Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And then…

*Instead of working on my massive pile of work, I was dicking around the Internet and came across this post on Cake Wrecks. Picture me, sitting in my office, trying (unsuccessfully) to stifle laughter with tears rolling down my cheeks and my nose running. And then… the Dean of Students shows up at my door. He thought I was crying.

*The always delightful Maggie was especially fun to deal with this morning. The last straw was when she refused to get in her car seat. There were arms and legs everywhere as she protested (her beef: wrong hairstyle). So, I placed her on a snowbank beside the driveway and told her I was leaving her there. I walked around to the other side of the car and opened and closed my door as if I was getting in. By the time I got back around to Maggie’s side, she was banging on the door screaming, “Please let me come!” And then… the (childless, friendly) neighbour calls over, “Having a good morning Lori?” I swear I am the reason he and his wife have no kids.

*A student group is running a Locks of Love event today. A very nice salon has brought in five stylists to cut the hair of people willing to donate a minimum of 10 inches of hair to the cause. I watched one girl as she cut off about 14 inches and came out with a really cute little bob. As she left the chair, I told her how great she looked (she did). And then… she burst into tears. Where the heck were her friends? I almost started bawling myself.

*A friend here at work was going for a new position. Today a “staffing announcement” went around introducing the new person hired, and it wasn’t my friend. I sent her a reply that simply said,
And then… a copy of that reply came into my inbox. Why? I was confused until I realized that I had hit “Reply All”. I had done it intentionally so that I could just extract her email address, but had failed to actually extract her email and instead just sent it off. The sender of the original email called in a panic, “Do you know [new person]? Is there a problem I should know about?” I hate having to explain my idiocy.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Really, the whole post is pathetic.

*I just came back from the washroom at work, where I stood (only for a split second) with my wet hands underneath the automatic hand dryer wondering why it wasn’t turning on. It was the paper towel dispenser.

*Homer is sick (again… still) and he spends a lot of the night coughing, sneezing, blowing his nose and thrashing about the bed. I think he coughs extra loud just to make sure I know he is suffering. Truthfully, the extra drama makes me ignore him more than I would if his suffering was authentic.

*For the first time in awhile today we’ve had a break in the frigid temperatures, although they promise to return by Saturday. It’s still minus 3c, but believe me, it’s a nice break. I’m betting the neighbourhood skating rink will be packed tonight.

*We’re buying our new fridge and range this weekend. The oven part on my range has been broken for almost a month (no baking for me - waaah ), so I’m really excited to be getting something new. The model we picked has a gas top with the extra burner in the middle and a griddle attachment, a convection oven and a warming drawer. The fridge is bigger than the one we have now (22cu.ft vs. 18cu.ft) and has an automatic icemaker. We were going to get the kind with the water dispenser in the door, but decided that the extra expense wasn’t worth it and that the kids would probably abuse it and we’d constantly have a puddle of cold, filtered water on the floor.

*Homer arranged with the bank to take out enough cash to make the appliance purchase. They’re very curious as to why he needs so much cash. I just prefer to not buy these types of things (anything) on credit, but Homer is having fun with the bank people and acting all shifty-eyed and evasive.

*This morning I let Lisa choose between two different soups for her thermos. She chose one, saying it looked the best and that Mrs Teacher said that she always had the best-looking lunches. Thank you. Thank you. If only there were a prize. Seriously, why am I so proud of this? Pathetic.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Small pet alert

So, it’s another freezing cold day here. On days like this, we get “Small Pet Alerts” which remind owners of cats and small dogs that they should stay indoors, lest they freeze. Did you know that once the temperatures reaches –25c with the windchill that exposed skin can freeze in less than 20 minutes? Once you get down to –35, it will take less than 10 minutes. The forecast for today is –25 and tomorrow is –30, so that will be fun.

I’m amazed to see a very large number of people here on campus walking outside without a hat, their poor ears exposed to air that literally burns. Hats are so cute and fun, I just don’t get it. We have vendors here on campus who sell 100% wool hats with fleece lining from Nepal, like these:

and they’re only $15. I bought one for each of my kids and they are the best hats they’ve ever had. They also have mittens that look like little animal puppets. So cute.

Most of the time, I wear a hat like this:

I bought it years ago and, even though I’ve bought several hats since, this is still my favourite. It covers my ears, is very warm and doesn’t do a number on my hair. When I dropped Maggie off at daycare earlier this week, one of the little guys in her class said, “I like your cowboy hat.” Hmph.

I also have a hat like this (not in pink):

It’s more for weekends, because it can give an amazing case of hat head.

There are a million different styles of hats and each one says a little bit about the hat-wearer:

Confident, warm. Wears a great hat, then pairs it with Uggs, which leave her feet cold and wet.

Skier. No-nonsense, practical, athletic.


Elementary school teacher. She also wears a puffy coat and sensible shoes.

More money than brains. Running from PETA.

From Alberta. Those rosy cheeks and perfect teeth are authentic.
So what's your hat style?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Who’s in Charge Here?

Maggie is kicking my ass.

This kid. She’s not like the other two. Lisa is 8 years old and I still lay out her clothes for school. She never has an opinion one way or the other; she just puts them on. Bart doesn’t give me any grief either. But Maggie, she’s a different personality altogether. We fight every morning about what she will wear. She always wants a dress, will sometimes settle for a skirt, but despises pants of any kind, even if they’re girly colours or adorned with hearts and butterflies. Why not just let her wear a dress/skirt every day? This morning it was –12c, -20c with the wind chill. It’s too cold for just tights under snow pants. She needs tights and pants. I offer her choices, but unless one of the choices is a dress, she screams and cries and stamps her feet in a fit of fury.

This morning, I dropped off the big guys at their babysitter, then Maggie and I proceeded to her daycare. I noticed the snow plow heading down the street I wanted to turn on, so I went a slightly different route. Maggie freaked out, insisting I was going the wrong way. She WAILED “You’re going the wrong way!” for the entire 12-minute ride to the school, then refused to get out of the car. I finally grabbed her by her coat and pulled her out. In the process, she had kicked off one of her boots, so I unknowingly plopped her in a snow bank in her socks. I had to carry her snow pants and backpack in one hand and a punching, kicking, screaming Maggie in the other. Good times.

Oh sure, she seems sweet...

I find myself negotiating, bargaining with this child all the time... about breakfast, books, toys, going to bed, getting out of bed, tv time, going to school, leaving school… everything! She’s still in a crib because sometimes the only thing I can think to do when she’s being completely stubborn and unreasonable is to throw her in there and close the door to her room.

I don’t want to break her spirit, but I also can’t face another 15 years of her fighting me on everything. I’m used to being in charge; I like being in charge. Maggie seems intent on making me prove my worthiness for the leadership role.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Saving my nickels

My friend’s parents used to save all their nickels in jars. Sometime around mid-November, they would empty the jars, roll all the nickels and cash them in. This was their Christmas money.

I love dealing in cash. As a general rule, I don’t use credit cards or cheques. All bills are paid online, an amount is transferred to savings, then I withdraw cash from the ATM once a week and dole out what I need to for babysitters, dance lessons, groceries and other miscellaneous items one might need in a typical week. I always know how much I have spent and how much I have on hand.

Homer is not quite as disciplined. He’ll stop by the ATM several times a week, play online poker, stop by the beer store and buy himself a new video game without even thinking about it. He agreed when I suggested that this arrangement was, in fact, punishing me for my discipline. I show a lot of self-restraint and do without; he shows none and wants for nothing.

So, we agreed to each take out a budgeted amount each week for personal needs. I will also withdraw grocery and babysitter money and manage those. The result is that he’s wondering how he’ll live on his allowance (which is not small) and I feel like I’ve just hit the jackpot. It’s so much more than I’m used to, that I’ve set aside envelopes to divide my money into four categories:

*Sports - to cover the cost of the kids’ sport/social activities, which usually need to be paid in big chunks at the most inopportune times (about $30/week)

*Charity - to cover anything from school fundraisers, to sponsorships, to outright donations (about $10/week)

*Fun - to cover bigger expenses, like trips, a new camera, Christmas 2009 ($100/week)

*Now - to spend… now! (the amount left over, which is still a lot (for me))

Homer will be saving all of his change in a jar “for a rainy day”. I suppose that’s some kind of (non-specific) system. The man does not like to be tied down.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking forward

Last year I did a meme in which I listed (among other things) 4 things I was looking forward to in 2008. Here's what I said and the results:

1. My girls weekend in Chicago - done (and it was so fun)
2. Lisa dancing in her school’s opera - done (and she was awesome)
3. A new dishwasher (because I have suffered long enough) - done (and I can't believe I washed dishes by hand for more than a year)
4. Hearing my sister is pregnant. No pressure. - done (and the story and baby are both spectacular!)

So... given my success in 2008, I'm going to try it again for 2009.

4 Things I'm looking forward to in 2009:

1. New appliances!
2. My girls weekend in NYC.
3. My high school reunion.
4. Collecting my huge lottery win. Hee.

What about you? Anything you're looking forward to in 2009?