Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today's Injury

I should have made a bet with someone about Keri's daily injuries. You will never guess what today's injury is. She came up to me and pointed to a bump on her face and said, "Mom I have a pimple or something on my face and it hurts really bad when I try to pop it". I love my kid, but I DO NOT pop bumps. Gross! I have tried to teach her and her sister that popping bumps only makes them worse.

They are having a talent contest at her school. They call it "Name-of-her-school Idol". She and some of her friends have put together some kind of singing and dancing routine. They have backup singers, but she informed me today that the DJ quit. But she says they found a replacement. This stuff really cracks me up!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Drama Queen

Kering Grace is my baby. Probably my last child as I don't even have the prospect of going on a date in the near future. Aside from being my baby, she is also a drama queen. I do not use that expression lightly. She has been that way ever since she was really little. I remember the days when ANY sign of ANY skin being broken was just cause for a bandage.

At first I blew it off her just being little and wanting the attention. I remember the time she fell and told me she thought her leg was broken and she probably needed to go to the hospital. I remember thinking that it was cute that she thought a hospital visit was necessary for a fall. I told her that if she went to the hospital she would probably have to get a shot.

That shut her up......for a brief moment. Here lately, everything that happens to her is something that, "hurts really bad". It.Is.Driving.Me.Crazy. I am not insensitive to bumps and bruises that occur from being a kid. However, the whiny complaining really tries my patience. I CONSTANTLY hear things like, "Mom, I fell at school today and now my leg hurts really bad". Or, "Mom I bumped into the table and now my side hurts really bad". Yesterday she told my that she had gotten hurt and could she go up to the bonus room and get the crutches. CRUTCHES. Yes, crutches. For a fall that did not even leave the slightest bruise or break even the smallest amount of skin.

I thought years ago that this was a way for her to get attention. So in all my motherly, infinite wisdom, I NEVER play into the drama. I try to say something sensitive, yet at the same time keep her from playing into it even more. I usually say something like, "I'm sorry you got hurt, it will feel better soon". I NEVER gush or act anxious. I don't say things like, "Oh my goodness, that looks terrible". I don't nor have I ever babied her over her supposed injuries. I am afraid that would just make it worse.

Before anyone gets a chance to go there, don't worry. She gets PLENTY of attention around here. We spend time everyday talking about her day at school and upcoming events, or anything that might be bothering her with her friends. I always make it a point to listen when she talks. (Unless she interrupts, which she is prone to do on occasion)

The fact of the matter is that my child loves to be the center of attention. If we have company, she will jump up and down and raise her hand for her turn to speak. You will think she is ready to dazzle you with some really deep insight, or some thoughtful comment. Usually when I give her permission to talk, she will say something like, "May I go outside and see if so-and-so can play?". She raises her hand to talk because I taught her that it is rude interrupt when adults are talking. So MOST of the time, she won't interrupt. But she will stand there and do everything she can to get your attention.

The last fews days, I find myself really short on patience in dealing with her constant injury drama. I KNOW she is not really hurt. I am her mother, it's my job to know. Just like I KNOW when she is sick. Really sick. Not that, "my throat hurts a little, I think I need to stay home from school" sick. I would like to find a healthy way to stop her complaining.

I am not kidding, as I was typing she came up to me and told me something "still hurts really bad". If it were once in a while, it wouldn't bother me. I bet if I kept track, everyday she would tell me that something "hurts really bad". I am going to start tomorrow. I will keep my faithful readers informed of this study. In the meantime, if anyone knows of a healthy way I can break this habit, feel free to leave a comment.

I noticed a few blogs ago, that someone questioned another commenter's advice. Please do not this. I welcome all tips, especially since I am asking for them. I may not take all the advice, but I like to consider all of it, and I appreciate all of it. You may not agree with what others suggest, but please don't call them out on my blog. It's rude, so keep it to yourself.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Baby Won't Be A Baby Much Longer

I am dedicating most of this post to my youngest daughter Keri. She is so different from her older sister. I don't look at this as bad, just different. Where Melissa is shy and tends to be somewhat of a loner, Keri is outgoing and always has things to do. She is interested in the election. She even asked me who I was going to vote for. Her teacher has been teaching the kids about politics. She even told the children that Hilary Clinton believes it's OK to kill babies that are in their mommies tummies. Nope I am not kidding. When Keri came home and told me this I was horrified. Not because I am a Clinton fan, I thought it was very inappropriate for the teacher to tell 9 year old children this. I don't even think Keri knows what the word abortion means. Well, I guess she does now.

I don't feel it is appropriate for her fourth grade teacher to be the one to explain it to her. I don't feel it's appropriate to share your personal political views with your students. Who are NINE years old. Maybe I am old fashioned, but Keri is very sheltered from a great deal of adult situations. I have no problem with her teacher teaching the children about how politics work. About elections and how they work. About voting and how that works. I was upset when she came home from school and shared this news about Clinton and her views on baby killing.

I have intentionally sheltered Keri. I don't watch movies in front of her that she shouldn't see. I don't watch movies with a lot of bad language whether she is around or not. I don't let her watch violent or scary movies. Period.

One of the reasons this country is desensitized is because of all the violence on TV. If you watch violence on TV on a regular basis, it won't be that big of a deal. I think that's one of the reasons movie makers have moved away from truly good thrillers, to people hacking each other up with chainsaws. If you don't believe me, just check out a few minutes of one of the "Saw" movies.

I shelter her because I was not sheltered. We watched whatever we wanted on TV when I was growing up. Sex, violence, murder, you name it. I probably knew about sex by the time I was about five years old. I knew about a lot of things that I had no business knowing about at that age.

The other day we were driving in the car and she heard something on the radio and asked me what rain forests are. I gave her a brief description and explained about how land developers are cutting down the rain forests, blah, blah, blah. She said, " Well at this rate your grandchild won't live to see a panda bear or a tiger".

You see, Keri is obsessed with animals. She absolutely loves them. She always has. It was no surprise that her first thought was for the animals. When she was little, instead of lining up all her baby dolls, she would line up all her stuffed animals. To this very day, she has enough stuffed animals to open up a shop. That's even considering that we took a giant box of them to Goodwill.

Yesterday she made plans to play with the little girl that she has been fighting with for about a month. I am not sure what happened, but somehow they resolved their differences and made up. I decided this would be a perfect opportunity for me to do some shopping. Alone. All alone. Oh joy, happy days. I can flip through the racks for an hour if I want to! I had no more than dropped her off and headed across town when Melissa called my cell phone and said she forgot her lunch and would I bring it to her. Rats, rats, rats, rats. I hadn't even made my first stop yet. I told her that I would bring it a little later. I was not to be deterred from shopping expedition. I needed some new clothes for work and some new shoes. Really. I did need them. We haven't had a printer for the computer in years, and I had a Staples gift card so I decided that I would shop for a printer while I was out.

Somehow I lost track of time and TWO HOURS later, Melissa sends me a text and says that she is hungry and will I please bring her lunch to work. I didn't realize two hours had passed. I completely lost track of time. I thought it was ridiculous for me to drive all the way home and get her sandwich and chips when I could just stop and get her something and take it to her. I got her something from McDonald's and took it to her. I spent her lunch break with her and headed home.

I had no more than gotten home and started installing the new printer when Keri called. She promised another friend that she would spend the night with her. Would I come and pick her up from where she was at and take her to her other friend's house. I agreed. Little did I realize that her friend had moved across town. Way, way across town.

I have realized something about that child. Right now, her being a social butterfly is cute. In a few years, I will wish she was more like her sister. When I am constantly having to keep tabs on her and what she is doing, I will wish that she was shy. I will wish that she preferred to stay home and hang out with me. When I am having to repeatedly remind her that she wouldn't jump off a bridge if all her friends did would she? You see where I am going? She is going to be a handful. But then again I always knew she would be.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In Training

Must update blog. Blog has been neglected for days. Must read other blogs. Must keep up with all my blog buddies. Must share some of the details of my training classes I have been taking at work.

I was informed a couple of months ago that I had been selected to attend a training course that will teach myself and several other employees how to conduct a certain type of audit. Anyone who knows anything about auditing knows it is NOT fun.

When you show up to conduct an audit, people are not happy to see you. You will be viewing their department, and procedures that are done in their department. They tend to take it personally. Even though THEY are not being audited.

Anyway, I started the training on Monday. The first day was an introduction or overview of the material we are required to learn. Tuesday we were broken up into groups and given exercises to complete as a group.

Which is not a problem............unless you have uncooperative, argumentative people in your group. I will get to that momentarily.

When were reviewing our first exercise, the instructor pointed out that someone in our group had said the right answer, but the others had talked her out of it. I started giving the woman beside me sidelong glances. I was trying to figure out what I had talked her out of. The instructor said, "You had it Susan". I was startled and turned to him and said, "Who me?". Just like a kid in school who got caught not paying attention.

It was nice to know that what I had been trying to tell the group all along was correct. Throughout the day, I noticed a tendency in one of the members of the training class to argue quite a bit.

At a later point in the day it was announced that we would be paired into groups of two for another exercise. My mental conversation: Please don't let me be paired with that guy, please don't me be paired with that guy. Please.Please. Please. The instructor says, "Susan you will be paired with so-and-so". Yep I got paired with the pain the butt. Rats. Rats, rats, rats. When we had to work together I tried so hard to be patient. Truly, I did. By about 3 in the afternoon I was ready to bite his head off. We had pizza for lunch so I was sleepy and irritable, and not really in the mood to listen to his pompous rambling. At one point I just said, "I am confused. I have NO IDEA what you are talking about".

There is NO WAY I am going to be able to complete the final exercise with this guy. He was driving me up the wall.

Today we broke into our large groups to complete MORE exercises. We all had to agree on our answers AS A GROUP. Of course Mr. Know It All argued with EVERYTHING the rest of us said. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Finally as nicely as I could muster, I said, "We are going to have to reach an agreement on the answers. If not, we will NEVER get all the questions completed". He relented a little.

Guess what? The rest of us were right. Our answers were right. Surprise, sur-freakin-prise. Tomorrow is the last day of the training and I have to spend an hour with this person. I hope it goes by really fast. Really, really, fast.


My older brother called me a couple of nights ago. Unfortunately his call brought the delivery of bad news. My stepmother passed away last week. It was unexpected I think. To narrow down confusion, I have two dads. A North Carolina dad, and a Tennessee dad. My North Carolina dad is the one who lost his wife of about 31 years. She wasn't even that old. Maybe in her early sixties. That just doesn't seem very old to me.

I don't think I have mentioned my older brothers very much. Not because I don't love them, we just live far away from each other. I have two older brothers and four younger brothers and sisters. I know. That's a lot of kids. My oldest brother is 11 years older than me. So we were not terribly close when we were growing up, but I always knew he loved me. I still know it. No matter how much time passes between our conversations, I still know how much he cares. That means a lot. His love is freely given whether we talk once a month, or once a year. He never nags me about calling more often. I never nag him about calling me more often. It is the best kind of relationship. Love with no strings attached.

Talking to him made me extremely sentimental. It made me miss him very much. It made me wish we lived closer. I know I can't have it all. I mean, I moved to Tennessee to be closer to the family I have here. Besides, there are more here than in NC. Five of us live here, two there. I don't love my brothers any less than I love my other brothers and sisters. I just don't get to see them as much.

My mom married and had three children, then divorced and remarried and had five more. My dad remarried and had one more. (My other brother Paul) I don't consider myself to be anyone's "half" sister. That is so ridiculous. What? Someone is only half related to me because of a little thing like different fathers. I think not. I never taught my girls about being "half" sisters, even though they have different fathers. Melissa didn't even know what a half sister was until she was about 10 years old. I didn't tell her, one of her friends did. I was livid. I told Melissa that some people might say that her and Keri were only half sisters, but we don't have half siblings in our family. I explained to her about the different fathers in my own family and used my siblings as an example. I told her that she had never heard me refer to my siblings as "half". I told her that we don't have half siblings in OUR family.

Anyway, I love you Ben, Jeff, Paul and Dad. Very much. I hope everyone is doing well and I am thinking about you.

I know......I rambled......and I got mushy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Parenting Handbook

I have been such a blog slacker. I am still working on (re) balancing my home life. I forgot that ANY change in your life is an adjustment. Not necessarily a bad adjustment, but still an adjustment. Keri has been on the outs with her best friend for several weeks. They went from spending all their free time together, to not speaking at all. I have to confess, I am at a loss on how to help her. She tells me how mean the other girl is being and that she called her stupid and a brat. Of course those of us dwelling in adult land realize that this is not the end of the world. Nine year old girls don't.

I am supposed to be full of motherly wisdom and advice yet I find myself not really knowing how to help her deal with the name calling and spiteful attitude. Unfortunately, there is not a chapter on name calling in my parenting handbook. You know, the one they all come with. I don't want her calling the other girl names. The protective part of me would love to tell Keri to smack the snot out of the girl, yet I realize that it would wrong. Yes, that would be wrong. I have told her that it is normal to have fights with your friends sometimes. I have told her to ignore the name calling. Is that the right thing to do? Am I making the situation worse? I don't know. Contrary to popular belief, I don't know everything. Keri is not a shy or timid child. As a matter of fact she can hold her own pretty well. I just don't want her to turn into a "mean girl".

I told her that maybe if she ignores the name calling, the girl will get bored with trying to get to her, and move on to something else. Sometimes I can't fix it. Sometimes I don't know what the solution is. If anyone has dealt with this type of nine year old drama, I am not too proud to accept some advice.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Serious Drama

I am inserting a disclaimer in this blog:
I Susan Rogers, state that this here entry is extremely shallow as are much of my blogs. This is because I have no major drama in my life as many others do. I have experienced my fair share of it, and seem to be in a peaceful place for the moment. I am aware that this could change at any moment. I am aware that my world could come crashing down around me at any second. At which time, you will all be the first to hear. I am not unaware that many of you are going through difficult and trying times that of course make my problems seem so small. I have read tales of death, illness, incurable diseases, miscarriages and many other hardships. I recognize that your pain is so much more than my own little inconveniences in life. I write about what I have to write about.

I have been MIA for a few days. A little drama and more customer service issues. I am starting to think I have some kind of bad karma going on. On Tuesday my mom was admitted to the hospital for breathing problems. She has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). After work I head home to pick up the girls. I was exhausted. My eyes were bloodshot red. When we arrive at the hospital I ask at the admissions desk for my mom’s room number. The receptionist gave us a room number on the second floor. The girls and I made our way to the elevator and discovered that there was no “second floor” button in the elevator, only buttons for 1 and 3. I very logically deduce that we must be in a part of the building that is not accessible to the second floor. We ride the elevator to the third floor and walk ALL THE WAY across the building looking for second floor access. We found an elevator that would take us to the second floor. We get to the second floor and travel through a maze of hallways unlike anything I have ever seen.

Now I am really, really, really exhausted. If possible, my eyes are even more bloodshot red. We finally found my mom’s room, only to discover it empty. Apparently they hadn’t brought her up to her room yet. What to do, what to do. We could sit and wait for her to arrive or we could make our way to the emergency department and try to find her there. I am thinking that while I love my mother and want to make a good show of support, that I am really tired and want to leave as soon as possible. (I know what some of you are thinking, believe me, I already thought it myself) I have two children that have not had any dinner yet and we are all worn out. I decide not to waste a single moment waiting for her to get to her room and we walk back across the hospital down to the ground floor and find my mom. Where they promptly wheeled her back across the hospital and up to the second floor to her room. Where we just came from. Karma folks, karma. That’s what you get when you selfishly think of how tired and hungry you are as opposed to thinking about your mother being in the hospital and how she must be feeling.

We stayed until around nine and finally head home. Only all three of us are starving and still have not had any dinner yet. We decide a fast food restaurant is the logical plan. Through the drive thru we go where we wait hours it seems for the two cars in front of us to get through. Finally it is our turn. The lady hands me my drink and then I feel something dripping all over me. I look down and soda is dripping all over me and my new car. My response was to yell pretty loudly, “I NEED A NAPKIN, I NEED A NAPKIN”. Why in the world would you hand a customer a drink that is dripping everywhere? Why would you not take a moment to get a napkin and wipe the excess soda from the cup? Why would you want soda to drip all over your customer’s new car? And your customer’s nice work pants? Why?

I haven’t had my car very long and I am still in the anal stage. You know, where you don’t eat or drink or allow eating or drinking in your car. Because THIS time, you are going to take extremely good care of your vehicle so it will look nice, and you MAY someday be able to sell it. There will be no petrified French fries discovered weeks, or even years down the road. You wash and vacuum said car religiously. Every. Single. Week. Without fail. Only to have a very rude bird poop on it the very next day
Next comes the food. Keri’s order is wrong. Keri’s order is ALWAYS wrong. Why? Because she always has special instructions like “no ketchup” or “no lettuce”. Which is a recipe for incorrect food. I look at the tacos and see that they only have meat and cheese. Her special instruction of “no lettuce” was interpreted as “no lettuce, no tomato and no sour cream”. I grit my teeth, and as nicely as I can muster, say that the order is wrong. The reason I grit my teeth and try to maintain my composure is simple. I don’t want that chick to spit in my food. FINALLY, everything is right, my drink is no longer dripping and Keri got the right food. We went home and ate, then all three of us fell into bed at 9:30. We were all exhausted. Karma people……what have I done?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Customer Service, Round Two

Today was grocery shopping day. I like to clip coupons from the Sunday paper and then go grocery shopping. It' s not very often that I end up with both of the girls with me. Today I had both girls. We made our list and headed out. I would like to take a moment to say that it is 44 degrees here. Very unusual for this part of the country this time of the year.

We get to Wal-Mart and I spot a lady putting her cart away. Great, a good parking spot I thought. There is nothing better than getting a good spot on a cold day. There was another vehicle a few spaces back but I didn't take that one. I got greedy. Greedy for those few steps closer to the front of the store. She is taking a long time to get out, but that's OK. I have all day. Only she doesn't get in her car and leave. Obviously she forgot something and had to go back in the store. In the meantime, the other spot a few cars down got taken. Someone went around me and got it.

OK-that's fine. It won't kill us to walk a little farther. However, had I not been greedy this wouldn't have happened in the first place. Keri found some flip-flops she wanted and I took a few minutes to check out the flat screen TV's. I am going to be getting one soon.

We get our groceries and head to the front. Does anyone remember this blog? If not, take a few minutes to read it. It's not very long. Well guess what? The VERY SAME woman tried to run me out of the self checkout lane........again. The last time I let her run me off. Not this time. I was holding my ground. She came over and said that I had too many items to use the self check out. I feel my blood starting to boil, and my children are with me. I use the self check out lane. Every.Single. Week. No ever says anything to me except this woman. I told her so. She said, "The customer service manager will be over in a few minutes to talk to you". Which I translated into, "I am sending him over to either chastise you or to run you outta here". By this time I was ignoring her and had furiously began unloading my cart and scanning my groceries. Now Keri is asking me questions. I tell her that I can't deal with her at that precise moment and she is going to have to wait. Melissa is helping with the groceries and not saying a word.

I do believe you have to be careful about how you act around your kids. It teaches them how to act and how to treat people. I am scanning items and slamming them into the bags. I am not saying word. No sir, not in front of my kids. The CS manager makes his way over and asks me if there is a problem. I say," I'll tell you what the problem is. I shop in this store every single week. I spend a lot of money here. I never have a problem using the self checkout unless THAT WOMAN is here." I then furiously begin pointing to where the witch is standing.

He says that he is sorry and it is fine for me to go through the self checkout. He says that they mainly use that rule if they are very busy. Which they were not at this time. No one was waiting in line behind me. As a matter of fact, a couple of the lanes were completely open.

Ha, ha you old bat!!!! Victory is mine!! I feel vindicated (somewhat). I am glad that I had enough control of my temper not to completely rip that old biddy a new one. That would have been very inappropriate in front of the girls.

I will still kind of ticked off and distracted. I used the wrong card to pay for my groceries. Rats.....rats, rats, rats!

When my parking spot fell through, I should have taken it as an omen. Another thought, if they want people with ONLY ten items or less to use the self checkout lane....GET A SIGN. A sign that says "Ten items or less".

Saturday, April 12, 2008

More Rambling

Did you ever live vicariously through someone else? I do. My sixteen year old daughter. I try not to do it in an unhealthy way. I am determined that she will not make the same mistakes that I did. She has already surpassed my expectations. She has not dropped out of school (Which I did at 15). She is not pregnant. (Again, I was at 15). She has a car and a job. I worked some when I was her age. I didn't have a car. My mother could not afford to get me car, not with five children to support by herself, plus helping me with Melissa. When I was able to work, most of my money went to buying diapers and necessities for Melissa. Sometimes I would have to buy things for my family. Sometimes I would even have to feed my brothers and sisters.

So to watch Melissa doing all the right things is really heart warming. She has 4.0 GPA. The money that she earns from her job is HERS. I do require her to put gas in her car and pay for her own oil changes. She got her first paycheck from said job yesterday. I went with her to cash her check. I cannot begin to describe the joy I felt at her having money in her pocket that did not come out of my wallet. It was thrilling I tell you. Amen and amen I say. She actually gets to enjoy being young. I have been teaching her for years the importance of education. I hate that I so easily let go of that. It's one of the reasons I went back to school. I wanted to set a better example for these girls of mine.

We went out to dinner to celebrate her first paycheck. She even paid. She insisted. She doesn't show much interest in boys(Thank you Jesus!) and she is pretty much a homebody. She doesn't miss curfew and she doesn't back talk. She has spent the last three years helping me get through college by helping out with her sister at home. Without her, none of it would have been possible. I know that. Sometimes I complain about seemingly minor things, but all things considered, my life could be a whole lot worse. It has been worse. Much worse. So, thanks Melissa, you are a really special daughter. I am very proud of you.

Now on to today's activities. I went and worked for a friend for a while this morning to put a little money in my pocket. I took Kering with me since Melissa had to work. My sister called and asked she could pick up Keri and take her out to lunch and to do a little shopping. It was a difficult choice, but I let her go.

My eye was a little red this morning but I didn't take my contacts out. By the time I got home it was burning and watery. I took my contacts out, cleaned the kitchen and decided to lay on the couch for a while. I had just started to doze off when my sister brought Keri home. Rats. Rats, rats, rats...I thought. I tend to be a hyper person, and very seldom feel like taking a nap. This was my chance. Both the kids were gone, I had the house to myself and the phones were not ringing, and I was unusually drowsy. Of course my nap was ruined. But that's OK.

My sister had taken Keri to the craft store and bought her a sewing kit and some fabric remnants. She then gave Keri a few sewing lessons. Keri is obsessed with Webkinz right now. She has a ton of them. I have made a declaration that I WILL NOT spend anymore money on them. If she wants them, she has to buy them herself. So, they set out to make clothes for her Webkinz. It was really sweet of Marlette. Marlette is so wonderful with kids. She loves to teach them and play with them. Unfortunately, she has been unable to get pregnant so far.

I am envious of her ability to sit with Keri and do things like that. I enjoy my children. I enjoy spending time with them. But when it comes to that crafty stuff, I am just clueless. That and I really don't enjoy playing very much. I know, I know, I am probably a horrible parent, but it's the truth. I want this blog to be honest so there you have it. I confess. Slap the cuffs on me and take me away.

I was talking on the phone to a friend the other day(please don't get mad if you read this, you know who you are) and she asked me if I bought Yoplight yogurt. That is how she said it, just like I spelled it. I asked her if she meant Yoplait. So we had a few minute discussion on the proper pronunciation of it. Today while talking to the same friend I said something about the polo vaccination. Yep, not the polio vaccination, the polo vaccination. She proceeded to correct me, and then we laughed hysterically for five minutes. I then concluded that we don't have a whole brain between us and we are doomed. So much for my college education.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Who's The Woman? Apparently....Not Me

For two weeks I have been doing everything I didn't have time to do when I was in school. Being little miss perfect when I get home from work. One day I even put the children's names on their lunches. Which I prepared for them. Myself. With my own two hands. Madness took over, insanity reigned. Every afternoon was an endless abyss of chores and cleaning. I must sweep. I must mop. I must disinfect, killing 99.9% of bacteria. I must wash. I must fold....... Don't misunderstand me, I LIKED it. One could even say that I loved it.

I was proving to myself that the slob I had become over the last three years was not who I really was. The person that would come home and sit on the couch like a lump of clay was not me. Not anymore. A new(old) me had emerged. One that would work all day and keep this dog-gone house absolutely spotless. NO DIRT....EVER,EVER AGAIN!!!!! NO DIRTY CLOTHES-EVER, EVER AGAIN!!!!. Never again would I be embarrassed to have company because of the shape my house was in. Never would I have the humiliation of having to keep doors closed when family members would visit. I would be proud to have anyone go in any room of my house any day, any time.

So it's been flowing like that until yesterday. Yesterday I woke up tired. I got to work and drank two cups of coffee. Nothing. A Coke at lunch. Still nothing.Still.Tired. After lunch I took an allergy pill. Surely that would perk me up a little. Nope, nothing, zero. I drank another Coke. Still.Nothing. In fact, I started to feel more tired. I still felt tired when I got home yesterday. Keri had gone over to a friend's house and Melissa was still at work. I sat on the couch. And did nothing. Absolutely, positively, NOTHING. I couldn't do anything. I didn't have the energy. Melissa comes home and asks if I made dinner. Are you kidding me?! I KNOW you are kidding me. Does it LOOK like I made dinner? No, I am sitting on the couch doing nothing. Do I look like your personal chef? Is my name Chef Boy-ar-dee? I think not.

So that's what I did yesterday. Nothing. It was marvelous. It felt great. See, the good thing about keeping the chores up is, that if I want to have a day to do nothing, that's fine. What I learned from this extremely educational situation is that I can go, and go, and go, but just like that bunny, I will eventually burn out. (That bunny does burn out eventually doesn't he?)

I need to find a healthy balance. I think it will take some practice. Just to be clear, the girls do help. Melissa washes all her own laundry, keeps her room clean, cleans her bathroom, and generally is very good about not making messes. Keri I must continually supervise, or nothing would get done. There some things that only a Mom can do right. We all know it. Even if we don't want to admit it. I would not at this point have Keri mopping floors and such. She does help with dusting and things like that.

Sorry Guys I Goofed

Just so everyone knows, I copied those gas tips from an email I got. I do not work for a pipeline, nor do I live in California. I will change the post. I just didn't want anyone to think I am a nut.....or a compulsive liar. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Gas Secret

I don't know if these tips are real, but I am posting them anyway. You know, just in case:

� Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold.

Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening....your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role.

�A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps. � When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money. �

One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL. �The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount. �

Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up--most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom. � Hope this will help you get the most value for your money. � DO SHARE THESE TIPS WITH OTHERS!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Susie Homemaker

I am getting back into a regular routine after finishing school. Which I may have mentioned previously. I figured that once I got back into the swing of things that I would spend leisurely time on the couch, engrossed in a good book or watching TV, or reading and/or updating my blog. I would have SO MUCH extra time on my hands, that I would hardly be able to decide on what fun activity I should do.

Wrong.........wrong, wrong, wrong. There is always something to do. Laundry must be done so it doesn't pile up by the weekend. Lunches must be prepared for the next day. Dinner must be cooked. The dishes from dinner must be dealt with. The showers need to be cleaned. After all, I don't want a repeat of what happened on vacation. End tables and coffee tables must be cleaned. Floors must be vacuumed. This list goes on, and on, and on, and on. Not that I am one to complain mind you. one told me about this. This endless list of things around the house, that for some reason have to be done on a regular basis. I mean, you would think once something is done, it's done. That doesn't seem to be case. For some reason, I find myself having to do the same chores I did last week.....again. Very strange.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Pain, The Agony

Greetings from the south. I don't know what the weather is normally like where some of you folks are from, but let me tell you it is unusually chilly here in the south. A couple of weeks ago, I bought some really cute spring tops. Which I have been unable to wear yet. They just hang in my closet, saying, "Wear me, oh please oh please wear me!" I did wear my new pink top today, but I had to wear a jacket over it.

I woke up with allergy/sinus issues this morning. I decided that since we have no food in the house, I needed to do my shopping a day early. I usually wait for the Sunday paper so I can clip coupons. I am doing this really freaky/anal thing. Every time I grocery shop, I write down the price of everything I buy. Then later, I transfer it to an Excel spreadsheet. Since most people tend to be creatures of habit, and I am no different, I end up buying a lot of the same things. The plan is that I will be able to mark everything on the spreadsheet, then I will be able to calculate my grocery bill before I go shopping. I haven't completely finished the list, but it's getting there.

Did I mention that I woke up to no sugar in the house for coffee? I.Must.Have.Coffee. My first and only cup of coffee is very essential. It's actually good for you. I figure it like this: It helps me wake up. It gives me a little energy. It keeps me from ripping off the head of anyone who comes near. See. Good, I tell you.

I worked on the list then told Keri to get ready. I needed to go to my sister's house to print out the list since my printer is broken. By the time we got half way there, my sinuses were killing me. We stopped at drugstore so I could get some relief. This was not the usual drugstore I shop in. The girl behind the counter had about 10 earrings and didn't seem too enthused to be there. Since I was buying the kind of allergy medicine that requires ID, I flip open my wallet and lay it on the counter. She looks at me and says, "I need your drivers license". I looked at her and said, "It's right there". She says, "I need for you to pull it out". Well eeexxxcccuuuuseeee me. Then I have to stand there for ten minutes feeling like a common criminal while she records my purchase on a sheet that is turned into the government. Then I have to sign my name to the sheet. I am the only one who feels weird about buying allergy medicine? I felt like I really needed to say, "I promise, I am not buying this drug to cook into an illegal drug". I feel guilty just for buying it. Alas, I have to have it.

As soon as get in the car, I pop one in my mouth without a drink. A little while later I felt relief for my sinuses, but the headache had moved to the back of my skull. Not fun. I pop ibuprofen for the headache. By the way, I can see why they require ID for that stuff. It jacked me up. I came home and started running around like a tornado doing chores. I even hand washed some of my dishes. I even found my mood lifted. And, I couldn't shut up. I just kept talking, and talking, and talking.

I got to visit with my sweet new little nephew Taylor. That boy has captured my heart. There is no denying it. He sunk his newborn little hooks into Keri too. She held him as much as my sister would let her. She asked me if we could babysit him if my sister wants to go out.

We never made it to the grocery store. I did take Keri shopping and bought her a couple of new outfits. The strain of trying to buy an entire wardrobe at one time is just too much for me. It would be nice if I could take a couple of hundred bucks and just buy all her spring and summer wardrobe at one time. Unfortunately, my finances don't work that way. (One of the many thrills of being a single parent)We have to buy a couple of outfits here and there. I know I cannot be the only single parent out there that struggles with this sort of thing. If I buy clothes, I have to tighten up the budget somewhere else. Which is really hard to do when you are strapped already. Let's see I bought clothes, mmmm, I guess that means we don't eat this week.

I need to brag on the slobby fruit of my loins, Keri. Since I have graduated from college and been able to focus my attention on her and Melissa again, I am seeing radical improvement in her sloppiness. Not because she is any less sloppy, but because I am now on full fledged "Mom" duty. Which means I walk around saying things like, "Keri put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket please". Or Keri, take your bookbag and your shoes to your room". Or, "Keri, do you eat yogurt in the living room and leave the container on the table? Get it up please". She is one of those kids that will never be neat on her own. She needs constant reminders to put things away. She is doing much better about her room. I cleaned it up for her while I was on vacation and she has done a great job of keeping it clean.

Melissa, the not slobby fruit of my loins, a different kind of issue emerges. As I said in blog, I was not in the best of moods yesterday. I sent Melissa out last night to fetch dinner for all of us. She leaves and comes back in a few minutes later. She tells me she backed into one of the vehicles in our driveway. It's not one of our vehicles. Great. Just freakin great. I decide that I am not dealing with it and tell her to go on and get the food. Luckily the owner of the vehicle is really laid back and is not upset. I told him that Melissa was working now, and she could pay off the expense of having the door fixed.

I don't think I mentioned that. Melissa started her first job today. I am really excited for her for more than one reason. The first of course is that she will have some of her own spending money now, which take a little of the burden off of me. Another reason is that she is an introvert, and I think it will be great for her to be around people.

The pissiness moodiness of yesterday has passed. I suspect lack of sleep was the culprit. If not, I would still be pissy moody today. Hope everyone in blog land had a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, April 4, 2008

I Feel Pissy

I know, I know, pissy is not a nice word. Well guess what, I don't feel so nice today. I don't know if it's because I have been staying up too late reading blogs, or if my traitorous female hormones are raging, but I feel pissy. My day started off on the wrong foot. As I hit the snooze button for about the tenth time, I knocked a glass off the nightstand and broke it, and my large pickle jar beside the table with change in it. How many times have I said, "No dishes in the bedroom". Too many to count and that is exactly the reason why. That should have been my warning, but oh nnnnooooo. I got up and woke up Keri and we both were getting ready. See I have a certain way that I like to start my day, and it goes like this:

I am fine and feel pretty good. So long as you do not bring any conflict into my life until at least 10 am. Any kind of drama that is introduced into my day before then, and I have NO tolerance for it. I guess it's just a fancy way to say that I am not a morning person. But the potential is there I tell you.

Anyway, as we are getting ready Keri asked me how the glass jar and the glass got broken. I then go on a tirade about how I broke the glass because SOMEONE left it on the nightstand instead of taking it to the kitchen. Had SOMEONE taken it to the kitchen like they were supposed to, then I would not have broken the glass. We have rules in this house and they should be followed. Because if they are not, then things get broken, messes get made, blah, blah, blah. Now.......had Keri not brought up the broken glass I would have been fine. After a few minutes I realize what I am doing and shut up.

After I get ready I come out of the bathroom and Keri has gotten ready and laid back down for a few minutes. I tell her I will be ready to leave soon. As we are almost ready to walk out the door, she says she wants to take her lunch. Then I go on ANOTHER tirade about how she should have been getting her lunch ready instead of laying down. I tell her that she should not lay back down unless she is completely ready to leave. That would include packing a lunch. (I am trying so hard not to be ill with her, but I just can't seem to help myself.)

Off to school she goes and I get on the interstate to go to work. I get six miles from my exit and traffic has come to a complete halt. I sit there and sit there, fiending for coffee really bad. Did you ever see the commercial where the guy is standing by the coffee pot? He is so impatient to have coffee that he removes the pot and wiggles his tongue directly where the coffee is coming out. Yeah, that's me. Anyway I arrive at work 30 minutes late. It took me thirty minutes to drive 6 miles. I am pissed. Really pissed. And dying for coffee.

The funny thing is, as this point, I have yet to realize that I am in a bad mood. I get settled in and start working. I can't find the invoices. I can't find the invoices I need ANYWHERE. M will help me. M could you please help me find these invoices. I can't find them anywhere. M finds the invoices in the only folder I didn't look in. The day progresses pretty much the same way.

At around 4 pm, M asks me if I will bring a cake next Friday for a co-worker's birthday. Now a little back history. When I was still in college, I asked the girls not to include me in the whole "birthday cake" deal. Which is that the girls would take turns bringing in cake for co-worker's birthdays. I asked not to be included because my schedule was so crazy. I also informed them that I did not want them bringing in cake for my birthday either. Sounds fair right? I don't bring cake for other birthdays, I get no cake for my birthday. I say yes, but I know that M can tell by the look on my face that I am not happy about it. The more I think about it, the more angry I become. Here is my mental rant about the cake:

I should have said no. I don't like to bake, I can barely cook as it is. Why do I have to bring a cake anyway? If I buy one it will cost at least 20 bucks. I didn't even work here when they decided to bring cakes. Why do only the women bring cakes? That is so sexist. There are three women and five men and only the women bring cakes. That is so old school. Why should we bear the responsibility of the cake bringing alone? I haven't agreed to be put in the cake bringing pool. Unfair I say, completely unfair!!!!

I get home from work and of course the "What's for dinner" saga begins. I have nothing for dinner. We are completely out of everything except for milk and bread. My children act like they haven't eaten for weeks and how dare I come home and get on the computer instead of whipping up their dinner. I decide that we are going to eat out and Melissa is going to go fetch it. That is after all, why I bought her a car. So she can run errands at my command. There now that is some happiness for the day. Send the teenager to fetch food and do nothing but sit here on the computer for the rest of the night. I feel better already!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Phone Etiquette (Or Lack Thereof)

Have you ever noticed that your kids don't have anything to say to you ALL day long until you get on the phone? I can go all evening without being on the phone. My kids have NOTHING to say to me until I get a phone call. They are not small children either. They are 9 and 16. Are they jealous of the phone? I am just supposed to be available to talk to them at all times and never talk to anyone else?

Tonight was a prime example of this. I didn't get or make any phone calls until around 9pm. Keri was on the computer and taking a bath, Melissa was on the computer some and talking on the house phone. Neither one of them wanted anything to do with me until I got on the phone. Then here comes Keri(my 9 year old). She sees that I am on the phone but begins talking anyway. She says something like this, "Mom, have you been playing my Gameboy? I was on this level but when I cut the game on it took me to a different level, and now I have to beat that level to back to where I was". UUmmmm.......and you had to interrupt my phone call to ask me that? When it's your bed time anyway? Is the world going to stop turning over the Gameboy saga? I.Think.Not. Melissa will do it to. She will just walk up to me and start telling me some random story about some person at school or something.

She sees that I am on the phone. Obviously she feels that whoever I am talking to supernaturally felt her presence and shut up immediately after she began talking. Her little story goes something like this. "Mom, something is wrong with my stomach. Today in English class my stomach just started growling really loud. The girl next to me said, Dang girl are you hongry? I think I need to see a doctor".

OK. I was home for THREE HOURS. No one had anything to say to me the entire time. Everyone was off doing their own thing. Until I get on the phone. Then suddenly everyone wants my undivided attention. Or maybe they think that because I have two ears that I am capable of following two conversations AT THE SAME TIME!!! Not that I am irritated by it or anything. I love the challenge of trying to talk to three people at the same time. I love telling the person that I am talking to that they need to repeat the whole paragraph they just said because I was distracted by Gameboy and a growling stomach issue.Yep, that's how I roll.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Advice For Men Bloggers

Now that I have all this extra time on my hands, I decided to make good use of it. I randomly starting viewing profiles. I want to spread my blogger wings, and hopefully make some new friends. I did a search for all bloggers in my state. So this research is limited only to the Tennessee men. To be honest, I am such a homebody that it is difficult for me to make new friends. I rely mostly on my many family members.

Unfortunately, they seem to have their own lives going on. I am looking at profiles of men and women. Women list such interests as writing, sewing, literature, exercise, you know, stuff like that. I discovered something appalling about the men bloggers. They list beer as an interest. I am not kidding. Look for yourself. BEER. B-E-E-R. Fellas, I hate to tell you this, beer is NOT an interest. It is a beverage. A vile and disgusting beverage at that. How can you list that as an interest? Do you sit on your couch and watch the beer can to see what it will do? Do you take long moonlit walks at night with your beer? Maybe you share quiet conversations together. Do you tell the beer all your hopes and dreams? I confess that I love an icy cold glass of Coke. But I can't fathom listing a beverage as an interest. One blogger wanted it to be known that his top interest is beer.

I know I can't speak for all women, but surely some would agree with me that beer is not an interest. I am not hating on beer drinkers. I have had beer before myself. I think it tastes like pee personally. Well, not that I have first hand knowledge of what pee tastes like, that's just what I think of. Pee. With carbonation.

I say this only to help you. I don't think there are any men who are bloggers who read my blog. If by chance, one of you happens upon this here blog, please take my kindly given advice. If you drink beer that is fine and it's your business. Just please, please, don't list it as an interest. This is what it looks like:
Favorite Music: blah, blah, blah
Favorite Books: blah, blah, blah
Interests: hunting, beer, fishing, football.

See, that just doesn't even look right I tell you.

I also found a surprising number of men who list video games as an interest. I am going not to go off on a tirade about that. To each his own I always say. It just surprised me that men my age and older still love video games. Nothing wrong with that. Just a little surprising...........

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rambling On and On and On

As the day draws to a close I find myself thinking about being busy. Being busy all the time is the modern way of life. Some people use being busy as a way of measuring success and importance. Their lives are so jammed packed full of activities they barely have a moment to breathe. Relaxing is a precious commodity that is hard schedule into a day. I know people who have told me they don't go to bed until close to midnight. Every night. Not me. In all honesty my life has sort of been that way for the last three years. Not because I was trying to cram my days as full as I could, but because I was in college. My house was a mess and I was tired all the time. I never felt like doing anything and I couldn't understand why. Of course now I can see why I never felt like doing anything. The little bit of free time that I did have, I didn't want to spend it cleaning up. That just seemed like a hideous way to spend free time.

I am getting back into the groove of a regular life. Well, what regular life is like for a single working mother. I came home tonight and greeted the girls and asked them about their day. I started dinner immediately. This is a must in my house. While dinner was cooking in the oven, I started a load of laundry and cleaned the bathroom. I stopped long enough to eat. Then I threw the clothes from the washer into the dryer, unloaded the dishwasher, made lunch for all of us, got out meat for tomorrow night, wiped down the counters, folded a load of laundry, meanwhile instructing Keri on a couple of things she needed to do. The fact of the matter is that I don't HAVE to do all the things I do. I could wait until the weekend to do a lot of the cleaning. Then what I would have is laundry piled up to the ceiling, and I would have to spend my whole weekend cleaning. I choose not to do that. I would rather have my weekends free. Free to do what I not exactly sure of yet.

I have been asked many times how I do it. Being a single mother that is. The fact is that it was not a choice I made willingly. I HAVE to do it. There is no one else to do it for me. I don't feel sorry for myself and I don't expect anyone else to either. In all honesty, the first couple of years of being a single mother were the worst. For several different reasons. Keri was at difficult age. Her father and I separated when she was 11 months old. Also I was working very hard and barely making ends meet. I was forced to move into a mobile home because it was all I could afford. This was a major blow to my pride. I had lived in a couple of mobile homes growing up, but this was my first time as an adult that I had to live in one. When I was married we lived in a nice townhouse that had a nice park and a very secluded swimming pool. When people say things like, "I don't know how you do it". It really cracks me up. It's not like I woke up one day and said, "God, I would like to be a single parent. It seems like a lot of fun to raise kids alone. I think I want to give that a try". I couldn't just lay down and give up. My kids needed me.

I have been very blessed the last four years or so. I have a bare minimum of drama in my life. My children are well behaved and do well in school. We have a close relationship and I like to think that we all know that we are in this together. It's not a perfect life by any means. We have our problems just like anyone else. Emotionally, being a single parent is a lot easier than it used to be. There were many nights that I lay awake in bed and cried because I felt like such a failure as a parent. Because of all the material things I couldn't do for my children. There was a time when I didn't know if there was going to be any food on the table. Or if our electricity was going to be cut off. I was one emergency away from financial disaster. That is not an exaggeration. I was alone with no means of emotional or any other kind of support. My family all lived in Tennessee and I was in North Carolina at the time.

I did eventually hit rock bottom emotionally. I knew I had to make a change. I turned in my notice at my job, packed up my stuff and moved to TN. My sister Dejah let us move in with her until we got on our feet. We shared a two bedroom, one bath house at the time. There were two adults and four kids. The kids were 2, 4, 6, and 12. Many nights Dejah and I would be so exhausted from trying to keep up with all the kids that we would fall asleep sitting up. Melissa was the hardest hit by the move. She was at an awkward age anyway. She felt like I had taken her away from all her friends and she resented me for it. She started getting into trouble. I was really worried about her. Eventually she got expelled from school. That was a turning point for her. My only legal alternative was to enroll her in the alternative school. This is school for troubled kids. They put all the troubled kids in one classroom. I thought this was a horrible idea. Why would you put a bunch of kids who are having problems in the same room together? This just gives them more trouble to get in. I told the school counselor that MY daughter would not be attending this school. She stayed home for the rest of the school year.

That snapped her out of it. Kids think it would be fun to not have to go school. The only problem is that it gets boring really quickly. Six months after we moved here, we moved into the house we are living in now. This was a turning point for Melissa. She got away from the hoodlums she had been hanging around. The next school year I enrolled her in school again. She has been doing well ever since. She wants to take classes over the summer to help her catch up to where she should be. The irony is in the state of Tennessee, by law you HAVE to be enrolled in school if you are under age. I am not sure how we slipped under the radar but we did. I really think it would have been more harmful for her to go to the alternative school.

When I was going through all that with her, it seemed like the end of the world. I wondered if I had made a terrible mistake moving us here. I was really scared for our family and for Melissa. The difference was that my family was here. I had people to help me deal with the emotional side of what I was going through. That made all the difference.

Now Melissa and I are very close and I truly appreciate the relationship I have with her. We have so much fun. As a parent(single or not) you will go through hard times with your kids. I know Melissa is just 16. I truly hope I have been through the worst with her. Then there is Keri....her teenage years are not too far off.

I was supposed to be blogging about being busy. I am so easily sidetracked. So anyway, I like not having a full plate all the time. I don't want to have so much to do that I can't enjoy watching TV, or browsing blogs. If my measure of success and importance is based on me having a ton of things to do, I was would rather be unsuccessful and unimportant. I am not saying it's bad to have a full life. I just have no desire to send myself to an early grave. I have no desire to not enjoy my life. The Bible says that we are supposed to enjoy life in abundance until it overflows. Tonight as I was running around doing chores and getting ready for tomorrow, I ENJOYED it. I loved having the time to do a load of laundry and get lunches ready for tomorrow. It made me feel happy. I told Melissa I was on a cleaning high. The reason I enjoy doing those things is because I couldn't for so long. Poor Keri would say things like, "Mommy, I don't have any clothes to wear, when are you going to have time to do laundry?"

I do these things because I WANT to. Not because I have to. That makes all the difference in the world. I guess what it took this ENTIRE blog to say is that I am SO HAPPY to be out of school. I am happy that my kids have their competent mother back.

Note: Because I typed this, tomorrow everything will fall apart. Mark my words.