Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our story of Christmas Eve

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a present was wrapped especially for the spouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
While the kid freaked if St Nicholas would ever be there.

The kids were worried not snug in their beds,
While visions of lost Santas danced in their heads.
And mamma with her beer all cold in a can,
Had accepted her fate of not sleeping; not a big fan. 

When up in our room there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter.
Away from the pile of toys I was midst,
Tore open a storage box and threw up a fist.

The reality of running out of paper and tape was clear,
It's too freaking bad I didn't buy enough this year.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But only one dispenser and eight packing tape spheres.

With a little bit of patience, so rare for this chick,
I knew in a moment I wanted a St Nick.
To come to my house and wrap these presents for me,
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have the thought to flee!

Now toys! now, movies! now, mittens and socks!
On, dolls! On, paints! On clothing with no box!
To the bottom of the tree! to the top of the wall!
Now wrap away! Wrap away! Wrap away all!

And then, in a twinkling, I heard right beside me,
The placement of the final gift under the tree.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
this wretched task was done and it was time to lay down.

My eyes-how they twinkled! My heart oh how merry!
My cheeks were like roses, my nose like a cherry!
I'd like to say it was the Christmas cheer,
but I think we all know - I probably had too much beer.

The pile of presents they were all finally wrapped,
If one more was delivered, the mail man would be slapped.
It wouldn't be pretty if he came by one more time,
I'd probably spend the holiday convicted of a crime.

Back to reality, I thought, did we get everything?
God damn it Alessandro that Elf on the Shelf.
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
How I'm glad we didn't name him Chippy or Fred.

I sprang to my feet, to get my ass to bed,
And thought of how long I'd sleep, those kids I did dread.
But I heard the ball & chain say, ironic & trite,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Christmas Eve - decoded

Me/ "L, you want to write a letter to Santa?"
Her/ "Um, nah."
Me/ "You don't want to tell him anything?  Thank him for coming?"
Her/ "Well, I would like to tell him I hope he enjoys the cookies."

Maybe you aren't reading it the way she said it - but what freaking five year old says she hopes he enjoys the cookie? She had a slight British accent when she said it. Who IS this kid?

She also needed to ask him about was the chimney situation we have. We have a fireplace in our bedroom and one in our living room. We sound fancy, don't we? Something you should know: neither work which The one in the living room that I stare at on the regular particularly irritates me because not only does it not work, but it's a gas fireplace. And I don't know. I don't understand gas fireplaces (sorry). I don't mind them.  I think people should get what they like, but I like a mess. The smell of wood burning. The real deal. Instead I have a pho fireplace that doesn't even do me right by not taking up space. It's large. In charge. And just for looking at and how could you not see it? It's huge. WHICH I would love, if it would work.

I digress.

We have two fireplaces, which means two chimneys in her head. I didn't really want to get into the fact that they share the same chimney. She was obsessed.

What if he goes in your room? What will you do? Will you be scared? If I hear you scream, what if I forget it could be Santa and I come to your room?? Will he use the stairs to get in the living room? Will he leave the presents in your room? Will he go back up to come back down? What will happen if he goes down the wrong chimney????

She got stuck on it, I was worried (terrified) she wouldn't go to sleep. This was problematic.  I may or may not have been ONE present wrapped. She could hypothesize all night long about how the big man was going to choose the right chimney. If she didn't hush it and go to sleep that bastard wouldn't be able to wrap a single one of those packages. And by that bastard I mean me and the ball&chain. Oh and PS I didn't have one of his gifts wrapped either. And he had many a gift to wrap. MANY. Oye. Oh and the kids. Between Santa, us, the generosity of family.... I anticipating seeing the sun come up. We have been receiving deliveries to our house for weeks. And for weeks, I've been saying "I should start wrapping."

We solved the chimney issue by having her include it in the letter and explain that Santa knows which one to choose. Worst case scenario, (if you don't freaking go to sleep you will have nothing to open. NOTHING I say!) he'll figure out where the tree is. Think about it, not everyone has a chimney- he has to know how to get to the tree? That seemed to satisfy her so we could begin the wrapping process.

Each year, I get made fun of for having too much wrapping paper and a million rolls of tape. Each year, I hear him say "Gee. Hope we have enough paper." Sarcasm is the language of the devil. And this year? I decided - not this year! NO.

It was just hilarious when two gifts in I realized we were out of tape. (Sarcasm may be the language of the devil, but it's mine.)

Good news / bad news:
  • We had a ton of packing tape we could use. 
  • We had a ton of packing tape we could use. 
It was a crazy pain in the ass, and I feared it would make opening presents take even longer, but it all worked out. We didn't wrap everything and had a few presents out in the open, which really worked out. And of course, I scared up as many gift bags as I could that made sense. I didn't want to take the present opening piece of the morning away, though I considered it. It only took a little under 3 hours but Jingle Bells it was worth. Another magical Christmas, indeed.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The work of an elf is never done.

The very night Santa could say he was "done" with the Guarro girls, this happened.

Her: "Daddy, I've been dreaming things. But I can't tell you, because I want my wish to come true."
Him: "Well, that's not really how it works. Are you talking about a birthday wish? Those you keep to yourself, but you can tell me other wishes."
Me (in my head): "For the love of all things good & jolly what in the what is she going to want now?"
Her: "Well, I've been dreaming about my list for Santa. But I can't say it, otherwise they won't come true."
Him (begins the con on our 5 year old): "L, that's really not how it works - we already sent our letter to Santa and you already told him what you wanted when you met him. If you want to change something, you kinda have to say it out loud so he gets the message? He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake...  he doesn't reads minds."
Her: "Ok, well - you know how I said I wanted a Mérida doll?"
Him: "Yes."
Me (in my head): "SON OF A CANDY CANE. We have 3 Mérida dolls in our possession. Two we bought when we were out because we didn't know if the next place would have the version you wanted. We bought a safety and then found the one you wanted. A third just came in the mail; sent as a gift. You best say you want more than one Mérida doll, because we got'em."
Her: "Well, I don't want a Mérida doll anymore."
Me (in my head): "Of fa la la course."
Him: "Why? Would you be disappointed if Santa already packed up a doll for you? Why don't you want one now?"
Her: "Well, I don't want a doll. I want a stuffed animal Mérida, not a doll."
Him: "Hmmm... honestly, L. I don't know if stuffed animal princesses exist. I don't know if princesses are made into stuffed animals or just dolls."

Her (in her sassiest most serious tone): "Daddy. They are elves, they can make anything!"

Me: (immediately on the Internet finding out if a stuffed Mérida exists. It does. The shipping required, but not guaranteed, due to timing would cost almost $30. There is also a Disney store, 40 minutes away.): "Of course."

While a mother's love can't be measured it should certainly say something that I found my way to the Disney Store that night. I got the plush Mérida. And maybe her horse and three brother bears. If she doesn't freak out when she realizes Santa heard her new & improved Christmas wish, I'm invoicing her for gas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

When you don't know what to say...

you point in the direction of people who have the words you wish you could articulate.

On returning back to "normal" - Brenna (Suburban Snapshots) hits the nail on head, as usual: The Slow Return to Our New Normal.

On why I'm not talking to the kid about Sandy Hook. Why I don't want to talk about it, to anyone - Catherine (Her Bad Mother) creepily in my head and better than I could ever construct : Why I'm Not Talking To My Kids About Sandy Hook.

Trying to laugh again, Allison (Motherhood, WTF) points to those who will let you get your giggle on: Gotta Laugh.

That's all I've got.

Cute ass Christmasry has been happening all around me, and I'm present in those moments. 100%. But when I sit down, here, I'm not here. I'm empty. I'm going to get back into our new normal, but not quite today. Soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


There is no question when a life is taken, at any age, it is sad.  That's not even the word.  Something like that, but worse. And harder.

But these children?

I was entrenched into a workday when news hit of this tragedy, this unimaginable horror in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Blissfully, unaware. I came downstairs a little after lunch to learn about a school shooting. Terrible. Awful. Another. Why?

But then, but then I learned it's a class of kindergarten children, a first grade class? Babies. Babies like my baby.

I almost can't process this. I almost wish I couldn't. I want to be angrier, but I'm just too sad. Heavy hearted, in a way that I would describe as unimaginable, but how can I? My babies are here with me. To be a parent, to lose your baby at anytime, it's unimaginable.  That's not even the word.  Something like that, but worse. And harder.  But like this? Senseless. That's not even the word. Something like that, but worse. And harder.

I don't want to watch the news. But I need to watch. I need to know why. Not that why will make sense. Not that there is a reason or explanation. What was the catalyst? Not that it would even matter, but that's where my head is at.  My youngest is napping as I type this and my oldest is at the gym with her daddy. And during this time of quiet there are lists of things I should be doing, and of all the things in the background I choose this horrifying coverage. I'm almost unable but to take in anything else, because I need to know the how and why.  Which is ridiculous. That's not even the word. Something like that, but worse. And harder.

And do we talk to L about this? Of course not, my gut, heart & head scream to me. But what if she asks me about it. What if someone else in her class has a parent that didn't shield her from this. What then?

Side note, as I looked for the answer: I found Cool Mom Picks collected some online resources on talking to your kids (or not).

I don't know how this doesn't change a person, however far, far on the outside I sit. Every moment right now, seems like a reminder. When my baby comes home she's a reminder. I'm reminded to keep this community, and all those parents beyond this moment who have lost a child, in my heart. And as heavy as my heart truly is, there is this massive conflict I feel. Because I am bursting with overwhelming joy.  I'm reminded to be thankful. She's a blessing, she can come home. And I will continue to hold on to that, everyday - forever more.  She'll be coming home.  The alternative is unimaginable. That's not even the word. Something like that, but worse. And harder.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lennie: v. to love something so much that you over do it, killing it, unintentionally*

I've been known to be in the company of those who Lennie.  I'm not proud to say it, but I occasionally Lennie a situation. I can't help it. I love it so hard and so much what other option do I have? Love it responsibly? Hell to the no.

I find a song I love; I play it over and over again, on repeat. I'll read a book that I love, for days. I won't put down. I become entirely too obsessed and will read for days straight, never breaking to talk to a person or sleep. Or I'll love a story so much (not for the writing, so much as the story it tells) I'll read it. Again and again, despite it being a young adult series (whatever, I love their love, it doesn't have to make sense to you). I'll get started on a TV series and since every episode is available the next thing I know I have watched a season of 24 in, that's right - you've guessed it, 24 hours. Sometimes some thing is so funny, I watch it over and over again. Most times, I take things too far.

Exhibit A.

A few years ago, someone passed along this ridiculously hilarious video. It's especially funny if you or anyone you love is from the Island. (Long Island).

And it's a holiday tradition. Pick up that shit around the tree and all. I can't help but play it. A lot. And while I try not to highlight that specific part. It may be a casualty of the holiday & humor. There is even a song. I may have it on my holiday play list.

When we go to get our tree? We call Nana Lu & play the video. We talk in the voice with her, throughout the holiday, going to get the tree, sitting in front of the tree, saying goodbye to the tree. When we pass strangers on the street, we roll down our windows, honk and say "Hurry up! We're going to get the tree. C'mon!"  It's what we do. As the kid gets older, I should probably watch the language... but really? What's the benefit of that? If I did that, I wouldn't get this. 

Photo, me & Instagram. Genius of putting captions ON said photo,
Brenna over at Suburban Snapshots.

This video? It's kind of just the beginning. I may or may not be on a quest to really do the original right. But in the meantime I can't help to but share my gaw-jess girl.

*I'd credit the person who thought of this description, but alas she wouldn't like that. Due to the inability to credit another: I'll say I didn't come up with this term, but I'm taking it. And making it mine. And loving it. And squeezing it & likely over using it until it dies.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Good news, bad news: the holiday card edition

Good news: I am obsessed with mail. We have the best damn holiday card, ever, each year. If I do say so myself. And I do. Toot toot. Beep beep.

No. Serious.

Bad news: there is a lot of pressure to keep up with the amazing nature of the year before. Sure, it's self-inflicted. Sure, no one is waiting by their mailboxes for our genius... no one probably even notices how amazing our cards are... but you know who does? ME. I do. Every year I usually have some kind of idea brewing. This year? I got nothing. Nadda. And when I bring this up... I get "you haven't printed your cards yet?"

Um. No.

I have a few ideas, but they require the kids to make specific faces and do what I need them to do. Let's be honest here: as adorable as they are, doing what I tell them to do is not going to happen.

Another part of the rub, is I have these gorgeous family pictures that we had taken. They are amazing.  We all look cute. We are all looking at the camera. We are in semi-coordinating colors but not catalogey (sorry. no offense, you.) They are beautiful. However after years of funny, different, and surprising... how can I just send cute?

-Desperately trying to find the next great holiday card

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kitchen renovations

Do you remember those catalogs of toys you would go through? I believe it was Toys"R"Us and Sears or something? The paper was thin and with each category of toys there were be a new color bar at the top. It was glorious. I wish my kids would be able to experience this. Oh, the JOY of getting my grips on that mammoth catalog. It's sad. Now, there is an app for that. And frankly, let me be so bold as to say, Toys"R"us... it ain't great. You've saved all that paper - the least you can do is include the same amount of toys. It's all ads, not everything. I've been in a Toys"R"Us, I know.

Over Thanksgiving, the kid used the app to look through toys. It is neat to be able to just click a toy and put it on your wish list, or Santa's list as it were. I miss folding paper, and circling toys - but whatever. In going through her 98 selections, as she felt the need to speak for her sister, I noticed a few things.
  • Two, count them, TWO motorized cars. Both for JJ, of course. 
  • Countless princesses, some I'm fairly sure she has. 
  • Games, many games, including but not limited to a gems like: Doggie Doo Game. True. Doggie.Doo. 
  • A new play kitchen.
Some of these things I can easily talk her down from.

Me, "Babe, we are not getting cars for kids. That's not happening. I will let Santa know that. I override your list, true story."
Her, "Yea, maybe it's a bad idea. But it's what JJ wanted...."
Me, "No."
Her, "Ok."
Me, "Sweetie, we have that princess. We don't need duplicates of princesses, you know? Why don't you choose ONE princess to ask Santa for?"
Her, "Ok, Mommy."
Me, "Um. No. This game, no. This can't be for kids. It's for kids. Well, no."
Her, "Is it inappropriate? Does it say bad words?"
Me, "No. It's gross... sorry."
Her, "Ok, Mama."

The kitchen, she held onto.

Me, "Hon, we have a kitchen. Let's try to stick to things we don't have, just like the princesses, ok?"
Her, "Well, I don't have that kitchen."
Me, "No, but you have A kitchen."
Her, "Yea, but... my kitchen? Doesn't have a microwave. I NEED a microwave."
Touche, my dear. Touche. So guess what? Would you believe they sell TOY microwave? They do. And home girl is getting an add on, not a full on renovation.

I win. Santa wins.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


We were watching Aladdin the other day and the ball&chain asked the kid, "If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?" Thinking a plug for the cotton candy machine she is asking Santa for....

"I wish for a friend."

BOOM. Heart breaks, shatters, and combusted. All at the same time.  And not in a warm & fuzzy sort of way.

She gets along with everyone in class, according to the teacher. And always has great things to say about school and the kids (mostly) - but hasn't found a connection there.  I can't say that I don't understand.  I get it. I wanted to scream, "ME TOO, GIRL!" But I only accidentally fail at motherhood, I try not to try to fail. So I stay quiet and smile, and reassure her that it takes time to make good friends. It's taken Mommy her whole life, and I still struggle with it.

"Mama, what's struggle."

Inner monologue, "Life, kid. LIFE."
Reality, "When things are hard. When they aren't easy. When you have to try harder to do something."

Happy to be with friends.
At their birthday party.
With cake.
And in reality, it IS hard to make new friends. It's always been that way for me. Among the many traits I hope my kids don't 't get from me, that's my greatest wish. Because this face, this kind of true blue smile? I haven't seen it in awhile and the next time I do? I don't know if I'll be able to hide my happiness.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Traditions are important

2011 "perfection"
I'll be honest, last year's photos scared me. Not only did I buy matching outfits for the girls (who am I?) but everyone looked so happy.

I am aware I don't make sense.

I mean, 2011 pictures were ok. It's NO 2009 though. Let's be honest.

Today we went Ohio City Holiday Festival. I hoped, maybe, we'd get to grab a picture with Old Saint Nick. Did I have high hopes for a little less perfection that we found in 2011? Maybe, I did. Would I have preferred tears? No, though I won't say it would have bothered me. Mother of the year, I'm coming for you.

The Holiday Festival was fine, I think (at first), I expected more. To be fair, if you look at the information they said there would be crafts, Santa, and gifts to buy. There were local stands for this & that, one craft and one booth you could decorate cookies. Cute. There were trees for sale, the smell of Christmas. It was nice. But then, in addition to the ability to take a picture with Santa something truly magical happened. Something they should have put on their flyers.

Santa was there, all right. He sung, real songs, many of them. He sung his way into his chair, awaiting the children to tell him their wishes and dreams. But not before he rapped, moon walked, churned butter and did the cabbage patch. 

Good times, had by all. That was until it was time for pictures with Santa. And just like that, tradition continued and the baton was passed.  We'll be back. 2013 I'm looking at you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Slow down, girl.

The last week has been difficult. So much going on, and when it's time to relax and wind down after long days of working these children want to be taken care of. Talked to, fed, loved and such. It's exhausting.

Yesterday, a particularly average trying day. This happened.

Him/"I am done with you, kids."
L/ "I just want a baby brother. Then you can be done, okay."

No pressure. No, not at all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cleveland Rocks - links, pages, promises OH my

We move around, a lot. With each move, I research the areas. Major. I find groups to Meetup groups to join, sign up for newsletters, join Facebook groups, like pages, follow businesses & events on the Twitter. It's never enough, but it's part of the process. I thought, perhaps I could start adding to the resources out there. Can't hurt?

Surely that has to be some other poor fool out there looking for this information? Plus. And let's be honest here: it will (hopefully) motivate me to get down more memories. Because, HELLO? I am posting once a month and my kids are practically driving at this point. I'm missing everything.

{whining voice, you get the point}

I digress.

Here are some links, if you are in the mood for (some Cleveland) love.
Things to do:
But for real? Not a great selection, but there has to be more. So I'm going to find it and I'm going to document it. It's not like I've made a promise like this before, ever.

{sarcastic font with link to prove empty promises}

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gifts for You, Gifts for Me

We usually don't break out the Christmas big guns so early, but after a weekend full of fun with the family, in their absence I wanted to make sure the kids (specifically L) could continue to let the good times roll.

We are huge holiday fans. And each year between me pillaging the clearance aisles and gifts from family we are really putting together a wondrous hodgepodge of Christmas crap spirit. This includes a bunch of music playing tchotchke. Including, but not limited to a piano that plays "Deck the Halls."

L comes out dancing to the jingling and the jangling and with all her Christmas spirit she bursts out:

"I know this song! I LOVE IT. One for you and one for me - you you you me me me - BLACK FRIDAY!"

No, YOU let your kid watch so much television she recognizes a song that dates back to the 16th century as a Target commercial. 

Consider this my application for Mother of the Year.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sound bites

I keep meaning to get these all down, but before I forget, I'll give you a few to chew on (see what I did there?).


The kid has started to attend a sign language class at the local libary. I love her enthusiasm, but let's be honest. It seems a bit aggressive? Don't you think?

The other day, I picked the kid up early from school. I took a half day, and we were off to Daddy's work for a little Fall Festival. We were parked, while she changed into her Halloween costume. I got a work call and despite having taken the day off - I still didn't want the kid yapping in the back so I waved at her to be quiet, doing the "SHH" angry face with the finger in front of my mouth, continuing to wave her back - to be quiet.

I got off the phone. Before we went on our way, this happened:

Me: "L, what do you think I mean when I wave around like a looney toon and silently tell you to SHH?"
L: "To stop talking, but Mama - that's great. I didn't know you knew sign language. When'd ya learn that?"


I worked late the other night, so when I joined the kid & the ball&chain on the couch, she had taken - my spot. You know the one. The one, which is yours.

I asked her, nicely, to move over.

Me, "L, move over - kid. This is my spot. Scoot."
Her, "No, come on! I was here first."
Me, "Here first? I was working! When you get a job & pay your way you can use that argument."
Her, "I DO have a job. I was line leader today."


We went Trick-or-Treating a few days late, and it turns out our time frame was only 6-7:30pm.  They have a cut off in our town. We went out for a strong hour.  After that hour she said, and I quote:

"I think I have enough candy now, let's go home so I can give candy to people!"

What 5 year old thinks a small bag of candy is enough? This kid. This kid is hilarious AND she wants to give candy more than she wants to get candy. Damn, I love this kid. Now, if only of the candy she got this year there were more of my favorites in there.

Where she gets her generosity? I honestly don't have a clue.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Bug & the Beast

Halloween is delayed here this year. We'll trick-or-treat on Sunday. Maybe I'll have more pictures, but who knows. It's anyone's guess.  We have a long standing history of our love for Halloween. I mean, normally we're all - we are going to match, it's going to be epic.

This year, we were going to all be bugs. I envisioned some kind of "We're buggin out" holiday card. L wanted a butterfly, and we were going to have JJ get into that adorable ladybug costume, since the ball&chain staunchly refused to be a lady bug. Seriously. HOW funny would that have been?  I was going to be a bee and he was going with beetle or lightening bug. Instead? I couldn't find the lady bug costume, and needed to figure out a plan B.

We did the only thing we could do. If she couldn't talk what would she want to be?

A lion.

She growls & roars. All the time. And she's a beast. Boom. Adorable lion, order UP.

2012, Halloween, I give you. The bug & the beast. Plan B? Rocks.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why I hate moving. Epilogue

  • After 2 or 3 (I honestly can't remember at this point) attempts, the water line to my beloved ice machine, works (however slowly). During the process of getting it fixed, the first time - when water was pouring all over my basement the following things happened:
    • I called in 3x because the first time, I was dropped into a voice mail box I have no idea who it was. I left a weird message that went a little like, "Hi, my name is XYZ and I don't know who you are because of the terrible customer service representative I just spoke with. I live at ABC and this morning a water line was installed which is now spraying all over my basement. And when I say spraying, it sounds like a little sprinkle but there is a monsoon happening in my basement I can't get it to stop and someone needed to get here ASAP."  The second time, I was outraged and may or may not have been screaming like a lunatic and one point said something like, "SAVE your apologies. I don't want to hear SORRY, I want to hear that someone will get here because at the rate the water is coming down my entire inventory of storage will be ruined." To which the "customer service representative" said I could fill out a claims form, if that happened. TO which I said, "Are you f'ing kidding me?" And I didn't say "f'ing" and I promptly got hung up on. The third time I called in I was eerily calm, was put on hold and while on hold someone called me back - must have been from the first message I left. I'm not sure, I don't care. 
    • Interesting fact? Sears never did survey me on my experience. Spoiler alert: terrible.

  • The Internet was eventually fixed, after 3 or 4 attempts (I honestly can't remember at this point). I've had a decreased of solicitation calls, because I went cray cray and was provided a new number that they can't guarantee will stay off a radar, because I don't want to pay for a private number but it's better.  To say I was a crazy lady with them? Understatement.
    • A "fun" exchange during my rampages phone calls to these "customer service representatives" (see also: TERRIBLE) included this gem. I was calling in to report that my Internet was indeed out, again. I explained for the who knows how many time all the back and forth, people coming out, waiting for days, etc. I explained that I had been a satisfied customer for long than I had been a customer receiving service and wanted to know the process for canceling at this point. I explained I worked from home and not having Internet is negatively impacting my day. While the over done apologies do nothing for me, I suppose I would prefer that over this person's response: "Well. Does your television work though?" My response? "I do NOT know. I don't get paid to watch TV, so right now I'm at my computer trying to do my JOB. Perhaps you'd like to try doing the same?"
    • Disclaimer: Having worked in customer service I do my best to be the better part of some one's day. I am (usually) kind, understanding, sympathetic. I try to make a joke where I can. That said: provide terrible customer service? Step aside, shit is about to get real.

  • I'm not quite sure how I avoided an aneurysm or ulcer based on U-verse and Sears. I suppose there is a point in the "win" column somewhere in there. Seriously, top 5 worst customer service.

  • I got a mirror for the driveway, one that you can see on both sides to avoid crashing into the porch. My husband thought I was being silly for buying such a thing (such things are not cheap). I used it every day and it has saved my car from damage... until he recently backed into it and broke in a million pieces. Ah 7 years of bad luck, like that's what we need. I mention this, because I would just like to point out, for the record: while I notoriously have a terrible sense of depth and if anyone is going to swipe a car or back into something - you would have thought me. I'd like the record to show: the ball & chain has been the one, the ONLY ONE, playing bumper cars in the driveway. He makes fun of me for being all nervous about it, careful, slow, etc- but guess who hasn't cracked up anything in our driveway? This girl, right here.

  • Eventually they found our overflow truck. It arrived the day that our flight was booked for a trip to the Northeast to attend a wedding. His suit and my dress (and shoes) were somewhere in one of the 30 boxes delivered. I found them. It was a Christmas Miracle. 
30 boxes in the overflow truck. 3 items needed to be found for flight in 3 hours.
The "best" & most successful game of "needle in a hay stack" ever played.

We've been here, at the time I'll (finally) publish this post for 3 months. We are getting settled, pictures are being put up, boxes are disappearing one by one. We're getting there. We have a few visitors planned. It's coming together. Don't tell the kid though, because she feels it too and I try to say I don't - but the truth is? I miss STL. I'm looking forward to when that wears out and things start to feel all wonderful here, but I don't know. 3 months in, I'm starting to think it won't happen. I don't hate it here, it's just not the same.  It's probably why I haven't had much to say here. I'm in this now not so secret hole of mourning, still. But I'm going to dust myself off and try to move past it, because we are here and it's time to start enjoying it and finding the love - and stop comparing it all to what we've lost. It sounds so dramatic, I know - but that's because it feels dramatic. Sigh. But hopefully? With the holidays (and I'm obviously talking about Halloween) coming up fast & furious it's just a matter of time where I will be smacking you over the head with cuteness. Because for real? It's what we do.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why I hate moving. Part II

Week of September 19th – Move IN week

The after week one, there was another week of hell moving. Let's just start with day one, shall we? 

  1. Ohio has readily available Dunkin Donuts. The Target I had put in the GPS I drove to doesn't exist. It started out, Ohio - 1, me - 1
  2. Despite me asking "do the tvs need to be here" & getting the "no prob" the AT&T U-verse guy came to install, and cannot. Ohio - 2, me - 1
  3. Then, when I thought the day couldn't get any worse (see no Internet until our TV arrived, and not TVs, because if you recall - that's in the overflow truck and who knew when that would come (see foreshadowing): a rabid deer almost successfully committed suicide using my car her weapon of choice. Ohio - 3, me - 1. Since not successful maybe me - 2?

    Now, that was Monday, what did the rest of the week look like? 

  1. It was lovely that we had movers - but it's like when you are public speaking & you don't know what to do with your hands. There's nothing I can do until they were done. I couldn't sit on the couch, that seemed weird, so I've literally walked around in circles all day.

  2. When I wasn't walking around in circles, I stuck my foot in my mouth. Like when I accidentally commented on how hot it is. While a mover was balancing 3 boxes on his back & I carried a coffee & my phone.

  3. Now, remember, my week started with no Internet. Since the Internet couldn’t be set up, I spent my week driving back and forth to Starbucks to fulfill some work obligations. One night, until 10 pm.  Let's just say, the people of the 'bucks  really had my well being in their hands. They SAY they gave me decaf.... but really? Who is to say?

    Side note: when I wasn't at Starbucks, where I saw shady ass deals going on - who knew that loan sharks did business over a venti latte machio-whats they call it? I was at Panera. One afternoon, while wa
    iting to get on a conference call, my "friendly" neighbor dropped F bombs like it was his J O B or he wanted me to lose mine. Luckily he left right before I needed to be unmuted.

  4. I ended up needing to take the remainder of the work week off, due to not having internet. Lucky to have the ability to do so? Absolutely? Irritated that I have to? 
  5. Note to self/ just because you see an old crusty dryer, one shouldn't assume you can slide your new one in. Gas vs. electric apparently it's a big difference. Who knew?

  6. And then, and then, this happened.  This really is the pièce de résistance. It even beat the flat tire on the brand new car as we were leaving the home we love: They.lost.our.TRUCK.

    Commentary: Are you freaking kidding me? I'll see your lost luggage and raise you a lost moving truck of "overflow." WHO does that EVEN happen to?

  7. What's worse than a stinky diaper? One packed away & discovered days later.

  8. And yes, while it took 24 hours to realize it: we realized we didn't have hot water. We had to watch a YouTube video, cause we’ve never done this before. It’s how we do.

  9. I was a hott mess for days, beyond the day I didn't know we didn't have hot water. One afternoon, as I walked into Walmart it occurs to me- if I showed up on the People of Walmart site I would t be shocked.

  10. And then, the day Internet installation was happening (a week. it was painful), so was Kindergarten registration. To say I was emotional?  Understatement. Then, and of course, the Internet installation guy took so long it ran up against my appointment to register.  He was blocking me. Fist in the air.

    Commentary: You might say, just have him move his car. Nothing, if you haven't noticed is that easy because, you see, we live ON a highway so coming in or out of the driveway is a shit show. Fine, it's not a highway, but it's close. 

  11. Then there was the time I had to return to Home Depot (not close) to exchange the keys they had made for me -  because of course, they didn't work.

  12. Good news? I had to go back to Home Depot anyway, so it wasn't an extra trip to get food for our guests. Bad news? The guests were a colony of ants times a million.

  13. Then, days later I remember I left my beloved necklace at the hotel we were just at.

    Commentary: it's just recently (5 weeks in the Cleve) that I finally got the official word that it's lost/gone/stolen/thrown out. SAD.

  14. Annnnnd then, our Internet went down (& Tv/phone).... Until a technician can come out. That's as short lived as it comes. We then spent DAYS with and without Internet. Wasn't it adorable when the original installation man said a wireless connection to my work computer would have no issues? God.damn.liar.

    Commentary: And then to add to my AT&T U-verse hatred? Apparently you have to pay for a private phone number. Since that's crazy, I didn't sign up to pay for yet another thing (like Internet/cable/phone that don't work), I started to get 8-10 solicitation calls. A day. Good news? The calls meant the phone / Internet / cable was working. Bad news? solicitation calls? For the rest of the day I wasn't battling error messages. It.Was.NOT.Awesome. I did the math: I had
    been a customer for 3 days and issues with service for 1 week.

  15. We came to this house without a refrigerator. Cause the thing we needed most was to go up and down to the basement every time we needed the fridge. Do you have any idea how often you need to get to the fridge with two kids?

  16. If I told you that the water line they installed when they did finally deliver our fridge bust & won't shut off. Would you believe me?

    Commentary: Water.everywhere.

  17. I've told my husband every day to be careful in the driveway. Every day he tells me to relax. Within one week he swiped the side of my car into the wall.

    Related: based on my yelling pretty sure my neighbors think I'm crazy. Can't say I blame them. 

And that's it. That's the "short" story of our long journey to the Cleve. Crazy town? Yes. Will likely be repeated in 1-3 years? Absolutely. Will I survive it? Most likely, no.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why I hate moving. Part I

Edit to note: I understand this is way late. It's important to our story. It's a major chapter, and may explain why Ive been so busy. This is just one week. How could I not take weeks to recover?
Now that I’ve gone all rainbows, unicorns, and happiness – let’s get down to brass tax. For any “normal” person, moving sucks. For me? The laws of “Murphy’s Law” do not apply. It’s Murphy’s Law on steroids – and the ranging violent, aggressive behavior and mood swings of steroids. Wait, is there a plus side to steroids? I digress. Here’s a list of all the shit that went down over the course of the move (give or take a week. 7 days, people, with one exception).  If you follow me on twitter, this may all be a review, but due to character limits I now have the ability to provide my commentary.

It’s like a DVD extra disc extra, get excited.

Week of September 13th – Move week
  1. Move, so we start it off right, by movers pushing UP pack day. Yeah, that's not inconvenient at all.

    Commentary: When we moved the first time, we lived in a house with ½ the square footage as the one we moved into in St. Louis. We had 2 days to pack, 2 days to load with 4 people each day. When we were told it would take 1 day to pack and 1 day to load, we questioned this and asked, specifically (side note: word of this whole post is SPECIFICALLY) “are you sure that’s enough (insert reasoning)” and was told “more people will come.” A day before we are scheduled to have the crew arrive, they look at the paperwork and realize that they need more time.
  2. Tuesday I get a call that the kid fell at the playground and she is swelling, fast.

    Commentary: While nothing was “broken” I’m fairly sure it was severely sprained – if not in that moment of falling off the monkey bars, in the daily (if not multiple times a day) falls she executed on. She wiped out, seriously, at least once a day through out the rest of this post. I am not exaggerating. Fell on wet floors, dry floors, up stairs, down stairs, flat land, into walls and doors – it.was.CRAZY.TOWN.

  3. The movers arrived, and while the last round of people MOVED fast, these people were light speed. Within 4 hours, they got 98% of the house done. The second day went just as fast. They told us, while originally the move in date was the following week (Monday - Friday), they now anticipate a Saturday (the day after they leave with our stuff) move in. That’d be great, if not for the fact that we were planning on arriving into Cleveland on SUNDAY (the day after they’d be there).

  4. Wake up times began at 5 am. For over a week. Perhaps this is why I wake up grouchy. This does not include JJ's sleep "schedule." See NON-schedule.

  5. My schedule was so jacked up, my check list of to dos so long, one night I called and ordered dinner. Cause it was on my to do list. Issue? It was only 4pm.

  6. There is a part of cluster frames, Pinterest doesn't show you.

  7. Our movers apparently didn’t noticed the one year old.

    Commentary: How do I know? Evidence. Everywhere. Including tiny little choking hazards as far as the eye COULD see. Including pest little one year olds.

  8. Our cable box cords got packed.  So for a few days, sure I was annoyed that I'd be hit with fines.  Mostly that I had no DVR or OnDemand. It felt like camping.

  9. The movers came, and in addition to not thinking they will make the Saturday estimate (relief felt for approximately 1 hour) - they realize their truck is not big enough. They are going to need a bigger boat truck.

  10. In the rush to pack as much as they possibly could, the first casualty of the day came in the way of the tv in our au pair’s room (22 years old). One of the movers informed us of the broken television by letting us know, “I dropped your daughter’s tv.”

    Commentary: I look old enough to have a 22 year old. FML.

  11. The overflow truck came and the entire time - they complained. 

    Commentary: They didn’t realize how much stuff we had (me, in my head: dude, I’ve heard this before - that’s why you are HERE).  They didn’t have the right equipment, blah blah blah.

  12. Before they left - the driver had me sign for the overflow truck. I noticed, over his shoulder two televisions still remained on my floor. At that point? He tells me he can’t take the televisions and can’t I bring it with me. To say I lost my shit, is an understatement. Homeboy did NOT know what hit him - and the cursing I did made the crew blush. The televisions found their way onto the truck. Shocking.
  13. I tried to fix one of the many walls we holed up, and made it worse. I had to run to Home Depot hours after we should have been done in the house to work it out.

  14. That night, the ball & chain took the kids and I finished cleaning the house while I broke down. Sitting in an empty room, on the floor I ate chicken cutlet leftovers (like an animal). 

  15. And just, when I'm about to break? My lovely neighbors brought me over a plate of food. And I proceeded to cry. And broke.

  16. The meal that broke me.
  17. That night, the baby got ice cream ALL OVER the only sweatshirt we have for days. No dish soap, but I feel like logistically putting it in the dishwasher could work. I did, kind of.

  18. More than one person (seriously, like 3 or 4) said, "You're moving to Cleveland? That SUCKS!" We were with 2 small children present.

  19. We left St. Louis and immediately got a flat tire. On my brand new car. If I didn’t take a picture, I feel like it didn’t happen. Or you wouldn’t believe me, I almost don’t believe me.

  20. We got to our hotel, Sunday night and was told that it is over booked and we most likely wouldn’t have a room the following night.

    Commentary: We did, but still. The threat was there.

  21. Due to the amount of clothes we could pack (in a car with 3 adults, 2 kids, and a dog) we had to laundry at the hotel NIGHTLY.

    Commentary: We planned on doing it once, but for reasons beyond my control we did it NIGHTLY. One night? Someone switched my laundry for me. At a hotel. Am I so jaded I think that's more weird than nice???

  22. The first morning out of St. Louis, the kids slept until 8:15 am. That was great, until we realized we switched time zones and we hadn’t slept late at all.

  23. During our Indianapolis to Cleveland run, there were rest stops at every exit. At one point, the kid said she had to go to the bathroom. It was pouring rain, and no rest stops - for 20 minutes. Let’s just say, that would be our unforeseen laundry catalyst. 
Seriously. That was one week. There was more. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

20* questions. V1

All across the world wide web there are great interviews with kids, and it's done once a year. And most of them are "20 questions" which makes total sense, but I just can't decide which questions to cut, because I cannot wait to see how this all changes throughout the year. So basically? 28 is the new 20.

I'll attempt to keep up but we have all seen this movie.
  1. What is your favorite color? Green, why are you doing that?
  2. What is your favorite toy? Legos.
  3. What is your favorite food? Pepperoni pizza
  4. What is your favorite fruit? Grapes.
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Um. I think. Pancakes.
  6. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Salami rolls. (translation: roll ups)
  7. What is your favorite snack? Cheese & crackers. 
  8. What is your favorite drink? JUICE! I didn't want to say chocolate milk.
  9. What is your favorite tv show? Um. Ummm. The Lorax.
  10. What is your favorite outfit? A dress. My leopard one.
  11. What is your favorite game? Cluck cluck. She actually means: Cluck 'n' chuck.
  12. What is your favorite animal? Giraffe.
  13. What is your favorite song? You don't you're beautiful.
  14. What is your favorite book? Horton Hatches an Egg by Dr. Seuss
  15. Who is your best friend? You mean, today? Mirella. I shoulda said Jay'anna.
  16. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play with my helicopter.
  17. What is your favorite holiday? Happy Halloween!
  18. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? My teddy bear. 
  19. What do you want to be when you grow up? A zoo keeper.
  20. What's your favorite thing about school? Computer lab!
  21. What makes you happiest? When you rub my back.
  22. What are you scared of? Bats!
  23. What is the one thing you want to try this year? Go to outer space.
  24. Where in the world would you like to go? Mexico
  25. What is the best thing about being 4? Hmmm. I like, when I was 4. We went to the zoo.
  26. What makes you excited about being 5? Being AWESOME.
  27. What is your favorite thing to do? When we go on the roller coaster.
  28. What do you like most about our family? Playing in my room.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dear baby girl, 

Septembers 2007 - 2012
You are five years old. Five years old and a few days.  WHAT? I cannot even believe it (you say that a lot). You are brilliant. No, seriously. You are supa shmart.  You are funny, you love to "do" accents - but you are horrible at it, like yo mama.  You are caring, sensitive, the best.little.girl.ever. But you aren't a little girl, I swear you are tween (in the best way possible).  Holy crow, you are a good freaking kid. You love your sister so incredibly. It's almost unbelievable. 

Good lord, you can talk. You used to not talk, we were told we'd need some early intervention - that we needed someone to help you learn how to talk. And then? All of a sudden? You.wouldn't.stop.  And I love it. Though sometimes, if I'm being entirely honest, Mama could stand for a break, girl. 

Your hugs? Are ridiculous.  You are our (one of) everything. With your ridiculous laugh, and your loving heart, and your smart little self. You are beautiful. Inside and out. And hope for you, my little bug, that one day and everyday you know this. And when you don't? We'll be here to remind you. 

Love you much. Love you always.
Mama, Daddy & JJB (& Abelle, too)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Settling In

Gah. I have so much to write about, but where to begin?  I still have the shit show that was our move in drafts. It's too God damn long, because it was that much of a show.  We've been here for 4+ weeks, pretty soon we'll have been here for as long as we knew we were coming here. Not that that is saying much.  We're settling in, one box at a time. For the love, the boxes are never ending. We are getting there though.

There are so many things I heart about this place.

Our backyard is beautiful; it's the perfect size. It's big enough to be able to hang out and play but small enough where it is manageable. Sure, I wouldn't hate on a fence, but what can you do? We have a great deck, with built in benches and a boat sandbox turn planter that I am in love with. Oh, and the weather here? It's.GLORIOUS. Sure, at times I may or may not be freezing - but I have yet to give into these strange, foriegn feelings.  I keep those windows open and put the kids in layers. It's been a year since we've been able to keep the windows open and I'm not ready to give in. 

Throughout the house there are tiny little doors, that for the most part, don't open. But I love them just the same.  In the kitchen we have a non-working, built-in old school fridge. It's perfect for storage and just so freaking neat. And the details like the lighting fixtures, brick fireplaceS, and layout (sometimes) make up for the fact that said fireplace(s) don't work (I KNOW) and there isn't nearly enough light at night. But natural light? During the day, there is no shortage of light.  Most walls are 90% windows. It's becoming, (slowly but surely) our (new) home.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Time travel, in real(ish) time

Ok. I'm ready to start talking about how my BABY is in Kindergarten. See also: holy.shit.
How did we go from that to this?

Here's what happened: we lived in the Northeast and because of the kid's birthday (end of September), she was in this weird purgatory where we could choose go to enroll her into Kindergarten for 2012 or 2013. The truth is: when we talked about it, we were always planning on a 2012 enrollment. Why? She's ready.  She's been ready.  More than being smart (and she's smart) she's (just about) the tallest kid it any circle she is in, she gravitates to the older kids, and always thrives with the oldest cats.Why would we hold her back? {insert argument for "redshirting" here. And then my favorite, nobody eeevvver regrets holding a child back.}

We moved to St. Louis and due to her birthday, the only choice was a 2013 enrollment.  We talked about sending her to private Kindergarten (spending money for cutting & the alphabet = because we knew we'd (eventually) be going back to the Northeast. Ultimately, all the reasons "nobody eeeever regrets holding a child back" are valid. She'd be the oldest, hopefully a bit more mature, and with more time - a bit ahead of the game when it comes to academics.

Who am I kidding? Forget the report card. I was thinking with more year, maybe she'd be less susceptible to peer pressures (pipe dream). I'm sure all the reasons that have to do with keeping a kid back, academically, have merit - but I wanted to hold her back to give her a year to grow (some confidence. Chutzpah. Balls. whatever).  She tends to be a people pleaser, more of a follower than a leader.  I know she's only four years old, but I believe her personality will have a red thread in it now - that will carry on throughout her life. Why not hold her back to give her more time? 

The bottom line: she's ready. I'm not ready. I can't hold her back because I'm nervous her 14 year old self will get sucked into an after school special with mean older girls and peer pressures that if only she was 1 year older she would have been able to handle {insert spiral of convoluted story that only I follow anyway}.

I was talking a friend about the move, before we left. She asked how I was doing, I said "fine, but freaking out..." and then explained the whole birthday cut off situation and how in addition to dealing with moving in 5 weeks, a few days after we arrive - the kid starts Kindergarten. I told her how I was freaking out, but I was getting better.  I laid out the whole birthday cut offs, St. Louis vs. Cleveland, etc, etc. I explained how I envisioned her preteen years and how I was being unreasonable and needed to relax. Her response?

" You're telling me her WHOLE life has changed, by this move? She's lost an entire year of her life! It's as if she had a personal day light savings time. Her life has been forever altered!"

To which I promptly had a silent panic attack. 

:: fast forward ::

A few days after we moved, I registered her for Kindergarten. The Friday before school began (Monday). Nothing says prepared like the day before school starts, signing your kid up for school. The thing of it was, while we were in Cleveland a few days prior to the day I registered, you have to make an appointment and needed specific paperwork to register. Friday was the soonest I could get in.

While I think the final count was 8 pieces of documentation, that ranged from proof of birth to proof of residency - I made sure I didn't waste any time. I brought every single piece of identifying paperwork I have. Passports, insurance, school loan paperwork, Baptism records, marriage certificate, car titles, warranties, etc - if I have it, it was with me. 
Kindergarten registration was not going to get the best of me.

I walked in, fighting back tears (as you do), and got the job done.  Before the tears began though, as I walked in with my accordion folder, I was made.

"First child to go to Kindergarten, huh?"

I don't know what gave it away. The foot-wide folder of documentation, the fear in my heart, or the near tear eyes.

My first child is in Kindergarten. And not only is she ready, she's thriving. My little girl is blowing cutting and the alphabet out of the water. Me? I'm taking it one day at a time.
(c) 2007 all rights reserved. aka don't be a D and swipe any content, photos, etc - sucka. Should you be tempted, let me know so I can be flattered and then give me something write about.