Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RTT - The spelling edition

It's Tuesday so you know what that means - time to get random!

"Mommy, spell 'houses'"
"Houses - H-O-U-S-E-S.  Houses"
"Spell 'traintracks'"
"Traintracks - T-R-A-I-N-T-R-A-C-K-S - traintracks"
"Spell 'cars'"
"Cars.  C-A-R-S Cars."
And so it went.  The entire 30 minute drive home.  And you know what I discovered?  Spelling while driving is SO much more distracting then cell phones.  Those seventh graders in the Scripps Spelling Bee?  AMATEURS.  Spell 'australopithicus' while navigating winding back country roads, then you get to claim world champion status.

Speaking of all things ancient, if you keep your shoulders back while walking, your palms face your thighs.  If your shoulders slump, they face behind you so it looks very Neanderthal-ish.  I'm just sayin'. 

From the gospel according to Noelle:  your pajamas bestow different personalities upon you as tonight she is a watermelon. 

I went searching for alphabet noodles for Noelle to try to expand her menu beyond chicken nuggets, fish sticks and tater tots.  And I found them figuring that hey, her obsession with spelling and letters, she'd eat them and all would be sweetness in light.  I showed them to her and she was so excited she kept a box next to her.  Even gave her the option for dinner:  noodles or fish sticks and she chose noodles.  Made said noodles with a butter/cheese sauce, put the plate in front of her and....no.  "I don't eat noodles."  But, she ate broccoli. I...don't get it.  At all. 

There is no 'Lost' this week.  I'm bummed especially since last week's episode was so darn good!  But, Iron Man 2 opens next week and I has a date!  To see it!  Maybe at midnight with the hubby.  On a completely different but kind of similar note, why are the movies from the 80s mostly awesome and the ones now just seem to suck?  Or maybe the actors were better.  And they hadn't run out of ideas yet. Or maybe I'm just nostalgic.  And old.

How is it that clutter simultaneously multiplies and exerts a lethargic effect on all those near?  Is this the real terror we should be fighting? The sight of it just kills my will to clean.  Which is odd since you would think that it would have the opposite effect.  Hence:  clutter.

I really need to keep a digital recorder in the car as Noelle comes up with the most interesting stream of consciousness that I've heard in a while.  Though I was ready to throw both her and her carrot bat out the window as she spent a good 10 minutes of the drive this morning letting me know the type of each passing vehicle.  Usually I wouldn't mind but A) it was Monday B) it was raining and C) it is Maryland.  A + B + C = Dear God in Heaven, What the Hell is Going On?  Is it wrong to really want a beer at 8:30 in the morning?

You should head over to Keely the Unmom for even more randomness!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

And the Oscar for Most Outstanding Performance by a Woman in the Role of 'Life' Goes To....

Many years ago I read a novel whose plot I forget and whose author has been struck from my memory but something from that nameless book stuck with me.  There were identical twin sisters who, having taken very different paths in life with one going the glamorous jet-setting career route and the other becoming a wife and a mother, decided to 'try each other's life on' for a while.  The career sister masquerading as the mother attempted to quantify to her sister's children the value of being a wife and mother and what all that entailed.  She was a chef, a chauffer, a laundress, a maid, a proofreader, an editor.  She was a tailor, a seamstress, a handyman and a delivery person.  By listing the jobs done by one person in support of multiple people, she illustrated to the kids and herself the value of the role of a mother. 

Reflecting on my own life I could add a few more jobs to that list: triage nurse, teacher, coach, entertainer.  And yet this only makes up a small subset of the roles that I and many other women play.  I'm a wife, a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a niece and an aunt.  I'm a coach and a player, a boss and an employee.  I'm a lover and a friend, a writer and a reader.  It is a struggle, every day, to find the balance in these wildly differing roles; not just for me but for women everywhere.  It is exhausting to think about it to the point where some mornings I wish I could just pull the covers back over my head, eventually emerging from my cocoon 5 years old again with no role to play in the greater game of life beyond just living and enjoying every minute.  And yet the relationships borne of the roles which had the greatest influence on me as a person are the ones that have been shifted to the background.  Not less important for they are the rock upon which I stand but a foundation, a touchstone to bring the wildly shifting colors of daily life back into some sort of pattern. 

But for all of that being said, there is no role that I would give up voluntarily.  For as much as I love being the mommy, there are times when I like for my mom to 'mommy' me.  I enjoy the strategy of coaching but also relish the days where I don't have to run the show, can just worry about my piece of the game.  I have a tremendous amount of autonomy at work yet there are situations when I crave a mentor.  The grass may not always be greener but it sure can look cleaner.

Be sure to head over to Sprite's Keeper by Friday to read more spins on roles!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

This post brought to you by the letter 'P' and the number '3'....

It...has been a trying 24 hours at the Casa de Lange.  In fact, I think that the most appropriate description would be 'clusterf*ck'.  And it was a Wednesday.  I mean, come on now, you expect these things to happen on a Monday.  Which they do.  I have proof.  But no, my beloved Hump Day was beaten to an unrecognizable pulp.  And not by work.  Which is a first in and of itself.

It started out just fine.  Even got a walk in before the rain started.  Made plans with V to meet up with them for dinner at Red Robin, Noelle's favorite restaurant.  And pretty much only restaurant she's been to but eh, it's much better for the story being her favorite.  What a good mommy I was!  Such a special treat in the middle of the week.  Yeahhhh.  Should have quit while I was ahead.  And then...the drive home.  The routine is that I pick Noelle up from school after work seeing as her school is only 5 minutes from the office.  It's kind of 'duh' like that.  I should preface this whole thing by saying that Noelle likes hats.  She is one of the lucky ones who looks good in hats and she loves to wear them.  We have cowboy hats and princess hats and baseball hats and witches hats and sun hats and pirate hats and well, you get the picture. 

Walking into her classroom, I was immediately accosted by her friends and got a flying hug from Noelle.  Those?  My favorites.  Then she launched into the broken record of "I want to wear the pirate hat".  Uh, okay honey, we'll get it from your closet when we get home.  No, mommy, I want to wear the pirate hat.  One of her friends had a (really cool actually) pirate hat that she had brought from home.  Noelle, with her super-sensitive hat-dar keyed in on it and WOULD NOT LET IT GO.  Which meant tears.  Of course.  Over someone else's hat.  Which I would not let her wear.  Bad Mommy!  Finally coaxed her out of the classroom with visions of pirate hats and Red Robin dancing in her head.  Guess what we DIDN'T do before we left.  Go on, guess.  So halfway home she has fallen asleep in the car seat.  I fished out her daily sheet from her bag and yep, no nap today.  Well, crap.  So she's exhausted and did not pee before leaving school.  And it's raining.  Because of course it is.  Which means that traffic slows to a crawl because AH MAH GAD Maryland drivers CANNOT drive in the rain. 

Once we get home (finally!) she melts into a puddle inside the door.  Again:  tired.  Dyl and I traipse upstairs to find the blasted pirate hat as she roused herself enough to whine for it.  Dyl gets back down first and remember that puddle of preschooler?  Well, the puddle made a puddle.  Poor thing was so tired and had an accident.  This?  Was my fault.  Should have deposited her butt onto the toilet as soon as we walked in the door.  So, okay, an accident.  Not the end of the world.  Unless you are an exhausted 3 year old girl.  Then?  The end of the world.  She COMPLETELY freaked out over the accident (to which Dyl and I were all like, eh, it happens.)  The ensuing meltdown pretty much ensured that we would not be torturing the paying public with our little freak show that evening.  So 'Max and Ruby' it was. 

Okay, so no chicken bruschetta burger but Dyl came through with Qdoba for us (nuggets for Noelle).  Woo Hoo!  Love me some steak ranchero burritos with guacamole and sour cream.  Again, fine until the battle over the baths commenced and said burrito began disagreeing with me.  While arguing with Noelle over getting into the bath, getting out of the bath, getting dressed after the bath.  Poor Noah, who needed a bath, got shafted with all the drama and just was put to bed. 

I'd go into more detail but you get the picture and hey!  Noah decided it would be fun to NOT SLEEP.  Which was great.  So Dyl and I are punchy and tired and are very glad that the day is over.  And I had a cute video to end with but it won't load so now it's personal and I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

It's time to get random!  A small sample of what has been percolating in my head recently:

Noah's combination scooch/army-crawl is something out of a nightmare.  "He's coming right for us!"

Yes, 8 ounces of milk IS too much for one little tummy to handle.

Frozen peaches make AWESOME popsicles.  Until they've been sucked, um, not frozen.  I believe that I have a 'Bunnicula' on my hands....

I secretly want to yell "Wonderpets, Hooooooo!" whenever Noelle is watching it.  Yes, I'm forever stuck in second grade.  So?

My friend Stacey does a 'Guess that tune Tuesday' on Facebook.  Which I can't access from work.  So I can't play.  Which makes me sad.  And wanting a smartphone so I can play.  This is all her fault.

With apologies to Simion Glover, bring in the pain, bring on the shame.  It's softball time again.  Feeling has finally returned to my legs from last week's debacle.

I'm doing an 'Eat Well, Live Well' challenge at work sponsored by Wegman's.  Did you know that 1 cup of vegetables is a HELL of a lot of veggies?  And we are supposed to target 5 cups a day?  Um, ack?

If waiting impatiently for Iron Man 2 to get here is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Noelle's bed has been taken over by the ever-multiplying stuffed friend collection.  And yeah, it's our fault.  Mostly her dad's.  Stupid collecting habit.

Noah is stalking the cat.  She tolerates it now but sooner or later she is going to turn around and smack the bejesus out of him.

Noah is also trying to give us a collective heart attack.  Just last night he did a real actual crawl.  Yay!  Followed up with almost immediately with a pulling to standing stunt on me.  Um, yay?  Followed by a pulling to standing stunt in his crib.  Which hasn't been lowered yet.  Oh crap.

I'm glad that Noelle shares so nicely with her friends.  I just wish it wasn't her whistle she was sharing.....

You should head over the Keely the Unmom for even more randomness!  Have a random day everyone!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quotables: The Spin Cycle Edition

So this is my first attempt at spinning for the 'Spin Cycle' over at Sprite's Keeper.  The topic this week is Quotables, lines from music/movies/books that you tend to use frequently.  And woo boy, do I.  I shamelessly borrow from movies when you just need that perfect observation or response.  Let's look at the top ones, shall we?
First up:  You are so odd. Ghostbusters
A very simple statement, one that can be used in almost any situation but the impact is totally due to the inflection with the emphasis on the 'odd'.  This one is usually directed at Dyl but he knows the reference so he just laughs.  Doesn't mean it's not completely appropriate.  Which it is.  Totally.

Next:  You're weird. The Pirate Movie
Similar to the first one I'll grant you but more of an every day response whereas the previous is best suited to a more 'formal' discussion.  Also, almost no one gets the reference which makes me feel, um, dorky.  So it doesn't get much play....

Flames.  Flames on the sides of my face.  Breaths....heaving breaths....  Clue
Just...perfect.  And delivered by the incomparable Madeline Kahn it's all about the inflection.  And the fingers.  The ultimate utterance when the frustration level for anything has reached it's apex. 

He's not just going to walk in here and say 'Here I am!' Zorro the Gay Blade
This is from a really, really bad movie but one of my favorites.  I used this one when giving the fam updates when we were waiting for my son to done 'cooking' last summer.  To really get the entire experience you have to say it in a really bad Spanish accent.

This, this is ice.  This is what happens to water when it gets too cold.  Real Genius
Great, great movie.  Plus:  Hot Val Kilmer.  Yum.  Also:  a nice change of pace from 'Captain Obvious to the rescue'.

Come to me, gentle friends.  Ace Venture: Pet Detective
One of the ONLY movies with Jim Carrey that I find funny.  So this gets broken out, well, randomly.  Because that's how I roll.

My brains...are going into...my feeeeeeetttttt!  Spaceballs
Heh, it just makes me laugh.

You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.  The Princess Bride
Ha!  Bet you thought I was going to go for the other Inigo Montoya quote.  I love this one since I'm a total grammar/vocab snob use this to lay the smackdown on all who dare to bastardize this fine, fine language of ours. 

There are so many more that it could take all day but this snapshot is enough to prove that we have collectively exhausted our creativity and must now depend on Hollywood's screenwriters to provide us with the perfect retort.  And with that, we'll end this insanity.  Can I interest anyone in fruit, or dessert?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

After a pregnancy-induced 18 month hiatus from softball, I returned to the field of battle last night.  (And no, I wasn't pregnant for 18 months (though it did feel that way at times); that time also includes the off seasons.)  I expected for my timing to be off a bit, my swings to be, um, girly and my throws to lack their usual zip.  This happened after Noelle was born so I was okay with it. But!  I returned 30 pounds lighter, I've been walking and building stamina and cardiovascular excellence, it surely wouldn't take that long to regain top form.

What I neglected to factor into all of this is that I am now 36 years old.  Now, this is not old by any stretch of the imagination.  HOWEVER, in the arena of competitive sports (though seriously? Are there any non-competitive ones?) this is the equivalent to Brett Favre retiring now and then coming back to football in 10 years.  Which may very well indeed happen but I digress.  I'm strong!  I'm tough!  I'm a catcher! *pounds chest* *then winces in pain because HAI BOOBS*.

First, the good news.  We won both games.  The first game was a total come-from-behind-at-the-bottom-of-the-seventh-inning victory.  We were down 7.  That?  Is impressive.  The even better news: I did not make a complete fool of myself batting.  In fact, I only had 1 swinging strike.  AND went 4-4 with 2 walks.  Or maybe 5-5.  Something like that.  So not too shabby.  Running and squatting?  ENTIRELY different story.

Now when I experience sore muscles (as usual at the beginning of the season), the soreness doesn't show up until 2 days after the activity.  I knew that I was in trouble last night when my shoulder started aching during warm-ups and my quads hurting the FIRST INNING OF THEFIRST GAME.  I played through the discomfort.  Why?  I'm tough, I'm stubborn and there were no other females to sub in.  My other choices would have been second base (never played it before in my life.  Ain't about to start now) and outfield which is never a good idea because even with my glasses/contacts I have about zero depth perception.  Which would explain my penchant for walking into walls, corners, anything really.  My legs alternately felt like jello and lead.  Jello when trying to stand up from the crouch and like lead when I had to run.  In my mind I was sprinting but thank god no one was videotaping it since I have NO desire to see how slow my lame-ass ran last night. 

Did I mention we play double headers?  Oh yes!  We do.  And I did.  I know that I was wobbling walking back to the car at the end of the game.  Also:  grateful that I wasn't not driving the Wrangler as the constant shifting would have reduced me to tears very quickly.  I had to physically PICK UP my leg with my hands to be able to release the emergency brake as there was no way I was able to lift my leg high enough (3 inches.  Max.) to step on the pedal to release it.  Not without some help.  Scratch that:  a lot of help. 

It was fun and felt good to get out there and start playing again but man am I paying for it today.  And tomorrow.  Quite possible through the weekend.  But I know that it won't be this bad next week.  And will be better the week after that. 

What I could really use right now is nice, hot soaking bath and a 3 hour nap.  Neither one of which I will get but it's nice to dream.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Home improvement in 4 easy steps....

The ghettofication of our bathroom continues!  While turning on the shower last week, something inside the handle snapped.  Because of course it did.  Which meant that turning the water on or off was...difficult.  Unfortunately, we couldn't ignore this one the way we did the kitchen fauct for 4 months.  So after working for 4 hours on Sunday morning (!), off to Home Depot I went with printouts of replacement shower/tub faucets in hand.  After wandering around the store trying to find said faucets (seriously, where the eff are they?), a kindly employee took pity on my smelly, sleep-deprived self (4 am comes awfully early in the morning) and led me to the promised land.  Not of faucets but of REPLACEMENT HANDLES!  Oh happy day!  I could just replace the HANDLE and not the whole contraption.  This was sounding better and better all the while.  No special tools, plumbing equipment, sealers/caulkers, etc. needed.  All the repair required was a screwdriver. WHICH I OWN.  I can DO this.  Watch out Ty Pennington, it is ON.
The 'So Easy a Mommy of Two Can Do It' instructions:
Step 1 - using a flat blade (such as a screwdrive), remove the cap of the handle
Step 2 - unscrew the screw from the handle and remove the rest of the unit
Step 3 - replace with new handle unit, screw into place
Step 4 - replace cap
Step 5 - done!

See, verra easy, only...not.  What actually happened:
Step 1 - removed cap.  It just pops off!  Awesome!
Step 2 - crap, it needs a phillips head, okay, fine. (trudges downstairs to get it).  Okay, now we are ready.  Insert business end of screwdriver, turn and....nothing.  Hm, okay, looks like it's slipping a little.  Try some more force.  And....nothing.  Uh, is the hole getting bigger?  No, just my imagination.  Okay, more force and leverage....nope, still not - wait, it's turning.  It's turning!  With more force and wrist action and yeah, now we're turning...but why is the screw not coming out?  And why is the screw head hole getting more round and less '+-y'?  And why is the water turning on...oh crap!  Forgot to turn off the water first. (Note to all home improvement peoples out there:  when working with plumbing TURN OFF THE WATER.) Run backdownstairs, turn off water to ENTIRE house, back upstairs, back to work with FORCE and LEVERAGE.  Which isn't doing anything except 1) turning the entire apparatus and 2) completely destroying the '+'.  What the hell is this screw made of?  Cotton candy?  *Grits teeth* Why. Won't. You. LOOSEN?  Screwdriver is now COMPLETELY USELESS as the screw head now resembles a BELLY BUTTON.  To hell with this, let's break out the big guns.  C'mere my little adjustable wrench.  Just grab hold like a good little tool and WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT YOU WON'T WORK?  FINE. I'LL GO BACK TO MY FAVORITE FIX-IT DEVICE: needle-nosed pliers (hey, worked for the kitchen faucet....). Go find needle nose pliers.  Keep in mind that THIS whole part of the adventure has taken about 15 minutes now.  And counting.  Grab the rusty pliers (see:  kitchen faucet) and try to force open.  Since it won't.  (see:  rust).  Okay, now we are ready.  Grab hold of that screw head and turn and...the whole thing continues to turn.  Repeatedly.  Adjust position.  Nothing.  Adjust grip. Nothing.  Climb INTO bathtub to get a better angle.  Nothing.  At this point it's a matter of pride. 

While this is going on, Dyl is trying to get Noah down for a nap (so not happening) and Noelle is running around being...3.  She keeps coming into the bathroom "What you doing Mommy?"  "Why you in bathtub?"  Mommy, meanwhile is trying very hard not to start yelling at the handle with words not meant for little ears.  I'm tired, I'm hungry, I desperately need to pump because boobs = full.  And the stupid screw will not loosen.  At this point I'm kneeling in the bathtub, tearing up in frustration and begging the screw to loosen.  Which always works, right?  It doesn't?  Well, crap.

Even the manic energy brought on by pride has given out.  FINE.  I 'll call a plumber.  I give up.  No mas.  'Uncle'.  This was not for lack of trying.  Though I have a suspicion that I just made things worse.  This whole time, Dylan has been wrangling the children and most likely wondering if he will ever be able to take a shower again.  And he brought up the Home Depot Repair Book (or something like that) which he was smart enough NOT to bring to me in the bathroom surrounded by tools from our toolbox flung haphazardly around said bathroom in the desperate hope that something would work.  Which it did not.  Of course.

I did end up leafing through the book later because, ya know, masochistic and all that, and think that I figured out why the screw would NOT loosen:  Because it most likely has some plumber's gunk on it to keep it from leaking.  There can be no other reason and I was in danger of going into a paroxysm of manic laughter since if that is indeed the case, there is NO WAY this would be an easy project.  I can't get the handle off to get to the screw to remove the gunk to allow the screw to come out which will allow me to change the handle to turn it for water. 

I am so not looking forward to making this phone call to the plumber.

Friday, April 9, 2010

When Silly met Goofy

It's been a strange week around here.  Dyl and I were both home with the boy a day this week, I caught an 8-hour stomach bug (I'll spare you my ruminations on vomit), Noah has either seasonal allergies or a nasty cold and Noelle is, well, 3.  So this pretty much summed it all up....

Friday.  Pizza night (no cooking! huzzah!)  Let the battle of the silly faces begin!

What's the perfect pizza chaser?  Blueberry yogurt of course.

White boy does the 'Thriller'

Noelle goes for the cute

 You are helpless before the power of pink

The itsy-bitsy spider got stuck in Dylan's hair....

Are you scared yet?  My face may freeze this way

It doesn't matter what you do Daddy, I'm still cuter

And...the grand finale

I am a sexay bitch.
I have no words.
What does our audience think?

Am I seriously related to these lunatics?

Please?  (Not me but a fitting photo nonetheless.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Apropos of nothing

To paraphrase Goldie Hawn's character Elise from the movie The First Wives Club, I get my best ideas/thoughts/brainstorms while exercising.  Which in this case means taking a walk around the beautiful Hunt Valley industrial park in the broiling early-April sunshine.  Seriously, it is going up to 90 F today.  Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic's version of spring.  To be followed shortly by weeks of cool and rainy weather.  Damn your eyes, shifting weather patterns! 

*Shakes fist at heavens*

My point?  Right!  So I was walking today and the comparison of this year versus last year jumped into my head which I felt compelled to share.  Hey, it's better than ruminating on wormy suicides.  AMIRITE?

A year ago today:
I was pregnant.
I knew that I was having a boy.
I was scared to death.
Now I have a little boy whom I just adore. And I think that he likes me pretty well too.

A year ago today:
I had an office mate.
I had a confidant.
I had a friend.
Now I have a reason to go out and do things and a new group to do them with..

A year ago today I had three living grandparents.
Now I only have one.  But Grandma and Grandpa at at peace so I'm slowly becoming okay with it.

A year ago today:
Noelle was still in pull-ups.
Noelle was sleeping in a crib.
Now I have a daughter who is no longer a baby but well on her way to becoming a beautiful, sweet and wonderful little girl.

A year ago today we were a family of three.
Now we are a family of four.
And I can't imagine it any other way.

Not a bad year after all.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Time for Random Rants...

But first!  Happy Easter everyone!  And thanks for bearing with me during my pity party of the past week though I must say it was quite cathartic.  But now back to the usual nonsense around here - specifically my rants about things over which I have absolutely no control.  Except in my mind.  Which is a FABULOUS place to be, let me tell you.  Onward we go!

First up today:  PARENTS.  More to the point, parents of toddlers at a public Easter Egg hunt who bum rush the field so their children (who are confused and terrifed to the point of incoherency) can collect the most eggs.  SERIOUSLY.  I wish I was making that up.  We took the kids to a farm in Clarksville that had an egg hunt for 1-3 year olds with my best friend and her daughter and once the barrier rope was dropped, it was as if a swarm of locusts or the aliens from Independence Day (great movie BTW) descended on the field in an enormous wave of gluttony.  Noelle was TERRIFIED and refused to take one step in that direction.  Not that I blame her in the slightest.  Even Hannah who is a MASTER egg hunter only came away with 1.  Easter egg hunting is now a competitive sport.  Did you know that?  I was actually concerned that Noelle would be trampled and assumed the defensive position that I employed at nightclubs during the time when I didn't  fall asleep on the couch at 9:30 pm.  But the rest of the day at the farm was delightful.  They had a lot of the old attractions from the now-defunct Enchanted Forest and Noelle LOVED that part.  Noah didn't really have an opinion on it except that socks have no place on the chubber feet so off they must come.  So an overall grade for the visit was a C+.

Complete lack of personal responsibility.  I have a technician, let's call him 'Brandon', who is unable to take the fact that he is one of the lucky ones to actually have a job seriously.  The man (boy? teenager? social misfit?) is habitually late and comes up with pretty decent excuses as to why he missed work/was late.  Some of my personal favorites:
  1. A week after 'Snowmageddon:  Part the Third' - was unable to come to work as the howling winds and blizzard-like conditions blew all of the snow (about 3 inches) in southern PA into massive drifts blocking his driveway and was therefore trapped and reduced to chewing on the wildly waving branches of stripped trees for sustenance.  Even though all others who live in southern PA made it into work just fine. THE WINDS TARGETED HIM PEOPLE.
  2. Power failure.  This was just this week.  Apparently the power went out at his house.  Fine, it happens.  But then! He couldn't call to say that he was late due to the power being out since he doesn't have a landline and his girlfriend had the cell phone.  Um, what? 
Yes, he is my technician and I have *some* ability to inflict punishment but the whole disciplinary action thing where I work is extremely drawn out for attendence issues though we are trudging down that path currently.  I'm wondering whether using the Mallet of Excellence upside his head would have any positive effect....

Complete lack of an internal filter for my mouth.  Yeah, this one is all me.  The lab techs are a large group of overgrown preschoolers for whom 'time-outs' don't really work.  I observed at a meeting the other week that we are expecting them to demonstrate teamwork in moving to where the work is piling up rather than squatting at their assigned benches when they have 1. never been expected to do that before and 2. no one has ever modeled the behavior for them.  So what happens?  I get a new hat to wear:  traffic cop.  In addition to everything else that I have to do, I am now going to be gently redirecting their energies to the most important tasks to improve the flow of work through the lab.  Here is the kicker:  I am not a member of the Testing Team.  I lead the Materials Team and have no supervisory responsibilities for the Testing Team.  Why oh why can I not keep my mouth shut?  Yes, teamwork rah-rah but seriously?  Shouldn't the team manager BE DIRECTING THE ACTIVITIES OF HIS TEAM?  I am going to be asking for hazardous duty pay in addition to breaking out my catcher's gear because this is going to put me in the loony bin right quick.  Send the nice men in the white jackets and lots of wine please....

This was probably not the best topic for Easter Sunday so enjoy the beautiful weather and take a moment to reflect on what it is we are celebrating today.  I'll give you a hint:  it's not chocolate bunnies and jelly beans.  I wish you all a joyous and peaceful Easter.  He has risenThanks be to God.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The highs are high and the lows are low

It's been quite a rough week. Wow, that was a massive understatement right there.  In the past week, my grandmother died, we had a mini family reunion, the weather launched itself right into the middle of spring and work remained...work.  Join me now for the first ever edition of The Week That Was...

Let's face it.  Parts of the past week sucked.  Grandma died.  That MAJORLY sucked.  But some positives were associated with it: 
  1. All ten (yes, ten) great-grand children were together for the first time.  And it was...chaotic, funny and beautiful all at the same time.  It was also terribly ironic but that is the cynic in me and I just don't feel like going there right now.
  2. The outpouring of love.  WOW.  SO MANY PEOPLE came.  I knew that Gram touched many lives and had many friends and interests but it was all abstract.  It was right then that I started to understand how wonderfully complex and rich Gram's life was and the lasting influence that she had on others.   If I can be half the woman she was it will be quite a successful life indeed.
  3. Mom and Dad and AJ's friends.  They ALL came.  Some I had known for years, some I just met for the first time but all had known Gram and the deep and abiding love her children have for her.  (Yes, I deliberately left that in the present tense.  Wanna make something of it?)
  4. My cousins' children.  They were so darn cute!  Plus I got an idea as to how Noah will look in a year:  huge.  My youngest cousin's oldest son is 18 months old and wears a size 3T.  How in the name of Merlin's tighty-whities is that even possible?  But he is so unbelievably cute and loves playing.  In fact my arms are still sore from lifting him up over my head 4 days ago!
Then there were the parts that thinking back on, I'm kind of ashamed of how I acted.  My very estranged uncle and his wife came.  I hadn't seen her in a good 25 years and the first thing that I hissed to my sister?  I can't believe THAT WOMAN had the nerve to come!  How unbelievably uncharitable was that?  I should have gone up, reintroduced myself, talked to her, let bygones be bygones.  But I was wallowing in my own grief and self-righteousness and let the opportunity slip by.  Gram has got to be so disappointed in me.  And she has every right to be.  Family was the most important thing to her and I let the pettiness of old grudges trump doing the right thing.  And I'm so sorry Gram.  So very, very sorry.