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Look for the Good

June 15, 2020

Whew! Y’all the last couple of months have been tough. There is a lot of bad stuff everywhere we look.  Death, destruction and mayhem fill our news feeds. I have a hard time catching my breath at some moments because it feels like the bad is coming at me from every angle. There is no escape.

So, today the Little One and I went to the post office to mail a package. Our post office has a two-tier parking lot. It’s always crowded, so I always park in the lower lot, typically right next to the three stairs that lead to the upper lot and building. As I approached the bottom step, I looked up at the moment an older woman who was parked in one of the handicapped spots, lost her footing. I watched in horrifying slow motion as she tumbled backwards to the ground. The Little One and I raced up the stairs as the woman bounced backwards on the asphalt. Her butt hit, then her elbow, as her cane, keys and wallet flew out of her hands. Another woman was right next to her when she went down. She immediately crouched down to assess the woman’s injuries. I bent down as well, when I noticed that we were all three on the ground behind the car parked next to the injured woman’s car. A car that was not only running, but also in reverse.

Now, I am not a good person in times of peril. I am not the one you want next to you in a burning building. I tend to freeze and then cry. I am a big old baby who panics immediately. By the grace of God, I did not panic today or cry! Instead, I jumped up and ran to the driver side of the running vehicle and knocked on the window.

I understand that someone knocking on your car window can be startling. But the response I got was way beyond startled. The woman in the running car that was in reverse, with two women on the ground immediately behind it screamed, “WHHHAAAAATTTTT!!!” in the nastiest, meanest voice I have ever heard.

In addition to being a panicker, I am also not a confrontational person, but the again good Lord was with me today.

In my sternest, loudest, strongest voice I stated, “A WOMAN HAS FALLEN ON THE GROUND BEHIND YOUR CAR. DO NOT MOVE THIS VEHICLE!!” And with that, the mean woman, let out an exasperated groan and threw her car in park.

Satisfied that the imminent danger was over, I went back to assist the woman on the ground. We had gathered her belongings and she was ready to stand up. The original woman who assisted grabbed one arm, as I reached for the other, the mean woman got there first and man-handled this poor woman like I’ve never seen anyone man-handle an old woman before. There was zero compassion. There was zero consideration that the woman could have broken an arm, or collar bone or anything else. All that mattered was the mean woman apparently needed us all to stop inconveniencing her.

I was horrified as the mean woman yanked at the injured woman who was trying desperately to get her knee to bend and her leg to get under her as she tried to stand up. Her sandal had also come off, so she was also trying to get it right, while the mean woman scolded her, telling her she didn’t need to put her shoes on, “just get up.”

It was awful. Once on her feet, the Little One helped straighten the sandal strap and guided the woman over to her car. She just wanted to lean on the car for a moment as she collected herself and caught her breath. The Little One, two other helpers and I stood around her to make sure she was okay. Meanwhile, the mean woman was back in her car, engine running, back in reverse and she ceremoniously put the top down on her convertible. She had zero compassion. Zero empathy. Zero concern for this poor woman who had fallen.

The woman who fell was clearly embarrassed by the fall. She was embarrassed by the fuss. She just wanted to get to her PO box and be on her way. She seemed to be moving everything okay, so we let her go about her business. She thanked us all several times as we dispersed. Me the Little One and the other helpers continued to head inside post office.  We all kept one eye on the injured woman to make sure she stayed on her feet.

Little One and I bought our postage and headed back to the MomMobile 2.0. We waited and watched to make sure the injured woman made it safely back to her car.

Now, I don’t know what the mean woman was going through. She may have some really crappy stuff going on. Or she could just be really miserable person. It doesn’t matter too much though. My goal is to try to remember the helpers today. To block the bad stuff. Honestly when I think about what happened, my heart begins to race again and I get mad at the mean woman. I don’t want that to happen. I am doing my best to remember the way the other two ladies came together with the Little One and I to help the injured woman.

I think it’s like this for the world we are living in. The media, our social media, even the radio announcers tend to focus on the bad stuff. We hear the terrible stories. We see images of death. We see a lot of anger and frustration. I refuse to believe that evil has overcome good. I am confident that for every bad thing we are being inundated with, several good things have happened as well. But much like my own brain today, we all have to search for them. It’s not always easy to find, but it’s there. Please make a commitment with me to look for the good. It is out there.

A Bird’s Sacrifice

May 13, 2020

So, the other day as I took the inside recycling out to the big recycling bin in the backyard I heard this awful noise. It was a thud, followed by scratching metal. I looked up just in time to see copious amounts of feathers flying out of our whirlybird exhaust fan on the garage. Immediately I felt sick. A poor bird had just flown into the fast spinning metal blades. I was sure it was dead.

I did not handle this well. I hollered for the Husband to come outside to help me find the carcass that I was certain was in the garage somewhere. Of course, the Little One heard my cries for help and she came first. I told her what happened. But now I am the mom and she is the kid, so I had to be brave. I entered the garage to begin my search. Well, I’ll be damned if that dang bird didn’t startle as soon as I entered the garage. It started flapping wildly, I totally freaked out. I screamed and ran into the house. Yes, I breezed past the Little One and closed the back door leaving her outside exposed to the wild bird. Honestly, I thought it was dead. Now that it was flapping about, I was certain it was a zombie or at the very least bloody and half dead. You know how in cartoons you see a chicken with its head cut off but the body is still dancing around? That is what I was certain was happening.

By now the Husband finally appeared wondering what in the heck was going on. The Little One was laughing hysterically at me. I was on the verge of tears because live birds freak me out, imagine a half dead bird. UGH!

As I ran for my life, the Little One watched as the stupid bird, that I was certain was coming for me, had actually flown back up into the whirlybird but from the inside this time. Again, feathers were flying everywhere. Now the thing had to be dead.

So, the Husband and the Little One entered the garage to again look for a carcass. Now our garage is a disaster zone. There are paths on either side to get in, but that’s about it. As they were searching, our collection of bicycles needed to be moved out of the way. The Husband told the Little One to put a free sign on her old bicycle and put it out front on the curb. It’s too small for her, so it was just cluttering up the garage. As she did that, he continued the bird recovery mission. He couldn’t find any parts or pieces. The thing seemingly disappeared. Feeling it was safe, I emerged from the house to assist. You all know that the mom is the only one who can ever find anything so now it was up to me.  UHG! My stomach was churning. I was not looking forward to finding the body.

We searched and searched. No evidence of death anywhere. The Husband was staring up at the fast-spinning whirlybird and says, “Ummmmm come look at this.” As we watched the whirlybird spinning at breakneck speed, there was a dark spot on it. It flashed by with each rotation. The bird was not dead on the garage floor, instead it had gotten lodged in the whirlybird.

Again, I was out. I could not handle this. How in the heck were we going to retrieve the carcass? Someone was going to have to go on the roof of the garage and it sure as heck wasn’t going to be me. The Husband had a work call, so the retrieval was going to have to wait. Gross. I was picturing bird guts everywhere and imagining what it was going to smell like. The nausea was rising. I kept myself busy on the computer inside while he did his call. After about 20 minutes or so he was done so he went out to devise a recovery plan. I pretended to be really busy so I didn’t have to be part of it.

Thankfully, the wind had died down just as he went outside, he noticed that the whirlybird stopped spinning. So, he went back in the garage and looked up. The dang bird was gone. Nothing lodged in the blades. This was the weirdest thing ever. So, he began yet another recovery mission. As he moved towards the ground space directly under the whirlybird. He hoped it had fallen straight down. Remember the thing had been spinning for at least 20 minutes. The damn bird was resurrected yet again and came flapping up and out directly towards him. Now he is much calmer than I in situations like this. He watched in awe as the very dizzy bird gained height while exiting the garage and flew straight up and over the fence and beyond our house to a safe place (I hope!).

Later that afternoon, an older gentleman and little girl were riding bikes. He stopped and approached the front door and asked if he could take the bike. Yes, of course, I said. Since they were riding bikes, he asked if he could move it up into the driveway so that nobody took it while he rode home and returned with his truck. I would guess that this was maybe a foster parent or adoption situation as the gentleman appeared old enough to be her grandfather. He made a comment about “learning again how fast time goes by” when I told him my kiddos had outgrown the bike.  As he moved the bike up to the driveway, I made small talk with the little girl who explained to me that her sister also liked to ride bikes, but they only had one bike so they had to take turns.  The gentleman heard our conversation and added the next day was the sister’s birthday so the bike was going to be a fantastic surprise birthday gift!

Now as I fought back tears, I suddenly became very grateful for the zombie bird who would not die. Yes, it freaked me out. Yes, it caused me an hour or so of nausea and disgust. But if none of that had happened, the bike would not have been moved. It would not have been put outside with a free sign. And the gentleman and little girl would have never found it. I am grateful for that zombie bird and its dizzying sacrifice.  Sometimes, it’s really hard to understand why things are happening around us. And other times, we get a very clear picture of the why. God is good! All the time!

 

 

A Tale of Two Kids – School in Quarantine Edition

May 6, 2020

It’s been a while since we’ve done an edition of A Tale of Two Kids. Yes, all kids are different. Yes, they are all wonderful and fabulous. Yes, I am eternally grateful that they are so different. If I had two of either one of them, life would be dull!

So school in quarantine has been okay. It’s not perfect. But it’s not making me want to rip my own toenails off either. It’s been fine.

So both girls are good students. They pretty much have straight As in all classes (Advanced Physics in the exception for the Big One, because Mr. Physics teacher is a jackass.) Just to remind you, Big One is a freshman in high school this year. TheLittle One is in 7th grade.

I don’t have to ride them to get them to do their homework. They both check in regularly with their teachers. Attend Zoom meetings several times a week, etc.  They do what I expect them to do. I don’t care that their official grade as of March 13 will be their final grade, I still want them to do some work and engage their brains.

This morning, the conversation when something like this:

LITTLE ONE:  It’s not fair! Mr. Math Teacher is giving toooooo  much work. I can’t do it all. He’s only supposed to give us like 30 minutes a day but really it’s more like and hour and 30 minutes. Plus I have history, English, science, band – oh wait never mind, Mr. Band Teacher is not giving us anything. But I have math, history, English and science. It’s toooooooo much. It’s not fair.  (that was one breath!)

FIXITMOMMY: What are you whining about? You have school work to do. Suck it up and do it. If you were in school, you would be doing so much more work. You maybe do two and a half hours of school everyday.  If you were in school how many hours would you be there?  

LITTLE ONE: NO! I do homework all day. It’s not fair. He’s only supposed to give us 30 minutes a day of math. He’s making us do a whole section in one day. Normally we have 2 or 3 days for each section. It’s not fair! Plus I’d have lunch, PE and passing periods if I was at school.

FIXITMOMMY: You do school work all day? Really? Didn’t we play Trouble and Battle Ship yesterday while watching Inside Out? Would you like me to make a bell schedule with passing periods built in? You get five minutes right? I’ll set in on my phone. We’ll have bell go off all day. OH! We can make a hall pass for the bathroom.

LITTLE ONE: MOOOOMMMMM, That doesn’t count. I did school all day yesterday. Besides we don’t have a 3-D printer, you can’t make a real hall pass.

FIXITMOMMY: Ummm, weren’t you on the couch all day yesterday binge watching Disney Plus while doing your “homework?” Maybe if you just went in your room and focused on your math, you could get it done in 30-40 minutes. Maybe if the TV was off, life wouldn’t be so hard.

LITTLE ONE: But it’s not fair. I don’t want to do math.  It’s not fair. Life is not faaaaaiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

 

Fast Forward about 40 minutes and it was the Big One’s turn. That conversation went something like this:

BIG ONE: UGH! Ms. Math Teacher is having office hours this morning. I really don’t want to go.

FIXITMOMMY: So don’t go. If you don’t have questions, you don’t have to go.

BIG ONE: I don’t even know why she is having them. It’s just trigonometry. It’s so easy. These people are just stupid. They should have learned it all last year in IM1. I learned it in 8th grade.

FIXITMOMMY: Ummmmm not everyone is stupid. I don’t know how to do trigonometry. And I learned lots of things, that I no longer remember.

BIG ONE: Did you learn it 6 months ago? No! These people are just stupid. It’s just a waste of my time to go listen to her try to explain things that I already know how to do. It’s all just stupid. I want to actually do something. We are spending so much time on this we won’t have time to do statistics this year! That’s all I wanted to do this year!

So, there you go according to the girls, life is not fair and everyone is stupid. One is doing too much math and the other not enough math. Fun times for sure in our house.

And for the record, who wants to do statistics? She’s her father’s child for sure!

The People in Your Neighborhood

May 4, 2020

It has been months since I’ve written. I wish I could say it’s because I have been too busy. But really it’s more lazy. I am working many more hours than usual but truthfully there’s been a lot of binge watching of The Big Bang Theory and Hallmark movies over the past couple months. The girls are journaling daily, so I decided I need to attempt to at least write something.

Problem is, these posts typically begin with humor. Someone did something funny or unusual. Honestly since the quarantine began there haven’t been many moments with fun and giggles. Last night we did go to La Jolla Shores to experience the bioluminescence so there was fun and laughter. We need to find more of that.

The one thing we do know a lot more about since the quarantine began are the people in our neighborhood. When your only real options to get outside are walking, running or biking you tend to do more of that.  In my experience here’s who lives by me:

The older gentleman watering his flowers.
As I approached, I saw him diligently wearing his mask while watering his purple flowers. I stepped into the street to maintain social distancing. As soon as he saw me, he turned off the water, removed his mask and offered a sincere, “Good morning! How are you today?” He was sweet. He was kind. He was lonely. We made some small talk where he sadly proclaimed, “I wish this was all over.” It broke my heart.

The power couple running.
I see this couple every time I walk. They are both ridiculously fit. The run in the street. They are not talking to one another or anyone around them. The woman will occasionally offer a small smile as they fly past me, but he never acknowledges that there is anyone else in his world.

The Loving Couple With Two Dogs.
I see them most days too. They have two dogs. They are out strolling. Their masks are down around their necks. They are prepared, but smart enough to not keep the masks on the entire time they are outside. They are both friendly and always cheerful.

The Lady With Her Dog.
We see each other and both make a move at the same time to go to the street. Seeing each other, we both move back towards the sidewalk. UGH! Y’all know that awkward dance you do with strangers when you are both way too accommodating! It’s silly. You laugh at yourselves. Ultimately, I win and move to the street. I am alone. I always yield to people with kids and dogs.

The Well-Coiffed Woman.
You’ve all seen her. It’s barely 8 am, yet she is put together. Every hair in place. Lips shining brightly with coral colored gloss. Matching tank top, shorts and shoes. She’s polite but not overly friendly. We met at an intersection. Totally awkward. I want to walk straight. She wants to turn right towards me. There is a car at the stop sign next to her. Where can I go? Nowhere! There is tension. Nobody knows which way to move. Finally, I move to the street to avoid the woman. But now what? There is a car wanting to turn. Finally I broke for it and power-walked in front of the car, all the while hoping they are kind and don’t run me over!

The Person on Their Phone.
This person must think highly of themselves. They are typically in matching workout gear as well. They hold their head high. Shoulders are back. They are focused. They are on a mission. They are on an important business call. And I can hear every word of it. Why oh why are you negotiating a business deal while walking down the street with phone on speaker at the highest volume possible?

The Mom With the Stroller
This one is a tough one. I typically walk to get away from the noise of my peeps.  I love ‘em dearly but this has been a lot of togetherness. So when I go, I go alone. I don’t want music, talking, yelling or arguing. My peaceful thoughts are interrupted by a screaming toddler. I cringe at first for a split second. Then I catch myself. That poor woman. Toddlers are tough. She has two in a stroller. They are screeching and arguing about something. As they get louder, mom’s music emanating from her iPhone also gets louder. No judgement from me on that one. You turn that music up as loud as you want momma! You do what you gotta do to survive this!

The Person Walking in Full Gear.
You’ve all seen this yahoo, running while wearing a mask and gloves. Honestly, there is nothing to say about these people. There is no hope for them.

Who do you see in your neighborhood? I know there are so many more out there!

 

The Stereotypes Do Exist

September 27, 2019

Yes, stereotypes are bad. That being said, they are often very true as well. Last night was open house at the Big One’s school. Now when I was in high school open house was literally an open house. All of the classrooms were opened and parents were invited to wander in to any class and talk to any teacher. It was very low-key and casual. If you ran into a mom-friend in the hallway you could stop and chat. If that means you missed getting to your kids’ math class, oh well no big deal.

Well it’s not like that anymore. Now your child provides you with a copy of their daily schedule. The bells are set special for the event. The first bell rings and you have 5-minutes to get to your kids’ first period class. The teacher talks for 10 minutes. Then the bell rings again and you have 5-minutes to walk to the next class. Again, the teacher talks for 10 minutes and then it all begins again until you have successfully walked through your child’s entire school day in about 90 minutes.

It’s an alright system. It’s nice to get to literally walk the path you child walks each day. It makes it easier to understand, why they never see their friends. Or why they cannot go to the restroom between classes. It forces you to experience each teacher that your child is learning from each day.

As you all know I have girls, I suspect the boy parent experience may be different (or I could be stereotyping here).  My girls tell me about their days. I hear the stories of fun, cool teachers. I also hear about the nightmare teachers. I hear about how crowded the lunch quad gets. I know the restroom lines are ridiculous long. I know the band room smells kinda gross. And the toilet paper is too thin. These are the things I hear about all the time.  So going into open house last night, I had a preconceived notion of what each classroom was going to feel like.

So let’s see who the Big One’s teachers are…  based on common stereotypes:

1st Period – The Hip, Cool Young Teacher
The Big One likes this guy. She’s not a huge fan of English but she does pretty well. He’s single, so he is fully dedicated to his class. He’s available before school, after school and at lunch. He’s creative, loves to write and really, really, really wants your kid to love writing and be a critical thinker.

2nd Period – The Foreign Teacher
No, I am not talking about foreign language teacher here. This is the teacher who came to the US from a different country. English is not the teacher’s first language. The teacher is well educated and well versed, but may not be very good at reading their students. She talks a lot, with a very heavy accent. So instead of learning much, at some point the students tune her out completely because they cannot understand a word she is saying. (Not good in an advanced math class, I am just saying!)

3rd Period – THE Favorite Teacher
As soon as you walk into this room you feel at ease. There is a sense of calm and belonging. The sweet, smiling teacher gives a cool big-sister type vibe. She asks each parent, “Who’s your kid?” with each answer she nods and smiles and says “ohhh yes” or  grins knowingly and says, “ahhhhh.” She knows each student’s name and has something memorized about each of their personalities. She’s amazing.

4th Period – The Unorganized but Super Likeable Teacher
This is your student’s favorite class, not because of the teacher but because of the subject matter and the fact that all of their “tribe” is in this class with them. It’s the elective class (for us that’s band). The teacher is a musician. He is definitely not the administrative, organized type. Thankfully, he has wonderful older students who serve as mentors, guiding us all through the high school process.

5th Period – The Laid-Back Cool Guy PE Teacher
What can be said about the high school PE teacher. He’s been there 20+ years. He’s super casual. I mean it’s PE right? What is there to say about PE. It’s fun. It’s laid back. You try and you will succeed.

6th Period – The Teacher Who Makes You Hate Your Life
This is the worst way to end your school day. This guy is a jerk. Your kid has told you he’s bad, but you think she must be exaggerating. It can’t be that bad, right? Wrong! Remember that feeling you got in 3rd period? Your classroom was welcoming. It was calm. It was familial. It was like home. Well, 6th period is the complete opposite. You can feel the tension as soon as you enter the room. It was very strange to feel the air literally getting sucked out of the room as he began talking. This was the only teacher who had a line of angry parents from the previous period wanting to speak with him. This was the only class, where when the teacher asked us if we had any questions, multiple hands shot up. The tone and content of the questions was very combative. We all wanted answers and the guy was too arrogant to really provide them. You totally feel for your student after just 10 minutes in this class. How on earth they survive an hour is beyond me.  The truly sad part about this guy is that he told us (and tells the students) that they are his best class. The are the most “advanced, advanced class” he’s ever had in many, many years of teaching. Yet it felt like he had no respect for the students, for us as parents or even for the school in general. {Trust me there is so much more to say. I guarantee there will be an entire post about this guy sooner versus later. Probably multiple actually.}

I am pretty sure that I had all of these same teachers when I was in high school as well. The names and faces change, but the reality is that high school is truly a microcosm of the real world. It’s the best place for our students to grow into decent people. They are faced with challenges and difficulties that we hope and pray will prepare them for the “real world.” There are good moments. There are hard moments. There are silly times. There are challenging times. There are differences of opinions. There are amazing moments of connecting with other people.  Some days will be terrible. And some days will be amazing. The bottom line is high school is so critically important in shaping who our kids will be. I pray each day for their safety and for an openness to learning, growing and blooming because someday these kids will be running the show. I hope we haven’t screwed them up too much.

We’ve Hit A New Phase

September 25, 2019

As kids grow, they hit many milestones along the way. We record all the amazing firsts – crawling, speaking, walking, teething, etc. There are many, many momentous occasions through those first years of life. Just like all kids are different, the milestones they hit and when they hit them are all different. But then you get to a point, where those big milestone moments stop coming for a while. It’s all status quo.  Then one day, those moments start up again with first day of school. First failed test. First fight with a friend. First tastes of success in sports or band of classrooms. First disappointments. You know what I mean. The moments change as the kids grow.

Well, as the mom I have hit a new milestone in my kids life. What ever could it be? I know you are all dying to know. What did those girls do now? Which teacher are you calling out for being dumb? Which coach is making you crazy?

Well, friends, the milestone we’ve hit this time of year is one that hurts the wallet the most. Yes, friends I can no longer survive a week on one tank of gas.

Let that sink in. Remember we live in California, home of the highest gas prices in the country. For as long as I can remember (at least the last 8 years or so since I started driving a Mom-Mobile) I could go a whole week on one tank of gas. We have a routine. On Sundays, we go to church. The Husband drives my car and fills up my gas tank. That’s just the way that is goes. Sunday is “get gas” day.

Well last week on Saturday morning as I got in the car with the Little One to head to synchronized swimming practice (YES! That is a real thing!), I knew we had a problem. My gas gauge was well below a ¼ of a tank.

{Side note: I am THAT person. When the gas gauge hits ¼ I begin to panic. Don’t judge me!}

So, I knew I needed to get gas before we hit the freeway to get to practice. Of course, we live right around the corner from a 7-11 with a gas station, so much to the Husband’s chagrin I filled up. Yes, I paid $3.85/gallon. OUCH! Normally we get gas at Costco or on base as those are the two cheapest options. But on Saturday at 8:05 am, when synchro practice starts at 8:30 am I didn’t have time to go in the complete opposite direction to hit either the base or Costco, so 7-11 was my choice.  And yes, I paid the price… literally of being a taxi driver.

So, I jacked up the system by getting gas on Saturday. I knew it would throw everything off but what choice did I have?

Well, here’s the thing, yes it gets worse. Both girls needed new tennis shoes. As if I am not driving enough each week – getting kids to school, getting to work, band practice, swim practice, synchro practice, volleyball practice….. the list goes on. Now we have to drive to the Border to get tennis shoes. Yes, there are other stores that sell shoes, but we are cheap and we like the outlets at the border. So  after an added bonus of a trip to Mexico (basically it’s true). The kids got new shoes, but guess what? Today is WEDNESDAY….. let that sink in for a moment.

Remember Sunday is get gas day….. today is W.E.D.N.E.S.D.A.Y  and just look at this….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Sigh* Yes, it’s a new milestone week for us.

High School Tips

August 21, 2019

class of 2023Ok, y’all it’s been a really long time since I attended high school. I mean like ancient times to many of you. I know it was a whole different world today than it was way back in the late 80’s, but I am certain that some things remain the same.

The Big One starts high school next week. WHAT? How is that possible, I know! Yesterday was registration day, so as I waited in the seemingly endless line at the finance office yesterday to pay for the Big One’s ASB card, yearbook, PE clothes, etc I had the pleasure of listening to and witnessing a few things. I was not intentionally being creeping eavesdropping on the teenage girls behind me or the teenage boys in front of me. It just happened with my place in the line. I was standing alone just trying to take it all in. (The Big One was off getting her yearbook photo and ID card created.)

 

High School Tip #1
The girls behind me were talking about dating. I gathered that they, like the Big One, are incoming freshman. One girl said that another friend said she would begin dating this year. But here’s the thing, the girl said, “She will only date guys with straight A’s.” I was cool with that. But then the next statement was, “OH! and he must be good looking.”  I tried not to chuckle at the restrictions being placed on these pending relationships.  One of the other girls responded, “Well, she’s going to have a hard time with that, guys who get straight A’s are NOT good looking… EVER.”  So here’s my tip #1… dating is hard. Finding someone who treats you well and cares about you is what matters. Preconceived notions will not get you far. Take the rules away and focus on someone who is kind. Someone who is genuine. Someone who helps build others up, not tears them down.

 

High School Tip #2
The girls jumped from dating to Instagram. One girl asked the other, “Do your parents check your Instagram?”  Horrified the other girl says, “NO WAY!” I cringed at this one too.  The first girl then says, “Well you are giving the middle finger wrong!”  What the heck does that even mean? Number one, pictures of you “giving the middle finger”… WHY? Nobody looks good giving the middle finger.  So, here’s my tip #2… It’s the grandma rule. Would you give your grandma the middle finger? Would you frame a picture of yourself flipping someone off and give it to your grandma? No, you most likely wouldn’t so don’t put in on Instagram or any other social media. If it’s not appropriate for grandma’s eyes, it’s not appropriate for social media. And just a side note, parents, you need to check your kids’ Instagram. I don’t care how that makes you feel. You need to know what your kids are posting, sharing, liking, following, etc.

 

High School Tip #3
I know some of you are going to really roll your eyes at this one, but I am going to say it anyway…. Put your boobies away. Oh my goodness, I am a curmudgeon, apparently. The shorty shorts I have accepted are here to stay. Every store carries them. In fact, we’ve struggled to find shorts that my girls are comfortable wearing. But the super tight body suits paired with the shorty shorts are not okay for school. I saw way more flesh yesterday among the incoming freshman than I care to remember. I know that your bodies are changing. For some of you, the growing boobs are a novelty and you want to share them with the world. Just please keep them contained. I really was concerned that if some of the girls sneezed, things would have gotten a little out of control. So tip #3…. Can you sneeze safely in that outfit? Will any sudden movement cause an embarrassing shift in your clothing? If so, reconsider it.

 

High School Tip #4
Be who you are. The group in front of me included two boys and a girl. One of the boys started the day in a sweatshirt. He got hot, but didn’t want to wear his sweatshirt tied around his waist. “That looks stupid!” he told the others, as he stood there with the sweatshirt around his neck instead. (Not draped over his shoulders like a preppy kid from the 80’s, but literally around his neck. Basically, he took his arms out but kept the rest of it on).  Now in my mind, it looked a bit strange and seemed like it would not do much to make him cooler, but whatever. He felt more comfortable that way, so be it. His friends ribbed him a little bit (agreeing with my internal dialogue), but they quickly moved on and let him be himself. So tip #4…. We’ve all got issues. We’ve all got opinions and ideas on what’s cool and what isn’t cool. Let your friends be a little weird. It’s all good. This kid wearing his sweatshirt around his neck had no negative impact on anyone, so be like his friends, and let him be.

 

High School Tip #5 – Infinity
There are 500+ incoming freshman at the Big One’s school (about 2,500 total students). That’s huge. Most of these kids are coming from middle schools with about 1,000 students. So, life is changing in a big way for them.  They will all be facing so many new challenges. New experiences. New choices that they have to make. The big difference is that now more than ever, their choices can have life-long consequences.  So, tip #5…  Please remember to be kind. Everyone will make mistakes. Everyone says dumb things once in a while. Everyone will make tough choices. Through it all just remember kindness is key. You have literally no idea what each person has been through in life. You have no idea what their family is like. You have no idea their fears. You have no idea their goals and dreams. So just be kind. Support them through the good, the bad and the ugly. Tearing someone else down will NEVER EVER solve your own problems. Ask for help if you need it. Love one another. Treat everyone the way you hope to be treated. Smile at someone, you just might change their life.

 

The Day Has Finally Come

February 14, 2019

That kiddo up on top would have let me bring the cookies to her classroom!

For several years now I’ve seen my friends go through it. I’ve smugly stood back and enjoyed that we have not experienced it. I mean, it’s a right of passage. I knew the day would come eventually. But admit that secretly I had enjoyed avoiding this one. I mean is it really that bad to be seen at school with your mom?

Yes, today the Big One crushed my heart just a little bit. Last night at the board meeting for the school band foundation, the girls’ teacher mentioned to me that nobody had asked him if he wanted to buy Girl Scout Cookies. Now the Little One told me that she had asked all of her teachers, well apparently, she asked all of her A day teachers…. And missed her one different B day teacher (our 6th graders have a two-hour English block, as a result their PE and elective class alternate days).

So, when I got home, I told both girls they needed to ask him if he wanted to buy cookies. Just a side note my dad has been in the hospital for 23 days now, so cookies have not been our priority. When we have a built-in easy sale, these girls need to get on it!

Fast forward to this morning, the Little One woke up with a fever and snot so she is home from school. That means the Big One has to ask Mr. Band Teacher. She is not real big on asking her teachers about cookies, but it comfortable with this teacher so she agreed.

Typically on Fridays the girls stay after school to help clean up the band room. Since tomorrow is a holiday the Big One asked if she could stay after today. I told her yes, she could and she could text me what type of cookies she needed for her teacher I could bring them after school. She agreed this was a good plan.

It’s raining today so I drove the Big One to school, as we planned out the day the conversation when like this:

BIG ONE: “So I’ll ask Mr. Band Teacher what cookies he wants after school and then I’ll text you what to bring.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Okay sounds like a plan. I’ll make sure I am home from work to get what you need.”

BIG ONE: “Okay…. Ummmmm after I text you….. ummm should I just come out to the parking lot to wait for the cookies……ummm yeah, is that okay?”

FIXITMOMMY: “ Sure that’s fine! What’s wrong you don’t want your mom walking into the band room to deliver?”

BIG ONE: “Ummmmmm well, I mean you ummmmm could… or I can just come get them and take them to Mr. Band Teacher ummmmm ‘kay?”

FIXITMOMMY: “Dude, you don’t want your mom strolling in after school with cookies?”

BIG ONE: “No, it’s okay, I’ll come out to you. Okay, thanks Love you….” As she practically raced away from my car out into the rain.

So there you have it. It’s cool to be a band nerd. It’s cool to hang out in the band room cleaning up after school. It’s cool to be a Girl Scout. It’s cool to sell cookies. But it is definitely not cool for your mom to bring Girl Scout Cookies to the band room!

 

Just in case you need some cookies, you can order them online here! https://DigitalCookie.GirlScouts.org/scout/allison567437

A Call from the Principal

December 14, 2018

If only this was on her person and not on the kitchen counter today…

So when you have a kiddo like the Little One and the school calls during the day, you tend to lose a few years off your life. Granted the last time the school called me during the day, it was actually the Big One who got nailed in the face with a ball. She was the bloody, injured one. The Little One has been injury free for almost one full year (c’mon December 26!) So I really do need to cut her some slack.

Today, I was just minding my own business making cookies for a cookie exchange that I am attending tomorrow when my phone rang. As soon as I saw the number, my heart rate increased and a large pit began instantly forming in my gut.

This is how it went:

FIXITMOMMY: Hello

PRINCIPAL: Hello, is this Mrs. FIXITMOMMY?

FIXITMOMMY: Yeeeessssss

PRINCIPAL: Hi, this is Mr. PRINCIPAL, principal at XYZ School. First let me say all of your children are healthy, safe and okay. Nobody is hurt. They are all good.

FIXITMOMMY: Okkkkaaaaayyyyy

PRINCIPAL: Well, you know today Little One went on the field trip lunch reward to In-N-Out. Well, there was a little incident.

FIXITMOMMY: uhhhh-huhhhhh

FIXITMOMMY’s BRAIN: Oh dear God, she puked at In-n-Out

PRINCIPAL: Well, Little One ate and at some point got up to go to the restroom…

FIXITMOMMY’s BRAIN: OH MY GOSH!, She was pooping at In-N-Out and missed the limo bus back to school. She got left at In-n-Out! Oh that kid!

PRINCIPAL: She apparently put her retainer on her food tray. So while she was in the restroom one of the In-N-Out workers bussed her tray and… you know where this is going.

FIXITMOMMY: Retainer in the trash can…

PRINCIPAL:  Now the later group is still there with one of my vice principals. There are a couple In-N-Out employees going through the trash bags  right now trying to find it. If they find it, the vice principal will bring it back with her.

FIXITMOMMY: UGH! I’ll kill her

PRINCIPAL’S BRAIN: Great, now I cannot in good conscience send this poor child home today.

FIXITMOMMY: {starts with a giggle and then starts laughing really hard.}  Nobody needs to go through the trash. That is just plain gross! It’s just a retainer.

PRINCIPAL: Well, I am glad we can laugh about this. I have kids who had retainers, those things are not cheap. And well, they were willing to look for it.

FIXITMOMMY: No, they are not cheap and that is why I bought insurance for the things.

PRINCIPAL: Ohhhhhhhh well, they are insured. That’s why you can laugh about it. (talking to Little One) Your mom says they are insured. It’s okay.

FIXITMOMMY: {Still laughing.} Yeah she’s fine. It’s just a retainer.

PRINCIPAL: Well, we were REALLY nervous to make this phone call. Would you like to talk to her?

FIXITMOMMY: {Still laughing}  of course I’ll talk to her

LITTLE ONE:  Hi Moooommmmyyyy  *sniffle sniffle*

FIXITMOMMY: DUDE! It’s a retainer. It’s not the end of the world. Daddy will be ticked, but that’s why we bought insurance. It’s all good.

LITTLE ONE: I know, why do you think I told them to call you?

 

So that’s that, a retainer in the trash can at In-N-Out. We’ve survived another call from the school that did not result in an emergency room trip. Hooray for small miracles.

** Clearly names have been changed to protect the innocent. And I have taken the liberty of putting words in the principal’s brain.

How to Lose Your Dog’s Trust in Two Minutes

December 12, 2018

Gracie is 11. She is no spring chicken in dog years. Most days you would never know she is 11. She runs, plays, and jumps like a puppy. Last week she was acting a bit off.

On Monday, she didn’t eat or drink anything.

On Tuesday, she didn’t eat or drink anything.

On Wednesday, she couldn’t get out of bed.

Really it all started on Tuesday evening.  She was fine one minute and then the next she was walking all funky. Her back was arched and she was contorted a bit. She was walking with her body almost in a “C” shape. She wasn’t crying or whimpering or anything, she just seemed really stiff and uncomfortable. We decided to head to bed and see if she was better in the morning.

So, Wednesday morning rolled around. The Husband’s alarm went off at 4:30. And Gracie didn’t move. Normally as soon as his alarm goes off, she is bouncing like a kangaroo at his feet anticipating her morning walk. Not this day. She didn’t move from her bed.

My alarm went off at 5:30. Again Gracie didn’t move. I got in the shower, normally she comes in to make sure that I have not gone out via the secret escape hatch (she is convinced there is a secret escape, why else would she follow me every time I go in the bathroom??).

After my shower, I tried to coax her out of bed. She tried to get up, but each time she just couldn’t do it. It was almost as if someone had glued her down. She attempted to rise but couldn’t get her body up.

I decided to check to see if she had eaten or drank anything over night. She had not, so I decided to try to get some fluid in her as a first step. I made some rice and chicken broth. By the time it was done, she had managed to rise and walk out to the kitchen where I was. She inhaled the ½ cup of “soup” that I gave her. That was a good sign. I called the Vet. They didn’t have any openings so I made the first available appointment which was Thursday morning.

Gracie didn’t seem to be in distress, so I was okay with waiting 24 hours. In fact, she perked up quite a bit after eating. And she started walking normal again too.

We went to the Vet Thursday. The Vet does her exam and is fairly confident that it is probably just arthritis in Gracie’s back that caused all the issues. Just in case we decided to do a full blood panel. So, they took Gracie back to take her blood. The Vet said when they take a urine sample, they have to flip the dog over onto her back to extract it. But since Gracie’s back was hurting she didn’t want to put her through it. So instead the Vet entrusted me with getting a urine sample. “It’s really easy,” she told me. “Just put her leash on her, walk her outside, and when she squats put this little plastic tray under her to catch it.”

Sure, I thought, easier said than done.

I admit I waited a week. I was avoiding the task, but today was the day. I tried several times to get Gracie in the backyard to piddle. She was not having it. She mis-trusted me for some reason. I can’t imagine why. I mean for the last 11 years I haven’t cared when she goes out to pee so why on earth was it so important today?  She is no dummy.

So, the only other thing I could think of was to go for a “walk.”

I grabbed her leash and we headed out the front door. Normally she always stops in our next-door neighbor’s yard. Not today. She was dragging me down the street on a mission. Finally, we got to the corner. She stopped to sniff around the stop sign. I did my best to pull up the slack on the leash and get into position. Thankfully Gracie was fully enthralled in whatever she was smelling so that when she squatted, I swooped in behind her, placed the plastic tray under her and rejoiced as I heard the liquid hit the plastic (Don’t judge me. You have to celebrate the small moments sometimes).

Success! Gross, I know, but life is gross sometimes.

Here is where it got bad. I was praising her up and down for peeing.

She was looking at me like I was crazy.

Cars were driving by, wondering what in the hell the crazy lady squatting behind her dog was doing. It was a sight.

We both rose back to the upright position. Gracie went one way (to continue the walk) and I went the other way (towards home).

Now the dog was really confused. We just started there was no way we were going home already.

Ummm, as the person holding the steaming plastic tray of dog pee, we were most definitely not going for a walk, we were going home to get this sample in the appropriate vessel to get it to the Vet.

As I guided her back towards home (okay, maybe dragged her the first couple feet) I knew that Gracie has lost all trust me. She is not buying whatever I am selling today.

Poor dog. Yes, I am a terrible dog mom for the bait and switch. But sometimes you do what you gotta do.