Friday, February 29, 2008

You win, you crazy skipping sympathizers

YES, Lisa got to go to her skipping class. Homer picked her up from the babysitter’s house and they cooked up a compromise before coming to get me: she could go to the skipping class, but she could not play Webkinz until Saturday.

So, about the skipping. We were at the Santa Claus Parade and a team of precision skippers was on one of the floats. Lisa was intrigued. She’s actually a really good skipper; she mastered Double Dutch at 5 years old. So, I told her I would look into it.

She’s in a class with an age range of 7 to 12 years old. She is the youngest in the class at 7; the other girls are all 10 to 12. She looks like such a tiny, flat-chested little thing with all these big girls.

They do endurance skipping. They do a pyramid of times with increasing lengths each week. Last night it was 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes. So, a total of 14 minutes straight skipping, with a 30 second break between levels.

They also do trick skipping. Tricks they do: crossovers, backwards crossovers, can-can kicks, partner skipping (where you hold one end of your partners rope and they hold yours, then you skip together), double skips (turn the rope really fast so it goes around twice before the next jump), and other things that I can’t recall right now.

Then, they get out the big ropes and do all the playground songs and also Double Dutch. Lisa never has to turn the rope because she’s too small to get the rope over the big girls’ heads! This pleases her.

Anyway, she is good. Definitely the second best in the class (behind a particularly good 12-year-old who could seriously teach the class). Lisa’s good because she is light on her feet and has a lot of stamina. Like many of you, I would LOVE to take a grown-up version of this class. It’s a phenomenal work-out.

Now, don’t you dare start asking me about Webkinz, because this marks the end of my 7-year-old extracurricular activity tutorials. Hee.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

We’ll see.

Yesterday was actually fine. The kids were in great moods, which definitely helped my mood. I finally gave in and went to bed at about 10:30 last night and slept until 5:30 this morning with just two minor interruptions in the night. Homer had to go and check on a night shift he had going at about 2:30, so I heard him leave and then come home.

This morning was not so good. Lisa gets in these moods where she is just irrational and stubborn. It was time to get ready to catch the bus and she said she couldn’t put her snow pants on herself. She just sat there in a lump while I tried various methods to coax her into submission.

There was the bribe:
If you get dressed quickly, we’ll have time to play foot hockey at the bus stop.

There was the positive encouragement:
You’re usually the best snow pant putter-oner. C’mon, you can do it. Go, Lisa! Go!

There was the shaming:
Look at Bart, he’s ready to go and you’re still sitting there whining about your snow pants. And he’s only 4.

And finally, the threat:
If I have to help you with those snow pants, there will be no skipping tonight (she takes a skipping class).

Well, I did have to help her with her snow pants and every other piece of winter gear (it’s –27 degrees here today with the wind chill), then drag her down the street, barely catching the bus. While boarding the bus, she asked with teary eyes, “Do I get to go to skipping tonight?”

My response? “We’ll see.”

The response should have been NO. I know that should have been the response, but I didn’t want her crying on the bus. “We’ll see” gives her some hope and an opportunity to think about how she might fix it. Whenever she snaps out of the mood, she realizes she was being a brat and, while she never actually apologizes, she makes up for it by being super sweet.

What will happen with the skipping tonight?

I suppose we’ll see.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I am beyond pissed…

… at my children. I finally got out of bed at 5:25 AM because I resigned myself to the fact that I had lost the musical beds game.

Maggie was having a lot of trouble sleeping the night before. She kept waking up and screaming – I thought she was having a nightmare. After the third trip to her room, I finally brought her into our bed at 2:45 in an attempt to get some much need sleep. She did sleep, but thrashed about for the rest of the night. I was afraid she would bounce herself right off the bed, so I kept sitting up to rescue her and never really fell back to sleep. As a result, I was working on about 3-1/2 hours of sleep yesterday.

Last night, I SHOULD have gone to bed early, but the kids were all asleep by 8:30, Homer was playing a computer game and I was trying a new (to me) puzzle, thanks to Shauna, and catching up on some of my recorded shows. By the time I watched the 11:00 news, my head actually hit the pillow at about 11:30. I felt like I had just fallen asleep when Bart crawled into bed with me, soon followed by Lisa. Normally, I would just leave them for Homer to carry back to be when he came up, but at some point they started fighting over the covers, pulling the duvet off me. At about 1:00, I carried them back to bed. Homer came up soon after, tried to start a conversation with me, but gave up when I groaned and told him I needed to sleep.

At about 5:00, Lisa was attempting to crawl back in between me and Homer. I asked her to go around to the other side (beside Homer), but she said she had already done that and Bart was already there. So, she continued to squeeze in between us. Now, I’m not that big, but I do require more than 6 inches at the edge of the bed to have a comfortable sleep. And so it is that I have had the equivalent of one full night of sleep over two nights.

And so it is that I’m afraid I won’t be very nice to my kids when they emerge from my bed in an hour or so. Grrr.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What’s that?

Over there -->

On my sidebar (in the green part) -->

That’s right. I’m going to tally my RRRoll up the Rim to Win winnings.

Because I am a loser and these things matter to me.

With my luck, I'll win the boat. Do. not. want. the. boat. Give me a donut over the boat.

I could do the same with my lottery tickets, but that would just be so sad.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ha! I made it to 100!

1. I am pretty handy around the house. I can do most minor electrical and plumbing work and I don’t hesitate to take on a carpentry project. I built the centre island in our kitchen.

2. I have one coffee mug that I use at home and one that my mom keeps because she knows it’s my favourite

3. I ‘found myself’ backpacking through Europe.

4. The best thing I did for myself on that backpacking trip was to travel by myself from Croatia to Scotland, making my way through train stations, boat departures, travel schedules, language barriers and meals without my (travel) partner in crime, my best friend.

5. I played girls football all four years of my undergrad at university. I started out in the position of Centre (I was all of 115 lbs, but no one else would do it). I settled in at the position of Middle Linebacker and served as Captain for 2 years. I was actually pretty good.

6. In the last game of my first season, I tore the ligaments in my right knee.

7. While in the emergency room waiting for diagnosis of my knee injury, the doctor informed me that I also had suffered frostbite on both ears.

8. I looked into playing football after university, but any women’s leagues were for, um, bigger girls who liked other bigger girls. I didn’t fit in.

9. The only other time I was in the hospital emergency room was when I was 11 years old and got a gash near my eye. I needed a tetanus shot, but not stitches.

10. If I had to pick only one sport to play for the rest of my life, it would be basketball.

11. My greatest fear 10 years ago was that I wouldn’t be able to have children when I wanted them.

12. Now, I fear I will have an unexpected pregnancy if he breathes on me the wrong way.

13. I have always been quiet, but never shy. I hate it that people don’t know the difference.

14. I was part of the “in crowd” in high school, but was not that popular outside of the crowd.

15. I won quite a few academic and music awards in school, but I really wanted to be recognized in athletics.

16. The closest I got was the Award of Excellence in the Canada Fitness Challenge.

17. I purposely chose a university that no one else in my group of friends would be going to so that I could have my own identity outside of the one I had with my friends. That turned out to be a very good decision.

18. I entered university with the goal of becoming an accountant.

19. After two years, I chose a different business path, because I just couldn’t picture myself doing only accounting for the rest of my life.

20. Every job I’ve had has had a significant accounting component to it. People are surprised to learn that I do not have an accounting designation. Even real accountants are surprised.

21. I have an older brother and a younger sister.

22. My brother has been very successful in his career and is a nationally-ranked athlete; he’s always striving for something better/stronger/faster. My sister is gorgeous and sweet and funny; she is extremely content with whatever good fortune comes her way. My personality lies somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

23. I consider my childhood to have been charmed. I had (have) a great family, a terrific neighbourhood, good lifelong friends, no major illness or injuries, no tragedies.

24. I always think that something horrible will happen in my adult life to balance out my great childhood.

25. I don’t wear pink. It’s not a colour I can pull off. I don’t have a sweet disposition, so pink feels stupid on me.

26. I always have a crossword puzzle in my purse, just in case I find myself with a spare moment. It’s always one that has been cut from the newspaper.

27. I don’t like the books of crosswords because the answers are always in the back and it’s too tempting to cheat.

28. I am a morning person. I can wake up at 5:30 AM, hop out of bed and get straight to work.

29. My TV obsession makes it difficult for me to get to bed before 11:30 PM.

30. I am not a napper. If I take a nap in the day, I will wake up disoriented and groggy. No matter how tired I am, I’m much better just getting through the day and going to bed a little earlier.

31. I am a list-maker, at work and at home. I wake up in the morning running through the list in my head.

32. I hate clutter in a house. Except for pictures, I don’t have knick-knacks. I spend a great deal of time tidying up and putting things away.

33. Christmas decorations are the only exception to the no-clutter rule.

34. I am not a great house cleaner. I hate mopping floors and cleaning the bathtub. Anything else, I can manage, but I still don’t like it.

35. I am not a great gardener. I always hear people saying how relaxing they find gardening to be – I don’t get that at all.

36. I am competitive. I avoid doing things I’m not good at and I practice like crazy to get better at the things I am good at. I’m secretly competitive with my kids. Lisa inherited the competitive gene, not so much Bart. The jury’s still out on Maggie, but I would put my money on “competitive”.

37. I have an irrational fear of those spiky things that you stick memos on. If it’s on the desk of someone I’m meeting with, I am fixated on it, willing it not to spontaneously poke out my eye.

38. I also have an irrational fear of the bowling balls that you have to put your fingers in. I picture my fingers getting stuck and me hurtling down the aisle to the pins.

39. My eyes are green, which is weird because both my parents have blue eyes (as did all 4 of my grandparents).

40. Two of my kids have blue eyes, the other has green, which is also weird because Homer’s eyes are brown, which is supposed to be dominant.

41. My favourite colour is blue.

42. I’m not all that into food. I love to bake, and I love the topic of nutrition, but I don’t obsess about eating food or worry about when my next meal will be.

43. If someone asks me about my favourite meal or my favourite restaurant, I scramble to come up with an answer, because I don’t have favourites.

44. Except cheese. Especially if the cheese is warm and melty.

45. I don’t drink much. On a daily basis I might have one or two coffees, a big glass of milk and one can of caffeine free Diet Pepsi. Occasionally I’ll have a glass of water, but not often.

46. My favourite cocktail is a Bloody Caesar (extra spicy), which I have learned is a uniquely Canadian drink.

47. I love to make special birthday cakes for my kids and my extended family. If you give me a theme, I can usually create something pretty great using candy and other edibles.

48. I prefer cool weather because I like don’t like wearing clothing that shows my skin.

49. I’m really pale. Pasty pale, not porcelain pale.

50. I am the disciplinarian in my house.

51. I spearheaded a very large construction project 8 years ago, so now I know more than a little about a lot of construction-related things.

52. I wore a hardhat and work boots through most of my first pregnancy.

53. I was the technical “owner” on the project, so workers on-site always noticed when I was in the building. As a result, I run into trades people who know me almost everywhere I go, much to Homer’s chagrin.

54. I also got to shop for and select more than $500,000 worth of furnishings for the building. Imagine a whole building done in colours, fabrics and styles I like.

55. My family used to do month-long camping trips every summer when I was a kid.

56. We covered all of Canada on those trips and many parts of the US.

57. The first time I ever stayed in a hotel was a band trip to New York City in grade 10.

58. My first plane trip was at 18 years old when I went to Mexico with 3 of my friends.

59. I still prefer camping trips to hotel trips. Homer, not so much.

60. I can’t imagine letting my kids go to Mexico with their friends at age 18.

61. I can’t imagine letting my kids drive at 16.

62. I am slightly claustrophobic.

63. I can’t wear a shirt with tight sleeves because I get kind of panicky about being restricted. Ditto for turtlenecks.

64. I had a dream when I was 10 years old that my younger sister drowned in my grandmother’s bathtub. It still haunts me today.

65. The dream probably explains my well-documented fear of kids and water.

66. I have a recurring dream that I am at a track meet in the 100m dash and when the starter’s gun fires, I can’t move my legs.

67. I also have a recurring dream that I open a secret door in my house (which is never actually my house) and I discover a hidden room. The room is always a 70’s basement-style family room.

68. I once went on a week-long canoe trip with my friend’s boyfriend (now husband), because she didn’t want to go and it was mostly a couples thing.

69. I discovered on that trip that I’m a lot stronger than the average gal, both physically and emotionally.

70. I have a group of four best friends. I have known one since I was 4 years old, two since I was 11 and the other since I was 13.

71. I’ve discovered that this kind of life-long friendship is fairly uncommon.

72. I once flew to the west coast of Canada to meet up with my Scottish cousin’s friend (whom I had met once), to drive back to Ontario with him and his girlfriend. They fought a lot, but all in all, it was a great time.

73. Sometimes I lose my taste for coffee and switch to tea for a bit. After awhile, I want coffee again.

74. If I’m involved in a project, I always end up being the leader. I almost never intend to be, but it always works out that way.

75. The leader thing usually emerges because when we walk away from the initial meeting I’m the one who goes back and does the most work.

76. I might be a control freak.

77. My celebrity crush is George Clooney.

78. I would like to run a marathon one day, but I never stick to the training program that would help me achieve that goal.

79. I’ve owned 2 cars in my life. Both were bought brand new.

80. I’m never bored.

81. I play the piano. I got 98% on my Grade VIII piano exam and 99% on my Grade II Music Theory exam.

82. I hate the word fart.

83. I could watch Evita (the movie version with Madonna and Antonio Banderas) over and over again.

84. My resting heart rate is really low (52bpm).

85. My blood pressure is also quite low, leading my doctor to ask at almost every prenatal appointment “are you okay? Do you feel dizzy?”

86. I have a low tolerance for crowds and lines. You’ll never find me waiting in a long line for the newest Harry Potter book, concert tickets, a great nightclub or a good deal at a store.

87. I’ve been known to drive all the way to the grocery store, get a kid situated in a cart, walk in, see long line-ups at the checkout and then turn right around and go home.

88. I am about as low-maintenance a girl as you will find.

89. I only get my hair cut about twice a year. My “salon” of choice is SuperCuts, but will go to a different one if there is too long a wait, or if I have a coupon.

90. I have 6 pairs of shoes/boots total, including summer, winter and athletic shoes.

91. I have had one professional manicure in my life and that was for my friend’s wedding. I did my own nails for my wedding.

92. I have never had a pedicure, massage or any other spa treatment. The thought of it gives me the creeps.

93. My preferred “brand” in cosmetics is whatever is on sale. Not one item in my cosmetic bag (which has 6 items) cost more than $8.

94. My favourite designer is Tommy Hilfiger.

95. I have never paid full price for anything by Tommy Hilfiger.

96. My idea of a luxury day for myself would be to be alone in my own (clean) house, with a pot of coffee, warm muffins, a bowl of fruit and a good book.

97. I like to read, but will choose non-fiction over fiction 90% of the time.

98. My favourite things to read about are running/fitness, nutrition, personal finance and true crime.

99. I am a real procrastinator, but I have never asked for (or needed) an extension on a deadline – not for school or work.

100. I didn’t think I would be able to make it to 100. Yay me!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Just pictures...

This is my 99th post, which means the next time I post will be the big 1-0-0! I've been trying to do one of those "100 things" deals, but I am just not that interesting. So, the next post may be a l--o--n--g time from now, you know, due to the pressure of it all!

Anyway, this post is just a bunch of pictures from the last couple of weeks. I haven't posted pics in quite awhile because Homer took the cable thingie to work, then claims to have lost it. I threatened to withhold sex until it came home and, lo and behold, it came home. With some expectations. Ahem.


The gang skating on the sloped rink

Lisa doesn't actually need the chair. Do you love the pink skates?

You probably weren't aware of our musical talents.

Bart LOVES to sing. Here, he's doing Fabulous! from High School Musical 2.

And then there's Maggie, who prefers to dance on her drum

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

1 2 3 4… tell me that you love me more.

Today it was either another birth story or a meme. Lucky, lucky you, I chose the 4 things meme. You can go ahead and thank JMC for your good fortune.

4 Jobs I have had:
Cashier at a drug store
Maintenance crew at a Conservation Area
Salesperson at a swimming pool store
Business manager for a college student union

4 places I've been:
Charlottetown, PEI
Moab, Utah
Manchester, England
Zagreb, Croatia

4 movies I've watched over and over:
The Sound of Music
Dead Poets Society
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (thanks to my kids)

4 shows I watch:
Flipping Out
America’s Next Top Model

4 places I'd rather be right now:
At the lottery headquarters place, collecting my millions
Home in my kitchen
Travelling Australia
Anywhere on a road trip

4 favourite things to eat:
Swiss cheese fondue with sourdough bread and pears
Warm brie cheese
Warm artichoke dip

4 places I've lived:
Wayne Gretzky’s hometown
Home of RIM (maker of the Blackberry)
Home to the Argos, the Raptors and the Maple Leafs
My home now, within 40 miles of all these other places

4 things I look forward to this year:
My girls weekend in Chicago
Lisa dancing in her school’s opera
A new dishwasher (because I have suffered long enough)
Hearing my sister is pregnant. No pressure.

I would like to hear what these four have to say:
If you haven’t done it yet, go ahead… do it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We had such a fun weekend!

Yesterday was Family Day (a new holiday here in Ontario, perfectly positioned in the middle of February), which means we got a 3-day weekend.

On Saturday, we took the kids skating. We decided to go to an outdoor rink because the weather was so beautiful. The rink was built on a baseball diamond and sloped ever-so-slightly downhill, which meant the kids could skate one way (down), but not the other (up). It was pretty funny to watch. Maggie did great. She had the little bob-skates that attach to her boots and she was moving around pretty well.

Sunday brought freezing rain, so Maggie and I went to the grocery store first thing in the morning (8:00 AM – good time to shop) and then we stayed put for the rest of the day. I hauled out their Ikea castle tent and they played in there for hours while I made some yummy brownies with peppermint frosting. We all played a game of Princess Monopoly and then Homer played some video games with Bart and Lisa (Simpsons Hit & Run, of course).

Monday’s weather cleared up and we went tobogganing. Because of Sunday’s rain, the hill was not a snowy as I would have liked, but it was really fast! I just loved hearing the giggles and screams as they flew down the hill. I’m hoping for a little more snow this week so we can go out again this weekend. We then took them to a playground, where they played on the abandoned climber to their hearts’ content.

When I contemplated having kids, this kind of weekend is exactly what I pictured. It was simple and pure and fun. Sometimes I am guilty of getting bogged down with things that have to be done, but I didn’t do that this weekend. And I'm really glad I didn’t.

Friday, February 15, 2008


My brother and sister-in-law announced on the weekend that they would be moving to London, England for three years for my brother’s job. He’s a big-wig at a major international firm and this new post will set him up to be a bigger-wig when he returns to Canada. Right now, they live about 15 minutes from me and we see them often. My nephew and niece (ages 6 and 3) and my kids get along famously.

Obviously this is a big upset in our family, especially for my parents, who are used to seeing their grandchildren at least once a week. They will return home often and have decided to hold onto their beautiful home here so that it’s available to them on visits home and when they return, which is small comfort to my folks.

I decided to set up a family blog, where we can post pictures, stories, videos, etc. so the miles between us don’t feel so daunting. Everyone is on board and intrigued by the idea, so hopefully it will take off.

Homer mentioned this morning as we drove to work that he noticed I had been working on the family blog and wondered how I even knew how to do that. I just told him that, “I know stuff”. He laughed and asked if I had any other blogs. I told him I did and he asked a bunch more questions. I didn’t tell him the name of the blog or anything about it, except that it was a “mom blog”. I ultimately told him that I didn’t want him reading it because I didn’t want him to tell me how lame it is. He agreed.

As he dropped me off, he said “Have a good day, Marge.” When I looked back at him, he had a goofiest grin on his face.

The bugger knew all along.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How do you do Valentine’s Day?

Even though I have never received a bouquet of roses (if you knew me, this would not be a sad statement at all), and only once received a heart-shaped box of chocolates, I do like Valentines Day and like to make it special.

For the kids, that means they wake up to heart-shaped pancakes topped with fresh, sliced strawberries. They are sent to school with heart-shaped cookies for their class parties and wearing their finest red clothes. Lisa will open her lunch bag and discover that her sandwich has been cut into a heart shape and that all her fruits and vegetables are red, as is her napkin. She’ll also have a Valentine from me. They all made Valentines for their classmates.

For dinner tonight, there will be homemade soup with heart-shaped biscuits and a heart-shaped cake for dessert. Then the kids will each get a little gift: some conversation hearts and a chocolate cupid sucker for each of them and a Webkinz for Lisa, a red toboggan for Bart and a Dora talking book for Maggie. They will be thrilled.

As for me and Homer, we’re not much for exchanging traditional gifts. One year I got him a giant bowl filled with M&M’s. Another year, he gave me a heart monitor for running. Over the past couple of years, we’ve just exchanged lottery tickets. It sounds odd and lame, but it’s totally laid back and us. We’ve been together long enough and been through enough that I know he loves me and he knows I love him. I’m much more touched when he comes home from the grocery store with a bouquet of flowers or a potted plant he thought I would like than I would ever be if he showed up today with a dozen roses. That doesn’t mean he isn’t expecting to get lucky tonight. I assure you, he is.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Grocery Store Etiquette

If you are 85 years old and you have driven yourself to the store, don’t shop on Saturday.

Right of way goes to the cart travelling the perimeter of the store. Pretend the end of the aisle has a stop sign and proceed only when the intersection is cleared. DO NOT recklessly proceed into the intersection without stopping, then look shocked that you had a near collision with another cart.

If you have chosen to do your shopping at 11:00 AM on Saturday, you do not have the right to sigh loudly at the long line-ups to check-out.

If the stock boy has carelessly left a giant skid of boxes on one side of the aisle, do not park your cart on the other side of the aisle while you select your pop-tarts, thereby blocking all traffic.

If you have more than 10 items, do not stand in line at the “10 items or less” check-out. If you find yourself with 11 items, either chuck the Oreos or stand in another line. Rules are rules.

If you must bring your six children to the grocery store, take extra care to ensure that those who will not fit in the cart are not blocking the aisle. Do not allow the older ones to play tag in the meat section.

Do not let a child that cannot see over the top of the cart to steer the cart. What's cute to you is annoying to your fellow shoppers.

If someone kindly moves their cart aside to allow you to pass by an obstruction, you must proceed PAST the obstruction to then allow the kind stranger to also pass by.

Select your items from the frozen section through the glass doors, only opening the door once a selection has been made. DO NOT stand there with the door open as this will cause the glass to fog up making it impossible for the next guy to follow this rule. It also makes the rest of us cold.

If the sign says “Limit 4”, don’t take 8 and ask the cashier to ring it in twice. You’ll need to go through the line twice or send someone else in, just like the rest of us.

If you have a hacking cough, stay out of the fresh produce section.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Can't win.

All the stars seemed to be finally aligned this weekend to have my childcare issues finally resolved. To tell the story, I need to go back to Friday.

On Friday, we picked Bart and Lisa up at childcare provider1 (CP1)’s house. CP1 showed us their brand new, adorable Dalmatian puppy they had just adopted. He was so cute and floppy and I just wanted to take him home. Then, I looked at my son, who was clearly terrified of this rambunctious little creature, as I was told he spent most of the afternoon huddled into the corner of the couch. Now, Bart does have issues with dogs. Big issues. He’s scared to death of them.

Anyway, irrational fears aside, during the day he also developed a rash over two-thirds of his body and face. It could have been the weather (it’s been freezing here). But, maybe it was the dog. Or stress. Oh god. Could it be stress? It wasn’t itchy, just very red. Thinking out loud, I said to CP1, "oh no, do you think he could be allergic to the puppy?" (Side note: I took him to the doctor on Saturday and she doesn’t think it’s an allergic reaction (because of the not itchy thing); she didn’t know what it was.)

Okay, so fast forward to Sunday morning when I received a phone call from (and I hope I’m not giving too much away here) childcare provider2 (CP2), who lives about 6 doors down from CP1. CP2 had, out of the blue, come to CP1’s house to get some advice on starting her own service for home care for school age kids. CP1 mentioned our situation, with Bart being afraid of/allergic to the new puppy, and said that I might be looking for a new arrangement. The kicker? I know CP2! Her daughter and Lisa are friends at school. I had a long conversation with her about how I would need her to be reliable and consistent and she was all "Of course! I know what it’s like to be left scrambling at the last minute. Unreliable childcare is the reason I had to quit my job and why I am now starting this home daycare."

I called CP1, told her that I will be going to CP2 and her response was, "that’s so great; I’m so glad that will work for you and Bart. If CP2 is ever sick, call me and I’ll be your back-up!" The new arrangements start today!

So, in conclusion, my childcare issues seem to be resolved, I didn’t burn any bridges, I now have primary childcare and a back-up, and I didn’t have to do any of the legwork to make it happen. Yay me.

Oh, yeah… and Lisa is home sick today. I'm doing the morning nursemaid shift; Homer will take the afternoon shift. Terrific.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Shiny happy people.

Dude has not responded to my letter (sent in an email, actually). Not even a “thank you for your concern” brush-off. I’m a little steamed about that, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s away. Maybe he gets hundreds of emails a day. Maybe he’s setting up a subcommittee on School Scheduling and waiting until it’s more developed to give me a response. Maybe.

I do that. I give people the benefit of the doubt, making up imaginary excuses for them so that whatever they have done is not an intentional insult directed at me, but just the result of a perfectly logical string of events. Homer is not at all like this. If someone pisses him off, he immediately assumes the worst.

Case in point: The after school care we have for Bart and Lisa has been extremely unreliable. Since we started with the caregiver in December, they have not been able to go there one full week. Every week there has been one day that there has been a problem: the caregiver has been sick; one of her kids has been sick (requiring a doctor’s visit); one of her kids has a dentist appointment in the afternoon. She told me just last week that the family will be taking a vacation (7 school days) at the end of February – sorry. Make no mistake, my stomach is in knots over the whole thing. I obviously need to find someone who takes the job more seriously, but I find myself arguing with Homer that “she can’t help getting sick” and “maybe her kids are so sick they need the doctor” and “why shouldn’t she be able to take her kid to the dentist in the day; maybe the dentist doesn’t have evening hours” and on and on. Homer is a raving lunatic, wanting to blast her over the phone and fire her on the spot (and then do WHAT, exactly, with the kids, smart guy?)

The proper response to the situation is obviously somewhere in between “shiny happy people” and “stark raving lunatic”, and eventually we do get there. My approach calms Homer down enough that he refrains from following his immediate instinct to tear a strip off the offender; his approach makes me look at the situation more critically and allow some kind of action so that I’m not serving as the world’s punching bag. Sometimes it takes awhile to get to that middle ground, but we always do.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Another snow day and other (less desireable) time off.

So, I got my snow day on Friday and it was awesome. Guess what? They're calling for ANOTHER storm tomorrow. So now we're contemplating a mid-week snow day. Woo hoo!

I'm feeling a little nervous right now because I wrote a letter to my school board trustee complaining about the school schedule. To be fair, I complained a little (stated my concern), then provided what I thought was a reasonable solution. The solution was actually pretty detailed, which now seems a bit presumptuous and cocky. So, I'm nervous. Nervous that: a) he'll respond with a brush off; b) he won't respond at all; c) he'll respond with an empty promise; d) he'll suggest that I take my concern to a higher level. GAH!

The issue I wrote him about was the fact that school children have 22 days off during the academic year that are not statutory holidays. This includes PA Days (9 - 6 full days, 6 half days); Christmas holidays (7 non-stat days), March Break (5 days) and Easter Monday (1 day). Doesn't this seem excessive? I told him that having to schedule time off work for all of these days, as well as snow days, child sick days, daytime concerts, parent-teacher interviews and observation days is pretty taxing on working parents.

What I really wanted to suggest was that teachers do Professional Development on their own time (like in the summer, over March Break, etc.), but I knew that wouldn't fly. What I did suggest was that PA days be tacked on to the end of the year and Christmas period so that parents could at least schedule blocks of childcare instead of trying to make arrangements for a day here and a half-day there.

I know this is boring stuff for anyone who doesn't have school-age kids, but it is such a stressful thing for me, many of my colleagues at work and other working friends. I hear time and again how "school is not a babysitting service". Of course it isn't, but it is a legal requirement that my children attend between September and June. As such, doesn't it make sense that the schedule would at least consider the impact their decisions have on the parents?