Friday, August 24, 2007

We Never Do It

First grade is off to a good start. Of course, it is early in the game, but so far he really likes his new school and has lots to talk about when he gets home. Uniform still looking darn adorable. They seem to be easing in to real work. Yesterday he said they did a worksheet where they wrote down stuff about their families but he didn't know how to spell any of the words and the other kids did. I reminded him that it will take time to catch up. We are confident he will, but if not, we will reassess.

Lunch is included in the lofty tuition. So, there is no packing lunch for my picky eater. He chose his own food for the past two days and yesterday they had pasta, but it had sauce on it. Needless to say, he was pretty hungry when he got home. When I used to pack his lunch, I would tuck a little handi-wipe in there so he could clean his hands before he ate. But, most of the time, his school included hand-washing in their lunchtime routine.

In case you are new, I am a total germ-a-phobe. Although I like to think I just practice good hygiene and illness-prevention, it is clearly beyond that. If you have three kids, you know how worth it it is. "How do you guys wash your hands before lunch?" I asked. He looked perplexed, wondering how he was going to answer this one.

"Oh, we really don't. We never really do it." What?!?! They don't wash their hands? These are first graders here--they still need guidance on such important things, just like they do about their zippers or crazy hair. I am finding it hard to believe that they have the kids wear these uptight (although totally adorable) uniforms yet let them get away with never washing their hands.

"Well, you do wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, right?" I didn't like the answer. It was a yes, but a less than confident yes. "Well, how can you get your hands clean before you eat?" I sent bottles of hand sanitizer to the classroom (actually on accident, they were intended for his backpack), where are those? They had yet to make an appearance. "I will have to tuck a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket so you can use it throughout the day."

Then, I thought about the implication that may have for my new guy in a new school. Oh, you know, the dork that carries the hand sanitizer. Just not sure that is the proper solution either. I am trying to work through this. He will bring germs home-period. But, come on people, a little common decency hygiene please.

The school made a big deal to us how his teacher's husband is an oncologist. They told us like six times. Well, that is great and I am sure he is super smart, as is she, but she served a six-pack of Oreos to each child for snack on the first day and doesn't enforce hand-washing? Wife of an oncologist or not, she is making some pretty unhealthy choices. Okay, okay, I know--in the grand scheme of things, she appears to be a great teacher and the cookies could be just a first day of school treat (he said they didn't have snack yesterday because they were running behind).

So, what do I do? Deal with and find a way to manage my germ-a-phobia (oh, and by the way, you may quickly say something like, you can get over it, but it isn't as easy as that or I would be over it by now. That is the thing about phobias, they make no sense and you fully know it, but you cannot do anything about it. Haven't you ever seen grown adults with real phobias of something like circus clowns?), say something or inquire with the teacher about hand washing habits at the school or send hand sanitizer in his pocket? Any ideas here people (and I know more than the two who comment read this thing)?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tomorrow is the BIG Day!

First grade starts tomorrow. Here we go...

We tested the uniform assembly tonight. My heart melted. Have you ever seen such a handsome boy? I saw his baby face when he was sleeping last night.

Terrible picture of me, I know, but this is all about him. Click on my web album for
more great shots of him in his uniform.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another Summer Get-a-Way

Last week, we spent two days (and one night) in Cincinnati. Cincinnati is just 90 miles from Indy, so the kids didn’t even finish a Harry Potter movie before we arrived. We spent the first part of day one at the Creation Museum, which is actually in Kentucky. This brand new museum tells the biblical story of creation in a comparative format with the big-bang theory. The museum is beautiful and everything is very well done. Here is a picture of Andrew as he discovers the giant moving dinasour above him.

But, very crowded and lots of reading. The kids were not too interested, except for an occasional naked Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark. After we toured the museum, we hung around on the grounds passing time until our 4:30 planetarium visit. The grounds are beautiful and while also still very new (and the foliage isn’t very lush yet), there is a winding asphalt path, flowing water, beautiful flowers and one of those rope foot bridges (you know, like rope and wood planks—a real challenge to walk on).

The boys enjoyed that way more than the museum. We scouted snakes in the water and butterflies on the flowers. Jeff scouted mullets (seriously, he did. It is Kentucky, so he kept pretty busy). But, we couldn’t pass enough time in the heat and ended up heading to the hotel before our planetarium show time. We checked in the hotel and the boys spent some time jumping on the beds. Then, we headed to the pool for a swim. Andrew was ready before everyone else so he and I snuck back to the room, got our clothes back on and went to the bar for cocktail hour. I got him a Shirley Temple and he drank it in the lobby while I drank my wine and we waited on the others. They joined us for another cocktail and more Shirley Temples. We ate dinner at the hotel to keep things simple. The hotel restaurant was along the river (actually on the Kentucky side, looking over to Cincinnati). There was a Reds game wrapping up and much activity on the river. The restaurant was empty and the kids could enjoy themselves (a good think because my glass of wine was very big and by that point, I didn’t pay too much attention to what they were doing). Back to the room after dinner for bath and showers. I ordered sundaes from room service and once everyone was out of the bath, the sundaes arrived. Ah, they love to eat room service in bed…just like me. My little Leona Helmsleys, I am so proud.

Next day started with breakfast downstairs in the hotel again. While we tried to search out a little local breakfast spot, we just were not in that part of town (if that part of town exists at all in Covington, Kentucky). Then, off to the Cincinnati Museum Center to see the pirate’s exhibit. This is an exhibit of items recovered from the only discovered pirate ship. It is a wonderful exhibit. In the intro, the docent said, “You know who Captain Jack Sparrow is, don’t you?” and the boys eagerly answered yes. She sternly and dramatically replied, “Well, forget him. He is make believe. What you are about to see is the real deal.” In that same re-functioned train station is the Children’s Museum. Indy is home to one of the world’s (and I mean world, not state or nation) most renowned children’s museums—but this one had some very cool stuff. The boys were totally occupied every second they were there. Then, a quick trip to the Museum of Science and Natural History. Back to the hotel to check out and off to lunch at an arcade (sort of like a Dave & Buster’s). Phillip was in heaven. Final stop, the Newport Aquarium. It was over $70 to get in—Jeff and I both almost passed out. So not worth the money, but still a nice little (and I mean little in the “quaint” sort of way) aquarium. Oh, and
after we paid and entered the museum, they said—no strollers. We were like, hu?!? It isn’t always easy to keep track of three little kids in a crowded space like a museum. But, we managed. Then, in the car and back home. A quick but fun trip.

Point of Reference

Okay, is the frame of reference. Also included are shots of the accompanying scratch that can be buffed out, the enormous door job that appeared under her watch (which is some what forgivable, I know...door jobs can just happen), and although it didn't photograph well, another dent that is the result of the time she ran into the side of the garage (white paint rubbed off) and acted oblivious. So now, you be the judge. Just a scratch?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

When Is a Scratch Just a Scratch...?

This week marked the last week for our most recent nanny. Was parting such sweet sorrow? No. It was time. She (being very young and still quite innocent) got pregnant in the spring and ever since then, she has been totally distracted with babyism.

I try to remember what it was like, how excited I was, the thrill of the unknown and the great expectations...but serious, I was never so consumed. I was doing home remodeling and gardening up to the end, I was walking every day and doing prenatal yoga. Yes, I loved to talk about the baby and being pregnant. Yes, I read a million books on birth and took tons of classes. But, I also realized very early on just how long nine months was and thought, I cannot sit around and just wait for this baby forever!

She stopped lifting, reaching, holding, etc. She stopped doing everything and started telling the kids, "...because the baby" all the time. She spent hours sitting watching the kids because she was too tired, felt sick or was out of patience already at 10AM. She wrote potential baby names all over our driveway in chalk. Andrew's favorite thing to say right now is that he has a baby in his belly and his belly hurts where the baby is. Nice.

So on her second to last day, she pulls the van in the garage and Jeff--all the way in the kitchen--hears a noise. What was that? He walks out to the garage only to reappear in my office with a red and puffed out face. Oh my, he is mad. I go look. Oh, I am mad. We have her go look. She seems indifferent. "Sorry. It was an accident."

When does sorry cover it? We let the other three go--including the one where she hit the side of the garage and pretended to be oblivious to the giant white scrap down the backside of the van and the giant door ding on the driver's side. Fine, we will buff, polish and shine it out and door dings happen. But this sucker? It has dimension to it. It is a deep scape. It will require a trip to a body shop. "I am sorry, I said it was an accident."

I say, you know, this isn't some piece of crap car. She tells me that she didn't see Jeff's bike leaning up against that side of the garage--didn't see a bike? A big black mountain bike? Were her eyes even open? Then, she starts in with "...well the kids were screaming in the car while I was pulling in and..." I interrupt her, with my finger pointed and my voice tense, "Do NOT blame this on my kids, got it? You are responsible for this, not my kids."

Now what? I am most offended by her total lack of ever even offering to help with the costs, even if she had no intentions of really paying. Not one utter of I will help with the deductible or let me now how much the estimate is. Only, "I am sorry." Needless to say, the conversation continued and wasn't pretty. Jeff was incredibly upset (like the kind of upset he gets twice a year) and now so was I, but soon it was obvious, none of this really mattered as she only had one day left on the job.
So, when is a scratch just a scratch? In your book--is this just a scratch? Comments, suggestions, thoughts--please.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dear Britany,

I defended you that one time when you almost fell with Sean Preston, 'cause I know we all sometimes trip, but now you have gone way beyond the defendable. I am in line at the store on Sunday, with all three of my kids (who were rolling on the floor of the store, grabbing candy and trying to play the lottery machines), when I see a tabloid with a picture of your two children on the front. They were hysterically screaming, with arms in the air and seemingly saying your name. The headline read, "Help Us."

Wow, now that is some powerful journalism. Can't the government intervene? I mean this is a serious crisis. They are no doubt stuck in some horribly large house with a nanny all day until you need them to prop in front of the press--oh, the torture. Who would have ever thought that K-Fed should get the kids? I mean, really Brit, it does seem he is more stable. Gangstas can make good daddies too, ya know.

And, what is with that valley girl act you do for the press. I feel so bad for you when you do that. Do you think it is funny? Do you think it sounds cool? You really just sound totally insane when you do that. Hello, valley girls were popular when I was in like 5th grade and while my friend Lisa told me leg warmers were back, I have not seen any signs of valley girls making a come back (Ah, I still remember the best Lisa Frank metallic sticker I had that said, "Gag me with a spoon.").

So, do us all a favor and just go away, sort of like Lindsey Lohan just did! See? Now it is all mysterious and her whereabouts are unknown and she is receiving some undisclosed medical treatment and the press is stalking her mother's house. can't you just do something normal like that? It seems you had another car chase yesterday in Beverly Hills. really, you should just get some like Ford Explorer or something. Your black Mercedes is just a little too obvious.

Okay, that is all I have to say now. But, you cannot count on me to defend your actions any more. I am so over it. You just have gone too far over the deep end. I don't care what your excuse is--I know, the Mickey Mouse Club can really cause some serious PTSD, but some how, you need to find the strength to move forward, or move to France like Michael Jackson did.

Love, your pal....


Monday, August 06, 2007

What I Have Found So Far...

(In reference to an earlier entry)

We checked everywhere--even under the house. Finally, we decided the smell had to be in the fridge. On Saturday, while our kids were still away (they spent two nights at Granny's, she took all the Grandkids to King's Island), we emptied the entire refrigerator...I mean the entire fridge. We took out every shelf, piece of glass, drawer, everything. We sprayed the whole thing down with cleaner (this Lysol food-safe surface cleaner) and went through every single item individually. Oh, it brought back memories--hello food items that expired in 2006! If it looked borderline or was expired, we tossed. Start fresh was the attitude. We found the smell. My neighbor had given me a bag full of beautiful, dark green broccoli from his garden. For some reason, the smell was horrible, despite the fact it appeared totally fresh. Tossed (but oh, how I love broccoli).

As a side note, when I went to the store yesterday with the boys to replenish (as we cleaned the freezer and pantry too), I bought a big head of broccoli. We buy almost everything we can organic, free trade or locally grown. Part of the trade off for that is sometimes not freakishly large veggies like in regular supermarkets, or deep deep rich colors but just normal produce like you might get in the garden (odd shapes, smaller in size, etc.). And, most of the time, these are smaller farmers who lack massive transportation systems to get the produce to us, so it usually doesn't last as long as that from a big store (or big farm). Clearly, this is changing as some of the largest food producers in the U.S. now see the commercial potential in organic (ah, capitalism a work). At any rate, this is turning in to a very long story. I am cutting up my broccoli last night so I can steam a batch for the week and I notice it has bugs. Hundreds of bugs. Tiny spider bugs deep in the florets. Ewww. Had to toss that broccoli too. For some reason, I don't think I was meant to eat broccoli this week.

Update on the school. We have two hot contenders, both totally different. We are going to visit our number one tomorrow with Phillip, to meet the first grade teacher (there are two, so it isn't necessarily the one he would have) and let him see the school. We showed him on the Internet and he wasn't that excited, but I think it is more about grieving for his old school. We talked about that, I told him I understand (which I do, I certainly changed schools a few times) and we went over who from his tight group of Kindergartners was going back--just one boy. He saw his good friend Graham and Graham confirmed he is going to a different school too. He seems to be warming up to the idea. Our back-up plan starts August 14, though, so time is not on our side. And, for our first choice, there is still much work to be done (testing, letters of reference, applications, etc.).

I finally got paid from the one client whose check was always mysteriously in the mail. They still owe me final payment for a second project, but it isn't quite as much money, so not such a big deal--however, they still have to pay it!

The yard isn't looking so hot. We had the chemical discussion again. Jeff is convinced the chemicals are safe. I just don't buy it for some reason and am still resistant to it when the kids are little. Can't he just have a perfect lawn when the kids no longer care about it. Besides, they drive trucks, bikes, scooters, wheel barrows and other equipment through it, so it isn't like it is perfect now. I gave up Orkin inside too because of the chemicals. They say those are safe, but I still am not certain on those either. Any opinions about this?

Oh, ice cream. I love you so. But really, I am going to try to lose some weight. I feel enormous and I need to take control and stop complaining. Ice cream really isn't bad if I measure it out properly. I can still have it, I just have to save my calories all day knowing I want it. That seems like a lot of work, doesn't it? is a lot of work!

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Not much surprised me here, but this is a very cool little personal inventory test.

I am an Attentive Analyst.


  • I am very ware of my own abilities, and I believe that I will find the best way of doing things.
  • Problems do not intimidate me, as I believe in myself.
  • I have a strong sense of right and wrong, and I am not hesitant to express myself.
  • I learn a lot about myself by talking things out with people, even if I don't always share things that are important to me.
  • Understanding the dynamics of a situation is an important skill that I have, and you often intervene to clarify things for others.


  • Although I care about others, I hesitate to trust them to act in the best way on their own.
  • While you have strong opinions about what is right and wrong in the world, you risk coming across as judgmental.
  • I need to move beyond things that I find comfortable and open myself up to a broader range of experiences.
  • While I care about people, if I found ones I truly trusted, I could get closer to them.
  • I need to embrace the imaginative, creative part of my personality more often.

All good advice, but thinking is often easier than doing. I liked this test because it allowed for variability in your answers. I am not an A, B or C person. I am a A with conditions or a C with great exceptions. This test sort of allows for that. Do it and share your results!