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Carpool Questions

December 7, 2018

So the girls typically walk to school with two friends, so it’s a group of four. We live in Southern California, weather is very rarely a problem. On occasion it’s blazing hot or as has been the case the last two days, it’s been pouring down rain. Being the nice mom that I am, I have picked the girls up to spare them from some of the rain (I say some, because I do not get really close to the school because those parents are crazy! The girls still have to walk a little bit, but I save them from most of the 15- minute walk home).

Each day when I pick-up the girls, there is inevitably an argument about who sits where in the Mom-Mobile 2.0.  There is a bench seat in the very back that sits three. A split row in the middle and, of course the shot-gun seat next to me. OH! I forgot after school we often pick-up a 5th girl and drop her off at the neighborhood elementary school where her mom works.

The way this works is the Little One always calls shot-gun. The Big One always sits in “her seat,” the seat behind the driver’s seat, because this is where the AC/heat control is for the back of the car. The Big One must always be in control (we all have issues).

So that leaves the seat behind the passenger and the back bench open. On the days that we have the 5th friend, she gets middle seat next to the Big One because A) she is in 8th grade like the Big One so she sits closer to the Big One, B) she is the first one to get out so it’s easier for her to not climb over everyone and their gear, and C) because she is always polite and grateful for the ride so I don’t expect her to climb in the back.

On the days we only have the four main girls, an argument always erupts about who gets to sit where. Girl A often attempts to call shot-gun and will literally race Little One to the car in an attempt to get in the front seat of MY car. When Little One wins the race, Girl A then refuses to get in the very back bench seat. So that leaves Girl B to always have to climb all the way into the back. Normally she doesn’t mind. She is a rockstar and just climbs back there. But on some days she is not feeling it. Yesterday was one of those days. It was pouring rain so the girls all had their huge backpacks and dripping wet umbrellas as the arguing began.

I should preface this, the day before it was raining even harder. While there was no arguing neither Girl A or Girl B said “thank you” for the ride. I was a little miffed at them to begin with. The other girl (let’s call her Girl 5) said thank you at least three times during the 4-minute drive. She was so gracious and grateful.

I admit, yesterday had been a long day at work. I was tired and stressed from the traffic, rain and everything else so I was in a bit of a rotten mood when I picked up the girls. As the arguing began, I was just not feeling it. Again, it was raining, they were wet, all their stuff was wet, the sliding door to my car was open so my car was getting even more wet and these girls are arguing about where to sit in the darn car. Are you kidding me?

I snapped, I don’t like barking at other people’s kids, but c’mon get in the damn car. Eventually Girl B climbed all the way in the back, while Girl A sat next to the Big One. I went on a mini-tirade about being grateful for the ride. That which seat you sit in really doesn’t matter. You will all get where you need to be. And, by the way, neither of you said thank you for the ride the day before so they needed to straighten up their attitude and manners or they could just walk home every day.

Not my best moment, I admit it.

So here are my questions, when you drive everyone’s kids everywhere are there arguments about who sits where? Is this just a weird thing we deal with? How do you avoid it?

My frame of reference is from my own childhood, of course. Yes, the days of walking up hill in the snow, blah, blah, blah. I did live in Virginia for a few years, so there were definite snow and rain days to deal with. On the very rare occasion someone’s parent offered to drive us to or from school I just got in the car. I didn’t care which seat I sat in. I was just grateful to be out of the elements and in somebody’s car. Yes, there were days when I was stuck in that backwards facing station wagon hatchback jump seat. Yes, I tend to get car sick, but I didn’t complain. I just got in the car and accepted the ride. Have times changed that much? Maybe I am the weird one, I don’t know anymore.

Relax. It’s just a bite of cheese

November 30, 2018

So today we are talking Costco samples. I am not judging anyone. I’ve sampled my fair share of amazing goodness at Costco. The Husband and the Little One have had many a “free lunch” at Costco skipping from sample booth to sample booth. But sometimes, y’all need to keep your heads about you. It’s often a tiny bite, hardly enough to fill your seemingly ravish hunger pains.

Now, a little background, I typically go to Costco during the week right when they open. This way I can avoid the starved zombies walking around at the lunch hour. Today I went at lunch time and here is a snippet of what I experienced.

It was very crowded. Almost like a Saturday morning crowded. There was a large crowd gathered around a station set-up sampling a variety of cheese dips with gluten-free crackers. I was waiting my turn to squeeze through the small space that remained uninhabited in the giant walkaway. It had become completely congested so that only one cart could fit through at a time.  There was a man behind me who I could sense was getting really impatient. I could hear his breathing and a slight grumble growing as I continued to wait my turn. Then I heard the man let loose…

GRUMPY MAN: “Why do they do that? They just park their damn kid in the middle of the aisle just to get a damn cracker!”

FIXITMOMMY:  Quietly giggling to myself because the man sounds and looks a lot like my dad.

WIFE OF GRUMPY MAN: “It’ll just be a minute,” in a calm soothing voice. I could just imagine her patting his arm behind me.

Now there was a slight break in the traffic. I moved one step forward, the grumpy man moved about four steps forward to my one.

Then I blew it.

I hesitated.

Totally my fault.

I own it.

I chickened out and let someone coming at us go through. Now the Grumpy Man was at my hip, he was not longer behind me.

As the traffic cleared again, Grumpy Man spoke to me, “Well, are you going to go?”

Before I could reply, his wife, shrugged her shoulders at me and mouthed, “I’m so sorry.”

At which point, my inner child was trying so hard to not laugh because this cute couple could very well have been my own mom and dad.

Not wanting to cause a scene by laughing at the situation, I said, “How about you lead the way and I’ll follow.”

After thinking for half a second says, “OKAY, are you ready? Stay close. I got you!”

I kid you not, y’all I was dying. It was so funny. We were in war with the lookie-loo samplers and my new friend who started off annoyed with my timidness had my back.

His wife grabbed the back of his coat, reached for my cart and said, “Stay with us,” as she giggled with me.

He peeked over his should, saw I was there and said, “here we go!” and away we went through the crowd.

We successfully emerged on the other side of the sample station and I exclaimed, “Thank you for blazing a trail for me!”

At which point, the Grumpy Man, nodded my way and then pressed on towards the pallets of Kleenex and toilet paper.

So today, I salute my new trailblazer friend at Costco. There are still people good in the world.

But seriously, y’all need to chill and keep the traffic flowing during the Costco lunch hour adventures. Please for the love of humanity, don’t leave your “damn kid in the middle of the aisle.” Just pull off to the side and eat all the gluten-free, cheese dipped crackers you want.

Thank You Jesus!

May 2, 2018

It is a well-documented fact that for military spouses, without fail, you can count on the sh!t hitting the fan when the service member is gone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a long deployment, short TDY or just an extended weekend of Drill (for those of us living the Reserves lifestyle). You can count on something going wrong. The car will break down. A kid will break a bone. The dog will puke all over the house. A major appliance will crap out. It happens. It’s part of the military lifestyle. I don’t want to brag, but it makes us spouses left behind become tough as nails… usually.

Well, the Husband is out of the country, returning very soon (hooray!) so of course stuff had to happen. A couple nights before he left, we heard something in the laundry/kitchen area. Of course, we looked at each other and said, “what the hell was that?” But neither of us did anything about it. So, the morning after the Husband left, I got up and made my way to the kitchen to start some coffee. It was 5:45 AM, so it was still a bit dark.  Well, let me tell you that no matter how badly you thought you needed coffee there is one thing that will scare the desire straight outta ya…

As I reached for the kitchen light switch, I saw it…A huge freaking rat running across my kitchen counter. I kid you not. I about wet myself as I watched it scurry across the counter and dive behind the stove. The thing was huge. It had been happily chomping on my just bought hamburger buns right next to my coffee pot.  Needless to say, coffee was no longer the first thing on my mind. So, I did what any sane person would do. I quickly retreated from the kitchen, plopped down on the couch and started to cry. All the while trying to get my heart rate back to normal so that I didn’t die right then and there. I knew the Little One would be up any minute and I had to pull myself together so as to not freak her out.

Somehow, I managed to calm myself down long enough to get the girls both to school. Then I started searching for evidence. I found droppings behind my washer and dryer and behind my stove. No problem, I can handle this I thought. I pulled out my one electronic zapper trap from a couple years ago when we had a rat in the garage. I also went to Home Depot and bought a second trap. I loaded them with dog food and prayed for a green light the next morning. Didn’t happen. So, I started cleaning everything off the counters. I purged the pantry. I scrubbed the kitchen floor.

As I was scrubbing the kitchen floor, I noticed a puddle of water coming from under the refrigerator. Remember I told you, the sh!t hits the fan sometimes. I freaked out again. Sat on the couch and cried again. My biggest fear was that the rats had chewed through the wires and really jacked up the refrigerator. So, I called my brother-in-law for help. I was beginning to fear this was not just one rat acting alone. My brother-in-law, God bless him, came over and helped seal up some openings on the outside of the house that we thought might be access points. He looked at the fridge and wasn’t sure the problem so I called a repairman.

Gabriel, the Samsung fridge specialist, arrived a few hours later. He pulled out the fridge and determined that the water that was now oozing from the inside of the fridge and bottom was really a malfunction with the fridge, not rat damage. Thank you sweet baby Jesus! It ended up being a $355 repair versus $1000+ that a new fridge would have been.

After he left I started researching rodent control companies. I read hundreds of YELP! reviews and found one that sounded promising. I called and they had a tech available that afternoon, so I waited. I should tell you this is now five days after the initial sighting. I had not eaten or slept the entire time. I was emotionally, physically and psychologically exhausted. The Little One was terrified to go to bed each night. The Big One was, thankfully, very chill about the whole thing.

So JD and his trainee, Henry, arrived Tuesday afternoon and began their inspection. JD was amazing. He was so confident and kind. He reassured me that things would be okay despite the fact that I had a meltdown when he told me the cost of the services. I cried. I wish I could say that I handled this like a champ. That my “tough as nails” comment earlier rang true. But it did not. I cried, openly, freaking out in front of the kids and these poor pest guys. I managed to ask about a military discount, he offered me a “coupon” for $75 off which was a better deal than the 10% military discount. I gave him my credit card and they began setting traps.

I was living under this false idea that my rat friend was just chilling in my kitchen. Then JD and crew lifted up my couch and loveseat, revealing more droppings than I ever cared to see in my lifetime. They inspected the rest of the house and, thankfully only found droppings in the attic and crawl space. The bedrooms and bathrooms had not yet been infested.

They set about 15 different traps in the attic, crawl space, living room, dining room and kitchen. JD gave me his cell phone number and said to call or text anytime day or night if we heard anything. About 45 minutes after they left, the girls and I were just watching TV. I think we were all afraid to move, when suddenly we heard the loudest clapping, thud noise followed by a few seconds of a horrendous dragging coming from the attic. I’m sure it lasted all of 4 seconds but it seemed like forever. We all freaked out. I was shaking, the Little One was about to cry, even the Big One was a little startled. I texted JD, my new best friend, and told him what we heard. He assured me that was good news and said they would be out first thing in the morning to check the traps. (it was about 6:30 pm when I texted him)

Longest night of my life

I tried my best to sleep. Despite being utterly exhausted, I lied in bed listening. I’m not sure how much of the “noises” I heard were legit and how much were just echoing fears inside my brain. Many of them, I’m sure were simply the pounding of my heart that came each time the dog moved or a plane flew over or a car drove by. I suddenly had supersonic bat-like ears. This newfound skill was not serving me well. My white noise machine of crashing waves and squawking seagulls was doing nothing at all to block out all the other things I was hearing. It was terrible.

Morning finally came, I got the girls to school and waited for the guys to arrive. This time it was Henry, and his supervisor, Pablo, who came to the rescue. (JD is actually the district manager. I just got lucky that he came out the first time). Henry and Pablo went up the attic and found the first rat. Then they checked the other traps to see if anyone held had been captured. They found one under the loveseat in the living room. JD predicted that would be the first spot.  They re-baited the traps and went on their merry way. I found some relief after seeing the dead rat in the living room. I finally felt comfortable in my own house again. It had been a week since the initial sighting. The girls were relieved that two rats had been captured as well. That night, I finally slept for a few hours, enjoying the sweet relief that my problem maybe had an end in sight.

That joy was short lived as I got up the next morning and found more droppings in the dining room area and behind the couch. There were more in my house. So, I was on edge again. Every time the Husband called, I cried. I am afraid to eat, cook and open any cupboards for fear of what I would find. So far, I’ve lost seven pounds. And gained countless gray hairs. We continue to do our best to normalize our lives. It is really difficult when you are uncomfortable in your own home. It’s not cool. I know lots of people have dealt with rats and survived. I know that we will get though this as well, but I admit that I am really struggling with this. I thought I was tougher, but this had made me feel like a wimp. It’s just so gross to think that these damn things are cruising around pooping and peeing on everything. They are on my stuff. They are chewing up books and I think, now one of my cabinets. (I found little pieces of wood yesterday).

The Big One heard a trap go off on Saturday night. I had a trap inspection scheduled for Monday so I just waited. JD and Henry came as scheduled found another dead one in the crawl space under the house. They added a new trap to the outside barbecue based on more droppings found. They re-baited and moved some of the interior house traps. And we wait again.

Since the traps are out and can be accessible to Gracie.  I’ve been keeping her locked in the bedroom with me at night. I don’t want her getting her nose stuck in a trap and honestly, I do not want her chasing a rat into any other parts of the house. She’s been really good about it, but last night was different. She started pacing about 1:30 am. I listened but didn’t hear anything other than her pacing. I tried to ignore it, to no avail. Finally, at about 3:00 AM she stood by my head whining and whimpering. As my heartrate increased I weighed ignoring her and possibly having to clean up dog pee or poop, versus the odds of her chasing a rat into my bedroom. Since she had been pacing so long, I finally figured she just needed to go, so I opened the door and she took off like a rocket through the house and out the dog door.

I waited for her to return to the house. She was taking forever. Again, my heartrate was through the roof, my blood pressure I am certain should have resulted in hospitalization. I kept waiting. I tried looking out my bedroom window but couldn’t see her in the yard. I really did not want to stroke out so I sat on my bed and took some deep breaths. I again prayed for a dead rat (Don’t judge my prayers, you’d do the same thing!).  Finally after several minutes, I heard the joyous sound of the magnet flap on the dog door engaging as Gracie ran back into the house. It should take just a few seconds for her to return to my room, but she wasn’t coming. I so did not want to have to go out into the living room, yet there I was walking down the hallway. As I reached the end of the hallway, I could see Gracie just standing there staring at me. I whispered her name and thankfully she ran towards me and back into the bedroom. It was 3:19 AM now. Seriously, a 19-minute bathroom break?  Damn dog, was all I thought. By the grace of God I finally fell asleep and woke to the sounds of birds chirping at about 5:30. I was shocked and relieved to have slept for two hours, at least.

As I do now every morning, I make as much noise as humanly possible when I roll out of bed. My bedroom wall is shared with the kitchen. I wanted to make sure that Mr. or Mrs. Rat know that I am awake and they need to vacate the visible premises. The Little One now waits for me to wake up and get to the living room before she emerges from her room. She wants me to scare anyone away so she doesn’t have to. I totally get it.

So today, is Wednesday, we are one week into the trapping and removal service. I check the usual spots for droppings or other evidence I didn’t see any. I wish that I could say that brought relief, in reality that only brought more fears. Where are they now? It didn’t take too long for me to find out. I made my coffee and sat down at my computer to check my e-mail. There were droppings on my desk. DAMNIT! I thought. I don’t want the girls to freak out so I quietly clean it up and act normal. I peek at the two easily visible traps and found nothing. Disappointed, I tried to not show it. I don’t want the girls to start freaking out like I am on the inside. I got them to school and then returned home.

I think deep down I am an optimist, sometimes it’s hard to see that, so I grabbed the flashlight and began inspecting the floor where I have been finding droppings. I don’t see any. So, I go in for what has been the ultimate letdown for the last seven mornings. I lie down on the floor behind the couch and shine the light. As the light bounces around under the couch, something it different. The bright yellow bait square is what I usually see. I don’t see yellow….

HOLY CRAP! There is a rat in the trap. You all have absolutely no idea the euphoria that I felt seeing that damn thing squashed in the trap. Trust me, I know how truly gross and disgusting this all sounds. I admit that I stood up and then dropped back to my knees and cried. I sobbed like a big old baby. I was trembling as I grabbed my phone and texted my best friend JD that I needed them to come check the traps. Now I am waiting for them to come.

I know that this joy is temporary. I know that tonight after the girls go to bed I will sit stiffly on the couch listening and just waiting for the moment that I too can head to bed. I will wake tomorrow morning filled with fear and trepidation as I do my morning droppings and destruction checks. But for now, I am trying to find the joy in the moment. I am trying to breath easy. I am trying to get through this day stronger than I was yesterday.

Boundaries, Cookies, Marijuana Oh my!

February 5, 2018

So, you all know that it’s Girl Scout cookie season. What many of you may not know is how cutthroat cookie sales can be for some families. It can get intense. It can get heated. It can get ugly.

For our family, cookie season is intense, but we do our best to keep it fun. We do our best to keep things fair. We follow the rules. We don’t push the boundaries. We try to remember that cookie sales are not really about cookies. Cookie sales are about teaching the girls critical life skills – goal setting, business ethics, decision making, money management and people skills.

In life there are always people who push boundaries. There are people who bend the rules. We all know people who skirt around rules and boundaries just for fun. And we all also know people who stay as far away from boundaries as possible.

So when one of the local news stations aired a story about a Girl Scout selling cookies in front of a marijuana dispensary the gloves came off so to speak. My Facebook groups were full of people commenting, accusing, blaming, cursing and generally being not nice with regards to whether this girl was breaking the rules or not. People were judging her parents for allowing her to sell in such a place. As we walked around our neighborhood with our wagon, I would estimate that about one third of the people we met asked us about the news story. There were people who thought it was “genius” and others who shook their heads in disbelief.

The Husband and I were discussing the “fairness” and “legality” of this girls’ sale, and we disagree. (which is totally okay!)  In San Diego booth sales (sales where girls typically set up tables in front of stores) don’t begin until February 9. So to sell right now, we are allowed to do “walkabouts” or “standabouts.” Walkabout are when we walk with a wagon or some other mobile cookie mover to sell cookies. Standabouts are where we can set-up a table in our own front yard and sell cookies.

The rules provided by our local council are vague to say the least. For example, we have always been told that we can sell at the beach or parks as long as we are “moving.” We have to have a wagon or some other means of making forward progress. We cannot set-up a table and chairs to sell. But our cookie manual states that sales are not allowed on “properties or sites used by the general public.” What the heck does that even mean? Sidewalks in our neighborhoods are used by the general public, so we can’t sell on our own streets?

Our manual also tells us that sales are not allowed on “commercial properties.” In the case of the girl at the marijuana store some reports say she was on the sidewalk outside the business. So where does the “commercial property” line get drawn?

I have always operated on the idea that the sidewalks in front of stores, malls or other retail locations are off limits. But a representative from our Council stated on the news that this girl was within boundaries because she was on the sidewalk “in her community.” Again, how do we interpret “community?” The location of this particular dispensary is not in a residential area by any means. There is no housing around. It’s actually a large commercial location (there are several large stores in the same parking lot area).

I don’t have any answers or anything really profound to say on the subject. I know my opinion and The Husband’s opinion. What’s yours?

Regardless where you fall in this debate, our local Council needs to do some serious thinking about how to better establish and communicate the guidelines for all girls. In the meantime, we will continue to do our best with what we believe to be fair to all because after all it’s not really about cookies, it’s a lesson in life.

In This Episode of When My Tires Get Slashed…

January 18, 2018

I’ve got no one to blame but myself.

Let me just say that it’s been a week. Between worrying about the Little One’s leg and the impending government shut down, add on that I’ve had a terrible migraine for three days, let’s just say I am over it. Done. Let’s just end the week today.

So that’s where I am at when this happened…

The Little One and I were just chilling after school. The Big One was still at school (today was yoga club after school) when a gaggle of 10-12 middle schoolers from a neighborhood school came walking up our street. They were loud. They were using vulgar language. They were strutting down the middle of the street like they owned it. The Little One said, “What the heck? Did you see all those kids? Who were they?”

I was in the kitchen so I didn’t see them, I just heard them. I told her I wasn’t sure but went out on the front porch to see who they were and where they were headed. About half of them were wearing black sweatshirts, while the rest of them were wearing their school uniform so I knew where they came from.

They stopped a couple houses past mine and were getting increasingly louder. I was chatting with the men working next door when a couple of the kids started fighting in the middle of my street. I watched the other kids circle around the fighters while another appeared to be videotaping the fight with his cell phone.

Not cool.

So I began walking towards them to put a stop to the behavior. As soon as one of them noticed me coming, they shouted something I couldn’t understand and then the others all took off running. One kid had left his backpack on the sidewalk, I got to it before he did.

As he sheepishly approached me, he began apologizing. Saying he didn’t know who the kids were. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I admit I didn’t handle this one too well. I busted out my mom voice and gave this kid an earful about being disrespectful and making stupid decisions. I let him know that he and his friends need to keep their antics off my street.

I gave him his backpack as he continued to apologize.

It was time to go pick up the Big One so I did. After I picked her up (from a different school than these kids go to) I decided to drive around the block. I wondered if the kids were dumb enough to go back to their school. Of course, they were. So, I parked my car and approached the group.

I told them that they were fighting and acting up in front of my house. I told them that it was not acceptable behavior. I told them it wasn’t funny. A few of them wandered off as soon as I told them who I was.

I thanked the ones who stuck around to listen to me. I also acknowledged the one kid who was brave enough to look me in the eye. He was very agreeable. He told me I was right about everything I said. Then I asked them if their moms, dads, teachers, siblings, etc would be proud of the way they were acting. All but one them looked me in the eye and said no.

I again acknowledged them for looking me in the eye and being honest. I told them it gave me a little bit of hope that maybe, just maybe they would think before they acted stupid again.

They probably won’t, but I am trying to remain hopeful.

And to the kid who left his or her blank tri-fold presentation board behind, I’d be happy to return it to you if you have the courage to apologize. It might be easier than admitting to your parents or teacher why you couldn’t finish your project.

Adventures in Orthopedics

January 3, 2018

We’ve always been open about sharing the Little One’s bone and joint injuries and issues, so here is our latest adventure in orthopedics.

I know some of you have very strong opinions about the need for bubble wrap and some of you live in the “kids will be kids” camp. I am somewhere in the middle. What I have learned over each visit is everyone has an opinion, and I, as the mom am just doing the best I can to manage risks while allowing the Little One to just be the Little One. Today, as I got a little emotional with the orthopedic doctor, he assured me (again) that she is fine. She is normal. There is nothing wrong with her. There is nothing wrong with her bones. There is nothing wrong with the way we parent her. He, himself had 13 broken bones before he turned 13 so he knows what we are going through.

Last week the Little One was at a friend’s house playing on the trampoline. As she tried to do a handstand on the trampoline, her friend some how hit her foot causing the Little One to twist her ankle awkwardly. She was in immediate pain, but was able to bear some weight so we RICEd it for a week. (rest ice, compress and elevate). She went through the typical ankle injury symptoms of swelling and bruising. We used lots of ice and Ibuprofen during the week.

Her pain was not getting better so I took her in to see her pediatrician yesterday (Tuesday, one week since the injury). The x-rays showed no ankle fracture just a sprain (ATFL – anterior talofibular ligament injury), but also a “large mass” above the ankle joint. So, we got a referral to orthopedics and by some miracle got a next day appointment.

Today we went to orthopedics. We learned that the “large mass” is most likely an NOF cyst (non-ossifying fibroma).  It is a benign bone tumor that is fairly common in kids. Typically, they will resolve on their own. As the bones continue to grow, this bubbly blob-like cyst will fill in on its own. In some cases, surgery is required to remove the cyst or there are also injectable treatment options to fill in the space. We are hoping that neither of these options are required. We will wait and see.  The doctor told us that based on the size of the cyst, it’s likely been growing for at least five years. My understanding is that this type of cyst grows out of the growth plate. There isn’t a lot of statistical data on them because not everyone gets an x-ray. These cysts are discovered by chance, typically because of another injury or unexplained pain.

The other thing we learned is that the Little One also, most likely, has a hairline fracture in her fibula just below the cyst. The cyst can cause weakness in the bones, so when the ankle twisted the cyst had weakened the bone causing the hairline crack. Of course, we won’t know for sure until they take more x-rays and compare them to see if there is any changes/healing in the area under the cyst.

So now she is in a boot for four weeks. Not fun at all. We will gladly take an arm cast over a foot injury any day of the week. At least the boot can come off for showering and sleeping.   She can’t do any PE for one month. Fun times. She is allowed to swim, walk in the water and can ride an exercise bike. Anybody got one of those laying around that they don’t use anymore?

A Case of The Mondays

November 13, 2017

So the Big One is 12. She is in 7th grade. That means we have some unpredictable days. Some days she is sweet, quiet and studious. Some days she is moody, cranky and difficult. Most of the time the mornings before school she is pretty mellow. I think she’s too tired to really put a lot of effort into being difficult so she just does what she needs to do to get ready for school. Today was a challenge for her.

It started with something irritating the back of her ear. Weird, I know. She asked if I saw a bug bite or anything because it was feeling itchy. I didn’t see anything but suggested a little hydrocortisone might provide some relief from the itching.

She walked off to the bathroom and emerged just a few second later, looking absolutely deflated.

FIXITMOMMY: What’s up?
BIG ONE: I dropped the hydrocortisone… in the toilet.
FIXITMOMMY: So fish it out, it’s not a big deal.
BIG ONE: There’s PEEEEEEEEEE in there!!!!
FIXITMOMMY: (trying desperately not to laugh) Ooookkkayyyy… go get the one in my bathroom. I’ll take care of yours.

Crisis One, dealt with.

We typically walk to school. It was getting close to time to leave, so I hollered out, “Are ya coming?” She was still in the bathroom. Her laptop, charger, phone, lunch and water bottle were still sitting next to her backpack. Heaven forbid I try to help her. You all should know that I am not capable of effectively packing her backpack. There is a system and I inevitably screw it up.

She emerged from the bathroom finally as time was getting tight. Now it’s not critical that we walk, I can drive her so I was not stressing too much. She pulled out her clean PE clothes and then began packing all the other stuff around her binder, notebooks, and God only knows what else that is in her backpack. The big stuff securely in the correct spot, she begins to work on the smaller pocket.

Now again, there is a system, most items come out, then her phone goes in first. That way it’s on the bottom and out of the way for school. For some reason, the phone was “not fitting!” She was frustrated. Again I was trying not to laugh, as was the Little One.

I told her to take a breath and it would all fit just fine. I told her not to worry about time, we would just drive. So finally that pesky phone slid in place then she grabbed her calculator and protractor that had been removed to make way for the phone. Then it happened, she noticed that her beloved blue protractor was broken.

FIXITMOMMY: Sweety, it’s okay. I can buy you another one. (seriously it’s a 97 cent piece of plastic, I’m surprised it’s lasted this long)
BIG ONE:  I knoooowwww but WHHHHHHYYYYYY??
FIXITMOMMY: It really will be okay. Do you want to tape it for now?
BIG ONE: NOOOOOOOOOOO then I can’t read the numbers.

FIXITMOMMY: Ummmmm the tape is clear. Just one little piece of tape will hold it together and you can still see the numbers.
BIG ONE: *SIGGGGHHHHH* No It’ll be fine. If you tape it, then it will be crooked on the paper and won’t lay flat so the lines will be off. It’s FFFFIIIIIIINNNNNEEEEEEEE. *SIIIIGGGGHHHHHH*

Okay, Crisis Two sort of dealt with.

Of course, we now have to drive or she will be late. So we get in the car. It’s crazy cold. Don’t judge we live in San Diego, below 70° is cold.

So I start the car. The temp thing says it’s 56° degrees.

FIXITMOMMY:  YIKES! It’s chilly this morning.
BIG ONE: *SIIIIGGHHHHHH* Yeah, well you don’t have to go put PE clothes on for first period. I’m going to FREEEEEZZZEEEEE. OHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Crisis Three will be dealt with when I go buy her some sweats so she doesn’t freeze in her PE shorts. In her defense the kid has no fat on her body so in shorts and T-shirt she might actually freeze a little bit.

Again it took all that I had to not laugh. If these are the worst things that happen today, I think she will be just fine. But she might disagree.


A Slippery Slope for Scouting

October 12, 2017

So y’all know I am a Girl Scout troop leader. I was not involved in scouting as a child, unless you want to count the maybe three months in first grade that I was a Brownie before my dad got orders and we moved across the country.

My in-laws, however, are uber involved in scouting. The Husband is an Eagle Scout and is also a lifetime member of Girl Scouts USA. He has two sisters so, by default, he was involved in all aspects of both Girl Scouts (GSUSA) and Boy Scouts (BSA).

When the decision was announced yesterday that Boy Scouts would begin accepting girls, he was all for it. He thinks it’s great. He thinks the opportunity for our girls to earn Eagle and Gold is fantastic.

I disagree because I am a cynic!  I have two major challenges with this whole topic. One concerns BSA and one concerns GSUSA.

Both organizations are facing decreasing membership. There is just too much competition for kids’ attention. Scouting, which is fabulous, is losing out to club sports, electronic endeavors and homework overload. Instead of focusing on recruiting boys, I think BSA is taking the easy way by pretending to be all inclusive and welcoming girls. Only time will tell if there are any marketing efforts put into recruiting girls. I highly doubt it.  Instead I think BSA is hoping that all the girl siblings, who are already hanging out at their brothers’ events, will join the ranks thus increasing membership. They don’t really want the girls involved, but have figured out it makes good business sense to allow sisters of current boy scouts to join. It’s all about the mighty dollar, not about providing girls with leadership skills, confidence, team building and independence, instead girls are being used as pawns in BSA’s feeble attempt at increasing membership. There are countless boys who they should be focusing on.

By default, the girls who participate in BSA will, of course, learn valuable life skills. But I contend they will get much more from participating in a girl scout troop. The Husband has argued that the girls are not afforded as many opportunities for outdoor activities as the boy scouts offer. I disagree there are plenty of troops who do quite a bit of outdoor stuff (just not my troop because that is NOT my thing!) I will agree that GSUSA makes it extremely difficult to do outdoorsy stuff. The amount of training, paperwork, forms, contingency plans, etc are daunting. GSUSA has made it very difficult to just go camping or do anything outside.

Alas, my biggest challenge with GSUSA in this situation is their lack of focus on branding the Gold Award. All of the news stories last night discussed the prestige associated with rank of Eagle Scout.  I agree it is a wonderful thing. It’s beneficial for college applications, military rank, general leadership skills, community building, etc. but guess what? The Gold Award carries the same prestige, but not that many people know about it. GSUSA has done a terrible disservice to girls with their lack of focus on the benefits of earning a Gold Award.

People who I have talked to whose children have earned these awards almost all agree that earning a Gold Award, is actually more difficult than earning Eagle Scout, but the vast majority of the population have never heard of the Gold Award.  People also agree that the path to Eagle is harder than the path to Gold, but the actual requirements for the final project is where Gold is more difficult. I’m not arguing that one is better or more difficult than the other!  They are both fantastic awards that encourage scouts to develop amazing life-long skills. My point is that GSUSA needs to create a whole branding campaign for the Gold Award so that society recognizes the girls who earn it equally as they do Eagle Scouts.

Bottom line with this change, will it really affect me or my girls? Not really. If my girls want to go for Eagle Scout, I will support them through it to the best of my abilities. I just hope that we can find a pack where they will fit it. My concern for BSA is that while some packs will accept girls with open arms, I am afraid others will dig their heels in and not allow girls to participate, which in this crazy society we live in will likely result in even more legal issues for BSA; something they certainly cannot afford.

I admit I would rather let my conservative flag fly on this one and leave Boy Scouts to the boys and Girl Scouts to the girls, but I’m just one voice in a sea of millions.


Just an aside, as a PR professional, I think GSUSA could have maybe worded this statement a little better. While I agree with the sentiment, it’s harsh! WOW!

When My Tires Get Slashed…

October 6, 2017

Or my house gets egged, we know to blame the Little One.

By now y’all know the Little One is a bundle of energy. She plays hard. She’s never met a stranger and she always says exactly what she thinks. Yes, I often cringe when she opens her mouth, but it is part of her charm.  Last night the Husband took the Big One to youth group so it was just me and the Little One at home.

After we finished painting her cast, I was back in the bathroom washing my face when all of the sudden I hear the Little One racing around the house, with the dog chasing behind her. We have hardwood floors so there is no sneaking around our house. My face was wet and soapy so I just hollered, “You okay?” in response to the running footsteps. No response. Oy vey, again those of you who know the Little One….

I quickly rinsed the soap and proceeded to the front of the house to see what the commotion was about.

It was cool last night, so as usual we had the front door open, screen door shut. We also have a ginormous window on the front of our house. The Little One loves to watch the world go by so the blinds were wide open. Apparently she watched an older model white Honda Accord drive by. There was a female driver and two late teens/young adult males riding on the trunk of the car. Intrigued by what was happening she raced to the play room windows to further watch the car after it drove past our house.

She climbed up on the play room bed and watched out the side window (it’s a pretty high window, I too have to stand on the bed to spy outside!). As the car approached the stop sign at the end of our street the two males, hopped off the trunk and proceeded to “push” the car. As they did this, according to the Little One, the female driver accelerated quickly around the corner causing both males to fall on their faces.

So she and I walked outside to see if the car was gone and/or the males were alright. We got to the end of our street and saw the car parked on the side of the street, around the corner from our house. The three people in question were all standing next to the car. They appeared to be laughing and having a good time.

There’s the idiots, Mom!” the Little One said rather loudly. “One of them is even smoking. EWWWWWWWW!”

At this point, they have now seen us looking at them, but continue with whatever they are doing.

Convinced that nobody was injured in this little stunt, the Little One and I returned to our house.

Now I have a routine in the evening. After washing my face, I typically also brush my teeth. This is my feeble attempt to prevent late night snacking.  So I returned to the bathroom once again this time to brush my teeth.

As I am brushing, mouth full of Crest sudsiness, I hear the Little One say, “Hey there’s one of the idiots!

Oy vey, this kid. So I finish brushing and start walking towards the living room, the Little One intercepts me in the hallway. She is sheepishly giggling, “Mom, the idiot heard me call him an idiot. He stopped and stared at me through the window.”

So she and I have a quick little chat about watching what we say and how loud we say it, YES! Even within our own home. Then we quickly closed all the windows and blinds.

I can’t really fault her honesty. They are idiots. But unfortunately in this day and age, I am now waiting for my tires to get slashed or house to get egged.

Picasso, I am Not

October 5, 2017

Lots of people think I am really artsy and creative, I hate to burst any bubbles, but I am not really all that creative on my own. I am really good at finding ideas and then manipulating them and making them my own. So when the Little One asked me to paint her cast for Halloween I panicked a little bit. You see I am pretty good with manipulating and creating things on the computer, but actually putting paint to paper (or in this case fiberglass) I was a little intimidated, actually I was a lot intimidated.

But you see my poor child has had rough last five weeks. It started back in August, right before school started. She and her friend were trying to build a fort in the backyard. One thing led to another, led to another and the Little One fell backwards landing funky on her wrist. The x-rays were a bit inconclusive whether or not there was a fracture, so they labeled it a “growth plate injury” and put her in a long-arm cast for three weeks. Now this, of course, is not the first broken bone for this kid. We had the epic fall when she was six. Then two years ago, she got a scooter for Christmas, fell off of it and broke her left wrist.

So starting school in the midst of a terrible heat wave while wearing a long arm was tough but she managed it. Her three weeks were up, we got the cast removed and all was good.

I specifically asked about restrictions with the cast off and was told, “her only restrictions are her own pain.” Having her whole arm immobilized for three weeks takes its toll. They gave us a brace, told her to wear it for 7-10 days and then all should be fine.

So it was TWO DAYS after getting her cast off, when the next adventure began.  I picked her up from school, she was white and cradling her arm tightly against her body. I knew this was a very bad sign. So I asked her what happened.  She said, “Well, I kinda tripped over the soccer ball and fell on my arm.” Now mind you I knew they were playing soccer for PE, so I specifically said to her, “stay away from the soccer ball. You can ‘play’ soccer without being in the thick of things.” The child clearly does not listen well. It’s “too hard” to not play she said.

That was a Friday. I was in denial all evening. Then I cried myself to sleep that night because I knew she hurt herself again.

On Monday we went to see the doctor and got the diagnosis. She fractured her left elbow. OY vey! So the doctor sent us off to orthopedics cast room to get a soft cast applied while we waited a couple days for the ortho referral. So then on Wednesday, ONE WEEK, since we got the other cast off, she got another long-arm cast for another three weeks.

Fast forward two weeks and she was complaining that her cast was too tight. She had been complaining since it was applied, but I told her it would be fine once the swelling from the injury went down. Well that never really happened so we went back in to the cast room yesterday because she has some nasty and painful blisters all around her fingers where the cast has rubbed the skin raw (fiberglass vs flesh is what the ortho tech told us… fiberglass always win!). They replaced her cast and then as we were leaving, we met a woman who had an amazing phoenix painted on her cast. It was gorgeous. I really should have taken a picture of it.

So now the Little One decides she wants her cast painted. We had talked about it before, but again, a painter I am not, so I had managed to put her off. But now she was fired up after seeing this amazing art work.

The Little One got a black and purple cast this time and asked for Halloween stuff painted on it so we went to work this afternoon. (side note she has now had a cast in every color that Kaiser offers!) I am not going to lie, my expectations for myself for very low. The Little One’s expectations for me where also very low (thanks kid!)  But I surprised both of us with how well it all came out. They are clearly not difficult pieces. They certainly do not look professional. But hey they are readable. I think it’s pretty clear exactly what they are!


Since I really have no artistic abilities, I printed out clipart, cut them down to make stencils, traced them and then painted them!