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Know When To Fold ‘Em

March 6, 2017

There comes a time in every one’s life where they sometimes just have to admit they can’t do it all. My latest one of those moments came over the weekend. We are in the final stretch of Girl Scout Cookie season. I love doing cookies. It’s stressful, hectic, crazy, annoying and fun all at the same time.

I love seeing the girls grow and learn. I love seeing them figure out the math and make change for customers. I love seeing them grow and mature as they learn to interact with adults who often need to grow and mature themselves.

You see cookie season is not really about delicious thin mints or chocolate, coconut and caramel goodness. Cookie season is about learning. It’s about goal setting. It’s about honing business and marketing skills. It’s about making choices. Cookies teach the girls confidence. Cookies teach the girls about patience. Cookies teach the girls compassion.

cookie-mobile02One of the major tenents of cookie season is goal setting and striving to reach those goals. We talk a lot about realistic goals versus pie in the sky goals. Over the years, the conversation has gotten easier as the girls learn what is realistic and what it not. This year the girls set a combined goal of 1,300 boxes of cookies. Last year they sold a combined 1,355 boxes. We knew this year would be a little tougher because The Husband has been away for work for most of the cookie season. Without a second parent, we cannot divide and conquer as much as usual. So we knew numbers would be down a little bit but the girls were committed to pushing themselves to get what they wanted.

In addition to The Husband being gone, the Big One opted to go to church camp the first weekend of cookie sales. Again, a choice that she made knowing that if at the end we were not at their goals, the Little One got first choice of which incentives she received because she was doing the first big weekend alone.  Again, cookies have taught the girls valuable life lessons this time – making choices, setting priorities and accepting consequences.

As the cookie season rolled on, The Big One got terribly ill. We are still not certain what it was the hit her, but she was wiped out for about 10 days, including missing 5 days of school. (This is a kid who did not miss five days of school total through Kindergarten – 5th grade!) It was a nasty bug.  The Big One clearly does not get sick often, but when she does, boy howdy she does it good. Knowing this, her pediatrician immediately started her on Cleocin, which is the nastiest antibiotic known to man. In case you missed our last time on Cleocin, you can read about that joy here.

That illness put a huge damper on sales because The Husband was out of town so we were homebound for the better part of two weeks. We finally got The Big One’s illness cleared up. The Husband came home and we were rolling again. The Big One is old enough to participate in booth sales alone with just one adult so we divided and conquered for one weekend of sales. There was a glimmer of hope we’d get to their goal.

Then last week The Little one got bands put on in preparation for braces. I know everyone is different and their experiences are different. Well, the Little One, my tough one, was knocked on her butt with these darn bands. She developed nasty canker sores where they are rubbing on her cheeks. And to top it all off, she picked up a nasty bug herself. {I finally took her to urgent care last night and she’s got a sinus infection. So here we go again with antibiotics in this house.}

The Little One, she’s a trooper and despite feeling miserable, she agreed to stay home alone for a couple hours over the weekend while the Big One and I tried to sell some cookies. On Saturday we were rolling along at a great pace selling cookie after cookie and then the bloody nose hit. Yes, the Big One got a bloody nose in the middle of an extremely successful booth sale. We do not leave booth sales early. They are highly coveted spots, especially this late in the season, but there was nothing we could do. Her nose was not cooperating.

So as we got everything loaded into the car, I admit I lost it. I cried the entire way home because I knew the goal was unattainable and I felt like I had let my girls down. How silly is that? Number one, we are talking cookies here not the cure for cancer. Number two, illness, travel for work, bloody noses are all part of life and nothing that I, or anyone else, can control. So why on earth did I feel so responsible for the success of cookie season?

As we got home and talked a little bit more about cookies and goals, we also learned more about negotiating and fairness. The Big One has argued that while yes, the Little One took on the first weekend by herself, she had now taken on this past weekend by herself. She did three booth sales alone while the Little One was sick on the couch. She made some excellent points.

allison-otm02Now as the mom and Chief Referee, I have some tough decisions to make. But again, we are all learning lots of great life lessons this cookie season. So while some of you, and many random strangers, are annoyed with the abundance of cookie sellers that are seemingly everywhere, please remember that it’s really not about peanut butter and chocolate goodness or deliciously tart lemon and powdered sugar confections, it’s really a season about life. We are doing our best to raise responsible, caring, smart, feisty, opinionated, confident people. We are not just peddling over-priced, sugar-filled treats. We are trying our best to teach the girls how to be successful adults.

We appreciate each and every one of you for your role in our cookie season. We love those of you who buy cookie after cookie after cookie. We love those of you who donate to Operation Thin Mint (our program of collecting cash donations in order to purchase and send cookies to deployed troops). And yes, we love those of you who do not buy cookies or make donations. We need all of you to help us to grow and learn.

We’ve got six days left of this madness. Heaven help us to survive it all as we push on. We will most likely not hit their cookie goal, but I hope that the life lessons will be enough. Those lessons will certainly last longer than most of the incentives the girls will receive for their efforts.

Dealing With Those Pesky Girl Scouts

January 30, 2017

cookie-mobileGirl Scouts Cookie sales started for us yesterday, and it’s obvious that many folks in my neighborhood missed my post last year about How to Talk to Girl Scout Cookie Sellers (shocking, I know!). So as a community service, here is a short and sweet rundown on how to deal with those pesky little Girl Scouts asking if you want to buy yummy, delicious Girl Scout cookies:

If you…. Are on a diet and a Girl Scout asks if you want to buy cookies
You can say…. No thank you.

 

If you… Have seriously zero cash
You can say…. No thank you.

 

If you…Are seriously struggling with life and barely making ends meets
You can say… No thank you.

 

If you…. Are diabetic, allergic to sugar, chocolate, gluten, coconut, eggs, cat, dogs, penicillin or peanuts
You can say… No thank you.

 

If you…. Have 4 granddaughters, 13 grand nieces and 3 neighbors all selling cookies too
You can say… No thank you.

 

If you… Think Girl Scouts are evil because they participate in a national event in Washington, DC.
You can say…. No thank you.

 

If you … Are currently burning dinner while trying to change a poopy diaper, while at the same time wrestling with your dog who is destroying your favorite slipper
You can say…No thank you.

 

If you …. Already gave at the office, tithe to your church, volunteer to feed the homeless and buy extra food for animals at the pound
You can say… No thank you.

 

I’m not sure if you notice a theme here or not, but there most definitely is one.

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t mind hearing about your struggles, challenges, allergies and disdain for life in general. Feel free to share your story with us. But please remember there is no reason to be rude, condescending or flat out lie to a child who is simply learning some life skills, while also raising funds so that her troop can have some fun, help people in need and do their part to make the world a better place. YES! A cookie can do all that!

For those of you who constantly support my girls and all the other girls in your neighborhood. We sincerely thank you for being awesome!

 

 

 

 Adventures in Picking-Up Kids

January 27, 2017

bang-headSo the Big One is in junior high now. Today was the first time I needed to get her early from school. She’s going to church camp this weekend, so I need to get her early so they can hit the road and beat the darkness up to the mountains.

In elementary school the early pick-up process is simple. I’d show up, tell the ladies up front that I needed my kid, they filled out the slip and then I’d go retrieve the kid from class.

I assumed that junior high would be a fairly similar procedure. Allow me to share with you how the process actually went:

I entered the main office and was greeted by a friendly woman, who directed me out the side office door around to the attendance clerk. I go out the door, around the building and back inside. As I enter I smile politely at the first woman who greeted me –basically I make a big loop around her desk area.

It’s cool, I get it. The attendance clerk greets me. I explain that I need to pick up my daughter and the conversation goes like this after I spelled the Big One’s name, etc:

ATTENDANCE CLERK:  “Ohhhhh, so you didn’t give her a note to bring in this morning before school?”

FIXITMOMMY:  “Umm, no. I apologize. I wasn’t sure of the procedure. This is my first time!”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “Ooooooo-kkkkkkkkkkkkk well, next time she needs to bring a letter from home to me before school so I can give her the slip and she will just come here when you come to pick her up.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Ok, that’s great information to know. Was it shared at any of the Parent Orientations? I went to three of them and don’t remember hearing about this process.”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “No, we don’t talk about it there.”

FIXITMOMMY: “OK, well my daughter is at lunch so what’s the best way for me to get her?”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “UMMM, let me see. She’s in English right now, so I’ll call the teacher.”

FIXITMOMMY:  After looking at my watch again and confirming that it’s 11:15, “Actually I think she is at lunch still. Doesn’t lunch go until 11:25?”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “Let me tell you how it works. She is still in 4th period. She’s there now, then she has lunch and then goes back to English for 5th period.”  (they have a two-hour English block in 6th grade)

FIXITMOMMY: “Oh, okay. Is it a minimum day schedule or assembly or some special schedule today?”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “No, it’s just a regular day. I’ll call Ms. Duncan now.”

FIXITMOMMY: “OOOOOOO –KKKKKKKKKKKKK”  {Now I am thinking to myself… note I did not verbalize this outloud – YAY for me! – I know how the schedule works, my kid is at lunch. After lunch she has her two-hour English block, but what do I know I am just the stupid mom here.}

ATTENDANCE CLERK: Muttering to herself, “nobody answered….. I’ll go find her myself.”

At this point, the Counselor is listening in. The attendance clerk goes to the Counselor to tell her that she has to go find my child.  And then the Counselor comes over to chat with me.

COUNSELOR: “Ohh, somebody didn’t follow procedures.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Nope, I guess I didn’t.”

COUNSELOR: {hands me a ½ sheet of paper with all the attendance info on it, including the procedure} “Do you have one of these?”

FIXITMOMMY: {looking at a paper that I have never seen before} “No, actually I do not. Umm, were they handed out at any of the Orientations? I went to three of them.”

COUNSELOR: “No, we really should have the attendance clerk there to give a presentation to parents.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Yes, that IS the type of information that really should be provided to parents at the orientation. Was this sent home the first week or school or some other time?”

COUNSELOR: “No, I don’t think we send it home.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Okay, well, I am glad that now I know the procedure. I think the attendance lady went to look for my daughter in English. My daughter is in 6th grade, she is at lunch still.”

COUNSELOR: “Well yes, she would still be at lunch. Ohhhhhhhhhh, ummmmmmm maybe you should just sign the visitor log and go find your daughter.”

FIXITMOMMY:  “Sounds like a plan. Thank you for the information”

I sign the log, get my handy dandy visitor sticker and exit the office to go face 6th grade lunch. As I get out the door, the attendance clerk is walking back towards me, without my child. I just smiled.

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “Ohhh, I guess she was at lunch after all….. BUT I found her! She’s on her way up.”

Y’all I am sorry it took everything ounce of energy I had to simply smile, and say thank you as my child arrived and I escorted her out of the school gate.

I understand that working with 1,000+ junior high kids every day has to be draining and difficult. But seriously? You don’t know the schedule? You can’t look at the clock? You can’t share helpful information with parents? You can’t listen and consider that maybe, just maybe the parent is correct about where her kid is??? Oh well, it’s all part of the adventure I guess!

 

My iPhone is Possessed

January 7, 2017

Let me start off by saying that I was not drunk when this occurred. And I am most definitely not drunk now. I am not taking any drugs, nor have I ever. I have been fighting a nasty cold for about a week now, so I am a little more tired than usual. However, I am not THAT tired.

So last night was a fairly normal night. Again I had not had anything to drink other than plain old tap water that had been filtered through my refrigerator. I didn’t consume any “special brownies” or anything suspect. We had Little Caesars for dinner and that was it. So because I have been sick, I went to bed at approximately 8:40 – don’t judge me. I am old, tired and fighting a cold. If I want to go to bed before 9:00 p.m. on a Friday night, that’s my prerogative.

I plugged my iPhone 7 in, and placed it on my bedside table, as I do every night. I fell asleep almost immediately which is weird for me, I usually toss and turn thinking about all the things I should be doing other than sleeping. But last night I was out. I was sound asleep. Sleeping like a rock when all of the sudden at approximately 9:37 p.m. a male Australian voice thundered in my bedroom, “Starting route to Comerica Theater.”  What in the actual hell was happening? Scared the pee right out of me to suddenly hear a male Australian voice in my bedroom and why in the hell is he taking me to Phoenix????

My heart was pounding in my chest and I really needed to pee because that’s what happens when I am awakened suddenly, but at the same time I needed my stupid phone to quit talking to me. Last thing I wanted was to wake up the girls.

Side note my phone has been stupid since the day I got it. I’d say approximately 20-25% of the time the touchscreen doesn’t work. It won’t slide to answer, it won’t open a text message, and it won’t open maps. It does nothing. I tap, I swipe, I pound with my fingertip and the stupid thing doesn’t respond at all. So last night was one of those times when the damn thing did not work.

SIRI kept repeating “starting route…” a couple more times as I tried in vain to “end route” and shut the stupid thing up. After several attempts, I finally succeeded in turning off the maps. Then I noticed I had a new text message.

Weird, I hadn’t heard my phone chirp, but still there was a text. Again, I tried in vain to open it. Instead my calendar opened. Then closed, then opened, then closed. I wanted to read the text not look at the damn calendar. I finally tapped at the farthest side corner and got my text to open.

It was my fab friend, Karen, who I haven’t talked to in way too long. She suspected that I butt-dialed her and asked “what’s up?”

Another side note, I was raised in the generation that you do not call people after 9:00 p.m. unless someone is dying. It’s too late to be blabbing on the phone.

Before asking Karen if she was drunk, I checked my recent calls and sure enough there was a call to Karen’s phone at 9:16 p.m. What in the hell is going on?  Remember I was sound asleep when all of this transpired.

I finally got my heart rate slowed to almost normal, told Karen my phone was on crack, turned the stupid phone off completely and went to bed.

This morning I wanted to make sure that I was not crazy, so I checked my phone. Sure enough a phone call to Karen, a text from Karen and then I looked at my maps.

phone-possessed

Not only is the last thing on there directions to Comerica Theater, but there was another entry before that one.

Who in the hell is Julius Oskenhorn?   I googled it to see. Turns out Julius Oskenhorn is a jeweler in Millburn, New Jersey. Seriously? I’ve driven through New Jersey at some point in my life, buy how (and why) in the hell is my phone trying to take me to a jeweler in New Jersey????

So anyone know how to complete an exorcism on an iPhone 7?

Election 2016 , Guess What?

November 9, 2016

 

This has by far been the ugliest, most painful Presidential election that I have lived through. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton were worthy of my vote.

I have several friends who are diehard Trump supporters and plenty of others who are diehard Clinton supporters.

Guess what? Both sides vehemently agree that they are right. My Facebook feed is littered with notes, memes and harsh words criticizing both sides. Each of my friends swears that they are right and those who disagree are morons, disappointments, evil and/or hate mongers.

Guess what? They are all wrong! We are all born with free will. We live in a country that allows free speech and free thought. While that is awesome and wonderful, it is leading to some very ugly confrontations and friendships being lost.  We all need to take a step back and remember the bottom line,  no matter if we are democrat, republican, libertarian, independent or whatever, we are all people. We all matter. We are all concerned. We all want wants best for the Country.

Therein lies the problem, how do we decide what it best for our Country?

You’ve got folks saying that Donald Trump is a jackass who has made horrible comments about others based on their race, gender, class, etc. Guess what? We’ve all said stupid things. We’ve all made comments that we regret. Thankfully we are not surrounded by microphones and cameras waiting to immortalize our stupidest moments.

You’ve got folks saying that Hillary Clinton is a liar, a cheat, and someone who feels she is above the law.  Guess what? We’ve all lied about something. We’ve all tried to take the short cut or take something we didn’t deserve. We’ve all tried to break a rule here and there.

My point is that none of us is perfect. None of us is without sin. The problem with this election is we’ve all tried to justify that OUR candidates’ sins are less sinful or reproachable than the other candidates. Who are we to make those decisions?

Both Trump and Clinton have done terrible stuff. Guess what? They’ve both done a lot of good for others as well.

What’s done is done. The election is over. Trump wins. So instead of perpetuating the hate, instead of continuing to make personal attacks on people’s intellect, instead of thinking that our opinion reigns supreme over everyone else, we need to get back to the basics.

We need to live kindness.

We need to live love.

We need to live respect.

We need to live compassion.

We need to live together.

One of my favorite songs by Matthew West is called Do Something… Give it a listen and realize that you have more power over your own life, your own circle, your own community than the President does. You can be the changes that we all so long for. But you have to do something. You can’t sit around moaning and complaining. Do something for someone else.

YIKES! Be Nice!

August 24, 2016

Now I really try hard to not place judgement on people. We are all walking our own walk. We are all fighting our own fights. We all have days that we wish we could start over.

So today, I did not make a scene when I saw a mom being a bit rude. Instead I did my best to be extra nice to the poor woman who was on the receiving end of the rudeness from this other mom.

We were at the middle school where the Big One will start 6th grade next week (YIKES!). It was time to purchase PE uniforms. Now you don’t have to purchase the school-logo stuff but you can. It’s $22 for the shorts and T-shirt. The instructions from the school say that if you choose not to purchase the school ones, you can. You just need to purchase royal blue shorts and light grey T-shirt. No problem, right.

So we walk in the room. There is a mom approaching the register, when another mom came up and said, “Excuse me, can I ask you a quick question?” to the woman running the register. She replied sure and the woman asked if her son could try on the shorts somewhere to assure they fit. The woman running the register has clearly been doing this for a while, she replied, “Well, let me take a look at you.” She proceeded to tell the mom that the kid needed the large size shorts, and that he could slip them on over his current shorts to make sure.

While this was going on, the first mom who was approaching the register smirked at me and mumbled “That’s not a very quick question,” in a huff. I just smiled at her and shrugged my shoulders. It really was not taking that long at all.

The x-small clothes were right next to the register so that’s we were hanging out with my tiny child.

So the staff lady returned to her spot at the register where the other mom was clearly annoyed.

She was there with her three kids. As far as I could tell the three kids were fine. They were not whining. They were not complaining. They were just waiting. She snapped at the staff member asking if there was anything smaller than an x-small.  The staff lady replied no that was the smallest and that it would be fine because he could wear them for more than one year, thus saving some money. Or she could go to a store and buy something smaller if she needed to.

At this point, the mom asked where she would find a t-shirt that fit the bill. Apparently the shorts were fine size wise, but the T-shirt was unacceptable.

Now I am no rocket scientist, but finding a light grey T-shirt is not that hard. If nothing else, just go to T-shirt Mart where they sell every color under the rainbow for like $3.

But anyway, the staff lady kind of shrugged her shoulders this time and said she could purchase a light grey T-shirt just about anywhere.

The mom was now even more annoyed. She literally folded her arms and tapped her foot on the ground and asked if the shirt the kid was currently wearing was acceptable.

Staff lady replied that no, it was not okay. The kid was wearing a dark grey polyester moisture-wicking type shirt with burgundy colored thread. The staff lady again said it needs to be a light grey cotton T-shirt.

At this point the mom was even more mad. “Well, he just won’t wear it! They are all too BIG. And he will not wear it!”

The staff lady was very nice and just said, well it’s your choice, but they will make him change at PE time if he is not wearing the right color shirt.

Then mom put her hands on the kids’ shoulder and said, “We’ll just have to see. He will not wear a baggy shirt!!”

Now my kid and I were having a similar challenge. The shirt is huge on her. She doesn’t like a wearing baggy stuff either. But my child and I talked about it. And by talked about it I basically said, “Suck it up buttercup, this is the smallest size they’ve got!” To which she shrugged her shoulders and said, “It’ll be fine.”

It’s not the staff person’s fault that my kid has issues (or any other kid has issues). There was no reason for this mom to get snotty and rude about her kid’s shirt-wearing challenges. She could have just said “thank you very much for the information” and walked away.

Why do people feel the need to be rude and nasty to others? The lady’s three kids were watching the whole encounter. What did they learn from mom’s attitude?  I can only imagine if that poor kid comes home with a less-than-stellar grade. I wonder who will be held accountable.

{Yes, I know she could have been having a bad day, we all do. But something in her demeanor led me to believe that this was not just a bad moment for her!}

And truth be told my child and I are not perfect in any way shape or form. Once we got home and she tried the PE uniform on, she was much less gracious about the size. But she will deal with it!

 

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This Is A Real Question…

July 13, 2016

There has been too much YUK! in the world recently, so I am taking it back to the burning questions in my life. YES! This IS  a real question…

Picture this you are at Costco in line for gas with about 50 of your closest friends at lunch time. It looks something like this.

 

costco gas

 

Say you are in Car C.  As you are sitting there waiting your turn, Car A finishes up, but Car B is still pumping.  Do you, pull into the center lane in front of Car B, back into the space and begin pumping gas? Or do you wait for Car B to finish up then you pull up into Car A’s spot, leaving room for Car D (not labeled) to occupy Car B’s spot?

Yes, there is a right answer to this question (well at least in the world where I am always right!) What are your thoughts on this burning question?

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