Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding

Yes, I admit it- I watched the Royal Wedding yesterday morning and it was utterly lovely!! I actually woke up around 5:30 am without an alarm (my new reality-waking up way too early every friggin' day!) and proceeded to watch until about 7:30. Some things that struck me: Catherine was sublimely elegant, composed, regal and completely in love with William. He in turn, looks totally like Diana, especially when he lowers his head and looks up with his big blue eyes. And he is madly in love with her. I can totally tell! That is the difference between this wedding and his parents' wedding. How young was Diana- 20?? What did any of us know when we were 20?? Good call, waiting until both were ready. I think these 2 will make it.
Oh- how sad that Diana wasn't around. Wonder what she would have looked like now, at 49. Yikes- that's still young! I liked looking at the other royal families who attended. I lived in Spain my junior year in college and took an interest in all the royal families of Europe so it was fun to see them all as well. Ah, a great way to start the day yesterday. Back to reality now!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Changing Priorities

Wow- things are getting more complicated!! I apologize for the lack of postings, but it is honestly tough to find time to do so. When I came into work on Monday, my whole desk was covered in paperwork with post-it messages for me. And no boss! He called and proceeded to explain everything that I needed to do while he was in court. GAH- there were phone calls to make, information to elicit, emails to acknowledge, faxes to send, scans to save, new files to set up, appointments to make, incoming calls, visits from friends and relatives who are coming to see the new digs, and I'm all alone!! Thankfully he is incredibly patient and understanding with me. So I am busy, learning a massive amount, trying to navigate the court system, and still have to plan Uki school and Plast and I gotta be honest, I am starting to care less and less for those jobs. I know they are important, and I have given so much these last few years, but I gotta prioritize. On top of this, tomorrow I have a middle school parent orientation right after swimming and have to practically feed the kids in the car. OH- and I totally forgot that my son is going away for 4 days for this "Nature's Classroom" thing on MONDAY!!!! GAH- I have to pack him, and drop him off at 7:45 am!!! GAH!! It is in times like these that I remember the words my freshman advisor in college told us- "Think of all the time you'll have to rest when you're dead." True, so true...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update

My giant desk got giant-er with 2 side sections and we both decided it will probably get full quickly. He ordered a typewriter for me- yes, people still use typewriters!! I was surprised. My learning curve is HUGE!! I have so much to grasp and try to remember it's astounding. I hope I can handle it all!! I donated my cafe table and chairs to furnish the landing outside the office and they look great. I am on a massive purge and want to get rid of tons of stuff from my house. Still swimming and hockey-ing, but it's spring break so no school. And that is what's up. This is getting harder to do here, so bear with me as I start this new phase of my life!! Thanks to all!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Last $7

Well, I have one work week under my belt! Love my commute (about 90 seconds), love my gigantic desk, love my office, love it all!! And I even got paid! Good thing, as I was literally down to the last $7 in my wallet. Whew! All is good for once. Now the worst thing I have to figure out is what to do with my kids when I am at work this summer. I'll have to find some camps or activities they can do while I toil away. Not a really bad problem to have, just a logistical one. Any help, advice, or thoughts out there? Thanks for all your kind words and support!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jesus Monster trucks

I had to stop at Walmart to buy little bowls for the Easter eggs we will be decorating in Uki school this week. I have the Paas dyes, cups, vinegar, and fake grass but I just needed the bowls. You would not believe the crap there in the Easter aisles!! Rows and rows of toys, candy, plastic eggs, stuffed animals, dyes, baskets, totally crazy! And above all I LOVE the pre-made baskets with candy, toys, and the plastic grass already put together and shrinkwrapped. These things are HUGE, totally cheesy and tacky and have Easter related themes like, Hot Wheels Monster trucks, Bratz dolls, Football, Hippie Peace Signs, etc. What the heck does any of this crap have to do with Jesus dying on the cross and resurrecting three days later? Plastic camouflage eggs? A basketball shaped basket? Sidewalk chalk? Bubbles and jump ropes? Don't get me wrong- I don't even believe in any of this stuff, but come on, give the event SOME respect!! When did it become about egg hunts and chocolate bunnies? So sad. I'm trying to do something different this year at my parents' house where we go to celebrate. No candy! No stuffed chickadees! No musical chocolate candy eggs!! My cousin-in-law is on board, now I'm hoping the others will agree as well. I was telling said cousin-in-law that I just threw away the Valentine's Candy my kids got 2 months ago!! It never ends...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happiness at last

I went to Court today (got to observe my boss argue a motion), to the Secretary of the State to file a corporation form, to a Housing authority to meet staff members, and I got to set up the stationery for my office!! I actually got dressed up, at least professionally dressed up, took my grandfather's old alligator doctor's bag as a purse, and I felt like I mattered! He even set up me up with Pandora- that's like a personalized radio for your computer! How can this blog go on if I'm so happy??

Monday, April 11, 2011

Update

Wow- where is the time going?? These last few days have been crazy and the next few will continue to be so as well. My office is almost ready- we are set to open for business this Thursday!! I am really excited and can't wait to get started. Around here we've had doctor appointments, dentist appointments, haircuts, clinics, banquets, Uki school, plast, field trips, and on and on. Some explanation: At the swim team banquet last Friday, my daughter was named MVP of her age group!! That was so exciting, and she was just beaming. My teeth were super clean, but my eye glasses suck like nothing I've ever seen. Literally, I put them on and everything is blurry. They are "progressive" lenses and I hate them. I will need to get them changed this week. My son went to Sturbridge Village last week (it's like a trip back to colonial times) and bought a HARMONICA- you can imagine the sounds coming from here! Uki school was ok, plast was good, and yesterday I took the kids to the Norwalk Aquarium. We had a lot of fun - we saw seals and sharks, petted stingrays, watched an IMAX movie about abandonded baby elephants and orangutans (I bawled like a baby- very powerful film!), spent $$$ at the gift shop, then came home. Massive food shopping today, I'm going to court tomorrow, dentist for kids tomorrow, hockey and swimming in between, GAH!!! Nonstop action around here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

That's that

Ok- I vented yesterday, so now just good news. Our office is coming along nicely! I am going to visit my new chair and phone tomorrow!! This is so exciting, but I'm not letting myself get carried away until I'm actually in and doing work. We will be going to court next week where I'll meet his current clients and I'll start familiarizing myself with his files and programs. Oh- and I went to Target yesterday and got myself some new clothes!!! Don't worry, I used 3 hoarded gift cards, so it only cost me 94 cents!! My son started a new hockey clinic with some famous ex-player named Ivan and my daughter started her spring swim clinic yesterday. Her records have been updated on the wall at the Y so I went to take another photo. At clinic another swimming mom and I began to sort awards and ribbons that will be given out at the banquet on Friday. Squirrel man is coming today to help get rid of the critter in my attic, and that's that.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nice, huh?

So this past weekend when the kids were with dad, they went to a 50th birthday party for a friend of his. When he brought the kids home, they were joking about the gift they got her. It was a bucket filled with jokey things. Ha ha. I go online to do my banking and I see $85.00+ spent at Walgreens. Walgreens!!! I ask the kids yesterday if they were with dad at Walgreens over the weekend. "Yeah, to buy those gifts for Pani _____." Ho HO- $85.00 for a gift for a friend. And not even anything NICE- it was all JOKEY STUFF!!! Let me tell you- he never spent $85 on me on my birthday!! Maybe when we were dating. Once we got married, thwpt. Nice, huh? $85 on crap. I swear to God, the second I can get some financial independence from this tool, he can pay his bills himself.

Then, when we were driving home from Hockey (new clinic) my daughter asks me (she loves to ask random questions out of the blue!) "Mama, what is the worst thing that happened to you as an adult?" And I'm thinking how can I tell them that when their dad left me/us and my marriage disintigrated was the worst thing. But I say, "Hmmm, I'm not sure. I'd have to think about that." So she says, "How about as a kid?" and I say when I was sick (I had an autoimmune disease when I was 13 which SUCKED and scarred me for life) and she says "OK, but how about as a grown-up?" and then my son says, "Let me guess, the day you married Tato." Nice, huh? I'm thinking that isn't something a 10 yr. old could generate himself, so I'm sure he's hearing that type of talk from good ole dad. Nice, huh?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Quitting Time?

Well, I had an extremely quiet weekend. Kids went to dad's Friday after school, and I was all alone! Killed some time, then ordered a Stellas pizza for dinner. My kids don't like this kind, so I was glad to finally be able to eat it for myself! Saturday was Uki school and Plast. My school kids are a real piece of work. First of all, this was the first time in forever that no one was absent. I have kids who cannot sit still, one who I am convinced is on the autism spectrum, kids with crippling speech impediments, with a couple of good ones thrown in. So during lunch, one boy spilled some yogurt. He asked nicely for me to wipe it up and as I was he says, "Pani Wesia, I wuv you!" See, it happens every time! Just as I'm ready to throw this kid out the window after the 500th time he hit himself in the head with his own hands and interrupted me for the millionth time, he goes and says "I wuv you." Then another little one said, "Me too!" and another one said "Me too" as well. Just as I'm ready to quit....And Plast went well too! It didn't feel like I was stuck in a black hole of time suckage. Then, the assistant principal presents me with an offer- because the group I have this year is such a challenge, they want to give me a break and have me teach third grade, with really nice kids, next year. See? Just as I'm ready to quit, they go and give me a viable option. Crap. I don't know what I'm going to do. With my new job, I won't really need to work there, but I feel like I should try and keep active in the community and teach what I can. GAH! What a dilemma.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Plugging away

Yesterday was a wacky day- sorry for not posting!! I had a meeting with my boss in the morning. We met at the new office and started thinking about furniture layout and he gave me a bunch of tasks to start to get myself ready for work. I am so excited I can't stand it!! Then, my kids had an early dismissal for parent teacher conferences so I zipped over to school. Both went well. I promised the kids if the conferences were good that I would take them to the movies for a treat. When we came home around 3:15 they did homework and then we went to see "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules." All 3 of us have read the whole series so I felt like we had to see the movie in the theater when it came out. We got home late-ish, so dinner was late as well. And that was my day! As for today, I turned in $21.55 worth of cans and bottles- YAY!! And I still have to plan some Uki school stuff and a Plast lesson. Kids are going to their dad's after school. They haven't been there in a long time, so I have to admit I'm looking forward to some quiet. Never ever would I have thought I'd admit that 2 years ago when this whole mess started. I love them more than anything, but they absolutely exhaust me. And that's that! Thanks for your support, your nice words, either on here or in my email, and I hope you are still finding this entertaining.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Clean up

I am in major cleaning mode. Maybe because it's spring, maybe because I'm sick of looking at all the crap everywhere, maybe because major changes will happen here- I don't know. But I'm in the zone. First, I decided to tackle my Ukie school stuff. There are boxes and bins and plastic baggies and folders and baskets filled with markers, clips, tape, post its, construction paper, stickers, albums, pens, pencils, rulers, copies, drawings, cut outs, photos, puzzles, yarn, all in my dining room! GAH! What a turn off. Also, because I've been to two houses of my daughter's teammates and they were spotless, I think I'm feeling like I can part with a lot of stuff. So, I'm trying. I will tackle one area each day, until it gets to a point that I can comfortably live with it. And maybe feel like I can invite people over for a nice dinner. Maybe...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Frugal Living

So things seem to be on an upswing around here. About friggin' time! Swimming was fantastic and I am going to have a job! WOW! Good timing, as I am almost out of money! Thankfully I am one of the most frugal people you'll ever meet. Let me give you an example- last summer I worked in the camp kitchen where my kids went for a three week Ukrainian Scout camp. I made a decent amount of money for those 3 weeks. I took out the last $100 I made a few weeks ago!! Granted, that money isn't being used to pay bills or the mortgage, but it's used for what I call "Wallet money"- cash for small purchases, like if I run out of cream for my coffee, I need 2 rolls for hamburgers, Dairy Queen for the kids, hot lunch at Ukie school, that kind of stuff. I know that may sound stupid, but I am an envelope/pile/compartment kind of money person. Earnings from Ukie School go in one place for certain purchases, money from gifts for other things, earning from a primary job go for something else. So, can you believe it- my last $100 just taken out, and I still have $23 left. I think I'm going to need some nicer clothing too. I have stuff, but I think I'll need to suplement a bit. Target gift cards!!! See, Ms. Frugality to the rescue!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Results!!!!

For those of you waiting with baited breath to find out the results, here we go!!
How best to describe the afternoon at Harvard?? It was undescribeable!! I do not really have the words to explain how great it was. I'll start with a simple rundown of the meet.

First event, 25 butterfly. My daughter is seeded 6th. There are 8 lanes rather than the usual 6, so more competitors per heat. 6th is a tough spot to be in. Someone in an earlier heat could knock it out of the park, you have a mediocre swim, and you drop to like 10th. But not my girl- she WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She came in FIRST in the 25 fly!!!! It was flawlessly gorgeous!! She is the best in NEW ENGLAND in the fly!!! AND her time set a new record at our YMCA- 16.24 seconds. UN-BE-LIEV-A-BLE!!!!! After the boys swim their 25 fly, they announce and award medals to the top 8 and when the announcer said "And your New England Champion in the 25 fly..." it was friggin' awesome!!!!

Next event- 100 yd. medley relay (4 girls, 4 strokes). We are seeded 4th, we get SECOND (of 40 teams!) with the best time to date, even better than at Championships. Nice...

Next- 25 yd. backstroke. My daughter is seeded 3rd. She ends up 5th, (NOT BAD AT ALL!!) and a teammate is eighth. All is good...

Next- 50 yd. freestyle. Teammate gets 3rd!! Overall standings, Wallingford 95,
Greenwich 83. Yay...

Next- 100 IM- one girl, all 4 strokes. No one in this event, Greenwich goes up against us 97-95. Yikes...

Next- 25 yd. breaststroke. Teammate gets half a point, Greenwich leads 132-95.5.
Gulp.

[Now- we don't actually know the team standings. This is all in the results that I got last night after we came home. Had we known that this was happening, I think I would have needed a defibrillator!!]

Next- 100 yd. freestyle relay (4 girls, each does one lap of freestyle). We are again seeded 4th. After a super close race....WE WIN with my daughter as the anchor!
We get 40 points, but Greenwich is still leading 166-135.5

Last event, 25 yd. free. We have girls in the last heat seeded 4, 5, and 6.
After some tense waiting, our three go 3rd, 4th and fifth, my daughter getting the
5th,and after more tense waiting for the final team standings, here is how it went down--Greenwich 177, Wallingford- 180.5!!!!!!! WE WON THE NEW ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!! I am still in awe of what they did! Proud doesn't begin to describe it. I am so glad my parents, brother and his girlfriend were there to watch it all happen. So, my daughter got a 1st, 5th and 5th in individual events and another first and a second in the relays. If my calculations are correct, she finished SECOND overall as well. This was just beyond words. 6 months of intensely
hard work. And it all paid off. We got to celebrate at the hotel pool with lots of junk food and pizza, and more swimming, if you could believe it, and memories that will certainly last a lifetime!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nerves, Nerves

I was like a caged animal today. I couldn't find a space for myself. I walked from room to room, went for a LONG walk outside, went to the library, walked outside around my house, washed dishes, vacuumed, swept floors, just to keep busy and keep my mind off of these New England Championships. I know the kids are all trained to the nth degree and what is going to happen will happen. I just hope it's all good!

On a lighter note, I really can't wait to start this new job. I am SO looking forward to being around people, getting dressed nicely, having the challenge of learning new terminology/vocabulary and finally using my BRAIN for things other than housework and preparing for Ukrainian school. You do atrophy somewhat, taking the stay at home mommy route. I don't regret it, but it's time for a serious change.
I am very grateful to this gentleman for seeing something in me that I think I forgot I was. I feel like I can finally "Exhale!"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Expensive Eyes

I had my annual eye doctor appointment today. I haven't gotten new glasses in two years, so I knew it was time for a new prescription and some new frames. The check up went well, and then I went over to the optician to start picking out something new. It's tricky to pick something that looks good. I am not a shopper by nature, and often I will buy the first thing I try on. As I was looking, the nice lady informed me that I could get prescription sunglasses for 20% off but I'd have to get them today for the discount to apply. So I looked around some more, and decided on one pair of each. And then she sits down at the computer and starts clicking away, for the next HALF HOUR. Grand total-- $1,064!!! I almost fell out of my chair!! I looked at her and she's like, "But with the discount and insurance...your total is $875!" GAH! Uh, not doable, lady! She said she'd go downtstairs to talk to Maribeth or whomever to make sure she did her calculations correctly. GAH! I wait another 15 minutes she comes back and says. "Yup- it's $875." So I said, "No thank you! I won't be getting the sunglasses." Over $430 for sunglasses!!!! Can you imagine?? I can go to Walmart and get sunglasses for less than ten bucks. Not prescription, obviously, but come on!! Forget that!! So at least I didn't break the bank, but I had to pay my copay and for photos of my eyeballs on top of the glasses. Then, I get in my car and the LOW TIRE light is on. What the hell? So I go to the dealer, they fix it for me (almost 90 minutes later, though...)at no charge!! YAY!! So it was a weird day. One more swim practice, kids have a pasta dinner afterwards and then Saturday we're off to Harvard. I'm tired...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Finally!!

I may as well let you in on some good news. I got a job! Part time to start, but it could turn into something awesome!! A friend of mine, whose daughter swims with mine on the team, is a lawyer and he is leaving the practice he's at to go out on his own. He thought of me (ME!!) to become his assistant/paralegal! I will start next month once he gets his new office put together. I saw the place today- it's an old house in the center of town and we will have 3 rooms there. I even get my own office! I'll be starting with about 4 hours a day, and if things go well, I'll work more. Yay me!! What a relief. Maybe other things will start to fall into place for me too. I have a couple of funny stories- I thought I'd be a good employee and take some paralegal classes and that turned into a disaster. I'll tell you those soon. If you don't mind, I'd like to take some time now and bask in my own happiness.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TV, kind of

I watched Dancing with the Stars last night. It was the season premiere, and I haven't watched in a while. It seemed like they were having lots of Playboy Playmates, ex-cons, idiots from MTV, and serious ringers, so I stopped watching. Last night was a really refreshing batch of stars and there were some surprising performances! Except for that ho-bag from the Playboy mansion, I can let my kids watch all the others. There's even a guy from WWE that my son knows. Blast from the past- Ralph Macchio, The Karate Kid, is 49!! He was great, as was Kirstie Alley.
I'm not a huge fan of hers, but she did alright. It was funny- as the scores were being given out, my kids were asking if they were good or bad. Someone got a 24 out of 30 and I said that's like a B, and when someone elso got a 17 out of 30, I said that's pretty bad, like a D or an F. My son said, "A B is a good grade, right?" and I said "Yes. But if either of you ever gets a D or an F, YOU don't get to play hockey, and YOU will not swim." The blood drained from their faces, but they got the message! The other show I let my kids watch during the week is The Biggest Loser. We enjoy watching the challenges and then we try to guess the weight losses the contestants are going to post. We also enjoy seeing the transformations of the booted players at the very end. Other than that, there isn't much on that I'd let them watch. If they could they'd watch SpongeBob all day long and I know they've seen every single episode! It's too easy to turn on the TV and just have it on for background noise. They have to learn to do things with their time that doesn't involve the television!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

News

We went skiing yesterday with my dad and it was AWESOME!! I figured we could go one more time and the kids were game and then grandpa decided to come, so we met up and skied together all day long. Kids made great progress. Weather was terrific as well. Got in some really good skiing.

It snowed today. Yay. First full day of spring????

I was at another swim team party last weekend and mentioned to a dad that I still had some huge branches on my lawn from the ice storm. He said he'd gladly come over and use his chainsaw to chop them up. When we came home from skiing yesterday, the branches were gone, only some sawdust left on the grass. How cool is that?? Someone said he'd do something, and he did it!! These people are all so nice and honorable it makes me sick. Just kidding...

Tiger Woods apparently said "It's hard work being a single dad!" EXCUSE ME?? Say WHAT?? Boo hoo you Tiger. You couldn't keep it in your pants and now you're saying it's tough being a single dad? You had a choice, asshole, and don't act like you have no help either. Call me, I'll tell you what it's like being a single parent. Go whine into your billions.

Ukrainian School was awful last Saturday. Confirms my desire to leave when this year is over.

And that's that. Not much going on here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bad Mother!

So last night, I caved and basically blew off almost all learning here. My daughter had swim practice, then I had a swim team parent meeting. We came home before 7. Quick dinner (pork chops, brown rice, broccoli) and then my son did homework and my daughter was playing and drawing. Before I knew it it was 9:00. I told them to go upstairs and get ready for bed. They both blew me off, so I went upstairs and turned on the TV. "District 9" was on- LOVE that movie- so I decided to watch it until Top Chef All Stars at 10:00. Kids came upstairs and started to play with their
Zsu-Zsu Pets and I let them. No yelling, no begging, no screaming. At around 10 they both realized it was time for bed, but before getting there they got into a huge fight. Nice. Flash forward to this morning- at breakfast I realized that A. my son did not practice on the saxophone and B. my daughter did not do her subtraction practice for her weekly quiz on Friday. I was so mad at myself and them. I told them that today, the axe falls. No friends, no street hockey, no Zsu-Zsu pets, just homework, saxophone, recorder, and bed. Some days I just do not have the strength!! I can't be one of those moms who yells all the time. But it's just me, I have no back up, no support, no help, so it always falls to me. It would've been nice to go upstairs and have a strong dad be the one who doles out the discipline and acts as the adult while giving mom a break. I know that I took the break anyway, but I'm tired of the constant monitoring. Bad mom?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hated it!

Can you hate something you're good at? Let me back up. My son forgot his saxophone at home yesterday so I had to drive it over. As I walked into the office, I saw his band teacher. I introduced myself, pointed at the sax and asked if I was late. He said no, and the next thing out of his mouth was what a GREAT SAXOPHONE PLAYER MY SON IS!! I couldn't believe it! He was so nice and so complementary. (And then he said great things about my daughter who is just starting to play the recorder!) He talked about how my son has great tone, he knows how to blow correctly, and he looks like he's having a great time. So, back to my question- can you hate something that you are good at? I'm trying to think if this applies to me- I'm good at tennis, swimming, running a summer camp, eating, dancing, writing, and maybe some other things, but I enjoy them all! I made sure when the kids came home to pass on the complements, and to encourage without sounding like a shrew. I got a minimal reaction. But I ask you- do you hate doing something you're good at? How exactly does that work?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

T-A-P-A-C!!

Let me tell you what I ended up doing for our Shevchenko day. Now, you have to understand that this is a pretty solemn afternoon. This guy was poor, an indentured servant, he was hounded by the Russians, and through it all he loved his country, Ukraine. Usually this holiday has poems, plays, a choir sings his works set to music, and the like. For the last 6 years I taught my little ones this song entitled "Deep Bow to you, Taras." It's a little two stanza song where the kids say how their hearts beat for him and they promise to be faithful to Ukraine and to him and what he stood for. GREAT work for a kid who A. doesn't speak Ukrainian, B. can't envision who he was or what he means, and C. sings the Christmas song to Santa.
Anyway, I usually ended up singing that song alone and the kids just stood there looking into the stage lights. So I said if I had to do this song again I'd throw myself off the roof of the Ukrainian National Home in Hartford. And it came to me!
A song so simple, so cute, so totally inappropriate for this solemn day, I had to do it. For you Ukie people, here is how it went:

Buv pysmennyk, nash pysmennyk nazyvavsia SHEV-CHEN-KO!
Buv pysmennyk, nash pysmennyk nazyvavsia SHEV-CHEN-KO!
T-A-P-A-C! T-A-P-A-C! T-A-P-A-C, nazyvavsia SHEVCHENKO!

For you English speakers, this is the Ukrainian version of
"There was a farmer had a dog and BINGO was his name-o"-

There was a writer, our writer, and his name was SHEVCHENKO
There was a writer, our writer and his name was SHEVCHENKO
T-A-R-A-S, T-A-R-A-S, T-A-R-A-S, and his name was SHEVCHENKO

Yep- I did B-I-N-G-O in Ukie for the greatest writer who ever was from our country. I made sure the kids knew the one important word- SHEVCHENKO! And they shouted it out just like I wanted!! One little one was even dancing around as we sang.
Well, the place went crazy! Everbody clapped when it was time to clap as each letter got taken away, and we got a huge round of applause at the end. All my parents told me it was awesome, cute, adorable!!! YAY! Even the principal and the guest director liked it. So phew, I get to keep my job. Not that I necessarily still want it, I have to think about it, but at least they didn't run me out of town.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Food Shopping

I go food shopping once a week, usually on Mondays. I used to go to Shaw's, but they were bought by Shop Rite. In the interim of Shop Rite taking over, I started to shop at Walmart. It took a while to get used to shopping there, but I've really got the hang of it now. Mondays are relatively quiet and not crowded. I can take my time and it's better without the kids. What I find funny, and not just at Walmart, but every grocery store I've been to, is watching couples shop together. I find that so bizarre I can't handle it. I think it is so funny that both a husband AND wife (or GF and BF) need to go together and do this chore as a couple. I can see that 99% of the time the guy does NOT want to be there. The woman is usually standing in front of the soups saying something like, "Um, I think we still have the chicken noodle. What should we get? Do you want the tomato soup? I could make grilled cheese? Or would you like the beef and barley? That was good, right? We liked that, right?" WHAT???? What the hell is THAT?? And the guy is just standing there, hands in his pockets like, "Whatever. Yeah. Beef Barley's fine." I never ever once never ever brought my ex to go food shopping. My mom certainly never ever took my dad along either! EVER. Maybe I'm weird, but I don't need any opinion about what to buy. I make the menu, I prepare the kids' lunches, I'll do the shopping thank you very much. Just today there was a couple, and I kept running into them as I wound my way through the aisles: "We have 2 cans of tuna." "What cereal do you want?" "Minute Maid juice bars? Or the Drumsticks?" That is so foreign to me. Even better is the phone call to the spouse: "Hon, it's me. I'm standing in front of the seltzer. We still have the raspberry, right? Should I get the mandarin or the lime? Lime? OK. Love you, bye." or "It's me again. What cereal did you want? Cheerios or Total? Total? OK- the one with the raisins? OK. Love you, bye." YOY. Hmm, maybe that's why I'm single...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Future Plans

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I'm going through something, no big deal, but I needed time to think some things through. I'll let you know about it soon.
Anyhow, so many things coming up! First, our Shevchenko performance!! It's this Sunday, and all 3 of us are doing something. I mentioned my son had to learn 20 lines and HE DID!! He has a fantastic memory and I know he'll do well. My daughter has just a few lines, but her class is also singing some songs so she needs to know those words as well. At least she is humming the melodies at home, so she should be fine. I also have to do something with my class of hooligans. Just kidding. Miscreants. Just kidding. I have 14 kids, half don't speak English, the other half don't speak Ukie, I have to indoctrinate them about a poet/writer/painter/indentured servant who lived 150 years ago and they couldn't care less, but that's how it all gets started. I came up with something that will either bring the house down or send me running for cover down the streets of South Hartford. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll tell you about it later. Next, my son has his last weekend of hockey. He's melancholy, but looking forward to a camp he wants to go to in August.
Then there's the championships at Harvard. Two weeks to go! I'm hoping that our girls are successful and bring home some medals. I am certainly going to buy out the vendors- sweats, towels, hats, all Harvard and championship paraphernalia AND customized photos of my daughter swimming. Who knows the next time I'll be going there!! I just found out my brother will be able to attend so that is awesome!!
And that's that. Maybe I'll finally be able to sleep through the night when this all comes to an end.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ex-hausting

Ex came by yesterday. My daughter had forgotten her swimming backpack in his car on Sunday and he needed to bring it back to her. So at around 4:00 he came over to play! He and my son played hockey on the street while I took my daughter to swim practice. Honestly, I forgot all about him until he showed up at the practice with about 20 minutes left. We all came back home and I began to get dinner ready. As I'm making 3 kinds of pasta, salad, and pizza dough rolls, he's sitting at the kitchen table chatting with my daughter. So weird!! Like he's here, but he's not here, he left, but he's here all the time. Just bizzare. It was civil, and all that- we don't fight in front of them- AND he loves to tell me the prices he pays for his weekly groceries, "I got oranges for 49 cents each!" or "Those juices the kids like- they were on sale 2 for 4 dollars!" or "Cucumbers were 37 cents a pound!" and I'm always like- "Uh, OK. Great!" Huh? He left before we sat down to eat, thankfully. Oh- and barely a word of Ukrainian to the kids. I fume quietly, but it is so hard to listen to him not even pretend to speak it to them. I feel so stupid that I put such a premium on finding a Ukrainian husband who didn't even turn out to want to pass down the Ukrainian heritage. If I want it, it's got to come from me. Exhausting.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Crap Unearthed

The snow is finally almost all melted. It's astounding to think that back in January our street was the width of one car, and now it's back to normal. I spent about an hour cleaning the pine branches that had fallen during that ice storm and I only removed about half of them. The gigantic one that took down my power line is still laying there- I'll have to chop it or saw it to be able to get it out.

I went for walks almost every day this month. I really missed not being able to do that with all the ice and snow on the ground. I've mentioned that I pick up cans and bottles as we have a 5 cent refund on them so it's free money. (For those of you who don't understand- when you buy carbonated beverages, water, or beer you have to pay 5 cents extra per container. You then redeem them and get your money back. If you pick up cans that you didn't pay for, it's free money!!) There's been some serious cash up for grabs!! I found 41 today alone!! My kids are mortified that I'm like a bag lady picking up crap, but I don't care. I look at it as if someone dropped nickels all over town, and they are there for the taking. Anyway, lots of stuff on the streets: dead squirrels, newspapers in bags, skunks, TONS of branches, sand, rocks, salt, plus we have serious flooding 'round these parts. The beauty of March!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dinner out

We haven't gone out to dinner in a long time. So yesterday, after having to practically DRAG my kids out of the house, we went to Friendly's. Yes, Friendly's!!
Surprising that I have to drag my kids, but go figure. Nothing can be easy. Anyway, it was delightful! I love the hamburgers there and certainly the ice cream is awesome. I remember the first time I took the kids out after their dad left us. It was a Saturday after Ukrainian school and I just wanted to go out. So there we were eating and one of my kids, I think my son says, "I have to go to the bathroom."
Dilemma! Do I let him go alone? Do I go and leave the other one alone? Do all 3 of us go together? I ended up letting him go alone but I stood in the aisle so I could have an eye on both kids. It all worked out in the end, but that was the first time I really had to think about what to do. When they were really little, we'd all go together, usually BEFORE we sat down to order and eat. Just one of those little things you don't really think about until wham!- it slams you in the face and you've got to make a decision.

Friday, March 4, 2011

AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!

I just did Ukrainian School homework with my daughter. It wasn't as bad as usual, but a pain nonetheless. I end up dictating everything word for word, letter for letter to both her and my son when it's homework time. I literally do all the work!! Everything short of holding the pencil and moving their hand for them. I remember doing my homework on my own from a very young age. PLUS- my son has to learn a 20 line poem for the Taras Shevchenko play on the 13th. He was like our Shakespeare and every year we have a production in his honor. Last year it was the day after the Championships at Harvard, so I ended up leaving from Boston Sunday morning and driving straight to Hartford for the play. That was fun. Anyway, I'm going over this poem with my son and you'd think I was torturing him. Everyone in his class has to learn something and be prepared to perform, but he acts like he's the only one. All of this is such a drag. I thought after Ukraine gained its freedom we'd be able to speak English (HA!) and forget about this hassle, but it wasn't to be. I want my kids to know their heritage and stand out by knowing another language. But it's a real pain in the ass.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lax Sax

My son had the biggest meltdown yesterday when I asked him to practice his saxophone for 10 minutes. 10 minutes! I won't get into the details, but I had to ask myself-should I still be pushing him to play? He proclaims total and abject hatred for this instrument. He does not want to play anymore. Do I give in? I don't want to.
I think he should play to engage another part of his brain and to become a well rounded person. Am I being a total nag? All I ask is for 10 minutes a day. He never plays on the weekends, and will usually get out of playing 2 or 3 other times, so he's basically playing ONCE a week. I look at this "Tiger Mother" (The Chinese mom with strict parenting philosophies who wrote a book) and she made her girls practice 2-3 hours a day. I'm not that crazy, but her shtick was that the more they practice, the better they'll get and the more they'll want to play. I think that is a logical way of thinking. But it's not working here. I tell him, "Fine, you can ditch the sax, but you'll have to play something else, and it will be hard to start from scratch now," but he doesn't care. I don't need this grief, but I'll take grief if it makes him a more interesting kid. I played guitar when I was young, wasn't too crazy about it, and of course wish I were better at it now. The easy thing would be to give in and let him quit. I know it's not the right thing. WWYD?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ATTENTION!! LOSER!!

I remembered something funny from our ski trip. After we got our tickets and rented the equipment, I took my kids and their friend over to where the lessons would take place. I made sure they were supervised, plus that friend's mom was there, just not on skis, and I decided to go to the easy slope and see if I remembered how to ski or if I'd make an ass out of myself. So, I'm shussing over to the chair lift, people are crowding around, there are kids, dads*, skiers, snowboarders, I'm in the bottle neck heading towards the chair and then a cold sweat breaks out over me. I am alone, and if you are skiing alone, they really don't want you going on a chair alone and wasting the seats. The etiquette calls for the person to shout out "SINGLE!" to let the others know and perhaps you could then mooch onto someone's group of three and get a ride. My situation considered, I really wasn't in the mood to start shouting "SINGLE!" Har. So I chickened out, turned around and went back over to where my kids were. (I got to watch their lesson, take some great photos, and I even skied down the bunny slope and was actually fine.) So lame. I know it's just a word, but I was so NOT in the mood to shout out my status. It makes for a cute story, I guess.

* It's astounding how many dads I see with their kids all over the place. By that I mean, it's the dad who does the activity while mom sits in the lodge, or on the lounge chair, or beside the pool, while I'm the mom who is skiing, swimming, playing tennis, riding a bike with them, etc. When I took my kids to Wildwood this past summer, we had the most fun at the water park. I was one of 2 moms, I swear to God, that was riding the slides and actually getting my hair wet among all the kids with their dads. Also, we went to an indoor water park for New Year's Eve 2008 and 2009 and there were VERY few moms running around. Seems like they all just sit and save seats for their families. yay me...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Highs/Lows

Just to make it official, our girls won the 8 and under championships!! They scored something like 244 points!! They already received their plaque and it will go into the awards cabinet at the Y. At practice today, all of us moms were just beaming, thinking about how far the girls came from a year ago.

OK- to be fair, I have to mention that my son had a hockey game on Sunday. His team won 5-0! YAY! It's so different watching a sport with individual races versus one with the entire team playing at once. I guess it's like watching gymnastics or skating versus basketball or football. Less stressful, for sure!! Plus he can still play with the same group for the next like 4 or 5 years while my daughter "ages up" into the 9 and 10 year old group with longer, more grueling events. And so it goes...

I went to the library today to hang out and read. I came across the Sunday Times Magazine (used to get it delivered but can't afford it anymore) and there was an article about a mom blogger who makes like $40,000 A MONTH!!!! I read it with great curiosity. She started out when this blogging thing was new and got in fast and strong. I don't know how she got the following she did- something like 1000 hits a day from the get go. Makes me feel like a doofus for wanting to get something out of this. Like, who do I think I am? I'll keep doing this because I enjoy the discipline of writing and coming up with ideas every day, but who the hell am I kidding? "For entertainment purposes only..."

Monday, February 28, 2011

yay! Yay!! YAY!!!!!

OK- I waited to give you results because I wanted Baba and Dyodyo (grandma and grandpa) to hear first. This was the most incredible sporting event I have ever witnessed live. Our girls did a phenomenal, almost perfect job at the Championships.

Let me give you a run down of the day. First event was the medley relay (each girl does one lap-25 yds-in a different stroke). The fastest seeded times go last, so it was a bit of a wait. But when our girls got on the blocks, right from the start, we were in the lead. Backstroke was first, and our youngest girl of the four got out beautifully. Next is breaststroke. She took over and pulled further ahead. My daughter was third, butterfly. She made the lead longer, and finally the freestyler left everyone eating her bubbles. They won!! First place, 32 points for the dolphins!! I cried! It was such a perfect execution of all 4 strokes, it was stunning. Now there was a bit of a wait for my daughter, but in the meantime one of our girls won the 25 freestyle! 16 points!! Next was my daughter's first individual event, the 50 freestyle. She was seeded second, this isn't her event, she gave it her all and came in second to her teammate in probably less than half a second. (I don't have the official times yet.) So we go 1 and 2 in that event, 16 and 13 points. After a quick wait, my daughter goes up again, this time for the 100 IM- one girl, all 4 strokes. She gets in, her fly is fast, her back is GORGEOUS, breaststroke is strong, and then she finishes with the free and WINS the event!!! FIRST PLACE!!! In my opinion, this is the strongest swimmer as she has to do all four strokes well, three different legal flip turns and not peter out. After a quick wait as there weren't many boys in the IM, she has to do the 25 fly. I was in the stands eating sunflower seeds to keep my nerves at bay. The parents around me were so nice, congratulating me with each event. So, finally she's up, "swimmers take your mark....BOOP!" and she's off, she's in the lead, she's making her own wave, and she WINS THE 25 FLY!!! MY GOD- could I have asked for anything more???? Now, each heat winner gets a little ribbon and a water bottle right there, immediately after the race. Since there are SO many kids swimming, they figure it's nice to recognize more than just the top 6 with a medal and 7 thru 12 with a ribbon. What I didn't realize is that even the first place finishers get the little ribbon and water bottle as well! So, we've got THREE so far, with the last relay still to go. WHEW- I'm exhausted just writing this! Now we had the 25 back and 25 breast with about 14 heats each, boys and girls, to go. LONG wait. We went 1 and 2 in the back and I think we got a fourth in the breast. So now, it's almost the end, with the freestyle relay. Four girls, all swim one lap in freestyle. My daughter is first, BOOP!- she's off the block and out to a lead. #2 is next, and she shoots out like a rocket. #3 is the one who won the 25 free, and she's cruising, half a lap ahead of the rest. The last girl (won the 50 free) gives us almost a full lap lead and the WIN!!!!!! ASTOUNDING!! Another water bottle and ribbon, 32 points, hysteria abounding!! I started screaming- "THAT'S HOW YOU SWIM!!! THAT'S HOW YOU SWIM!!!!" It could not have turned out any better.

I know that I was making myself sick over this, but I never take anything for granted. I never assume anything either. We were all seeded high, but anything can happen on any given day. I'm glad I was "wrong" to worry. But that's what I do, because I care and love my daughter and those other girls too and I wanted them to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication. So there. I just have to make sure I wear the same underwear, nail polish, black sweater, pack the same stuff in the bag, eat the same seeds, all over again for when we go to Harvard!! ;)

Friday, February 25, 2011

This is it!!

So tomorrow morning are the Swimming Championships. I am about to burst, but I'm trying to keep cool. My daughter is seeded FIRST of 18 in the 100 yd. IM, SECOND of 52 in the 50 yd. Freestyle and SECOND of 49 in the 25 yd. Butterfly. And both relays are seeded FIRST. AAAHHH!!! How's that for talent?? God, I just hope she lives up to her seeding. I don't doubt her ability or drive, but unfortunately when you are dealing with kids, anything can happen. Please send good thoughts her way!! and my way too... ;)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Headache x 5

OK- since I donated blood last Wednesday, I have gotten 5 of my headaches PLUS this weird dizziness in my head. I've had that dizziness before, and it gets treated with an antibiotic, but still. I am falling apart. I ran errands this morning and went to the walk in clinic but the wait was an hour and I wouldn't have made it in time to pick up my daughter from swim camp. So I returned later around 3:30 (with both kids) and didn't have to wait too long. I got checked over, got the prescription, ran to the pharmacy, loaded up on the drugs and am thankfully feeling better. It's so hard when you're alone, feel like crap, and still have to cook, or drive someone somewhere, do laundry, keep things running. One day I'll tell you about the spinal tap I had and the devastating aftereffects. That's one for the record books.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One vs. Two

My son is still with his dad, so it's just me and my daughter. Having one child is so much different than two, I can't even tell you. It's calm, there's no fighting, beating up, wrestling, arguing over movies, arguing over the computer, dinner is easy, and on and on. It's not just that it's my daughter that I'm with, but when I'm with my son it's the same as well. Just calm. Very nice atmosphere here. He'll be back tomorrow, and we'll have to do Ukrainian homework- not looking forward to that plus play on the saxophone at least once. My daughter is swimming in her league championships this Saturday, so the big focus is on her. She will have the toughest line up of events possible. I am hoping that she will have a great day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good Thoughts

I hope that my most frequent commenter Leo is ok down in New Zealand. I saw the devastation on the news the morning and I hope that he and his friends and family are all safe. Let's send some good thoughts his way.

Happy Happy Birthday to my mom!!! She and George Washington share a birthday.
MNOHAYA LITA MAMA!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

No news

Winter Vacation Week! YAY! Not... So many snow days have not made this much of an event. My daughter is attending a swim camp from 9-12 every day where she'll learn some more swimming stuff, nutrition and exercise, and get a chance to get out of the house. My son is spending a few days with his dad. We did the "Divorce Drop Off" at a rest stop on the highway. Bittersweet. It snowed here about 3 inches. Minor hassle. And that's about it for today.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shrektastic!!

I got tickets for the three of us to go see "Shrek: The Musical" in Hartford at the Bushnell Theater. The performance was today, and it was a really good show! Some of the songs dragged a bit, but the fairy tale characters were great, Donkey was funny, and the woman who sang the voice of the dragon was AMAZING!! We had seats in the balcony, so kind of high up, but the view was good. EXCEPT FOR ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE PRACTICALLY STANDING UP IN THEIR SEATS!!!! My God- the rudeness, the cluelessness of these people was astounding! OK- right before the show started, a lovely British voice came over the speakers and said something to the effect of: "Dear theatergoers, we hope you will enjoy the show, but please keep these three things in mind- 1. Please make sure to turn off your phone, 2. no photography allowed, and 3. (The best of all!) If you have brought anything to eat with you which is wrapped in a crinkly paper, please eat it immediately or a giant ogre will find you and take you far far away." Great, no? It gets a huge laugh, lights go down, show starts, and the woman behind my son takes out a baggie filled with chocolates and starts eating and sharing them. And a boy behind me was drinking water out of a bottle and popping and crinkling the friggin' bottle for the whole first act!! What a bunch of morons!! Where the hell is the common sense? Where are the parents? I did not pay $90 to listen to popping plastic OR to not be able to see the stage because the kids in front of us are A. leaning forward, B. in booster seats, C. sitting on mom's and dad's coats, or D. TOTALLY STANDING UP AND SQUIRMING!!!!! GAH!! I wanted to take that water bottle and throw it across the aisle and hit the woman with the chocolates. Now, I get it, it's a kids' show, there were lots of kids, lots of little kids, lots of little squirmy kids, but COME ON- I just kept breathing deeply until I whispered loudly- "SIT DOWN!!!" to the squirmy standing kid two rows down. He sat. And the little girl in front of me thought I was talking to her and she cowered and went on her mommy's lap. As intermission was ending, I said under my breath- "OK, who's gonna piss me off now?" and a dad next to me started to giggle and agreed about the kid with the water bottle. It's just so maddening. I guess that civility is gone. I used to not like going to the movies because I'd wonder who was going to ruin my experience with talking, eating, rustling, phoning, after I paid ten bucks or whatever, so I stopped going for years. Anyway- the show was fun, I think my kids liked it, and then I spent $38 on souvenirs- a key chain, a mug, and a headband with ogre ears for my daughter. Ah, the things we do for our kids!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Exhaustion squared

I woke up at 4:00 this morning. 4:00!! What the hell is wrong with me?? I know what is wrong with me- my daughter is having her State swimming championships next Saturday the 26th and I am beside myself with worry. Maybe worry is the wrong word- I just want her to do well. I mean, I want this for her more than I have ever wanted anything for myself. I swear to God! She has had such success this year, and she should be fine, but you just never know. I mean, she's 9!
I played sports, but started in Middle School, 7th grade tennis and swimming!
And then because she has done so well, we are going back to Harvard for the New England Championships and it would be so cool if she did well there too. Her times are phenomenal, and there are high expectations for her. I swear to you, I am not saying anything to her so I don't pressure her or make her feel bad or inadequate should she not do well. But this is eating me up, and now I am so friggin tired, it's exactly like when she was an infant and didn't sleep for 14 months and I was totally wiped out. I don't know how I'm going to get through another MONTH of this.
Any advice?? Please??

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Biggest Loser

Sorry for not posting yesterday. It was one of those odd, "Limbo" days, and I don't mean the dance (har dee har har). I was sort of waiting for the squirrel people to come, then I went to donate blood (BP 112/72, pulse 62- not bad!) and came back and was still waiting for the squirrel people, then kids came home, we had massive amounts of homework to do, then... my daughter and I went to her swim team's Swim-A-Thon. Now, this is kind of a different swim-a-thon in that they aren't raising money for cancer, or diabetes, or heart disease, but rather for their own team trophy, team gift and banquet dinner. I know, it sounds kind of weird, but it's how it's been done for years. In the past, the kids basically swam laps non-stop, someone kept track, they won prizes, and it was boring to watch and participate in. So they decided to change it up and make it a fun evening. They had silly relays like pushing a beach ball with your nose, swimming in a large t-shirt, swimming with a pool noodle, doggy-paddling, etc. So at least it was a bit more entertaining and not so tedious. They also opened it up to parents. I said I'd swim, since I know how to swim. So any parents who signed up got to be in a relay with their own kid.
(I asked them to turn down the light since there was so much white flesh from the parents (HA!)). So when it was my turn, I ended up having to swim against my kids' former gym teacher. She's like 38, fit as you wouldn't believe, and she totally cleaned my clock. We started at about the same time, and I tanked. I felt like an ass. I hope no one made fun of me- I have spoken about my knowledge of swimming, so I really hope I didn't come across as a tool. The dad who was also on my relay was like, "Oh, it's you and your daughter! Awesome! We're gonna win!" GAH! I really felt like I let my team down. I so don't need this angst right now! So I came home and ate like half of my daughter's birthday cake while watching the rest of "The Biggest Loser." And that's what I felt like...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another visitor???

So I'm preparing my Ukrainian School work this morning in my living room/dining room. And I start to hear noises up above. Like cracking, thumping, SCURRYING...
And I'm like, "Not friggin' again!!!" I go outside and look to see if maybe the ice is melting off of the roof, or the snow is doing something up there (Funny how you make excuses when you want to avoid the obvious, no?). I go back in, turn down the radio, and there it was, that scratching, scootching noise coming from the front closet!!!!!! So I slam the louver doors shut, grab a skein of yarn (!) and wrap a long strand around the knobs. I am screaming the whole time, then I look around and start yelling, "Furniture!! I need furniture!!" So I grab 2 dining room chairs and prop them up against the doors. I run downstairs, grab the phone, my cell, my little address book, and run out to the garage. I call the nice guy from last year who removed the dead squirrel, but he's at his other job and can't come by until 4:00ish. Crap. Now, so I don't bore you with my craptastic day, let me jump ahead and tell you that a different gentleman came here, from Nuisance Wildlife Removal and walked through every inch of my house for almost two and a half hours, and couldn't figure out where this thing got in. I told him I wasn't crazy, and he believed me. He was so awesome, so thorough, and he admitted he was stumped for the first time in his career. YAY! I'm so honored... Anyway, the noises stopped, so hopefully this thing got out, or died, and tomorrow he will come by with a colleague who may go up on the roof to check things out. CRAP!!! Will my luck ever change????

Monday, February 14, 2011

Birthday Trip

Yesterday was my daughter's 9th birthday, and we decided to celebrate it by going skiing!! Our Plast group organized a trip to Ski Butternut in Massachusetts and I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do. To make a long story short, we had a fantastic day. The kids loved skiing, and I actually didn't do too bad, especially since I haven't set foot in a ski boot in about 20 years. YAY! Kids want to go again, which is a pretty good sign.

For our kids' birthdays, we like to go out for dinner. We met their dad at a place near our house and it was a fine meal. Ex is the last person I want to look at across the table from me, but I guess it's important for the kids to see that we can get along. We 3 were pretty tired and hungry and the meal hit the spot. I wanted to mention that next to us sat a family of 5. The mom was on the phone, one son was playing with an IPad, the other son was playing with a DS, and the little daughter was coloring. Dad was staring into space. It was so nice to see a family go out and ignore each other. What the hell is the point? Save yourself $100 and stay home and ignore each other! So sad...

Happy Valentine's Day to all who have a sweetheart. To those who don't, enjoy a pint of your favorite...ice cream!

Friday, February 11, 2011

What's in a Name?

I just posted my first comment on someone else's blog. I follow TheSimpleDollar for frugal living tips. The guy who writes it is quite prolific with several posts a day. I decided to comment on something he wrote about preparing meals. My dilemma, however, was what name to use. Now, my real name is Alexandra. I don't use it, except on legal documents and with doctors and at the bank. My nickname is Sandy. That is the name I have used my whole life, in my American life. When I moved to CT, however, I wanted to go with something different, so when I met our neighbors, I introduced myself as Alexandra/Alex. And it worked! Until I was at a mommy and me class with both my toddler kids and a mom asked me my name and I just blurted out "Sandy!" and realized I was creating an issue for myself. One name around my block, one name with all new acquaintances. Now, in my Ukrainian life, I go by Lesia. My whole family calls me that, as well as people in Ukie school, Plast, camps, everywhere. And that's how I signed myself on my Vovchachow blog since it was going out to Ukie people. When I wrote the comment today, I didn't know how to refer to myself- Lesia, or Sandy. I chose Lesia, because when I think of who I am, Lesia is it. Plus, if ever I get the courage to link this blog, it will only make sense that I be Lesia, right? You know what's even funnier? My ex called me by my name, Lesia, to me to my face ONE time in ten years together. It was the first time he called me. Is that not weird?? To not call your girlfriend/spouse, EVER by her name??? At least I can giggle about that now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2 TVs

I love to watch TV. We are lucky enough to have 2 televisions in our house. One is in the family room and the other one is in my bedroom. As I've mentioned before, the kids aren't allowed to watch TV during the week, except in some rare instances. Like yesterday, I got my daughter a video from the library ("Because of Winn-Dixie") because she read it in school, liked it, and she asked if she could see it. This coming weekend will be crazy, so I allowed her to watch it after she finished her homework. No problem, I can be flexible. But I do find their behavior so much better without having the tube on all the time. Now, when Ex was still here, the TV was on ALL THE TIME. As soon as he would walk in the house, he'd turn it on. No matter if it was 4:00 in the afternoon, 10:30 at night, whenever, he'd turn it on and then it would stay on all through the night as he slept on the couch (that is another story...) and often into the morning when the kids were getting ready for school. Totally not necessary to have it on in the morning. Anyway, he'd watch Law and Order re-runs, stuff on the History Channel, some sports, but nothing of any importance. The only shows we really ever watched together were ER, Sex and the City, and The Sopranos. Otherwise, I'd go upstairs, he'd stay downstairs, and such was our life. One of the good things about his leaving was that the TV could be off and no one would explode. The kids are now forced to find something else to do but watch SpongeBob. My son made room in the garage and shoots hockey pucks into his net, and my daughter loves to play with little animal figurines. And then I can go and watch TV on my own. Ha- just kidding!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hair Cut

I got my hair cut back in October. Like really cut. I had been wearing it in a scrunchy bun for about 5/6 years. I decided to take the plunge, and chop it all off. It was a great, funky haircut with one side angled longer and covering my eye. I loved it but it was a TOTAL PAIN IN THE ASS to wear everyday. The part covering my eye was driving me CRAZY!!! So I'd end up using a headband, and that defeated the purpose of the short hair. So, in early December, I washed it, styled it, and cut off that section over the eye. And it was totally fine!! But by the end of December, the original hair was getting longish, so I went to get a trim, and that was the worst haircut of my life. I told the woman what I wanted, and she just started hacking away and I ended up with this dorky mom-do. I HATED it. So I had to make it through Xmas with my family. I wore one of those reindeer headbands to mask it. Now, about 8 weeks since that cut, it was time for a trim. The short parts were growing out like I wanted. However, I have no money for a haircut and I do not want to go back to the place that made me look like a dork. So I started chopping away myself in the bathroom and believe it or not, I LURVE IT!!! It's longish on one side, short on the other, like I originally wanted and had when I was about 15. The back, however, still needs some work. I'm going to have to do some creative contortioning to get that part up to speed. But I did it!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Love? Hate?

Last night, my daughter asked me what am I getting her and her brother for Valentine's Day. Now, her birthday is on the 13th, but of course that isn't enough.
Anyway, I told her I wasn't sure, but I know that if any more stuffed animals make their way into this house, I will throw them all into the woods out back. I said that her brother doesn't like chocolate, and she already has chocolate as rewards for her swimming records/first places, so that's out too. So she says, "Well, the kind of gift you get us will show how much you love us! Like if you get us a Wii or a dog, you really love us. If you get us nothing, that means you hate us!" I replied, "What about the personalized menu I made for you last night for the Super Bowl? I'd say that was a nice gesture, and it's not about how much I love you on the 14th, but how much I love you the other days!" And she says, "Well, you're supposed to cook for us!" Nice, huh? "You get a sticker, and YOU get a sticker." There's your Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Civil Talks

The Ex and I actually had a civil conversation yesterday. There were some planning issues we needed to discuss, and surprisingly, they went well. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, we agreed on everything. Back in the summer of '09 I wanted to talk to him about something (I was at my parent's house and the kids were with him) and when he came over to drop them off, I started talking to him and he totally flipped out on me. We had the worst fight of our "coupledom", screaming at each other, right there on my parent's lawn. I didn't cave, I held my own, but I still felt like I wanted to throw up afterwards. Ever since then, I've been so wary of having to talk to him, because I don't know if he's going to fly off the handle. That's a great way to live, considering we have kids together and will need to talk about issues regarding them for the next 10-12 years. When you never talked during a marriage, it's virtually impossible to talk comfortably during a separation/divorce. It would be nice to have a "co," a partner with whom I could talk, share, laugh, discuss, plan. It's really exhausting having to do most of this on my own.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

SUPER Bowl

How's this for an indivdualized super bowl menu?

Me- quesadilla with refried beans and shredded cheese
nachos with cheese sauce, refried beans, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions and salsa
Son- hot wings, taco meat, nachos, salsa
Daughter- popcorn chicken, chips

Yeah, baby- come to my house for your ultimate party!!

Feeling a bit better after yesterday's non-day. Hopefully this week will bring fewer storms.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Knife, meet heart

Ukrainian school was cancelled today. Kind of yay, but now it means we have to go until June instead of the middle of May. Boo. My ex came to take my son to hockey, and I actually went back to bed. Got up when they came back home. He left, then I had kind of a BS/non-day. It was misting outside, I was groggy, kids were meh. We've been home so much that this wasn't any sort of treat. Ex comes back around 3:15. Whenever he's here, I make myself scarce. I usually end up in my room, waiting until he leaves. I feel awkward IN MY OWN HOUSE whenever he's here. So, I'm watching a movie, listening to the three of them goofing around and then I hear dad say to my son- "Ok, get your stuff together! Time to go!" And I'm like, what?
My son was supposed to have a hockey game tomorrow but it was cancelled. Dad stays in a hotel on days like this, and everytime my son stays with him because he hates it here, but now there was no reason for him to stay. So I run down and say- "What's going on? Why do you still have a hotel room?" (He never tells me anything!) He BS's that he couldn't cancel cause he reserved it on Hotwire. So, he's spending $$ on a hotel room for no reason. He's going to do it next weekend for my daughter's birthday, and the weekend after that when my son's game is supposed to be replayed. For someone who wanted to get out of here, someone who so hated his life here that he left, he is here an awful lot. And it's going to bankrupt us as well. But that isn't the worst of it. Later, I hear him say, "Go say goodbye to your mom." I hear my son come upstairs and he barely leans in the room and says, "We're leaving," and he turns away. I say- "Whoa, isn't there something else you should say?" and he GROANS and mumbles "bye..". Wow, that's just effing great. It is astounding to me that my child could HATE me so much. He is just 10, and he absolutely HATES me. Next to feeling like a total failure that my marriage crashed and burned, this is the worst part. I bust my ass for him, I am here for him, and he hates me. I don't know if you can imagine this kind of pain.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Daze

January 12, 2011 Snow Day #1

6:00am: check TV, school closed, YAY!, back to bed
8:00am: kids wake up, school closed, YAY!!
8:30am: breakfast, kids in pj's, cartoons on TV
11:00am: put on snow clothes, outside to shovel and play
12:30pm: lunch
1:00pm: first fight between kids over which video to watch
4:00pm: back outside to play
6:00pm: dinner
7:00pm: second fight between kids over which video to watch
9:00pm: bedtime

January 13, 2011 Snow Day #2

6:00am: check TV, school closed, oh no!, back to bed
6:30am: kids up
6:45am: first fight between kids over which cartoon to watch
7:00am: breakfast
7:15am: second fight between kids over rest of cereal
7:30am: kids sent to rooms over fight about cereal
9:30am: kids take out all old blocks from containers, can't see living room floor
10:30am: "Mom, I want lunch!"
10:31am: kids sent outside to play in snow
12:00pm: lunch
4:00pm: mom watching Oprah with barricaded bedroom door
5:00pm: "Did you do your homework?"
6:30pm: dinner
7:00pm: "Go practice your saxophone!"
7:10pm: "Go practice your saxophone!"
7:20pm: "GO PRACTICE YOUR SAXOPHONE!!!"
7:30pm: mom watching "Access Hollywood" with barricaded bedroom door
8:00pm: bedtime

January 21, 2011 Snow Day #3

6:00am: check TV, no school, Oh God, NOOOOO!
7:00am: mom watching "Today," all 4 hours, with barricaded bedroom door
11:00am: kids still in pj's, haven't eaten, don't know where bowls are
12:00pm: kids sent to shovel driveway
12:17pm: shoveling too difficult, back in to watch 7 hours of Nickelodeon
7:00pm: dinner
7:30pm: bedtime

January 27, 2011 Snow Day #4

6:00am: NOT AGAIN!!!!!
7:15am: breakfast
7:30am: mom on computer, checking real estate in The Bahamas
9:00am: mom shovels driveway, sidewalk
12:00pm: mom collapses in exhaustion
12:05pm: "Mom, can you bake those cookies?"
12:06pm: kids sent outside to play, mom barricades door
2:00pm: kids knocking on door, mom hiding under blankets
3:00pm: mom relents, lets kids in, but they must be silent
6:30pm: dinner
6:45pm: bedtime

February 1, 2011 Snow Day #5

6:00am: HELP!!!
7:00am: Legos overtake downstairs
8:00am: Barbie army fights WWE wrestlers on new couch
9:00am: mom goes to get firewood, falls through 5 feet of snow
10:00am: "Mom, where are you?"
12:00pm: kids make lunch, kitchen destroyed
2:00pm: "Did you do your homework??"
4:00pm: mom recovers, hacks away at ice for 2 hours
5:00pm: dinner
5:30pm: bedtime

February 2, 2011 Snow Day #6

6:00am: we'll be in school until July!!!
7:00am: kids pull out toy farm and animals, construction trucks, puzzles,
Bingo, 35 bouncy balls, and all Happy Meal Toys from the last 6 years
7:15am: mom goes to car to read
12:00pm: mom comes back in house, hungry; lunch
3:00pm: fight over toys
3:30pm: fight over markers
3:45pm: fight over blankets
4:00pm: fight over breathing
4:15pm: dinner
4:30pm: bedtime

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mental Case

Well, this storm underdelivered somewhat. I know that it took up one third of the nation, and most places did get hammered, but here it never lived up to the hype. It snowed about 4-5 inches, and there's a layer of icy crust on top. Not too bad in comparison, BUT- this snow is the heaviest to date. I was out for about an hour and a half and was completely wiped out by this one. Each shovelful needed to be hacked out first, then each weighed about 20 pounds. No lie! I only got about half the upper sidewalk done. Oh, and I can't get my car to move. Tires are spinning. I'll deal with that tomorrow.

I feel like a total zombie. I am almost at the point where I don't care if I don't shovel out. I'll get the kids to and from the bus, and otherwise I will become a shut in. Even the kids have had enough. At least I was able to make a fire.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sigh...

Another snow storm, another snow day. I think we will be home again tomorrow and probably Thursday since this next storm is supposed to be all ice. The thought of having to shovel again makes me ill. There is literally no place to put any more snow. Mr. Ex did come yesterday and he cleaned the roof. The driveway is now ten times worse, however. This is snow day #5. We will have to make up these days at some point. My dilemma is that I want my daughter to go to this fantastic swim camp the last week of June. What message do I send if I have her blow off school to swim, AND, have her brother go to school and not her. Just another thing to have to worry about, lose sleep over, obsess over. Other stuff on my mind: my daughter's swimming successes and anticipation of championship results; whether or not to continue working at Ukie school; whether to take my kids out of Ukie school; my unemployment; my separation; I have to wear a bathing suit in 2 weeks for my daughter's swim-a-thon; money; electricity maybe going out tomorrow; GAH! It never ends. Ten ton boulder uphill, every freaking day!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bad/Worse pt.2

Bear with me here--When we came home Saturday from Ukrainian school and Plast, on our street, people were on their roofs cleaning off the accumulated snow. These storms have been massive, and the remnants are astounding. My house has tons of snow on it, as do the garage and shed. I told my Ex at 5:00am when he came for hockey that the snow is bad, and that he'll need to get it off somehow. "Oh, yeah, sure, I'll get to it." (That has been the stock answer for 12 years...) Anyway, he didn't come back until around 4:15 on Saturday afternoon, just before it was getting dark. He futzed with the snowblower, let our son use it a bit on the driveway- pointless at this time- and I THOUGHT he was going to clear the roof. I left for the pizza party and it was almost dark, and returned after 9. Yesterday morning, while going to hockey, I see that he did virtually NOTHING to the roof. He hacked away a teeny bit with that blade that you use to cut high branches. A BLADE!!!!!! I was LIVID. We 3 went to hockey, breakfast and then food shopping. I got home around noon, unpacked the groceries and then got out the ladder and made my way towards the garage roof. I proceeded to stand on the ladder (and later on the other, taller one) for about TWO HOURS, hacking away at the snow with a shovel and a HOCKEY STICK!!!! I was so mad, hot tears sprang to my eyes, but thankfully they were cooled by the mounds of snow that continually fell on my head, face, shoulders, and back. It's tough to clean off a roof from BELOW, but I was too chicken to get on it. I was there, even with the roof, but I was scared that I'd get on, and tumble right off. I just couldn't do it!! I did get about 1/3 of the snow off, though. Not bad for a hockey stick. And to top it off, as I'm hacking away, one of my kids comes out and says- "Mom- could you make those oatmeal raisin cookies we talked about??" I'm like, "DO YOU SEE WHERE I AM AND WHAT I'M DOING???????" That child went back in the house awful quick. I did just about all the shed too, but I fell through the tall snow and cracked a window that was leaned up against the side. That was fun. Mr. Ex is supposed to come today to do this. All over the news they are saying we HAVE to get the snow off as there is another freaking storm coming tomorrow and all of CT will end up with collapsed roofs. GAH- I am really thisclose to becoming an alcoholic.....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bad/Worse

Yesterday my daughter went to a teammate's house for a pizza dinner. This girl's parents invited the three girls that are on the 2 relay teams, plus their families.
This family is so nice, so friendly, I almost feel like my cynical self doesn't even belong in the same city as them. I was going to take my son also, but he decided to stay home with his visiting dad and play with the ever-malfuntioning snow blower. So my daughter and I went, and she had a lovely time. She got to be with her teammates/friends in a non-pool environment, and I didn't have to cook. Of course, I was the only single one there. Three couples, and me. I felt like a total loser. No one made me feel this way, I just did. I'm not a big drinker, but all 6 of them partook in wine or vodka. They were chatty, loud, telling stories of their families, their kids' deliveries, their lives here, and all I could do is just sit there and nod. Now, I'd like to think I am a decent storyteller, but I just had nothing to say in this environment. I wanted to die. We had pizza, and dessert, and I just kept looking at the clock, wondering when I could leave and not seem rude or have my daughter feel jipped. A little before 9:00, I got her and told her it was time to go. She was ready, and we began to say our thanks and goodbyes. The hostess/mom got the rest of the cake that I brought, my daughter and I thanked them, and as I turned to go, I got one last glimpse of the scene: 6 good looking, in-love, happy, gregarious people laughing in the kitchen, a warm fire in the fireplace, 9 kids running around, and me, exiting into the cold night about to drive to my house where my estranged husband is probably sitting watching TV with our son. I "quiet cried" all the way home.

The "Worse" will be covered tomorrow...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Crazy Week

Monday: Full School Day, Yale Cognitive testing, skating lessons
Tuesday: Delayed Opening, swim practice
Wednesday: Early Dismissal, Massive Snow
Thursday: Snow day (#4), massive shoveling, swim practice
Friday: Delayed opening, more shoveling, practice later

Saturday: 5:00am hockey, 8:30 Ukie school, 9:00 Swim meet, 1:30 Plast, 5:30 dinner for swimmers
Sunday: 7:00am hockey

Jesus. I am exhausted. And sore.
But somehow managing to do 90% of this on my own.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Re-Invention Dejection

I love to read magazines. If there is ever an offer for a year's subscription for like ten bucks, sign me up! My latest reads include:
1. Oprah- yeah, like she needs another $20 from lil' old me, but most of the mag is
a decent read.
2. Woman's Day- simple articles, decent tips, recipes, nothing amazing, but good to
read during dinner
3. Family Circle- ditto, can read in one shot. Am cancelling when runs out
4. Men's Health- Ex got this when we went on a trip once. I LOVED it and subscribed
for myself. All these years later, it's getting repetitive, so that will be
cancelled too.
5. Parenting- got a free bag with subscription, don't like at all, has treacly
articles and tips, definitely cancelling
6. More- this was my transition from Cosmo. Geared toward a much higher economic
bracket than mine, cannot afford $465 shoes for an interview outfit

So, the one thing I'm finding in common with all, except MH, is this idea of re-inventing yourself. Just about every month, there is an article espousing the earth shattering transformations of simple women like you and me. And it's usually never a stay at home mom to a surgeon, or a librarian to a teacher. It's a high powered commodities trader who was fed up with burning the candle at both ends so she quit her $675,000 a year job and moved to Costa Rica and opened a jewelry/coffee shop where she helps local women craft bags from discarded cigarette butts. And she's never been happier!! BLEH... Or an editor from NYC who was making $850,000 a year dealing with celebrity biographies who happened to be surfing the internet and had this epiphany that she's never seen a dating service for women editors who earn $850,000 and she creates a website for $7 a month linking these women with hot construction workers, and she's never been happier!! Double bleh...What about the women who've tried and failed? What about the women stuck with several ideas and can't get any off the ground? What about the ones with solid resumes who can't seem to get a foot in the door? I know, those don't make for compelling reading, but my point is it makes it seem like every woman who tries, succeeds. Makes me ill. I think I need to read some new magazines...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Stockpile

I think it's a pretty known thing that people's number one fear is public speaking. The other top fears are things like death, flying, spiders, cancer, and the like. When I'm asked what's my fear, I always say, being destitute/ending up a bag lady.
Sounds silly, perhaps, but it's true! Ever since I was little, I've enjoyed saving money and being prepared. Thank goodness I have those traits, or else with this stretch of unemployment, I'd have been TOAST!! As soon as Mr. Dad left, I made a list of things to stockpile, just in case:

10 Foods: pasta, rice, canned soup, coffee, oil, crackers, tea, flour, sugar, cereal

Hey- it's stuff to survive. I'd love to put ice cream, chocolate, french fries, etc. on here, but that's not the point.

Then I thought, it's not only food that needs to be stockpiled- so here came my toiletry/other list:

toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, tampons, dish soap, laundry detergent, bath soap, lightbulbs, stamps

Every time I shop, I buy something on this list, rotating every week. Maybe that isn't the way to stockpile, but it works for me. I'd like to think that I have enough of a back up to last a good while.

What do you think? What is on your "stockpile list?" Let me know!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Belated Birthday

I have mentioned that I teach Ukrainian at Saturday School to 4-6 yr. old kids. Most everyone who works there with me is very nice. We're all trying to do our best with, A. Kids who don't want to be there, B. Teachers who don't want to be there, and C. Kids who are exhibiting more behavioral issues than ever before. We do have a short Recess time and each week a different teacher is responsible for preparing a snack for the teachers- cake, fruit, small sandwiches, coffee, etc. Now, once in a while, the principal pulls out a giant bouquet of roses and we know that it's someone's birthday. She is so kind, wishing the woman: (no male teachers, except for the priest)
1. health
2. happiness
3. well-behaved children
4. the coming true of all her dreams, and
5. wild love from her husband (!?)

And then we all sing Mnohaya Lita, everyone is embarrassed and is looking at the floor, we eat, and then leave to go back to our classrooms. I hate it. So, I was so excited that my birthday (Jan 3.) came and went without the requisite bouquet. Whew!! Dodged a bullet! Until this past week all the women were like "Pani Lesia, come ON, go to the office, it's recess, come ON, what are you still doing here??" and I was like oh, shit, here we go. Awkward moment alert!!! So I walk in, and there she was, with the giant bouquet, closing the door and saying- "Pani Lesiu- I am so sorry, I can't believe I forgot, I knew something was up when you said you'd never want flowers, blah blah." Now, it's not that I'm getting flowers. That's all fine, but, it's the wishes she has for me. You can't wish someone crazy/wild love from her husband when you know that her husband left her!! Awkward!! She handles it nicely, I guess, but it's SOOOO obvious that I'm the only one she doesn't wish that for. Some of the teachers know the situation, others don't, so they're all, "Huh? What was that?" especially this time, because she wished me something like "maybe you'll find that elusive love" and I made this loud wrong-answer-buzzer noise so those women who don't know were more confused. Not to mention the priest!
Whatever...My son's teacher says- "Why don't you go to the Malanka (dance) tonite?" I was like- "OH, LORD, I am NEVER going to a dance for as LONG AS I LIVE, especially not to find a MAN." GAHHHH!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Random Thoughts

YOY- I am so discombobulated!! We had another snow day on Friday, but it wasn't as bad as the other ones. I cleaned about 4 inches of snow in like 20-25 minutes. A four inch storm is no big deal around here anymore. But, the kids were home taking over the tv and computer. I walk around the house, unable to find something to do other than clean and tidy up. We did go and get my son's hair cut, which he desperately needed. And we went sledding, but it was so bitterly cold, we didn't last too long. The weekend was freezing as well. Up for Hockey, Ukrainian School and Scouts, and that just wipes me out. My weekends suck!! I mean, I know everyone has stuff to do on the weekends. It's funny, when there is a snowstorm on a weekend, it's amazing how many things need to get cancelled or delayed. I watch on TV where they post the closings and it's astounding what is going on- Church activities, sports training, hair academies, Bible Studies, Univ. classes, Adult education, really! But my weekends just become one huge day and I walk around like a zombie. No fun. [See how this post sounds- that's what my mind is like...] I got a lot of stuff done today- bank, police station (don't worry- I just had to register my burglar alarm), Aldi's, Kohls, Old Navy, Michael's, Marshalls, and The YMCA. Not that I had any money to spend, but rather a whole bunch of gift cards that have been sitting in my bag FOREVER. I got some stuff, nothing special. One nice thing- I had a story published in our local "People's Press" (not that big a deal-they publish anything!)about the squirrel in the house. It's fun to see your name in print, and my daughter was excited as well. We 3 are going to Yale this afternoon to the Child Development Center. They have been using my kids for cognitive testing for years. Kids like it, it takes like 10 minutes, and they get a prize. So in addition to Harvard and Wesleyan, they go to Yale too!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nighttime Crazies

Every night, without fail, when I tell the kids it's time for bed, they start goofing around. And not your run-of-the-mill goofing around. They get so crazy, so out of control, it drives me up the wall. They start to wrestle, and one gets on the other one, and there's screaming, and shrieking, and shouts of "STOP IT!!!!" ten thousand times, and there's laughing, and it's so not cute or fun or amusing. It totally exhausts me, and I don't know what to do about it. I have ignored it, and let it run its course, but then it's 10:00 pm and they are still up. I have firmly told them to stop, brush their teeth, get dressed in PJs and get in bed, and they are in such a frenzy they can't calm down long enough to do as I ask. And then, of course, there are times when I yell my head off and then I become this joke-"Look out, mama's going to explode!" Ha ha. Sheesh. What is this?? What do they get out of it, but a pissed off mom, and an unpleasant end to the day. Why would they do this EVERY SINGLE NIGHT?? When they're like 2 or 3 years old, it's kind of cute, when they run away from you, and giggle when you grab them, and you play, but then you get them in the tub, washed, brushed, dressed, and in bed. Mine are 8 and 10!! Does this stop? Well, duh, I doubt they will be doing this when they are 15 and 17, but my God, I am completely worn out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scrape Away!!


Jesus Flippin' Christ, am I EXHAUSTED!!!!!!!!!!! This storm is one for the books. Remember how I said one branch fell yesterday? Well, all night long, my kids and I would hear a pop, like a fire cracker, and then this "showering down" noise. Some more branches fell across the driveway, others fell in the woods behind the house. The driveway is actually a sea of green from all the pine needles. My kids had a delayed opening, so I got up and went out to shovel. It sucked. Oh, and I had to drag the garbage can up the sheet-of-ice driveway and try to avoid the power lines that are on it. That was fun. I realized I'd need to get one of those scraper things to make this job possible. (God, I'm so sore I can barely type!) So I got the kids to the bus, and started shovelling again. The sidewalk in front of the house is was a nightmare. All I could do was throw salt on it and wait. I ran out to run some errands and buy that giant scraper. Came back, and went back to work. And it was raining! That made it even more pleasurable. The scraper is great, though. Oh- I was serious Super Girl when I moved the gigantic branches off the driveway and on to the lawn. One branch was caught on a still hanging wire, so I finagled it and actually got it off!! SMHNOTFBO!!! The best, though, was when my son was talking to his dad yesterday and mentioning all the falling branches. I asked my son what did Dad say, and he said, "Dad said you should have cut that tree down five years ago!" Can you imagine?? It's my fault!! I should have cut the tree down? What the *&!@ ??? I gotta go lie down. I'm really pooped.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ice Storm

Ho! The crap continues! As I was sitting here, "surfing the 'net," we heard this loud thud just outside the window. It was a branch from a pine tree that had broken off and took down 2 power lines!! YAY!! The TV went, and half the electric in the house, which includes the heater/boiler. YAY!! I had visions of hotdogs and popcorn made in the fireplace, but then I realized I don't have that much wood and the wood outside is all snow and ice covered. I called our electric company and a guy came in about ten minutes. He took one look, said it was the phone and cable lines, and he turned around to leave. I said, "Uh, half the house is without power! Please look again!" So he looked, went up to the street (this same "half-the-house-no-power" thing happened in the spring when one little doohickey loosened up on the phone pole) and said something did come loose and someone would come to fix it. Well, it got fixed, but now I had to figure out what to do with the TV. So I called Dish network and after pushing about 876 buttons, got a man, who I think was in India. I was in the process of setting up an appointment, which I'd have to pay $95 for, when I thought, hmm, the phone works, maybe the TV does too. So I had my son go upstairs to check, and it worked!! I apologized to the nice man, cancelled the appointment, and now all the power is back on. Phew!! However, I have two power lines laying across my driveway. What do I do? Who should remove them? Fun times!! Good times!!

update

Hey! Sorry it's been awhile- I am stuck home with the kids, total cabin fever, so it's tricky to get away to write. Just letting you know I'm ok, I'll post again later today when they are both doing Ukrainian school homework (hahaha!)
Thanks for sticking with me!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dinner Time

God, is this blog boring!! Who the hell cares what I have to say?

Anyway, there are about 6 dinners that I make here. They are: pasta, hamburgers, fried chicken, pork chops, "p'zones"-pizza dough stuffed with pepperoni and mozzarella-, and chicken soup. We order pizza on Fridays, occasionally Chinese, and sometimes on Sunday I'll make a roast or goulash. And that's it. It is so boring I could die!! I am SICK of eating the same stuff week after week. My kids are very reluctant to try anything new. I'd never make something weird, but they won't do the regular things that kids eat: lasagna, stir fry, tacos, mac and cheese. I'd love to have more interesting things like enchiladas, tuna subs, omelets or egg sandwiches, more interesting soups, chicken with different spices, new side dishes (all I do is sauteed broccoli that only one child eats, canned corn and half sour pickles. UGH.) The other day I roasted a whole chicken. Plain, roasted chicken. No olives, no turmeric, no peanut butter, no tapenade, just plain chicken. And they both REFUSED to eat it!! I was so ticked off! They ended up having rice, corn and pickles. They lived, but it just sets such a bad tone for the family meal. I used to house-sit for a family where one of the daughters only ate buttered pasta EVERY SINGLE DAY. And she was like 15!! So I guess mine aren't that bad, but it's still such a drag every day, trying to rotate these things and make it interesting. Any ideas out there??

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Deja Vu

AAAHHHHH! Another snow day!! Two in a row is unheard of around here, but there it was on my TV this morning. So I let the kids sleep in while I made myself a cup of coffe and watched the rest of Top Chef from last night. I let them loll for a bit, then my son's friend called and asked him over. Let me tell you, when we were driving over there, it was a true Winter Wonderland. I have never seen so much snow in my life. The plowed mounds were huge, 6 to 10 feet high. The sidewalks were carved like slices of cake. Icicles were practically on every house. Like Mega Icicles! It's astounding. The town just South of us made the national news for having gotten 30.5 inches of snow. I am still shaking my head. After I picked up my son, he and his sister played outside for quite a while. They were sledding down the driveway on their new sleds. Very fun! My daughter's swim practice was cancelled, so I decided to take her in at free swim time to work out for a little. That was good- even my son went swimming for a bit.
So for it being the second day in a row at home, things worked out pretty well. And what's funnier, they have Monday off for MLK Jr. and Tuesday off for teacher workshops. 4 of 5 days at home!! Gah- I've go to think of something to do.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Awesome Neighbor




More snow!! And there's tons of it today!! I have lived here 10 years and it has never snowed so much in one storm. We couldn't open our back door when we were going to go out and shovel.
My fantastic neighbor used his snowblower to dig out my driveway and sidewalk!! And I didn't even ask!! That is above and beyond neighborly duty. I am really grateful as it would have taken me probably about 3-4 hours to dig a path to the car, never mind doing the sidewalk. I hate to ask for help. I always feel like I should be able to take care of everything myself. I also feel like if I were to ask, it would be an imposition and I would never want anyone to be like, "Ugh, what is WRONG with that woman? Why can't she just do it??" I get jealous of people who are super close with their neighbors and can rely on them for even the most mundane tasks. Oh well. It's good to know that I do have people around whom I can count on should the need arise.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Friend

This morning a friend of mine called asking if I could drive her to the post office as her husband's car is in the shop and he took her car. We ran our errand and then she asked me to come in for coffee. Now, she is doing a major house renovation so her place, while better than when I saw it in the fall, is still pretty disheveled. No matter! It is going to be fabulous!! She got one of those fancy one-cup-at-a-time Kuerig (sp?)coffee makers for Christmas and she wanted to try it out on me. So we had some coffee and chatted for a bit. She used to work as a library assistant at the same Elementary School as I did and we both got canned from there. She has not been able to find a job either. So we sat and commiserated about our sad employment status. Her situation is a bit different as she is married and she doesn't have quite the urgency I do to find work, but it was still nice to be able to vent with her. She is originally from Europe and is a very intelligent and well spoken woman. I, of course, am also quite amazing (!?) so it's rather puzzling that we both are jobless. She was talking about how hard it is for her to "sell" herself, like you have to with interviews and resumes and making connections, and I totally agreed. So there we were, no make up, in sweats and jeans, just having a cup of coffee. Kind of a nice change of pace. From sitting here, no make up, in sweats and jeans, having a cup of coffee. But you know what I mean!

We are due for ANOTHER major snowstorm tonight into tomorrow. There is no place to put all of this snow! I will "batten down the hatches" after I finish posting.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Boot Camp

It's been a week since I instituted Boot Camp around here. I'd like to think it's going rather well. I have been waking the kids up earlier for school and that part of the day has gotten much better. I am making my son practice the saxophone every day for 10 minutes. Wow- 10 whole minutes!! You'd think I was asking him to, oh I don't know, shovel snow or something! But he's doing it! I think that as he gets better, he'll like it more. Maybe. Still no TV during the week except for the first hour of The Biggest Loser on Tuesday nights. (When I tell people that my kids do not watch TV during the week they are incredulous and yet curious as to how I do that. I just don't let them watch TV- quite simple!!) Now I just need to work on them making their beds and putting away their toys with a bit more consistency. It is quite challenging being the only adult and having to institute all the rules and regulations around here. There is no support, no united front to present to the kids, and that just makes it all the more difficult. Honestly, though, I was always the one who had to take care of everything from housework to clean up to homework to bills to discipline anyway. So that hasn't changed. What has changed is the nebulous "hope" that "Tomorrow will be better! He'll step up and take responsibility!" I can't tell you how often I truly, deeply believed that. My brother told me that is no way to live. So maybe Mr. Dad did me a favor by leaving. Now I AM the one in charge, and succeed or fail, it's all up to me.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Duh Me!

Yoy was I wrong! We got it bad yesterday!! It snowed about a FOOT when all was said and done, and I feel like a dolt! Like I'm some meterologist...Anyway, it started coming down hard around 3:00 yesterday, and didn't stop until after I went to bed around 11:00. In between, my kids didn't come home until 8!! They were in the car almost 7 hours driving back here from NJ. I fed them a quick dinner, then put them to bed. Thankfully, Ukrainian School was cancelled so that was one activity down. Mr. Dad and I decided that our son would not go to hockey at 6am because our daughter did still have her swim meet and it wouldn't be fair to get her up at 5 to go to the arena and then come back and compete. Got that? Yep- that's what it's like here. So today I got up at 6am to shovel-SMHNOTFBO!!! Ha- know what that stands for? Single Mom Has No One To Fall Back On!! Yes! Shoveling is one of those activities. I'll let you know about others as they come up... I shoveled, showered, got the kids up, fed them, and we were off to the meet. Made it there ok, and then I proceeded to volunteer to be a timer which meant I'd have to stay for the whole meet instead of being able to leave when my 8 year old daughter finished. My son wasn't too happy about having to stay and entertain himself longer, but as I almost never go to her meets I really needed to step up and help out. She had an OK meet. She has achieved so much in so little time, that anything less that is still considered excellent is actually somewhat disappointing. But whatever. It's done, we didn't miss Uki School, snow is cleared, I am EXHAUSTED, and tomorrow we do it all over again with 7:50 am hockey and a Plast (scouts) Winter/Christmas ceremony up in Hartford. Friggin' WHEW!!!