Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When being poor sucks more

Being poor always sucks, but some weeks more than usual.
When we heard the van needed a brake job, we didn't get it at first and the DM told me to research new ones. I did, and then he changed his mind. He thought they were 1/2 what they actually cost. Oy. So now the piece of go-se van is in the shop, getting several months of car payments poured into it's brakes.
It's the week we had to pay for camp for the eldest two, too. Now, our church has camperships and money is never a reason for a kid to miss camp. Unless they have a foolishly proud parent. The DMs rule is we have to pay 1/2, and if we can't they don't go.  (Yes, I sometimes " take care of " a camp when I *know* we don't have that 1/2. )
So this week I'm brushing my teeth with baking soda so the rest of the family can use toothpaste and it will still last all week. And filling the old 32 oz yogurt cup we put the ends of bars of soap into with water to make soap sludge to wash the laundry with. And thanking God I can hang laundry, and that my neighbour sent over two dozen eggs because OMG YAYS not having to buy more eggs means I can buy tampons, even though I feel guilty when I use them instead of the pads I made from the cloth diapers we used to put on our kids. (But, exercise and all).
I'll never bother with the lottery (more throwing good money after bad) but when we bought our new stove we entered a contest to win $2500 . And I entered a thing on Target to win a $500 gift card, and it also seems that since we have Farmer's insurance we're claimants in a 445 million class action suit. I'm really praying one of those will somehow represent any small break for us.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


As parents, we may have any number of reasons for not wanting our child to read a particular book. It may be that the book is too adult for them, is not in line with our values; or it may  fall into the "let's not give them any ideas category".  In the latter category falls Daniel H Wilson's Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown .
Of course, this is faulty thinking. If you have more than one kid and at least one of them can walk, Bro-jitsu is already being practised in your house. The only question is; how successfully. Or how you define success. I'm tempted to say that if your kids have ever sent one of their siblings to the ER, they have not been sufficiently disciplined in their practise of this age old martial art (yes, both of my boys has sent the other to the ER). In that case, you may WANT your kids to read this book.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Maybe not Zen. Or my own kind of Zen.

I don' think you could say I'm very Zen, unless you're talking about the kind of Zen where you find spiritual fulfillment from the repetitive motion of sweeping the floor, raking the leaves, knitting the knits and purling the purls.
I am very much one of those decried "human doings". This creates a few awkward social situations for me ( as if you didn't already know I'm "differently social". In the same way Sheldon Cooper is, though I'm better at hiding it.)

One is when people tell me to relax. Sometimes this is just as a matter of course, sometimes it's when I'm a guest somewhere and I ask what I can do to help. Most people will assume I'm just being polite (of course, I DO think it's polite to ask your host if you can do anything to help) and they will return the socially required response of "No, no , you're my guest. Just relax! " .
But, I also offer to help because not being useful and helpful is stressful for me. And when someone tells me to relax (in any context) that ratchets up my stress level. This is even so in impersonal situations, such as when listening to a message where the pastor is talking about relaxing.
So please , never tell me to relax.

The other social awkwardness is when someone tells me about their day in which they totally relaxed and accomplished nothing all day (!) Often said with a certain sense of pride, like it was the same as finishing a triathalon. Now, I usually end up saying something like "Uh-huh" because what I recognise as they appropriate social response is at war with what would be an authentic response.
There's a reason my favourite hobby produces a tangible product.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

What not to do.

celebrate you lowest weigh in since that time you were sick last year and couldn't eat for 6 weeks
.....by going out for Mexican, including the biggest margarita I have ever seen
(NB, it was a casa margarita, and we stopped after the first bowl of chips, so...go us)
...try on swim suits
...decide to instead reward yourself with a microwavable facial waxing kit that you got for $5
...watch Sharktopus
...actually read one of those weight charts, see why that trying on a swim suit thing was so disappointing AND that you have about twice as far to go than you had convinced yourself, which does not actually surprise you.
...and finish your day, or rather start the next day, by waxing your lip and brows in a steamy bathroom at midnight.

...celebrate that the previous night's indulgences do not have appeared to derail you, re-commit to your goals, and recognise that no matter how healthy the food you are eating, a 5'1@ woman needs to cut back a bit.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My goodness, I have NEVER done this before

This summer, the kids, most especially the boys, have NOT been getting along at all.
I think there are several factors in play here.
One has been a summer that is unusually cold and wet, even for the Pacific Northwest. Double whammy- the kids have been inside, and The Boy has been less likely to go visit his friend J across the street, because J is not allowed to have friends in the house while his mom is at work .
This spring I had to decide to ban Turbo from playing with his neighbourhood friend. I really thought that if I Did the Right Thing and was a Good Neighbour,it would be good for both boys and I could be a positive, loving (not to mention supervisory) influence on a kid who is sure to have a police file at some time. This backfired on me big time, and to make a long story short and intentionally vague, I had a neighbour threaten to call the police on Turbo for something Stinky had done (I know Turbo didn't do it because he was at the table, doing schoolwork at the time). Another double whammy-he's mixing it up with his siblings instead of playing with a kid his own age, and I can't threaten to ground him  to keep him in line.
Aaaand...since the only person Gothgrrl used to hang out with in the neighbourhood is Stinky's older sister, it's created a rift means they rarely see each other. I do think GG decided on her own that the family was bad news, and even had to make excuses to herself to justify drifting away from a friend.
So. My kids. Stuck inside the house, together, with naught but the occasional chore to distract them from going bro-jitsu on each other, bad.
So yeah, judge me if you like, but my kids will start school early, and if they have the same kind of months long back to school adjustment period as last year, no Christmas break. But if you do judge me, I invite you to come send a day doing my job.

Monday, August 01, 2011


I just finished reading The Mad Scientist Hall Fame:Muwahahahaha! : a book much enjoyed by my whole family. The book is co-written by Daniel H Wilson, the genius (and I do mean genius) who brought us Where's My Jetpack and How to Survive a Robot Uprising and psychologist Anna C Long; and illustrated by Daniel Heard. The Mad Scientist Hall of fame contains both real and fictional scientists, separated into six categories; Bent on World Domination,Intrepid Explorers of the Great Abyss, Communicated with Space Aliens, Performed Human Experiments, Died in the Name of Science, and Not Mad, Just Angry. Scientists are rated on both madness and genius, on a scale of one to five. Like every book of Wilson's, you get a  mixture of humour and education. I was fascinated to learn of Trofim Lysenko, whose antisocial personality disorder may have set Russian science back a century. Another interesting fact; two fictional characters-Herge's Professor Calculus and Captain Jean -Luc Picard were an homage to real life explorer Auguste Piccard and his twin brother, Jean Felix. Of course no self respecting book about mad scientists would be complete without a quiz to determine one's own mad scientist potential. My score 23 on science and 18 on mad, putting me in the Moderate /Good range for both categories.

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