Friday, May 31, 2013

Bad Day 325--The other shoe

You know how sometimes you try something on and it immediately makes you look taller and thinner and you know if you just bought that shirt/dress/skirt/pair of shoes you could go out and conquer the world? Yeah, me neither but I hear it's a great feeling. Still, today I wore my new shirt from that British Designer Who Shall Not Be Named and it makes my hair redder and my eyes bluer and it fits like a dream and my friend at work who is probably the sexiest woman I know in real life told me I looked hot and asked where I got the shirt, so I know I looked good. And I was wearing my new sandals and they do actually make me about 3 inches taller. So it was a good day. Which means that something is going to go very wrong, very soon.

You see, I feel like the other shoe is about to drop. Yes, I know I say that all the time, but that is because I've had a lot of shoes dropped on me.

I have proof. Remember on day 266 when I said that it wasn't that bad of a day and then the very next day the Taliban tried to blow up Husband? No, it's OK if you don't believe me because I have more. I was really happy when we moved into our own house in DC and I loved my job and it was my dream job and I would hum all the way to work--and then Husband decided to go to Afghanistan. Still don't believe me? Well, in China, I really started liking my job and we had great friends and we were excited for the future--and then I found out I had cancer. (OK. I didn't actually have cancer but the doctors told me I did so it felt like a shoe dropped and then we moved to our next post where I had the Evil Boss so that was actually very bad. Did I ever tell that story about the not having cancer when they said I did and having a broken ankle when they said I didn't? I hate those doctors.) There are more, but that should be enough for now.

It is scary to be happy and optimistic when you are a pessimist. So since today was such a great day and included dinner with Artemis at a restaurant with delicious food and a gluten-free menu and another viewing of Star Trek: Into Darkness because Artemis hadn't seen it yet, then something bad needs to happen to even it out because the universe apparently cannot stand for me to be happy. Quick--somebody get a hangnail or burn some cookies or forget your homework or something before I get too happy and then the shoe that's coming smacks me in the head. Husband, Afghanistan is making me even more superstitious so you'd better come home right away. I so wish. Sigh.

This family in Virginia is having a worse day than me. And yes, that is a plane the crane is removing from their apartment.

The guy who lives in the apartment with his family said he was woken up by a loud noise and was surprised to find an airplane in his living room with two people crawling out of it. I'm not sure that the word "surprised" actually covers it. (I don't think there is a word in English that would describe how I would feel if I woke up and found a plane crashed into my house.) The pilot was seriously injured and is in the hospital, but everyone else including the passenger is OK, although the apartment is probably not habitable at the moment given that there is a plane-sized hole in it. So thank you, Mr. Surprised, for reminding me to be grateful that we do not live at the end of a runway, although there are lots of airports nearby. Should I be worried? Maybe it's not another shoe that will drop but an airplane. I really, really hope that is not the bad thing that happens. Couldn't I just get non-cancer again instead?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bad Day 324--I am Superwoman!

So here is what I did today. In the morning, I finished my paper that could change the world. Really. OK, not literally because it would be hard to flip over a planet or turn it inside out. But figuratively. Sort of. Or at least save the world some money--budgets, you know. I a whiz at interpreting budgets.

Then I went to a meeting with S. This is S.

All the important people in the Department are referred to by one letter. I have about 23, so I'm not very important. Or however many letters there are in "that girl who is always writing about budgets." At the meeting, I sat next to a very senior person by accident who will be my boss' boss' boss in July when I switch jobs. She was really nice, even when I sort of blanched when I realized who she was. We had a nice chat about Afghanistan where her son is also serving right now. I told her I wasn't a big fan of Afghanistan due to the whole separation thing and she empathized, or pretended to. But I don't think I did any permanent damage to my career.

Then I sent around my paper for clearance to about 25 people and most of them loved it but some of them changed all the happys to glads and all the commas to semicolons, but I think it's still readable. I hate the clearance process. I am an excellent clearer. I usually say, I clear--no comments. Great paper! I'm very peppy in my clearances because I know that someone else will lower the doom and say that all the beginnings should be changed to effectives. Someday I will write back and say effective today we will no longer use effective when we mean beginning. But I will have to be very senior first.

Then I bought tickets to a football game where my alma mater will come to our area and be completely crushed by a real football powerhouse. But I will cheer anyway and the children will love me because I will buy them t-shirts and pom-poms.

Then I rushed home and picked up Child 3 from daycare and we literally ran to McDonald's where we had french fries and smoothies because that is all we can eat there. Then we ran, literally, back to the high school which is conveniently across the street from McDonald's and sat for 15 hours listening to the band concert of which Child 2 played for about 15 minutes. OK, it wasn't 15 hours but it felt like it because it was almost 3 hours long and there was lots and lots of talking and awards. They did play music from the new Star Trek movie which was cool. 

Then we rushed over to Child 3's girl scout leader's house and dropped off all the camping equipment because she is going on a campout this weekend. And then we came home and I wrote a blog post that will change the world. OK, it won't change the world, but I just like saying that. Also, I have blisters, big ones because I wore the wrong shoes. I'm going back to the navy super-comfortable ones tomorrow which will match fine with my new blue shirt and gray sweater from that British designer that I like that just arrived in the mail (the clothes arrived--not the designer.) I told my colleague all about him and now she has ordered a bunch of his clothes and now I have to coordinate what I'm going to wear with her because we have some of the same stuff. See, this is why I won't tell you the name! 

This man in Austria is having a worse day than me. His car caught on fire, so he drove it to the fire station. That's right, he drove a flaming car to the fire station about a kilometer away because he didn't know what else to do, presumably. He didn't even know the car was on fire until a passer-by told him. I'm wondering if there wasn't some kind of illegal substance involved here, although I supposed if he had been high, he might have pulled over and stared at the flames and said whoa those flames are hot, dude! So thank you, Mr. Fire Driver, for reminding me to be grateful that my car has never burst into flames. Something else to worry about now instead of sleeping. I need to get a fire extinguisher for the car. But first, I need to go to sleep because I am exhausted from a very, very long day.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bad Day 323--How did I get stuck with the whale?

Husband left without solving the whale problem, so I did some research online and went to Home Depot and asked someone who asked someone else who asked someone else who knew what I was talking about we are now the proud owners of two ball and socket joints which Child 3 is going to use in her model to make the fins on her whale move. Now I just have to figure out how to make sure the heavy joints don't rip through the model magic which is like clay that dries into foam. I'm thinking a cardboard tube frame for our whale, but I'm not sure. I'll solve that problem tomorrow. Or later. Artemis, if you or Adonis have any ideas, I'm open to them. I am not mechanical or artistic, so this project is a little beyond me, but it has to be done so I will buckle down and figure it out--just like the toilet and the furnace and buying a car and the flat tire and everything else for an entire year. Just saying. Husband owes me. Big time. Jewelry won't cut it at this rate. I'm thinking a rug. Or a new dresser. I like this one.

Mason Extra-Wide Dresser - Rustic Mahogany stain

Child 3 and I ate at Taco Bell this evening and I should have listened to her and had the nachos, but no, I thought a burrito bowl sounded awesome and it did taste amazing and now I am sick. I think it was the guacamole. So all I want to do is go to bed, but Child 3 still has to finish her homework and then pack for her girl scout trip which is on Friday but we have to drop off her backpack tomorrow which means it gets packed tonight. Now. Except that she is not done with her homework. So it will be a long night and we will all be cranky and late tomorrow and it is not turning out to be a very good day. But what did I expect?

I do have to write a note about the shoes I bought yesterday. I got some gray-blue wedges that look remarkably like this:
OK, they look exactly like that because those are the shoes I bought and I have to say I never want to wear another pair of shoes again. Ever. They are the most comfortable things I have ever worn. I am so in love with them, I am willing to build an entire wardrobe around them. OK, relax Husband. Not really. But I am planning on wearing them every day that is not raining to and from work because they won't give me blisters and I feel like I'm walking on a cloud and I need a good pair of commuting sandals because my black ones are wearing out. Now if they only made these in boots, I'd be set for winter, too.

The marketing geniuses at JC Penney are having a worse day than me. They have put up a billboard of a Michael Graves whistling tea kettle that people say looks a lot like Hitler. Seriously. You have to look at the handle because it looks a lot like hair if you know what to look for. Here, I'll post the picture.

Still don't see it? I didn't at first, either. But here is a picture of them side by side.

See it now? Now that I get what people are saying, I can't unsee it and I really want to unsee it because it is actually a very stylish teapot. I like the little bell whistle. But I could never put it on my stove now that I think it looks like Hitler. We had linoleum in our second house that I loved because it was such a pretty green color and looked like marble but then I saw where the "tiles" all met looked like swastikas and the bathroom was ruined for me forever. Thankfully we sold that house. I know; dramatic way to get rid of tile you don't like, but we didn't have enough money to replace it at the time. So thank you, JC Penney, for reminding me how much I love my actual tile bathroom floor now--not a swastika in sight. Good luck with the whole teapot thing. I don't know how you fix that without just ripping off the handles. And thank you again for making me grateful that this is not my problem. Now, if someone can just make the whale for me. . .

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bad Day 322--Wheels up!

Wheels up parties are somewhat of a tradition in the Foreign Service after a big (or difficult) visit. They are usually hosted at the Marine House and involve lots of liquor and can be quite raucous  or so I've heard. I myself have never been to one because I have never actually worked on a big visit. In China, we had too much work, and in Korea, I was always "essential" and by essential I mean available to answer the phone. The only time I ever got to work on a big visit was when I volunteered to take a shift at the control booth. Late at night. On a holiday. Totally not kidding about that, but at least I was answering the phones for a real reason for once, not just to tell people things they could and should have read on the internet.

I have worked on a couple of visits, but they were very low key. My favorite was the one very senior officer who said she didn't really want a control officer, but would like someone to take her to Starbucks and chat with her while she waited for her next meeting. Then she showed me around her suite in the hotel because the hotel upon hearing who she was upgraded her and she thought it was funny. And she told me she liked my jacket. I liked that visit a whole lot, so there was no need for a wheels up party. I have decided that if I ever become that senior (which is unlikely, but a girl can dream) I would definitely be that kind of visitor.

We don't have wheels up parties exactly when Husband leaves, but we have sort of made a tradition of going shoe shopping and then out to eat. Listen, whatever it takes to keep the children distracted so they stop sobbing is OK with me. AND today's outing (after dropping Husband off at the airport for what we hope is his last ever trip to Afghanistan) was suggested by Child 2--she of the 100 pairs of converse. You know, the tomboy. She is the one who wanted new shoes. She has a new yellow seersucker dress and she needed white eyelet shoes to go with it. Like these.

So we all went shoe shopping and she found the perfect pair. Then we tried to find something at the craft store to help Child 3's beluga whale model have moving parts and we were completely unsuccessful. I will try at the hardware store tomorrow if I can't find anything on Amazon tonight. And then we all went to Red Robin and had the usual. We all always order the same thing each time (not the same as each other, but the same thing we each ordered the time before) because we like it and it makes us happy, but Child 1 says from now on she is getting a mint-brownie shake because she tried Child 2's and it was delicious. I will take her word for it because you know all about me and brownies and how I can never ever eat them again. Not even one.

This teenager in China is having a worse day than me. His parents took him on a dream vacation to Egypt where he visited Luxor and did this.

If you can't tell, those are the Chinese characters for "Ding Jinhao was here." Yes, he actually carved his name into the facade of a temple that is thousands of years old, and apparently his parents did not care or didn't pay attention. Well, they are paying attention now because someone else saw it and felt ashamed and posted it on a social media site in China where it promptly went viral because people were outraged that some bratty kid would do such a thing. Then someone recognized who it was and now his parents have made a public apology, as they should. Because when it comes right down to it, if you have the kind of child who likes to destroy public property when he is bored, then you had better keep an eye on him when visiting ancient monuments. And honestly, why is it that he didn't know this was a bad thing? Obviously he wasn't very excited to travel to Egypt or very respectful of its history. I know Child 1 is dying to go there and if I ever take her, I can promise you she would be so in awe of the beautiful carvings that she would never, ever think of defacing them. So thank you, Bratty Teenager, for reminding me how lovely and respectful my children are of other cultures. May you take a lesson from your countrymen and women and be more grateful the next chance you have to partake of someone else's history. And may your parents never pay for another trip because you really don't deserve it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bad Day 321--Memories Day

Today is Husband's last day home. It was a short trip this time. I'm trying hard not to think about how angry I am that I don't have enough vacation hours to take the whole day off tomorrow. I looked up my hours and I have barely enough to cover our summer trips to family reunions (which I have mentioned before do not count as vacations, but that is what I have to use my days for. Husband, on the other hand, has over 400 saved up. And don't even get me started on how much sick leave he has. This situation is extremely unfair because he will also get home leave when he comes home so he'll have another month off on top of that. And I won't have any days to spare at all. Guess who gets to go to every single parent teacher conference, field trip, and orthodontist/dentist/doctor's appointment over the next year?

It is chilly again tonight, so we are all huddled around the fire pit again. We had s'mores and lots of extra marshmallows.

I also grilled steak and asparagus and squash and tomatoes for dinner which was quite delicious. It was a barbecuing kind of day because Gabrielle's husband "Kevin" had us over for awesome grilled food for lunch. He makes these bacon and shrimp skewers which are to die for--literally in his case because he is allergic to shrimp. But they are awesome. So were the hot dogs and ribs and everything else.

The people on this cruise ship are having a worse day than me, which is pretty obvious from the picture.

The fire-damaged exterior of Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship is seen while docked in Freeport, Grand Bahama island, Monday, May 27, 2013. Royal Caribbean said the fire occurred early Monday while on route from Baltimore to the Bahamas on the mooring area of deck 3 and was quickly extinguished. All 2,224 guests and 796 crew were safe and accounted for. (AP Photo/The Freeport News, Jenneva Russell)

This is not the kind of fire you can roast marshmallows with. It was so bad, they are flying everyone home from the cruise, which I suppose is much better than letting them drift around the ocean with no power which has happened a couple of times recently. And even though they won't get food on the airplane because no one feeds you anymore, at least it is a quick trip from the Bahamas to the US. So thank you, Royal Caribbean, for not having a fire on board when Husband and I took our cruise last fall. And good luck with the repairs. Those look like they will take some time. And a lot of paint. Glad it's not me who has to fix it. Now I have to go make sure we put out the fire pit or I won't be able to sleep.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bad Day 320--No clean spoons is not an emergency!

I woke up with another migraine, so I went back to bed. The rule is that when I have a migraine, people are not supposed to disturb me unless there is an emergency, but apparently, we need some clarification on exactly what an emergency is. Here are some things I think would qualify for an emergency.

  • The house is on fire.
  • Someone is bleeding.
  • Aliens are attacking.
  • Matt Damon is on the phone and wants me to co-write his next movie.

Here are some thing that other people in the house consider emergencies.
  • They don't know what to wear.
  • They don't know what to have for breakfast.
  • Are their bangs too short?
  • Do they have to walk the dog?
  • The dishwasher is full of dirty dishes.
  • A man is walking by the house.
  • There is a bird in the backyard.
  • Look, a shadow!
OK, those last three were The Dog, but she does more to promote migraines than anyone else in the house. Anyway, having handled most of the emergencies, I went back to bed and didn't get up until very late. I still have some of the headache, but I'm trying to survive as best I can because Husband is watching the last episode of the most recent Downton Abbey season. Shh! Don't tell him what happens.

This police officer in New Jersey is having a worse day than me.

You may notice he isn't wearing his uniform. That is because he's been arrested for firebombing his captain's house. Apparently he has had discipline problems in the past and decided to solve them by blowing up his boss' house. Thankfully, no one was hurt even though five people were in the house at the time. Unfortunately for him, his precinct does good police work and he's been arrested. So thank you Officer Bomber, for reminding me to be grateful for my wonderful supervisor whom I like very much and for a very good lesson on how not to resolve conflicts. I'm certain they didn't teach you to use Molotov Cocktails to win an argument in the police academy. Maybe you should have listened to those conflict negotiation strategies a little better.

Bad Day 319--Can smoke damage a laptop?

I am typing outside. It is chilly, but my feet are toasty because they are resting on the edge of our new fire pit. Child 1 has been bugging me for months and months to get one, so we finally broke down and did, and I have to say that she was right--like she is about many things, but especially about how fun a fire pit can be. But the fire has burned down low and everyone has gone inside but me and it is a little smokey and a little cold and lonely, but I love the smell of a good fire and my feet at least are warm. This is what a fire pit looks like, in case you didn't know.

Ours has pretty terracotta floral tiles around the outside. We got it at Home Depot where we also got a bunch of flowers which was our second trip to the nursery today and Husband's fourth this week. He is making our backyard into an oasis and it will be lovely once it is finished, and I imagine we will spend lots of time out here, especially with the fire pit. That is until it gets unbearably hot in about a month.

We also took him to see Star Trek this afternoon, which we all loved until Child 2 got motion sick from the 3D. Poor Child 2, she had a rough day and she is the only one of us who gets motion sick so we tend to forget how things affect her. But she's doing better now. No, it's not the stomach flu because she was completely fine after the movie was over and she ate some mint ice cream. And this evening she ate several burned marshmallows and she is still fine.

Husband made me come inside because he said I would smell like smoke. But since when is smelling like a campfire a bad thing? It's not as stinky as cigarettes and the scent holds pleasant memories of laughing and giggling and telling stories--all of which happened again tonight around the fire pit. What is it about a campfire that brings people together? I'm not sure, but I think it might be magic because today was almost perfect, almost normal with very little hint of Afghanistan. It was loverly.

The people driving in this car in Missouri are definitely having a worse day than me.

They were driving along, minding their own business, when the train passing underneath the bridge hit another freight train which caused the cars to derail and run into the bridge supports so the bridge collapsed and crushed the car. Seriously awful chain of events, but the miracle is seven people (from the two cars on the bridge and both train engineers) were taken to the hospital and all have now been released, so no one was seriously injured. Scared witless, but thankfully no fatalities. So thank you, Crash Survivors, for reminding me to be grateful that I wasn't in that car. I used to think it was fun when I was little to drive over a bridge while a train was passing under, but not any more. And seriously, how do you explain to your insurance company that your car was crushed by a bridge that collapsed from a train wreck? I hope I never have to find out.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bad Day 318--I would vote for Steve Carell

We're watching Evan Almighty where Steve Carell is a congressman and Morgan Freeman is God. I could live in that universe. I also really like the idea of an animal menagerie interrupting Congress. That would be way more entertaining than your average debate.

You know how the pharmacy knows me so well that they call me at home to tell me how to save money on my prescriptions? Well, the snack bar workers don't even ask me any more what I want on my baked potato. They just say cheese, tomato, bacon, and sour cream? And I smile and say "yep." Because I have   the same thing for lunch almost every single day. Sometimes I switch it up and have a kebab just for variety, but since there are so few things in the cafeteria that I can eat that don't make me sick, I just gave up and eat the baked potatoes because then I don't end up on the floor curled up in pain wishing I could die which did actually happen a couple of times and it is a good thing my office has a door that can close.

But today, I felt good and I got a lot of work done. I even managed to have a conversation with my colleagues about growing older and why that is sometimes a good thing. Especially when it comes to fashion. Here is a really good example.

Bon Jovi

I do have to say that even in the eighties, I didn't think those striped stretch pants for men were a good idea. And here is a more recent picture.

Um. Yep. Much, much better. So much better. Wow. I need to stop looking at this picture. But I do like to think that I am in the category of aging well. I think the new bangs help and the fact that I have much better fashion sense now than I did when I was younger. I wonder if Lady Gaga will regret this look in 25 years?

Lady Gaga

Bears in Kosovo are having a worse day than me. For those of you who don't know where Kosovo is, Google it. Did you think I was your own personal atlas? Of course I know where it is because I wrote my thesis on it and last time I checked, which was today, it is still in the same place. But any way, apparently restaurateurs in Kosovo think that keeping bears in a cage will bring in customers, so it is a common practice. Obviously, Kosovars think a little differently than I do because the first thing I would do if I saw a bear in a restaurant is leave. Or maybe scream. I'm not sure which. But at any rate, it is illegal as well as cruel and authorities are beginning to crack down. These two bears were rescued yesterday.

They are quite beautiful animals, but they definitely don't belong in a cage in a restaurant. Or in anything in a restaurant, especially near my food. So thank you, Animal Control of Kosovo, from saving restaurant patrons from being mauled to death by angry bears who thought the patrons looked more appetizing than the entrees. And for making me grateful that there are no bears in restaurants in my town. That I know of. If anyone goes into a restaurant in the DC area and finds a bear, please let me know so I can stay far, far away.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bad Day 317--Don't Panic! And find your towel.

Child 3 and I are panicking while Husband is trying to stay calm. This is our normal pattern. I am not normally the calm one but since he's been gone, I have been. Now that he is back, things are a little bit the way they were before. Only this time I am trying to remain outwardly calm while Child 3 is rolling around on the floor moaning. We are panicking because it is 3-d model making time in 5th grade and we have to finish a model of a beluga whale before Husband leaves again. Because if we don't do it while he is here, we will get a bad grade and by we I mean Child 3 and she really, really doesn't want a bad grade and I really, really have no idea how to make a decent model of a beluga whale. So Husband needs to come through on this one and Child 3 and I need to not panic. This is what a beluga whale looks like. Apparently, they like to photo bomb. No, it is not eating the children.

Speaking of not panicking, when you ask Siri (the iPhone voice whom Child 1 has turned into an Australian--no, I don't know why) what the meaning of life is, she says 42. Obviously the Apple programmers are Hitchhiker fans. And if you do not know what I am talking about, then you are missing out. Artemis will know. Sister 2 knows and I know Brother knows. Now where is my towel?

I'm not feeling well, so I will spend the rest of my blog today posting funny Tumblr pictures of cats depicting foreign policy. This one is my favorite.

But this one is also good.

But then there is this one. If you follow this blog, you may remember when the Taliban had a worse day than me.

There are more at this site which I discovered today. I will warn you that there is some language, and if you are not a foreign policy geek, then you might not get all of them. My friend "Jonas" in Moscow who loves cats will love it. So will Sparrow. Can you tag in a blog because I should totally tag them. Jonas and Sparrow, you're it!

Guido came through again today with this story about a man in New Jersey who definitely had a worse day than me. He was just going about his business doing his job in the warehouse where he works when 1500 pounds of pineapples fell on him. He's in stable condition, so maybe he'll be OK. But thank you, Mr. Dole, for reminding me to be grateful that I will never, ever by crushed by tons of pineapples at my work. By a crushing load of work--maybe, but not pineapples. That would hurt because they are spiney as well as heavy. Get well soon! And Guido, if you see a load of pineapples hurtling towards you, get out of the way!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bad Day 316--I also can't yodel

I do not know how to poach an egg. There. I said it. It's a horrible admission from someone who considers herself a great cook, but eggs scare me. Not scrambled, which I excel at, or omelets which are a breeze with a good pan, or even quiche, which I no longer make because I hate making pie crusts. And there is the whole wheat thing. The difference is, though, that I can make pie crusts, I just don't like to. But I cannot poach an egg. I have tried. Oh, how I have tried, but every single time it sort of ends up like egg drop soup only not as delicious because it's water not broth and it's very disappointing because I am so good at breakfast that I made up my own fried onions and bacon and potato side dish and Child 1 asked where I got the recipe and I said my head. She was impressed. This is what my poached eggs looked like last time I tried and it would not impress Child 1.

But I cannot poach eggs. However, I think I want to give it another go because eggs are one of the few things I can eat without fear and I love poached eggs. Especially with salmon. Or avocado. Or salmon and avocado? And English muffins! Those will be harder to replace with gluten-free, but I think I saw some in the frozen section, so I just might try something akin to Eggs Benedict this weekend, although I think I might just buy a Hollandaise sauce mix because Hollandaise scares me. Sense a theme here? That's why I was so proud of myself when I made that Avgolemono soup and it turned out perfectly the first time and I tempered the eggs like a pro and then the children hated it. So we'll see about the poached eggs.

This hit an run driver in England is having a worse day than me. This is her picture which she posted on Twitter.

As you know, I never, ever post pictures on Twitter. First because I don't take pictures, and second because my Twitter account is for getting school closing messages. I think the last thing I tweeted was a poem. Years ago. But in this age of over-sharing, this girl also Tweeted the fact that she hit a guy on a bicycle and she didn't stop AND she wasn't sorry. And some helpful people forwarded it to the police. Once she realized her tweet had gone viral, she deleted it, but she learned, as should we all, that nothing is ever really deleted. And the police tracked her down and are investigating her for a hit and run. So thank you, Ms. Twit, for reminding me to be grateful that I have never, ever hit someone with my car, and if I did, I would not leave the scene. I hit a cat once while going over a speed bump in my neighborhood. Even though the cat ran under the car and thus the wheel, I am still scarred by how awful that was so shame on you for hitting a human and not stopping!

And confidential to Child 2, I am only an awesome parent because I have awesome children! And I love you. Now it's time for bed.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bad Day 315--How about an award for worst cold?

My cold won't go away. It is just lingering and lingering. It's like it's found a home and it doesn't want to leave. I may never be well again. And before Artemis or Sister 2 suggests it, no I'm not leaking brain fluid. Unless brain fluid is green and icky. Yuck.

But it is awards season at the Department which means that I will have extra time to work because why go to the ceremonies when you are never, ever nominated for an award? I never am. Not ever. Not even when I evacuated people from a disaster zone. Nope. Not that I deserved one this year, because I'm pretty sure there is not an award for best make-up job after crying at your desk. Or one for number of sick days missed to take care of your children. I am really good at doing the things you are supposed to do every day for your job, but since I can't go off and do the exciting things (because someone else is already in Afghanistan and I can't leave the children unattended,) I won't be nominated for any awards this year. I spent a good part of the afternoon feeling grumpy and unappreciated. I mean, no one even noticed my awesome shoes today! And a total of two people noticed my hair cut and I had about 8 inches chopped off, so it's pretty noticeable. But that is the kind of office I have, so I decided to award myself some new shoes. I bought these. They are navy if you can't tell. Because, um, I already have a black and white polka dotted pair, but those are sandals with bows and are completely different. Also, these were on sale and really, really cheap.

Rampage: Gracee

Way better than some dumb certificate that comes with a monetary reward and helps you get promoted, right? If only they had an award for best shoes. Or one for best complaining about your children in a blog--I think I would totally have a shot at that one!

Speaking of new shoes, there is a homeless guy whom I see regularly on my way to and from the Department who was wearing some shiny new dress shoes today. The other week, I found $20 literally in the gutter icky and dirty and I picked it up vowing to give it to the first person I saw begging. So I saw him and I gave him the money and I wondered today if the new shoes was what my $20 had helped purchase. And then I really hoped so because everyone should have a nice new pair of shoes once in a while. I used to think that being poor meant you should only spend your money on essentials like food and shelter. But now, I think a little luxury now and then is a good thing. Plus I really understand the joy a new pair of shoes can bring, so I hope that is what the money I found bought him.

My friend "Guido" sent me a link to an article about this 10 year old girl in Utah who is having a worse day than me. She was apparently bullying another girl at her school and making fun of her clothes, so her stepmother went to the thrift store and bought her a weeks' worth of new outfits to wear and then made her wear them. And boy, did she find some ugly stuff. I have been to thrift stores in Utah, and I can safely say that they are terrible. I mean awful. No vintage because vintage in Utah gets snapped up at the garage sales people hold before things get donated to the thrift store--these are home-made rejects that even people who had lost everything but the clothes on their back would think twice about wearing. The cutest of the thrift store outfits was this mu-mu.


Poor girl. But she says she learned her lesson and maybe, some empathy for the girl she was bullying sunk in there because I'm certain that's what her mom was trying to do. So thank you, Utah Mom, for teaching your daughter to appreciate what she has, and for making me grateful that my own children have a great deal of empathy. And also thank you for giving me great fodder for the next time they complain they have nothing to wear. I can always threaten to buy things for them at the thrift store next time we go to Utah.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bad Day 314--I have no memory of that

I would make an awesome congressional hearing witness at the moment. I looked at my blog post from yesterday and I have no memory at all of writing any of it. I'm blaming it on the cold/flu/strep throat or whatever the heck I have that is making me so ill. On Friday, I was so spaced out that I actually missed my metro stop and went one too far. And that was on the way home! And today, I almost did it again. And today I forgot to bring both my phone and my Kindle which made my commute not so fun, so I don't even have the excuse that I was so absorbed by my book that I didn't pay attention to where I was. I have the ability that many moms have (especially those who are hard of hearing like me) which is to tune out everything while reading. Yes, I am one of those moms who can completely not hear their children saying Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom?! But really, when I am reading, the fire alarm could go off and the sprinklers too and I wouldn't even notice except that I would have to wipe my Kindle screen occasionally. But even with that super-power, I have never, ever missed my stop. So it must be this nasty cold/flu thing. I am miserable and it is only the Alleve-D that is keeping me going.

Well, also that Husband is here and there is someone else to pay attention to the children and walk The Dog in the morning and help with dinner and do the dishes. And then rub my temples to make the headache go away. I had forgotten how nice it is to have a husband. I tried to make Child 2 rub my feet the other day and she basically patted them while holding her nose and saying EWWW! Child 3 gives a nice, soft temple rub for migraines, but it lasts about 30 seconds before she gets bored. And my massage chair is just not the same.

But before I forget, I keep meaning to write about my bangs, which I got on Saturday, or "fringe bangs" as my Cambodian hairdresser calls them. They were her idea. I haven't had real bangs since I think 10th grade. About 10 months ago, I got side bangs which were "sort of bangs" and really weren't bangs since they didn't really cover my forehead. But now, I have committed to the bangs. Probably because of Iron Man 3 and Pepper Potts because my hair kind of looks like that now.

Husband is happy. He is happy whenever I cut my hair. He has this amazing ability to like however I wear it, even when it is a mess. I am not complaining--I am bragging. It is my favorite trait of his because it means that I can experiment with bangs and he will say I love it. You look amazing. Again, it's so nice to have a husband around, if just for the ego boost.

These seniors in Kentucky are having a worse day than me. They decided that for a senior prank, it would be really funny to release 10,000 crickets into the high school, which most people would tell you was a really, really bad idea because 10,000 crickets looks like this and requires an exterminator.

I know! I get the willies just thinking about it. So the school administrators who found the prank less than funny forbade them from walking during graduation and fined them each $600 which they must pay before they can receive their diplomas. Their fellow seniors protested, but to no avail. So thank you, clueless Seniors, for reminding me to be grateful that the exterminators came this afternoon to get rid of our ants and the wasps nest. And it did not cost me the thousands of dollars it will cost your school district to get rid of those crickets. (And to my friends in Oklahoma, I am glad you are all safe, and if you need to get away from the destruction, DC is a very nice place to visit and I live in a house that right now is completely bug-free. Just saying. You can stay with me any time.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bad Day 313--Home! (for 10 days anyway.)

Husband is home. We picked him up this morning and we are so happy he is here. But I am still sick, and my cough drops are mocking me. I noticed for the first time today that they have stupid little messages on them like "give yourself a high five!" because that is exactly what I want when I am feeling like I've been hit by a truck and my nose is a faucet and my head is going to explode--some dumb cheerleader message on my medicine. I need new cough drops.

Child 1 has informed me that bow ties are now cool. We got into this conversation because Niece 1 mentioned someone was wearing one at a wedding and I said that worried me. Apparently, I have underestimated the cool factor of bow ties because they are "very Downton" and quite popular with people not in my generation. So when Child 1 and Niece 1 think about bow ties, they imagine this.

I, on the other hand, imagine this. That is Senator Paul Simon, for those of you born after the 80s.

Senator Simon was a nice person, I'm certain, but he was no Matthew Crawley. Husband had a bow tie once which he liked to wear and I hated. But maybe I'll have to re-think the bow tie disdain. Still, I think they probably are only cool on people under 30 which Husband is not. Neither am I, for that matter, but I am not trying to pull off a bow tie.

This soccer player in Russia is having a worse day than me.

First, he tweeted something that made his fans mad. Then they booed him at the beginning of the game. Then, when he scored the winning goal, he dissed his own fans with a rude gesture because he was mad at them for booing him. Then the umps ejected him from the game. So thank you, Mr. Rude Footballer, for reminding athletes everywhere that biting the hands that feed you is never a good idea. You are not bigger than the game, and you will look pretty stupid if people stop paying for tickets to see you play. Also, you will be broke. I hope you remember that next time your contract is up for renegotiation.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bad Day 312--I'm speaking English!

We are having a language problem at our house again. Apparently, when I say something, the children don't understand what it means, so they do the complete opposite. For example, I told Child 3 to go get her homework folder, so she went and took a nap on the couch. So I have decided to write my own dictionary of commonly used terms so that they will be able to understand what I mean when I speak to them in English. Honestly, you would think I was speaking Norwegian (which I can, but I don't because they don't understand it. But then they don't understand English apparently, so maybe Norwegian would be better.)

Not now:  Not at this moment. Maybe, in the future. But not if you keep asking me and really stop asking or it will turn into a "no." (See below.)

No:  Not now. Not ever. No means no. It doesn't mean maybe, nor does it mean really yes if you keep bugging me. This is a hard no and once I have said no, I am not changing my mind. Ask Husband. Or any of my many visa refusals. Repetition of the question or "please" is going to get you a "really no!" (See below)

Really No:  Don't ever ask again. Ever.

Maybe later:  Contrary to what you may believe, this is a possible yes. But not if you keep asking because later doesn't mean now. (See below)

Later:  Not now. Not in 5 minutes. Not if you keep asking over and over and over again for 10 minutes straight. That is not later. Tomorrow is later. Next week is later. Two seconds from now is not later.

Go get your homework:  Your actual homework. The stuff your teacher assigned you. Not the Wii, or your iPod, or a snack, or your blanket, or some knitting. Your homework.

It's time for dinner:  Now. (See below.) Not later. Right at this second and if you don't come now, then we will eat without you and no, I won't save you any.

It's time for bed:  Now. (See below.) Definitely not in an hour or after you have watched five episodes of that show on the Disney channel that I hate but not before you walk The Dog.

Now:  Not in 5 minutes or after your snack or when your TV show that you have watched 10,000 times on Netflix so that you can quote each line is over. Right this second.

Cut it out:  Stop. Don't keep going. If you keep going then Yelling Mom might show up and we all hate her, so really, just stop.

Are you kidding me?:  Mom is angry and you had better cut it out. (See above.)

I don't know:  Try Google.

I love you:  This one is tricky. It has many, many meanings including I am proud of you, I am stunned by how amazing you are, and you have no idea how much faith I have in you.

Now, cut it out. It's time for bed. I love you.

Husband is arriving home tomorrow for his final R&R, so there are lots of people having a worse day than me, despite my being really, really sick. But I think Pat Robertson wins.

For those of you who don't know him, he is a Televangelist which basically means he is a preacher on TV. Now, Mr. Robertson is very popular and a lot of people call into his show for advice. One woman called and said she was having trouble forgiving her husband for cheating on her. And he told her first that her husband is a man and men like to wander. And then that she shouldn't complain if he was handsome and provided a good living. And then he said that she should be a better homemaker and make the kind of home he wouldn't want to leave. OK. I think I need charts to explain how wrong all of those statements are. But thank you, Mr. Robertson, for reminding me to be grateful that when Husband left me, it was for Afghanistan. Not all men wander, you know, and your advice has mad you a laughingstock, and rightly so. And to the woman who called you, I am sorry you are going through this. Have your husband call me and I will give him some advice about making you a nice home.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bad Day 311--Ugh!

I am sick. Really sick. Fever, sore throat, headachey sick. I'm certain it's Child 2's nasty cold from earlier in the week because I caught her drinking out of my water bottle. So as penance, I'm making her guest blog with the caveat that she has to say nice things about me. So here she is. I'm going to bed. (Husband, please still call.)

Hello everyone!  :D This is Child 2 speaking!  I guess I'll just tell a few jokes as I write about my day.  Well, I got to have an awesome time in band today as I usually do, since I have band every day.  And this week, I heard this funny joke that this one kid in my band section told our band director.  What do pirates and trumpet players have in common?  They kill on the high C's!  After band, I got to take the skills test we had on soccer in gym today, and then I had lunch with my friends, which consisted of pizza, chocolate milk, and fruit.  I actually came up with a funny joke I made about fruit back in April.  What did the cantaloupe say to the apple when it asked why the cantaloupe was crying?  "I'm crying because I'm so meloncholy!"  After lunch, I had French class, where I got my results back on this test we all had to take to see how much we'd progressed in learning French so far.  To be honest, I think I did surprisingly well.  At least I've improved since the beginning of the year when I accidentally told my teacher that the fish in the picture she was showing us was swimming on the beach.  Yup.  My friends and family and I still laugh about that, along with how I accidentally said I was going to wash my face with soup last year when we were doing excersises out of the text book in Spanish.  When I got home, I played a fun game of go-fish with my cousin, and had piano lessons.  Then I slept a lot, had dinner, did homework and other stuff, and now here I am.

People who were at the airport in Duluth, Minnesota are having a worse day than us.  They were probably just sitting at the gate in the airport, waiting for their flights to come in, which were probably delayed due to two fighting bald eagles crash landing onto the runway.


In this  Sunday, May 12, 2013, photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  are two bald eagles after they crash landed on a runway at Duluth, Minn., International Airport. Minnesota DNR officer Randy Hanzal said the eagles, locked together by their talons in a midair territorial dispute, couldn't separate but survived the fall.

They did manage to get the birds to a wildlife rehabilitation center eventually, but the people at the airport gates were probably still slightly mad at the birds for delaying their flights.  So thank you, bald eagles, for teaching us all that if we ever pick a fight, we should at least pay attention to our surroundings so we don't end up on the tarmac of an airport runway.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bad Day 310--When will they make an end?

Husband's PRT has closed. He has left. The Embassy decided it was no longer safe, so they shut the doors and pulled the civilians out. You would think that this might mean Husband would be coming home early, but then you would not be thinking like the Department. Because, instead of sending him home (and thereby making me happy AND saving money), they have decided he should move somewhere else. So he has moved to a safer place where he has nothing much to do. He only has 55 days left, give or take, but they are determined to make him stay until the very bitter end of his tour. So the fact that they wouldn't have to pay him any more danger or hardship pay if they sent him home does not outweigh the fact that he volunteered for 365 days, so that is how long he has to stay. I would march into someone's office and complain if I thought that would do any good, but Husband doesn't like to make waves. He can make all the waves he wants at home by leaving for Afghanistan, but I can't make even a ripple of discontent with his office. So I will do what he wants which is nothing. Except cry. I'm getting quite good at that. I am almost to the point where I can cry in front of people and they won't even know. Except The Dog. The Dog always knows when I am sad and chooses that moment to lick me which is not helpful and just makes me annoyed. It is really hard to concentrate on crying when some smelly dog is licking you and eating your tissues.

Today was not a good day. I am tired. I am tired of The Dog and of whining children, and the children have not yet tired of whining. So Yelling Mom made an appearance.

I hate Yelling Mom. She is mean and she gives me a headache and she doesn't really show up all that much, but today she yelled at Child 1 to stop picking a fight and at Child 2 to stop trying to make me feel better and at Child 3 to stop sharpening pencils and just do her homework already! Then she made me eat Doritos until I got sick. I've decided that Yelling Mom needs to go away and so I am in my jammies and I think I will read trashy novels until I fall asleep which will be in about 5 minutes if my stomach will ever settle down from the Doritos. They are gluten-free, but I really ate too many and then I had baked beans on top of that and that was not a good decision. Neither was the yelling. (I'm sorry Children. Feel free to eat all the chocolate people gave me for Mother's Day as a consolation prize. Oh wait. You already did that. Sigh. I so need a brownie. I so miss brownies. Can someone just bring over a brownie so I can smell it?)

This would-be thief in Michigan is having a worse day than me and the children. She loaded up her car with food, dishes, and silverware from a hotel and then got in it to drive away. Only she didn't realize that she had dropped her keys outside, which wouldn't be a big deal, except her door latches were broken on the inside, and she had automatic windows. Which won't roll down without the keys. So yep, she locked herself up with all the evidence so that when the police arrived, she was still there. So thank you, Ms. Careless and Reckless, for reminding me that crime doesn't pay, especially when you are really, really bad at it. And for making me grateful that you can't get locked in our mini-van. Unless you are The Dog and have no thumbs with which to open the door. But then again, The Dog loves the minivan almost as much as she loves me, so being locked in it with a bunch of food would be just heaven for her. Anybody want a dog who likes minivans and eat tissues?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bad Day 309--Spoiler Alert!

No, not really. I won't spoil it for you. Child 1 and I went to see a sneak preview of Star Trek Into Darkness and it was awesome. We screamed and clapped and our minds were blown. And let us just say that I will never, ever doubt her superior knowledge of Star Trek lore ever again. Ever. And I have to go see it again! So I can catch everything I missed. If you ever liked Star Trek, then run. Go. Now. Buy tickets! You can get them online with Fandango. Really. Sisters 1 & 2, I am talking to you! Because I have to talk to someone about this movie and nobody else I know has seen it!

It's late, and I'm tired and scared of giving the show away, so we'll get right to the bad day, shall we? First, everyone who has not seen the new Star Trek movie is having a worse day than me, but that's not really fair since we got tickets to a special fan preview that included a free poster. Did I mention it was in IMAX? OK. Enough of the bragging. This 91 year old man in Ohio is having a worse day than me. Doesn't he look like a nice man? This is a picture of him with his granddaughter.

91-Year-Old Man Raises Money to Prevent Eviction by Daughter (ABC News)

Well, he is nice, but his daughter is a real snake. She used the general power of attorney he gave her to steal his home and then she gave him an eviction notice. He sued to get it back, but lost because the statute of limitations on fraud was up. So now his granddaughter hopes to raise enough money to buy the home back from her mother so her grandfather can continue living in it. Honestly, the gall of that woman stealing her own father's home! Couldn't she have just waited a few years until it became hers anyway? Did I mention that he is a WWII veteran? So thank you, Mr. Veteran, for your service to our country and for reminding me to be grateful that I have wonderful daughters whom I know would never, ever steal my house. My jewelry? Sometimes. Money? Constantly. Make-up? All the time. But not my house. I hope you are able to raise the money and I hope your daughter learns some shame.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bad Day 308--Live long and prosper!

I woke up at 4:30 am to find someone taking an ice pick to the inside of my left eye. OK, not literally, but that is what it felt like and then I made the mistake of standing up and I almost passed out from the pain. Migraine again. So I called in sick, took a boatload of medicine and woke up around 11. Then I called the school because both Child 2 and Child 3 also stayed home. I think I gave them permission, but I can't actually remember because of all the medicine. But I felt better around 4 when Child 1 got home, which is a good thing because today is Child 1's actual birthday and once again, I proved that I am an awesome parent by getting her the very thing she wanted but didn't ask for which was an iPhone 5. I bought it last Saturday and all day Sunday and Yesterday and today she sent me texts about getting a new phone and links to the kind of phone she thought I might get her and all the time I had already purchased the iPhone and she was so excited when I gave it to her she couldn't even speak. She keeps hugging the phone.

Then we went to Cheesecake Factory where she wanted to go to celebrate her birthday so I looked up what Child 3 and I could eat which was quesedillas and salmon respectively. They have one cheesecake that has a crust made of almond flour, but it is chocolate, so I just had strawberries for dessert instead. Everyone had a great time but we all missed Husband and Child 1 grumbled about how he has missed two birthdays in a row (he has) but she didn't realize that he had totally come through with the present of her dreams. So we went home and opened the rest of her presents. Union Jack flip flops from Child 3, a Spock shirt from Child 2, some clothes from me, and--a Starfleet Academy sweatshirt from Husband which Child 1 promptly put on and said she was never going to take off ever.

Star Trek Starfleet Academy Command Hoodie

I think she likes it almost as much as the iPhone. But not quite. I still win. I know it's not a competition, but if we were keeping score, which we're totally not, but if we were, then I would have won after the 42 hours of labor and the ride back to the hospital in an ambulance because I was bleeding to death. Just a little reminder about how much I love her. She doesn't remember those 42 hours, but I do. And I would do them all over again if I had to just so I could have her for a daughter. That is how much I love her. But we're not keeping score.

These restaurant owners in Arizona are having a worse day than me.

They went on that show that I've talked about before "Kitchen Nightmares." They apparently had never watched the show before appearing on it because they were surprised and angry at the fact that the chef (whose help they asked for and whom they invited to come fix their restaurant) criticized them for doing stuff like yelling at the customers and stealing the wait staff's tips and then he tried to fix things. But they apparently didn't want rescuing all that much, so they yelled back. It got so bad, that he left and said there wasn't anything he could do. Then, after the show aired, when people criticized them some more on Twitter and Reddit, they swore at people and told everyone things like "I'm not stupid. All of you are!" I could be wrong, but I think it's probably not a good idea business-wise to tell people they are stupid. So thank you, Nightmare Restaurateurs  for reminding me that good customer service puts the customers first. So I'll keep going back to establishments that do that. Good luck saving your failing business! And next time, watch the show before volunteering to be on it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bad Day 307--My friends are keepers

Today was a day full of surprises and old friends. First, Child 2 stayed home from school because she is sick. Child 2 never wants to stay home from school and really is rarely sick. Child 3 is also sick and was crying for no reason this afternoon. Just sobbing her heart out. I asked her what was wrong and she yelled she was just at that point in her life where she was going to be irrational and emotional for no reason and I should just deal with it! So I gave her a hug and made her some dinner and asked Child 2 to cheer her up, and she did.

Then I went to get the mail and there was a package in it. For me. Actually a real package sent by someone who was thinking of me. Not just something I ordered from Amazon--but a real present. Just for me! And it turned out to be from one of my oldest and dearest friends. We went to junior high, high school, AND college together and took all the same classes and went to church together. We see each other's feeds on facebook, but she lives on the other side of the country so I haven't seen her in person in years. I think maybe since she got married which was before me, so that was a very long time ago. She must be reading my blog because it was a box full of gluten-free goodies and inside was a card from her. I recognized her handwriting which is still just the same and as pretty as ever. I have spidery skinny hard to read handwriting, but "Sally" always wrote the prettiest notes. And we wrote a lot of notes back then because this was before cell phones and when a text was a really thick book. We would fold them into elaborate shapes so that we could tell if someone had opened and read them. Or at least that was our idea. We didn't have very good tradecraft at age 13. Somewhere, I have a bunch of our old notes. I'll have to dig them out to read.

But in this note, which was a card, she wrote that she was thinking of me and it was the most lovely surprise. She is a good, good person, that Sally.

Then, I went to dinner with a friend from our last post. We talked and talked because we had a lot of catching up to do. Good food plus good company means I didn't get home until almost 10 and when I got home, Child 3 was asleep on the sofa. Child 3 never goes to sleep early and when I tried to get her to go to bed, she was obviously sleep walking. I'll have to go check to make sure she actually made it to her own bed because with sleep-walkers, you never know. I have a feeling she will be home from school tomorrow, too along with Child 2 who still has laryngitis. Child 3 has missed so much school, but how can I make her go when she's sick?

Sister 2 wrote me to tell me that these owners of a flying car in Canada are having a worse day than me, and she is right.


That big black thing with the red spot is the parasail and the thing on the bottom with the propeller is the car. It's sort of like a parasail attached to a dune buggy and they crash landed into a tree. This does not sound like the future to me. I'm still waiting for the Jetson's car that is basically a glass-domed flying saucer and folds up into a briefcase. I so want a car that folds into a hand bag. That would be just the best invention ever, but probably not very safe in a crash. The driver and his passenger are injured, but survived. Still, crashing into a tree in any kind of car would be awful, let alone landing in one. So thank you Mr. Future Man, for reminding me to be grateful that my mini-van is very good at keeping all four wheels on the road--even when one of them is flat. But good luck with your flying car! I definitely will not be purchasing one, and no Husband, you may not have one for your birthday. Living in Afghanistan will just have to satisfy your daredevil impulses for the moment.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bad Day 306--Mummummummummm

That was Child 3's first word: Mummummummumm. I knew immediately what it meant. The other two chose to say "Dada" first, but at least one of them picked me.

I am blogging early not because I'm tired, but because I am waiting for the party to start and I have a feeling we might be eating late. Just guessing, but since at 7pm no one has begun to cook dinner, it is going to be a while. I asked for chili dogs for dinner tonight for just this reason. Already, three people have told me they don't know how to make them and I explained, carefully and lovingly, that it is not that hard and involves only heating things up. The Doritos, which I asked for as a side dish, are even easier. I'm pretty certain they can handle opening a bag. It's been a little bit of a challenge for them this year without Husband to help with the cooking. Still, it's one of the only days I don't have kitchen duty, so I'm not going to cook, although I did help with the eggs for my breakfast which they served at 2 pm.

For a mother's day present, I bought myself a new phone. I know! It was such a surprise! I had no idea I was getting a new phone for mother's day. Unfortunately, it is a smart phone and I don't exactly know how to use it yet. Last night, I was facebook messaging with my friend "Jan" about something very serious and emotional and I hit the wrong button and this big, huge, smiley face popped up at the very wrong moment. Imagine that you were talking about starving children in the Sudan, and then someone suddenly posted this picture without warning.

So wrong. Clearly I should not be allowed out of the house with this phone. So Jan, I apologize for the inappropriate smiley and I promise to message you only on my computer until I can figure out the phone. I am becoming like the mom in this text message.

The sad thing, is I should be better at technology. I even used to work in the software industry at a very famous company whose name I won't mention because then you will really know how old I am. Either that, or you will say who is that and then I will feel even older. But my job was to run macros which I was really good at because I was a whiz at BASIC. See, now you know. I am really as old as the dinosaurs. I was good at BASIC because my dad bought one of the first home computers ever and it had a couple of those adventure games and I spent a lot of time trying to figure them out. One day he came home and asked me why I was printing reams and reams of paper on our dot-matrix printer and I told him I had dumped the code to read it so I could get to the next level which basically meant I was cheating by reading computer code. I think it was his proudest moment of me until the day when he got to meet Secretary Condoleeza Rice at my swearing-in ceremony at the State Department.

My mom's proudest moment had to be when I gave birth to Child 1. She came to help and I don't think that baby was ever put down for more than 5 seconds because mom would scoop her up as soon as I was done feeding her. She sang to her, played with her, and I realized then how terrible and amazing a mother's love could be. You love this child that you made so fiercely and you are afraid from the very first moment that something will take her away from you and yet you know at the same time that your job is to raise her to want to leave. So I finally knew what my mom felt for me. My heart breaks a little every day as my children grow. I want them to grow up, but if only it could take a little longer. . .

Speaking of software companies, Microsoft is having a worse day than me. Apparently, Windows 8 is not all that. It's so bad that the Financial Times and The Economist both compared it to New Coke. New Coke, for those of you not alive in the eighties Coca Cola once replaced their formula with a sweeter version that made Coke fans everywhere revolt in protest and they brought back the old formula. The problem for Microsoft, though, is that they can't just bring back the old version because that's not how software works. So thank you, Microsoft, for reminding me that sometimes, the old way is better and that mothers can't be replaced with an upgrade. Thank goodness. I have job security for a few more years at least. And a final gratitude note--Child 3 put blue streaks in her hair just for me for Mother's Day. I love my children, so, so much.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bad Day 305--I win!

Today, just for one day, I am the most amazing mom on the planet. Child 3 and I had a great time shopping at the mall and bought all the birthday presents we needed, plus some clothes for ourselves. You may remember that Child 3 is a champion shopper. At age 10, she says things like look at the way that shirt flares out at your hips. It makes your waist look really small! She is a fashionista of the first magnitude and is well on her way to becoming a glamazon because we all hope she will be really, really tall. She already has super long legs. All the children do--they get them from Husband and I am so very glad because my legs are not that long. But they get their hair from me, so it's all good. She has an excellent chance of looking a lot like this when she grows up.

But the shopping isn't why I'm amazing--it's the surprise party that really put me on the map. See I planned and gave the most awesome party for her! OK, I didn't plan it all and I didn't actually throw it, but I did contact her best friend and ask her to help me throw one and the best friends really came through and put together a huge party and her birthday isn't until next week, so she had no idea. And sweet girl that she is, she was trying to get me to go Mother's Day shopping with her at the mall and I was trying desperately to figure out a way to not go and get her to the best friend's house. But the friends came through with a story about a project and a picture of Child 1 that they needed, and we finally got her to the right place to have her party. And she was genuinely surprised and very, very happy. So right now, for this moment, I am the best. parent. ever. Too bad it won't last.

I have this theory that time is magnetic, and it is the polar opposite of what you want it to be. So when you want moments to stay--they are repelled. And when you want time to move faster, it is attracted with tremendous force and the weight of it makes it move even slower. So I want Child 1 to stay young just a little longer and never grow up and leave me, so she is moving forward at the speed of light. And I want Husband  to come home now, so time is dragging its feet like an astronaut wearing gravity boots at sea level. Or a dinosaur. I'm still having trouble with that imagery. Which one is better? Dinosaur, I think. More heavy plodding.

People in this subdivision in California are having a worse day than me because their homes are sinking. Literally. Not, not because of debt; because the ground is swallowing them whole.

Eight homes have sunk so far and 10 others will have to be evacuated soon. No one is exactly sure why fissures in the ground are suddenly appearing but suspect it has something to do with water rising. Up a mountain. In a state where there is perpetual drought. My theory is dinosaurs. No, not really. I have no idea. I'm not a geologist. But I am really grateful that I have never had my house disappear from under my feet. I hope they have really, really good insurance. I'm not sure most homeowner's policies cover "swallowed by an extinct volcano." Excuse me while I go check mine.

Bad Day 304--I would never put time in a bottle

For some reason, that song about putting time in a bottle is going through my head. I would never bottle time, because the children would drink it all and then I would still not ever have any time and they would have loads. Also husband would steal it because he is a drink thief. Never, ever let him take a "sip" of your soda unless by sip you mean most of it all in one gulp. And he never gets a drink at restaurants that have free refills because he can just steal share yours. Ask the children. They will completely back me up because that is exactly what they told Husband's parents when they came to visit.

But the children themselves are drink thieves. I love Vernor's ginger ale.

It's a family thing but it's delicious and I buy diet Vernor's by the case and I hardly ever get to drink a single can. Not one! And why? Because the children like to open a can, take about five sips, and then leave the rest to go flat. Drives me insane! But I never had very far to go.

Today, I read an article that talked about moms and stress, and guess how many children the moms who had the most stress had? I knew before I even read the article. It is three. Apparently three is worse than two and four or five is better than three. Three is just enough to outnumber you and is the critical mass where you can't keep everything under control, although with my children, control was only ever an illusion anyway. If they could ever manage to work together, they could mutiny and completely take over, but since they fight among themselves so much, I can still pretend I'm in charge. Illusions can be important to keeping your sanity.

In yet another episode of "Men Behaving Badly" the spokesman for the South Korean President is having a worse day than me, and yet again, he deserves it.

See that look on his face? That look is one of great personal shame. If you have ever watched "Lie to Me" then you know what I'm talking about. Here are some more examples of people Mr. "Groper" has a lot in common with.

Mr. Groper was fired because he came to the U.S. with President Park and assaulted an intern. Maybe he thought that all interns were like Monica Lewinsky, but he forgot that 1) that was 15 years ago, and 2) he is not Bill Clinton and the intern certainly was not Ms. Lewinsky, and 3) he works for a woman who wouldn't be so thrilled with his behavior. So the intern called the cops and Mr. Groper was arrested and then fired. Publicly. As he should be. So thank you, Mr. Groper, for reminding me that all it takes to bring down a jerk like you is for one brave woman to stand up. Ms. Intern--you rock!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bad Day 303--The forgetting has begun!

I am starting to forget things, which means I need a vacation. Except, as I have mentioned frequently, I don't have any vacation days because I keep using them to pick up Husband at the airport. So no vacation until Memorial Day. This week, I forgot Child 2's orthodontist appointment, what time a meeting was supposed to begin, and my keys. Luckily, I discovered the keys pretty quickly, but the meeting thing was a big disaster. The sad thing is I actually wrote down what time the meeting was supposed to start and set a reminder in my calendar and still, I forgot.

So after the orthodontist appointment today (which thankfully had already been re-scheduled so when I forgot the appointment on Tuesday I had until Thursday to remember it) I took a nap. I wish that I could say that fixed the forgetting problem, but alas, no. Because I forgot to make dinner. So we decided to walk to 7-Eleven to buy fritos to make frito pies. Then we looked out the window and saw the black clouds and decided to drive. I felt a little sheepish driving a whole block, but I really don't like getting wet and it rained really, really hard today. So hard that it reminded Child 1 of monsoon season in Asia and she said she missed it. Which means she has completely forgotten what a real monsoon is like.

Sure, it looks pretty, but it is the worst to walk around in. The first time we moved to Asia, it was during monsoon season and I had no idea how wet I could be. It rains so hard that umbrellas make no difference because the water is bouncing up from the ground so you are going to be wet no matter what. It is also too hot to wear a raincoat, especially one that will keep you dry. And forget about rubber boots. The other thing you have to know is that when you move overseas with the Foreign Service, they ship your car. That is a great thing--when the car finally clears customs, but it took ours 3 months which meant that the entire monsoon season, we had no car and I was walking around with a plastic cover on the stroller (because Child 3 was a baby and I couldn't leave her at home alone) and wearing flip-flops because there was no point to shoes and everything I owned was damp. I hated monsoon season. But for the children, monsoon season means this.

So maybe it's really being little and having no responsibilities and being free to play in the rain that Child 1 misses. I guess I would miss that too. But not the damp clothing or the mud on the carpet or the pushing the stroller through the rain and praying the wheels wouldn't rust. I don't miss that at all.

This would-be gardener in Brooklyn is having a worse day than me. His superintendent found plants like these growing on the roof and immediately called the cops.


Because who wouldn't call the police when someone is growing marijuana on the roof? Except, if you know anything about plants, you know that those are not illegal. Because they are tomato plants and look nothing at all like pot. But apparently the police weren't sure at first, either, which is probably a good thing because what kind of cops would they be if they were really familiar with growing pot? But the saddest part of the whole story is that the super threw the plants away anyway because no one is supposed to be up on the roof. I bet he hates tomatoes. So thank you, Mr. Tomato Killer, for reminding me to be grateful that the farmer's market will be around again on Saturday and they will have some delicious tomatoes. Also mushrooms, cheese, and organic Italian sweet sausage. I can't wait!