Saturday, January 30, 2010

Goldfish Refugees

My last post was my 100th blog entry! If I had noticed earlier, I would have written something special and commemorative, but oh well.

This week was both good and draining. The highlight of this week was the "Celebration of Education" on Wednesday. Students at my school who have a 3.0 or above are invited to this annual event, and it is huge. It's held both inside and outside the cafeteria, with carnival type games, food, and prizes. This years theme was Hawaiian, so the whole cafeteria was decked out like a luau, and the games had names like "Pineapple Crush" and "Tiki Ring Toss." Students also played the Limbo and several other games that I'm forgetting.

My favorite game was the Cake Walk. A lot of us teachers donated cakes for the Cake Walk, and Clint's mom volunteered to make me a cake to contribute. I told her to "keep it simple," but she doesn't know how to keep things simple (bless her heart, lol). She made the most wonderful cake that had an entire beach scene; complete with palm trees, an ocean, and a surfer-dude relaxing on a hammock. Before the Cake Walk even began, students were arguing over that particular cake, claiming that they were going to be the one to win it. Much to my thrill, one of my own students won the very first round. There were about 35 cakes, so it was quite a compliment to Clint's mom to have hers chosen first.

My least favorite game was "Hootie and the Blowfish." This game is an annual tradition which the school absolutely refuses to do-away with. In this game, students stand on opposite ends of a clear plastic tube--a sort of 'giant straw.' A live goldfish is placed into the straw, and each student has to blow on his end as hard as possible. The object of the game is to blow the goldfish into the mouth of your opponent, thus being the victor. The problem is that the game has only three possible outcomes:

1. Both participants blow equally as hard so the goldfish remains stranded in the middle of the straw until a "tie" is declared,
2. the goldfish gets blown into the opponents mouth, and the opponent winds up swallowing the fish, or
3. the goldfish gets blown into the opponent's mouth, and the opponent's body protests against the slimy wiggly thing going down his throat, thus gagging it up, resulting in a goldfish flopping around in vomit on the cold floor.

Unfortunately, outcome number three is the most common. The game is extremely popular with the middle-schoolers; they find it hilarious and exceedingly entertaining. But I find the whole game revolting. I'm not a tree-hugger or anything, but it just makes me sick to my stomach when animals are being used for some kind of morbid entertainment--even if they are just goldfish.

Luckily, I didn't have to watch the Hootie and the Blowfish game this time around, because I worked the snack bar the whole night. It was chaotic and incredibly fun--the night flew by so fast. Once the evening came to an end, me and another teacher were exiting the cafeteria when I saw a kiddie pool, outside in the dark, full of all the surviving goldfish. ASB students were scooping them into a cup, getting ready to throw them out. Well, one thing led to another, and I now have 22 new goldfish (which, by the way, was a lot of fun to transport home). I put them in our pond, and I expected about half of them to die, but so far we've only had one fatality. It's been three days now and they seem to be doing great. This morning when I fed them, they were going crazy gobbling down the food.

We also had our Aces Breakfast yesterday. As usual, me and my two teaching buddies cooked breakfast for our "A" students, but unlike last quarter's mayhem, everything came out perfect. No burnt eggs, no electrical shorts. After school yesterday I spent two hours creating sub plans for Monday and Tuesday. They shouldn't take this long, but I'm a worry-wart when it comes to leaving my students in the hands of someone else, especially for two days in a row. But I might as well get used to it, because I'm going to have to create sub plans for every Monday and Tuesday during the month of February for my long-anticipated GATE certification training.

Today Clint received his blue belt in kickboxing! I am so proud of him. The test was a grueling two-and-a-half hours long...I can't even imagine. Clint literally (and I do mean literally) lost five pounds after testing...all in water-weight, of course. That five pounds will reappear again in the next few days. I was supposed to test too, but I couldn't get my contact in my left eye due to the infection, and you are not allowed to wear glasses during the test. I'm not going to lie though; I'm relieved that I dodged that bullet. Now I don't have to think about it again for another two months. The kids also moved up in belts for karate; Elijah to orange, and Trinity to green.

Today we worked more on the backsplash in our kitchen. All of the stone tiles have been applied, so tomorrow we will work on grouting. It's coming along beautifully so far--I can't wait to see the final product. We went to Lowes today and picked up some new cover plates for all of our plugs and switches, so now instead of being white, they will be "satin nickle," which blends much more nicely into the natural stone. We also picked out a new sink, but we're not going to purchase it until the backsplash is finished. Our current sink is off-white and full of gross stains, so I can't wait to say goodbye to that thing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today's Special: Nit-Picky Platter

I never intended to write two posts in one day, but to be fair, the first post was actually sometime right after midnight last night, so I don't really count that as "today."

As I mentioned in my previous post, tonight was our night to host our weekly family dinner. Lately it has become exceedingly more and more difficult to plan meals, because everyone in Clint's family are on this or that diet or are going organic or are eating only detox-happy foods or whatever. Well, today we received a text from Clint's mom regarding tonight's dinner. It does such a great job of illustrating my aforementioned point that I couldn't resist sharing it. Here's the text, word for word:
Moo and Mike are coming over to your house tonight to visit but not eat because Moo can't eat after 3:30. I will bring my own dinner because I can only have a piece of fruit. You will only have to cook for you guys and Dad but we will all be there. Love you!

Haha--I love it! Need I say more?

P.S. We decided on sub sandwiches. Later I discovered Moo can't eat after 3:30 because she has her morning sickness at night and Mike decided to go 100% organic. I give the organic thing about two weeks before it fizzles out.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Concrete Chunks & Plaster Dust

This weekend we decided to start re-tiling our kitchen counters and installing a back-splash. The funny thing is neither Clint or I have any idea what we're doing. We both have no prior experience with this sort of renovation. In spite of this fact, this morning we decided to just "go for it" and we began demolition of our current tile (after all, it takes very little expertise to understand the fundamentals of smashing stuff). I'm really happy with our progress so far; everything looks really good and smashed with plaster and drywall everywhere, like the way it should look after Day 1. But now we're not sure what to do tomorrow. We'll probably just hop online and hopefully find some kind of "Tiling for Dummies" site.

Overall, I'm feeling very positive about the whole project. We went to Lowes yesterday to get all of our supplies, and had a very competent worker help us gather everything we need. She must have spent over a half hour with us. Plus I love the demolition phase, because it cements the project in stone. Translation: There's no going back now!

Tomorrow it's our turn to host dinner. I'm sure Clint's family is going to love eating amidst concrete chunks and plaster dust.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Second Baby Bliss

We were shopping at Lowes today when Clinton's sister called and announced that she was pregnant! I am so thrilled! My response to this news was such a joyous burst that a worker two aisles away could hear me loud and clear (this was evident because later she approached and jokingly stated, "So are you sure she's pregnant?").

But when you hear my reasons for being thrilled over this news, you'll realize how lowly and small of a person I am.

The thing is, brand new parents get under my skin. They fawn and dote over that first child like he or she is God's gift to creation (which I guess technically is true, right?). They ooh and ahhh over every menial thing that the baby does--I mean, I get it, it's cute that your little butterball just blew some bubbles, but I'm sorry, that doesn't make him a genius. Furthermore, new parents' entire universe is absorbed by the fact that they now have a baby, always buying the latest trendy products and tip-toeing around the baby's schedule and trying to do everything exactly perfect.

But once parents embark on that second-child journey, this dreamy new-parent syndrome tends to fizzle out. From my experience, parents who have that second child completely relax with the whole parenting role. Especially when they have two little ones close in age...they just sort of go into survival mode where just about anything goes. Their houses are always messy, they no longer tiptoe around the baby's schedule because now they have a toddler running around wreaking havoc, and they're too perpetually drained to ooh and ahhh over their cherub's every little action. I love second-time-around parents. They're so much more down-to-earth and over the whole "let's make our baby the center of our universe" phenomenon. They don't care about the latest research regarding parenting, they don't care about being perfect; they just want a nap.

I do care about Clint's sister, so trust me when I say that I'm not proud of the way I feel about this. I wish I was more into the miracle of babies. Don't get me wrong, I applauded all of Trinity's and Elijah's milestones, but geez people, learn to draw a line. I am just so over moms' entire identities being centered around their kids. I love my kids more than I can even describe, and if it ever came down to it I would lay down everything I am to protect them, but I still recognize the value of having a life that doesn't necessarily revolve around them. As far as I'm concerned, all of this fawning and doting over our kids is doing nothing more than creating a bunch of self-entitled generation me-ers.

So in summation, I am very excited about my sister-in-law's pregnancy. But I'm also a self-seeking brat. Shame on me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lightening Thief

I finished reading Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan last night. Although this novel isn't incredibly deep, I have to say that it was extremely entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The story begins with Percy Jackson, a twelve year old adolescent living in a private boarding school for troubled youth. Not only does Percy's so-called dyslexia and ADHD cause him to be a failure in academics, but "trouble" seems to follow him everywhere he goes. The only people Percy feels he can trust are his best friend Grover, and his strangely intuitive Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner.

When the novel begins, Percy and his classmates are on their way to Manhattan on a school field trip to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While eating lunch, Percy gets unfairly singled-out and escorted away by his pre-algebra teacher, Mrs. Dodds (who has had some kind of vendetta against him all year). But when Percy tries to quickly accept whatever punishment is coming his way, Mrs. Dodds turns into an evil, leathery-winged creature (a "fury," so we learn later on) and tries to kill him. With the help of Mr. Brunner, Percy manages to overcome her. But shortly after the incident, no one in the school, including Mr. Brunner, has any recollection of a "Mrs. Dodds" ever existing. Percy now knows something very strange is going on.

From this point, Percy is catapulted into an extraordinary adventure in which he slowly learns exactly who, and what, he is: a "half-blood"--that is, a half mortal, half god. With the help of Grover (who is actually a satyr) and Mr. Brunner (who is actually a centaur), Percy begins to piece together the mystery of his past, and determines what he needs to do to save the gods on Olympus from waging a war so violent that it will effect all of mankind.
I don't want to give any more details for fear of ruining the book for anyone planning to read it, so I'll just launch back into my opinion. As far as negative critique, the plot-line in the beginning of the story is the all-too-familiar "ordinary boy discovers he is so much more" phenomenon, which is pretty over-used. Also, the heroine of the story, Annabeth, was slightly on the cookie-cutter side for me. In the development of her character, I think the author missed an opportunity to make her so much more quirky and unique. Lastly, some of the Greek gods' histories and personalities were taken a touch too literally (you'll see what I mean if/when you read the book).

On the positive side, the book was fresh and funny, containing chapters with titles such as "I Accidentally Vaporize my Pre-Algebra Teacher" and "I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom." Some of the scenes within the book might have been a little dark and disturbing (such as when the characters travel to the Underworld), but Riordan injects enough humor and witticism within the story to stave off any shadows. Percy, the hero, is down-to-earth and lovable. The ending is satisfying with all loose ends tied, save for one deeper plot strand that the author intends to continue through his next four installments. And best of all, the book teaches the reader a LOT about Greek mythology via a highly engaging story.

Overall, I would say that the book is probably not going to enter the world of literary marvels anytime soon, but it is an incredibly enjoyable read that I would have no qualms recommending to anyone I know. Tonight I am starting the next book in the series, Sea of Monsters. Can't wait. =)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Five-Day Weekend

I have really enjoyed my extended weekend so far! Clint was off this weekend, which generally never happens. He has been stuck on a graveyard schedule with Tuesdays and Wednesdays as his days off for over a year now, so it is a rare treat to actually have an entire weekend with him. We have spent the entire weekend shopping, going out to eat, having movie nights, and playing Super Mario Bro's. Last night we had a movie night with the kids, complete with "real" popcorn (made from the popcorn machine) and Lemonheads. We watched the movie "Up," which was very original and cute (though some portions of the movie were a tiny bit sad). Later last night we attempted to tackle the rest of world 7 of Mario, but got so hysterically silly with each other that I was actually crying. We had to pause the game several times just to get control over ourselves.

This morning we went to church. I've been bad about going to church lately because Clint sleeps during the day on Sundays, and I tend to drag when it's just me getting the kids ready by myself. Also, we recently changed to a new church, and I don't quite feel comfortable enough yet to go by myself with any regularity. It was ironic though, because I had told Clint several times that the reason I wasn't going to church was because I just didn't feel very welcomed there. So of course, when we show up today, everyone and their mother welcomes us and acts all warm and friendly. Clint kept looking at me, like, "Oh really? Not welcoming, huh?!" It was pretty amusing.

Tomorrow is a holiday, so I have one more day off. Clint decided to call in sick tonight so we can stretch our time off together for a little longer. Yay for shirking adult responsibilities.


Lost Post from March Something, 2010 (Long Story)

I'm so out of breath! The song "Shake It" by Metro Station just came on, which every time that happens, my hips and butt start swaying and jiggling in a way that's quite beyond my control. So as soon as the song came on, I hollered, "Trinity! Come out and dance with me!" She came running down the hall, hollering back, "Okay Mom! Here I come!" Then we proceeded to dance like wild crazy people. If I'm this out of breath after just one song, that tells me that I'm losing the edge that I had when I was in kickboxing. I still get a little pang in my stomach when I think about kickboxing. Sometimes I wonder if quitting was a mistake. But then all I have to do is remind myself how horrible I was at it, and I feel somewhat better about the decision.

Last night I squeezed in one more visit with Kristyn before she headed back to Texas with her aunt. Kristyn and Shannon came over to my house for couple of hours, and then we went to Carrows for dinner. Just like our previous visit earlier this week, I loved getting to see her again! We had great conversations, although my voice was really crummy, so I let Shan and Kristyn do the majority of the talking. Nothing quite like being "forced" to be a good listener. =) After reuniting with my "long lost friend," I can honestly say that I am going to miss her for the next couple of years. She does plan on moving back to the High Desert when she finishes the master's program, so at least that is something to look forward to.

Today Clint and I updated our disaster survival kit. Like many other Californians, we decided to "take the hint" and get ourselves prepared for a potential earthquake. Plus, being someone who believes in God, after the little 4.4 earthquake in L.A., I got to pondering, if God wanted to warn people that there was an impending large earthquake hovering in our near-future, how might he send that message? I actually asked three different people this question, and they all replied with the same answer, "He'd send little earthquakes." Of course, I'd hardly call the quakes in Haiti and Chile "little," but you get the point. Even from a non-religious standpoint though, it's just common sense for Californians to prepare themselves for what many would consider the inevitable. So in addition to what we previously already had in our kit, we bought two 30 gallon jugs and filled them with water. We rotated the food in our two metal boxes and added a few more supplies. Clint also added two rifles, three handguns, and approximately 2000 rounds of ammo into our earthquake know, just your everyday, practical stuff (yes, I do realize my husband is nuts).

Today was my first official day of spring break, and I'm loving it so far! Today Clint and I lounged around the house until almost 1:00, watching Ghostbusters 1 and Ghostbusters 2. Later we went to La Casita for lunch, came home, worked on our survival kit, cleaned out the pantry, and now we're getting ready to watch New Moon. Trin and I have already seen the movie, but Clint hasn't, and he wants to watch it before Eclipse comes out. So we rented the movie from Red Box for a dollar, and now we're going to have a movie night. I'm already getting excited to gorge myself with popcorn and hot tamales.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happiest Place on Earth...for the Most Part

Disneyland yesterday was "almost" everything I imagined it to be! Here is a very LONG tower of pictures. =)

The weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday, and the entire day was a lot of fun, except for a few minor details. For example, the first ride that Elijah had his heart set on was the Haunted Mansion, but it turned out to be closed because they were taking down the "Nightmare Before Christmas" decorations. That wasn't too big of a deal though, because we headed right to the Pirates of the Caribbean after learning that the mansion was closed, and Elijah absolutely loved that ride. After Pirates, we headed toward Splash Mountain, and we had been in line for about five minutes when they announced that they had to close down that ride for mechanical difficulties. Thank goodness that we had only waited for a few minutes, but still--it was a bit of a bumpy start to our day.
After that, the day dramatically improved. The lines were incredibly short, with the longest wait being about twenty minutes. We went on Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean (twice), Thunder Mountain, Buzz Lightyear (twice), Space Mountain (twice), Finding Nemo, Small World, Matterhorn, Gadget's Go Coaster, the Rockets, Autotopia...and so on.

The only other thing that got under my skin yesterday was lunch. Clint's mom said she was bringing lunch for all of us, which was actually really nice. But I assumed she was going to bring smaller ice chests that we could put into the lockers, that way we wouldn't have to leave the park at lunchtime. Instead she brought a giant ice chest that had to be left in the car. So when it was time for lunch, we had to completely leave the park, get on the tram, and walk all the way back to the car which was parked inside of a big parking structure. It was a LONG walk (at least a mile there and back), and the whole lunchtime process gobbled up about an hour-and-a-half of our day. But what bothered me the most was the fact that it was so beautiful and sunny, yet we were stuck eating Elijah's birthday lunch sitting on cement in a dark parking structure. It was downright dreary. Again, I didn't blame Teri for this--bless her heart for making all of us lunch! Plus I think it was one of those things that only I felt perturbed about. I had this image of Elijah blowing out his candles and opening his presents in a sunny picnic area under a blue sky, or in a cute Disney cafe with Mickey ears on his head, not in a dingy building underground. And unfortunately I get really irritated when my little idealistic visions don't get realized. But once we went back into the park, everything was bright and cheery again.
Overall the day was great, and Elijah has been beaming from ear-to-ear today and is still bubbling with enthusiasm over his birthday. I, on the otherhand, am exhausted.
I can't believe my baby is six years old. I can't take it. I wish time would just freeze right here. I don't want my little guy to ever become too cool and manly to wrap his scrawny little arms and legs around my body in his tight bear hugs, giggling the whole while and telling me that I'm silly, or pretty, or that he loves me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What the Beep?

Tomorrow were taking Elijah to Disneyland for his birthday. I am so excited! Not to go to Disneyland, per say, because I've already been there a gazillion times. I'm just so excited to take Elijah. He has only gone once before, but he was a baby, so he doesn't remember anything about it. Tomorrow he turns six years old, so he is finally at a perfect age to really enjoy amusement parks (especially the "happiest place on earth!"). I can't wait to see his reaction to the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, Finding Nemo, etc. Clint's family is going with us as well, which makes things even better for us, because it means we can pass the kids over to 'Nanny and Papa' for a little while and hit some of the big rides (Clint has already said that he's not leaving Disneyland until he's ridden Space Mountain). Plus the whole day will feel more special for Elijah, having everyone there.

Yesterday at work, the fire alarm went off (unscheduled again), so I began the process of evacuating my students from the classroom. I was just lining them up outside when it was announced over the intercom that it was a false alarm and students could return to class. So we all filed back inside, having lost only a couple minutes of instructional big deal, right? Except for the school could not get the alarm to turn off! So it went on, and on, and ON. It was ear piercing and LOUD. Luckily it only beeped two times about every ten seconds, so I just squeezed in my lesson into those little pockets of available time: "Erika, on question three, what--" BEEP BEEP-- "word is an adjective?" And then Erika would respond with, "I know that--" BEEP BEEP-- "'harsh' is an adjective, but I'm not sure--" BEEP BEEP-- "about the word 'some.'" On it went, until I finally complained to the class that they must be using some pretty foul language, because half of their speech was getting beeped out. Of course the class thought this was hysterical, and now the beeps took on a whole new meaning, so no one could even get through another question while keeping a straight face. The whole situation was so funny, even though it resulted in 4th period falling behind.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Girly Complaints

Yesterday was rough. I woke up with pink-eye again. I wish I could figure out why I have such wussy eyeballs. Just opening the curtains yesterday was enough to get me to shield my eyes and yelp like a wounded vampire. On top of that, Aunt Tidal Wave (Aunt Flow's evil twin) decided to pay me a visit, and along with her came cramps so excruciating that I was forced into a self-induced coma (in other words, I made myself take an un-needed nap just to escape).

In addition, the muscles in my side and stomach area were in agony yesterday from Thursday's kickboxing workout. The dojo was closed for a couple weeks during the holidays, and Thursday was my first day back. Sensei Brandon had us do these circular-crunch-thingies, along with these leg-swinging-thingies, and both really tore up my stomach and side muscles after they had been on break for so long. For some reason, I felt only mildly sore on Friday, but by Saturday I felt like I had just been in labor for 17 hours...and yes, I do have a basis for comparison.

Today I woke up feeling 100% better and am no longer shuffling around the house like an old lady. =)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hug a Book--It's Like a Tree =)

Upon a friend's recommendation (thanks Kristyn!), I decided to enter the "2010 Busy Bookworm Challenge." I'm excited because, as it stands, I already read quite a bit, but now instead of feeling like a lazy slug every time I'm reading, I can feel like I'm actually accomplishing something. I decided for this first challenge I'm going to try to tackle one book a month. Here's my list:

1. Kiterunner by Khaled Hosseini
2. Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan Review
3. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan Review
4. The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan Review
5. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan Review
6. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
7. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Review (sort of)

9. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
10. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
11. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
12. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Technically the first item on my list, "Kiterunner," might be cheating, because I finished reading that novel before I knew about this challenge. But I just finished it a couple of days ago, and I read the book in January, so I figure it probably counts. Items 2 through 6 are titles that are part of the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series, and originally I had included only the first book on my list because I didn't want nearly half of my list swallowed up by one series. But Clinton advised me to put all five of them on the list, stating that it was really difficult to stop at just the first novel. Plus I really want to get through as much of the series as possible before the movie comes out.

Most of my other chosen books (with the exception of Kaffir Boy) are classics that, for whatever reason, I never read growing up, so I would love to be able to read them now (better late then never). My other strategy for choosing these books was I tried to consider those enduring literary titles that would make a good addition to my classroom library as soon as I'm finished with them.
*Off-list books completed (updated 11/24/10):
  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey
  • The Capture by Kathryn Lasky
  • The Lone Wolf by Kathryn Lasky

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Say No to Mancaves

Quick New Year's Resolution Update:

At this point my cussing jar only has $1.25 in it, which I think is a pretty good start.  The first two quarters were honest-to-goodness slip-ups.  The third quarter I was aware that I was cussing, but I didn't think the kids could hear me.  Clint and I were playfully bantering, and I called him an ass.  Then Trinity hollered from her bedroom in her best tattle voice, "Mooooooom!  You just said the 'a' word!"  Still bantering with Clint, I said, "See, you just cost me another damn quarter, but it was fucking worth it."  Hence quarter #4 and quarter #5.  

As far as my writing resolution, I went through and edited my Watermelon Tree manuscript, although many more revisions still need to be made before I will consider sending it in.  I also hunted down all of my older written work from our ancient home computer and moved all of it into a new folder on my laptop, in case I decide I want to play around with any of it later.  I'm still reading the children's publishing guide--unfortunately, I didn't reach my goal of finishing the whole book before I started back to work (work started back up this Monday), but I'm about half way through.  I got side-tracked by the book Kite Runner, the novel one of my honor's students had asked me to read.

One major thing I did toward my writing resolution was I talked Clint into creating a space for me to work in.  In my publishing guide, it stated that it is absolutely essential for aspiring writers to have a quiet work space of their own.  This was bad news for me, because up until this point, I had been doing all of my grading, etc., at my dining room table.  We have a fourth bedroom that was "supposed" to be designated as an office, but I made the mistake of letting Clint claim that room for himself when we first moved in, and he pretty much turned it into a crammed area full of kickboxing and karate paraphernalia.  There was a desk in there, but it was way too small, with the majority of it eaten up by our home computer, which ironically, never gets used.

So the day after Christmas, I went on Craig's List and looked up loft beds with built in work stations.  I found a perfect one in Victorville for $100: a full-sized pine loft bed with a huge workstation underneath (I'll post a pic as soon as I take one).  Talking Clint into it was easy.  I opted not to tell him my real reasons for wanting the loft bed (until later), because I'm not going to lie, I have always gotten a vibe from Clint that he doesn't take the whole writing thing seriously (he wouldn't even read my True Story article until it was actually published....I've already told him that if I do ever get a book published, "don't expect to find your name on the dedication page," but this is a whole different topic so let me get back on track).  I simply told Clint that as a teacher, I really needed a quiet, more isolated place to grade uninterrupted.  Also, having the loft bed would be such an asset for us, because not only would we have a place for my sister to sleep when she's snowed out of the mountains or evacuated due to fires, but Clint would no longer have to sleep in the closet on the weekends anymore.  He was immediately convinced; 100 bucks was a small price to pay to gain an entire sleeping/working space. 

We drove to the seller's house that night and picked up the bed.  It was in a gazillion pieces, so it took Clinton about half of a day to put it together.  It is a ridiculous monstrosity that takes up over half of the room, but I love it.  I've already put my writing resource books on the shelves, along with two reading lamps.  I'm going to bring home some essentials from my classroom (pens, post-its, paperclips, etc.) to make it a true home office. 

Sometime after Clint put the bed together, I figured it was safe to tell him my true motive for wanting the loft bed.  I showed him the line in my book where it states that I need to get my own workspace, "and if you don't insist on it, you won't get it!"  (so claims the book).  He just rolled his eyes and smirked.

One lesson I've learned is to NEVER give men the spare room.  In the few homes we've lived in that actually have had an extra room, I've forked it over to Clint every time.  He always just automatically claims it, as if just because he has balls he is entitled to his own man cave (I work my ass off.  Where's my damn cave?  Where is my hide-out where I can get away from the world?).  No more.  He has no concept of how to lay out his own space, and it turns into a worthless storage area crammed with crap.  The era of "personal space for hubby" is gone forever...good riddance.   

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No Mommy, Anything but the Bed!

My kids refuse to sleep in a bed.  For some reason, a soft mattress can't seem to compete with the appeal of the not-so-soft floor.  They've been like this for years.  Every night I try putting them to sleep in an actual bed, but within minutes, they wiggle their way to the floor.  I find it ironic that one basic requirement of CPS is to provide a mattress for your children to sleep on (or else you're considered to be negligent in meeting your children's basic needs), yet our kids refuse to use the lovely beds we provide for them.  I mean, Elijah's bed even has a friggen' slide--come on!  CPS would have a field day with us, coming into our house in the middle of the night to find our children asleep in the hallway, or in a closet, or in a laundry basket, or on a computer chair, or on a table (as I once found Trin a few months ago).  Clint has pointed out more than once how well our kids would do sleeping in a third world country where mattresses are considered a luxury. 

So on Sunday night, I put the kids to bed (or more accurately, "to floor") and they wouldn't stop talking to each other, even though they were in seperate rooms.  I really needed them to go to sleep because Monday was their first day back to school, and I had already tried several threatening tactics to get them to stop yacking.  Finally, I pulled out the big guns and told them firmly, "The next time I hear a peep out of either one of you, I'm going to make you two sleep in your beds!"  They were dead-quiet for the rest of the night.  This strategy worked out last night as well.  Now why didn't the parenting handbook ever tell us that you can make your kids bend to your will simply by threatening them with their own beds?

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Slumber Party

I had such an amazing New Year's that words can't even describe how fun it was.  I'm still coming down from my New Year's high.

We spent New Year's Eve at a small get-together in the mountains at my sister's house.  We all agreed in advanced to stay the night, that way we didn't have to worry about driving off a mountain in the dark and possibly (eh-hem--probably) intoxicated.  The people there included: Shannon and Jeremy, Julie and Ryan (long-enduring friends from high school), "Little Shannon" (as we called her as kids because she's three years younger than us; our moms bartended together when we were young), Sarah, my dad, and of course me and Clint.  Shan's father-in-law, Frank, joined us this morning for some breakfast and Wii support, for lack of a better explanation.

When we first got to Shannon's house, we all hung out for awhile, eating yummy food and drinking these delicious lemon drop shots that my sister kept incorrectly making.  Soon after, about half of us started a game of Texas Hold em', which lasted for a few hours and was a terribly silly game because 90% of us were already feeling pretty loopy.  After poker, the kids had put together a karyoke concert for the adults, and given that they had created tickets for us and everything, we had to attend their concert.  At the end of the third number, we realized we only had fifty-some seconds left before the new year.  We all ran upstairs to the outdoor balcony in this blurry, chaotic frenzy, shoving pans and banging utensils into the kids' hands.  That was one of the most memorable moments for me; The count down.  I remember shouting "10!...9!...8!...." while feeling mesmerorized by the beautiful pine trees surrounding us, their tall statures illuminated by the bright blue moon (which, by the way, looked like an ordinary moon and wasn't even remotely "blue," but apparently it was special). 

After the countdown, we came in and started up a game of Cranium.  The molding clay was dried out and unusable, but luckily we were able to use my neice Samantha's "Floam" for our sculpting needs.  During Cranium, Shannon and Julie were partners, Little Shannon and Ryan, and me and Sarah.  With the exception of Julie, no one seemed to be taking the game very seriously, although we were really trying.  I learned that Little Shannon is an excellent sculpter, but Ryan is a terrible guesser.  At one point she had to sculpt "Humpty Dumpty," and you couldn't have asked for a better model egg sitting on a wall.  But he couldn't figure it out.  In the end, Julie and Shannon won the game, and me and Sarah were a very close second.  They were tough competitors.

After Cranium, a few people decided to go to bed (it was already 2:30 a.m.), while the rest of us stayed up to watch Hangover.  The movie has many raunchy scenes, which I don't normally care for in movies, but it was hysterically funny and I am already eager to watch it again.  I was laughing so hard that my sides were literally beginning to hurt.

We eventually went to bed and "sort of" slept.  I slept on the floor of the downstairs media room, which was surprisingly comfortable (the carpet is thick and soft).  I think I would have slept pretty good, except for Samantha had a tooth-ache and kept waking me up.  Also, Shannon's psychotic, overly dependent cat who happens to have attachment issues was staring at me in the middle of the night, and at one point was pawing my head. 

This morning I woke up to good smells wafting through the house.  Shannon and Jeremy had made everyone eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, and coffee for breakfast.  You would think that I would've walked upstairs to a group of bleary-eyed, hungover people, but everyone was talkative and in good spirits.  After breakfast we started playing Wii.  I don't remember much about this except for Frank kept shouting "Bubble!  Bubble!!" over and over.  After Wii, we plugged in Trin's karyoke machine to the upstairs T.V. and everyone enjoyed some "sober karyoke" (smashing your hands over your ears counts as "enjoying," right?).  For some crazy reason, even though we were all in our jammies and completely sleep-deprived, running on coffee fumes, this morning was just as fun as last night.  I didn't want to go home today.  I would have been perfectly content staying at Shan's house all day.

But of course, going home was an inevitability.  When we got home, we discovered that Moses was fenced in at our neighbor's house.  Our neighbors have eight kids, and four of them were outside playing with our dog.  It was quite the scene.  Our front yard was torn apart; our peppermint candy decorations were knocked over, our solar lights were torn out, and there were giant bear prints (okay, dog prints, but same diff with this dog!) going into our pond.  We found out right away from a different neighbor that Moses had busted out of the yard this morning and waited for hours in our front yard for Clint and I to come home.  This neighbor said that he thought that Moses was on a chain, because he was like a statue in the front yard, sitting there, refusing to budge.  He said that he had never seen anything quite like it and was very impressed by how disciplined our dog was, not to take off.  Of course, this was before Moses finally gave up on us and wreaked havoc in our yard.  All in all, there were three different sets of neighbors who played a role in trying to get our dog under control before the kids across the street finally housed him in their yard until we got home.  Alexis, the oldest, was so sweet.  She told me "We knew we had to keep Moses safe until you got home, because we know how much you love that dog."  Ever since Moses' antics, I have been showering him with affection.  He's asleep at my feet now, content that his family is home.  I guess next time I decide to leave for two days, I'll either have to take him with or get him a dog-sitter.

I guess I had better end this very long and rambly entry now.  Happy 2010!