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


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!!


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!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snow Storm?

It is around 2:00 pm as I sit here writing this. Connecticut is in a PANIC-activities and schools are being cancelled, early-dismissed, plows at the ready, salt spreaders on call, and there is nary a snowflake here!!! I swear, this happens more often than not! We get informed of snow days and delayed openings on TV. The big 3 networks post the information on a "crawl" at the bottom of the screen. It's kind of fun, waiting for your school district's name to come up. As ours begins with a "W", it seems like it takes forever for the info to show. Today, there was no closing or early dismissal. (Not that my kids were even here- they are with Dad celebrating "Christmas.") Yes! Good call, Mr. Superintendent!! Then, at around 10:00, both my cell and home phones ring with a recorded message that schools are being let out early. Now, I would really hate to be the one who has to make these types of calls. When I led a summer camp for 4-6 year olds, we had the worst weather in ages and I was constantly having to decide- inside, outside, cancel, postpone, switch, Plan B, Plan C, gah- I hated it. So I don't envy the Super. However, it seems that we have become so scared of some precipitation!! This is New England, for Pete's sake! And as it is a public school system, I'd say that everyone lives within 2-3 miles of their particular school, so what is the big deal? OK- kids are on busses, and parents work, I get it, but this just seems to be overkill. Now, since the schools are early dismissed, the YMCA has cancelled their activities which means my daughter has no swim practice. It may still snow, but it's just disappointing. And she has a meet tomorrow! Hopefully this won't hurt her. My son has hockey tomorrow morning, and I don't know the procedure for that cancellation as of yet. Plus, we also have Ukrainian School! So that is 3 activities with a lot of choreography between me and Mr. Dad. I'll be up at 5:00 am to start figuring everything out. Think of me as you non-Ukes are sleeping in!

I see some new followers!! Thank you so much for reading here- it really means a lot to me.

2:17 pm- it's just starting to snow, a teeny tiny bit. We shall see...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Alone Again

It's the "other" Christmas Eve tonite, the Orthodox Celebration of the Birth of Christ. Some 500 years, or thereabouts, after the Gregorian Calendar and Julian Calendar were reconciled, and they still insist on celebrating on Jan 6th and 7th. Whatever. I remember one of my kids once told me their dad said this is "the REAL Christmas." I was so ticked off! Real Christmas?!?-Who has off on January 7th? What businesses are closed on January 7th? Is the Post Office closed on the 7th? Are schools off on the 7th? Do Jews go out for Chinese on the 7th? Well, maybe, but you know what I mean!! Not that I even CARE about any of this, but still.* Grrr... So the kids are going to dad's this afternoon for their 5th gift-getting opportunity. They will miss some school today and all day tomorrow. I'm not thrilled about that, but there's not much I can do. My daughter will also be missing swim practice, and that's really not cool. But again, God wins. So I am alone. I know that I often complain that the kids are too loud, too messy, too grumpy, but it's really odd when they aren't here. It's so VERY quiet, so still, it's weird. It's funny, when this separation first happened, I tried to fight every time dad wanted to take them. I wanted them all for myself. It has taken some time, but it is a bit easier to let them go. The best thing about being alone is that I get to eat what I want and don't have to "make dinner" for anyone but me!! That is the real break. I hate having to decide what to make each night. I don't mind cooking, but it's just having enough of an interesting and varied menu both for me and for them.
So I may go out for a Philly Cheesesteak, or to Taco Bell for a Nachos Supreme and a Beef Burrito, or I may make a pepperoni calzone here at home. I'll see what I'm in the mood for later. Now that's fun!!

*Hey- don't write me about the calendars and the dates and all that stuff. If that's what you celebrate, that's fine. It's just my take and my opinion on that. No offense intended.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Shoveling Snow

Well, I know that many of us got hammered with the post-Christmas snow storm. I was at my parents' house and my kids were at their dad's when the storm came. On the morning of the 27th my dad got up and went out to shovel and my mom got up and went out to shovel so I felt like I had to get up and go out and shovel. And I did. The worst part of shoveling is the snow that gets piled on the edge of the driveway each time the plow goes by, but somehow we managed to get the driveway cleaned rather quickly. Mom loves to take photos of the high piles of snow and the overhanging snow on the gutters and the drifts on the cars, so she was shooting away. Now, I came home on the 28th and had to do it all again. My driveway is super steep and goes down towards the house. I've been screwed in the past when I'd leave the car at the bottom of the driveway, and then have to shovel the entire upper part and I'd never be able to get out anyway. I learned my lesson and now I park at the top of the driveway and only need to create a path up and clean out in front of the car. I got the kids in the house, went into the shed and got the shovels and started to do the sidewalk in front of the house and then the path up. I got a massive blister on my left hand!! It took about an hour, but I did it all, mostly myself. The kids tried to help, but really didn't do all that much. My across the street neighbors have a plow do their driveway, and THEIR snow ended up on MY lawn and sidewalk, so there was no way I could clean that part out. I have seen the police drive by, checking for the walks to be cleared- we have something like 18 hours after the end of a storm to clean up- so I was a bit anxious, but no fine so far. The great thing about the downward lawn is that the kids can sled, albeit for a short trip, but they love it. There is a snowblower here, but I'm not sure how to get it started and I'd rather shovel anyway and get some exercise. Come to think of it, I have shoveled many, MANY times these nine years I've been here. Another thing that has to get done.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

'A Caroling

This past Sunday my kids and I (and some other friends/acquaintances) went Christmas Caroling. Now, this isn't just any old caroling, it's caroling for Plast, our Ukrainian Scouting Organization. This is a tradition from old Ukraine, where people carolled in their villages and wished each other a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I remember caroling when I was a kid, and it was this whole big production. There would be lists, directions, phone numbers, maps (way before GPS!), a caravan of like 5 cars, several adults, many MANY children, and a whole afternoon of: pile into the cars, get lost, get to the house, it's the wrong house, go to the one across the street, walk in with snowy/slushy boots, remove your hat, line up, sing 2 songs, wish a Happy New Year, collect the money, then eat leftover chocolates/wafers/candies and drink warm soda that was graciously offered by the hosts. And then do it all like 16 more times. EXHAUSTING. Did I mention we collect money? Yeah- that's the tricky part. The money goes to the organization, others carol for their church, or their choir, or their dance troupe, or the other Ukrainian Scouting organization. The contribution got put on this master list so you could see what people before you gave and you kind of felt like you needed to be close to others' donations but now, with the economy being as it is, it's tough to give a lot, if anything at all! So two days ago, I get my kids, who totally don't want to do this, and meet my friend and her son, and we go to our first house to meet another adult and get our bearings. We rehearsed a bit, and sadly my kids don't really know these Ukie carols and they're all embarassed, and I'm prodding them and it's not going well. My friend decides to make some calls to see if the people will let us come and carol. Our list had (I think) 19 homes. That is nuts!! It's like 1:30, and we are really running late. As she's calling, she's not getting many answers. I joked that those people have an App called "Koliada-Block" that gets used in late December/early January to avoid having the singers come over! Ha! I thought it was funny.... Some phones were busy, others had the answering machine on, we got like 2 people, and were on our way. Three adults and three children. (Three others couldn't make it-not a caravan in the least!!) Another tradition is that someone carries this giant star on a 5 foot stick (representing the star of Bethlehem) but since my friend's car is kind of tight, we couldn't fit the stars (we had 2) in the trunk so they were crammed in next to me and my head in the front seat. Now, I am STARVING, it's like 53 degrees out, I'm overdressed, and every house we go into is like 90 degrees. (Remember how cold my house is? This is all weird to me, this warm house thing...) Now, to make a LONG day/story short, we went to about 6 houses, collected a decent amount of money, and everyone was very friendly. We got to go out for pizza for dinner, so the evening ended nicely, but we did end up spending our last day of vacation doing something we didn't really want to do, but it was the right thing to do. Something I'm trying to teach those kids of mine. Maybe one day it will sink in. "Chudo, chudo, povidaaaa-yut'!"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Birthday Musings

Hello, hello, welcome back, Happy New Year, etcetera, etcetera!!! I took a week off. Hey, it's hard blogging for a month- I needed to recharge, and now I'm back! So, the holidays went relatively well. The big 12 apostle-symbolic food fest was great, the little kiddies were all over indulged, and I got yelled at again for my dubious parenting skills. Whatever. It's all over, and now I am a year older! Yes- Happy Birthday to me. 1968- what a year! This birth date is a strange one- I shared it with my paternal grandfather, and it was usually melancholy in that it was the day we went back to school after a delicious break. While my family remembered my day, often my friends didn't because no one wanted to be back in school and we were all testy and grumpy. But the best "forgot my birthday" story comes in the form of my "husband." We were married just over one year. We had our son who was about 4 months old, and it was January 3rd. He said nothing to me in the morning, nothing when he came home from work, nothing that evening. My mom and brother called during the day, and my dad called that night to wish me a happy birthday. After I got off the phone with him, "husband" says (in total seriousness): "What did your dad want?" And I looked at him, and said, "You don't know what day it is." And he's staring at me, and I say, "It's my birthday." No histrionics, no tears, very calm. And he doesn't say, "Holy Sh*t! I totally forgot!!" or "Oh my God, I'm such a douche!" or "Crap- I'm sorry, let me make it up to you!!!" He says, I swear to God, "Oops. Happy Birthday?" (question mark intentional....) Nice, eh? Needless to say, I lowered my bar so friggin' low, it was underground. Whatever.

So now let me share the highlight of my day. Last year, I bought the BigTop Cupcake to make one for my daughter's birthday for school. You've seen that infomercial for the "25x bigger than a cupcake cake!!" I follow the directions, and get a cupcake cake that could feed maybe 3 people. Totally misleading advertising, but, whatever!! I ended up making a big heart cake for her class and it was great. So today I decided to make one just for me and my kids. After my mom came over and took me to lunch, I made it. At the start of this post is how it could potentially look.

This is what I ended up with: