United States of Motherhood: December 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Child Proof & 55 Cents for the Love of Mike

Yep, winter break is still here and Christmas is gone, but you would never know from all the holiday decor that will stay up until late January. Heck, I only got some of it up last week, so damned if I'm not going to enjoy it. Heh!

As the funny above says, the kids are getting a mite old...

...as in I could use a break from our break, not that they getting older. I may be a Republican, but even I knew that!

Also from holiday remnants, I have still to send out my holiday letter because I have still to take a picture of all of us in front of the tree. I figure it will turn into a New Year's letter, but don't deny it might turn into a lovely Valentine's Day update.

On the positive side, I've been generally good on that diet I mentioned in my resolutions. I only had 2 pieces of Frazzleberry pie, a Starbucks cranberry bliss bar, 2 servings of roast beef, and a glass or two of cab. What? What?! Honestly, I did eat all that, but then I also skated for over an hour which is 500 + calories.

Guess what? I've lost two pounds even.

Also, positive is that I just bought my weight in photo albums, photo storage, photo boxes. Yep, another resolution. Now if we can get those pictures into the albums and the photos out of cardboard boxes into to those super cute, overpriced photo boxes, wouldn't that be fabulous?

I even tried to study for the LSAT yesterday while connected to laptop at Starbucks whilst waiting for kids at swim practice.

Seriously tried. I connected only after driving 20 minutes to a library to register my Starfucks gift card then driving back, so I could get free wi-fi closer.

Ahem. Ummmm, yes I could have just stayed at the library, but their music sucks and that librarian bi-otch would not serve me a cuppa Joe, that whore.

So, I drove back to the Kent Starbucks (the ghetto one next to Kent-Meridian High school if any corporate types are tracking this post) and spent more gas to get my wifi. Then, I opened my google reader and I saw that I've been over 1000+ for a month.

I don't know why I think it will change every time I open it.

My friends, you guys are just too wordy during the holidays. Heh!

So, I surfed instead while sipping my drip coffee, excited to know I would get a free 55 cent refill. Whoop! Except the Starfucks bitch charged me and said my card must not be registered.

Cue chirping crickets.


You charged me?

"No, I just got free wi-fi with that card for two hours in your store. You saw me. I was the only one here."

She kept insisting my card was not registered. I kept insisting it was. We went back and forth like PB and Eldest. I could have accepted the 55 cents, but damn if I didn't drive 40 minutes out of my way roundtrip to deserve that Starbucks Reward and she was going to give it to me.

She was pretty steady on the idea that even if it was registered, the deed was done and my card was already charged 55 cents.

Another barrista got involved and told me the same thing.

I said it was registered. She said it must not be. I said it was. I pointed out free wifi.

She finally said they had, "bad computers."

That was it.

Still was going to charge me for my refill even though acknowledging it was their computers.

Cue crickets again.

Again, their wrong, but I was still out of luck for my freakin' 55 cents.

I looked at her blankly. That's it. That's the best your Starfucks customer service can do?

I continued the stare down.

It wasn't working.

Sighing, having been in retail many years myself, I throw her a bone.

I ask her those famous words that I should never have to ask a barista since they are employed by one of those companies that truly buy into the old-fashioned idea that the customer is always right:

"How are you going to make this right?"

She sighs right back at me, gives her fellow barrista a dirty look, leans down and slap a free drink coupon at me. Then walks away.

Walks away. As if I am the bad guy...

Bitch! Bitch!

I did NOT want a free drink.

I am not one of those people and did not want to be put into the corner as one of those people who manipulate for free drinks. I have never sent food back in a restaurant no matter how bad. I don't generally make scenes at returns lines. I am compassionate to the service industry because for 10 years, those people were me.

But she, actually both of them, sucked barista ass grounds. Stinky ones.

I just wanted my 55 cents. I did not want a free drink. Was that so hard???

It's not like I used a dirty cup from the morning and was trying to get a free drink later that evening like some questionably ethical people I know. Yes, I have a former friend that did that.

Not me.

Too honest.

But damn it I had been there the whole time as their only customer when I went up for the refill.

Am I obsessing?

Yes, I don't care. This was a Starfucks injustice.

I had been in that store, vitually alone, for the whole time.


With a card that was REGISTERED.

Remember this:

Yep, me. Better Off Dead classic. I waaaant my 55 cent!!

I called my sister who manages a Starbucks in another state.

Yes, my friends. I have Starbucks therapist, don't you?

We talked it out.

I was volatile and unstable. She talked me down.

Turns out sometimes gift cards registered for Starfucks rewards sometimes need 24 hours before they work at the barista's register, but then my sister said she said that they should have known that and even if not, should have voided it just to make me the customer happy.

They could have voided the transaction in less than 30 seconds. No need to escalate. No money out of any skanky barrista wallet.

I just wanted my 55 cents. Did I mention that?

As I write this post, CG brought me my first coffee of the day. Now see, that's a good man whore personal barrista. I might stay here after all to get started on those LSAT practice tests...

...except those darn kids keep trying to get in and surprise, we have less than an hour to be at practice again.

Maybe I'll give the Starfucks on Mercer Island a try?

Mercer Island Starfucks? When Mercer Island has a library that allows coffee, has better lighting, cozier seating, and better wi-fi than Starbucks.

They doooo have a record of letting my kid get beat up though?


Or maybe I'll just use my account at the pool. Then maybe I'll just peek at my reader again...


So I used my free drink at Starfucks Mercer Island. I am sipping my Venti latte with extra shot and Equal as I clink keys at a table. However, I felt sooooooo guilty using a free drink coupon that I bought PB a kids' hot chocolate. ..that she didn't want, so it wouldn't be a free visit.

See! No parasite here.

Uhhhh....'cept I had no cash. Nada. Used every last quarter on the car wash yesterday.

I wasn't going to charge an 80 cent drink, so I added two scones.


Fricklebiotch! There's goes those dag'nam resolutions again.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Year's Resolutions Countdown

Trite, I know, but maybe if I put them to paper blog, they'll stick?

I know, I know!

Didn't I write this last year? And this a year before? Guilty, but ever hopeful.

This photo below was the last time I felt healthy, at a good weight and generally stress free.

This was over eight years ago. Ridiculous. Something needs to change.

My Resolutions

Stick to a diet for 6 months that includes less butter, buttery foods, cream, iced cream, warmed cream, melted cheese, grilled cheese, white carbs, and refined sugar. Oh, yeah. And bacon!

2. Work out everyday to justify that $3000 in gym membership in the last 2.5 years in which I have actually worked out in less than 2 dozen times.

3. Get healthy so I don't hurt like a twenty buck whore getting up from the carpet after playing board games with the kids. Sigh. Pathetic. My back hurts as much now as it did when I was 9 months pregnant with Li'l Man. It's no wonder since I now weigh more than I did when I was nine months pregnant with him. Sigh again.

4. Volunteer less and spend more time on me preparing for my future including studying for the LSAT, working on law school admissions, and generally adding more intellectual variety in my noggin' than House, Gray's Anatomy, Lipstick Jungle,Fringe, perpetual swim practice for the kids, and room mom parties. Be more selfish. Yes, you read that right. My resolution is to make it more about me. I need to find worth in myself and realize I deserve more.

5. Organiz
e photos, convert all pre-digital photos to jpegs then put pics in actual, honest to Pete albums like the one that have been stored in the garage for over 10 years.

6. Finally fill out my 12 year olds', 9 year olds', and almost 7 year olds' baby books.

7. Finish painting
the exterior of the house that I started three years ago, finish all have finished projects, clean out garage, finally unpack boxes from a move to Alaska, then California, and now Washington that I have as yet to unpack. God knows what in 'em. Basically, get my house in order.

8. Settle details of granite, stoves, cabinets so we can finally start remodel of kitchen that I used as an excuse not to host a PTA board meeting at my house two years ago.

9. Get enough sleep and sleep more in our bed and less on couch. This will be helped by getting more healthy so my back doesn't hurt so much.

10. And here's the one my husband will love the verry best: Have more sex despite my nonexistent libido.

My friends, I am resolute in getting my shit together. No more bacon!!

And you, my friends? Let's hear it. What'cha got?

ps tHX FOR THE fLICKR PICS by sirwiseowl and by stu_spivack and by Jim Blob Blann.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Save the Breed, Blame the Deed

I rarely tell people that my beloved Grendel is a Pitt-mix.

There's way too much prejudice out there.

It's okay. you can admit being fearful of Pittbulls. The media has trained us all well.

As it were, the foster-rescue program I adopted her from the day before she would be euthanized fudged and slyly labeled her a Shepherd mix. Heh!

You all may know that Grendel has had medical woes this past year. She's on three meds. She survived skin cancer.

Nine months later? She's happy again. She no longer acts the recluse she turned into the previous two years.

This picture to the right was after her very invasive surgery to remove three kinds of cancers over seven areas of her body in March. One was right above the spine that required deep, wide margins that left little muscle on her bony back. Another was a monstrous, bleeding, infected tumor on her chest that our previous vet ignored.

I know you've heard it before from me, but dogs can get skin cancer too, so please spray a little sun block on their wiggly bodies if they are sun lovers like my little Grendel and you live in sunny spots like Florida, Arizona, or California like we did.

She was a bit sad above and I am sure in much pain, having come out of the surgery like Frankenstein, but can't you see the love in those wise ol' 14 year old eyes?

I never even considered not shelling out the $2ooo to extend her life for a few more months to years. She was part of the family. She still had a sparkle in her eye and a wag in her tail. I loved her too much.

However crotchety from old age, I've never regretted having Grendel girl for the last 13 years. She rocks.

Yes, my friends, it's a Pin Up the Year moment:

Who needs silly pusscats when you have a cuddle pup like mine. Mwah!

So, it makes me beyond sad when I hear of policies of immediate euthanization of all Pitts in certain cities and states. Sickening. To blame a breed is just beyond wrong.

The good news? I found this:

I love pinups! I love Pittbulls! It's perfect.

Need more of a peep show:

Here's the story behind it:

"Little Darling's" pup looks so much like my Grendel girl and just like her pup, my dog was starved and left for dead on the streets and still had so much love to give to her human family.

Still have shopping to do? I am sure your husband would appreciate a last minute gift for the dogs, not because there are sexy pinup vixens. Right!

Secret Sch-mervice Asshats

Okay, my friends, I know he's not popular to many, but he's still our president until January despite Obama thinking he should hold a press conference every other hour as "president-elect."

He still can and will need to do his job. Not one shoe, but two before the perpetrator was tackled?


Now, we have pics of Obama on beach waaay to close:

Hello, Secret Service asshats. Do I need to buy you a Starbucks so you can stay awake to protect the leader and future leader of the free world?

Can we pay attention longer than my 12 year old here?


Huh? Huh?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Are You an Angel or a Star?

We are angel people. As in on our tree because we all know I'm no angel. Heh!

My brother asked one Christmas hosted at our house why the angel. I dunno. I grew up with one of those whacky alien space type toppers that look like this:

Flickr Pic compliments of by Jeffry B

I think the answers was because I like it and it was all matchy-matchy. To be honest, I really like stars, but have never found one appropriately grandiose for the formal tree. I did find a nice sparkly silver one for the kids' tree, but alas no kids' tree this year.

Now, this angel has become tradition and much anticipated to the kids each year. Usually CG tops the tree since we usually have a 10-12 foot grand noble fir that is as wide as it is tall. Add huge tree stand and even with ladder, putting that angel on the tree is tricky business.

CG usually makes a lot of inappropriate, crass comments while impaling said angel. See comic strip above.

I put up with it because I have no monkey arms like my husbands. Reference the photo tree one year that was dubbed Old Grizzly by the tree lot redneck salesmen:

Christmas 2005

Christmas 2006

And Christmas 2006 again

Even last year's tree, while narrow, was too tall for me to handle:

Christmas 2007

This year? We are choosing one smaller, artificial tree for time, frugality, and sheer laziness reasons.

I miss the scent, but not the pine needles mess and the sap on the paint in the living room.

So, CG had this great idea to have Da boyz help. After almost tipping the tree and breaking one ornament and dropping one of the ornaments that only I put on the tree because I like it that much, I said enough:

Christmas 2008


So, my friends, are you a star or an angel?

More importantly, are you colored lights or white?

We are light racists here. Only white lights will do to set off my red, white, silver, gold, and blue tree.

PS Stay tuned for traditional family pic in front of finished tree. Matchy sweaters are arranged. Just need to do a little do it myself hair coloring and hair hacking like this.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This Santa is a Meany, Selfish, Tree Hugging, Pushover Putz

People, we are on day five of snow days. We lost those three last crucial days of school when Moms shop, wrap, and tie up loose ends without curious eyes.

I prepared for class teacher gifts and organized class gingerbread house parties...for naught. Our school district is full of p...p...pansies.

Instead we've had screeching kids that more often than not I lock out in the snow.

Really. It's okay. They like it.

They've made snow men and snow angels and snow ball fight arsenals. Don't they look so innocent when covered in snow?

They've also been working ever last nerve in their teasing and whining not just this week, but for the entire last month. So much so that I said words that are hard to take back to Eldest.

Something along the lines of "You've done it. You've lost Christmas presents. All of them."

Yes, I am mean, but do you have a 12 year old that tells his father in those most disrespectful way that he "just needs to be quiet?"

A 12 year old that deliberately bullies his little sister?

A 12 year old that throws anything and everything in the house like we were on a playground and damages walls and breaks others' possessions with little sincere remorse other than being caught? Impulse control is at a all time low.

Yep, he's lucky to be alive and generally unharmed. He's lipping. He's talking back. He's lying. He's disobeying. We are pulling out our hair and the only thing left to take away as a consequence to behavior was Christmas. He really was given multiple chances.

And yet he crossed that line.

So now, I've been doing everything to give him opportunities to earn presents back. CG disapproves. He thinks I'm wishy-washy, but hey, I am the mother who stood firm when she threatened no birthday party and then followed through.

Yet? I don't want to follow through on this.

So, after whiteout conditions and 70 mph winds last night, mother nature threw me a bone. You see every last flake in the neighborhood seems to have eddied and landed in our front yard. We are talking feet deep, hard to open front door snow. The neighbors across the street have a pristine driveway. Grrrr...

So yesterday we tried to buy a snow shovel in preparation and they were sold out everywhere. So I used a leaf blower, broom, and child's play snow shovel to clear the front porch and drive. Then my back was toast, just in time for a awesome neighbor to offer his shovel.

Do you see the golden opportunity yet? Yes, my friends. Hard labor and a strong 12 year old back, and I come away the softy, but firm mommy that saved Christmas for Eldest through very selfish, self-centered ways for this Santa Mommy.

So, he's in snow gear digging the long driveway out.

I said it was an opportunity to earn presents back. This is good because those presents are bought and paid for and damned if I am not giving them to him.

There's more snow in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow which should be good for the rest of the presents and maybe a stocking or two.

Bonus? He'll be so bone-tired maybe he'll curb the attitude and teasing.

And CG? Pthththhwt. I know he wanted me to give him coal, but Moms are just not wired to take Christmas from their babies...even if those babies are going through some very ugly puberty-driven, attitude-filled, hateful driven behavior.

Really, my friends, could you deny Christmas to kids like these who oooh-awwwe over every ornament they put up?

Speaking of which I've just started our Christmas letter this year. Yep, a bit late as usual and since mail isn't going out here, I have the perfect excuse to send electronically. Ha! It's a more green way to be for Christmas. Speaking of saving trees, here's my first paragraph:

I have deemed we will not be getting a fresh tree after all this year. Sigh. Christmas and inclement weather came so fast and between arranging class parties, it was all I could do to throw up some holly here, one artificial tree there, some wreathes there, and call it a day. My seasonal décor mania demands I hit the other EIGHT crates of holiday décor. The voices in my mind say, “But, we always have two trees…” Oh, wait, that wasn’t the voices; that was PB applying guilt that I will resist. Heh! I just sit here with my glass of wine, my trusty dogs curled by my side, and my wool socks toasty warm and plug my ears while chanting “lalalala.”

So did you get that? This year will be a one tree Christmas this year. Sigh. Sad. I know. We never found the time between snow days and swim meets to get a fresh tree and now everything is shut down in this p...p...pansy of a town.

And yet? I am okay with this. I keep hearing a snarky version of John Denver's "Save the Trees for Your Tomorrow:"

See?! I'm a farking tree hugging hero!! That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Happy Holidays to all and to all a good pre-teen, shoveled driveway, and at least one tree decorated.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Warning: You Won't Enjoy This Post Until the End

'Tis the season and all that, I've been a might busy and postings have been sparse. So you've got to know I have something momentous to share if I am here, yes? Ummmm....right-o!

Let me preface this by the fact that I am oddly attracted to medical programs. No, not Grey's Anatomy or ER or House, although I do love all those too. No, we are talking those reality shows on cable.

Flickr Pic by by pbo31

You know the ones.

They are documentaries of surgeries. Or sad tales of malformed, freak-show-esque human spirits from third world countries. Discovery Channel. TLC. National Geographic.

The My Shocking Story of the" Tree Man" who has horns instead of hands.

...Or the wolf kids, human face transplants, octopus man, Siamese twins, people who eat 10,000 calories a day and weigh a 1/2 ton, and the list goes on and on. Truly fascinating.

Usually these people are very poor from countries of limited resources and have very limited medical options, so it is inspiring to see western medicine helping them from funds collected from commercials while I gawk in amazement of human resilience.

That said, I happened upon this below. I was shocked!

Absolutely blown away.

Warning! This will shock you!

Holy Fudgcolas! I almost tossed my cookies and I usually find this fascinating.

Worse yet?

This happened in California. Yes, the Bay Area. Yes, at Stanford hospital.

Need another look?

Yep, them be brain maggots in a rotting brain tumor.

Rocking back and forth here.

I checked Snopes. It's real.

How was this guy found?

Here's the scoop from Curezone:

Photographs of a man in his 70s who was suffering from an unusual form of cancer which had eaten away at the upper portion of his skull and scalp but who had not sought any medical treatment because the condition was not causing him pain.

The man was brought to the trauma center at Stanford University Hospital (where the photographs shown here were taken) by San Mateo County paramedics who had been summoned to the scene after the man was involved in a minor automobile accident and who found him in his car in the condition pictured.

Maggots can infest the human brain, and so can certain types of tapeworm larvae (pork tapeworm)*.
*Remember that pork we ate a while back? Maybe that wasn't tumor ridden meat, but dead "pork tapeworm." Hmmmm....

So, 'tis the season so I thought I would share this holiday season. It really makes you grateful for what you have, eh?

I mean who cares about credit card bills and the economy when you have the good sense...ahem brains...to seek medical attention in the case of brain tumors and have the common sense...knock on your noggins...not to drive if one's brain is infested in maggots.

Helen? You may hurl now. God knows if you're afraid of a few stinkin' pig hooves, who knows where brain maggots will take you. I hope Steve takes pictures. Heh!

Prize alert! Prize alert! Prize alert!

Here's another treasure hunt bonus for those of you who made it to the end:

Guinea Worm

And how do you ask did this Seattle soccer mom find such putrid misery?

It all started with an innocuous feel good article in today's local Seattle Times newspaper entitled,

"Horrifying parasitic illness reaches all-time low"

The good news: The article reports that we are curing many human parasites , the Guinea worm in particular, through the efforts of Jimmy Carter and Microsoft.

The bad news: That anyone should have to live in such retched conditions in our world in the first place.

The best news: PB's teacher is very involved with humanitarian groups having spent a year in Africa and now involved in an orphanage in India. This year our class has decided to split her gift with a small flower arrangement and gift certificate for her and better yet, a big check to sponsor those orphans who are often born into such retched conditions. So far, we are almost at sponsoring 10 orphans for a whole month.

Yes, my friends, 'tis the season. Be happy for what you have. Your health. Your children's health. Hopefully a warm home and a full belly.
Flicker Pic by Aim and shoot!

PS If your head starts to ache during the holidays, you might want to get it checked out if maggots appear, m'kay? And if not? Please don't drive. I'd hate to wipe the maggots off my windshield.

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