Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday 5 - Inventions that do not help me at all

The last post was about inventions that are helpful.  There's a lot of stuff out there meant to be helpful but aren't.

1.  The snooze button on my alarm clock.  The snooze button itself is probably a good idea.  The fact that it's located just next to another button is the problem.  One little slip at 5:30am in my sleep coma and the alarm doesn't ring again.  This is a problem.

2.  Voice command on my phone.  This is supposed to allow me to text without hands.  Maybe it works for some folks but my phone has a sense of humor.  I was texting a friend one day to tell him about my day.  What I said was "I'm having a good day.  I have a good client and a good team."  My phone sent him "I'm putting my penis in my client."  Not even close.

3.  GPS.  I know the roads (here) better than my GPS.  And she yells at me.  I get yelled at enough from humans.  I don't need this crap from my electronics.

4.  Travel mugs.  They work in theory but they are missing one big thing: a voice reminder to take it with me.  I make coffee most mornings.  The cup is still there in the afternoon when I return.  Not helpful.

5.  MP3s.  Yes, they sound good but there's no more touching the vinyl.  There's no more album art (remember Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door and it's cool paint with water cover?  Or the Velvet Underground's Andy Warhol banana peel?  Or even Styx Paradise Theatre's etched vinyl?)  I miss those.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Friday 5 on Tuesday - 5 inventions I love

So I missed last Friday.  It happens.  We're going to play Friday 5 on a Tuesday, just to mix things up a bit.

I was thinking about things that make my life easier.  There are so many things, little things thought of by people who are creative, that help my life.  Here are a few.

1.  The re-usable K cup.  When my kids (and their dad) got me a Keurig for Mother's Day, I was less than thrilled.  I live within a budget and coffee for that thing wasn't going to fit in it.  Plus it's just more stuff in landfills.  The re-usable K cup solves all those problems.  Brilliant.

2. The automatic ice maker.  One of the big arguments in my house growing up was "who left the ice tray with just one cube in it??".  That and who only fills up the little cubes half way making for little ice cubes - makes me nuts.  I don't have to think about that any more.

3.  Texting.  I don't actually like talking to people.  Texting allows me to communicate without having to have personal interaction.  Perfect!  It also lets me say totally inappropriate things to people at times I couldn't normally.  I can text my boyfriend with an inappropriate comment while at the doctor's office (not in front of the doctor, I'm not rude).  It provides me with good distractions.  And yes, bad distractions, too.

4.  The beeping thing that lets me find my car.  I would lose my car (especially my rental that is beige!) daily if I couldn't hit the little button that helps me find my car.  I'm pretty sure that annoys people in the parking garages and lots where I park but it prevents me from looking like a moron walking up and down all the aisles looking for my car.

5.  The DVR.  I don't watch a ton of tv.  Okay, I sort of do.  But I love a limited amount of tv.  I love the Big Bang Theory.  I love The Walking Dead.  I have a few things I really want to see, but I want to see them on my time.  DVR is awesome.  I can fast forward over the things my kids shouldn't see.  I can preview things they want to see but I'm unsure is appropriate for them.  This is a good invention.  It's not as friendly as my DVD player.  That says Hello and Good Bye to me but DVR is still a good thing.

Clever Compass' Friday 5

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Snow, accidents and shaved legs, oh my!

When bad weather happens, people (here) worry about milk, bread and toilet paper.  I think about shaving my legs.  I make sure my legs are shaved when it snows or there is bad weather.  I need to remember to do this on days when I have car accidents.

I was rear-ended a few days ago.  Nothing too serious, mostly just annoying.  I went the next day to get checked and realized I didn't want to go because A) I hate hospitals and B) my legs weren't shaved.  I know the doctors don't give a shit about my legs.  My boyfriend doesn't care when my legs aren't shaved.  No one cares.  Except me.

Last year my appendix decided it wanted to escape my body.  I waited a bit too long to go to the hospital.  Why?  A) I hate hospitals and B) my legs weren't shaved.  But I was able to rest assured that I was going to surgery with shaved legs.  Because the surgeon and anesthesiologist and nurses would care. No, they wouldn't.

At the end of my pregnancy, I had a few problems.  The doctors decided it was time to induce me.  I'd like to go get lunch (and shave my legs first).  Can I have some time?  Sure, they told me.  So I went home, shaved my legs and went to get Chinese food.  First things first, right?  Three hours later they were calling me to ask where I was.  On my way....

I had one accident experience previous to this.  I was 16 and was, again, rear ended.  My first thought? Well, after the whole oh shitness of it all it was Thank God it was gym day.  My legs were shaved.

Yes, this is silly.  I do know that.  I didn't shave my legs before going to hospital last weekend.  It stressed me but I'm pretty sure no one cared, except my boyfriend who had to hear me grumble about it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sibling Insanity

I'm familiar with the concept of sibling rivalry.  That makes sense to me.  But this sibling insanity - what I call the constant fighting, bickering, bitchiness aimed at each other ALL. DAY. LONG. - is insane.  Why do they do this?  I have one sibling, a brother, who is 10 years older than me.  We fought (still do) but not like this.  Granted, one good punch and he would've knocked me out but still. We didn't do this so it's foreign to me.  I now understand why a mother I met long ago said Jagermeister was her best friend and started drinking it shortly before dinner every night.  But it's not constant snottiness, which is where I get confused.  Sometimes they're as sweet as can be to each other.  Do you want a glass of milk?  I'll get it for you.  Then about 30 seconds later, bam!  The bitchiness starts again.

Everyone but me had siblings close in age.  Did your parents beat some sense into you?  Did they all become alcoholics?  What's the cure for this???

I'm reminded of a man I ran into in OCNJ when the girls were just a few months old.  He was on the boardwalk and I was pushing the double stroller past him and he said "double trouble!".  I was so offended.  I said no, double blessing.  He started yelling at me.  "I have girls!  I know whereof I speak!"  Mike pretty much had to restrain me from punching him.

Now I'm wondering if he wasn't right.....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sorry, no sari

My children are odd.  But I'm used to it so they don't seem so odd to me any more.  There are a few instances of peculiar behavior that will forever stay in my head.  The sari years experience is one of them.

A was sure she was Indian.  She wanted to wear saris and bindi and all sorts of bling.  This started somewhere around the age of 3 or 4.  There were tears when I forbade her to wear saris to preschool.  Mind you, I played along enough to have quite a collection of saris.  At Halloween she wanted to be an Indian princess.  Actually she was an ice skating Indian princess.  Yes, she wore a sari on skates (not easy, in case you were wondering).  Santa put bindi in her stocking.  We accepted this part of her.

Then one day we were walking into Giant (grocery) when she announced "I hope today is the day I meet my birth mom".  Huh.  Um, I reminded her, you're a twin.  I'm your mom and M's mom.  "No, you're M's mom but my mom wears a sari."  Great.  It continued for a while longer and then seemed to fall out of her memory.  Thankfully.

I mentioned this story to Andrew (bf) a while back.  So when he saw there was an Indian event open to the pubic at the University, he sent me the flier.  We went tonight.

It was interesting.  There was dancing and music and speeches I didn't quite follow.  There were women who jingle-jangled with all their bling.  Very fun.

Then A leans over and says "I bet my birth mom is over there ......"


Saturday, August 11, 2012

When hospitals become home

Much of the last two years have been spent in hospitals.  Thankfully, only one time was for me (plus one additional er visit).  I realized last night, while sitting in Suburban Hospital's ER, that I recognize the people who work there.  One was there when my appendix blew up.  One was there when my mother-in-law was taken there.  Another was there when I was interpreting.  It's strange.  I was interpreting there last year on the 6th floor when a nurse stopped talking to the patient, looked at me and said "I recognize you.  You've been here before."  Yes, I said, I have.  Continue talking, please.  She continues on for a while and when we left the room she said "You have twin girls.  You were here quite a bit with a family member."  It had been a year after we spent a very long month getting Ruth treatment there yet she remembered me.  I was both impressed and saddened.  So much of our time was there that she remembered us (thankfully fondly).

So, let's see.  What's the hospital count?  Remember, this is just for the last two years.  There are more if you count the decade.

Ruth: Suburban and Shady Grove (at least a month at each, multiple times)
Mike: Suburban, Shady Grove
Me: Suburban (just once, for a few nights for my appendix) and Shady Grove Germantown ER for the beer bottle that exploded in my hand.
Girls: Holy Cross, ER only, after A broke M's finger during a game of Dog and Fire Hydrant.  No, I didn't ask a lot of questions about that.  The less I know, the better.
My Mom: Suburban (twice, both ER visits, no overnights)
Andrew: NONE!  He's the winner!

I recognize a lot of the staff at Suburban.  I wouldn't recognize anyone at Shady Grove.  I think that was such an emotional time that I didn't really care about anyone there.  I've become a hospital snob.  I'll go to Suburban any time, never to Shady Grove and only to Holy Cross if there are no other options.  I can add connoisseur of hospitals to my resume.  Just what I wanted.....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday 5 - Summer camp!

I have mixed feelings about summer camp.  I didn't go when I was young.  First, I hate to camp (as in be outside with the bugs and toilets that are not guaranteed to flush).  Second, I'm not a good team player.  And I don't think my mom needed to put me in camp.  I lived much of her working life in a townhouse community.  I just lived at the pool.  My kids, however, need to be in camp.  They can't stay home alone all day.  It's not fun and it's a guaranteed thing they'll find trouble.  So off to camp they go.

Camps have been tough for us.  We did the drop-in sort of camp for a few years.  That worked great for my schedule but the girls didn't love it.  Sports camp was met with enthusiasm, but briefly.  This year we did a few different things.  We sent them to sailing camp in Sodus Point, NY (they stayed with family).  That was awesome.  And they went to Camp Ahava here in Silver Spring before and after the NY experience.  They love it there.  It's a small camp located at our local Jewish center.  The camp is open to all kids, which is good because my kids aren't being raised Jewish.  They love this place.  Here's why:

1.  Swimming.  They go to the local swim club three, count 'em - 3!, times a week.  Swim classes are offered.  My little fish love it.

2.  Field trips.  Every week they've gone somewhere.  One week it was to Butler's Orchard to pick blueberries for baking.  Another week was a water park.  This week was the butterfly garden at Brookside Gardens.  Last week was rock climbing.  All were met with great enthusiasm.

3.  Baking.  Every week they bake something.  Often it's challah bread in preparation for shabbat dinner.  They've made other things - each age group makes something different.  And apparently they're all usually pretty yummy.

4.  Roller skating.  They roller skate all around the facility (inside!) when they aren't involved in another activity.  The girls think this is fun.  I think it must be tough to be a counselor when all your charges are on skates.

5.  Counselors.  The girls like their counselors.  They like all the staff at the camp.  This is a first.  I don't hear anything grumpy or complaining about this camp.  The director and the staff in the office seem to genuinely care if the campers are having fun.

It's nice to finally send them some place they really, really want to go.  Everyday they tell me of their adventures and it's usually done with excitement and pride in their camp.  This makes me happy.

Clever Compass' Friday 5

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My quiet stupid protest

My mother told me not long ago that I am raising rabble-rousers.  I don't fully disagree but I might have  labeled my style of parenting differently.  But, the fact is, I am raising kids with the motto "Silence Equals Agreement".  I am rarely silent and am teaching them to (politely) speak their mind when they see an injustice.

Today's event was not really an injustice.  It was an annoyance.  It was stupid.  But we silently stated our protest anyway.  Just to make a point.

We were at the fountain in Silver Spring.  We walked around the farmer's market, strolled past the crafts/small business market and made our way to the fountain to cool off.  Yes, we were dressed in our regular clothes.  If we get wet, that's our problem, right?  Apparently not.  The security guards came over to tell us we couldn't be in the fountain.  The reason?  We were not in bathing suits.  There was a lot of chlorine in the water and it would make our clothes smell.  That was the reason.  That was the same reason they gave some mom of a two year old in what the guard called "basketball shorts".  It looked like a bathing suit to me. What do these guards care what we're wearing as long as our girly bits are covered?  It's their job, they told me.  Uh-huh.

We sat over to the side for a bit, watching the folks in the water.  Yes, there was a strong scent of chlorine.  I still don't know why I'm supposed to care.  There were other kids in the fountain in clothes.  No one addressed them.  There was a mom getting her feet wet (in street clothes).  No one cared.  Hmpf.

So what was our protest?  The girls and our accomplice, Amanda, took their shoes off and walked slowly through the fountain.  There you go, Mr. Security Guards.  Take that!  The girls got wet anyway!  A turned back to look at the guards.  They were smiling.  They appreciated our protest.  So there, Silver Spring!  Your rules are dumb.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday 5 - 5 things I would like to outsource

I do some things very well.  I laugh a lot.  I get into enough trouble to keep me happy.  I'm competent at my job (most days).  I'm a good enough mom and a good enough girlfriend.

There are some things I don't do so well.  Or rather I don't want to do so well.  I'd like to outsource those things.  In other words, I need an Alice, Mrs. Livingston, Mr. French or whoever the current sitcom maid/housekeeper is.  I'd be a good client.  Okay, I'd be a challenge.  But the laughter would be worth it....maybe.

1.  I would (at least temporarily) outsource cooking.  I'm highly mediocre at it.  My boyfriend is polite and eats it.  My kids tolerate it.  Some days are better than others.  Breakfast (pancakes with chocolate chips and oats - surprisingly good!) is okay.  Dinner last night gave us all serious gas.  There's got to be a better way.

2.  If I never did laundry again, I'd be a happy girl.  The problem with this is I'm picky.  I could take it to the laundry that charges $1/pound.  But I don't like the smell.  I want someone to do it here, where the germs and detergent can be controlled.

3.  I hate mowing the lawn.  I hate it.  I will never like it.  I don't like weeding, whacking, any of it.

4.  Making lunches.  I don't know why but I detest making school/camp lunches.  It isn't hard.  I'm usually prepared.  I even have good ideas.  I just hate doing it.  For no good reason.

5.  Paperwork.  I hate it and it hates me.  It's a mutual thing.  I can never get rid of it and it never stops coming into my house.  I need a paper nanny - someone to take care of it all.  I seriously suck at this.

There are plenty of things I'm good at.  I don't even completely suck at my list above.  I just don't like doing them.  I should probably add that I want to outsource the whole car buying thing but that will be a future post.

Clever Compass' Friday 5