When we moved into our house there was a "beware of dog" sign on our fence. We've never taken it down. Anyone that's met our dog knows that the only thing you need to beware of is that she'll most likely lick you. And maybe stand on your foot. And she's heavy. She's a good playful puppy.
However, apparently, the power company has been bitten too many times, because they won't read our meter now that Audrey stays out all day. It took me a while to figure it out. I'd get a bill due the 27th and schedule it to be paid. Then the 24th, I'd get another one in the mail for a different amount. I called and they told me it was because they had done an estimated read then corrected it. ok. whatever. The next month, Rob didn't get the mail the day that the card came requesting us to read the meter for them and mail it back. Oh, I get it. So I called for the right amount. This month, I got annoyed and called them again to ask if there was any way around this whole bill confusion thing. Happily, I got a simple answer. They can install a new meter which can be read from the street. For free. yippee! sign me up.
So today, I got a call that they were at the house ready to install. That was fast. I think I only talked to them on Monday. And I was under the impression that I'd have to be there, but they said no, so even better. After a while, I hadn't heard from them again, I assumed everything had gone alright and it was safe to let Rob know about it. If I had told him before, he would have worried about it and bothered me about whether I'd made the right decision or not, and all kinds of annoying crap. Then he'd have insisted on going home to make sure they didn't accidentally let the dog out ot something stupid like that. He's the type of person who will warn you not to park in someone else's driveway, because your car might catch fire and then they would sue you (or something equally ridiculus) (of course, he's also the type of person that would have a car that was likely to catch fire) (in fact he carried around a fire extinguisher in his car for a while and actually used it a couple times) (can I be any farther from the subject?) So anyway, I hadn't told him, and then I did, and all was well because it was over. And he was happy he hadn't had to deal with it.
And then 30 minutes later I got a phone call saying there was a problem. Please please don't tell me that Audrey bit someone after I told them to go on in the backyard. Nope. The conduit that holds the wires leading up to the meter had settled. ok...? Which meant that the wire inside that conduit was being pulled. ok...? And when that happens, the wire inside sometimes breaks. And then when they pull out the old meter, sparks fly and an electrician has to come fix it before they'll turn the power back on. crap.
So I made a flying trip home to look at the box when they opened it and hope to hell that nothing was broken. and for once, it worked out! The wires were pulled tight, but not broken. They threw a new meter on and I got to come back to work. It was all horribly, wonderfully uneventful. pshew!
But the funny thing was that the men who were called out to fix my meter, because the meter guy refused to read it, because of the dog in the backyard? Were playing fetch with her when I got there. I guess the repairmen are dog people and the meter reader isn't.
I hate fundraisers. I used to do them in school, and I was always the one lusting after some un-obtainable prize and my mom would be scrambling to find something worthwhile to stockpile (cards, wrapping paper, etc) so that I wouldn't be disappointed. Now I have to deal with fundraisers for my kid.
I know! She's only 4. What the heck does the dance school need a fundraiser for?
But this type of fundraiser I can do. Candy bars sell like, well, like chocolate around work. All I have to do is set them out and wait. None of that door-to-door selling crap that is to time-consuming and annoying and possibly dangerous (It pained me to write that last adjective. I hate worrying about shit like that. so I just don't. bah). In fact, it's just easier to bring them all to work, and not even let Ally know "she" is selling them. This way she doesn't ask to eat them all the time.
We're also supposed to sell these "Smart Cards". These things are awesome. For only $10 you can get a little card good for an entire year. It has all kinds of good deals on it for stuff like BOGO free at McDonalds, and PapaJohns, and Burger King. We sold them last year and that little card has saved me serious dollars over the year. And of course, Ally doesn't know we're selling these either.
If she doesn't know or care, why am I doing it? Money. The dance school knows how to motivate me. I get credit off my dance lesson fees for selling stuff. I get 38% of anything I sell. It's not cash, but it might as well be. The more I sell, the less dance lessons cost. And recital costumes. expensive. But not anymore.
Ally will be in dance lessons for 8 months. $320. So far I have sold 48 cards. I've sold 2.5 boxes of candy. As of today, I have earned credit of $220.40. I have 3.5 more boxes of candy and 2 cards left. After selling them, dance lessons for 8 months will cost me less than the price of 1 month. Freakin awesome.
My family has been following links in the comments pages. My uncle thinks that I should post as often as Erin. Bah! And my aunt greatly enjoyed the Bitch-fest that went on recently. (Did I mention that my husband reads my blog now? I just might need that anonimity some day.)
But there s a question I can't answer for them. They don't ask becasue they don't ahev a blog. Whose grandfather was in the Olympics? What sport was it? I can't find it. i'm think it was Fishy-girl or arizaphale, but I'm having no luck finding the post. Speak up whoever you are
Did you know how out of shape I am? Me neither. ugh.
To those of you that know Ally (or me as a child), this will come as no surprise: my daughter isn't very coordinated. We bought her a tricycle a long long time ago, but she just turned the handlebars too tighly and fell over a lot. We blamed the trike. We got her a different ride-on thing. She failed. The kids wheeled in circles around at day care, but she just didn't care. She's never been real good at pedaling. She has weak little legs. Finally, she can pedal down the street on her little plastic bike we bought her at a garage sale as a last ditch effort. But It's really getting too small for her. She pedals it because her legs are long enough that it isn't hard anymore.
Anya is shaping up to be the same way. Rob and I would take the kids out around the neighborhood, and at least one of them would start off on a bike and by the end of the trip, at least one of us would walk home carrying or pushing a bike. Or, if not, one parent would be with one kid while the other one was trailing behind, because no one can possibly travel at the same speed. Taking walks or "bike rides" was a PITA.
When Ally's knees started to get a little too close to the handlebars (that she still has trouble operating) we started to look at getting her a new one. And getting bikes of our own. but there's still that travel at the same speed issue. So we got everyone a new bike. but we also got Ally a Trail-A-Bike and Anya a seat behind mine. And now Rob and I control our speed. And the kids get to get some fresh air.
The first night we went out, Ally was in heaven. She pedaled for all she was worth. She sang extremporaneous songs that seemed to be based loosely on My Little Ponies tunes. She belted them out as loud as she could for the entire bike ride. It was the happiest we've seen her in quite some time. It almost made me feel a little guilty about all those previous "bike rides" where someone ended up grouching at her to hurry up or slow down the whole time. I'm hoping that the pedaling will help her muscles get used to the idea, and when the time comes for her on her own bike, the practice will be helpful. Steering is another problem.
Anya wasn't as sure of herself. she put on a brave face, but she was pretty hesitant. Most of the ride was spent with her pushing her helmet up (again) and triumphantly telling us "My can see!" I was a little worried about her to start with, because she isn't so sure of herself as Ally. She still holds on tight when I carry her downstairs. So I started out by getting on and letting her know that as we were riding, the bike would sway a little. We'd go from side to side sometimes, but not to worry because I'd keep her safe. Then I swayed the bike a little to demonstrate. She smiled at me, said "O-tay" and then asked me "Could you please not do that anymore?" But she did great too, and both kids were none too pleased about the ride being over when the time came.
And the time came quickly. We rode up and down 3 or 4 of the side streets in our neighborhood, and I quickly realized that my legs are not used to exercise. I was sweating and breathing hard. I tried to remember the last time I rode a bike. I can't imagine it was very long after my sister got her license. 17 years ago. Why the hell would I ride a bike when someone could drive me?
We've gone again a couple times after that first time, and once we realized that the kids' hoods on the jackets made the helmets fit perfectly AND protected their ears (god forbid we disturb the ear gods, and ruin our infection free blissful break) Anya didn't have to worry about being able to see again. They both love it and beg to go all the time.
*Whoever came up with that saying may have been technically right in that you don't forget how, but they sure missed the mark by not mentioning anything about how those very same remembering muscles will scream in protest if you ever decide to take up the habit again.
Once upon a time, a beautiful queen was expecting. She fell in love with the hospital blankets and vowed to eschew any other fabric. So into the fabric store she went. There, she found a lovely flannel fabric very similar to the hospital blankets. It was purchased and lovingly sewn into larger than average sized baby blankets by her fairy godmother (grandma). And the queen saw that it was good. The new princess used them often and the queen was proud of her foresight to think of the larger size because babies do get bigger and the blankets were useful for quite some time.
Then the baby got older and interested in Dora and wanted new blankets. And she never looked back. Ungrateful wench.
The queen had a second child. And this child cherished the blankets. She held them close and appreciated the efforts of her mother. She sucked her thumb and rubbed the edges. She slobbered and chewed on them. She carried them everywhere. It was then that the mother queen discovered an important lesson - Be careful what you wish for. For the baby soon began to walk. She dragged the now-dingy blankets after her everywhere. They tripped her. They got dirty. They were necesary to the child's happiness. They were a pain.
But the queen was a very (very) smart woman. She asked her fairy godmother (grandma) for another flannel fabric and made small blankets for the princess to carry. She planned for the future well, and made 4 of the blankets so the child would have back-ups. And her plan was wonderful. The child was happy. There was much rejoicing throughout the land. But then life went on and as things do, 3 of the blankets were eventually misplaced. And the final blanket was deeply loved. The princess grew older and the "yeetle bank" evolved into the "yittle banket" and eventually, was misplaced as well.
Panic struck the kingdom. A full scale search was ordered. And repeated often. The queen had recently made new blankets in preparation for the loss of the final blanket, but the princess turned her nose up at the bright clean cloth. She knew the difference and would accept no substitutes. And she was a stubborn princess. So that evening, she went to bed for the first time in a very long time without her little blanket. And... it wasn't so bad. The next day, the search continued, past nap and bedtime came again. Still no little blanket. So the child slept alone. and again the next day. Until the queen and king were rejoicing at the turn of fate. They counted their good fortune at the grace with which the princess accepted her loss. They congratulated themselves missing out on a long drawn out weaning process, for the child was definitely getting to the point at which a blanket is no longer necesary as a comfort object.
And the blanket was found. And they cursed their luck. The ingenious queen once again employed her amazing intelligence and capitalized on the situation. "The blanket must stay in your room now, Princess. For the last time it left the castle, it got lost. It's only for bedtime now," she told her daughter. And the daughter, with the loss of the blanket still fresh in her mind, agreed that this was for the best. Pressing her luck, the queen went on, "You're getting pretty big now, aren't you? Big girls don't suck their thumbs either. Except for when they go to sleep. Let's save that for bedtime too."
And that is how the thumb sucking, blanket holding princess started to grow up. And the queen was once again reminded of the lesson that she had previously learned. Be careful what you wish for.
It's official. Anya is potty trained. She has occasional accidents. But they are so occasional (2 or 3 days between) that I have said farewell to diapers*, and it big girl pants all the way now. 2 years, 4 and a half months old. If you'll remember, we basically told Ally to suck it up and DO IT or else when she turned 3. Having an older sister as a role-model is so helpful.
Anya is quite sure that she'll soon be a donut (her pronounciation of grown-up) just like me (you are what you eat, right?).
*Although the day care is using them at nap time, even though they are nearly always dry. Just because they still have some and don't want to mess with it. They'll quit when they run out.
I've been planning Ally's birthday party lately. I have an awesome idea, and I've got a bunch of details all figured out and it's going to be a blast for her. 2 months from now. In November. Maybe I'm jumping the gun just a little bit. But now that I've got it planned, it's driving me crazy, because I want to do it. I suck at delayed gratification. Bah.
So, since I can't just do it, I'm gong to tell you all about it instead.
I'm going to make my basement a carnival. I'm going to give the kids some poker chips when they get there. They can use the poker chipstokens to pay for games. Every kid gets a ticket when they "win" their game. Some games will get extra bonus tickets. And then, after cake and ice cream and presents, just before I send them home, they can trade in their tickets for prizes. I'm getting el-cheapo crap from the dollar store and oriental trading company, and will probably throw in some tootsie rolls and the like too. You know, just the kind of crap that, as parents, we groan about when our kids get them, and then we surreptitiously throw them away a week later? That stuff. Kids love it. 1 ticket = 1 crap.
Games will be
Pick-A-Duck - blue swimming pool. A little bit of water. The 5 million ducks that currently live under the sink in the kids bathroom and get pulled out at bath time, making bath cleanup time take longer than the actual bath time, but give the kids something to do while in the bathtub instead of screaming at each other, so that I can cruise the internet have some blissful quiet time. Bonus tickets: Some ducks will have a mark on the bottom, for an extra ticket or 2.
Pop-A-Balloon - Balloons all smushed together and stuck to a piece of plywood. Darts. Trip to the hospital.Throw til you pop a balloon. Bonus tickets: Certain balloons will have smiley faces. Those get extra tickets.
Bean-Bag-Toss - Mom said she has a bean bag game. Don't know if it's like Toss Across, or a throw it in the hole game. Either will be fun. I like the hole idea better though. The smaller holes being more tickets. Maybe I'll just make one out of the rest of the plywood...
Knock-Em-Down - Some type of stacking things will be set up and the kids get to throw things at it to knock it down. You know, like the old milk bottles. I just haven't decided what we'll be knocking down yet. It doesn't really matter. Kids love throwing stuff right? Bonus tickets: The more you knock down, the more tickets you get.
Face and fingernail painting - self explanatory, I hope. Jessica (it's a long story. We'll just call her a family friend) offered to paint faces for me. I have lots of fingernail polish. Also, lots of temporary tattoos. Plus, Amy offered to loan me some body stamps that outline tattoos, and you color them in. Everyone gets a ticket. No bonuses.
And then, when they're out of their poker chips tokens, I'll have iced sugar cookies waiting for them. With more icing available to decorate with, and edible markers to color them, etc. And then take home with them. Cause what parent doesn't appreciate you filling their kid with cake AND sending them home with more sugar?
I'm so excited. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I've never really done much for her birthday before, because I think it's a waster until they're old enough to enjoy it. Last year we went swimming at the YMCA, but this year, we have a house big enough to have a couple of her friends over. Of course, Rob's complaining at me because we have this big nice house, and I'm going to send everyone down to the unfinishedbasement. Like kids care. Yes, some parents will probably stay, but who cares? I don't want kids throwing darts at my drywall. I don't want a pool of duck water on my carpet. I'd be insane to try this in a finished area of the house. So he's just going to have to deal with it, or stay out of the way. After he cuts me some plywood, of course. heh.
This is the part where you tell me how brilliant I am. And not the part where you tell me that I'm insane to give kids a bunch of darts and tell them to throw things and hype them up on sugar and let them run around on a concrete floor where they can fall and break their skull open. Rob's already covered that part. Besides, he's a paramedic.
How many tokens do you think I should give? I don't want to just let them run hog wild, or I'll never be able to get them to stop and go have cake and ice cream. Got any other suggestions?
*Oh yeah, I'm going to have Rob help me (or maybe my mom, if he decides just to go hide somewhere instead) hang some of the huge bulbs colored Christmas lights too. Make it flashy like a carnival.
**Yes, I've been absent, but I'm just pretending that I've been here all along.