Thursday, April 24, 2008

Water heater update

Yes. It caught fire. Official diagnosis? Death by self-inflicted spontaneous combustion. Luckily, it WAS covered by warranty - for another 2 or 3 weeks!! What luck, right?

The downside? It still cost $450 to install the damn thing, and this new one is NOT covered by warranty.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Never a dull moment around here

Even when it is quiet, it is never dull!!

Take today, for instance. I left work like Johnny-on-the-spot to get home and see the kids before I whizzed off to a meeting. Steve was planning to be home between 4:15 and 4:30. Cool. I toss Christopher in his den put Christopher down for a nap, and head for the door around 4:05. My meeting is at 4:30 so I have plenty of time. I make sure the dogs are locked up, check the boys are OK, tell the painters that Steve will be home any moment and I take my leave. (and yes, the boys are under adult supervision at this point, just in case any CPS workers are prowling the internet for neglectful parents)

Less than 10 minutes later, I get a call, and then a text, from the painters. The garage is full of smoke, the other painter is on the horn with 911, and the one with whom I am speaking is getting Chris up from his nap and taking all the kids outside. Evidently, something with the water heater has clearly gone awry and the fire department is on its way, and when is your husband getting home and we think we have it but is your insurance policy up to date, and no we don't see flames, but the whole downstairs smells like an electrical fire and ok, Steve is here, as are 2 fire trucks, so we gotta go.

Really? I JUST left the house, and had even looked INTO the garage before I left (because I noticed the door from the dog room to the garage was open and usually it is closed so I took note of that in the warped goo that is my mind). Fire? Smoke filling the garage? Smouldering water heater? Really? I ask you - do I need this today?

Luckily the Fire Department cut the power to the heater, assured Steve the house would not blow up in the middle of the night, and suggested we air the place out a bit with some fans.

The heater has a warranty. It could be a 6, 8 or 10 year warranty. It was installed on March 8th, 2002.

What do you want to bet its the 6-year warranty-variety?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Is anyone out there listening?

Because if so, there's something I need you to do. I know we live in the hottest place on the planet - I get that... but really? 100+ degrees in the early part of April? I mean, it's A-P-R-I-L people!! You know, SPRING TIME?? Little eggs and chicks and bunnies? Were it not for some wayward full moon in a freakishly early part of March, we'd be celebrating EASTER about now...

Really? Isn't there anything you can do about this HEAT? I mean, I expect it in June. I'm even able to deal with it in May - but April is just going too far!! Way too far.

Can someone get right on that for me?


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Occupational Hazard

What can happen when you leave a toddler, who is very used to having his picture taken, unattended with PhotoBooth on one's iMac...

Remembering the good old days

Steve, as I mentioned, has been out of town this weekend. It does sometimes strike me that things move more smoothly when it is just me, but I think I can chalk that up to me just turning into Task-Master out of necessity during my flying-solo days.

Last night, after a napless afternoon, Chris went down just before 8pm. This is remarkably early for him - he has this fervent desire to keep up with his brothers, regardless of how exhausted he is. The total and complete adoration he has for them is palpable.

So there I was last night, going from room to room, tucking in kids. Two things struck me; the first is how totally and completely I adore these kids. It is so easy to get wrapped up in my "Power Manager" role; Are your teeth clean, did you use the bathroom, are your clothes picked out for tomorrow, did you finish your homework, are your dirty clothes in the basket, is your backpack ready, pick that up, put that away, stop playing ball in the house, just give that to your brother already so he stops screaming, did you eat enough.... It is frightfully easy to overlook WHY I go through that tirade day in and day out - These kids are amazing, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend time with them for a little while.

The second thing that struck me is time-honored. I know that nearly 9 years have gone by since I was pregnant with Parker, but it so easily could be just a mere few months ago that it makes my head spin. And what frightens me is that I fear I will go to sleep one night and wake up to them all being grown and out of the house and I will have missed it - the ball games, the slumber parties, the sight of all three of them snuggled down in one bed for the night, holding each other like teddy bears, the sound of laughter and screaming and thunderous footsteps that I fear may just break through the floorboards one day. It is all just going by so fast.

Parker hit a grand-slam homerun last night at his baseball game. It was an amazing site to see - this little kid smacking the snot out of the ball and watching it go flying over the players' and coaches' heads and the cheers from both teams at this amazing shot, and me, cheering louder than the rest, thinking "yeah, that's my kid!"

A few years ago, when I was knee deep in poopy diapers, toddlers and babies who refused to sleep, Steve sat back and reminded me to enjoy these times because when we are old we will think "these were the good ole' days". And he was right... So, take a moment to stop amid the chaos to take it all in, because for all of us, these ARE the good ole' days.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

AIMS testing, over and out

To quote:

"What a long, strange trip its been"...

Oh my heavens - how is it possible that the simple act of proctoring these high-stakes tests could leave someone absolutely and completely spent? It did not help that I woke up completely convinced it was Friday when in fact it was Thursday, so that by itself made the week drag even more. And again, Steve was gone for the better part of the week, either leaving at some unearthly hour, or returning at one, or both.

His Aunt Bonnie died this week, so that added to the strange-ness of it all. She was a remarkable lady - truly the embodiment of the Energizer Bunny. She was a walking medical miracle from about 1987 onward, so each day was a blessing that could very well have never been. She will be missed...

Steve left for MN to attend the funeral, thus continuing my single-parent status through the weekend. Even more evidence that I would not want to do this full time. And again, hats off to all the single moms out there who actually do this day in and day out. One trip to Costco with all 3 on a Saturday and I am ready for bed!

Other interesting happenings this week... its been crazy all over. I expect my students to go a little bizerk during this week - no one likes testing, but throw a kids with an IEP into that mix and I think it is safe to say they hate it more than the regular ed kids. Just trying to keep them more or less quiet was exhausting.

One of the teachers on my team, one who is truly beloved by all, was informed that a student had filed a complaint of sorts, citing actions that the student felt were 'inappropriate'. All is fine, the teacher has done nothing wrong, but its the first time in about 10 years that something like this happened to this particular teacher, and understandably, nerves are frayed!

One of my students came to me this week, telling me that I had betrayed trust and had hurt his feelings. I think I am still a bit stunned when I think of it, because I had no idea that the banter that flew back and forth had hurt.

I got a call from the Principal of the boys' school, telling me Matthew had gotten into trouble with some other boys in the boy's bathroom... evidently they were trying to make the toilet overflow. And succeeded.

When I picked up Christopher from the sitters on Thursday, I was told he'd been a bit of a bad boy, grabbing one of the little girls by the hair because he wanted a train she had.

I hope whatever was in the water last week has worked its way out of the system and we can go back to status quo beginning Monday.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My cluster-bomb of a morning

I have nothing but the utmost respect for single parents; I know I would likely throw myself in front of a train if I had to be the only person responsible for my children 100% of the time.  I love them, they are wonderful, but man-oh-man, its nearly impossible to get anything done.

For the next few days, Steve will be leaving the house at the ungodly hour of 6am to make it to a training down in Casa Grande (about an hour and a half away for those not well versed in the Arizona road-map).  I already knew there was no way I would make it to the staff meeting we had scheduled for 7"45 this morning, so I attended the elementary meeting yesterday.  (To quote my favorite podcasters, The Manic Mommies, it was like daggers in the eyes, but that's a whole other story).  

So my morning begins with the sound of Matthew coughing at somewhere between 5:30 and 6am.  Steve is up - he can handle it... I try to doze.  It doesn't work.  F-I-N-E... I get up to find Matt in our bed (on days where Steve's alarm goes off before the sun comes up, I retreat to the guest room for a bit more peace and quiet) and Steve looking at him saying "he doesn't feel good, and is having trouble breathing.  I've gotta run... Bye".

Great.  Week before AIMS testing, can't take a day off, sick kid who can't talk, no fever, but labored breathing.  Send him to school?  Bring him with me?  Pawn him off Call in reinforcements in the fashion of my mom?

Meanwhile, I am doing my usual run-around-the-house-like-a-lunatic routine, getting beds made, laundry tossed into various machines, breakfast made, lunch made, backpacks checked, homework checked, wardrobes checked, diapers changed, meds dolled out, and somewhere in there getting myself showered, dishes cleaned up, dogs run and fed and locked back up.

Why was I surprised that today, sans-hubby, avec sick child, it took me until 7:40 to even get into the shower?  I usually LEAVE at 7:40.   My mom comes to whisk sick kid away at 7:30, Parker dashes out the door at 7:37, I plop Christopher in front of the computer for some Little Einsteins time, I get ready - Chris and I leave the house, "like a bat out of hell, half an hour late with my kids in tow" (again, Manic Mommy style) and I drop him off at the sitters.

Deep breath.  Calm Blue Oceans.  Deep Breath.  Calm Blue Oceans.

Stop at Starbucks, because after morning like that, I need some infusion of serious caffeine, go to pick up my cup while driving, and the top pops off, and I nearly spill my entire Venti Latte all over myself and my car.  I can thank a good set of reflexes for the fact that my car will NOT smell like spoiled milk this summer!

I finally waddled in to school at 9:05. 

There is no way in hell I could do this, every day, all the time.  No way at all.  Just one day of flying solo, and I nearly collapse by 9am from sheer exhaustion.  All that before I even get to WORK.