I'm really not that busy

Finding hilarity in the mundane since 2008

Monthly Archives: November 2008

So I am really behind on my posts

Sorry, I know I owe you something long & chatty for being a loyal reader, but it may not happen today.  My brain is still recovering from the mediocre school carnival.  It was an adequate success, by the way.

What is currently on my mind is a note a got in the mail today.  It is from a teller at my bank and says “Jennifer, Thank you so much for stopping by.  It’s always a pleasure. R Zachary -Teller-“
I think I will reply.
Dear Bankers, 
I realize your note was an attempt to personalize my banking experience. However, I switched to online banking in order to DEPERSONALIZE my banking experience.  I go to the bank once a month to cash a particular check that doesn’t arrive via direct deposit.  I do not have a personal relationship you because I do not want one.  I did not feel appreciated when reading your note.  I felt creeped out.  Please go back to ignoring me.  
J Collins

So I have been vindicated part two

In a nutshell here is my Heater and Air Conditioner Repairman Conspiracy Theory:

They break your heat when they come to fix the air and then they break the air when they come to fix the heat.
On November 10th I called a repairman to fix our heat.  Before he arrived I posted my theory. Big mistake.  They must have seen my post because they sent over a repairman who reminds me of my Papaw (God rest his soul).  How could I possibly not trust my Papaw?  This is how they get you!  I have fallen right into their trap.
So Papaw reports that he cannot duplicate the problem I am describing (this is repairman for “you are an idiot”).  He believes that it must be the control panel which will cost $250 plus labor and tax.  I am cold.  I say “fine”.
Then the heat stops working again.  Conveniently on a Friday night so we have to go all weekend without heat.  I decide the heat & a/c mob is more pissed off than I originally thought. I resolve to be more wary of Papaw this time.
Crap!  He is super nice and apologetic and returns my check for $306 to me un-cashed so I can void it.  I decide my theory might have been wrong.  Such a sweet old guy!
Papaw tries another part, but it is not quite the right part for my heater model.  He says that he “shoehorned” in a pressure switch and if it works consistently he will order the correct one.
The heater works fine for many days.  I decide I really was wrong.  I almost post a retraction.
Papaw returns today to remove the “shoehorned” in part and install the correct part.  I happily write him a check for $196.  I am HAPPY to spend $196 because it is significantly less than $306. That should have set off some warning bells for me, but I was trusting Papaw.
About 4 hours after Papaw leaves with my $196…. the heat stops working. I am kicking myself. Why did I not question the un-cashed check?  Its like it was planned!  Should I call some people to report my schedule for the next couple of days in case I turn up missing?
When I call the repair place they say that they don’t have any experienced guys available currently.  Because my “problem has been ongoing” I am given the option to wait for Papaw to come tomorrow or I can have a less experienced guy right now.  I am not really trusting Papaw or his kind so I take the newbie.
Newbie shows up 20 minutes later (some sort of repairman record I am certain).  He has a pierced lip and visible tats.  It is 38 degrees so visible tats in that temp means in the summer he probably looks like a piece of scratch paper after a budget meeting.  I am comforted by his appearance after being burned by Papaw.
So I explain the entire saga to Newbie as matter of fact as I can.  I certainly don’t want to tip him off that I am onto the game.  He says there is a rod that sometimes acts up in the cold weather when you have a digital thermometer.  I am glad to hear he has a theory.  I love a good theory.
Ten minute after he ascends to my attic, the heat kicks on.  Ten minutes after that he pops down and gives me a full report.
He says that the rod was fine and at first he was not sure what the problem could be but then he poked farther into the machine and noticed………………………wait for it…………………………………. 

He explained there was a wire that someone had pulled loose and then stabilized back with tape and a twist tie rather than really repair it.  It was not always connecting properly, hence the occasional working heat.  He said that he properly repaired it and that should do the trick. I went so far as to confirm that there were no pieces of twine, bread ties, electrical tape or chunks of chewing gum acting as parts in my heater.  He gave me an eyebrow raise, but he answered the question with “No, not to my knowledge.”  In my head I am screaming I WAS RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!
He assured me that he would clarify in his report that the new pressure switch for $196 was probably not necessary.  I guess I will be hosting a final visit from a repairman to remove the new pressure switch and put the old one back on.  I pray they send Newbie back because he apparently has not been inducted into the repairman secret society yet. 
Maybe I should ask him to take a look at the a/c while he is up there.

So I have been vindicated

If this is your first visit to my blog, or you are a regular reader with a bad memory, please re-read the November 10th blogs.  Actually, you can skip the Tootsie Roll rant (unless you too think TRs suck, then go ahead and peruse that one for fun).  The post you should re-read is titled “So I am a Crackpot.”  Go ahead and do that now, I’ll wait…
Actually, I have to go do some stuff now.  You have about four hours to get to that and then I will make a new post explaining my glorious vindication!

So I really want a beer

My kids are in bed.  I cannot leave the house. I am pretty sure it is illegal to leave your kids home alone when they are sleeping (or awake, of course!).  Even if it were not illegal to abandon your children for beer, something in me cannot leave my kids alone while I make a package run.

Making a package run is what we called going to the liquor store when I was in high school. I went to school in CT and in some parts of New England they call the liquor store a “package store”.  Once a boy tried to impress me by bragging that he could get all the liquor he wanted because his dad owned the package store. I had images of the kid breaking into the local Fed Ex and ripping open boxes until he found a potent potable.
I have always had mixed feelings about the phrase “package store”.  On one hand it does sound less crass than liquor store.  However it is ambiguous enough to lead some folks to think you’re acquiring a package of something infinitely worse than booze.  
Generally I just say what I mean and call it the liquor store.  But on nights like this when I want a beer and cannot have it for reasons of legality (just like high school!) it is the package store.  I cannot make a package run because my kids are in bed.  I will not make one tomorrow because I will not think about drinking a beer until my kids are in bed.  I will not make one Friday night because I will be PTAing it up at the Harvest Hoedown.  I will not be able to drink another beer until the Huckle Cat & Lowly Worm have moved out of my house.  Being a mama rarely sucks, but tonight is kind of does.
I’m going to go kiss my sleeping babies to cheer myself up…

So its time for Random Thoughts from Huck

On the way to school Huck breaks through the Wiggles DVD and says “Does Santa speak baby so he will know what [Worm] wants for Christmas?”  I say “Of course!”  He then says “Yeah, but does he speak Japanese?”

What?  Where did Japanese come from?  We don’t know anyone who speaks Japanese.  In fact, we don’t even know anyone who looks Japanese. 

So I was dying to hear what Huck had to say about his sub

When I picked Huck up from school today I immediately asked,”How was your sub today?”  He said, “I think he was stressed out.”

I had to work so hard to hold my laughter in that I think I killed a few brain cells.
So I said “Really? What makes you think he was stressed?” Huck says, “Well a couple of times he went HEY!! in a really annoyed voice.”
He also explained that Mr. Sweaty told them they were going to “mix things up a little today”. “They were REALLY mixed up”, said Huck.  He also reported that the only time Mr. Sweaty wasn’t stressed was at recess.  So I asked if that was because he had fun playing with them at recess.  Huck said, “No, I just didn’t see him that much at recess.”  
That time I did blurt out a laugh before I got myself back under control.
I know I shouldn’t take this much pleasure in what was obviously a very tough day for someone else, but I am.  It didn’t hurt Huck to have an unproductive day.  And I suspect it was quite a learning experience for Mr. Sweaty. I am guiltlessly going to enjoy the mental picture of Mr. Sweaty cowering behind a tree while 19 kindergardeners run around the playground.  I hope he is back tomorrow!

So I stuck around at the school a bit because Huck has a sub

This is not the first time he has had a sub, but this is the first time I felt worried about the sub. Actually, let me clarify, I felt worried FOR the sub.  

I generally pop into Huck’s class around 8:05 after his teacher (Miss J) has had a few minutes to get everyone settled.  She usually can spare me a few minutes to chit-chat at this time because the kids are pretty subdued and are all sitting quietly and working at their tables.  This morning it was chaos!
When I walked in, I saw a large man with a terrified look on his face and sweat running in buckets off his head.  Without even asking if he minded, I dived in.  
First I took a head count. There are currently 19 kids in Huck’s class.  Out of 19 kids, 4 are sitting and working at their tables (Huck was one of these because he is an unequivocal rule follower).  Three are in the hallway, lingering at the water fountain.  Two are standing outside the bathroom, one is in the bathroom.  Two are fighting over a notebook.  One is crying.  Three are playing with the toys that are designated for certain times of day (8:05 is not one of these times).  Two are in the book nook.  And one is nowhere to be found, I shall now nickname this kid Nomad.  He and Huck are big buddies so he is likely to be a blog regular.  
I immediately break up the fight by taking the notebook away. Then I pop right back out the door to round up Nomad.  I know these kids pretty well so I had a good idea where to find this one.  He was right where I expected him to be, so we head back to the classroom. By now the crier has calmed down and the water fountain and bathroom kids are all back in the room.
Next I summon my very best Miss J voice and loudly say “Boys and Girls!  One two three, eyes on me!”  I have heard her say this about 100 times already this year so I know it works.  It does and 38 little eyes are now trained on me.  CRAP! Now that I have their attention, what am I supposed to make them do?  
So I look at Huck and shoot him a “help me!” look.  He just opens up his poetry folder and starts coloring.  So I say, “Everyone sit down and work on your poetry folders.  I am going to pick whoever is the quietest and they can be it for the quiet game.”  Mr. Sweaty looks at me like I have fallen straight from heaven into the classroom.  So I pick a quiet kid and they get started on their game.
Now I have a minute to talk to Mr. Sweaty (and show him where the paper towels are because when I said the sweat was running in buckets I was not exaggerating).  Turns out he has never subbed before.  Gee, really? He was called in because Miss J’s daughter had an unexpected medical emergency (nothing life threatening, but still kind of serious).  He was trying to do the lunch count when I showed up, but he has just realized he didn’t do it quite right and needs to correct his mistake. 
He has asked each kid if they want option 1 (hamburger), option 2 (chicken sandwich) or have brought a lunch box, and has dutifully written a 1, 2, or LB on each little hand.  However, he didn’t record the count for the cafeteria ladies.  
Now that he can reasonably get everyone’s attention he mops his dripping brow and says “If you chose option 1 raise your hand.”  No one raises their hand.  So I say “If Mr. Sweaty (I didn’t actually call him that) wrote a 1 on your hand, hold it up so I can see it.”  This time 14 little hands go up.  Teaching certificate or not, grown men just don’t know how to think like kids.
Nomad is trying to leave the class room again, so I call to him and say “Do you think you could come show Mr. Sweaty how Miss J chooses the class leader and table helpers each day?” Mr. Sweaty and Nomad seem happy with this assignment and they head to the front of the room.  
Meanwhile I round up Worm (who has been surprisingly good this morning) and start to head out.  But on the way out the door something hits me.  I go back in and call to Mr. Sweaty “Hey, the thermostat is on the wall by the sink, partially hidden by the paper towel holder.”  I think he would have hugged me if it wouldn’t have been completely inappropriate.

So a stranger read my blog

How AWESOME IS THAT?  She googled “Sirius 6116 is gone” and found my blog!  She left me a comment about her dismay at having to resort to the sucky kids music channel.  I tried googling “Sirius 6116 is gone” myself and it worked.  It was the third site on the list.  It is weirdly validating.  

So here is a personal note to my unknown reader: Lisa, if you ever read my blog again, thanks!  I do think we should do something about getting Kid Stuff (Sirius 6116) back on dish network. Maybe we could stand outside their windows with boom boxes and blast toddlers singing The Wheels on the Bus until they pay attention to us (anything John Cusack did is cool and worth trying).  I have some particularly annoying children’s CDs that would drive any programming director screaming from the office.  If you want to work out a strategy let me know.

So I extended Huck’s bedtime ritual considerably tonight

My kids go to bed early.  Worm at 6:30 and Huck at 7:00.  I realize this is not the norm, but it is necessary for their health and my sanity.  Tonight I didn’t make it out of Huck’s room until 7:28.  That probably sounds like no big deal to you, but it REALLY is.  

He is 6 years old.  6 year olds need 12 hours of sleep a night.  He will wake up no later than 6:30 tomorrow morning no matter what time he falls asleep.  Since we instituted the 7 p.m. bedtime he has been a noticeably happier & healthier kid.  He truly does not get sick as often.
Worm gets 12 hours at night and at least 2 during the day.  He is 18 months old and has never been on antibiotics.  I have only taken him to the doctor one time outside of well baby visits. I thought he had an ear infection, turns out he was just teething really early.
Sleep is vital for kids, people.  If your kids don’t get enough sleep consider changing that.  The long term benefits are worth the short term hassle. You are not doing them any favors by letting them stay up late. The key is consistency in your routine starting as early in the day as you can.  Our consistency starts at 3 p.m. for Huck (I keep Worm consistent all day since he still naps).  We do pretty much the same thing at the same time from 3 p.m. until lights out, even on weekends as best we can.
Anyway, we hit a snag tonight.  After we brush teeth I turn Huck’s TV to channel 6116 Sirius Kids Music, we listen to this while we read books and I leave it on all night for him.  But tonight it WASN’T THERE!  There was no channel 6116!  
He began to cry.  Huck in crying mode, especially at bedtime, is very hard to recover from.  It can last hours if you don’t nip it in the bud.  I scurried around and found an alternate kid music channel.  Then, to distract him I read two chapters from a new book and two chapters from another new book (he likes to have several stories going at once just like me).  He is not stupid. He can hear the music in the background and he knows it sucks.  It’s the kind of music that gives kid music a bad reputation. He may not be sophisticated, but he knows crap when he hears it.  
It is now 7:14 p.m.  Normally I would do the kissing & hugging thing and walk out of his room, but he is on the verge of tears.  So I lay down next to him and we tell each other a silly story.
It is now 7:25 p.m.  He is looking iffy and I think I hear Raffi coming from the T.V.  Raffi?  Is this 1983?  Okay, I cannot let my kid fall asleep to “Baby Beluga”.  Seriously, I consider it child abuse.  So I do the unthinkable, I let him play with my hair.
It is now 7:28 p.m.  I cannot take the hair twirling any longer.  Three minutes of having my hair messed with is like three minutes of the emergency broadcasting test signal.  I just pray for it to be over from the first second and it never gets any more bearable.
I peel myself away and assure him I will figure out a solution.  I suppose I will call Dish Network tomorrow and see what happened.  I hope the channel is not gone for good. We have considered switching back to cable in the past.  If there is a decent kids music channel on their line-up they will probably have a new customer by the end of the week.

So I had a funny conversation with Huck

Huck thinks like me.  He has odd logic, flight of thought, wild theories and I LOVE IT!  

Tonight at dinner he says, “Rhinos always look like they are smiling, even when they frown.” Then he demonstrates a rhino frowning (see photo).  I never realized how hard it was to frown with the upper half of your face and smile with the lower half.  You read lines in books that say something like “the smile didn’t reach his eyes.” Previously I would have thought of that as just an insincere smile.  Now and forever I will think of it as a Rhino Smile (also a good nickname, any takers?)

So I checked the poll again

I think that more than 2 votes per visitor have been allowed.  It is now up to 12 votes and I am pretty sure I don’t have 6 regular readers.  It looks like Dumptruck in pulling ahead.  All I have to say is: Hubby, you must have made my readers really mad at some point.

I would like to point out I did say hubby could suck up to me and I would ignore the poll results and go with the name he prefers (Catfish – whiskers, white belly, smells gross – I think it suits you).  In case you need help, here are the things that qualify as sucking up to me: Buying me those Ugg sweater boots (light brown NOT purple), buying me an awesome new laptop, unexpectedly taking me out of the house without the children (and I don’t mean a tour of the backyard – I mean you plan childcare and take me somewhere for several hours or even days)… oh hell, I would settle for a six-pack of Sam Adam’s light and box of Hot Tamales.  This is why I should never run for public office.  

Since the poll ends before Christmas and hubby is not likely to do these things I am tempted to drop the poll and begin calling him Dumptruck.  However, I will keep it going.  I suspect my two regular readers will continue to skew to results toward Dumptruck.  At least I am giving him a chance.

So I’m still feeling like a whack-a-doodle

Worm did give the heater repairman the baby evil eye, so there’s still hope for him.

Apparently the repairman underground knows I am on to them.  Today our “control panel” needed to be replaced to the tune of $300.  I am afraid to say more for fear they will sneak in at night and switch my clean filters for dirty ones.
If I start finding Tootsie Roll wrappers strewn about my yard I’ll send out a secret signal to let you know the kids and I have moved to a safe house.  All I can say is it is located in a moderate climate where space heaters and box fans will get you comfortably through any season.

So I fed Worm a Tootsie Roll

So I am a crackpot

If you didn’t already think I was cracked after the Tootsie Roll rant, let me convince you of my whack-a-doodleness with my “Heater/Air Conditioner Repair Man Conspiracy Theory”.

Every winter when we first turn on our heat, it does not work properly.  I call a repair man.  He fixes a “loose wire”.  It works perfectly.
Every summer when we first turn on our A/C, it does not work properly.  I call a repair man. He fixes a “loose wire”. It works perfectly.
So I now think that all the heat & a/c repair men in Northwest Arkansas have a racket where they mess with the a/c wires when they fix the heater and then mess with the heater wires when they come back to fix the a/c.
Anyone want to come live with me on my compound?  I have a bunker full of semi-automatics and a pitcher of electric kool-aid.

So I was thinking about Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie Rolls suck.  

When I sorted the halloween candy this year, I divided it into two piles.  
Chocolate and everything else.  
When Huck saw this he said there was chocolate in the wrong pile.  I went to investigate and he indicated that there were Tootsie Rolls in the non-chocolate pile.  I explained that Tootsie Rolls are not chocolate, they are just chewy things that are supposed to be chocolate flavored.
Funnily enough, I had the exact same conversation with hubby a few days later.  Is it a male thing that they don’t know the difference between chocolate and weird poser candy?
Here is why Tootsie Rolls suck:
– they pretend to be chocolate, but they aren’t creamy and delicious
– they pretend to be caramels, but they aren’t buttery and delicious
– they look like cat turds 
What has brought on this Tootsie Rolls rant you ask?  
The halloween candy is all picked over and there is no more chocolate.
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