Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bueller.... Bueller.....

At the age of 2.75 years, Elliot pulled his first Ferris Bueller.

A cold came on fast on Sunday and worsened Monday. That night, he was acting listless (I learned that it is not called lethargic if they make eye contact... potatoes, pototoes) and was doing a weird gasp-y breathing thing and retracting so we took him in to the ER.

(Side note: Hello Deductible! Nice to meet you!)

3 hours, a chest x-ray and flu swab later - its just a cold. Tuesday he was out of school. This morning I took him in and he was fine until we got there. At about the precise moment he figured out Ms. Haley was out for the day he started in with the clingy-ness and whining. I left him there reading a book knowing he'd snap out of it.

Fast forward an hour and Ms. Des calls to tell me he's sick. Seems he was whining and crying and laying about as still as a dead guy (listless, I would imagine...) and when she went to pick him up he cuddled into her and was burning up. Fever was a bit over 101.

I hang up, cussing. I have (correction, had) 3 days of leave time left to get me through the rest of 2009. I get there and he sees me. Smirks at me and hides his face in a book. I tell him we're leaving and he bounds toward me grinning from ear to ear.

He jabbered the entire way home.
Checked his temp and he was normal.
You've got to be freaking kidding me.

Now, I'm not sure how he faked his temp (maybe had a hot stone stowed in his armpit?) but I have no doubt he pulled a Bueller on us today. The rest of our morning he ran, sang, jumped, laughed, etc., just like he would any other day. Still has a cold - but he was FAKING this morning. I'll bet money it was all stemming from Ms. Haley not being there.

He's going back on Notice.

What is this kid going to do when he ages out of Ms. Haley's class in 4 months? Shhh - don't tell him just yet. I don't have enough leave time for the repercussion it would no doubt bring.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sharing is Caring: 4 Fun Facts About Me

1. In high school, I wrote down every outfit I wore so as not to repeat the same shirt-and-jeans combo in any week-and-a-half time span. Mostly done out of necessity (we really didn't get many clothes), I think I crossed the line when I started adding what color my shoes and socks were.

2. I attended catholic school for grades K-6. I know, right? Wait, no, let me finish. The only class I ever got lower than a B in? Religion. Why? Little Miss Anna didn't like to memorize prayers and found the topic to be a total bore. Instead, I doodled religious-based doodlings in my Religion workbook (I can remember getting 10 extra points because Sr. Cecilia liked my picture of Mary doing the rosary).

3. Back in my late teens/early twenties, I stole menus from restaurants and displayed them proudly on my wall. My mom even stole a few with and for me. Why? Well, I don't really know. It was pretty harmless (I figured) and kind of fun to figure out how I'd sneak it out without anyone knowing. What else was I supposed to do? ...I already had a 12-piece set of cloth napkins from Outback Steakhouse.

4. New Kids on the Block always sucked. They sang like girls - I totally didn't get why they were so cool. I still don't. Everyone I know loved them, having posters and pillows and imaginary weddings with every single one of them. Besides, I was way too busy playing my 'Toy Soldiers' by Martika single cassette tape over and over and over and over and over on my boom box. After that was 'Runaway Train' by Soul Asylum then 'Teen Spirit' by Nirvana.

What are four things I don't know about you?

Friday, September 25, 2009

By the Numbers

I work at a statewide non-profit (Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, or NCFF) that constantly deals with numbers and statistics in an on-going effort to make sure our kids are happy, healthy and thriving. We had an all-staff meeting today and a stat sheet was handed out about children in Nebraska... and it goes something like this:

Put all of Nebraska's kids that are entering kindergarten this fall in one room. Out of that, pull out a sample of 100 kids. Of these kids:
9 were born to teenage mothers
17 are living below the poverty level
14 are obese
11 do not have health insurance
9 already need mental health services
1 will become the victim of substantiated abuse this year
2 are already state wards
4 will be arrested in high school
9 will attempt suicide in high school
21 will not graduate from high school

While these numbers are shocking, it is the truth of our great state. (And, small plug here - why NCFF exists!) What really got me, though, was when the presenter said this:

And, one kid could be ALL of these.

As the mom of an almost 3 year old, that's scary.
(PS - If you want the sources, contact me.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Bitterness Subsides... The Apple Story

We share a backyard fence with three neighbors and one of these neighbors has an apple tree just 3 feet on their side. Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed what this post is about. For those of you that didn't get it, it means apples galore on our side of the fence.

For three years, Fred has cussed the neighbors as he mows over the literal 100s of apples in our yard in various stages of decay. Now and then the mower even tries to chuck a rotting apple right at Fred. Done mowing, we now have a patch of rotting applesauce.

The other weekend, Grandma Judy had the bright idea to pick a few of those apples giving me some line about it falling on my property and being mine. I had my doubts, but we picked a couple from the branch and cut them up. Best. Apples. Ever.

Fast forward a week or so and I come home from work to find the neighbors on a ladder - in OUR yard - picking apples. Pick-pick-pick. For a full minute I was convinced they were picking all of the apples so that Judy and I wouldn't get any more. When the Grandma Wenciker paranoia wore off I realized - hey, they're even picking up the rotten ones! Super Sweet!

Elliot and I headed down and helped out for a bit. In the end, she had 3 5-gallon buckets and 2 shopping bags full of good apples. I came back with 2 full bags. Mrs. Apple Tree Owner told us they were sold a 10' dwarf apple tree 35 years ago; I think they were sold a lie.

As I sit here munching a fresh apple I can't help but think what a sweet lie that was. I'm not all hyper granola-crunchin-tree-hugging-save-the-whales or anything but I am loving this truly organic apple stash a mere 20 yards from my backdoor.

Pictures here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Love Hate Relationship: The Apple Tree -- SCRATCH THAT!

You know what Google Blogger - you SUCK!!!! *

I just typed out this brilliant post on the neighbor's apple tree and you can't seem to understand what a paragraph is. I mean, really. I have to keep posting, viewing and then re-editing and keep PUNCHING IN THE SAME Enter button to get the paragraph to take.

But does it work? Oh, you'd sure think so.
You. Are. WRONG.

So I deleted it. The whole thing. If you want some annoying-turned-happy story about our neighbors apple tree you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way and give me a buzz. On my Blackberry, of course, because that's how old-fashioned we are.

Sure is nice that you're breaking up my paragraphs now, you jerk.

* Fred advised me to take out the F-word I was trying to use here....
You can thank him if you're relieved to not have to hear my potty mouth.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Letter of Apology

Dear Kelly,

Hi, how's the weather? It's nice here, one zip code digit away from where you are. How is your family? Oh, right, I work with the hubby and our kids are in daycare together. I obviously need to stop beating around the bush (what the hell does that phrase mean anyway?).

When I first started working here you and me got along swimmingly and found a deep connection over lunches with LaRon and the love of Barenaked Ladies. And plants - you owned them but I cared for them. Wise Ole Jade was my favorite - a tiny stem about 4 inches high with 6 plump leaves. And then I left this fine establishment for a few years and in those few years the plants managed to really flourish.

Then I came back and a matter of months later you left (plan it that way?) and your plants were left to fight for life in the new, red-walled MarComm area. The time came when they had to give up the ghost (another saying I don't really get) and admit defeat... Jade was shriveling. It was hard for me to see the now 18 inch tall monster like that so I called PPS (Plant Protective Services, duh) (oh, and PPS would be ME) and confiscated it.

I loved it like I love my own plants. New pot, fresh soil and plenty of water to fill those succulent leaves back up. And then. Well. I don't know what happened. Would this be another Office Etiquette Snafu? I watered it on a Friday and when I came back Monday, half of the thing is limp and bent completely over the side of the pot. Kind of like this but worse - much, much worse.

I googled up all possible diseases but nothing seems to fit.
All I can do at this point is hope that I didn't kill Wise Ole Jade.

Kelly, my good friend, I am sorry for what I have done to your plant. I really thought I was helping it (and it does look 100x better - sorry MarComm friends for the dig) and now it seems I was crushing its will to live. I hope you have it in your heart to forgive me.

Love, Anna

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oh! The Humanity!!

I'm a full-time worker bee, mommy and a sporadic-at-best wife (read: I don't do much cleaning or cooking at our house). As me, Jess and Jess used to say "I'm verrry busy."

The Internets are my friends with their webs and tubes feeding my every addiction and giving me answers to nearly any question I have. During nearly every lunch hour and again at night, I have a tidy mental list of sites I like to troll. But right now - one tube in particular is failing me and it is shaking me to the core.

I feel ... so disconnected. So un-knowledgeable (its a word, right?).

Lost, even.

Is Sharon still in the nut-house? What's Nick going to do since he knows the baby is his? Does Ashley remember running over Nikki? Will JT find out that Vicki cheated on him? Is Nina still in town and is Chance still giving Chloe the googly eyes? And Patty - where to even begin with that one. I heard something about Colleen and a cow?

I'd love to find the answers - particularly to that last one - but alas, I cannot. My trusty (and now ex-) best friend, has some funky problem on their Recaps page and I am unable to feed my Newman Family Addiction. My NFA is hungry!

I don't know what has happened since last Thursday... that's a week, people! An entire week! Do you have any idea - any idea, at all - how much can happen and change in a week in Genoa City? Victor and Nikki's kids grew 12 years in less than a month one summer! Maybe it'll be one of those slow-progressing weeks like how Ashley miscarried like 37 weeks ago and still doesn't realize she isn't pregnant (I mean, really?).

Sure, there are other sites out there that like to gossip and even spoil what will happen next (what, its not reality?) but that's beside the point. I want my daily recap back and I want it now. As my best friend Tim Gunn would say 'make it work.' And he means it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Office Etiquette Snafu

One of the worst thing about sharing a kitchen in an office is the funky odors that emanate when something has been left to ... grow, shall we say?

I don't even understand how this happens as I meticulously check expiration dates and yes, I am THAT girl that will dump an entire gallon of milk out if today is the expiration date stamped on the jug. Does one honestly forget that they brought a bowl up cut-up cantaloupe to work 9 weeks ago and forgot about it? (Who would do that to a yummy melon??) I don't get it.

This week, the smell arrived. A particularly pungent, offensive-to-all-senses smell. A trio of us worked our way through the fridge tossing old items including a banana SO ripe that the entire thing was black - not even a hint of other color. The smell just didn't quit.

Stumped until Wendi couldn't take it any more and tore through every container in there whether it was brand new, old but not expired or a box of leftovers from yesterday. The culprit? My wedges of Laughing Cow cheese, of course. Whoops.

Wendi pulled them out and took a sniff - nearly dropping dead from the smell - and immediately threw them in the trash. Then the trash got taken outside. Then I got chastised.

I'll have you know they weren't expired, they just decided to expire.

Regardless, I am embarrassed for the pain and suffering I put my co-workers through over the last 3 days. I am sorry guys. And that smell? Yeah, still from my cheese. I know it smells like rotten feet. And no, I don't know how long until it clears out. And yes, I'll buy you a new apple since yours tastes like rotten feet.

Friday, September 11, 2009

He's ALL MINE, Ladies

I emailed Fred to tell him that I do think I am getting sick - that this isn't just allergies. I'm sneezing every 13 minutes, coughing, achy and tired. His loving response?

You better keep your pig flu to yourself and not share with me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my lovely (and caring?) husband, Fred.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Gadgets

I've added new gadgets.

Bonus points to those of you that recognize where I got them....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

How to NOT Sell a Truck

Did some recent truck shopping and along the way learned some tricks of the trade that the dealers should really avoid when you're working with relatively smart buyers.

1. Small talk is just that - small talk. Don't try to sell me a truck noting how well my son's car seat would fit in it. We've done our research.

2. Don't keep me waiting - I am not the type that is going to say oh gee, I spent this much time here I guess I should just buy that truck from him even if he is a total tool. Not gonna happen.

3. Quit asking me questions and show me the truck. I just want to test drive it. And, trust me, I wouldn't be asking to test drive THAT truck if I didn't already know everything about it.

4. Don't bother asking what I want my payments to be - I'm not new in town. I know you can mess with amortization (busted... yes, Fred taught me that big word) to get my price point where I need it but I'll be damned if I'm paying any more for it than I need to in the long run.

5. When I tell you what rate I know I can get, don't laugh and say well, you'd have to have A-1 credit to get anything close to that here. Well, duh. How do you think I qualified for it at the bank? Think I duped them by hacking into the 3 major credit bureaus and raised my scores by 300 points while I laughed maniacally in the corner? I WISH. Do you think I'd be working an 8-5 if I could do that?

6. Don't tell me you're going to get me a great deal and assault my intelligence by starting out asking more for the truck that what is listed. I think maybe that should've been rule number 1.

(Side note: Turns out Jer-Bear was just a total idiot and was trying to sell us a COMPLETELY different truck.) Which leads me to this doozy:

7. Please refrain from telling me that your customers like to call you Jer-Bear. Really. Don't do that. It makes you look like more of a tool than you already are, Jerry.

8. Trying to shortchange me on the trade-in is an insult. I know more about that car than your CARFAX can tell you and I know its worth more than your laughable offer.

9. When we counter your offer (mind you, you are asking us to pay full listed price and taking next to nothing for our trade) don't come back with fancy graphs and charts telling me why YOU are giving ME such a good deal and for those reasons, you will not budge. I, too, know how to use Excel proficiently.

This will cause my husband to literally throw your keys down, yell that its a total screw job and demand his keys. Oooh almost forgot -

10. After you test drive our car, give the keys back. You hanging on them and forcing me to spend MORE time in your dealership is only making me angry.

11. When you tell me you are going to have a manager come talk to us - do that. Don't just come back sneering hand my husband his keys and say good luck at the other place and let me know what they give for your car.

Cause, Jer-Bear (I can call you that, right?), we did just that. They met our price on a BRAND NEW one, never hassled us once, took twice your offer for our car (yes, they can read CARFAX too). But you know what else they did? They filled up the tank and every. single. person. we talked to said "Thank you" and meant it.

Husker Auto - you should really give it a try.
Sid Dillon - I heart you.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Added Note: To Husker Auto - Don't ever tell your potential buyer that $200 in fees goes directly to the University for using 'Husker' in your name. I can't understand why, for any reason, I am responsible for paying YOUR bill to the University.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Begging and Pleading

Dear Elliot,

It's been a while since I have last written you. And, as usual, I am writing you to ask some favors from you. Some change in current action from you, if you will.

First, lets discuss your current sleeping habits. Not that long ago you put yourself to sleep singing Twinkle Twinkle and I loved it. I was proud to say that you were such a big boy. Now, though, you insist on yelling and screaming yourself to sleep and are still up by 5:45 a.m. ready to talk and sing and play.

Mommy can't do this much longer, honey. You see, my life at work sucks enough as it is right now and I don't really need to be going in short on sleep too after being accosted by you for not being Daddy.

Next up, the potty. If you could just tell me what happened... we were doing so good - we had 10 consecutive days of going potty at least once a day. And now we're back to square one and you'll barely even step into the bathroom. You still go at school and that makes me crazy! Did Froggy Potty bite you? If so - just tell me and I'll put him in timeout.

Last, you are overusing a phrase that makes no sense and I want it to stop. When I ask you if you want pancakes for breakfast and you tell me "I not pancakes!" you must know that it doesn't make sense. I get that you're rebelling against the stringent rules your Daddy and I make for you (I not bath! I not eat! I not shirt! I not shoes!) what with these being the teenage years of your toddler years.

Your 'funny face' is only going to get you so far in life, pal.

Love, Mommy