I Need a Tardy Slip

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Okay, I can admit it–I have a tardiness problem. I’m always late. Actually I’m not as bad as I used to be, but the child has consistently required more time to get out of the house than I originally thought. Although even when he’s not involved, I just can’t seem to get it together. Take Friday, for example.

I had a day-long seminar, which I was very excited about and didn’t even involve the Mouse. So I wake up on time, get ready, no problem. And then…

I start up my car and drive down the street, realize I forgot that I left my notebook at home

Retrieve said notebook, plenty of time to make it to the seminar

On the way to the freeway, the binging and flashing red light reminds me that I’m out of gas. Crap.

Get gas, still hoping to make it on time.

Freeway is no problem, but I decided to follow the given directions rather than input the address in my GPS or rely on my own experience–after all, I’ve been there before! Once!

Get off the freeway and make a right. Drive about a mile and a half and then think, “Hmmm, I should be here by now.”

Look up at street sign, realize I’m on the wrong street. If they start a little late I’ll only miss a few minutes.

Regret that I didn’t take the route I took last time I went there. Turn around to go back.

Pass the street I normally would have taken to get there. Good call! And I’m going to have to sneak in the back of the lecture hall so nobody sees how late I am.

Drive around the campus looking for the correct parking lot. All seminar materials reiterate that if I don’t park in the correct lot, I WILL BE TICKETED AND GOD HIMSELF WILL SMITE ME ON THE SPOT!

Third go-round of the campus including a detour where they closed an intersection specifically for this function. I hope I’ll make it to the second seminar.

Pull over halfway in the parking garage to check the map again. Piss off the guy behind me.

Park and see the parking permits other people have displayed. Must be the right place!

Don’t want to look like a dork on a college campus looking at a map, so walk in the direction I believe the building to be.

It’s not.

Walk back toward the correct building. Maybe I’ll make it in time for lunch?

Arrive at building, check in, take the wrong entrance

Find the ladies room. Not the lecture room. At least that will come in handy later, with my peanut-sized bladder.

Find the lecture room, but no more seats. Sit on the floor, having missed a full half-hour of the opening lecture.

Fabulous. At least I made it.

I’m wondering–is this tardiness thing a mom thing? Like the other day I was driving to a playdate and called the organizer, Mommica. The  conversation went like this:

Me: “Hey Mommica, I’m running behind. Just pulling into the parking lot now.”

Mommica: “Okay, I’m at the intersection of Late Lane and Really Late Road.”

Me: “Wait, isn’t that three miles behind me?”

Mommica: “See you there!”

In fact, there’s only one mom in the group who consistently arrives on time: Bruin Mom. And it’s easy to tell that Bruin Mom is there because she has a distinctive car. Bruin Mom has two children under 3 and is pregnant with another. Seriously, if I can’t even get myself and one child out of the house on time, I have no idea how she does it.

One time she came late to a meetup. When I didn’t see her car after I arrived late (of course), I wondered if I was at the right house.

I need a tardy slip for life.

Although one time I was driving down the freeway and saw a personalized license plate that said “ALWYS L8”  I mean, who thinks that’s a good idea? I can just imagine the police officer on the highway thinking, “Well a lot of people are speeding here, but look at that ALWYS L8 plate–I bet she’s late! I’m going to pull her over and give her a ticket just to make her later! I know I would.

I may have a tardiness problem, but at least I’m not dumb.

The Scrivener

An Education in Life

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I went to private school my whole life.  My father is a very accomplished, educated man.  From the time I was very young he instilled that I must go to college in order to be successful.  I attended an all girl catholic college prep high school where I was very average when it came to academics.  I loved the social aspect of high school but hated the work.  I’m sure most people felt that way, but I really didn’t care if I got C’s, after all, I had no big dreams of being a lawyer, a biologist or doctor.  I truly and honestly always knew my only burning desire was to be a mom.  I know many women right now are yelling at me, what about womens lib?  Equality?  Are you from the dark ages?  No, I’m not.  Of course I had interests, I loved art, the computer and knew I could make a career from that, but as far as burning desire to charge through high school and college for my dream career, nope, I just wanted to be a mom.

When I was the ripe old age of 18 I set forth on my next adventure… college.  It definitely was an adventure, but I can honestly say I was too immature to handle it.  I went to many parties, took way too many trips to Mexico and ended up failing out of the 4 year school my parents worked so hard to get me into.  My super-fun dorm room turned into a room back at my parents house and I landed myself in community college.  Don’t get me wrong, community college is a great place, but for me, starting out in a dorm at a 4 year school made community college seem like, well, failure.  I attended classes irregularly and put the minimal amount of effort it took to pass my classes until at 20 I met my ex-husband.

I was swept off my feet, stopped going to classes and moved in with him.  3 months after meeting him (yes, you read that correctly… THREE MONTHS) we ran off to Las Vegas and got married.  I’m sure it was my rebellious way of getting back at my mom and dad for trying to control me and my values, but at the time I thought it was so romantic.  I attended a small trade school and got a certificate in web design.  It was hardly an accomplishment, I attended a few classes and got a certificate that could have just as easily been printed on my home Hewlett-Packard.  I went into the workforce and can honestly say I had a successful job as a web designer designing sites for major companies such as Burger King, Los Angeles Times and many more.

At 22 I gave birth to my first son, Big E.  Finally, my burning desire became a reality!  I was a mom.  I loved every bit of it.  I had no postpartum, I didn’t feel like I was giving up anything and I can honestly say I had no problem giving up my early 20’s.  Of course I really didn’t know what I was missing, because when I look back, of course I see that I gave that up, but the important thing is that I didn’t feel it at the time.  Unfortunately, at 25 my marriage fell apart and I found myself back in my parents bedroom once again, of course this time I had a small child with me.

After 9-11, pretty much all web design jobs dried up for those without degrees.  OUCH!  I had a great portfolio and great client names.  But you know that little section at the bottom of the resume that’s entitled “education”?  Well apparently it really is that important.  I got an admin job making decent money.  I had met an amazing man that is now my husband and I was doing fine financially.  I got fired from the admin job (don’t get me started on that one!) and went to work at the Queen Mary in Long Beach as a graphic designer in the marketing department.  It was a small department consisting of 3 of us.  I learned a lot from my manager about marketing and public relations.  After she left the company I took over a lot of responsibility with buying radio ads, marketing campaigns, public relations, I was loving it.  I was there 3 years and really did take a lot from it.

In 2003 I started dabbling in photography.  I even had clients and everything.  But I realized that I was fixing so much in post-production that I needed technical education on the camera.  Once again I find myself needing an education.  The very thing I had been avoiding for the past 15 years of my life was finally catching up to me.  I always knew I wanted to get a degree, to finally finish up what I had started at 18 and gave up because I was too busy tapping the keg and having a good time.

I enrolled in an online BFA program for an art school in photography.  For the first time in my life I have a 3.8 g.p.a.  I LOVE my classes and I love going to school.  I have watched my photography go from okay to award-winning and it feel fantastic.  Its definitely harder at 34 with a husband and 2 kids.   Plus I can only handle 2 classes at a time which will probably put my graduation at 2013.  It’s a little hard sometimes to think that I could have had it so easy had I done it my parents way.  I wouldn’t have these huge student loans piling up, I wouldn’t be having my son watch 2-3 movies during the day during preparation for midterms, and I probably could have studied over seas.  I had a wealth of opportunity that I tossed away.  Its a tough pill to swallow.

I did get my dream of being a mom, its just a shame I realized my other dreams so much later.  Do I regret any of it?  Not a bit!  I will tell you one thing though, when I do finally finish my degree in 2013… I am throwing the biggest graduation party this side of town.  Success is so much sweeter when you’ve had to work this hard for it.

Excuse me while a pour another cup of coffee to finish up studying…

The Photo Addict.

Works for Me Wednesday: Hotel Freebies

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Disrespect a hotel reservationist and you may find yourself in the tiniest room in the joint, right next to the noisy elevator with a great view of the dumpster in the back parking lot. That is if you are able to score a room at all!  The flipside of this is that most people who work in reservations really do appreciate a little kindness and will go out of their way to help you.  I’ve had really good luck with the latter approach.  Here’s what you do if you know the place you want to stay but can only afford the bare minimum. 

Check internet rates first.  Sometimes the best offers are web-based only.  Before you book, try also calling the hotel directly and cross check rates they offer.  This will also give you the opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for whether it is a busy time for them.  Perhaps your dates are flexible and you can switch plans accordingly.  Use your politest voice, be honest and tell them you must book for the lowest price but be sure to mention whether you are celebrating anything in particular.  If booking online, sometimes just a nice e-mail in the special request box will do.  The agent will make a note of this and it will sometimes get you little extras.  Just by doing this I have gotten free wine, cake, special views and big room upgrades. 

Sign up for any special hotel clubs.  Sign up is free and usually involves just a couple of minutes to fill out an online form but it can get you special attention if you are a member.  This could be anything from free internet access to express check in privileges.  It could get you parking discounts in big cities, free travel kits, free passes to the gym, etc. 

Once you have booked, follow up with a call just a few days before you arrive.  Talk about how excited you are about your visit and ask if they expect the hotel to be booked during your stay.  If the answer is no, request a complimentary upgrade if at all available.  Tell the agent you are traveling with a little one and explain that even a little bit of extra space would make all the difference to you and your family.  This has almost always worked for me, whether it is the Holiday Inn or the Westin.  God bless those reservation agents, they really do want you to enjoy yourself and spread the good word about your stay!  Don’t forget to leave a positive comment card praising the name of the person who helped you.  Happy travels!

The Librarian

Works-For-Me Wednesday

I’m Not Pregnant–I’m Just Fat

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It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for Random Tuesday Thoughts! Here’s mine.

People will say anything. I used to think this was limited to the elderly, who, once they reach a certain age, seem to eschew all vestiges of social graces and personal boundaries and say whateverthehell comes to mind, because, “I lived through the Depression and you whippersnappers don’t know a thing, would you like another Werther’s Original?”

Obviously I'm carrying octuplets

However, once I got pregnant, I learned that apparently all bets are off when it comes to pregnant women and parents, and everyone gets to say what they want–and they won’t even offer you a Werther’s Original in exchange. Unlike many women, nobody rubbed my belly uninvited, for which I considered myself lucky. But the questions and comments–oy! I can’t even count the number of times people asked if I was having twins. I wasn’t. Mouse was just way out in front, but who asks that kind of question? I mean why not just cut to the chase and say, “Wow, you’re fat!”

Although I suppose that’s better than previous times when I’ve been asked if I’m pregnant and I actually wasn’t. All three times happened at the airport. I have an implanted medical device so I can’t go through metal detectors. I have to be patted down every time I go through security, which is super-convenient and I just love doing it. Not. Anyway, three different times, the TSA agent conducting my pat-down asked when I was due. The first time, I was so embarrassed I mumbled something and left as quickly as a could. The second and third times I realized that it wasn’t ME who should be embarrassed, so when the agent said, “When are you due?” I replied with, “Oh, I’m not pregnant. I’m just fat.”

Ha.

Let’s just say that I guarantee those women will never be asking that question again.

Now that Mouse is here, people constantly comment on his size. Mouse is a stout lad. At 14 months, he’s currently 28 and a half pounds. He was only 7 lbs. 7 oz. when he was born, but he didn’t waste any time packing it on and by his 3 month appointment he was already off the charts. I have to shop for him at the Baby Gap Big and Tall store.

Won't somebody please think of the chubby kids?

No, there’s no Baby Gap Big and Tall, but if there were, it would make my shopping a lot easier.

Anyway, I get comments on his weight all the time. Most of the time it’s, “What are you feeding him?” Now how am I supposed to answer that one? Especially when I give my standard answer, “Twinkies and steroids,” they look at me like I’m crazy–as if they think I really do give him Twinkies and steroids.

Food, people. I feed him food.

And then there are the comments about his future football career. I’m not really a football fan. It took me years to fully understand the rules of the game (why is the clock still ticking and they’re just standing around? Wait, why is the clock stopped now?). The thought of my precious son crouching over and running head-first into another former customer of Baby Gap Big and Tall makes me nervous. I mean look at their heads! That can’t be good.

Then again, a friend of mine whose daughter is teeny tiny was complaining about how everyone keeps asking her, “What are you feeding her?” as if she were deliberately starving her kid to death. I guess we just can’t win.

The Scrivener

Head on over to The Un-Mom for more Random Tuesday Thoughts

Silent Sundays

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Filed Under the Heading “Excuse Me?”

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In case you hadn’t heard yet, a North Carolina middle school teacher got in trouble. For writing “loser” on a student’s assignment. Yes, you read that correctly. Loser. Not once, but twice.

Apparently, he was “just joking”. Um. Yeah, that’s it.

You can google “Teacher Writes “Loser” on Student’s Paper” and 3 million articles/posts/ links will come up, but I will make it easy for you. Here is one article. And for those too lazy to go read it, here it is:

“A North Carolina middle school teacher is in the hot seat over his controversial style of teaching. Rex Roland teaches sixth graders at Enka Middle School in Candler, N.C. Patty Clement says her child was repeatedly bullied by Roland in class and she wants it to stop. Clement says on a November vocabulary assignment Roland wrote the word “loser” after correcting the paper. Just a few weeks ago, another graded assignment made its way home, and at the top of the page was the word “loser” underlined twice. The Buncombe County School District released a statement saying that this is a personnel matter that’s being looked into. It’s important to note that some parents defend Roland’s teaching style saying its his way of relating to his students. None would go on camera with us.”

My only question is: When is this idiot being fired?

The SoCal FruGal

Make 'Em Laugh

There is no sound in the world better than a child’s laugh.  It is my drug of choice and I will do anything to make my son crack up.  I’ll do a dorky happy dance.  Or use silly voices to tell a story.  I’ll bounce a ball off my forehead or play “hide under the covers” 25 times in a row.   Whatever it takes!

Rocky

A funny pirate

Of course the best laughs are the spontaneous ones.  These sometimes come at my expense when I’m not even trying.  Apparently it is hilarious when I drop something unexpectedly and scold myself under my breath.  Or if I absent-mindedly stick the milk in the pantry.   “Mommy, you are sooo silly, look what you did!”  If I happen to trip into an animated fall, that is good stuff to a 4-year-old.  What can I do but laugh at myself when he thinks it’s funny?

He also laughs at himself.  We took him ice skating for the first time and he couldn’t even stand up for the longest time.  His legs were going everywhere and he somehow managed to fall as I was trying to hang on to him and keep from falling myself.  This was big time funny.  Like riding on a roller coaster funny.  He giggled the entire time we were at the rink.  Well, at least he didn’t cry and give up!

A couple of weeks ago my husband, son and I were watching the Olympics. 

“I think it’s kind of lame,” I said, “that Brazil has 200 million people but only sent 2 athletes to the winter games.” 

“What do you expect,” said hubby, “there is no winter weather in Brazil, it’s mostly warm there.”

“Yes, well, it’s warm in LA but we still have ice rinks.  I’m sure they could build some and produce a hockey team or how about curling?”

“CURLING?!?” he said.  “No one cares about curling, it’s not a sport if you can be pregnant and get to use a broom!”

This struck our little Rocky as hysterically funny, he was especially stuck on the word “curling” until he found the next thing that tickled his fancy.  Let’s just say his new favorite restaurant is “Buca di Beppo” based solely on the name! 

The Librarian

WFMW–Lazy Veggie Prep

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I’ll admit it. I’m lazy.  When Mouse started eating solids I decided I wasn’t going to be lazy, so I bought all kinds of organic produce, bought an immersion blender, used the steamer part of my rice cooker, and made batches of my own baby food. It wasn’t too bad, but Mouse doesn’t do the puree thing anymore, and my lazy streak emerged.

Mouse still needs some hard foods softened for him. And after cleaning out my rice cooker a dozen times, I thought, “There has to be a better way.” And by better I mean less labor-intensive. My microwave called to me like a neglected teddy bear and I put my rice cooker away. Here’s how I soften hard fruits and veggies, the lazy way.

measuring cup, meet carrots

First, I chop up the fruit or veggie, or I rip open the package of frozen whatevers. I put my selected amount in a measuring cup and fill it with water just to cover.

Then I pat myself on the back for my effort and take a short break.

Once I’m fully rested, I stick the cup into the microwave and cook it for about 2-5 minutes, depending on the fruit or veggie, its pre-cooked state (fresh or frozen), and the chompability level of the eater. Mouse really only needs things very slightly softened, so I zapped these babies for about 2.5 minutes.

While waiting for it to cook, I give myself a manicure and call a friend to talk about soap operas.

When the microwave beeps, I take the cup out and immediately fill it with ice. This cools the vegetables quickly and also gives my icemaker a purpose in life. I hold the whole thing with a potholder and swirl it around to get everything nice and cool. I started the ice method after nearly passing out from trying to blow on the food enough to get it to eating temperature. Because I’m smart like that.

Behold the icy goodness!

Incidentally, this potholder came courtesy of Democrat Jose Sol0rio during his state assembly campaign. Talk about a useful giveaway! It must have worked, too, because he won.

Once the veggies are cool, I fish them out with my fingers and throw them on the tray, whereupon Mouse drops them to the floor to feed to the dogs, completely unaware that the dogs won’t eat vegetables and that I’m going to have to pick them up when they’re all soggy and cold later.

I use this method for pretty much everything hard that can be softened, particularly apples, carrots, zucchini (which Mouse used to love but now hates–it cries because it can’t go to the party in his tummy), and so on. It’s particularly convenient with mixed frozen veggies.

I love leftover Costco pizza!

These carrots are organic and fresh from the farm (really!). But lest you think I’m a Super Mommy with my vegetable choice, here’s Mouse enjoying a slice of leftover Costco pizza.

So there you have it! Lazy veggie prep for the mom who feeds her child organic, fresh-from-the-farm carrots alongside leftover Costco pizza!

Works for me! For more great tips, head over to Rocks In My Dryer for other Works For Me Wednesday posts.

The Scrivener

Wokka Wokka Wokka Wokka

Rockabye Baby

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Don’t you just love how soothing lullabies are to babies?  Don’t you just love the lullaby music?  Absolutely not.  I wanted to shoot myself in the head after about 45 minutes of little C listening to old lullabies and crying every time I turned it off.  Then as a little gift, my sister-in-law brought me about 6-8 CD’s of Rockabye Baby.

Oh My Gawd!  I could NOT believe it.  Lullaby music renditions of some of my favorite music!!  Now this music I could handle.  I even turned it on in the car when he was fussy, worked like a charm AND I didn’t want to inflict pain on myself.

Here is a listing of the bands they cover:

  • The Beatles
  • Bob Marley
  • The Beach Boys
  • Bjork
  • Coldplay
  • The Cure
  • Green Day
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Metallica
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • US
  • Nirvana
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Pixies
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • Radiohead
  • Ramones
  • Smashing Pumpkins
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Tool
  • Journey
  • Guns N Roses
  • Aerosmith
  • Queen

and my personal favorite…

  • No Doubt

They also offer really cute apparel featuring the cover art from some of their albums.  I highly recommend Rockabye Baby CDs to all mothers!

The Photo Addict

It's Outta Control!!

I always knew I had control issues, but I had no idea how many control issues I had until I became a mom. I mean, I like to be in charge. I’m not always what you would call a “team player” unless you mean “team captain.” I like things to happen when I want them to happen. I like things to be done the way I want them done. I’m really very anal particular about what I want.

I know the moms in the audience are already laughing.

Because when you have a child, guess how much you can control? Not a whole lot. Especially those early days. What do you mean you’re not sleeping?! You need to go to sleep because I want you to! And while you’re at it, finish this stupid bottle. I don’t want to spend all day here while you dilly dally around. It’s time for you to take a nap, and by “you” I mean “me,” so why the heck aren’t you happy in your crib with your duckie?

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that I am completely unable to bend Mouse’s behavior by the sheer force of my iron will. Because quite frankly, Mouse really couldn’t give a crap whether or not I want to take a nap or the fact that formula is expensive so can’t we just finish this bottle instead of throwing it away. And what I really would not like to be doing right now is changing a diaper, but honestly that situation doesn’t get any better if you procrastinate.

I don’t want you to throw food off of the high chair tray. I want you to eat it. And I don’t want you to feed it to the dog either, no matter how pathetic he looks (talk about a ruse!).  I really would like you to stop screaming just because the acoutistics in Costco are fabulous for an echo. I really would like you to stop grabbing my glasses. It would be awesome if we could leave the house in fewer than 30 minutes.

And Mouse’s standard answer to all of the above?

“Whatever, lady.”

So how does a mom accept what she cannot control? How can a control freak like me learn to chill out and let it go? Is there hope for me and my psychotic hangups?

Anyone? Bueller?
The Scrivener