Friday, August 31, 2007

I gotta gets me one of these new fangled phone thingies

I have been unintentionally ignoring my blog this week due to a fuller-than-I'd-like schedule. Thought this might make up for the lack of posting. I got it from my brother Andrew, and thought it was absolutely hilarious. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Let's take a vote on Durga Kameneini...

Okay, internets, I need your help.

You may recall a few of the annoyances that have come as a result of our cross-country move. Like this, or this, or even this. But my newest disaster takes the cake (and those of you who find my problems about as interesting as what's growing under your toenails, feel free to click off right now to someplace more intellectually stimulating, like this).

Like the good, responsible person that I am, I spent hours (in California) calling to hook up utilities, phone, internet, garbage, sewer, etc., assuming I knew what I was doing. It wasn't until AFTER I had spent all these hours that I learned of the unacceptability of DSL internet for The Husband. I mean, if we can't get those BYU Cougar Podcasts as fast as technology will allow, it is reason for life not to go on.

But because I do love The Husband, I made another round of phone calls and switched us back to cable internet. In doing so, I had to switch our phone service as well because of the package deal they had. The only problem was that we would not be able to keep that phone number. But since we hadn't really given it to too many people and weren't moving for a few months, we didn't think it was a big deal.

Still with me? Hang in there. Especially you, Daniel.

So we move here. I move in, begin living my life, and start calling people. I notice that I am getting a lot of voicemails and answering machines when I call, but I don't think too much about it. I'm new and friendless, after all, and people are busy. With all their many friends and such.

But then one day my mother-in-law accidentally answers my call and tells me the name Durga Kameneini is coming up on her caller-ID. Which is why she (and everyone else I know) do not answer when I call.

After FOUR aggravating, hour-long phone calls, the phone company and I have come to an impasse. They cannot fix the problem. They do not know why Durga Kameneini shows up every time I call someone. They have essentially shrugged their shoulders at me and bid me good luck.

Which resulted in much yelling (by me) on the phone (to them). I am now left with three options.

Option one is to change phone numbers , which I am loathe to do given that all our family, friends, and church congregation have our current number. It's on all the school paperwork, ballet classes, and swimming lesson forms. And when you introduce a new number? Then suddenly people aren't sure which number is right. They might call the wrong one. Maybe they never got the word that you have a new one. Kids suddenly don't get picked up when they fall and have broken legs (yes, that is exactly what I see happening. Stupid, I know).

Option two is to switch to a "blocked call" status. Which would mean that when we call anyone, our number is blocked and shows up as "anonymous" on caller-ID. You know, just like the salesman that call at dinnertime or the surveys that ring at seven o'clock in the morning. Which you never answer because you know it's not anybody important. We'd be sharing THAT status. It's not the worst choice necessarily, but when we call someone who has anonymous call rejection (my parents, for one), we will not be able to get through. At all. Ever. Our current company doesn't have a fancy star-number-number we can dial to be able to get through (I asked). Our calls are eternally blocked to these numbers.

The third option is to do nothing. I can leave it as-is, and accept that I am Durga Kameneini when I call people. I can almost always guarantee that every time I make a phone call I'll get someone's voicemail. I mean, even my own mother-in-law doesn't answer for Durga. And do I blame her? Sure, I can explain the situation to everyone I know, but I still dislike having to face that embarrassment and explanation when I call someone that DOESN'T know. And if it was a remotely common name, I probably wouldn't care. But Durga Kameneini? COME ON!

Do you see my dilemma? What would you do? Leave me a little comment with your vote. I don't know what to do. I leave my fate in your hands. Help!

Monday, August 27, 2007

People who live in glass houses...

We were sitting in church yesterday, listening to the opening prayer, and I hear this beeping noise. Thinking the owner of the beep would hurry and turn it off, I sat there for a few minutes, still concentrating. I look over to see The Husband staring at me, his eyes telling me to do something. What could I do? Then I start to feel annoyed at this person thinking, Just turn it off, you idiot! How rude.

Well, I am that rude idiot.

It was my running watch that I tucked in my bag so I could keep an eye on the time when I taught my lesson (I was substituting for the Relief Society teacher). The alarm went off (for reasons still unknown to me) and kept going for several minutes. I reach down and pull the watch out of my bag so I can turn it off. Unfortunately, the bag was muffling the sound quite a bit. The beep!beep!beep! was extremely loud now and causing several heads to turn in my direction.

Finally, I was able to figure out how to shut the stupid thing off, but not before drawing a significant amount of attention.

Lesson learned: Don't judge another man's beep until you've walked a mile with his stop watch.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Things I learned this week

  • A good pediatrician is worth his weight in gold.
  • The best thing about moving to Missouri is not having to take a written test to get a driver's license. (Those tests literally give me panic attacks. I'm not kidding.)
  • When Hannah has two loose teeth that are barely hanging on by a thread, only the Husband will be allowed to touch them or pull them out. (no complaints here)
  • It is a lucky thing, indeed, for a mama to sit bolt upright in bed in the middle of the night and remember that the tooth fairy needs to make a visit.
  • When the temperature cools down to a chilly 92 degrees, you really can feel the difference.
  • There are some things that just won't turn up after a move. Important things like cancelled license plate receipts from other states who are insisting you pay them taxes for vehicles no longer registered there.
  • The husband will invariably get the blame for said lost receipts.
  • Meeting new friends at a Bunko night warms my lonely little heart.
  • You should not start the Twilight series unless you have three days to plow through them. Because you WILL NOT be able to stop once you start. And there will be children begging for trifles like food and clean laundry.
  • You should always have a trip to look forward to (NYC in six weeks - yay!).
  • It should never be a surprise to wear out a blow dryer when you spend 20 minutes a day using it to burn your hair into submission.
  • It IS an annoying surprise every time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

True Love

I have found a new man. And I love him. There is none like him anywhere else.

Right after we moved here, Hannah came down with a 104 fever, sore throat, and a stomach ache. Classic strep, right? I had not researched a pediatrician yet, and so I was left to scour the insurance company's website to find one that was close.

If only I had known just how lucky I was that day I'd have gone to Vegas and bet the farm.

We made ourselves an appointment with Dr. Cheng. He was a round, bubbly, middle-aged pediatrician who seemed very intent on getting my daughter well. Unlike THESE stupid doctors that wanted us to audition for their precious skills and knowledge (I'm working on not being bitter, can you tell?).

While we were seeing Dr. Cheng, I mentioned that I was needing to have my kids' immunizations on Missouri state forms for the school. He said it might be difficult to get them all appointments at the same time, but that he was more than willing to come in early or stay late to accommodate us.

Yes, you just read that right. He was going to accommodate us. And he did. He came in early so the kids could all be seen at the same appointment.

Later that night, still reveling in the quality of care we had received, the phone rings. Who is it? It's Dr. Cheng. Not his nurse. Not his receptionist. Him. Wanting to know if Hannah's fever was down.

I've never had a doctor follow up like that. I was shocked and thrilled at our new find.

Fast forward to yesterday. Chase and McKay both came down with the flu this weekend. Chase had it much worse, and McKay was feeling a lot better by Sunday night. By Monday morning, I was starting to worry that Chase was getting dehydrated. His lips were all dry. He had not peed in two days. I could not get him to hold any liquid down for more than ten minutes. So in to see Dr. Cheng we went.

He was immediately concerned. Sat by our bedside in the clinic for 45 minutes - trying anything he could to get Chase to eat or drink and be able to keep it down (because the next step was an IV at the hospital, and he - being the perfect man that he is - was trying to avoid that for my sake). He did get Chase to finish a popsicle (sitting by his side, tenderly holding the popsicle for Chase), but it came right back up before we even got to the elevator. In a last-ditch effort to avoid spending eight hours in the ER, he gave me a prescription for an anti-nausea medication and said to call him that night if Chase threw up after taking it.

Call him. Which means he actually gave me his personal beeper number. Not the answering service. Not the office number. His.

You see why I'm in love?

And then I got a phone call last night AND this morning from the good doctor himself, just checking to see how Chase was feeling. The medication had done the trick and Chase is back to his old self today (albeit a little weak and pale, but functioning nonetheless).

In my almost ten years of pediatric practice experience, I have NEVER seen a more attentive, thorough, and kind doctor. I'm used the ones that are polite enough, but in and out - leaving the nurse to do most of the legwork. The Husband is incredulous. He cannot believe it either. The annoying health care consultant in him remarked at the inefficiency of such a clinician. Maybe, but I don't care. I have now pledged my deep and undying love for Dr. Cheng.

So much so that Hannah eyed me suspiciously at dinner last night and asked, "Are you in love wiff our doctor, Mama?"

Yes, baby, I am. Not because he's handsome or dashing. Because he is as concerned about my babies as I am. And once you find something that good, you never, ever give it up.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Breaking up is hard to do

The pink counters and I have finally ended our tumultuous relationship. It was a rocky break-up when all was said and done. It didn't end well for our friend Pink. Much as I wanted to make Hannah's fondest dreams come true, there was a deeper need that had to be met. My need to not want to poke out my eyeballs every time I walked into the kitchen.

So here is one last, fond farewell for the pink kitchen that never stood a chance. May you rest in peace.

(This one is what it looked like before we bought it. Like the lovely green linoleum, the bold mauve on the walls, and way too much crap spilling out all over the place? Didn't think so. Neither did I.)

And here is my new baby. Hello, gorgeous.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Baby steps

Well, our first day was a roaring success. I am a little delayed in posting about it due to a huge power surge that stole my internet connection for the last 24 hours. Oh, the joys of these crazy Midwest storms.

Anyhoo, the morning began early. The kids were up at the crack of dawn, dressed in their new school clothes, eager and nervous all at once. Breakfast was hastily consumed and backpacks were packed. Then we sat and waited until it was time to go.
The boys have been a little bit anxious, but seemed not to show it. They stormed up to the bus and got right on, eager for the familiar routine of school and friends. They've done this before - most recently just a year ago - and they know what it takes to make new friends. McKay seemed mildly embarrassed that we were all at the bus stop, while Chase fiercely hugged me before getting on the bus. They were off. My big boys beginning another year. Taking another step towards the rest of their lives.

Hannah, on the other hand, had to wait a bit. She is in afternoon kindergarten every day, except on Fridays when she will go all day. It was sheer torture to watch her face betray the envy she felt for the boys getting on the bus without her.
She put on a good front (as we girls are known to do) and waved them off with hearty enthusiasm.

Then she resumed a lonely perch at the front window for the next three-and-a-half hours. During which time, she went through various stages of emotion; anger, despair, longing, joy, and sorrow, all of which induced a lot of tears. She insisted that the bus had forgotten all about her, and no amount of logic could convince her that her time would come soon.
She waited and waited. And cried and pleaded. And pouted and cried. And waited some more.
Then finally it was time to brave the 346-degree heat to wait for the bus. I think in her little heart, she actually doubted that her turn would really even come.
But oh, joy! It finally came! And she didn't look back once. Just got on that bus like a big girl that doesn't need her mama anymore. Gone was the baby girl, dressed in her black turtlenecks and brown gingham dresses. Gone was the teeny baby with bird-like legs that clung to me as though she were an extra appendage. Gone was the toddler who carried around 18 bunnies at once and smiled a gap-toothed smile that melted my heart. Gone in an instant. Replaced by this person who suddenly thinks she is grown up and independent enough to take some very big steps out on her own.
And she is. I was sad for a bit as I watched that yellow bus drive away from me, knowing that it took with it a piece of my baby girl that I'd never get back again.

But then...about 30 minutes later, I was actually able to walk down the glass aisles at Home Goods and not worry that I'd end up buying everything that had been broken by grabby fingers. I went through McDonald's drive-thru and got only a diet coke.

And nobody complained about it.

I went to the bookstore and browsed around for a long time before I bought this (which I CANNOT put down, btw). I hit five stores in two hours. I did this all by myself. Which means I've taken a few independent steps of my own.

And I think they look pretty darn good on all of us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

T-minus 11 hours...

I am starting to freak out. My kids will all be in school exactly 11 hours from now. I will be alone for the first time in almost ten years.

No, I am not crying, lamenting, and frantically starting my own home school, but there is a big part of me that is really going to miss having these little friends around during the day.

Which tells me exactly what I've known all along (but sometimes forget when they're doing an Irish jig on my last nerve): I really love them.

But there's an even bigger part of me that can't wait to get pedicures without the princess in tow, and being able to stand in line at Sam's Club without yelling at anyone will certainly be a treat (although I definitely make no promises on that one).

More words to come tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hurry, hurry! It's swap time again!

Marta is hosting a fun little back to school swap. You can read all the details on her blog here. But you better hurry and sign up because today is the last day. These swaps are so much fun. You get to make a new friend somewhere in the world, and you get some good mail to boot. Don't miss out on the fun!

Friday, August 10, 2007

A million questions to match a million answers

My kids never seem to run out of questions. Rather than document their endless queries, I decided to write down some of the answers I have given this week instead. Enjoy:

  • No, we cannot have any weapons at the table.
  • Just because I do not like the pink counters, does not mean that I do not like you. I love you.
  • Yes, you will need sunscreen.
  • Yes, you will also need to wear your swimsuit.
  • No, Daddy will have to kill that big spider. It's his job as a man.
  • If I must choose, I would rather eat sand than dead bugs.
  • No, we are not having M&Ms with our breakfast.
  • Yes, I will pay you to kill the spider since Daddy is such a wimp.
  • Yes, I did mail the letter.
  • No, sorry, there's nothing from George Bush today.
  • No, I don't know about poisonous frogs.
  • Yes, you can have a snack.
  • No, you cannot have candy for your snack.
  • Why, yes, I love your questions.
  • Just a minute, I'm going to the bathroom!
  • No, you cannot come in and ask me.
  • No! No! No!
  • I'm was not alive on D-Day.
  • Nope, neither was Grandpa or Opa.
  • No, the onions are not poisonous.
  • No, you are not allergic to onions.
  • Yes, you can just pick out the onions.
  • No, I don't know what time Daddy is coming home today.
  • Yes, I'll read you ONE MORE story, but that is it.
  • Yes, I love you, too.
  • No, there are no witches in your closet. See?
  • No, you cannot set your alarm for 4:30 a.m., sorry.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Please play along

So I found this fun idea on Boo Mama's blog. The idea is this: Write two blurbs for your alumni newsletter, updating your life. The first version is the perky, show-off kind that everyone writes (and the one that everyone hates). The second should be the darker, more real side of honest. Here's mine:

Version One:

Christie married Josh over 13 years ago. She worked as a Medical Practice Manager for several prestigious medical firms before making the tough choice to leave her career behind and become a mother. Christie and Josh now have three beautiful children that are a constant source of joy and enlightenment. Josh has recently made a career change which provides him the opportunity to expand his firm nationally. Christie selflessly devotes hours of volunteer work to local community and church organizations. Her dedication to the arts is incomparable. Christie is an avid athlete and an extremely dedicated runner. Christie and Josh now make their home in Missouri, where they are already well-established within society circles.

Okay. Version Two:

Christie married Josh over 13 years ago, although sometimes it feels like much longer. She spent her "career" as a peon being bossed around by mean, snotty doctors for slave wages, while Josh attended undergraduate and graduate school. Christie's meager salary barely covered their living expenses during this time. She was miserable and counted the seconds until she was able to quit and stay home to have babies. Christie and Josh have three beautiful children that are a constant source of joy (and energy, and annoyance, and expenses, and umpteen trips to the doctor's office for strep throat and/or ear infections). Christie is thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom, but is now proudly counting the minutes until they will all be in school (10,080, to be precise) as she has not had a day to herself since she can't remember when.

Josh spends his days traveling to hospitals around the country, staying at five-star hotels, and eating in only the finest restaurants.

Christie tries extremely hard to not punish him for this.

Christie also finds her precious free minutes sapped up by play dates, church, school volunteering, and cub scouts. She is an avid reader of US Weekly and People, and thinks of Britney and Lindsay's rehab stints as actual news. She will watch pretty much any movie just to keep herself entertained. She fancies herself a runner, but recently gave up training for her big race due to heat, laziness, and pancake predilection.

Christie is maniacally redecorating every room in her house. She has recently relocated to Missouri and is constantly on the prowl for any new friends she can sink her claws into. She scours blogs, and loves finding new ones to read. In short: She's a bit of a geek.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Touches of home

Our frames and mats for the photo wall in the formal living room arrived this week. Thought I'd share them with you, dear internets (and I'd like to praise the Husband's fine mathematics skills which prevented me from putting about 9,508 holes in my wall while hanging these. Yes, there actually is a good use for math. Shocking, I know.):

And here is what we have done in the dining room. The pictures on this wall are all of places we have lived. We have scoured historical society archives, stock photos, and even begged one photo off a family member (thanks, Scott!) in order to get what we wanted from each city. The center frame says, "Home," and underneath that, "is where the heart is." After six states and three countries, we are living proof of that. (And you can see it much better from a different angle - still trying to figure out what to do with that chandelier.)

And for fun, here is what I put up in the mudroom (which you walk through to go from the garage into the kitchen, so nobody will even see it but me). I found these fun vinyl letters through Tip Junkie. I am sure everyone else in the free world already knows about these, but they were quite new and exciting to me.

There's more work to be done, but little-by-little this place is starting to take shape and feel like ours. We've got the counters coming this Thursday - so expect some more photos then. I am practically counting the seconds until the pink is gone.
Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Our favorite thing at the zoo today

To say that it was hot today is like saying that I kinda-sorta like cookie dough. BIG understatement. We did have a good time though, and I thought I'd share some great quotable moments:

McKay: "Oh, this picture is so going on my blog."

Chase: "Is it swearing if I say that the asses were really cool?" (We had just seen the donkeys for all you sickos that would go there - Daniel, that includes you!)

Hannah: "Mama, I'm just so sweaty."

Me, too, kiddo. I hate it when I start sweating. Really, I do. Maybe you could hop out of that shady stroller and give me a push up this big hill. See how you feel then, poor baby...

[I'm much more sympathetic when it's not 186 humid degrees outside. Trust me.]