Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's in a name?

I went to the school yesterday to talk with Hoover's new teacher.
(She's a friend of mine, so it's really not that big of a deal.)

(Plus, I'm so excited for school to start that I've been hanging out there like a groupie.)

On my way out, I pass by the classroom where Mini Me will be this year. I notice her teacher has the coat hook labels up. I can't find my child's name.

But I see a name she could be. Not the name I named her. Not the one that's on the birth certificate that we presented to the school.

Two weeks ago, when I registered my kids for school, I noticed they had the wrong name down for Mini Me. I had it corrected (well, as much as it could be with a ball point pen and a clusterf*ck of a new registration system) and hoped that would be it.

Apparently not.

(I didn't have high hopes for this, as in our packet of materials for school it said to be sure to update all phone numbers and emergency contacts, as they will be updating their records this year. Um, isn't that supposed to happen EVERY year? Apparently, I've been filling out forms needlessly for five years now.)

Heck, the school SHOULD take it upon themselves to rename my kids!
It's not so much a spelling thing, as a whole different name thing. I'm stepping out of my blogger anonymity for a moment...MM's real name is Annie. Annie, with an I-E. It's on her birth certificate like this. The school has left out the I, making all of her forms and decorations and novelty birthday lists have Anne on it.

There's nothing wrong with the name Anne. Not at all. But it's not my daughter's name.

I posted a question on Facebook last night about if and how I should say something. Thanks, everyone for your responses. Everyone said to correct it. A special shout-out to the mom of Zoe, with an umlaut on top of the E. (If I could figure out how to do it on my keyboard, I totally would.) I mean, if she can stand up for punctuation (and you rock for doing so!) I can definitely put my mom balls on and talk to the school.

But, since it's me, I do tend to take things a step further. I left a message on the teacher's voice mail, explaining the problem, and could she please have the right name up for this afternoon when we go for "Meet the Teacher" night. I also called the district administration office.

I will be stopping in the school office tonight if it isn't corrected.

I feel I am justified since it's not a case of "My Jasmine's name is spelled with a Z and two Ys and a silent Q at the end," but rather a whole new name entirely.

I just hope MM's teacher doesn't think I'm a Pain-in-the-Ass mom.

At least, not this early in the year.

Monday, August 29, 2011

School Year Resolutions

This week is the week I've been waiting for all summer.

By the time Friday rolls around, I will have two school boys in my house. It's almost bittersweet.

(Mini Me starts next Tuesday.)

Fall, at least as it pertains to the school year, is in the air. Which means it's time for the (now) 2nd Annual....

Snarky Mom's School Year Resolutions
(Last year's weren't so much an entertaining blog entry as they were my mantra for everyday life. I mostly did okay with them. Perhaps there were two months in-a-row that Larry Potter missed his snack day, but he had a long term sub, so I deem it okay.)

1.) Be aware of their school lunch accounts before they go into debt in the cafeteria. I swear, the lunch ladies trying to collect are worse than New York City mobsters. After two days with a negative balance, they make my boys eat cheese sandwiches instead of the regular lunch. What? Do they think that I'm not good for the money? Perhaps it's just my children, since I've been known to personally threaten the Food Services Directors. Either way, I resolve to do better so my kids don't end up paying my vendetta being embarrassed in the lunch line.

I aspire to be as happy in my kitchen as this family.
2.) Get up before my children and be all June Cleaver-y. I know LP can pour his own breakfast and get his clothes on without me. Except much of the time, he doesn't. So he ends up going to school in yesterday's clothes, complaining that he's hungry, and making little Jimmy's mom - who has track marks and lives in the motel across the street - look like Mom of the Year. My kids have a mom, a pretty decent one, and it's time for them to not look like they spent the night on the park bench.

3.) Enforce homework/silent reading/whatever else your teachers have told me to do time. In the past, homework has always been completed before the kids got to school. Which is great, until you find out that it was usually done frantically before or during breakfast. And silent reading logs? They may as well been lawn care coupons left in the door; we never used them and most often threw them out when the pile got to big. Not any more! Homework will be done before dinner, as I prepare the meal, like so many warm and fuzzy Stouffers commercials have told me that's what I should aspire to. Which also means I will be preparing a hot meal each night. Two birds, one stone!

Wish me luck, folks. I want to hear from the moms that do all of this without a public list and shaming. How do you do it? What's your resounding motivation? Is there wine involved? I need all the help I can get (before the school intervenes).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Awesomeness, the 2nd generation

I may have said it before, but it's worth repeating. If the "curse" is really a true thing, then I'm living out my past childhood sins through Larry Potter.

(You know, the curse your parents put on you when you're about 8, the one that goes, "I hope you have one just like you someday!")

(I must have really been a joy to get not only LP, but Mini Me as well. Hoover is to pay for Disgruntled Husband's childhood.)

It's a very strange thing to watch yourself as a child, as a grown-up. His mind works very much like mine did. His complaints are the same complaints. His annoying little whine? I originated it.

I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but does he have to imitate me so well?

Like him, I was always very comfortable talking to adults. A friend of mine commented that he had more confidence than she ever did in talking to adults. (I will say though that he has no problem arguing with adults, and I wouldn't do this with anyone that wasn't my parents.)

With all this awesomeness I have passed down to him, there is a glaring down-side to all of this. My childhood, as far as making friends, wasn't so hot. And I'm afraid he's on the same path.

For the most part, he puts off a confident air, acting like he doesn't care what the other kids are doing, but last month, he and I were on the porch, and he became emotional talking about the other kids in his grade.

I gave him some suggestions for navigating the school year, you know, from the "I-know-now-what-I-didn't-know-then" file, and they were all met with logical arguments and consistent doubt. Which makes me sad that I can't really help him with this side of life. It's something he's going to have to navigate and overcome himself.

And childhood lasts a while.

Me, the summer before 4th grade

LP, the spring before 4th grade.

I was reading something online once about intelligent kids that have problems socially in childhood. This article said that many kids that fit in this description will feel more comfortable talking to their teachers and other faculty than their peers in school. That's definitely LP. And then this article said that Bill Gates was one of these kinds of kids.

That would be okay if he turned out like Bill Gates.

Monday, he and the others were with JDub (since she has nothing better to do right now) and she told me a story how he was trying to have a conversation with her middle daughter (they're the same age and he has a slight crush on her), and her daughter never sat down and ate her cereal as fast as she possibly could to get out of the conversation.

JDub laughed because LP was so sincere in his conversation attempts, and her daughter was acting like an 8 year-old girl. Which she is.

College is going to be your time to shine, LP. I have no doubts about that.

I was relaying this story to ESM yesterday, and she told me that when we saw her a few weeks ago, she felt bad that LP was trying to talk to her, and she kept having to leave the conversation and deal with her baby. Then she said something so sweet about him.

"You know, he's a cool kid. I'm not big on kids [other than her own], but I could easily hang out with LP. Because it's like hanging out with an adult, and I like him."

It did melt my heart, but I also pointed out that she likes hanging out with me, and LP and I are basically the same person, a few years (and genders) apart.

If he truly is going to turn out like me, at least I know the story of his childhood will end on a high note. That, and look for his blog in 2033.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Old College Try

Last night, it dawned on me that two months from now is my 10 year college reunion.

This morning, I looked into fad diet crazes and jaw-wiring procedures.

It's not that my friends will love me any less at this weight - most have seen me - but I just won't feel as awesome as I know I am when I'm not at my fighting weight.

And we all know I do feel awesome in general.

College was such a fun time for me (as it is for mostly everyone that goes). Most of my friends (and myself) were RAs, so there were very few "fun" things we could do while in the eyes of our residents.

So we stuck with each other.

Most of us are in a two-to-three hour radius of each other, but there a few that are a jaunty plane ride away. Reunions are great in giving all of us a reason to get together.

I bet he got this shirt on his way to class.

And, you know, consider amputation to get down to what I weighed in college.

I feel like putting on my reunion-issued name tag, "Jessica Xxxxx Xxxxx, class of 2001. I had three kids and moved to Wisconsin since I graduated. Give my weight a break."

That may require more than one sticker.

In fact, it may require a T-shirt.

And, because I'm assuming I'm not the only one in my class with weight on the brain, maybe I should make a lot of them and turn a profit.

After all, if college taught me one thing, it was how to sell a T-Shirt in the quad.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How spoiled I've been

We're at two weeks and counting for back-to-school. So, like any good mom, I've started the whole shopping process, individually with each of my kids, to ensure they have enough special time with Mom.

Or because I don't want to deal with the fighting.

Either one.

I took Mini Me out first. I told Disgruntled Husband a number for a budget for her, and he was good with that number. But both of us didn't count on one thing that, looking back now, I can't believe we were so dumb as to forgot.

I've never done back-to-school shopping with a girl.

With the boys, it was always pretty simple. A new shirt for the first day, a new shirt for picture day, maybe a new pair of jeans, socks, and new shoes. And most of the time, I could pick these up without them.

(My step-sister gives me awesome hand-me-downs from her boys, so really, what I buy them is actually superfluous.)

I told MM I would take her shopping, and she about leaped into the van, like a puppy going on a road trip. We stopped at McD's for dinner (because all good back-to-school mindsets starts with saturated fat and chemically-laden meat), and then were on our way to the outlet mall.

And then Walmart. And then we got home. at 10:30 at night.

Oh yes, very different than a boy.

This is why your brothers have half the clothes and attitude.

First of all, she likes everything. And wants it all, in the cart. Most of our trip was not spent shopping, but negotiating. This girl either has a lucrative career ahead of her in sales or law.

She about jumped for joy when I suggested we try something on.

We went to four stores, and ended up at the shoe store. It was supposed to be one pair of shoes, maybe two.

Four shoe boxes later, we were out of there. With her insisting on carrying the bag of shoes.

The budget? Double.

I came home with a heavy sigh and a sense of dread...I was in trouble. But I know if DH had taken her shopping, it would have been worse.

When I took Hoover last night, he wanted two shirts. That's it. I bought him a pair of name brand shoes because I felt bad I spent more on his sister. His criteria for the shoes? That they make him run fast.

Boys are way less maintenance.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Attention Wh*re

Well, dye my hair and call me Barbie.

The good people at Blount Moms Today have asked me to write a few things for them, and today I see that a piece I gave them permission to use is up on their website!


As I just said on Facebook, if you think I had a big head and an abundance of self esteem before, now I'm just going to be purely impossible to deal with.

Look for more posts there from yours truly. And Blount County, TN readers, welcome!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


My in-laws were here this weekend; my niece Ducky came Sunday night and left yesterday. Our guest room is in the basement. It's a good thing we had vacancy last night, because we had a guest.

That's right above our guest room/my office door.

(Okay, come on people...for those that are wondering what it is, it's a bat. A sleeping bat, but a bat just the same.)

At least it's sleeping. I've had several bat encounters in the last 6 years, and rarely is it with the slumbering sort.

When we bought our house six years ago, the home inspection showed there were some bats in the attic. It's an old house; this is Wisconsin, I suppose it comes with the territory.

A few weeks after we moved in, my father-in-law removed a piece of scrap drywall from above a drop ceiling in our entryway. "What the hell is this here for?" he asked to no one in particular.

We had four bats in our living areas that summer. We put the drywall back where it was. Mystery solved.

Oh, believe me, the first bat, I started looking for exterminators. The second one, I was ready to move.

 (By the way, bats, at least in Wisconsin, are a protected species. It's very costly to "remove" them...they won't kill them. My mom said to just throw some rat poison or mothballs in the attic and call it an accident. I like her thinking, but refuse to go into my attic. Because of the bats. It's a real Catch-22.)

Except for that first year, we've only had one per year (knock on wood), and that means we've had our 2011 quota filled (knocking on wood some more).

When they come up the stairs from the basement (where we determined is where they enter the living quarters of the house), I hear them. Actually, what I hear are the cats chasing it. Usually, they chase it into my bedroom. When Mini Me was a baby in a bassinet near an open screened-in window, they chased it 3" over her to the screen. At 3 a.m.

(Now that I think about it, I did hear the cats making a ruckus last night. I thought they were just fighting with each other...I guess they were defending their turf.)

When I was a reporter, I did a story on what to do when a bat entered your home. At the time, my editor was reluctant to run my story. Then the stories about other people dealing with bats came out. I got to talk to the county public health office. It was awesome.

Generally, if you find a bat in your sleeping area, you are to trap it, kill it, and bring it either to a vet's office or the State lab for rabies testing. And you're supposed to also go in and get rabies shots for your whole family as a precaution.

I did send a bat in once but never did the rabies shots. I rationalize this as I always wake up when they enter my bedroom. Or my kids bedrooms.

(I do have two friends that had bats, separately, and did the rabies shots. Both times, the ER didn't know what to do with them, and both times, had to fight with their insurance to cover it...because the insurance said they should have gone to a regular doctor. If the ER doesn't have a clue what to do with them, and they're trained for emergencies, what the heck will be different about going to the doctor?)

(Oh, and one of my friends was 7 months pregnant at the time, too.)

Walking in to write this blog this morning, I screamed because Radar (a name my friend Kristen gives her bats outside) was taking a snooze above my office door. I called Disgruntled Husband.

"I need you."

"Why? I'm waiting for a call."

"I need you. What's the only reason I'd call and tell you that?"

"Someone's hurt?"


"You need money?"

(Not all that un-true, but...) "No."

"There's a bat?"

"You got it."

He came home and armed himself with barbecue tongs and a garbage bag. I tried to take his picture as he went to remove the bat and screamed like a little girl. Apparently, when my camera tries to focus, the flash also flashes. It startled him.

(And now he's going to be mad I said he screamed like a little girl. I'd like to retract that. He screamed like a big burly man coming to my rescue for flying marsupial removal.)

He came outside, victorious, with a cup and section of the newspaper, with a bat in-between. (I guess the tongs lost out.) He put the bat, which never woke up, in our neighbors garden. (Sorry Josh and Jennifer.)

And that is the end of our pet Radar. For this year. I hope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oxymoron: Small town banks and technology

About 6 months ago, I wrote a piece for Rants From Mommyland about living in a small town.

For the most part, I like it here, Sure, it may be small, but really, the only thing I miss about a bigger city is the shopping, and with the internet now, that's pretty much gone by the wayside.

There is one thing that gnaws at me though, and I'm afraid it won't get any better. My bank.

I belong to the Bank of Cheese-Between-Our-Ears. They have our checking account and mortgage, and I'm slowly being wooed away by ING Direct - internet banking.

Let me tell you something about Bank of CBOE, they are about as helpful as they are technologically advanced. They built a multi-million dollar new bank 5 years ago, but they can't seem to figure out how to get that whole fad of internet banking under control.

Here's an example: Last year we went to Iowa to see his family. He took a day off work to make it a long weekend...the day was a Friday and also his pay day. His then-secretary was nice enough to deposit the check in our account for us (direct deposit, what?) at the beginning of the day, maybe about 9:30 a.m.

At 10 a.m., we left his parents house to go see some sights. We pulled off the road to fill the gas tank at 10:30.

Debit card didn't work.

Now, I had dealings with the bank about this for many years prior. Their system isn't automatic, so once in the morning and once in the afternoon, some guy pushes a button to update the debit card system. I was told it was about 10 a.m.

What we're all hoping our local bank UPGRADES to.

I called the bank, since the secretary put in the deposit at 9:30, it should work, right?

Nope. The not-so-helpful lady told me that, that day, the update had been done at 9:25. The next one would be about 2 p.m., but she didn't know for sure.

So, we sat at the lovely gas station until we could get gas.

I have complained many times to them about this, and all they tell me is "that's the way it is" and "I think we're pretty good technologically-speaking."

I'm sorry, is that a piece of Swiss in your ear?

The current staff at my bank.

Yesterday, I checked my balance at 10 a.m. We were fine. When I got home and checked at 4:50, I saw my check to CostCo had gone through, leaving me a little tighter than I had anticipated. So, I went to the ATM, pulled out enough from my internet banking account to cover my check (because it takes 2 days to transfer to the bank), deposited it and went home.

I checked the online banking last night; it was all good.

This afternoon, I checked again, and saw they kicked out my check.

The lady on the other end of the phone, who clearly hadn't had adult relations since the Reagan administration, told me that every morning, they went through the checks from the day before and it was up to the "ladies" to determine which ones stayed and which ones did not. Then, the ladies put the information on the computer.

Oh, and it could take awhile for it to be updated online.

So, even though I took care of the problem yesterday, checked at 10 a.m. this morning and still saw it was all good, because Betty Rubble and Wilma hadn't had the triceratops bite through the special banking stone and give it to the next guy down the line until this afternoon, I was in trouble as of 1 p.m.

I asked when this bank would join the 21st Century, or at very least would have their computers match what mine said about my account.

I was told this was as good as it gets.

Whatever you say Betty. I'm closing my account and going to ING Direct. I hope you and your bank's slide rule are very happy together.

Friday, August 12, 2011

When Hoover almost wasn't

Last night, as I sat on my porch after dinner, a wave of emotion hit me. Hoover came outside with his DS and sat on the porch swing, innocently playing it. I stared at him. He noticed, and without looking up, said "What?"
I said, "I just love you buddy."

Today is Hoover's 6th birthday. Last year, I wrote a brief synopsis of his brief life, mostly about screwdrivers and calls to poison control.

This year, I'm a little more introspective.

Sometimes I complain about my kids a little too much. Sure, I lace humor in it, and it's nothing most of you aren't saying (out loud or to yourselves) about your own kids. But in that, sometimes I forget what a truly awesome experience it is to be these kids' mom.

Hoover almost didn't happen. Disgruntled Husband and I decided in Summer 2004 that Larry Potter needed to be a big brother. And we got pregnant.

And then, like many pregnancies, we had a miscarriage. I was only a few weeks in my pregnancy...maybe six weeks along. I had told my mom I was pregnant, but not my dad. In fact, the first time many of the people on my dad's side of the family knew I had been pregnant was when I told them I had miscarried. There were some things going on at the time with that side of the family, and I'm not sure they believed me.

I was sad and went into my safe mode: research and development. I also threw myself into working out. When the doctors told me it was safe to try again, we did. I got pregnant again.

And had another miscarriage. The week of Thanksgiving. At my mother's house. I told no one. I had been to the doctor that Friday before, and had heard that what was, was not any longer, and to expect the pain and physical discomfort like I did back in July.

At this point, I was not only sad, but also raging mad. Why was this happening to me? Why was God doing this to me?

The thing about me is that I take comfort in research, like I mentioned above. Within minutes of the EPT showing two lines with LP, I was at Borders buying every book they had on pregnancy. I joined pregnancy boards on the internet, did a lot of fun research about my baby, and sadly, even paid some internet company $20 to "guess" my baby's gender before my ultrasound.

Happy birthday, my little broccoli-loving boy.
So when I got pregnant in July, I calculated my due date. March 22, 2005.

And when I got pregnant again in November, I calculated my due date to be July 27, 2005.

At the time, I hated that I did that.

My faith in science was a little shaken, so I decided not to follow doctor's advice that time. And December 23, 2004, I found out I was pregnant again.

All signs were pointing to this one not sticking either. The first ultrasound showed a baby due three weeks later than we had calculated. Not a good sign. Doctor's due date was August 29, 2005. The ultrasound showed September 11.

Shortly after this ultrasound, I experienced a great deal of work stress, resulting in me quitting my job. When I went in for my appointment that month, I had expected to not hear a heartbeat. I had prepared myself.

But there it was.

There things were. Everything seemed to fall into place...we bought a house, moved into it, and I got a part-time job at a department store.

July 26th, while at work, I started having what I thought was false labor. The next day, the doctor had me come in, and informed me I was now on modified bed-rest and given a prescription for medication to stop my, now determined to be real, contractions.

Hoover was born two weeks later, at 36 weeks, 5 days. At 7lbs., 4 oz. The doctor said if he had gone to full-term, I would be looking at an 11 pound baby.

And looking back, six years later, it all seems like yesterday and a million years ago, all at the same time. Those feelings of desperation and doubt, the sadness that followed each miscarriage.

I don't get into religion much on this blog, because I believe it is up to each of us to determine what is real and right, not someone else. But I can tell you that my little blond hurricane sitting on my porch swing last night is here for a reason. He is truly evidence to me that God is real.

Happy Birthday, Hoover.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The great PJ war of '11

Maybe I'm just getting lazy. Er.

Maybe it's because it's summer.

Maybe it's because I've started working again.

I don't know the exact reasoning. It could be a combination of all of these.

My kids refuse to wear pajamas now.

It's such a dumb thing, but it really bothers me. Every night, as they head up the stairs, I remind them that those pieces of clothing next to the underwear in the top drawer are what they are to wear to bed.

And every morning, Larry Potter greets me in the same clothes he wore the day before.

(If it's the weekend, it's possible they are the same clothes he wore for two days in-a-row.)

Hoover, if he's had a timing issue in the bathroom will don his pajama pants, but normally, he likes to sleep in his undies. Mini Me, though a drawer bursting with adorable season-specific pjs, will try wearing her flannel Tinkerbell pjs. She ends up getting too hot and sleeps in just her undies, too.

Breakfast at my house is something to behold.

For the love of GOD, put these on!

I don't know what the appeal of either wearing the days' clothing to bed or only wearing one's skivvies to slumber is. I've asked LP why he does this, and the answer is pure laziness.

"Well, if you don't notice, then I don't have to bother getting dressed again the next day."

Gross, dude.

While LP is very modest, Hoover doesn't care. In the mornings, I typically go out on the porch with my coffee and newspaper. Yes, I'm still in my pjs, but that's the point...I'm wearing pjs. Hoover will come out to talk to me wearing nothing but his tighty-whities.

And then Mini Me, who wants to do everything her brothers do, follows him. Except, she thinks that if she wraps her thread-bare blankie around her, she's wearing clothes.

Honey, me and DCFS say you're not.

At least it's getting colder and they will soon start to need to wear something to bed, which means-if I'm lucky- they will wake up with something on, too.

Let's just hope it's not yesterday's clothes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Working Dad V. The Working Mom

With me working now, the family has had to make some adjustments. My days off are Tuesdays and Wednesdays; Disgruntled Husband's are the normal Saturday and Sunday. This makes daycare a little cheaper since we're only paying for 3 days worth; I think that may be the only upside to this arrangement.

There are definite differences to my husband's weekend and my "weekend." And if you ask me, they are pretty one sided.

Difference Number 1: Waking up on the days off from work
DH is not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, and neither am I. However, my Keurig and newspaper subscription are slowly changing that for me. Saturday mornings, I am up by 6:45, showered, dressed, and fed by 7:45, and on my way out the door no later than 8:30. DH sleeps through all of this. It's not until I forcibly remove the covers from his fetal-positioned body that he opens an eye. I need him out of bed to run interference from Mini Me so I can get out the door without a four-year-old on my leg. When I call to check in at 10:15, I hear kids asking for breakfast,

My "Saturday" (aka Tuesday), DH wakes up after the 11th time his alarm goes off, gets ready and leaves. Somewhere in there, he says to me, "Must be nice to sleep in." He came back yesterday to get something he forgot and found me still in bed at 8:25 a.m. I got a stern talkin' to. What? No, no hypocrisy going on here.

Difference Number 2: Breakfast
I already mentioned that by 10:15 or so, the kids are asking for breakfast with DH. What I failed to mention (and also DH's rationale for not feeding them until this time) is that they forage for nourishment until then. Chocolate chips, yogurt, stale tortilla chips, apples and string cheese - it's all open season for my kids with minimal parental supervision.

When it's my weekend, I am poked every 20 minutes from 6:30 a.m. until 8 or 8:30 a.m., all by different kids, begging for breakfast. When I do come downstairs and ask for 15 minutes to drink my coffee, they look at me like those malnourished kids in the commercial for sponsorship. I asked them this morning to get a yogurt to tide them over until sunrise and had a public flogging by Larry Potter. Somehow between Sunday and Tuesday, my kids lose the ability to gather nuts and berries...or Go-gurt and goldfish crackers.

Oh, Mr. Belvedere. How much do you charge?

Difference Number 3: The Activities
On DH's weekend, there is a plan of action. Usually, it involves massive consumption of gasoline, a large city, and someplace cool to see. Awesome. I'm glad they get to do things like this (and not only because it means I don't have to get to go). My husband has never been one to sit still at home, and if he wants to go anywhere, he needs to bring the kids.

On my "weekends" the kids ask me what we're going to do that day, like I have Six Flags tickets in my robe pocket. Which leads me to my final discussion point...

Difference Number 4: The House
When DH's weekends roll around, it's activities and fun and maybe shopping. Cat puked on the stairs? Walk over it. Somebody dropped a PB&J face down in the kitchen? Walk around it. There are no clean clothes for the kids? Teach them the sniff test. We got things to do.

When it's my "weekend," our activities are picking up from the previous five days, two of those days being DH's time off from work. Every week, I do laundry and clean the bathroom and pick up toys, grocery shop, and clean with chemicals that DH has no working knowledge of. Last Sunday, I mentioned a friend from work might stop over for a glass of wine before dinner. He heard me and cleaned to the best of his ability: he threw out the newspapers on the porch. The living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and basement were all on the application for Hoarders, but by God, that porch was clean!

I suppose to the rest of the world, I'm a worker bee. But to my family, I'm just Mom, and my working is really cutting into their sense of normalcy. I think this is when people start to hire Mary Poppins or Mr. Belvedere.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

E-mail and Your Employees: How NOT to do it.

While I was going through my own personal tragedy-turned-victory in employment and the Blaze of Glory happened, my friend JDub was experiencing her own adventures in employment.

A little background on JDub. (Scroll to the bottom...refresh your memory.) She's been working at a law office for the past two years, for an attorney that Disgruntled Husband has less-than-stellar things to say about. She took the part-time job right before her other best friend was fired from the same place.

In the beginning, she was able to work around when her youngest was in pre-school and eventually, 4-K. Not a lot of hours...like maybe nine a week...but enough to subsidize her 5 a.m. bootcamp classes and her family's addiction to premium peanut butter. This spring, she upped her hours to three full days a week for the summer. Even finding a daycare for her youngest, something that she had never done before.

Now, her boss isn't the brightest bulb in the tanning bed. (We're just going to call her BF...short for Bitch-Face.) BF has lost a few great assistants over the years because of her ineptitude in keeping her employees happy. (One lady JDub told me about went from running BF's office to working third-shift doing hotel housekeeping, if that's any indication of how desperate that lady was to get out of there.)

I could go into the long working history of JDub and BF, but as much as my eyes glaze over thinking about it, they would absolutely close into a coma if I attempted to cite every dumb thing BF did. JDub is a very patient person.

About the time I put an ad up on Craiglist for DH's office assistant, I saw that BF also had an ad up for a similar position. I called JDub, who knew nothing about it. Since the other assistant at the office was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, we thought maybe it was to prepare for this.

BF is no Elle Woods. I don't even think she's as smart as the dog.

Fast forward to the end of July, when BF hires someone for 30 hours a week. JDub goes into BF's office and asks what is going on, and has to remind BF that she (JDub) has been working 20-25 hours a week this summer, and it would be continuing into the school year.

BF said she forgot that JDub worked those hours and confided in her that she didn't know what to do because she had just hired this girl. Maybe, BF said, she would just have to call the new person and rescind the offer.

And then she went on a two week vacation. (Because apparently, making poor business decisions and forgetting you have employees is very straining.)

So for two weeks, JDub went to work and did her thing, all while wondering and speculating if BF would hire the new girl for real. While BF makes an elephant turd look intelligent, JDub is smart and perceptive. She saw the writing on the wall, and starting mailing off resumes. Just in case. She had also said that she wasn't going to stick around to train this new person to do her job.

BF came back Thursday. Nothing. Friday. Nothing. Then yesterday, JDub receives an e-mail.

BF let her go in an e-mail. Because, "You weren't coming in today." JDub hasn't come in on a Monday since April. But that sort of information could be taxing to remember.

And, in the e-mail, BF says the last day of employment will be in two weeks.

JDub wrote back and said, uh no, the last day was last Thursday.

(She's a lot nicer than I am. Because my email back would have a few choice words. And a Trojan virus. Firing over e-mail, indeed.)

(I also told JDub it was time for the Craigslist ad with BF's office phone number looking for people to delouse the office or in need of a male exotic dancer, apply in person. But she put the brakes on both of those ideas.)

It's all right BF, you'll get yours in the form of a Celestial Suggestion. I'm thinking some sort of IRS audit and an STD she won't be able to explain to her husband. But I'll leave the final decision up to God.

Maybe He'll send her an email.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Special Bonus blog post, ESM style!

I want to wish my Snarky Guru ESM (that's Even Snarkier Mom, for those of you that don't remember her), a very happy birthday today!

ESM and I met in 8th grade, when she was the new girl and I rescued her from being trapped in our history teacher's classroom. I was totally psyched when she said she lived close to me (no new students ever lived in my neighborhood).

From watching Beavis and Butthead together (hey, didja hear it's coming back to MTV?), to breaking glass bottles on park parallel bars (that was me, she'll be quick to point out), we formed a great bond...mostly built on deception and lies to other people, but a bond just the same.

Her family is my family, and my family is her family. We're both pretty certain that in some points in our life, the others' parents liked the friend better than the daughter. I had a key to her house, and once rang the doorbell and was nicely chewed out for making her get up. ("Why are you ringing the door bell. Just come in.")

She's a mom, as of this March, and this week, she'll be in my neck-of-the-woods. I can't wait to hold that baby....I mean, see my friend. ;)

So Happy Birthday, ESM! You have made me what I am today...cynical and proud of it!

What a year

A year ago July 28th, a very important thing happened.

The Snarky Mom was born.

(Okay, well technically, since I am The Snarky Mom, that's not quite accurate....a cold Tuesday morning in 1979 is when I was born....but July 28, 2010 is when I first published this blog.)

(Happy now?)

I wrote a rant about how I was counting down the days until school started. And then I wrote another post. And another. And another. And now, I have 51 followers and over 200 fans on Facebook.

I am humbled, and at the same time, weirdly amused.

The fact that anyone outside my friends (both of them) or family (those that still claim me) would want to read what I write is something I still can't quite wrap my head around. I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars.

So to know that July 2011 was a less-than-stellar month for blog posts makes me sad but aware that I need to do better. And I will.

You like me....you, oh nevermind.

When looking for a job, this blog remained foremost in my mind. It is my favorite thing to do; a real outlet for me write, plus do a little entertaining to people and connecting to moms and other domestic heroes all over the world.

(Come on, Jessica, you're writing a little blog; not curing Cancer.)

But, when push came to shove, it was all about the Benjamins. Or at least the Andrews. I love this blog, but I love not being overdrawn a little bit more.

I do have a lot of downtime at work, which I need to make better use of. And now that I have a job, I'll be able to post about the Snarky side of life of the Rich and Famous; well, at least the sturdier middle class and how awesome it is to not have your debit card declined at Walmart.

(Seriously, has this ever happened to you? It happened ONE TIME to me - with a cart full of groceries - so now, I am paranoid every time I use my debit card.)

Thanks for making this a great blog for me. I appreciate all the support I've received; every time you forward one of my posts, an angel gets its wings.

Okay. Not really. But thanks anyway. It's been a wild year. I can't wait to see what happens in the next year.