The loud sound is very distracting to the other kids."  

(I think she left out the part where she says that this loud sound, multiplied by the 20 other kids in the classroom being kids, reverberates in her head like the noise from a thousand jackhammers, don't you think?)

"I will be more considerate.  I will hand you a bottle of Tylenol as I walk in the door on Monday." 

"Ryan is also working on staying in his seat and staying on task, so this doesn't help."

"I will try to stay in my seat better, and the flexicuffs oughta do it, while helping me stay "on task," too."

"And mainly, I've asked him countless times not to get up and use the pencil sharpener during work time."

(Again, this may be missing: "Obviously, you've not taught that child to listen the first time, causing me to waste precious breath repeating myself.")

"I will try to pay attention and only cause you to repeat yourself once."

To be honest, after I showed it to Mr W, I jumped in my van and sped off to the school to look for her.  Very heat of the moment.   Fire in my maternal belly.

When I got home, as I came in the door, Nolan asked me, "What happened?"

I replied, "She wasn't there."  Then, under my breath, I muttered, "So she still lives."

Mr W heard me, and he was chuckling before I entered our bedroom.  (I don't think Nolan did.)

I'm going to have a chat with her tomorrow.  I never said Ryan was an angel, and I need to determine just how disruptive and ants-in-his-pants he really is before I come undone, if at all.

"Think Sheets" for talking in the halls, burping, and sharpening pencils...I never knew you could get in trouble just for being a kid.  

It's a shame I haven't copied these, and laminated them or something, for posterity.

You know, to have something to laugh and send to him when he calls to say "Mom, I have some good news and some bad news.....about little Ryan."

Saturday, January 21, 2006


My husband rocks.  Here it is, nearly the middle of the cold night (11:30 pm). 

He went out, in shorts (its 45 degrees, brrr), filled up my car, and washed it...and all I had to do was....make him a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

It's not like I can't fill up my own car with gas, but we've not used it in a couple of weeks and I expressed worry about it not starting tomorrow (it's old and temperamental.)   I leave here at around 6 am, so I'm sure he was hedging his "Hooon--nneey?  Are you awake?  My car is acting up..." bets.  

I'm glad, I'm grateful, that he did it, and whether he did it because he is trying to get lucky, or just out of the goodness of his heart, or just to sleep a little longer, well, it doesn't matter.

It's proof that he does listen to me, on occasion, as last week I was telling him that I hate stopping for gas when I have the words "stop-n-rob" (hmm, where might I have read that particular term?) etched in my brain.   I hate feeling like a girl, standing there looking over my shoulder the whole time while the stray landscapers/construction workers are there doing the same thing.  (I'm very dangerous, you know.) 

It's so disconcerting to feel like you have to be so alert, when you'd rather be back in bed.

But not as disconcerting as something that happened to me earlier this week.

I had to go to the dentist.  I'm good about it, going for the cleaning, but this time, I was a little late.  I'd had to reschedule twice due to life.  I've been a little lax on the flossing. 

I was dreading it.

(Don't get me wrong, though.  I love the staff and my dentist.  They are really, really good, and I recommend them to other people all the time.)

So there I sat, waiting for Brooke.   I told her I'd been a bad, bad, girl and she moved over to me; shiny, sharp payback in her hand.

After a few minutes of her ministrations, I began to feel like a documentary on the Discovery Channel, "When Brushing Is Not Enough."



"Itsth nowt your faulth.  Itsth miyne." 

"Hang in there."

"I promithse, I wilth floth eggvery day."

About oh, I don't know, thirty semi-tortuous minutes later, and she was done.  I even got the orange-creme flavored polish at the end, just to change things up a little (usually, I'm a sucker for the chocolate mint). 

I got a clean thumbs-up from my dentist.  He asked me how my (new) teeth were holding up, and I said to him that I love them so much, that now when people compliment me or ask me about them, I fake it and say that "they're real." 

I think he was amused but would rather I continue to sing his praises and refer others to the Altar of the Porcelain Veneer.

On my way out, I looked down at the coffee table, at the issue of People I'd been reading while I was waiting.  Next to it were a couple of leather notebooks...and eureka!  (forehead slap) it hit me.

I'm in one of those books!  And I forgot to look for myself in them!  Surely vanity should've overridden dread and reminded me to check out the books...

Flip, flip, me.

Flip, flip....okay, wth?  Aaaah,  here I am.

There is nothing more disconcerting than being a "before" shot and an "after" shot than realizing lots of people have probably seen these very photos, and one of them is decidedly not pretty.

Oy.  <stomach lurch>  That before picture....omg.  OMG.  Please, let that just be due to a bad day...did I really go out like that??  In public???

<snap book shut>

<curious, curious...crack it open again>

Oy.  <stomach lurch>  Hey, is that really me?  That photographer was an airbrushing genius,  who cares that he said I was zaftig;  I'm finding some way to light myself that way likey!

I looked at the two pictures for a minute or two, and then I had to stop.  There's really only so much of that anyone can take, and while I'm as vain as the next person, I have my limits.

The cool part is I'm reminded how happy I am with the way things turned out. 

And now that my mouth has returned to it's normal pre-visit non-soreness, I know what I have to do.

Buy more lippy?  Nah.

Floss on, floss off.

Or risk the wrath of Brooke the tormentor.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Yesterday, I felt a little off all day.  It's not like my day didn't start out pleasantly, but I haven't been sleeping well (my wacko dreams, usually a source of amusement for me, are bugging me--waking me up) and I was just procrastinating all day.  

To top it off, I was a wee bit cranky.

As the afternoon wore on, it got worse, and in addition to crankiness, I had melancholy come over too.

Even going down the crayon aisle in Target didn't cheer me up completely.  I bought some new crayons, these twisty-slick ones that are smmmooooth to use (in my mood, I decided it would be best to stay away from any sharp objects). 

Still cranky.  Uneasy. 

I picked up all the kids from school, and Nolan reminded me he had to stay late for his "Battle of the Books" and that he would walk home..."so you don't have to load them all up just to come for me."

He's adorable. 

On the way to aikido, it started to dawn on me what was possibly the reason I felt like the sky was falling.

It's that time of year, you see.  The time of year when the parents-of-sixth-graders have to face the junior high music.  One of the jr highs close to us was having an informational meeting, and I didn't want to go.

It's like Thug U when I drive by that school, and I don't really want him to go there.

Nolan wants to go there because he met the band teacher and he likes him.

He's adorable.

I really don't want to think about this.  But I have to.  And Mr W, he's on my last nerve, because I want a hug, and he's offering suggestions re:  "you should start the ball rolling and find out what we need to do so he winds up where you wanthim to" --why is this my deal?  (*he does know it's his deal too, he just defers to my judgement because well, face it, ahem, I know best, lol)

Bite me.

So I'm driving along, and Duran Duran is on the radio, transporting me back to 16 as I drive the minivan full of children, and I smile, but my cheek hurts because I have a monster zit sprouting there, to match the one under my jaw. 

I can't have a kid going to jr high if I still have the capacity to break out like this.

So I playfully shove Nolan's arm.

Hey, that felt good.

I do it again.  "Mo-om, cut it out.  What did I do?"

Oh, the list is long. 

Shove.  "Who do you think you are, going to jr high next year?  I'm not old enough to have a child in jr high."

"Sorry."  He grins.  He is so looking forward to it.  "I can't help it, sorry that I'm aging, Mom."

"Stop it.  You're growing up.  I'm aging."

I can feel the wrinkles furrowing and the gray hair sprouting now.  Oh, man, was that something else deciding to give up the battle against gravity?

Admittedly, I'm being a baby about this.  But, you know, he is my baby.  And for whatever reason, I think I can handle the high school transition a little better.  I mean, a high-school kid is a little better equipped to look out for himself than a smart-mouthed jr high kid.

I have to suck it up.  I can do this.  I smile at him and the others as they get out of the van.

"Precious"comes on the radio.  The song whose first lines are something like "precious things need special handling..."

Ouch.  What is that sudden tightness in my chest?

Bwahhahahahaha.  Great, no Kleenex anywhere.

As I pull into our driveway (I had to pick up Mr W) I sneak past him inside to grab a Kleenex.

He's gonna make fun of me anyway.

He follows me in, 'what's the matter?' written all over his face.

I rant.  He offers suggestions.  No teasing.

I need a hug.  Shut up.  

I still felt bad, even after I was rescued by a phone call from one of my good friends; and I couldn't shake it, not until after class.

The boys got rambunctious, like they always do.  Guess being good for an hour leaves a lot of energy to burn on the way to the car.  The boys were doing some kind of fart maneuver, which was kind of amusing.  Until one of them did it to me.

Oh, no he didn't. 

I was tempted to call out to his Dad, but decided I could handle it on my own.

One headlock and a noogie later, and I was feeling much better.  Laughter really is the best medicine.

But I'm still gonna need a hug.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Where did the weekend go?

Where did the weekend go?   What do you mean, it's Tuesday already?

My brother was in town, so Ben and Ryan decided to spend the night at my Mom's house on Sat. to hang out with the cousins.   It's not a bad thing, but it's really chaotic at Mom's when we are all there--just think, 8 kids running around, all aged 20 months to 12 years. 

It's a bit too much.

My Nana fell early Fri morning and broke her hip, so we had that on our minds as well.  (She's fine.  She had surgery Sat and was released to a rehab center yesterday.)

Speaking of Saturdays...

Saturday Six - Episode 92

1. Do you generally tend to be early, late or right on time?

I am always late.  A little bit late.  I blame the kids, of course.  Someone always needs the bathroom.  Or forgot a toy.  Or is running back in for "one more thing.."  I get points for trying to be on time though, don't I?

2. Did you belong to any clubs in high school? If so, which did you value the most?

My high school didn't have a lot of clubs, not that I can recall.  I was in Student Council, but that's about it.  The things I valued most were the sports teams I was on and the baton twirling (I'll admit to it).

3. Where was your favorite place to hang out when you were in high school? How often were you there and were you usually with friends or alone?

I used to hang out at home, or at my friend Jenny's house, or in Mr W's car (ahem).   On weekends, everyone would cruise around our tiny burg and meet in the parking lot in front of Yellow Front/Pizza Hut, and just mill around in ways teenagers are not allowed to anymore.  This was interspersed with hanging out at the home of ______. (person with no parents home/persons with understanding Moms)

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What chess piece are you? (Thanks to Charles.)  I'm a:

A White Knight

Gallant, bold, independent, and strong, you consider yourself somewhat above the law. You laugh at obstacles in your way, ignoring them as if they were not there at all. Despite your independence, you do have loyalty to your team and King and Queen. For this reason, your opponents fear you-- but they also know that you can sometimes overreach. You are quick to take the initiative, working to control as much of the situation for your team as you can. In the long run, however, you cannot win the game alone. It is impossible for you to checkmate your opponent all by yourself, so you appreciate and value your teammates.

No one fears me.  What a bunch of hooey.   :p

5. When is the last time you played a board game and what game did you play? Did you win?

I played Candyland...can't remember when, but in the last month or two, I'm sure.  No, I didn't win, are you kidding me?  That Sugarplum chick is mean and she cheats.

6. You're called to serve on a jury. Would you rather sit on a capital murder case, a personal injury case, a wrongful death suit or a drunk driving case, and why? 

I may be cursing myself by saying this, but I've dodged the jury bullet so far.  (Nursing is a beautiful thing.)  It doesn't matter, either, because I think when I say my husband is a cop, my brother is a cop, some of my good friends are cops, and the defendant is (insert expletive), they'll say "Next." 



Friday, January 13, 2006

I should just go back to bed

I am convinced they are all conspiring against me.  "Let's see if we can push her over the edge before 8 am,"  they whisper, huddling together right before I tuck them in at night.

I am pretty organized, as far as who's on first...I mean, who has what to take to school today, who needs something, what to sign, loading the backpacks, that kind of thing.   Lay it all out the night before, right, just like you read in the parenting magazines.


I manage to do that, get them up, get myself up and open one eye up in the kitchen to knock out breakfast.  (I'm really not a morning person.  It's forced upon me.)

I try my best to make things go smoothly, yet, in one morning, I can get the following:

*a reluctant waker--Ryan, who managed to sneak 20 extra minutes in before I noticed he wasn't moving around.

*"Mom, I need a small light bulb,"  <which he'd mentioned last night, but I didn't think he needed TODAY, thank God for night lights> "and some jumper cables."  --Nolan, as he heads into the shower.  I'm thinking,  dude, it's a potato battery (science fair), jumper cables are overkill, aren't they? 

*"Mommy, I wanna get dreessssed." --Audrey, as I'm in the middle of something in the kitchen.  She can dress herself, which is fine, but I didn't put a dress out and she can't reach.  God forbid she wear pajamas for a bit longer.  "Ben!  Help Audrey,"  I shout from the kitchen.

*"I didn't want to eat that." --Ryan, but I informed him if he was sleeping extra, and not available to tell me what it was he wanted, then too damn bad, eat what's there. 

Whew.  They are all off brushing their teeth, I think I might win this morning's battle.

*"Mommy, yesterday was my last day of lunch,"  Ryan says, as he hold out his hand that displays the black stamp of death, as we call it.   Which means, I bet, the other kids are on their last day today, probably.

I hurriedly scribble out the check, grab my keys, and cross my fingers, still hopeful that we're gonna make it.

As we approach the school, I'm deflated when I see a near-empty playground.  Oh well. 

I've lost the battle today.  But there's always next time.

Hey, is that the bag with my jumper cables in it, under Nolan's arm? 

Oy.  I think I should just go home and go back to bed.

The "drive me crazy" tag

Trace (her j is private) tagged me, and I kinda thought this would be easy.   At any given time, I'm sure I could come up with five things...but here I am, blocked a bit.  I'll play anyway.  I'm sure they'll come back to me. 

These are the rules of the game: You must write a journal entry listing the 5 things that drive you CRAZY  ~ as well as the rules of the game... Then, you select five people to tag and link their names/blogs in your entry... Go to their journals and leave a comment informing them they have been tagged by you and to read your journal to see in what way they have been nailed...! Those five then MUST write an entry listing What drives them crazy and tag an additional five people...

Okay.  Ready set?  You bet!  (Oy, why did I have to be walking behind the kindies today?)

1.  Let's just get this one out of the way...KidzBop.  Now, don't go all crazy on me, Moms that use this.  But seriously, sanitized kiddie versions, with kids singing, of popular music?  No, no, NO.  If it needs to be cleaned up, why let them listen in the first place?  And what's wrong with listening to the regular CD?  I think all this does is teach the kids to listen only to the "hit" off the particular CD, and sometimes, I think it's best to listen to the whole thing.  Sure, it's true, the rest of the CD might suck, but that's when you can have a teaching moment, to explain what a "one hit wonder" is, and teach them how to not buy crap.  All that aside, however, the thing that drives me the most crazy about this is the commercials, on 5000 times a day, forcing the regular version out of your head, and replacing it with the kiddie version.  Ohh!  Aaahhhh!  My ears!

2.  Waking up before the alarm goes off.  I hate it when I am up every hour or so, anticipating the alarm.  I hate it even more when I wake up 2 minutes before it's gonna go off.  That sucks, man, when you are sleep deprived to begin with.

3.  Okay, I'm gonna interpret "crazy" my way, not necessarily to mean "crazy" as in 'pissed off and want to kill someone' but "crazy" as in 'that's so hot, it drives me crazy.'  Ha, gotta sneak in the sexy one, right?  Scruffy.  Drives me crazy when the man is scruffy, and when you hug him, it tickles your neck or cheek.  Stand back, we have takeoff.  Ahem.  God help him if he smells good, too.

4.  When I follow the recipe and it still doesn't turn out quite right.  This doesn't happen too much anymore, but when it does, there's alot of cursing and slinging of utensils, some tears, and a meltdown.  I take the kitchen a little too seriously sometimes.  It harkens back to chemistry lab (you'd better follow the directions, or blow up) and the first time I made a cake, which was a disaster.  It also drives me crazy when someone won't share their recipe.  Look, I'm not gonna make it again in your presence, probably--share the love, I'll give you credit for it.

5.  My brother.  He can drive me crazy in a heartbeat, with just the right set of attitude and that ability siblings have to annoy like no other.  But I still love him.  :)

I've decided not to tag anyone in particular, but invite you all to play along. :D

Hey, I should probably tell the cake story...

I was about nine or ten.  My Mom is really good at making layer cakes.  High, perfect, fluffy goodness, no one cares it's from a box of Betty Crocker.  She had these special pans where the bottom pushes out separately from the sides (but not a springform--a regular cake pan). 

One night, I decided I wanted to make a cake for my Dad.  Just because.  And Mom was tired, but I pushed it and she gave in, letting me do it all on my own, checking on me from time to time to make sure I didn't hurt myself with anything.

Mix, mix.  Everything looks okay.

Pour, pour.  Here comes the problem.  I bent over, to put it in the oven, and as I did, cake batter begins dripping out the bottom, ALL over the place.  I call for help.  "I followed the directions,"  I said, as I fought back the tears.  Mom took one look and said I'd mixed it too thin, so I must've added too much of something.  She took over, cool as ever, and somehow, managed to salvage it, while I just cried. 

It still was eaten.  They're such good sports, and a lot of frosting can hide anything.

To this day, I'm a little nervous when I'm making a cake.

I'm just certain I crossed some kitchen gods when I forced my tired Mom to let me have my way.  (That, or the stain of childhood guilt just stays with you, undiluted by time.)

But my pans don't have removable bottoms, and I stick to cookies.  JJuuusst in case.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Just another week

My kids went back to school on Tuesday afternoon.  They had dental appts that morning (all good, knock on wood) and I was feeling a little pang that I was taking them back right after.   Audrey started preschool again, too.   At first, the pang grew, and I felt kinda like keeping'em home one more day.

Then I realized that with all of them gone to school, and once Audrey was at preschool, there'd be a two hour window of blissful solitude.  During this time,  I went to the store to pick up a few things, and did a couple of household errands that needed tending, then I took a couple of deep breaths.  Alone.

Pang extinguished! 

Considering I spent the last week searching for a mermaid-Barbie wand in the toilet (found later on my dresser); figuring out how to get Silly Putty off the t.v. remote for my bedroom ("honest, Mom, I sat on the ground, and the silly putty happened to be on the remote, and I sat on it which made it stick right to it"); explained to Ryan that pointing out all the "wwweeeeiii-n-neerrrs" in the grocery store (we were actually by sausages, and he started up again by the hot dogs) in a loud sing-song voice wasn't the best idea;  I'm surprised there was a pang at all.  I even got to listen to this exchange between Audrey and Ben:

A: "I can't."

B: "Yes, you can.  Carry this."

A:  "I'm Audrey.  I'm only one person.  My hands are full.  No, I can't."

She said it very patiently, very slowly, as though she  I'm considering a vow of silence.

Then there was the night, after a long day, when Mr W called from work.  "When are you coming home?"  I asked, for dinner reasons as well as sanity ones.  "In another couple of hours."  "Fiiiiine." <thinly veiled sarcasm>  "Hey, it's OT, hon."  "No, it's CPS,"  I replied.  

All in all, just another week.

We've been back at school, what, three days now?

I'm ready for the next break.   No more Mom-taxi, and sleeping a little later....


Monday, January 2, 2006


Audrey is an active, active girl.  All over the house, bothering her brothers.  All over the house, tailing me, my little shadow.  Chatting up a storm, singing up a storm....

I appreciate that she's healthy, and happy.  She really is adorable and a delight.  But she's a handful, and sometimes my hands are too full for anything else.

"Would you stop?  Get out of my hair for a minute, and get out of <insert room> so I can finish <insert task>."

It beats swearing.  It beats tearing out my hair, crying,  or locking myself in the bathroom with a bar of chocolate and the telephone.  (I eye my bottle of tequila once an hour as soon as six o'clock hits, especially if she's not had nap.  Oy.)

Recently, I was up to some kitchen hijinks, and rushed, as always.  I sighed really loudly when Audrey dragged over her footstool so she could "just watch, not touch."  Which means she will be watching for my back to turn, so she can touch.  One time, she stuck an entire ball of cookie dough in her mouth, just because.  I don't mind a bit of dough, a bit of dough is fine, but enough to make a cookie from is probably not a good idea.  Salmonella, anyone?

"Am I in your hair, Mommy?"

It took a minute for that to register.  Aside from her baby voice, which can be hard to understand, I wasn't paying full attention to her.  Bad Mommy.

Whoops, I thought, as it registered.   Guess I say that alot.  "Get out of my hair."  I felt a little guilty, but I still answered "Yes."

"Okay.  I'll go away."


She turned to walk away, and hung her head down, just so.  (something she does when she's in trouble, it is so cute that I have to bite my lip and turn my head,  even when I'm really mad at her)

Dammit, dammit.  The head drop gets me.  <sigh>

"You can watch.  Just sit up here,"  <I placed her on the counter> "and don't move.  No helping.  Just watching."

I don't need to tell you she smiled and knew she won, do I? 

"I love you, Mommy."

Oh, that little brat....  :D

Speaking of hair, I've been growing mine out for a couple of months now.  It's finally getting some length on it and people are noticing.  Got some compliments today at work--joy!

I'm really, really digging it, even if Mr W is not a huge fan of the little barrettes I put in my bangs (to hold them up and to the side while they grow).  Although, I have to admit, I do feel a little weird putting barrettes in my hair at this age.  That's not to say that it's deterred me in any way from buying sparkly ones, colored ones...sneaking old baby ones that were Audrey's....

It's nice that so far, it hasn't been sooo bad that I've been standing in front of the mirror, scissors in hand, because I can't take another bad hair day. 

But I may hide them from myself, just in case.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Happy New Year, Six-style

Happy New Year!  Let's do the Saturday Six...

Saturday Six - Episode 90

1. From a financial standpoint, was 2005 a good year or a bad year for you? Do you expect 2006 to be better or worse?  Hey, this is a bit personal, isn't it? lol  2005 was fine.  As for 2006, maybe I expect it to be better.  Doesn't everyone want to have a better year when it comes to money?  :p

2. What was your least favorite moment of 2005?  I'm sure I have one, I just can't think of it right now. 

3. Did you lose anyone close to you in 2005? If so, who were they?  Yes. She wasn't close to me in the sense that I had her over every day, or even saw her every day, but one of Ben's former classmates passed away after a lengthy battle with leukemia.  She could make my day with just a smile, and I was very saddened when she passed. 

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What do you know about blogging?  LOL, I got 3/8 right.  I don't know much about blogging!

5. Where were you when 2005 began? Where were you when 2005 ended?  When it began, I was at home, with the kids and Mr W.  When it ended, I was in a police car, with Mr W, chasing after a car.  Both were good times.

6. Did you make new year's resolutions for 2005? If so, how many did you keep?  Egad, I don't do that.  I can't make resolutions, because I will be guaranteed to not keep them.  I put myself under enough pressure, why add more??

Have you hugged your public servant today? Part two

We are heading down the street, and looking for the officer in question...and of course, we drive right by him and have to turn around and come back.

It's about 2:30 am, I think.  Once we're there on scene, I go over to listen to what the officer is telling Mr W, so I'll know what's up before I start talking.

I was a little nervous.  First of all, this is not someone I really feel like f**king up in front of, both for Mr W's sake, and my own sense of pride.  Secondly, this man is drunk, how drunk I don't know, and well, you never know what you're gonna get with that, even without taking into consideration I'm gonna be telling him what to do in Spanish.  Those Latin macho guys are not necessarily into that, a woman bossing them around, in any language. 

Luckily, our guy is very cooperative, and good natured.  I'm trying not to grimace at Mr W's "Senor" pronunciation.  I follow him, and wait expectantly for what he wants me to tell him.  His colleague had said that the guy didn't do well forming a seal on the breathalyzer machine, so I'm thinking about how to ask him to do that, just as Mr W is demonstrating the heel-toe walk, and I'm jumping in to describe what we want him to do in regards to walking--nine steps--turn--nine back.  Hey, I can do this.  (And not laugh at Mr W's demo...bonus!)

Mr W moves onto the rest of the field sobriety tests, and then we go back to the breathalyzer.

I'm making sense to the man, but I want to be sure that he understands so he'll do it right the first time.

Analogies are made, to blowing up balloons.  I remind him to form a tight seal around the tube as he blows.

If you don't think it's surreal to be standing in a parking lot, telling someone to blow <into the machine> as your husband and his colleague are hollering at him "mas, mas, mas" I don't know what is.  It was bizarre.  

Ultimately, he was under arrest.  He was borderline, but it was their call, and apparently, had been all over the road, so he was done for the night.  The car had to be towed, and his passengers were stranded.  They were to um, happy-drunk to care much.  I told him, as we got to the command post and he said that next time when someone called him for a ride, he'd just say no,  "Well, they had to take a taxi, anyway, right?  They should've called one to begin with."

I'm helping Mr W process him, and it's no biggie.  Until I have to read to him the consent form to draw blood, and Mirandize him.  I got smart, after stumbling a bit on the consent form and read through Miranda first on my own before I attempted to do it out loud.  Nerves suck.  We get his blood, and here's Mr W with another form.  I have to translate the questions to Spanish, then get his answer and transcribe it.   We finish up and I am explaining his court date, and where to go, and stumble on the word "warrant" (it's "orden de aprehension" for the record); I give him the towing details, and now I don't want to translate anymore, but we get him to where he needs to wait for a taxi to take him home, and I make a beeline for the bathroom.  

On my way back,  I find a translator from another city, an official one, and ask questions about words galore.  The thing is, I know this stuff.  I can converse, I'm fluent, I'm just these are not words I use everyday.  I don't say, "buenos dias, Nana, there will be un orden de aprehension issued for your arrest if you don't show up to court on your given day.  Estabas manejando un caro bajo la influencia de alcohol."  No, that doesn't come up much on my weekend visits.  And I'm nervous, in the face of all these guys my husband works with, because I--I don't want to look like an idiot.

Yet I manage to feel like one, with the next round.

Because little did I know that other people noticed I could translate...

And I got called over, again to do it, near the end of the night. 

"Hey, can you help us out?"  I get motioned over.

"Sure,"  I plop down in the chair next to the guy. 

Meanwhile, out of the corner of my eye, I'm watching this blonde girl, attractive, miles of midriff showing, acting like if she is flirty enough, she might get a break.  Ugh.  Please.  Put your hands on the fingerprint inkpad, and get it over with, you idiot.  Of course, men are men.  Ogles, shared glances all around.  I don't have time for this, this fifth grade business, so I concentrate on the drunk guy.

This time, the man, he's not very cooperative; he's pissed off, and not really listening to me.  I'm not even sure what it is he wants to know.  I do my best.  He's getting on my nerves, as he is just not getting it and we keep going in circles.  Maybe I'm missing something, so I go fetch my new translator buddy to help me out, and as he takes that over, I get called to translate at the end of the table for someone else.  I don't mind.  I hop in.

Of course, he wants to discuss all his names, and which one should be used, blah, blah.  Again, I am dealing with a man so drunk I don't think he could form a coherent thought, and I'm trying to get him to just chill and let them process him.

I look up and the translator is gone.  I get called back to Mr. Indignant again.  Who is still making no sense, but whatever.  

I really want out of this, right now.  But the two guys are fixated on me when the translator is gone.  And the volunteers processing them call me back when they need help.  So I bounce back and forth between the two.  I want to help, really, I do.  I like translating.  But I don't like being abandoned in the middle of it.  If I have a question, I need to be able to ask it and have an answer; not have to scramble for it.  And all the officers are interested in, understandably so, is getting their guy/girl out of there, so they can leave.  Fine.  If I were more experienced at this, I wouldn't care, but at this point, I'm not, so it's particularly annoying to me that I'm on my own.  Mr W, has gone from admiring me in action, to getting irritated that I'm not getting his signal that I need to get the hell out of there.  *I can't go into detail here.  He was right, but I didn't know.  I was right, and he understood my point later.*

Things are winding down.  I've gone a few verbal rounds with Mr Indignant.   All of a sudden, he's right next to me, with more questions.  I'm thinking, why is he here,  why is he uncuffed, and why is no one getting him away from me?  Obviously, he's been released, or something, whatever.  Take him out of here, don't let him come up and start talking to me.  I feel my hand start reaching over for Mr W, who is off behind and to the side of me, and just then, the guy's arresting officer shows up, and hooks the guy right there in front of me, for what, I have no idea.   I really don't care, at this point, I just put some distance between us. 

Mr W and I leave, after I take a picture of the group. 

He invites me for breakfast. 

And sitting there across from him, in a deserted Denny's, I told him:

*You don't get paid enough for what you do.  No way.

*People do suck. 

*Sometimes, your coworkers suck.  (except Remo...he gets a pass, outspoken or not)

*I'm really glad I came along.

*He's an odd fit in his current group of coworkers.

*I don't mind translating.  But I won't do it under those conditions again.

*I admire that you can do this everyday, and still manage to maintain your sense of self. 

*Are you gonna finish that?  Because I'm starving.

I just wanted to hug him.

Once we got home, and settled, I did.  I'd still be hugging him, if it hadn't been for Audrey waking up and squeezing in.

Noooo.  I'd been up for 24 hours.

Ah, well, sleep is overrated.  I stumbled down the hall, poured her some chocolate milk, and poured myself into the magic chair.

Until noon.  When I was called to translate again.

For my three year old.

Now, there's a job I can handle.



Have you hugged your public servant today? Part one

I had a hot date last night.  It involved a lot of men in uniform, fast driving, and handcuffs.  I stayed out all night, returning home just as the sky was showing streaks of dawn light.

For a girl who usually spends New Year's Eve at home watching movies and letting her kids stay up too late, it was quite an evening. 

I've never been on a ride-along with Mr W, all these years that he's been a police officer.  Once I found out he was working the DUI Task Force on New Year's Eve, how could I not invite myself along?

I procured the babysitter (sister-in-law) and filled out my little disclaimer form.

"If you come back with a warrant, I'm hooking you up,"  Mr W announced as I handed the form back to him. 

"Here's to hoping that prostitution charge was dismissed," I quipped back.  (Yeah...right.  The only thing I'm guilty of is nursing in public, which is apparently is a crime in some lesser-evolved cities, I hear.)

Anyway, he came and picked me up in the police car, and I tried not to show that I was a bit jazzed about the entire prospect of the chattering away almost the entire route back to the station.  Oops.  (I could never be a good poker player, not with all my tells.)

I got the grander tour, I mean, I've been to the station before, but this time he took me to a couple of places I've not been into before, like dispatch (hey, these are the chicks I talk to from time to time....faces for the voices).   For a place I've mainly associated with verbal information, I was surprised to see so many different computer and security screens.  And he pointed out the briefing room, and report writing, some offices...etc. 

I had to laugh when I went into the bathrooms by his office (unisex single rooms), and the seats were up.  (I checked both of them.)  Mr W insists its the cleaning crew that does that, but please.  This building is full of men, most of the time, why wouldn't the seats be up?  :p

Finally, we hit the road.  The task force was in another city, so we had to drive there.  I'm just taking it all in, speeding down the freeway and talking to him, when suddenly, he's talking into the radio and pulling someone over.  ???What?  Why??  Did I miss something?

I have to admit, I had to really pay attention, because all night he did that.  One second, we'd be driving along, the next, we'd be whipping the car around in another direction, speeding off after whatever he saw, and pulling someone over.  It took some getting used to, for sure.  (I was better about it partway through the night, because I started to pay attention to his body language, which wound up being the best clue.) The coolest thing is that with all this aggressive driving, I was reminded that my husband can drive like an ass, and I dug that.

So, he pulled this person over on the freeway.  As he got out of the car, I had a brief blip of worry, but just sat back to watch.

Hey, these cars on the freeway are driving by awfully fast.  And very close to him.  And he's wearing dark blue.  Doesn't he have something reflective to wear?  Can't these yahoos slow down? 

I held my breath until he stepped closer to the wall, and further away from the cars whizzing by.

Wait a minute.  His driver's door is opening.  Shut it, girl, before someone drives off with it...duh...(at this point, I was afraid I'd bump something in the console, and make both of us look stupid...)

I'm watching the girl in the car, in her rearview mirror.  

OMG, is she actually putting on makeup while he's checking her license and info?  Lippy, powder, wipe under eyes, puff/fluff the hair--you've gotta be kidding me.  I'm amazed at this grooming display, when Mr W grins, walks over to me, and hands me the license through the window. 

Sex:  M        Oh.  It's like that.  Okey-dokey, it takes all kinds.... 

He was clear, and Mr W had pulled him over for not having his headlights on, so on his merry way he went.  Party on, Wayne.

Party on, Garth.  We got to the command post, and as we drove in, I nudged Mr W and reminded him that we were going to be in a sea of uniforms, and I would be amongst the happiest of women.  Respectfully, tastefully, of course.  Ahem. 

Holy cow... :D   Then, a few minutes later, I'm over it.  Overloaded circuits and all that. :p

Soon enough, we were out again.   Right off the bat, we went down the street to transport someone for a motorcycle officer.  Again, I stayed in the car, listening to the radio and watching.  Hmm.  Looks like they're arresting that guy.  As Mr W puts him in the car, I get the order to get out and wait on the curb.  (protective, but I appreciated it) 

How many people are in that little car??  Here's another, being arrested, and escorted to our car.  I'm finding myself inching towards Mr W and his colleague, away from his patrol car, unintentionally, as I shift my weight from foot to foot.  The three young ladies in the car are also being cited for something...and I'm finding a new respect for details. 

Search--cars, people, pockets, trunks; put their stuff in bags; collect ooh, is that what I think it is? (grassy looking), pour out liquor; all the while explaining, questioning, explaining, running licenses and car info; call tow truck, ack, explain some more ("How a man of few words becomes a man of even fewer words in three easy steps");  and paper, paper, paper, and more paper.  Holy crap.  What a pain in the ass.  It's a wonder anyone ever makes it to jail, because at this point, I'm seriously questioning all that effort--will these two even be spending the night in one of our fine detention facilities?  (They did.  And another county, that had some warrants for them with multiple charges, will be hosting them too.)

Amazing.  I'm never calling him when he's at work again.

While we're at this call, I'm surprised that one of the girls whips out a cellphone.  Let's see, you are pulled over by the po-po, and you decide to reach out and touch someone?  Right NOW??  My husband's colleague had to tell her to put it down so he could photograph her.  I'm momentarily stunned, then not surprised, not really.  Cellphones are so ubiquitious, it's hardly a revelation that they wouldn't be the first thing someone reaches for in a moment like this.  But, here's the thing, couldn't you wait, considering that you are dealing with the police?  <eyeroll>

We dropped off the guys, and then went out looking for more.  Looking, looking, looking--114 miles driven in all, all night-- and we didn't nab one drunk of our own. (ridealong curse, I take it?) The most exciting stop was one where he stopped a chick for driving without headlights (what is UP with that?  at least three of the folks he stopped were for this...) that happened to have a suspended license already.  She about peed on the spot...and then (guess) whipped out her cellphone to call Mommy. 

She's all shook up, shaking, almost crying, and Mr W is explaining her ticket, and telling her what to do.  He's not moved, not fazed at all, by this display of emotion; and I'm realizing that this, his game face, is the one I see at home when I'm having a nuclear meltdown and he's a blank slate.  Guess I'll cut him a little slack next time.  (He's so businesslike, so "here's the deal", it's spooky to watch.)

In addition to this new insight into his persona, I'm also getting to see that sometimes, it's like he says, something like 10% adrenaline rush, 90% boring.  I even started to nod off at one point.  "No sleeping,"  he  admonished.  "Stop someone, and I won't,"  I retorted.  (Hey, it was late.  Hot in the car.  All that driving.  What did he expect?)  Maybe he had his quota of adrenaline for the month filled a couple of weeks ago chasing that guy in the field (you can read about it here and here at Remo's, if you want).....

We transported a crying girl.  Fun.  I almost, almost felt bad for her, for a second.  Then I remembered why she was in the car, and got over it in a hurry, especially when I found out one of her passengers was perfectly okay to drive.  Dumbass.  Press hard, five copies. 

Yawn.  I'm considering having him take me home, I'm tired, and a bit want for something to do.  Suddenly, I hear him key his mike and say "My CO speaks Spanish" and off we go, speeding down the road.

"Am I translating now?"  "Yup."  "For who?"  <he names a higher up>  "Great.  No pressure."

This coffee is good.  Do I have to??

"I don't know if I'm up to this."  "You'll be fine."  "If you say so."

Be careful what you wish for, isn't that what they say?

My adventures in translating, next, live at five.