Archive for December, 2008

Gettin’ it done

Doing my job as a mom sometimes requires me to be rather mean.  I’m forced to make decisions that will inevitably be disliked by my underage crowd.  I don’t want to be mean.  I don’t want to fight and have to explain myself and listen to the crying that is for sure to come with each no.

There are just some things that aren’t going to happen over here at our house.  There aren’t going to be cell phones for middle schoolers.  There aren’t going to be first-person shooters for grade schoolers.  There aren’t going to be week night sleep overs or crack for breakfast.  It’s just not going to happen.

I think for the most part I’m pretty nice.  I let friends come over, pretty much whenever.  We have dessert rather frequently.  I let the kids run in the house and for the most part be loud and obnoxious.  Though the kids think I’m a slave driver, I think I’m pretty easy on the chores.  Bed times are rather lax too.  We usually have a full cookie and candy jar.  I’m pretty nice, really, I am.

Now that we homeschool, I not only have to be the mean mom, but also the mean teacher.  There are some days when I’m disliked all day long, from the moment they wake up until they go to bed.  I have five kids, it’s just statistics that someone is going to be upset at some point during the day.  I’m sorry, but just because I let you go to school in your jammies doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to learn something.  Learning isn’t always easy, sometimes I can sneak it in, but sometimes it’s impossible.  Like when you’re eleven, learning about prepositional phrases can’t be all fun and games.


McKayla (to her friend):  I guess homeschool is okay.  It would be great except there aren’t any cute boys and it’s hard!!  I mean, my mom makes me read these books that you have to really read you can’t skim it or anything and she expects me to you know know stuff!  I have to answer all the questions too!
Poor poor baby.  When she’s literate one day, maybe she’ll thank me.  I keep telling myself that when I do something unpopular.

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It’s a bomb!

police guy

We were driving home from a John’s Incredible Pizza. It’s like Chuck-e-Cheese’s but on steroids and with a little more consideration for parents.  It’s one of those places that is so much fun that you’re head feels like it might explode.

It was raining and cold and in Southern California the combination of those two things make for great news.  Every channel reports a STORM WATCH!!!  There is live satellite feed on all the channels.  News casters are out in the rain reporting clogged drains and flooded streets.

As we were inching down the street, Mike reminded me that my kids are both a little sheltered and over exposed.   From the back of the van he yells, “Go Faster there’s a BOMB!!!”  We all look around trying to see what could be mistaken for a bomb.  “Hurry Mom!  We only have 43 more seconds!!!”  Yep, it was 43 degrees on the bank thermometer.  You know you don’t get out much when your kindergartner mistakes a bank’s digital thermometer for a bomb. It might just be that we live in a small town. He’s just never been exposed to big city things like fancy digital thermometers.  Or it might be that he watches way too many spy movies.

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I’m amazing, really rather amazing.  Not to brag or anything.  My power miser capabilities really are quite astonishing.

Last week I was paying bills, the dreaded bills.  I was getting more and more depressed as I paid each one and the amount in my checking account dwindled smaller and smaller.  I was ready to start reaching for some chocolate when I came across my PG&E bill.  It was a whopping $35.42.  Yes, I’ll let you be amazed and shocked.  You can pick your jaw up off of the floor.  I’ve never had a gas and electric bill so low.  I paid it and hoped that PG&E wouldn’t catch their mistake.  Then I called everyone I knew and bragged a little.

Yesterday, the PG&E guy knocked on the door.  It seems our new smarter reader wasn’t sending signals back to the home base or something.  I silently cursed and let him in to check it.  I thought about slipping him some of the amazing cake that McKayla had made as a bribe.  I called my friend:

Me:  I’ve been caught.  The PG&E guy is checking the meter.  Seems it’s not sending signals to the home ship or something.

Her:  I knew it!  It’s impossible for anyone to have a $35 bill.

Me:  (a little indignant)  Hey, I only use compact flourescents and last month we didn’t even use the heater.  It’s possible.

Her: Sure, We’ll see when your new $200 bill comes.

I hung up with her and called PG&E.  I must talk in such a way that my voice commands are not recognizable.  I say REPREEESENTATIVE very slowly and the computer comes back with “Did I hear you correct?  There is an outage in your area?”  No, REPREEESENATIVE, “okay, you are calling about starting service?”  At this point I just start pressing 0 with vigor hoping that eventually I’ll put in the magic combination to get a human on the line.

After fighting the automative system for ten minutes I finally got a representative. I tell her how my bill was abnormally low.  We check the meters and she tells me that yes, my meter was misread.  I’m due a $9.42 refund!

Yep, I’m amazing at power conservation.  It’s kinda like I should give a seminar or something.  For now, until they figure out that my meters are broken or something, I am going to hold a tight grubby fist on my Power Miser crown.

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I have a five-year-old, not to mention all the other kids, but five–that seems to be the age of pre-Alzheimer’s when it comes to remembering how long until Christmas.   Everyday he asks how long until Christmas.  He asks me, his dad and all of his siblings.  He will even asks anyone who comes over.  He does occasionally change it up by asking if Christmas is tomorrow.

In order to save my sanity, We made a paper chain.  I snuck in some learning with AB patterns and putting the numbers 1-25 in order.  This was very easy, relatively quick and surprisingly fun for the kids (and dad).  I cut strips of construction paper, wrote numbers on each one.  The kids decorated with colored pencils and then we stapled them together and hung it from our stairs.  Every night we take one off of the chain.  Mike can see that we are getting closer to Christmas without having to ask.  chain

And that’s what works for me.

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silly mikeI’d like to preface this post with Dave and I have never owned a wood burning stove.

Last weekend  we lit our wood burning stove for the first time.  And of course when I say we, I mean Dave.  It’s freezing here in our neck of the woods.  Well, freezing for a native Southern Californian.  I mean we’re dipping into the 40’s.  I can almost feel my toes turning blue and frostbite starting to set in. So Dave started a fire.

It was roaring fire, but our house really wasn’t getting too warm.  Dave pushed and pulled knobs but it just didn’t seem to make a difference.  We turned the heater up.

This weekend we tried again.  First we (and again, I mean Dave) cleaned out all the ash.  The ash that was about 6 inches deep.  The ash that was full of nails and other construction debris.  The previous homeowners were full of lots of interesting idiosyncrasies.

As Dave cleans out the ash and trash, Mike peeks into the stove and asks him, “What are you doing?”

Dave:  What do you think?

Mikey: Are you cleaning out the fireplace?

Dave:  Yes.

Mikey:  Why?

Dave:  Why do you think?

Mikey: So Santa can fit through there.

Yep, of course, we’re making way for the big guy and his bag full of books (’cause that’s what Santa brings to our house).  It has nothing to do with your poor mother who’s wearing ten layers of clothes.  Santa just better make sure to wear a fire retardant suit, though, because after Dave cleaned up all that ash our living room was rather toasty.  That is until we found out that it was a no burn day and we had to bank our fire.  We’re gaining expertise, one failed attempt at a time.

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