September 30, 2009

In the calm, there lies the magic.

I have written several versions of this post and have sat on it for days.  Tweaking.  Rewriting.  Hemming. Hawing.  I am so very tempted to pepper it with small apologies, amends and excuses.  To tone it down, to temper it.  For fear of offending someone.  But to do that?  Would simply water this down to a syrupy, goopy mess.

I will say this, my intention is to not hurt anyone with this or to be argumentative. However, this is my life and I want specific things for my family.

And so, this post will stand.

The other day, my friend Rita wrote an eloquent post about women being sadder now, than they were 40 years ago.    I cannot even begin to recap it or add any value to it, but it struck home with me.

Actually, it punched me in the gut, then smacked me around for good measure.

When it comes to women being sadder now, the presuposition is this: because we are cramming more into our lives than ever before, our lives are in chaos and this is leading to women being sadder than 40 years ago.  

And I agree.

Rita writes:
 For women and men, multi-tasking creates chaos, inattentiveness to detail and that general feeling of brain-fried malaise that descends on me personally every day as I drive home after being battered for eight hours by buzzing phones, 105 business e-mails, 105 personal e-mails, four meetings, six deadlines and 18 visits to my desk from co-workers needing an answer to a question.
And it sucks. Not being able to give something or someone your full attention sucks. I remember early in my career a mentor told me the best thing I could do for my mental state was give myself time to work. Give myself time to get something done correctly. Do less in each day, and do it better.

Rita's entire post resonated with me because it encapsulated why I do not want to have an office job.  Ever.  When our kids are in school, I am hoping to do something part-time, low-key. I never want to go back to the life I led before I had kids.  Leaving my house by 7:30am, sometimes getting home by 6:00pm, if I was lucky there were no emergencies and when the Traffic Gods ruled in my favor.  Sometimes working weekends.  Expected to answer phone calls in the evenings.  Last minute trips.  At my last job, I missed an OB appointment because something came up.  And yes, I take full responsibility for missing that appointment.  That is part of the problem with my working.  When I work, I want to give 100%.  And I would not be able to do that now, in this current life.  Furthermore, not even my family would be getting 100%.

And most importantly, I would not be getting 100%.

I have a job, folks.  It is a full-time job and it is not just about taking care of our kids, it is about taking care of our home.  Our life.  It is sad the term "homemaker" went out of style, because that is the truest definition of my job these days.  I am so much more than just a stay-at-home-mom, dammit - I am making a home for us while my husband is working his tail off to create a business from scratch.  Where is the shame in being called a homemaker?  

If I were working in an office, I would not be getting what I need for me and my sanity. As my life is now, I am able to carve out time for myself, here and there.  Time that I need to recharge and inspire me to be a better mother, wife and person.  I simply do not see how that would happen if I had an outside job because I would want all of my non-work time to be for my family. I cannot imagine coming home at 6 or 6:30 and us trying to get some sort of decent, healthy, non-boxed meal on the table.  Then, trying to get the kids to sleep by 8:30 so that they can be up in time.  The thought of only having a few hours each evening with my kids makes my chest ache.  And the thought of trying to cram their childhood into the weekends makes me ill.  Truthfully?  I don't enjoy going to the zoo, the children's farm, museum, parks, etc on the weekends because it makes me sad to see all the families trying to cram in quality time.  Furthermore, how we would even have time to do all those fun things??   On weekends, we would be too busy getting everything else that needs to be done to keep our household going. 

Every single Monday, I read a lot of Ugh, It's Monday posts from over-tired folks who spent their weekends running around.  In my life now, I like Mondays.  I love getting our week started and planning our activities.  We run around during the week, then lay back on the weekends. 

Where is this leading?  X and I have discussed my getting an outside job.

We are not struggling for money, although we are worried about money, like most folks are these days. So please, do not misunderstand - This is not That Post.  Actually, our situation is not bad.  It is actually good since we are standing at the precipice of a Great Thing.  And for that?  X needs to ramp back on the consulting and focus on the Great Thing.  And for that? More money is needed.  So, without going into too much detail into our finances, it would behoove our little family if I went to work so that X could concentrate on that Great Thing and we could stem the hemorrhage of our accounts.  And let me be clear: This a Great Thing in which I wholeheartedly believe and support.  An awesome Thing that a Famous Big Coffeehouse is implementing on an industry-specific scale.  A cool Thing that X knows will work on a larger scale.

And we are trying to figure this out without my having to go to work in an office.

Because that? Would be chaos.  It would drive me insane.  And while of course, Manoj would have to pick up a load of household duties around here, that would just further tighten the squeeze on him because he is already quite busy as it is.

The thought of putting my kids in daycare physically makes me ill.  The thought of someone else hanging out with my children for 8+ hours a day makes me jealous.  Angry.  Resentful.

No, this is not a screed against the evils of daycare.  I am sure preschools and daycares are nice places to hang out.  I even suspect my kids would like hanging out in one for a little bit - after all, they do enjoy their little school two mornings a week.  But for a long-term situation for 45+ hours a week?  No way. I am their mother and nothing will convince me that someone else could nurture them better than I could  Nothing will convince me there is a better option than me for taking care of them. 


So, we will figure it out.  We will make do, we have several variable expenses that can be cut and our fixed expenses are reasonable.

Truthfully, it has been difficult for Manoj to understand why I am adament about no full-time daycare/preschool for our kids.  And why would he?  His mother was always there for him.  He does not know what it is like to not be home and to be in a place where the folks may or may not want him around.  He does not know what it feels like to be sick and still have to be carted off someplace because his parents had to work and could not stay home.  He does not know what it is like to be bleary-eyed because he had to get up at the crack of dawn to be driven to the babysitter when really, he just wanted to be home and watch cartoons on his own TV, on his own couch.  He has never seen a babysitter smile at his mom, then pretty much dismiss him before his mom had left the driveway.

I know how all of that feels.   And don't even get me started on how it feels to be a latch-key kid.  The loneliness of walking into an empty house.

My children will be starting kindergarten before I know it.  My children will think I am an out-of-date goofball before I know it.  My children will want to hang out with their friends instead of me before I know it.  This part of their childhood is so very fleeting.  Every day something new happens, and oh sure, it is not always exciting.  But truly,  I relish the quietest, simplest of moments - be it doing shopping cart donuts in the Costco parking lot. Or creating operatic librettos out of our grocery list.  Or taking our time while running an errand because they happened across a creepy crawly on the sidewalk.  Or doing nothing in particular at all, just sitting in our own yard and watching the clouds.  I do not want to rush this period of their life running around, in a hurry all of the damned time.

And I do not want to miss it sitting in traffic or a cubicle.

September 29, 2009

Specifically Random

I am sitting on a post.  I think it has the potential to induce cringing and eye-rolling.  It is also one of those Staying vs. Working posts and those make me itchy for some reason.  While I do not think it worthy of steam spewing from the ears, I am still not comfortable hitting publish just yet.  So, I will sit on it a bit more.  Like an egg.

At BlogHer, my roomies and I discussed our writing styles - Rita and I are firmly in the camp of writing a draft, then poring over it, whereas Blondie and Average Jane say they dash things off and let them go.  Which astounded me because it sounded so brazen and liberated. I simply cannot do that and I rarely write a post and hit "publish".  Well, except for this post, oddly enough.

Today, I did something I call Accidental Shoplifting. As you can guess, I got to the car and realized an item had snuck its way through without being hoisted onto the conveyer belt.  Sorry 'bout that, Jesus.  Darn it.  Well, since I have children, I feel compelled to be some sort of moral and ethical role model (the nerve!  I know!)  And yes, I feel a greater obligation to Do The Right Thing and march back to pay for it.  I did do that once when Arun was smaller and spent a good 20 minutes "making a point."  I ended up with a clear conscience and a screaming baby past his naptime. Now?  I have faith in the Universe that at some point, Costco, Target or Whoever has overcharged ME for something and that this is the Universe's way of restoring the Natural Order of Retail.  Lightning did not strike the car on the way home today, so I think we are all good.

In other news, I have been working on two very important projects this week while Team Chaos is in school expanding their minds and working their way into Ivy League futures.  I am working on Operation Paper and Operation Junk.  These two projects consist of me taking boxes, marching through every single room in our house and compiling ALL of the stray paper into one (or two or three) boxes, then sitting on the carpet and making my way through it - filing, shredding, etc.  Sadly, I actually came across unopened birthday cards (thanks CPAMom!!)  Even more sadly, I am an Aries which means I have an April birthday.  Operation Junk is a similar process except it involves all the random doodads that seem to fester in every single corner and nook in our house. Oh My GOD.  How many paperclips and stray post-it notes does one household need?  Not that many, I can assure you.

While I am excited about getting my house in order, I am sad to report that this makes for a very boring blog.  I am not Swistle, who manages to make de-cluttering look like a carnival ride of fun.


September 23, 2009


I would say that I am in a blogging funk, except that is not really it at all. I have actually had the urge to write, but am a little cramped by some misguided, grand existential thinking on my part.  Oh sure, I could put forth some effort into a post about how both the Democrats and the Republicans have driven me into the arms of the Libertarians, but in the end.  Who really cares?  Why waste my time?

Then, I will not.

I suppose I simply have wanted to spend time on me, lately.  Digging my way through piles of junk and sorting it for charity or trash.......Reading my way through a dusty cache of books ........Knitting some woe-begotten, neglected projects (A hat!  A winter hat! Finished before winter, imagine that) .......   Hanging out with Team Chaos .........  Mightily enjoying some new television (Recently, I peed my pants giggling so hard at NBC's new show, Community.)

Living a life, I suppose.

I often struggle with how much of this blogging is real and in my head. Some of it is real - the connections and friendships I have made.  Since blogging , I have added new phone numbers to call with new addresses for sending packages and Christmas cards.  It is not all Alice in Wonderland around here.

But sometimes,  I wonder if am appropriately seeing the folks who are right in front of me.

It is difficult to achieve that perfect balance. But I do know this, when I am offline more, I feel better.  Healthier. Refreshed.

And?  Ready to hop back in.  So, no - this is not the I Quit post.  This is the I Love Blogging post and sometimes, I just need to slow down to appreciate it.

That is all.  Nothing more.

Internet Detoxification Chamber

This is my sanctuary, I rarely take my computer up here.  While this is an old picture, the room still looks virtually the same. Toys scattered everywhere, books piled up. This is where we unwind as a family every night. The kids play quietly and we watch something soothing - usually, Curious George or Shaun the Sheep. I sit in the chair and read or work puzzles. Then, we read a few books and then, Poof!  Out go the lights.

The Electric Chair

This is the Electric Chair - the place where I unwind and recharge. This chair has some history since it was in my Single Girl apartment.  While sitting in it over the years, I read many, many books and knitted many, many scarves.  I wiled away my Saturday mornings in it as I caught up with all my girlfriends via the phone (a land-line, no less. Gasp.)  I chatted on the phone while smoking a pack of cigarettes and working my way through a pot of coffee. On Sunday evenings, I drank wine in it while watching Sex and the City and dreamed Big dreams.

Now, I snuggle with my kids in it.  This where we go during thunderstorms.  I open the windows as far as possible and we watch the lightning.  And we talk.  About nothing.  About everything.

This chair is getting old and rickety.  It is literally falling apart at the joints.

I love this chair.

September 21, 2009


In my canasta group, we have a silly, inside joke.  As someone is pondering their next move, the rest of us will sit around and heckle her for holding too many cards- our favorite taunt is to call that person a "hoarder".  One gal, in particular, is adept at this amassing of cards and even worse, knows what the rest of us are attempting to collect.  And it is the delivery of the line itself that is essential to our taunts -  "HOAR *cough*cough* der!" 

Recently, I have been watching the A&E show, Hoarders. The show strikes a strong, personal chord with me because I have a close Family Member with a serious, deep-seated hoarding problem.  As with many garden-variety hoarders, it began quite simply in the basement and then proceeded to snake its way through  the rest of the house.  There are entire rooms in the house that are virtually inaccessible because the piles of stuff streaming out of them literally block the doorways.  Even more importantly to me is this: the Family Member lives in the house of one of my most cherished Loved Ones.  And it is the Loved One with whom I am most concerned.  The potential mold and vermin.  The fire hazards and the escape routes which are now blocked from entry AND exit.  The stress of being surrounded by all these piles and not being able to help the Family Member who has a serious mental problem and who needs professional help.

This is where I need to make a crucial point, folks:  You cannot simply take the hoarder's stuff and throw it away. The hoarder will possibly have a nervous breakdown and ultimately, simply throwing their stuff away does not solve the underlying issue.  You could create an even worse situation.

I feel helpless in the face of the Family Member's problem and its effect on my Loved One.  I feel helpless as the rest of the family gossips in whispers about the situation.  I feel helpless as I try to talk to the Loved One about the Family Member getting professional help.  And every so often, I take furtive pictures around the house with my camera.  Documentation.  If I ever need to present this situation to a judge, I want my case to be strong if I ever need to intervene on my Loved One's behalf.

So, I watch A&E's  Hoarders with a helpless fascination.  I understand the frustrations of the hoarders' family members and friends.  But even more so,  I understand the compulsion on the part of the hoarder to keep things.  To affix a perceived value on what is essentially a worthless item - be it a cheap trinket or actual trash that someone else might throw away.  Having a recycle bin has helped me with this.  Holding a garage sale nearly every year has made me assess the impermanence of things and has allowed me to be okay with it.  Going to the used bookstore to trade in books at least monthly has helped me decrease the amount of books collecting dust.  Knowing the library is always available allows me to Just Let Go since books are my greatest weakness with which I struggle the most.  Donating items to charity has also given me that freedom to Just Let Go. Designating my own basement as a virtual storage-free zone, save for holiday and seasonal items gives me peace of mind that I am keeping the Hoarding at bay.

I always feel as if I am on the brink of just hopping that runaway train which leaves a trail of junk, trash and tears. 

That thought terrifies me. 

And now?   I shall go throw that empty gum container in the trash because we have no use for it.

September 17, 2009

Miscellaneous Miscellanea

Updated: I just realized that in mentioning a DIY workshop by name here, it may not have been clear to a reader just joining the program that the workshop was not paid for by me.  I have removed all references to that specific workshop.  Please bear with me as I figure out this whole review thing!

Updated, Yet AGAIN: OMG.  Am now questioning whether I should have mentioned the company who sent a junk mailer for the free family day at the pumpkin patch?  To be sure, am removing the company's name and link.  I know they have something to do with phones?  I think?

Selling Out, Buying In
Over the past 3-4 months, the PR pitches coming into my box have slowly increased ( and in many cases, it was difficult to differentiate some of them from spam!) Recently, I received a pitch for reviewing some DVDs which will be released soon.  Overall, my goal with doing reviews is to only accept products which make sense for myself, my family and for this blog.  And I have talked about shows and movies that I have enjoyed watching with my kids over the years.  Besides, it just does not make sense to turn down an opportunity to review Animal Planet videos when I have two children who are rabid for animals. It is something we are already doing anyway.

So yes, you will be seeing more reviews on my Queen of the Free Bees site, although I do not anticipate a tsunami of them.  Seriously. Reviewing products takes time and I do NOT want reviews to take away too much time from this site. In that vein, from now on, I will keep the links to reviews on the down-low, as an italicized paragraph at the bottom of a regular post.  I will also be doing a few giveaways to gauge interest - if giveaways are not something that my readers find to be valuable, then I simply won't do them.  Why waste anyone's time otherwise?

And finally, you will never, ever see a sponsored post here on Rancid Raves.  If I talk about a product here???  I paid for it myself.  End of story.

DIY Deadbeat
Folks wondered what was up with my Bathroom Pulls Pickle.  Well. Let me tell you why......Years and years ago, I learned the hard way with a luggage set that if you want a set of Matched Something, you should purchase that set together....all at once.... at the same damned time.  Trust me, Grasshopper. Otherwise, you will find yourself trudging through luggage stores and obsessively checking eBay in a vain, tragic attempt to find that very last piece of luggage to complete your pretty, smart set. That was my worry with the pulls - that I would buy what I need for the downstairs bathroom, then not find the rest of them when the time came to finish the upstairs bathrooms.

Anyway, I dialed down my OCD affectations a notch (or two...or three. Whatever.) and decided to go ahead and switch out the downstairs knobs for now.  I need a total of 21 bathroom pulls - the cheapest I saw was about $3/pull.  Spending over $60 on pulls is most certainly not in our budget right now.  I decided that ultimately, no one is ever going to notice that the downstairs pulls do not match the upstairs pulls.  Of course, now that I have pointed that out, everyone traipsing through my house from here on forward will notice.

And no, I never did find that last piece of luggage. And no, it does not still bother me. No, really!

Bait and Switch, 'Tis a Bitch
For the past few months, I have been excited about the circus coming to town.  Squee!  Whee!

Right????  RIGHT.  I tracked when the circus was coming to town using a site called  The other night, I went out there to finish planning our Big Day under the Big Top and I clicked the link in the following line "For specific steps to take when the circus comes to town, click here."

The link directs you to an entire page about circus animal cruelty and the steps you can take to try and get the circus canceled.    Then, I noticed for the very first time that their tagline is "Please Say "No" Because Animals Can't".  Whoa.  Either their intent is to be sly or this is just a case of poor web site design.  I am going to go with poor web site design.

I did decide to not do the circus this year, but really for budgetary reasons. I checked our mailbox yesterday and found a mailer for a company that is offering a free family day this Saturday at a nearby, semi-expensive pumpkin patch, the KC Pumpkin Patch.  Truthfully, I have no idea what this company is all about, but I suspect I will know more than I ever wanted to know about them after this Saturday.  And that is fine - I am willing to subject myself to a daylong sales pitch if it means my kids get to have fun.  No ever said this parenting gig would be a rose garden.

Whipped Cream Dreams

X loves to give our over-indulged children shots of whipped cream directly into their mouths. Of course, I informed him of the error in his ways and he thought I was being a ninny, but then I was all "DUDE, give them something to look forward to in college!  They will never want to leave our house and you are circumventing our Ultimate Goal in Parenting- that they will LEAVE someday."  Oh sure, some folks may want to raise happy, independent children who grow up to contribute something to the world around them.  Me?  I just want them outta my house.

I say, lower the bar and you shall never be disappointed.

 See the flyswatter on the wall?  Cuh-lassy, no?  At least I remove it before guests come over.  After I am done flipping their food with it, of course.

September 15, 2009

DIY Diva

Lately, I have been on a DIY rampage - fixing, tweaking and finally getting some things done around here.  I have completely regrouted and resealed the tile in our guest shower - a shower we have not used for over 2 years because it was leaking into the frocking kitchen.  I have installed several light switches..  I installed 4 new towel rods (the installation of one went seriously wrong and involved ripping a stupid anchor that the previous owner had erroneously  installed and now the wall requires "fixing".  Ahem.)  I still have so much more to do - regrouting, caulking and resealing our master shower.  Installing new outside light fixtures. Replacing another broken light switch (I swear the other light switches are committing hara-kiri in the bright glow of the new, sparkly competition that has been installed lately.)  Patching some drywall here and there.  Stripping some wallpaper. Fixing a screen door. And what is particularly frightening is that I am ticking off things on my To Do list and adding things with a similar frequency - as I marked off the towel rods, I had to add the patching of some drywall. Yes, the list does go on, as it always seems to when it comes to home ownership.

Although, I will admit that I did love purchasing a new drill/driver.   I went with a Ridgid R92008 and I love, love, LOVE it - the integrated clutch and chuck has made my life so much simpler. Power tools always make my heart pitter-pat anyway.  And the kids?  They enjoy going to home improvement stores with me and it sort of counts as an activity for us.  Although, the kids do think those stores are all called Lowe's, regardless of where we are - sorry 'bout that Home Depot.

When we moved into this house, it was a mish-mash of schemes - some gold/brass left over from the original construction in 1989.  Some silver/nickel here and there, a result of the previous owner doing a little DIY himself. However, I am particular to the whole rusted bronze look since I am a 3rd Place kinda gal, .  And so,  when we took over this house in 2004, I had a few light fixtures installed in accordance with Rodin in mind.

Shoot me now, because I have a bathroom that is sporting ALL of these looks.  And it just hit me like a ton o' bricks the other day.

Observe the Mess that is my half bath.

Fixture Fumbles

In case you do not believe that outlet is almond color, I shall provide you with a close-up. Yikes.

Gentle Reader, what the Hell was I thinking????

Okay.  Breathe, Kelli.  Breathe.

I can easily replace the knobs.  Sorta.  Those suckers are expensive and I would need to go ahead and get them for other two bathrooms.

No? Yes? Maybe? Huh?

But the light switch?  I could drop-kick my own ass.  The thinking was to eventually replace all of the drab, almond light switches in the house with the pretty, pretty white ones. In my girlish, light-headed excitement, I forgot about the multitude of outlets that would need to replaced.  And while they are cheap to buy, my time is worth money.  Despite what all the SAHM Cynics would like to think.  So.  It seems I will need to replace the light switch that I just replaced.  Ditto for the kids' room, which is also sporting a bright white light switch and almond outlets.

And the faucet??  I see another DIY workshop in my future, folks.

September 14, 2009


I view most of the blogs I read as potential conversations and I like to comment on blogs that I delight in reading. However, simply because I enjoy a blog, it does not mean that I always agree with what is being written. It is a small part of the appreciation and thrill I get in reading posts that make me think and question and ponder.

And that includes discourse with which I disagree.

We often talk about wasting time on the Internet. We wax eloquent on attempting to achieve that magical balance of Real Life with this odd little life composed mostly inside a box containing circuitry and a connection to a veritable labyrinth of relationships. An Abstract Life that does bleed into Real Life.

An Abstract Life that is semi-anonymous. Sometimes. Sort of. Who is this Kelly character? Which Amy is it? Where is Kristen? How many are there of you out there -- Jen, Jenn, Jenny and Jennifer???

I chose the name "cagey" for very specific reasons. It was a word play on my initials KG and it also connoted something anonymous for me, as if I were being secretive. In a silly way, it was my attempt to poke at myself. It is a bit unusual of a name and if I want, I can often get it as a username on its own merits, with no numbers. I was very careful in this choice of "blogger" name because I wanted it to identify me. When I created Rancid Raves (another desperate lunge for a witty bon mot), I knew that I would be commenting frequently on other blogs in connection with this new Abstract Life I had just created for myself. Previously, I had commented under my own name "Kelli". However, I wanted my comments directly connected to this new life.

I do take commenting seriously - too seriously, perhaps? On some days, I spend just as much time commenting as I do reading. I see commenting as my way of interacting in this community. And I am careful when I write - I am conscientious of grammar, typos and the way I present my ideas. I try to be considerate of others when commenting. I do not always succeed. Sometimes, my comments convey the wrong point. Or, I am rushed and do not take the time to proofread. Or, I just completely miss the mark and simply bypass the point of the conversation or the tone of the other commenters. It happens.

Yes, silence can be golden. But let us get real, folks. Who expounds upon the virtues of the cricket chirping??


In the past few months, I have been smacked around three times for comments I have left on other sites. I take responsibility for part of each slap. Responsibility for the poor word choices that I made. But with each spanking, I am left speculating whether it is worth all of this wasted emotion. Is it worth getting distressed because someone chooses to take my own words and purposefully twist them?

It is worth it?

I dwell, all the while knowing the answer.

September 9, 2009

Socrates and Plato

Every year, a junior high school marching band weaves its way through our neighborhood as they practice for the parade coming this Saturday. Arun was ecstatic as we stood in our yard and watched them pass by. However, the luster was tarnished when he realized the band would not be throwing us any candy. The nerve!

Last night, Arun began drawing on himself with a marker. When I scolded him, X asked what was wrong with it. I simply could not come with a good, snappy answer so I gave up. Now? It looks like Arun just had a consult with a plastic surgeon. Sigh.

Last week, we were at the Target in Lawrence trying to find pants for my skinny nearly 4 year old (Impossible! The pants, not the nearly 4 year old.) I did not think it would hurt to just try on pants right there, instead of hassling with a fitting room. I was digging through pants (Impossible! Really!) and when I turned around, I encountered a half-naked boy attempting to put on a new shirt with which he has become enamored (It had an alien on it, can you blame him?) Little old ladies were passing by snickering at my boy without his knickers on. Frat boys were passing by giving Arun high fives and saying "Be free, man. BE FREE." Me? I was laughing. Yes, I am a bad mothering example. Sue me. It was fucking hilarious.

And yes, we bought the alien shirt.

I carry around a little notebook to jot down the funny things the kids have to say. Here is a mere fraction of what these kids say. Also, keep in mind that neither one of these fools can properly pronounce the L sound and in some cases the R sound.

Anjali, the Three Blind Mice, Theory and Reflection: The farmer cut off the mouse's TAIL- dat not very nice!

Arun, the Master of Food Cleanup: I wipe-ed my mouth but there was still food in the corner of my mouth so then I wipe-ed it with my tongue.

Anjali: Someday, I'm gonna grow up like a big Mama like YOU, Mama. Like YOU!

Arun: What do you want to be for Halloween, Anju?
Anju: I want to be a COSTUME for Halloween, Ah-woon! A COSTUME.
Arun: Anju, that's SILLY.

Hilarity ensues.

Checking In, Checking Out

I have wanted to post. Truly. But I did not have the time nor the patience to research and carefully link to outside sources as to why I do not think this healthcare plan is right for us, why I think our President should be addressing our nations schoolchildren, and why I think that exercise actually can help a person lose weight (or at least, prevent her from losing her mind) And then, I realized, "Eh. Whatever I have to say will not convince anyone and I have other things to do."

So, instead of ranting Rancid Rants, I have been working on several DIY projects around here. They mostly involve blister-inducing steam-cleaning, grout, Kilz and light switches but fortunately, none of have been fiascoes yet. However, there are still some serious ones looming (outdoor light fixtures, repainting lawn furniture, towel rods, etc. etc. etc. etc......) At least DIY Disasters make for good blog fodder, no? In that case, let us all hope this blog goes silent. Please, I beg of you, Universe. Be gentle.

Someone commented that it seemed that Arun and Anjali get along well. And they do. Arun consistently campaigns on Anju's behalf for No Naptime because he does not want to lose his best playmate. And it is not uncommon for them to disappear for easily an hour or more to their room or to the basement where we hear very few peeps. They also have a variety of inside jokes with punchlines that make absolutely no sense to me but which make them erupt into maniacal laughter (Baby Hamlee? Shrimpy? Anyone?) They even have some secret hand signal thingie they do in their carseats. Drawing a blank here, folks. And lately, Arun's thing has been to insist that Anjali sit with him so that he can read her a book. She is more than happy to oblige.

Today, Anjali marched off to school with Arun. I was the one left teary-eye last night as I marked all of her things with a Sharpie. She, on the other hand, insisted this morning that the backpack be ON HER BACK and that she could navigate the damned stairs all by herself, thankyouverymuch.


Could someone please wait for me???

September 3, 2009

Randomly Random Randomness

Yes, I really did have a classmate die from chicken pox in the 2nd grade. We were a small class, so as you can imagine, this was shocking. I would think it would seem natural that vaccines are a hot topic for me. Drowning is another hot topic since the summer before 1st grade, I had a classmate drown in a pond. Yep, you read that correctly. By the time I was in 3rd grade, I had already lost TWO classmates. And to begin with, Oskaloosa is small freaking town! We only had a total of 40 kids in our class.

Do not even get me started on lawnmower injuries - besides my own mother getting an injury from a flying piece of wire, I had a classmate with a missing finger. Last week, I completely lost my shit with X over our lawnmower and a safety concern I have with it. I am total freak when it comes to lawnmower safety.

Where was I? Oh.

Recently Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil had a nice post on her New Preschool Perspective. I went through this earlier this year when mothers at Arun's school were switching their kids left and right to other pre-K programs. Because of his October birthday, Arun will not be eligible for a pre-K program until next year, so I have some time to think about this. Then, I began to question the program at Arun's school - was it good enough? Fortunately, I had myself a V-8 and realized that ultimately, it does not matter. I truly believe that a pre-K program is not important. And I reminded myself why we are even doing the current little school right now - it is fun and convenient for us. It provides a nice break in routine for 2 days a week. We love the teachers. We like supporting the school itself. That is it. Nothing more. As such, the pre-K program will be the same for us and we decided not to switch Arun next year.


Yesterday, I had a Life's Perfect Moment with Team Chaos. We went to Overland Park's Botanical Gardens and just hung out. That was it. Just hanging. No agenda other than watching frogs, turtles, birds, bees, butterflies, moths and some skittering lizard/skink/newt thingies. It was fabulous and relaxing. While the kids dug in dirt and rocks, I sat watching hawks floating in the air, feeling the cool breeze on my arms.

And I enjoyed just being.

September 2, 2009


Update! Update! We are not vaccinating for the H1N1 flu because we are not in any high risk categories. Please note, I am a licensed CPA and am barely capable of doing your books and taxes, much less giving you medical advice. This was just supposed to be food for thought. Nothing else. Go, me.

I am little verklempt this week. I have been reading, reading, reading, but have not been much inspired to write anything myself. (Sidenote on my reading: I am attempting to read a book by a blogger who was a bit of a bitch at BlogHer this year. It is affecting my reading of the book. I cannot get past the fact that the author is tongue in cheek about her bitchiness in her book, but was flat-out snooty to one of my friends TO HER FACE for NO reason. Is that weird that I cannot get past that? I knew virtually nothing about this blogger until that that unsavory interaction with her in the hotel lobby, then another friend lent me the book happenstance. Eh.)

Anyway! I came across this informative article about the H1N1 flu, "Dr. Gupta offers advice to parents on H1N1" (aka "swine flu") written by Sanjay Gupta. Oh sure, his desi credentials help (obviously, I love me an Indian, no?) but I have always appreciated his reasonable perspectives on issues. And this was no different.

This paragraph summed it up for me:
Yes, hearing between 30,000 and 90,000 could die from H1N1 is scary, but keep in mind -- around 40,000 people die from the regular or seasonal flu every year. The numbers may not be that much different, yet there is not panic about the regular flu. As things look now, H1N1 is causing only mild to moderate illness, not the widespread deaths people are worried about.
Also, here is a short and sweet list of "when to call the doctor":
• A baby younger than 12 weeks has a fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit

• A child, older than 12 weeks has a fever for three days

• A child's fever returns after a 12-24 hour time period

• A child is not passing urine or making tears for more than six hours

• A child does not smile or show interest in playing for several hours

Dial 911 if:

• A child cannot speak while trying to breathe

• Has a blue or dark purple color to the nail beds, lips or gums

• Is not responding to you because he is too tired or weak

I encourage everyone to read this article!

Are you planning to vaccinate? I have decided against it, in this case. Normally, I am 100% on board with vaccinating against the "standard" childhood diseases - in 2nd grade, I had a classmate die from chickenpox. Furthermore, I have spent my entire life hearing from grandma how devastating and fatal these "standard" childhood diseases were to families. I feel very strongly about vaccines and their importance in our country. (Exception: I am not completely sold on the HPV Vaccine.)

The H1N1 vaccine? I am not convinced and am very suspicious as to the extent of testing that would have been conducted to rush this to market in time for the upcoming flu season. We will not be vaccinating for it, at this time.