Thursday, May 31, 2007

I wanna be on break!

People it's the first week of Summer Break for the Princess and she's having a BLAST!

Tuesday morning she was a little nervous about her new adventure. Wednesday morning, she was butt tired as we rolled her out of bed. But she was all smiles by the time the Hubs dropped her off. I'm sure she was glad that she did get up off her bottom and head out.

Because she had a FULL day.

She went rock climbing. On Tuesday, only a few kids went up. She and I discussed it at bathtime on Tuesday night. How rock climbing is about balance and thought. How you have to think about the next place to put your hands and your feet. It's like being a spider on the wall. And how a long time ago, I saw this 18 year old climb this rockface. That this young girl was one of the best rock climbers in the entire world. And she was only 18. On Wednesday, she was able to get into the harness and go up the "rock" face. I found out that she got to ring the cowbell at the top the first time she went up. She did it! But the second time up, she had to ask them to let her down early as she was too tired to make it all the way. She said she really enjoyed getting down. The fact that she got to lean back and walk down the wall. She and I talked about the harness. About how loud the cowbell was.

She also got to pet a couple horses. Horses are her FAVORITE animal right now. She's got about 6 stuffed horses. About 20 small plastic horses. She's got a horse stable. She has a drawing book of horses. She wrote a report on horses and presented it to her first grade class -- along with drawings. So the fact that she was able to get up close and personal with a horse? She was in 7th heaven. What's even better? Is that she got to RIDE a horse today. That's right people. She got to sit in a saddle and ride the horse. Yes. She was wearing a helmet. And I'm sure they were going in a circle or along a short path. But a horse!

She ended her day with about 45 minutes of swimming. She's not a swimmer, so she was in the non-swimming group in the wading pool. But she still had a good time. That's where she's comfortable especially if she isn't allowed to wear a vest.

I'm just even more happy that I got her into that program. Different environment. A different "theme" each week. This week it's a Cowboy theme. Next week it's an Earth theme. There's a Hawaiian Week. There's a Service Week. I think it's good to keep the kids wondering at what activity they're going to do. YEAH!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Party time

We received two birthday invitations last week. One for each child.

I had to respond to one today because it was the RSVP deadline day. I called and had to leave a message.
Me: Hi. My name is Grace. My son, Bear, received an invitation to Logan's party. I wanted to let you know that he and I would be attending the party this Saturday. I was curious what kind of things Logan was interested in. Give me a call. Let me know. I can be reached at 555-5555.
Good message, right? I wasn't sure if Logan was a girl or a boy. This way I'd get the answer to that along with what kind of interests this child had. I had to find leave that message because I don't know all the kids in my son's daycare class. I only know a handful of kids' names. Anyway, the Mom called me back tonight.
Logan's Mom: Hi. Can I speak to Grace?
Me: This is Grace.
Logan's Mom: Oh hi. This is Logan's Mom.
Me: I'm so glad you called back. I wanted to find out what kind of things Logan was interested in.
Logan's Mom: Oh, Logan is into everything the Bear is probably interested in. Like all little boys are.
Me: Oh. Okay. I also wanted to verify if there's anything that you don't want him to have. Some parents are particular about what kind of gifts their child receives....
Logan's Mom: No. Just whatever. We're just excited to have you and the Bear attend the party.
Me: Okay. I guess I'll see you on Saturday. The boys will see each other tomorrow.
Logan's Mom: Okay. Bye.
Good conversation. I found out Logan is a boy. And there are no gift restrictions. Cool. Got that straightened out.

As we got the Princess was getting cleaned up in the bathroom, I cuddled with the Bear.
Me: Buddy, do you play with Logan?
His face visibly changed. He got a frowny face. And he looked away as he answered.
Bear: No.
Me: Oh really? Why not?
He frowned and I could tell that he wasn't sure of how to answer my question.
Me: Is he a not-nice boy?
Bear: Yeah.
Then he made a pushing motion at me.
Me: He pushes other kids?
The Bear nodded.
Bear: Pushes. And punches.
Me: Who does Logan play with?
Bear: Blake.
So now that I've RSVP'd, I find out that Logan is a not-nice kid who pushes & punches the other kids. Fabulous! I am such a sucky Mom!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

4 days off!

Tomorrow morning, we're heading off to see my family. I actually asked for this weekend off. I KNOW it's Memorial Day weekend and most people have an automatic 3-days off. But with a start-up company like mine? If there's work to do, it doesn't matter if there's a national holiday. You do your work. Anyway, I asked for Friday thru Monday off. My boss told me I deserved it. I put it on our Vacation calendar. I informed our HR person to take the hours off from my accrued vacation. I did this like TWO weeks ago.

I finally let the rest of the company know. I sent an email out to everyone on Monday letting them know I'd be out and would be traveling. THEREFORE, I would have limited internet access. Meaning, I'd basically be out of touch for 4 days. FOUR GLORIOUS DAYS!

One of the new guys at work and I had a conversation yesterday.

Newbie: Do we have this weekend off?
Me: It's officially a company holiday. But if I stuff that needs to get done then I end up working.

I know this guy has a lot of stuff due next week. So I was basically trying to tell him that even if it's a holiday he needs to get stuff done. But I'm not his boss so I can't tell him he needs to work. He needs to KNOW that he needs to get it done. You know?

But I'm excited to be off. Out of touch. It'll be my first 4 days off since I started almost 2 years ago.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Already spaghetti?

No. I'm not talking Italian. I'm talking that it's ALREADY the end of the school year.

Seriously. I'm not joking. Actually today is the last day of school for the Princess. I don't consider tomorrow's Pool/Park day extravaganza a school day. It's a morning of partying with her friends. Ay-yay-yay!

So she'll be on summer break as of Thursday morning. Thank goodness we leave early to visit my family on Friday morning. And Monday? She starts at the YMCA! So she's got NO real break between activities. Thank goodness. She'd drive me batty for sure. She gets bored staying at home ONE DAY with me. Because I'm stuck on the computer ---- with my work-at-home gig. Which actually translates in 10-14 hours of work since the computer is right there instead of a normal 8 hour day that a lot of people are able to get by with.

But can you believe it? SUMMER! Tomorrow? Halleluia for the YMCA and their 3 month program. I'll get by this year without getting too frazzled by my girl. Whew!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Just one of those people

I got to thinking yesterday. I rarely get comments so I never check that screen. But yesterday I read them. Summer's comment about my neighbor, the Guy Across the Street (GAS) made ME stop and scratch my head. Was I judging? I concede. I was. I wish I could afford to have a cleaning service.

But GAS is one of those neighbors that makes my head spin. He's abrasive. He doesn't think before he says things. He is not someone you'd provide any kind of confidential information too. He's not afraid to share YOUR business with everyone else. So the rest of this is going to be a not-so-nice (and not so graceful) view of my neighbor.


Last year, one of our neighbors was pregnant. This gal is normally tiny and fit. But she did gain a bit of weight during her pregnancy. It was her last trimester and she and I were chatting in the street (as she was walking her dog). GAS saw us and walked up.
GAS: You ready to pop that thing out? You're HUGE!
Uh....not what a pregnant gal needs to hear when she' already miserable, eh?


GAS backyard has view fencing. There's an open drainage area behind his house (just like ours) that has natural plants. You can also see the end of the open cul-de-sac. He's got no houses behind him. Nice, right?

We found out that one of the gals who lives in the cul-de-sac saw GAS throwing doggy doodies through his view fencing into the open drainage area behind his fence.

GAL: Hey, you shouldn't do that.
GAS: Why not?
GAL: Well, there are some kids who like to go down in that ditch-drainage area and run around.
GAS: Yeah, so?
GAL: I'm going to call the Department of Health if I EVER see you doing that again.

He gave her a "PFFTT" kind of face and walked off. So with that? The GAL who lives in the cul-de-sac doesn't like GAS.

Can you believe he was just throwing his dogs "stuff" out like that? GROSS!


Our Other Neighbor Across the Street (ONAS) had a garage sale a month or so ago. That morning GAS noticed the action going on. He walked over and asked her if she could sell his Christmas tree.

ONAS: Sure. How much do you want for it?
GAS: $150.
ONAS: Hmm....that's kind of pricey for a garage sale...
GAS: Well, that's what I want.
ONAS: Okay. Well, what's the minimum you'd want for it since there's usually bargaining that happens.
GAS: I want $150, nothing less than that. I paid $175 for it!

He wanted almost full price for that used Christmas tree? People could purchase a new tree for the money he wanted for it!


One of my favorite neighbors (FAV) around the corner has a daughter in the first grade. Just like ONAS daughter. And both of these girls are in Girl Scouts. The other week, the troop had an overnight camping trip. GAS wife stayed and camped with the troop. The next day, I saw GAS wife out in her yard as I walked towards the cul-de-sac with my kidlings.
Me: How was camping?
GASW: Oh. It was okay. It's not a very nice campsite though.
Me: That must have been disappointing.
GASW: Yeah. But the girls had a good time together.
Me: Did FAV's daughter have fun?
GASW: She didn't go.
Me: Oh. She didn't?
GASW: They NEVER let her do anything. [she said it in a condescending way like she couldn't believe FAV's daughter didn't go]
I wasn't surprised that FAV's daughter didn't go on this camping trip. She's a girly-girl. She doesn't like to get dirty. AND she doesn't have the best sleeping habits. She goes to sleep in her room. But somewhere during the night, she walks downstairs and ends up in her parents' bed. EVERY night. Plus, I remember when FAV's daughter went to a sleepover at GAS house last year. She didn't make it through the night. GAS had to walk her back to her house around midnight.

But FAV comes from the same background as me. She only has one sister. Conservative & traditional parents. And like my parents, FAV's folks were probably VERY protective of her. I mean, I wasn't allowed to go to sleepovers as a kid. So I'm not surprised FAV's daughter didn't go on this overnight camping trip.


ONAS did her yard about a year ago. It's got a courtyard look to it. There's a fountain in the center with sod all around. And being in Arizona, she had to water the sod to make sure it took and didn't get too dry.

Apparently, the sprinkler system was spraying water onto the cinderblock fence separately ONAS & GAS backyards. GAS mentioned it to ONAS. ONAS let him know that she'd let her husband know and he'd change it when he got home. He was stationed about 100 miles away at the time and came home every two weeks or so.

A few weeks later, ONAS noticed that the grass was getting brown. She mentioned it to her husband. She asked him if he'd changed the settings. He said yes. And then he went out to check the system. He found that the sprinkler system was TURNED OFF. Off? How could that happen? We can only figure that GAS did it.


A couple months after moving in, GAS got around to finding a company to install a water softening system. He was so proud of the deal he got.
GAS: I found them on the internet. It's a pretty cool deal. About HALF as much as the quote I got from the company you used!
Okay. Whatever. The next day we saw the guys installing their system. Unfortunately for GAS, when he was getting the house built and selecting option, he hadn't decided if he'd get a water softening system. So.... the main water line wasn't near the garage. It was on the opposite side of the house. So this company had to dig out a shallow trench and put pipe down to re-route the water. It took about 2 full days for them to get things done. A couple weeks later, we saw those same guys back digging up the yard once more.

It turns out that when originally laid the pipe down, they hadn't really dug out the trench. They actually "shoved" the pipe along the ground. And there was NO kind of cover on the end they were using to shove. and dirt ended up in the pipe. ROCKS and dirt in their pipes!


GAS has a baseball hitter thing in his backyard. The kids play it and sometimes their balls go over the fence. Into ONAS backyard. So GAS would go into ONAS backyard and get the balls. And sometimes he'd leave the gate open. Did I tell you that ONAS has two little dogs? Yeah. GAS felt it was okay that he could just walk onto ONAS property.

Anyway, I guess ONAS and GAS had a discussion about the gate. So GAS got a ball grabber thingy. He'd use that to grab the balls in ONAS yard. Fine, right? But the thing is...we found out that ball grabber would rive the dogs CRAZY! They'd bark at it and snap at it. Not good, right?

We then found out that one of the kids in the cul-de-sac got bit by ONAS dog. The kid's Mom (MOK) came over and talked to ONAS.
MOK: Hi. My son got bit by your dog. Has he got all his shots?
ONAS: Yes. He's got all his shots. I'm surprised. My dog has never been aggressive.
MOK: It wasn't a big bite. But the skin was broken. I just wanted to be sure.
ONAS: I wonder how my dog bit him. We've got that mesh along the view fence so the dogs can't get out...
MOK: Oh. He was trying to get a ball that made its way into your yard.
ONAS: dog must have been reacting like when GAS puts that ball retriever over the fence.
MOK: Ball retriever?
ONAS: Yes. When a ball goes over into our yard he uses that retriever to get the ball and he teases our dog with it.
Well, MOK must have confronted GAS about using the ball retriever because he no longer uses it. His kids now come to ONAS door to ask about the balls.

Anyway, the story doesn't end there. I guess MOK's son was at school and one of his teacher's noticed the bandage on his hand. She asked him what happened and he told her that he got bit by a dog. And the teacher called Animal Protection! And someone showed up at ONAS house to ask her about her dog! Yeah. No one was happy about how the situation unfolded!


When I purchased my Freestyle, GAS came over and looked at it.
GAS: Oh, a Ford?
Me: Yes. I normally wouldn't have purchased an American car but it's just what we need. Three rows. Lots of cup holders. Fold down seats that we don't need to carry out the car. AND a DVD player when we take long drives to see family.
GAS: You shouldn't have bought a Ford. I heard on the news that Ford was going out of business.
Okay. Find. A few months ago, GAS wife bought a new Mitsubishi Eclipse. So GAS tried selling his minivan. He ended up selling her Dodge Intrepid because there were no takers on the minivan. Unfortunately, the minivan has recently had a lot of mechanical issues. So recently GAS and his wife were out and talked to the Hubs while all our kids played together.
GAS: So how do you like Grace's Freestyle?
Hubs: It's been good. It's small enough for her to drive. But still roomy enough for me to sit comfortably. AND it's got some good pick-up for passing on the highway.
GAS: Yeah. We're thinking about selling our minivan.
GASW: It's too big for us now. The kids aren't in carseats anymore.
I guess they shouldn't have sold that Intrepid, eh?


I was talking with ONAS in front of her house when GAS drove up. She and I were talking about her new flowers that she'd just purchased. GAS walked over to us. We talked for a bit when ONAS remembered something.
ONAS: Guess what we got in the mail from the IRS?
Me: The IRS?
ONAS: They sent us a letter that my husband failed to claim $3000 on our tax return.
Me: Failed to claim earnings? What?
ONAS: Yeah. We failed to claim $3000 that was earned in California. I checked our credit and no one has done anything fraudulent with our credit.
GAS: Oh, it must have been some MEXICAN using your husband's social security number to get wages.
I couldn't believe he said that. But NO....he had to say it was some "Mexican". What makes it worse is that my husband is half Mexican and ONAS is Mexican.


So those are some stories about GAS. What do you think? He's just one of those people who get under my skin. I constantly have to shake my head when I see or hear what he's done. A knuckle-head. All of us know this. And he thinks he's going to be able to get some of us to sign up the cleaning services he's got? I don't think so....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sadness overshadowing the light

The Light that the kids put into every day has been overshadowed by a sadness.

The Hubs grandmother (my MILs mom) passed away on Thursday morning. She'd broken her hip a month and a half or so ago. And she never really healed. She ended up in the hospital to receive proper care. Got a sudden infection and wasn't able to recover. We received at least a dozen calls before 11am about the situation.

This reminds me of what happened to my Grandmother 5 years ago. We (me, the Hubs and Prin who was only 1) had a fabulous Thanksgiving at my parents house. A week or so later my Grandma got sick. She ended up in an home so that she could receive 24 hour care. By New Years Day she was gone. But what I'm so grateful about is that we were able to have such a wonderful holiday with her before she got sick. I was even more grateful that I was able to fly home and see her. Talk to her. Hold her hand. Even my oldest sister was able to make it out from Wyoming. The very next day after we all arrived, she left us. But she waited until we were all together. All able to hold and support each other.

The MIL and FIL flew out there Thursday afternoon. My SIL and BIL flew out today. The Hubs will be flying out tomorrow morning. The funeral is on Monday. The 5 oldest grandsons and her 5 sons will be pall-bearers. The kids and I are staying here. We can't afford for us all to go out there. My MIL is disappointed but WE all saw the family at the wedding last year. At that fabulous celebration. Everyone was happy. Everyone was healthy. Everyone was dancing. Everyone celebrated that occasion with a positive heart. It was the last family gathering. And we were there. The Hubs and I cherish that memory. We talked about it last night. That we're thankful that we were there for that beautiful day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The gass is greener

Living in a new housing development has many changes. There are the "old" people who've been living in our homes for 2 years now. Then there are the "new" people. There are folks who still have the standard builder yards and there are those who've totally revamped their front and/or back yards.

It's really amazing to see how much the neighborhood has changed since we moved in. No more cement trucks rolling up and down the streets at 2am. No more large flatbed trucks delivering wood for framing. No more trucks with tradesmen parking up and down the streets. It's a lot quieter.

Because people are choosing to update or NOT update their front yards, it's interesting to walk through our development. There are always changes to see. I like to see the different types of pavers people have used to widen their driveways. Most folks do this so they're not stepping on yard portion of their yards as they get out of their cars. Some folks use pavers completely up to their front door. Some use them as a walkway to their back gates.

Of course, there are the people who've chosen to put swimming pools into their backyards but it's hard to REALLY check those out. But for the folks who've got view fencing (that black iron fencing instead of bricks), we can see in from a distance. What I find interesting is when people decide to put bushes right in front of the black fencing to conceal their backyards. To me, they're concealing the view. When we're in the back, we're in full view of the neighbors. But it doesn't matter. We don't care if people see us. We're normally just running around with the kids. And it's not like anyone lives directly behind us so we've got about 100 feet of natural landscape as a buffer to the sidewalk up the street behind us. I guess lots of people really like some privacy when they're in their backyard.

Two weeks ago, we found out that ONAS' husband has TREE ENVY. And when ONAS looks at our yard, he just shakes his head. You see, they moved in a week or so before us. And the two trees in our front yard are blossoming. They're twice as big as they were when we moved in two years ago. They're wider and taller and a deep green. With lots of new leaves (which are paler) at the ends of every single branch. It's a strong tree too. I just pruned some branches that were growing out to the front sidewalk yesterday. And we have to keep on pruning those branches back at least every 3 to 4 weeks! But ONAS' trees? They still look about the same size as when they moved in. That explains the "tree envy". When the Hubs heard about the situation, he gave ONAS some tree fertilizer spikes. He told her that she should just nail 2 spikes around each tree. That's all we've done other than regular watering to our trees. And folks....their trees are already looking a little nicer. We can see the pale green of the newer leaves. YEAH!

What I do find crazy is how some folks make BIG changes to their yards and don't get "approval" from the HOA. You all know how HOAs can either make a neighborhood great or suck. There's this one corner house that was getting a back patio and gazebo put up. I noticed it about 2 months ago. You could see the wood framing over the top of their fencing. Well, work on those two items stopped. You can see that the roofing on the gazebo was half done. The unused tiles are still sitting up there. I guess one of the HOA people saw the structures being built and had those folks stop the process. So those homeowners have a half-built back patio cover. The wood framing is all there but it's not stucco'd to match the house so it's obviously unfinished.

Then we found out another neighbor on the other block is getting fined by the HOA because their front gate is too elaborate. I mean, we purchased security doors for our front and back doors. You know. Those metal doors that have a screen attached? This way when it's cool outside we open up our regular doors and get some fresh air through the house. We didn't get those doors approved by the HOA. We just bought them and got them installed. But the things is those doors pretty much blend with the colors of our house. Our front door isn't really fully exposed to the street. You actually have to walk a little bit up our driveway to get a full view of our door. We didn't get it approved and no one has ever said anything to us. But there are a LOT of people in the neighborhood who have security doors so we didn't think anything of it.

When I found out about this neighbor getting fined, I walked the upper portion of the neighborhood where I rarely get to. I noticed the gate straight away. It's not a gate for fence. It's one of those 'gates' that you use to secure the front walkway of your home. The garage and front bedroom of this particular house are flush at the front of the house. So a few folks who have this particular style of home have placed an iron gate right there as an "entrance". I definitely would have wanted something like that if we'd purchased that model home. So I understand the gate thing. But the gate that this homeowner purchased had an elaborate top arch thing on it that you walk under. So it was pretty large and fancy-smancy. TOTALLY stuck out like a sore thumb. So I understand why they got called on it by the HOA. And they're getting fined EVERY month until it's taken down I guess. Can you imagine what these two homeowners are feeling?

But seriously, I love my neighborhood. I love my neighbors. The nice ones. The crazy ones (like GAS). Even the really shy ones (like the renters next door). I can't believe that I know as many neighbors as I do. I know the folks in at least 20 homes in our subdivision. TWENTY! That's a ton for me. I've never known that many families in walking distance of my house.

Now how about you? How many neighbors do you know? Do you love your neighborhood or not? Why?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Satisfying the craving

You know when you suddenly NEED to eat something? Chocolate at that time of the month. A hot dog at a baseball game. An ice cream sandwich when you're having a picnic at the park? Oh.... those are my needs.

Anyway, this morning I had a hankering for a greasy breakfast. A sausage Mc-Muff with egg, a hash brown and a large coffee. Yummy! I don't eat this way often but for some reason I was craving a greasy, salty breakfast. I drive up and give my order to the slow person on the other end. There are about 4 cars ahead of me which was unusual. But I figured there were other folks getting the same greasy breakfast as me.

I get to the first window and pay. There are two gals at the two registers at the window. They each were in charge of one register and were still as slow as snails taking orders.

I get to the second window and wait for the window to slide open. And it finally does. I greet the girl with a smile.

Girl: We're out of hash browns.
Me: Excuse me?
Girl: We're out of hash browns. You can either have an apple pie or a cookie.
Me: You're out of hash browns?
Girl: Yes. We're waiting for supplies. Do you want an apple pie or a cookie?
Me: But I don't want either.
Girl: How about a parfait?
Me: I guess....

I conceded. I gave in. Rather than ask for my money back, I caved in. DANG IT! They threw me for a loop there and I got tongue-tied!

Now if they knew they were out of hash browns, why didn't they tell me when I was ordering my food? Why didn't they tell me when I was paying at the first window? They waited until I was stuck to tell me. And then they offer me a cookie or an apple pie at 8 o'clock in the morning? Why not another breakfast sandwich? BASTAGES!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Picky picky

The Bear cracks me up sometimes.

This weekend him a roast beef sandwich for lunch. I put it on a plate with some fruit but he didn't eat it. He ate some of the bread and fruit but no bites of the sandwich.

Half hour later, I made myself a roast beef sandwich. I got some chips and a drink and sat on the couch. And guess who was right there sitting next to me?

Bear: Waas dat?
Me: It's Mommy's sandwich.
Bear: You gow-ing ta share wid me?
Me: You want some of Mommy's sandwich?
Bear: Yes pwease.

So he takes a bite. And then another. It's basically the same thing I made for him. Granted, I put 2 pieces of cheese and some chipotle mayonnaise in for some extra zing. But the same roast beef and bread. So he eats more than half my sandwich. I had to make another one!

Yes. That's Mommy's picky eater. If it's on his plate, it's YUCKY. If it's on my plate, it's YUMMY. Go figure!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Makes me scratch my head

The Hubs saw our neighbor Guy Across the Street (GAS) arguing with some guys in front of his house the other day. He only heard a snippet about "cleaning".

We found out from our other neighbor across the street (ONAS) that GAS had just hired a cleaning company. And the arguing the Hubs heard was GAS disagreeing with the people about the pricing. I guess when he'd talked to them over the phone he'd heard ONE price and when they came out they gave him a different price.

I guess the cleaning company was going to come out every week but he would pay every other week. He THOUGHT that he would be paying $90 every two weeks. But he found out they wanted $90 every time they went out. So that meant he'd need to pay $180 every two weeks. Now, is that a bad price? I don't know.

Anyway on Saturday evening, the Hubs and I were outside talking with ONAS as her son played with out kidlings. GAS came outside with his kids, so we all huddled on our driveway while the kids played. We chatted about this that and the other for a couple minutes.

ONAS: Did you get everything straightened out with the cleaning people?
GAS: Yeah. I did. Do YOU guys have cleaning people?
Me: [frowning] Yeah. It's Me and the Hubs.
ONAS: So how much do you guys charge?
GAS: When can you guys come over and do it?

It seriously was a funny topic. Because I don't care if people have a cleaning service. I've never had one. I have friends who've had one. ONAS used to have one. She let her person go at the end of last year but wants to get another service. She can work from home but she does have an office that she needs to be at and she does a lot of driving going to clients. And her husband has weird work hours. He's at the mercy of the scheduling people. Sometimes he works 3rd shift. Sometimes he works in the weekends. Then their son is into baseball big-time as well so they're having to drive him to games and practice all the time. So I'd understand why she has a cleaning service.

But GAS? I don't understand why he'd need one. His kids are both in grade school (1st and all-day Kindergarten). He just finished with school for his teaching credentials. He's a stay-at-home Dad for kids who are mostly in school. So he's at home alone for 6 hours Monday through Friday. And he now just hired a cleaning service? Explain that one to me people! He can't clean his 2200 square foot house in those 30 hours alone during the week?

Anyway, we'll see if his service works out. He got the price he got because he's supposedly going to talk the service up around our neighborhood and get people to hire his service. Yeah. Right. Like I'm going to want the same people cleaning my house as a bunch of other people in the neighborhood? No. Don't think so. I'd rather have some stranger with no ties cleaning my house. So there can be NO TALK of how dirty or whatever about my house and my family around the neighborhood. You know?

Now do you use a cleaning service? How did you find them? How often do they come? It's a luxury that one day I hope to be able to afford -- someone to come out even once a month to do that deep cleaning. You know the stuff I'm talking about. The stuff that's easily left to "next time". Wiping down the blinds & shutters. Cleaning the baseboards. Dusting off the top of the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. Cleaning the ceiling fan blades. Yeah. The stuff I can't get to. One day. One day...

Sunday, May 6, 2007

New skills

Last week, the Hubs finally opened a box that contained a new game that has turned out to be a favorite with the kids. It was TracBall racquets and 2 balls. So they each get a TracBall racquet and a ball each. And the Hubs and I catch and return the balls back to them. It's been good because they can both play it on the driveway and they throw it at their own skill level. It's good for the Hubs and I because we're out there catching, throwing and chasing the ball. So we've been doing that every night it seems since the Hubs opened the box.

The Hubs did find out that it's easier for him to get the balls and throw them back to the kidlings if he uses his baseball mitt. We were playing outside after lunch and I thought about something we should get.

Me: We should get the kids baseball mitts.
Hubs: Baseball mitts? Do they make them that small?
Me: Sweetie, I told you they've got some really small ones at Tar-jay.
Hubs: Hmmm....maybe we should drop by there before we go out to dinner tonight.
Me: Okay. Let's do that.

So we went out to Tar-jay and picked up a couple mitts. A tan one (with attached ball) for the Bear. A pink one for the Princess. Then we went out to dinner. But after dinner? We went out and got them started on their catching skills. Normally we eat dinner around 5pm on Saturday so we can play outside in the lingering sunshine of the evening.

First thing, the Hubs told the kids how to move their mitt so they could catch the ball. They've never watched baseball. We're not big baseball fans. What can I say? I'm more of a football fan. Anyway, the Bear didn't get it. He just kept trying to get the ball with the mitt palm pointed up to the sky. The Princess was tentative about catching the ball. We did have a bit of drama though. The Hubs had tossed the ball and the Prin tried to catch the ball with the mitt palm facing up. And (you guessed it) the ball bounced up and hit the side of her head. She naturally started crying and ran to me because the Hubs just stood there laughing at her.

That's when I gave her a visual of how she should move her mitt.

  • That she should NEVER catch the ball with the mitt facing up while it's right in front of her body. BECAUSE? The ball could bounce off the palm of the mitt and hit her in the face. Which is EXACTLY what happened to her. Of course, she'll be able to do this once she gets some basic skills with her mitt.
  • Any balls to the left side of her body, she should stretch her hand out with palm facing the approaching ball. And to NOT move so that her body is behind her mitt.
  • Any ball to the right side of her body, she should turn her mitt so the back of her hand is closest to her body. That her arm should cross over her body.
  • I showed her that the MESH part is what takes the force of catching a ball that's thrown hard. Not the PALM part of the mitt, which is what she was doing.
  • That closing the mitt is what keeps the ball secure in the mitt. So once she feels the ball hit the mesh section that she should close her mitt to keep the ball secure.

By the time we were ready to go inside, she was more comfortable with the mitt. I was standing about 10 feet away from her and tossing it to her left. She was getting used to catching it by adjusting the position of her arm and mitt. NOT moving her body behind the ball. This was a KEY learning experience for her.

It was fun. It was good. I'm sure we'll be out there practicing.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Something new for you, something new for me

As you all know, the Hubs found a new job recently. He left his old one and has yet to start his new one. He's on a nice break for now.

And as he is moving on to something new and exciting soon, I've been plugging away at my job. Working away with the regular stuff. Recently taking on some new things. I took on a task that other people weren't able to fit into their already busy workload. Early last week we even had a conference call and were broaching the topic of hiring someone to do this work. But it turned out to be easier than I thought and I was able to fit it in to my deliverables.

Anyway, the other day one of the big guys casually asked me if I was interested in moving to another job. I hadn't even thought about that job. But he told me to think about it and let him know. Today I asked one of the guys who actually DOES that job about it. And after that discussion I felt better. He told me that I should try the job out. So....I emailed the one of the big guys today and let him know that I would indeed be interested in moving to the new job. He and I are going to touch base and get the ball rolling.

But the Hubs did tell me that I've got to discuss if this is going to be a "lateral" move or a "step-up". That I need to find out if I'm handing OFF my current responsibilities or not. The supervising of 9 people. The new tasks I picked up this week. You know? Stuff that I failed to bring up but hopefully I'll have the balls to talk about it all. If I do get to get rid of my current "burdens" then I'll be able to disconnect the umbilical cord from my laptop and modem. That would be FABULOUS!