It snowed!

Isn’t that the only thing anyone has to say these days? Unless you live in my hometown, and you can say “It hasn’t snowed and the farmers are crying.” I would love to pack up this snow and send it to the farmers, but it doesn’t work like that.

Like most of you, we’ve had a crazy winter and are going stir-crazy. This was the worst snow yet with 19″ being the biggest number I’ve heard. Thank goodness our neighbors have a snow blower and spent the day helping our little section get cleaned up. It’s supposed to snow some more tonight, but not nearly as much.

You all remember the Dutch lady who is rude and weird? She’s still hanging around my MOMS Club and causing trouble. As venues were cancelling and shuffling events, she kept trying to make plans. People kept saying “ummmmm. . you realize there’s going to be 13 inches of snow? No one’s going anywhere” and she kept saying “I don’t believe them.” Because she is suddenly a meteorologist? The governor of our state called a state of emergency, but she has better information than him?

Yesterday I had PTA drama that I was complaining about at our MOMS Club event and I said “and we won’t even have school Thursday or Friday so it doesn’t even matter!” and she looked at me like I was nuts. “Why on earth wouldn’t we have school on Thursday and Friday?” She completely scoffed at me when I mentioned the snow and the impending doom. “There’s no way we’ll even get an inch,” she told me.

In yo face, bi-atch.

That whole interaction makes the snow a gleeful experience (plus, our power didn’t go out and we have plenty of food and we are all home, so no worries).

Also gleeful: I decided to splurge and buy myself snow pants in middle of the Polar Vortex. They arrived too late to be useful for that cold spell, but they were the best thing ever today. At least as an adult I can use them for years. I certainly hope I don’t outgrow them*!

I went to TJMaxx the other day, which is a rarity for me. I think that’s the third time I’ve ever been in there. I was hoping to score some clothes for Elsa, but they didn’t have anything worth buying. However, they did have glassware! I am in love with fancy glass containers and little cupcake stands. I restrained myself and only bought one, but if the snow ever ends I’m going to go buy a couple more. They are so fancy for a party! As an adult I should have some fancy things. I really love being able to pull out nice serving trays, casserole dishes with covers, and various other items that I consider “adult.” I’m going to be 40 in six weeks. I think the novelty of being an adult should wear off soon.

At any rate, the fancy glass container I bought needed something pretty, so I baked some more Cherry White Chocolate Shortbread cookies, which are totally amazing. They are perfect for Valentines and look so pretty in the jar, but the challenge is keeping them in the jar when everyone wants to eat them. My plan was not well thought out. I should have filled it with conversation hearts. Elsa found an old box of them from last year and declared that they are “nasty.” Which is probably why there was a box in the old craft box. Those thing are nasty.

Hmmmmm. . . I should go make my kids some Valentines for them to wake up to! And maybe my husband! That was the one thing I didn’t prepare for before the snow storm. I was going to get stuff on Wednesday night, but somehow that didn’t happen.

*I watched part of a documentary on a lady who weighed over 1,000 pounds. I just can’t imagine. How do you let yourself get there? Though I suppose there are people who look at me and ask that same question. But at least I can get up and take care of my family and myself. The documentary was kind of vulgar since she was too big to wear clothes. It showed her husband cleaning her body. Doctors estimated that each butt cheek weighed over 100 pounds. I felt so bad for her because she seemed like a nice lady, except that the whole reason they even knew she existed is because she went to court for murder, so she wasn’t that nice of a lady!

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Lunch Woes

Erik refuses to eat his lunch at school. He refuses to eat the school lunch, which is totally fine with me because I wouldn’t want him eating that crap anyway. But he now refuses to eat anything I send him either. Sandwiches get squished. Cereal bars get crumbly. Cheese, vegetables, fruit, pepperoni, etc gets “dried out.” Whole fruit like apples and clementines get a turned up nose. He won’t eat nuts. Go-gurt (which I hate on principal because it is disgusting to slurp food out of a plastic tube) is “probably bad and will make me sick” even if I freeze it and send it in with an ice pack and it’s still cold. At least he knows something about food safety?

The mac and cheese and pasta that he used to eat every day with no problems is now “just not good.” Which. . . .ok, I was not happy that all he was eating was carbs. I want him to eat some carrot sticks or apple slices!

I’ve tried sending in leftovers of meals that he’s gobbled up the night before and said was the “best thing I ever ate!” Those come back with nary a nibble taken out of them.

I ask him “aren’t you hungry in the afternoons?” and he admits he is. I hate thinking of him sitting there, starving. I know it makes him grouchy, so he’s probably a real pleasure to deal with.

I asked him what I could send and he gave me completely unrealistic responses: A box of cookies, a whole loaf of homemade bread (I would be more than happy to send him slices, but he says slices get squished in his lunch. And a whole loaf wouldn’t? Is he just going to tear in to it like a neanderthal? They wouldn’t let him have a metal fork in his lunch box, how are they going to let him have a big ol’ bread knife?), or steak. Because every 8 year old needs a steady diet of steak. I would not mind sending him steak in his thermos sometimes, but who can afford a daily ration of steak? We’re not living in Downtown. If we were we’d have private tutors.

And now Elsa is having a complete meltdown tantrum that I can’t even deal with. She handed me the packing from a band-aid, so I threw it away. And now she is screaming and crying and going through the trash saying “I want garbage! I want garbage!” What a cruel mother I am.

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*Cough Cough*

Woke up with morning with a yucky cold and a world covered in ice. School has been cancelled, again. I know this is the same story in half the United States. Climate change, eh? The world is about to get really scary, really fast.

We’ve actually had more school than a lot of places, but we’ve used up all our snow days and will now be going extra. That doesn’t really matter to me since I don’t have any big plans. We had originally tried to book a camping trip to Jellystone right after school let out, but the timing didn’t work out so now I’m glad to not have a non-refundable trip on the books.

I really hope the Airborne does it’s magic and kicks this cold to the curb sooner rather than later. I am already feeling slightly better, but I think that’s just because I took a handful of Advil for my sore throat. By the way, you do know that Advil is great for a sore throat, right? It is a pain killer and anti-inflammatory, so works better than a Sucrets ever could. My mother still doesn’t know this even though I’ve told her at least 20 times. I learned this from my school nurse when I was in college. I wish my mom would have known because I always had sore throats as a kid. Life is just so much better these days–colds don’t drag on for days and noses don’t get sore. Thank you Airborne and Puffs Plus!

I went back to the gym for the first time in over a month yesterday. I am feeling it today! I had PT after the gym and didn’t think that would be a big deal, except they upped my PT workout so I was a little shaky. I did have to laugh, though. They wanted me to do 10 minutes on the bike and had it set at the lowest possible level. The guy kept coming over and asking if I was ok and if I would be able to do it for a full ten minutes. Ummmmm. . . yeah. I think I can handle 10 minutes on a bike since I regularly do an hour on the elliptical. I can’t even call the bike a cardio workout because the setting was so low that it didn’t raise my heart rate. The only part that hurt was my ass from sitting on that tiny little seat.

I do a lot of leg lifts during PT, which always makes me feel like I’m in a Jane Fonda video. Yesterday they added ankle weights to the leg lifts, so I really felt like I needed a braided sweat band and leg warmers.

My Read-a-Thon is wrapping up and it seems to be pretty successful from a financial standpoint. The money is due next week, but we’ve already gotten in about $1,000. I was worried we wouldn’t make anything, but the families who love the idea of the Read-a-Thon really love it. We had three families give $100 each. I’m so glad, because the PTA president and the principal thought it would be a total fail. I feel like saying “in yo face, yo.” I’ll just think it instead.

It’s funny–people either love the idea (and value reading) or completely don’t get it. The people who are contributing are the people who never buy random crap and the people who buy random crap and generally not the ones contributing to the read-a-thon. I suppose it’s just two completely different mindsets. I have learned that I will never understand that mindset of the majority of people, which is why I get so frustrated in life. Things that are so clear and self-evident to me are obviously not self-evident to many. Somehow this does nothing to convince me to change my viewpoint, despite being in the minority.

Just today on the Ask Moxie FB page, a page that is generally full of involved, thoughtful parents, there is a big thing about homework. I was shocked by the number of parents who said they don’t go over their young children’s homework. They were making some remarks about the homework is for the child; they’d been to school and don’t need to re-do 2nd grade homework; it’s the teacher’s job to check the work. I feel like they are missing a vital purpose of the homework. No one is suggesting you do the homework. Absolutely not. But how can you not check over your first grader’s homework and make sure s/he understands the basic concepts? There is really not a lot of individualized attention at school, so going over homework is a parent’s chance to make sure their child understands what’s going on. Heck, even with an older child I would check over the work if the child was struggling in school. As a former teacher, I can tell you that a parent’s involvement is often the key to a child’s success (or at least lack of failure. I think true success has to come from a deep desire within the child and a parent can only do so much to keep a child on track).

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Parents, Heed This Warning

If you have a young child, get yourself some kind of reminder system and have this little note e-mailed to you about six months before your child’s 8th birthday “DO NOT HAVE AN 8TH BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!!!!!!” Instead, plan a one or two kid sleepover or movie/bowling/Chuck E. Cheese event. Seriously, do not plan a party for more than three children.

We went to the worst party today. It wasn’t that it was poorly planned, lacking cake or anything else (I went to the most poorly planned birthday party in the history of the world last June). It was simply that a big group of eight year old’s can’t seem to function as a group. I’ve been to a lot of kiddie parties and never have I seen so many crying meltdowns. Nor have I ever seen such a brawl as the one we had to break-up. It was in-freaking-sane.

It was our good friend’s birthday–Irish Lad, the little boy Erik has been besties with since they were two years old. We spend a lot of time together and are in a good place right now, so Mike and I hung around to help manage the party. It was a home party with pizza, cake and a variety of board games. But nobody wanted to play any of the board games. None of the kids could agree on anything And eight year olds? They are big. Shrieking, running, jumping and all of that rambunctious energy that is annoying in four year olds becomes something all together different in eight year olds.

Erik’s eighth birthday was back in October and it was definitely the last big party we will have. We noticed at the time that bringing together kids from different areas of his life simply doesn’t work anymore. At this age they are much more aware of their social setting and less willing to include people from outside of their circle. They tend to have a couple of good friends and don’t want to include people outside of that clique. I need to read a book about 8 year old development to see if that is really what’s going on. Erik’s party was not a complete fail, but only because we only had four guests show up (which was sort of a fail in itself).

After the party today I went and met up with one of my long time friends who moved to Virginia last year, which means I never see her. She just had her son’s 8th birthday party last week and she said the same thing–never again. I guess their party went pretty much the same as the party today–the kids just couldn’t get along. However, I don’t think there was actual physical violence at her party.

So I’m taking these three separate parties and coming to one conclusion: never host an 8 year old party.

More about this party: Erik was one of the kids having a complete meltdown. All the other guests go to a different school together so they don’t know Erik. He is one of the popular kids at his school and the ring leader of a lot of games. He has respect and is known for having good ideas. The kids at this party did not know about his awesomeness and completely ignored him. He is not used to being ignored.

They were all really bored and didn’t want to play the board games the hosts provided, so I taught them a more active game called Alien Invasion. The game requires the kids to work together, but they couldn’t manage to pull it together and come up with a plan to defeat the evil aliens (Mike and Irish Lad’s dad). Also, they were being super wimpy about it, which was frustrating Erik. We had to stop the game after he came downstairs and was legit sobbing and saying he wanted to go home. Not at all appropriate behavior, which we talked to him about. But I didn’t really blame him because two of the kids were being super jerky.

Then the kids all went outside to get out some energy and that’s when the brawl started. I don’t really know what started it, but there was a pile-up of three kids, including the birthday boy. He wanted everyone to leave, and I don’t blame him. The whole party dragged on way too long and the kids were sniping at each other and fighting.

I told my friend that we should get the kids in their shoes and coats and have them waiting at the door when the parents showed up. She thought I was joking, but I was dead serious. Those kids needed to get out of there.

So yeah. . . . long day, and not even a party for my kid. We really needed to break out some booze during the party.

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Back in the Past

I’ve spent the evening looking through my journals from early 2009. That’s when Erik was 3 1/2 and I badly need perspective about naughty three year olds. They turn out ok in the far future! Even if they are little jerkfaces that make you want to run away from home! Ugh.

Yes, my dear little Elsa has turned into a complete hot mess of Three-and-a-half-ness. Everything is met with a howled “No!!!!” She throws herself on the ground with startling regularity (Erik didn’t do that because he doesn’t have much determination about him–he gave up when I walked away, but she picks herself up and follows me around, only to throw herself down again).

When I picked her up from school today, I told her to pick up her tote bag and she yelled “No! You do it!” and stomped her feet. Her teacher’s jaw about dropped and she sputtered out “Ummm. .. ummmm. . I’ve never seen that side of Elsa. Elsa! I don’t like to hear you talk to your mommy that way!”

I just told Elsa very blandly, “You pick it up, or we are leaving it here” and of course she picked it up. I wanted to laugh in the teacher’s face since her son was so bad at age 5 that I wouldn’t even allow him in my house (for those who remember the car pool boy who was a complete monster, his mom is now Elsa’s preschool teacher).

It is like living with some kind of giant feral alley cat. You never know when your going to have 40 pounds of fierceness jump on you and either ride you like a horse or grab your face and give you the most painful Eskimo kiss known to man. She even tried jumping up onto Erik and slapping the shit out of his face, but we did not tolerate that and she got the message pretty quickly. I hope.

The result of my research: yes, this is normal and there is hope she will turn into a nice young lady. Erik is a wonderful 8 year old. Certainly not without his challenges, of course, but overall we are very proud of him. And he was a nutso three year old. He refused to wear clothing and was mouthy. Much like Elsa! Only she wears clothes, but insists on wearing her shirts backwards which drives me and everyone else crazy. I have all kinds of people stop me to tell me her shirt is on backwards. It’s not worth the fight to get her to wear them correctly.

The other results of my research: I am a much, much happier person when I am active and not eating sugar. I have got to get off the sugar, post haste. And I’ve got to get back to the gym. I was planning on going today, but then I kept Erik home sick from school and didn’t want to leave him for over an hour while I went to the gym and drove Elsa to school (in our state children are allowed to be left alone for short times at age 8).

Also, thank god I finally had my stupid ovarian teratoma removed. I was having so much pain back in 2009 and no one would believe me. Even the ultrasound showed nothing (the intestines were obstructing the view). It took a CAT scan in 2010 to identify the problem and then when they removed it in 2012 they discovered it had overtaken my whole ovary. No wonder I was in such pain! Medical mystery solved. . . three years after the fact.

So goal for next week: no processed sugar (carbs are fine, just not sweets) and get to the gym at least three times. I am feeling myself become a huge blob with no energy and I hate it. I want to get back to being able to kick some ass at the gym. This stupid knee is ruining all my plans. Grrrrrrr.

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Wise Yet Not

Erik seems to be coming down with a cold, which is pretty unusual. The kid has an immune system to beat all immune systems *knock on wood about a million times* and very rarely gets sick. Eight years old, three sick doctor visits in his life. And it’s not that I’m anti-doctor. Sometimes I feel like dear Elsa lives at the doctor, though she hasn’t had a sick visit since the summer celluitis where we ended up in the ER to make sure her eyeball wasn’t going to fall out. The boy is just never sick.

I got him to take some sambucus (miracle cure, I swear by it) but he was not happy with me. “You know mom, I’m eight years old and I think I can just handle having a cold without you telling me to take medicine. If I want to be sick, that’s my choice. I know I’ll be over it in a day” [which is probably true, his colds are always miniscule].

And then while we were reading he kept wiping at his eyes. I know they were itchy because they are always itchy. I have tried to teach him my trick (because my eyes are also always itchy) of wetting a bit of toilet paper and cleaning them out, but he refuses to do so. Instead he wipes them with his fingers which doesn’t help at all and actually causes the skin around his eyes to get red and dry. It looks very painful, so I have to sneak in is room at night at daub olive oil on his eyes. That’s the only why I’ve found to keep him from looking like some kind of vampire creature. The things you never thought you’d do before having kids. Oiling up someone’s eyes was never on my radar.

Anyway, my suggestion was met with the following statement, “You know mom, I think you should just stop worrying about my body and let me handle it. If I want itchy eyes that’s my choice. You need to find something else to worry about. And don’t worry about my sickness either.”

Part of my brain is going “yay! Independence” but the stronger part of my brain is going “kid! I am your mother! Listen to me because mother knows best!”

I swear I don’t know what to do with this kid sometimes. He is wise beyond his years, but still very much a child.

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Storming the bank

I can’t believe I never posted about the most exciting thing I’ve done in a long time!

Two weeks ago we had a MOMS Club business meeting. These meetings are always held in a local bank’s community room. We’ve been having the meetings at the same time, same day, same place ever since I joined the chapter over five years ago. We’ve had problems with the room before, but nothing significant unless you count two months ago when water was sheeting out of the ceiling and when we reported it, the tellers were just like “I’m sure maintenance will get to it sometime today” with completely bored looks on their faces.

There’s a specific guy who signs the key out to us and when he isn’t there we often have some confusion, but we’ve always gotten the key.

Well, last Wednesday he wasn’t there and wasn’t reachable by phone and had not left any instructions about giving us the key. The tellers are completely useless when it comes to doing anything helpful (see above for their response to a major flood) and told our president that they couldn’t help us get into the room and we’d have to cancel our meeting. This despite us having a contract with the bank about the days we will use the room and showing them the e-mail confirming our use of the room for this particular day.

The president came outside to talk to us and try to figure out what to do. The main problem is that we’d invited three prospective members to this meeting so would have no way to communicate a change in plans to them. Plus, we are not allowed to invite prospective members to our homes. And what if we had scheduled a guest speaker? We do that several times a year! It really pissed me off! We were supposed to have the room and the tellers needed to talk to someone above their pay grade, not just send us on our merry way because they didn’t know what to do.

So, always the rabble rouser, I suggested that we all go into the bank and see if someone other than a teller could help us. Imagine 12 moms and 18 toddlers entering a completely empty bank lobby. Every single person came out of their office to stare at us and after some back and forth with a higher up, we were let into the room less than five minutes after storming the bank.

Sadly, one of those prospective members showed up and I think we scared her away. She sat through the meeting, but did not fill out the paperwork and has not answered my follow-up e-mail. Oh well. Her loss! Her name was Kerri so I am not too sad about not having to share a name.

Tomorrow we are having a cookie exchange, so I tried something completely different and made white chocolate cherry shortbread. It turned out so good! You probably saw the pic on my FB page. I just made one mistake and used stupid jimmy sprinkles instead of nonpareils or sugar sprinkles as suggested by the recipe. The waxy tastes really ruins the goodness of the cherries. Live and learn! I never dreamed I would be making a cherry based cookie because I don’t care for whole cherries, but I do like cherry flavor and this is the recipe that came up when I googled “best cookie for a cookie exchange.” I know that is a silly google, but sometimes I find some great gems that I wouldn’t necessarily try when I google like that. I am so over all of my recipes.

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Not so good

The weekend was not off to a good start. Mike was hit with a tummy bug Thursday night and then I had it yesterday. So far both kids are unscathed, but I don’t expect that to last. Mike was feeling well enough to take Erik to his first fencing class this morning, so I hope that goes well. Erik has already said he doesn’t know why he is taking a fencing class because he knows everything there is to know about sword fighting. I’m sure that will go over well with the teacher. Watching too much Power Rangers does not generally give you the ability to pick up a sword and use it correctly.

I went and picked up reading logs from the school yesterday and was quite pleased. We had a much, much better return rate than previously thought. A lot of the teachers simply didn’t turn them in to me last week, and of course a lot of students turned them in late. There is still no way they will reach the goal to have their principal do something crazy, which is unfortunate. I thought I set the bar fairly low, but my expectations were much, much too high.

We let the kids suggest things for the principal to do, then he went through them and picked three he wouldn’t mind doing. The kids voted to see which one would happen, if they read 200,000 minutes (512 kids x 21 days should have been very possible), but two weeks in and we are only at around 39,000. The reading specialist took care of all of that with very minimal input/help from me for which I am very, very grateful. I’ve discovered that it is hard to find people to depend on, but she is totally on top of things. I love her!

I am honestly not even sure the three things the kids are voting on. I think one was a school wide pajama day and one was the principal dressing up like a 70s disco king. Rejected suggestions: do the Harlem shake, dress like a girl all day, climb the flag pole, jump out of a helicopter, sing [various songs], dress like Captain Underpants.

It’s too bad the kids are soooooooo excited, but are not even going to come close to their goal. They don’t seem to have the connection that their actions are what will make this happen. If they aren’t turning in reading logs it simply won’t happen. If I do this again (big if), I would definitely change the goal (assuming the principal would let me. I think he was only on board with it because he knew the kids wouldn’t hit the goal). He’s a nice guy and I don’t have a problem with him, but he doesn’t have much of a sense of humor.

In other, more serious, news. When is this country going to get serious about mental illness? Why do we allow non-compliant mentally ill patients to have custody of their children. Why are their civil rights more important than the safety of their own children (and everyone else, for that matter)? I am not a psychiatrist and don’t have all the answers. Obviously plenty of mentally ill people are perfectly safe and good parents. But there must be some standard. Our system is beyond broken. After years of watching my mom deal with my mentally ill sister, I have seen that there is simply no help available to the family of these people. The mentally ill person must want help, but the catch is that the person is mentally ill so they often don’t even know they need help (I’m talking about non-compliant patients, not those who actively seek help). We’ve basically been told that my sister will never lose custody of her kids until she seriously harms them. How fucked up is that?

That’s the exact same thing that happened with a family in our town last week. The mother and her roommate were both mentally ill, non-compliant. But she’s a mother! She has rights! And now two of her children are dead and her other two children are in the hospital with serious wounds because she went nuts, thought they were demon possessed and murdered them in an “exorcism gone wrong.” Just a hint: if someone is calling herself the commander of the Demon Assassins, she probably shouldn’t have custody of her children. Especially when her method of exorcism is to kill the possessed person.

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*I find it extremely amusing that the most liberal person on my facebook and the most conservative person on my facebook often post the exact same articles. They are all conspiracy theory type stuff about the medical field, but it always makes me do a double take.

*I am feeling really emotionally off center after an incredibly horrific crime happened about two miles from my house. I didn’t know the parties involved, but it is just way, way too close to home. It hit national news, so if you’ve seen the tragic crime news out of Germantown about an exorcism you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know, I would strongly encourage you to not seek out the information. It is very triggering, especially if you have children. Apparently the scene was so bad that they’ve had to bring in counseling specialists to talk to the first responders (at least that’s what my friends who know people in law enforcement are telling me). I can’t quite shake the sick feeling I have over this situation.

*Let’s talk something happy! Hmmmmm. . .

I’ve been doing my physical therapy. The first day was fantastic with the massage and heat, but now it sucks. It is a lot of Pilates types exercises, which hurt but are good for me. My main complaint is that they have really boring TV blaring in the little room. Today was a mix of TMZ and ESPN. Ugh. I finally got smart and got my book when it was time for my massage and ice. I wish I could do that during the exercises, but I can’t count and read at the same time. Today they gave me the electric shocks and ice at the same time, which was very unpleasant. My knee did feel a lot better when I came out of there, though, so that’s something.

*My kids are completely obsessed with the movie Tangled. I enjoy it too, but I find it strange that we have watched nothing but Tangled on every single car ride for the past several months and then when we come in the house they want to watch YouTube videos of their favorite scenes. I suppose it could be worse–it could be Curious George.

And I never get tired of hearing Chuck’s voice (the same actor voices the male lead).

*Somehow I never watched the final three Chuck episodes. I wonder if they’re on NetFlix.

*Anyone watching any good TV this season? I’m really enjoying some sitcoms, which is very unusual for me! I am loving The Goldbergs, Super Fun Night and Trophy Wife. I hope they don’t get cancelled. We’re also watching Almost Human. I like it, but am basically only watching it because it’s from the creators of Fringe.

*Erik started reading the Weird School books and I’m completely disgusted by them. The main character is a kid who hates school and makes awful jokes about the girls in class, including calling them fat. I can see that they would be appealing to that high/low group (high interest book/low reading level) but . . . ugh. They are hateful. I wanted to slap the smarmy little jerk-face protagonist tonight. I talked it over with Erik and he says “Mom, that’s just how kids are! I love them! Don’t you know that there are lots of kids at school I don’t like?”

Which is all true, I suppose, but I am not impressed. I don’t want him reading these, but he is obsessed so I guess I have a decision to make. Let him read what he wants and trust he will parse out the good from the bad, or censor his reading materials. As his mother I believe it is my job to censor his reading materials, but as an educator I find the idea distasteful.

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Day in the Life

I think there’s hope for my knee! I was very skeptical that physical therapy could do anything for my knee. How can you fix a piece of bone sticking out? Obviously I am not a health care professional, so my theories were not based on reality.

I had the first appointment yesterday. I was scared when I first walked in because the place seemed kind of dingy and the therapists looked kind of creepy, but once I met the actual therapist (I think the other people were her assistants) things went much better. She had me cornered off behind a curtain and did an extremely thorough exam of my knees and hips. I am knock-kneed, pronate, have one hip higher than the other and walk on the edges of my feet. On the plus side, I am really strong and do not have any muscle degradation. She strongly suggested I go to a podiatrist ASAP and get inserts for my shoes to fix my back problem.

She gave my knee a deep massage, wrapped it in heating pads and gave it shock therapy, then put some swooping pieces of tape around the knee cap (the kids are really impressed with the bright pink design). And it feels quite a bit better! No where near 100%, but there was definitely a noticeable difference. I have seven more sessions over the next month, so I have some real hope that I will not have to live with this pain forever.

The kids had swimming lessons yesterday and it was so annoying. The swim school runs on six week sessions so you are only with the same group of people for six weeks. I am constantly switching around our days to accommodate other things, so I never know who I’ll be stuck in the waiting room with. There’s always some interesting people, but in general it’s fine. I sit and read or play Candy Crush or walk across the street to the only grocery store in our county that’s allowed to sell alcohol and buy little bottles of wine (for later, not to drink while I’m watching the kids swim).

This session? Hooo-boy! There’s a couple of wack-a-doos!

The first lady is just super entitled. She was bitching to her friend that she went to a high school sports event and she didn’t have any money, but since she goes every week she thought the lady taking tickets would let her in without paying. She was beyond irate that the ticket lady wouldn’t let her in without paying and couldn’t believe the nerve of “that bitch.” I’m sitting there thinking “wut?” Is she really trying to make everyone in the whole waiting room think she’s the innocent party here? You don’t have the cash to get in, you don’t go! How is this the ticket lady’s fault? I felt so bad for the ticket lady. It sounded like the non-payer made quite a scene at the school.

There’s another lady who is completely neurotic. Our swim school has regular classes, private classes and semi-private lessons (you split the cost of lessons with someone else). The neurotic woman’s child is doing semi-private lessons with another little girl. From what I understand they were not friends before they started doing lessons–they just signed up on the semi-private match system and were assigned together, but they like each other and the neurotic lady only wants her child to have lessons with the little girl they were matched with. The other mom seems friendly to the neurotic lady, but I wonder if she is regretting teaming up with this lady.

The first week, the other mom told the neurotic mom that she was going to have to change days in future lessons because some other activity was starting up in March. The lady FREAKED. “I need to process this, I need to process this. I don’t do well with change. I can’t do any other day because this is the day we do swimming.” The other mom calmly stated, “Well, it is nice to have them together but if you need to stick with this day that’s fine. We can sign up to find new semi-private partners.”

This caused a shit storm, because the lady doesn’t deal well with change. I don’t really know what happened because the neurotic mom got up and went outside. She was pacing back and forth and looked like a crazy person.

Then yesterday the teacher was out, so the manager took over that particular class. She is a really sweet girl and everything looked like it was going ok. Neurotic Mom’s child started to cry and the manager was trying to handle it, but neurotic mom busted into the pool (no parents are supposed to go in there, though I admit I have gone in a a couple of times to calm Elsa down) to solve the problem. She was screaming and shaking and scaring her kid even more. The teacher explained what they were doing and said the child had done it once but didn’t want to do it again. I don’t know. . .she was calm and reassuring and kind.

The mom FREAKED. The teacher got the little boy back in the pool and he was totally fine, but the mom was in the waiting room yelling about the teacher being so nasty to her and her son and all these horrible things. Then it looked like she was having some kind of panic attack or something. I was seriously sitting there thinking I needed to call 911 to have someone give her a shot of sedative. It was nuts. Her son was in the pool, smiling and laughing and she was in the waiting room having a complete meltdown.

She finally went outside and asked the other mom to watch her kid. I really wanted to ask the other mom her thoughts on the crazy, but figured that would be a bad idea.

Then, directly after swimming, we went to our school fundraiser night at Chuck E. Cheese. There were a total of three families from our school. What a wasted opportunity to bring in some money (the lady in charge didn’t send out flyers).

I think the Read-A-Thon is going to be a giant fail. I picked up the first set of reading logs yesterday (we are reading for three weeks and turning in sheets every Thursday so we can announce totals at the Monday meeting). We had thirty sheets. Thirty. Out of five hundred students. My only hope is that the teachers just hadn’t had a chance to bring them down to the work room yet. I’ll go in today to see if we have any more, but at this point I want to cry. I’ve never had anything I’ve touched be such an utter failure before.

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