Archives for November 2005

I’m Frustrated

I don’t even feel like trying to be witty or cute today. I am frustrated! I’ve been working from home since Pumpkin’s birth, and it seems like it’s been one thing after another that my company has said or done to make me feel so mad at them – when I opted to go part time, I was told I could keep my insurance benefits. Last Monday, I received a letter in the mail saying my benefits had been terminated! I spent all last week trying to get someone from Human Resources to give me an answer – and finally at the end of the week, I was told, “It’s been resolved, we’ll give you a call on Tuesday.”

It’s Tuesday.

Do you know what the resolution is?

I DON’T GET BENEFITS BECAUSE I’M ONLY PART TIME. Mind you, they told me previously that I could keep my benefits, even at part time, but now I can’t. HR was then gracious enough to tell me that I could have them back if I returned to full time. I asked the woman, “How am I supposed to do that – you’ve given my job away!” They still owe me a job description, and I’ll be gosh-darned if I’m gonna agree to come back full time blindly, as I don’t even know what my job entails on a part-time level. I told the woman, “I have enough work for 20 hours a week — I won’t agree to 40 hours without knowing what my job is.”

Frankly, it’s cheaper for me to find alternate insurance than to pay for the girls to be in daycare full time so I can have company sponsored benefits.

I swear, I’ve just been so frustrated. It’s like a game of hot potato where my boss hands me off to HR, who tries to hand me off to the VP of Marketing (who was apparently supposed to call me last week, but surprise! He didn’t!). I’m so tired of it.

My husband tried to tell me tonight to quit – but as much as I hate the drama, I do like what I have been working on (of course, who knows when those projects might get taken away from me and given to my replacement who can barely tie his own shoes), and I like knowing that I’m contributing financially to our family.


Okay. I’m done venting now. I’ll try to be witty and cute next time.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It occurred to me today while I was out for my walk (in short sleeves no less… in mid-November!!!) that my neighborhood really isn’t all that bad. It’s funny, when we moved back to this town, this rinky-dinky small town where my husband and I both went to school, it was with a bit of reluctance. It’s a small town – and we had both been living in bigger cities for the years prior to our return. Our first few years in this neighborhood were pretty uneventful – I was pregnant with The Princess when we moved here in 2002.

For some reason, I never really got a chance to meet many people in our neighborhood. Initially, our next door neighbor to our left was a girl I went to high school with (and didn’t much care for) and on the right was (and is) a weirdish older guy with vicious dogs that charge at us when we walk by their house.

Most of the moms in my neighborhood stay home, and because I went back to work after the birth of The Princess, I never got a chance to know them, and in fact, felt I had nothing in common with them.

Something changed though.

Through my pregnancy with Pumpkin, I still maintained my daily walks. No one ever much said anything to me, though at that point, there were a handful of people in our neighborhood that I stopped and talked to. Yet, once Pumpkin was born, when we got home from the hospital, we had neighbors making us hot, home-cooked meals every other night, for our first three weeks! People who I had only seen around, but never officially “met” were coming by with enchiladas or lemon pepper chicken and various other goodies – to be neighborly, to welcome our newest addition, and to carry on what I’ve since been told is a neighborhood tradition.

It’s been awesome. Now, with Pumpkin closing in on four months old and me working from home, I know darn near everyone in the neighborhood. Since she’s been born, people have joked to me, “Well, we saw you walking and one day you were pregnant, and the next day you were pushing the stroller!” It’s funny to find out these people who I never spoke to noticed me, because sometimes you kind of get in that zone of feeling invisible around your neighbors.

Today, while I was walking, I waved or said hi to several people. It’s kind of a nice feeling. It’s taken three years, but this is finally a neighborhood that I enjoy.

President of Oprah’s Fan Club

My fear, when I reduced my work hours, and went to working 20 hours per week from home, was that I would get sucked into all the daytime television stuff, and not be able to get any work done. In the past, if I’ve been home for a holiday or vacation day, I’ve found that I could watch TLC’s “A Baby Story” nearly all day if it’s on.

I’ve never been a soap opera fan and am easily able to glide right past ’em when channel surfing. I even skip Dr. Phil (though I think that has more to do with my husband once having some dream/nightmare that I cheated on him w/ Dr. Phil, and now I don’t even dare watch – because heaven forbid he think I’m drooling over that weirdo!). But I cannot, cannotmiss Oprah.

I’ve noticed, since I’ve been home, that I start a lot more sentences with: “So I was watching Oprah the other day…”

The woman does some amazing stuff. This year, she’s on a campaign to find and capture accused child molesters. She’s paying $100K for people who call the FBI with hints that lead to the capture of these gruesome people. I know a lot of people hate Oprah – but come on, how can you find fault with that?

The show that sticks in my mind lately is one that was on about two weeks ago – Leonardo DiCaprio was on, as well as some smarty-pants from Princeton (who, go figure, I have never heard of and whose name I can’t remember). They were talking about globall warming, and how the way we live these days is making the planet do all this whacky stuff (Hurricane Katrina, anyone?). Man, it freaked me out. Since I watched it, I’ve been trying to figure out how to recycle nearly every bit of garbage I generate, using paper instead of plastic, and walking around the house shutting off lights when people leave the room. Sigh. I’m also ready to get rid of my gas-guzzling SUV and get a Prius. Literally, I feel so guilty that I’m ready to go out and get those new lightbulbs, and I’m hardly driving anywhere anymore lest my gas guzzling SUV pollute the air with more emissions…

Life was so much easier when I was just watching TLC.

Some Random Thoughts…

My Point Exactly! I sent Hubby and The Princess to Starbucks for me yesterday on their way home from dropping off Hubby’s son (my stepson, who I don’t yet have a nickname for) at school. Hubby placed my order (Grande, decaf, nonfat sugarfree vanilla cap if you were curious) and the barrista said to him, “Is this for your wife? Did she just have a baby a few months ago?” Turns out it was Allie – who knows my order – even when I’m not the one placing it! Hee hee hee!

And A Birthday… My stepson is 10 years old today… Eight more years til he’s 18!

Whatta Way to Spend My Day. I have to go up “to town” to train our external customer service staff today – I’m not looking forward to it. Seems like every three months, the service center has nearly complete staff turnover, and instead of the “survivors” teaching the “newbies” all the way of the world, they sort of let these newbies try to figure it out! That’s all I can figure, because it seems like I have these quarterly meetings, telling these folks the same thing every time. I’m frustrated, but it’s part of the job (I think, because I have no job description, so who knows what my job really is!)

And Tomorrow… My company is having its factory clearance sale. Think I’m going to take Hubby and the Kids so they can see how nuts it goes when the doors open – people flood in to buy discounted furniture. It’s hilarious.

Have a great day everyone. Maybe I’ll be more interesting tomorrow.

The Potato Incident

I am a carb freak – love my carbs… bread, potatoes, pasta – bring it on. So how do I have a kid that doesn’t like potatoes? The Princess – who loves potatoes in its mutated forms (mashed, fried, hash browns), won’t eat just potatoes. She turns her nose up at baked potatoes, and last night, she refused to eat (in a very big way) out-of-the-box, hardly even real, au gratin potatoes.

I have known since before I had children that I was never gonna be a “clean your plate” kind of mom. I don’t agree with that, and it’s not my style. Hubby and I both are pretty much of the “try a bite” school — try ONE bite (or two, or three, depending on our mood), and if you don’t like it – well, case closed. For that day anyway.

So, when we told the Princess that she had to eat one itsy bitsy tiny bite of au gratin potatoes, we really didn’t figure it was going to be a big deal.

Boy, were we mistaken.

She basically pitched a fit for over 20 minutes about this miniscule bite of fakey potatoes. We even threw in a threat – “We’re all having pudding for dessert – if you try a bite, you can have some too.” We even gave her an easy out: “If you don’t like it, you can spit it right back out.” But, she wouldn’t eat the darn thing. We weren’t backing down on this one (though we sure wanted to – I could have done so many other things in the time it took to get her to eat that freakin’ potato).

In the end, it was good ol’ dad who got her to eat it. I don’t even know what made The Princess back down after all that fuss she made. She put this itty bitty sliver of potato in her mouth. She promptly spit it out into his waiting hand. I think all told, the potato was in her mouth maybe 1.5 seconds.

And for that she got a bowl of pudding bigger than her head.

Isn’t parenthood wonderful?

I Am Soooooooo Addicted

I’m addicted to Starbucks.

There. I’ve said it. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

Before I was pregnant for Pumpkin, I went to Starbucks every Monday morning on my way to work, and sometimes I’d make one or two more stops that week. I tried so hard to limit myself to one cappuccino per week (those things are expensive, ya know?!). I went to the same Starbucks every time – so frequently that the barristas knew my order, and would start making it when they would see me. To some, that means I go to Starbucks TOO MUCH.

I didn’t think so until during my pregnancy for Pumpkin, and in those early days, even the smell of coffee just turned my stomach. I couldn’t bear the thought of even going near the place… so I didn’t, for at least two months. When I finally was able to go back without the nausea, they were so surprised to see me, and even asked, “WHERE have you been?!”

The barristas at my Starbucks of choice, Pat and Allie, followed my entire pregnancy, and when I went in with Pumpkin when she was two weeks old, they even came out of the kiosk to hug me! My husband was looking at me and leaned over and whispered, “She just hugged you!” One of the girls started making my drink, and even asked if I still needed decaf! (My husband later said, “Okay, you do go to Starbucks too much!”)

Now that I’m working at home, I don’t get my Starbucks fix nearly often enough. I shamelessly offered to get coffee for our bridesmaid dress fitting on Saturday, and was really looking forward to it for days – not only the shopping, but the coffee. How pathetic is that? I went in, and Allie was surprised to see me, but merely asked, “Still on decaf?” I nodded yes, and she proceeded to make my cap.

Sigh – there are so few simple pleasures in life. Starbucks is one of mine. Sigh.

There’s a First Time for Everything…

I’ve finally seen it – a beautiful bridesmaid dress. Actually, yesterday, I saw several, and believe me, I’m stunned.

I’m not the kind of person who has been in tons of weddings – I’ve been in two… and one of them was my own.

The first wedding I was in was when I was 18, the bride was just barely 20 and the marriage was a mistake waiting to happen [Note: If you need a fake ID to drink at your own reception, you are TOO YOUNG to get married!]. Yes, the happy couple has since divorced – I don’t even think they made the two-year mark – but boy oh boy, those bridesmaid dresses were HIDEOUS. The matron of honor was about 8-1/2 months pregnant at the time of the wedding, so the bride’s goal was to find something flattering to her figure (as someone who has has two babies, I can tell you the efforts were in vain, because there is not much that flatters a nearly nine-months pregnant figure!). The dress was this black damask-like fabric, with a weird white lace overlay at the top. Ick.

Do I know where the dress is now? No. I couldn’t even sell it for a buck at a garage sale… It’s probably sitting in a Good Will store, still unsold after all these years.

Yesterday, a group of us went shopping for a bridesmaid dress for a dear friend’s wedding. My friend who is getting married has a pretty keen fashion sense (I’m not just saying that because I know she reads this!), and I so do not, so I was kind of worried that I would pick out something and everyone would say “Ewwwwwwww!” or vice versa! There were four of us trying on dresses (with the bride-to-be graciously holding the napping Pumpkin), and fairly easily narrowed it down to two dresses. I honestly wouldn’t think it’d be that easy to find two VERY DIFFERENT styles that would flatter us all so well, but we did. In the end we picked a gorgeous strapless gown that is going to really look elegant and sophisticated (Note to the bride: My hubby so kindly teased me when I said it was strapless, “So, you’re gonna nurse Pumpkin ’til May, aren’t you?” Just what I’d been joking about all day!).

It was a wonderful day and I had a wonderful time, and I can’t wait for more wedding activities (I love wedding stuff ALMOST as much as I love baby stuff!).

Mommy Don’t Play That!

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C. my mom got The Princess a set of paper dolls from the Smithsonian. For some reason, my mom had a bug up her butt about the fact that you just can’t find paper dolls these days. There is a reason for that: Paper dolls are a gigantic pain in the butt.

First of all, these things aren’t perforated at all. Mom got this big book with two paper dolls (their names are Charles and Kate) and all kinds of clothes for them. And ALL of these clothes have to be cut out individually by some lucky soul. This ultimately ends up in a blister from the scissors. I wouldn’t even let my mom send the book home with us. Instead, she cut out one outfit for each of the dolls and sent them home with us, along with the dolls.

The Princess LOVES these things and wants to play with them. Admittedly, I don’t particularly enjoy “play-acting”. I will read books to my kids all day til I’m blue in the face. I’ll go on walks. I’ll bake. But heaven help me if I have to pretend that I’m a talking paper doll.

I finally just blew a mommy-gasket and told the Princess, “I do NOT like playing paper dolls.” My mom was a bit upset at me about that – says, “Paper dolls encourage her creativity.” For those of you who have met The Princess, you’ll realize that if she is lacking in one thing, it most certainly isn’t creativity!

Since I don’t like the dolls, she’s now insisted that I’m her playmate for Dora’s treehouse. She gives me about three Dora the Explorer dolls and tells me that I have to be Dora, Dora’s big sister, and Dora’s mami and she’ll pretend to be Boots, and Boots’ daddy. And it goes on and on and on, til not only am I the three Doras, but I’m also Swiper the Fox, and quite possible Benny the Bull. There is no end.

I so can’t wait until Pumpkin is old enough to play with her big sister!

Call Me Mrs. Fields? Famous Amos?

Since I’ve been working from home, I have a bit more time to do some happy homemaker type of stuff – including baking. I love to bake – love making cookies, brownies, and just treats, in general. In fact, I think I’m pretty good at it (I know, I know, I shouldn’t break my arm patting myself on the back!).

Last week, on two separate occasions, I made treats for my hubby to take to his office. Thursday, he got to take chocolate chip cookie bars (I was too lazy to scoop out individual cookies, so I just spread them in the pan like brownies). On Friday, he got double treats: double peanut butter brownies and chocolate peanut butter chip cookies (The Princess and I got flu shots on Thursday so we treated ourselves afterwards by baking treats – and licking the bowls!). Both days, he came home with rave reviews from his co-workers, and to be honest, I just love getting those kinds of compliments.

Saturday, the Princess and I baked more cookies for our neighbors (had to get the rest of the peanut butter chips out of the house before I ate ’em all!), and my neighbor two doors down asked where I bought them! She said they were as good as mall cookies, and like the big goober that I am, I’ve been riding high on that compliment all week.

Sooooo… tomorrow is Hubby’s last day at his job, so he got a request from a coworker that I bake for them “one last time”. He’ll be taking in chocolate candy crunch cookies (basically a variation on my classic chocolate cookie – only with cut up bits of Butterfinger or Baby Ruth) and pecan caramel sticky buns.

I am so June Cleaver right now, it makes me want to be sick at myself… But I’m having too much fun!

High – Low…

Every evening, The Princess and I do “High-Low” where she tells me the best and least favorite parts of her day. It’s sort of a fun tradition and it’s a great way to be in tune with how her day was, and where things registered on her three-year-old radar.

Every few weeks, we have breakfast for dinner. Waffles, hashbrowns, fruit… a carb fest, for sure, but it’s easy and everyone likes it. Tonight was a “breakfast for dinner” night.

Tonight, when I asked The Princess her high, she said: “Dinner. I like to stick my fingers in the syrup and eat it.” ; – )