Wednesday, January 27

Why I Play Bejeweled and Other Nonsense

You may have noticed, oh thee in cyberspace, that I haven't exactly been in a bloggy mood lately. It's not just that I've lost my passion for writing this blog, I haven't been reading anyone else's blog either. I used to check on my fellow bloggers every day, and now I check maybe once a week. Not really sure why this shift has taken place, I think it is because I have just become so busy with real-life stuff. Stuff that occupies my time and my mind. When your kids are small so much of your world is wrapped up in them, what they do and what they say and how they act. You want to share with the world how darn cute and wonderful they are. The way they change and grow and amaze you every day. Eventually though, they stop amazing you quite so much, and turn you into a taxi driver instead. Once they start school and sports and activities, and start to have their own lives outside of you, its easy to become wrapped up in to-do lists and schedules and before you know it, it's 10 at night and you feel like you have barely taken a breath all day. If you are like me you start volunteering for Cub Scouts and PTO and book fairs. I like to be involved, and interacting with the other parents at school, PTO, Taekwondo and other such places is enjoyable. It just doesn't leave much time and energy for blog writing. I do enjoy writing though, it is something, really the only thing these days, that I do for myself and my goal is to try to write at least once a week. I am going to try to hold onto my thoughts and ideas through the week (yes, I said try) so that I can get them down in some sort of organized fashion. This brings me to the title of this post. I am not going to lie to you and say that Facebook and Bejeweled and Farmville don't take up way too much of my precious little free time, but I will explain why I enjoy it so much. Whenever Dennis sees me checking my crops or playing bejeweled he gives me a hard time. "You're playing that stupid thing? Why?" I know he really doesn't want an answer, he just wants to make fun of me for playing. The real reason I do though is that it is mindless. Harvesting fake corn or trying to line up 3 matching colored jewels takes very little brainpower. It is an escape that I think I really need. It relaxes me. While attempting to beat my high score in bejeweled I'm not thinking about what's for dinner, who needs new snow pants or if we have enough milk donated for the PTO spaghetti supper. I'm not packing lunches or calling doctor's offices or helping with incredibly frustrating Everyday Math homework. I'm just resting. My brain is resting. So yes, this is why I sit at the computer and do these inane things. My brain is tired. It needs to rest. Doesn't yours?

Wednesday, January 20

A Few Things About NYC

Here are a few things I learned about New York City this weekend while staying there with my girlfriends from college.

1. The white lines on the roads, intended to keep vehicles in their own lanes, are merely "suggestions" and not necessarily intended to be followed. This is especially true for taxi cabs.

2. When it begins to rain, rather than the streets clearing out, they are immediately flooded with hundreds of thousands of people, mostly carrying umbrella's that could take your eye out. Street vendors selling said umbrella's materialize seemingly out of nowhere.

3. The top of the Empire State Building is beautiful and serene, and oddly quiet, considering you are up there with about 300 other people at a time. If you happen to lose an earring up there, forget it, it's gone forever.

4. A delicious mixed drink, called a "Slutty Shirley Temple" that would cost you $5.00 at home mysteriously morph's into a $15 drink.

5. Just because you are near the site of where the bus driver told you was the World Trade Center and you see a cordoned off construction area, please don't assume that is the actual site. It could just be a normal run of the mill construction area, causing passer-by's to giggle and point at you as you take pictures.

6. Pizza delivery, no matter where you are, is delicous.

7. Lastly, no matter where you go with your 8 best friends, you are going to have a blast.

Monday, January 11

Got Blood?

So, do you have blood in your veins? Sure, it may seem at times that chocolate must run through you (or in my case, cheese), but lets face it, we all have blood. And therefore most of us should have blood to spare. As in donate. Did you know that every time you give blood you can help save 3 lives? There are some instances in which you can't give blood, which include the following: you are sick or running a fever, you have low iron, or you don't weigh enough (if that is the case I don't even want to hear about it, just go have a sandwich and be done with it). I have been giving blood for a few years now, not as often as I would like, but 2 or 3 times a year. If I didn't have kids or a job I would give every 8 weeks, but sometimes it is hard to block an hour or 2 out of the day to give. When Jack and Abbey are a little older it will be easier, I'll just bring them with me and they can read or play a video game while I donate. One time I went to a blood drive at Jack's school. I had Abbey with me and made my appointment so that I would be done just about the time Jack was dismissed from school. Unfortunately they were running late and by the time I got hooked up school was dismissing. I had to have someone go and get Jack from the office and bring him to me, at which point the kids started asking me a million questions and asking me to do things like help them take off their coats, open their markers, and get them some cookies, all while I was LAYING DOWN ON A STRETCHER WITH AN IV NEEDLE IN MY ARM. It's all like, "excuse me kids, do you see all this blood draining out of me, could you maybe go and sit down at that table for a bit and let me finish?" But I digress. The pros of giving blood SO outweigh the cons. Besides the whole saving lives bit, which is awesome in itself, there are other incentives. Personally every time I have given the Red Cross has given me a prize. A Red Sox Tee-shirt or something like that. One time I even got a coupon for 6 FREE chocolate dipped strawberries from Edible Arrangements, and those cost like $10. Also, you need to bulk up on protein to get your iron up. Like maybe you should go and eat a couple of cheeseburgers that afternoon, or have a juicy steak the night before. Also, after you are done someone helps you over to a table and is all extra nice to you and gets you a cookie and some juice. They even have different kinds of juice to choose from. They will even OPEN your juice for you if you want, and really, after all the times WE have opened someone else's juice, its nice to have someone do it for you for a change. After you eat your cookies and drink your juice (reminiscent of being 7 years old) they tell you that you have to TAKE IT EASY THE REST OF THE DAY. No heavy lifting, rest up, drink plenty of fluids and DON'T EXERCISE. Don't even think about going on that treadmill! You just gave blood, you need to go home and lay down and tell your husband to do everything because, hey, you just gave actual blood from your veins. You had the blood and now it is gone and you really need to make some more so please don't bother me and while your at it could you grab me some more juice because they told me I have to drink lots of fluids. See, giving blood is awesome. As long as you are not afraid of needles like my wimpy husband, in which case I guess giving blood could kind of be traumatic.

And here is the best part! One of my fellow bloggers, Manic Mommy, is hosting her Third Annual MaNiC MoMMy'S Virtual Blog for Blood Drive Challenge! If you go here to her site you can read all about what she is up to. Basically if you give blood, and get a picture of yourself giving, and send it to her, you will be entered into a contest in which you can win all kinds of prizes, maybe even a Southwest Airline's ticket. Pretty nice isn't she? And you have from now until February 28th to donate. I myself have an appointment to give on February 17th, the next time the Red Cross comes to my town.

As a side note, Manic Mommy's dream is to get Ellen DeGeneres to find out about this virtual blood drive, spread the word and give on her show. If anyone out there that reads this blog knows Ellen by any chance, could you forward her this link? Thanks. You know, because I am quite sure that many of my readers have a personal in with Ellen DeGeneres. Yup.

Saturday, January 9

Random Bearded Man

I have a confession to make. I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Yes, it's true. And a bit of that time, I have to say, is spent farming. But that is not what this post is about. Just now, while perusing my friends status updates to see what everyone is up to on this cold Saturday I noticed an ad on the side of the screen. This is what I saw peeking at me.

Now what would you think this is an ad for? Razors? The plight of the homeless perhaps? A frightening premonition of what my husband will soon look like if he continues on his "no shaving ritual" of the winter? No. The ad is titled "Scholarships for Moms" What? It then goes on to say that if you make less than $45,000 a year you can qualify for a grant. What. The. Hell? How does this man's picture in any way have to do with mothers or money or grants? Is it some sort of subliminal warning? Like if you don't go back to school and make something of yourself your children will grow up to look like this? Unshaven and a bit unhappy? Or maybe if you don't have an education this is the type of man who will want to date you? Beats me. But it cracked me up, so I had to share.

Friday, January 8

Financial Future Secure . . . For Now

I would first like to thank everyone for the nice words of encouragement this week, either on this blog or on the phone or in person. After a long slow week I think, hope, that everything is getting sorted out. Dennis will be going back to work . . . eventually. He has to see the EAP from the company and I guess we go from there. He is feeling better, although all this stress wasn't helping him one bit. It wasn't helping me either, apparently one side effect of work stress is threatening to quit and thereby, henceforth and therefor giving your wife a heart attack. He told me that as soon as he decided he should quit his job he felt much better, like all the stress was lifted off his shoulders. I told him that when he told me he should quit all that STRESS didn't just lift off his shoulders, it jumped off, picked up momentum and jammed itself into my gut.

So, as of now I am just hoping that we will end up with a resolution that we are both happy with, something that doesn't cause him to feel like running over his boss with a motorcycle (a true story, a worker from another garage actually did that to their manager) and that also lets me continue to buy food at the grocery store. It really doesn't seem too much to ask for, right?

Wednesday, January 6

88% Is Practically 100%

On Monday night my husband came home from work and informed me that he had to quit his job. Hello? Excuse me? Pardon me while I go throw up. He has worked for the same company for 14 years (he's 34, so basically his entire working life) and I know that lately he has had a LOT of stress at work. Managers have started looking for reasons to fire guys, suspend them, basically make their lives miserable. The company he works for (which shall remain nameless) is a communications business and Dennis works on the lines, up in poles, in people's houses, in businesses. For the last couple of years this company has really been pushing their "wireless" products much more. Internet, cell phones. Great for advancing technology, not so great when your main source of income comes from actual wires. So for the past few months his work environment has been very unpleasant, to say the least. He has GPS in his truck. They hound him about why he was so many miles from a job, why he stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for 12 minutes, why his truck sat idling for a certain amount of time. Did he hand out a special card to the customer? Where is it? The customer says they didn't get it. What? It's true that if I had to work with someone leaning over my computer asking me why I was doing what I am doing and telling me that I am doing it wrong I may go insane too. So I am sympathetic. But quitting really seems like the LAST option to go here. His immediate boss likes him. He told her that he was going to quit and she talked him out of it. Told him to calm down. Take 2 or 3 vacation days and relax. Think about it. I might need to send her a fruit basket. He pulls good numbers (some of the best in the garage) and she realizes that they can't afford to lose him. HER boss on the other hand doesn't seem to really care how many guys go crazy and quit. They seem to figure less salaries to pay, less benefits to give out, and they want to be all "wireless" anyway, so what the hell, right? Well the hell is that we have 2 kids and 2 mortgages and a car payment, and food and heat and electricity, and these "wires" are 88% of our income. We can't lose 88% of our income. We could lose 88% of our house! We would have to eat 88% less! (Hmm, maybe I'll lose 88% of that weight I've been meaning to take off.)

Dennis told me "don't worry, it will all work out fine." This from the man who worries about RIDICULOUS things, things that don't even really affect us. Things that happen far far away. Who believes the world may actually end in 2012. Who has said that maybe we should arm ourselves in case of an end of the world emergency so that people can't loot our water supply. But losing 88% of our income? Nah, don't worry. No problem. It will work out he tells me. "Sure it will" I want to scream "because I WILL WORK IT OUT!" Someone has to be the one to work things out and that is usually (ALWAYS) me! I balance our checkbook and pay our bills. Buy the food and the kids clothes. I KNOW what him not working would do to us and I know exactly how long it would take us to sink into financial despair. It is about 3 weeks. So yes, THIS, this is something I do worry about. I am trying not to freak out yet though. He is going to take these few days off. He is going to talk to the Union (that he has payed serious dues into for 14 damn years) and discuss his options. Maybe he can transfer, or, oh, I don't know. All I know is that although he could get a new job somewhere, it might take a very long time and there is no way he would be making the same amount that he is making after working for 14 years for the same company. I am realistic, unfortunately I am VERY realistic, and that is not always a good thing. Not a good thing at all.

Instead of worrying, lets just have a listen to the kids and my new FAVORITE song. Take a deep breath. Relax. All will be fine. Really.

Saturday, January 2

And The Winner Is . . .

Happy New Year! My first contest has come to a close and after the careful analysis of the accounting firm of Jack & Abbey a winner has been chosen. So that it would be very technical and advanced I put everyone's name that left a comment onto an identical sized piece of white paper which I then, wait for it . . . folded and put into Jack's new magic hat. I know, super technical. Abbey then rooted around in there and picked a piece of paper. Here is proof.

Jack then read the piece of paper and announced the winner as "Kirsten, mommy you won yourself" which surprised me since my name wasn't entered and he was very excited until I looked at it and realized that it actually said "Kristen." So congratulations Kristen! You are the WINNER. Send me your address at OR send it to me on Facebook and I will get your Dunkin Donuts card out lickety split. Thanks to all for entering!