Wednesday, February 25, 2009

suburban mom stereotype rebel

It's like springtime here. In February! So yesterday I had the excuse of books due at the library to get out for a bike ride. I was all bike knickers and short sleeves.

And I get to an interesection near the library, and wouldn't you know it, a minivan-driving mom just scoots on through the intersection - eyes clearly focused on her cell phone upon which she was clearly texting away on. For Gosh sakes, it's the library!

I do realize that it's probably a function of where I live - the *shudders* SUBURBS - but what is it with these minivan moms? I've said it here before, of all the close calls I've had with vehicles while out and about on my bicycle, they overwhelmingly involve women in minivans.

Yesterday's observation was not a close call. I am now subconsciously alert to any minivans within a hundred feet or so of me at all times. I just saw her, I KNOW she didn't see me, nor anyone else on the road at that time for that matter.

I hear about how the most risky drivers and, therefore, drivers with the highest insurance rates are young males, but I'm tellin' ya, that's not been my experience. It's the minivan moms. Really, I want to see some accurate statistics!

BEWARE the minivan moms! I BEG you!

This has been a public service announcement.

Monday, February 23, 2009

talking shop

First Beej, then Jerry, told their tales of shoplifters. Probably anyone who has spent time in a tour of retail employment has a shoplifting experience or two to tell.

Me, I never actually got to say, "AHA! Caught you RED handed!" My experiences were more of the after-the-fact variety, like going to straighten up the dressing rooms and finding a bunch of old clothes in there and putting two and two together.

I worked at a Gart Sports while I was in college, and I recall this guy coming up to my register - that was me, Cashier Abby - with some expensive basketball shoes and a couple of other choice items. I ran his credit card and got the instructions to hold the card because the account had been cancelled (THIEF!).

So I told Mr. Shoes with the stolen credit card, oh so professionally, "I'm sorry, this credit card has been cancelled, I have to hold on to it, do you have another form of payment?". To which he innocently replied, "What? Really?', before magically bolting from the store. Like BOLTING from the store. You know how on cartoons, one minute, the little cartoon character is there, and the next he's not there, there's just a cloud of dust? And there's the sound effect of a gunshot? That's what Mr. Shoes did.

And he didn't even take the shoes. I mean, he'd already broken the law, right? Might as well make it official. They were still sitting right there on the counter.

Betcha he kicked himself for that later.

My only other close brushes with shoplifters included a couple of my thieving coworkers...

... but that's another story.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Silver Lining S-day, part XXVII

Ah, comfy blog. It's been a few days!

Well, it's been a pretty busy week, but that's a good thing. Work is busy and I'm thankful that I have a job that I enjoy. A couple of years ago when Meego started all-day school, I was wondering what sort of fun, productive, meaningful things I could do to occupy myself and also make some cash. So now I do this test prep teacher thing - who knew? Not to mention the fun crew of co-workers. There are popular TV shows set in hospitals, crime investigation precincts, lawyer's offices... there should be a test prep center TV show. I'd watch.

That portion of fence that got trashed in the wind storm a couple of weeks ago? All fixed. I'm thankful I found a good fence repairman guy who did a good job and didn't try to sell us something we didn't need. The other side of the fence - the side we share with the weird neighbors - was looking ready to give in this week's nasty wind storms too, but Magnum was able to reinforce that yesterday, utilizing his new Duracell Powerpack toy.

Yes, we have been having some nasty wind lately, but on the days that weren't windy, it's been very pleasant. I was able to happily pedal around on my bicycle to run a few errands without freezing a body part or two - a bit of a rarity in February. Yesterday, Chaco and I went for a good joyride together. I'm thankful he enjoys a bike ride with me now and then. True, I did need to sort of "bribe" him with a 7-11 Slurpee promise. But the 7-11 makes for a nice destination ride, not to mention low-budget, and the Peach Mango Fusion Slurpee is to die for!

You know those bumper stickers that say "My Child is an Honor Student at Hoopa Choopa Whatever School"? My car will never have one on it. I just don't like them. I don't like bumper stickers in general - not on my car. But I added a 5th one to the bedroom door. That's where ours go. The maximum number we could own at this time is 6, but Wolfgang had an "off" semester last year. He seems to be back in bumper sticker mode.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009



Wristbands have overwhelmingly won the blog poll. Interestingly enough, the informal poll I took among "real life" people resulted in the mini frisbees winning in a near landslide victory as the token prize of choice. It's safe to say that we won't go with the sqeeze coin holders. Maybe we can have some sort of wrestling match between the bloggers and the IRL-ers.

In the meantime, life goes on. I took Wolfgang to the eye Doc's a couple of days ago. He's inherited his geeky parents' myopic genes. He got his first pair of glasses back in 4th grade when his teacher got tired of him leaving his seat - in the 2nd row I might add - to get a closer look at the board, and I got the "take Wolfie to the eye doctor's" note.

This most recent trip was suggested by the family doctor who did the physical for basketball, so I've been traipsing Wolfgang around to these various doctors offices. I decided it was time for me to wait in the waiting room.

At what point is it appropriate for Mom to stop going into the exam room with her child? Is it different depending on the gender of said child?

After arriving at the Dr.'s, I told Wolfgang I'd just wait in the waiting room... unless he wanted me to go in with him. He was fine with me waiting out by the fish aquarium. That whole "turn your head and cough" routine is probably better performed without good old Mom hovering.

Same thing with the eye doctor. I waited outside while reading clean Reader's Digest jokes.

Eventually, Wolfgang and the Optometrist emerged and went over his results. The doctor suggested a pair of "rec specs" for playing sports. I mentioned that, yes, I had a pair of those for bicycling.

"Yes, that's what Wolfgang told me. He doesn't want them", the doctor informed me with a bit of a chuckle. God forbid he should look as geeky as his mom.

The boy's growing up.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

thank you for your participation

Okay, you know how there's that spring fundraiser at the elementary school that, somehow, I am in charge of? And you know how a lot of kids won't do things unless they're given "stuff"?

Yes, Run With Lumber is only a couple of months away. To refresh memories, that's the day when all of the kids at the elementary school, one grade at a time, run around the field outside with the always inspring mascot, Lumber the wolf. It's a pay-per-lap type event which raises money for the PTO. Eight laps to a mile - how many can you do in 25 minutes?

The students usually start out with much enthusiasm only to hit the wall shortly after the start with threats of collapse and vomiting. I'm glad to say that, in all my Run With Lumber years, they've never gone further than mere threats.

Special prizes are awarded the top runners and top money earners per grade, but everyone gets a participation prize. All they have to do is show up. Sometimes, not even that.

And the time has come to choose and purchase this year's participation prizes. We try to keep a variety, so they don't get the same thing every year. And since we buy for the entire school, we like to keep the price down, yet don't want to make it an obvious token piece of junk.

I've narrowed this year's prizes down to three choices. Help me choose, will you?? The pics are from the catalog, but the prize chosen will be in the school's colors and include a paw print and the imprint, "Run With Lumber"

Prize exhibit A: A 3/4" wide, 100% cotton band that can be used as a wristband, hairband, or anklet!

Total cost = $795

Prize exhibit B: A 5" diameter plastic Fun Flyer!

Total cost = $525

Prize exhibit C: Squeeze open Oval Coin Holders!

Total cost = $550

Those are the choices, folks. I've already kicked out the cheesy buttons and refrigerator magnets.

Please vote. Vote often.

Silver Lining Saturday, part XXVI

And a fine week it's been too!

It started off Monday with this nasty wind a-blowin'. Like 60 - 70 mph. It took out a portion of our backyard fence. There are actually a few silver linings to that. Firstly, some people lost entire fences, some people had trees fall over, some people had trees fall over... onto their cars. So I'm thankful that we people just lost a 12 foot or so portion of fence. The other thing to be thankful for here is that it was part of the fence that is the boundary between our back yard and the good neighbor's back yard, so she's going halvesies with us on the repair. Had it been the fence on the other side - the boundary with the weird neighbors - I'm pretty sure we'd just be fixing it ourselves.

I mentioned last week that our dog tested positive for heartworm. She's started treatment for it this week which involves a lot of her just laying around and doing nothing. She seems to like laying around and doing nothing. I'm thankful that she was already crate trained. In fact, she seems to love that crate so much, it almost makes me want to get one for myself.

I attended a seminar for work this week. It's mandatory to attend two of these seminars this month, so I went somewhat out of obligation and hoping that I might actually learn something too. It actually exceeded my expectations, lead by one of our "Master Teachers". Now I know why he has that title, and I'm looking forward to the next seminar I must obligingly attend.

Driving home from the aforementioned seminar (there's about 55 miles of highway between my home and the Mother Ship), I ran into a snowstorm. I'm thankful we just had that All Wheel Drive Subaru tuned up.

I went to Meego's Valentine's Day party yesterday at school. There's this one mom in the classroom that just loves doing all of the party prep, all us other moms have to do is show up. I showed up. I put some frosting on some cookies. I helped clean up. I'm done.

On that note, Happy Valentine's Day everybody. Magnum reminded me that our first date was freakin' 21 years ago on this date! Geez, that's a long time! There's really no significance to the fact that it was on Valentine's day. He was in the army reserves, I worked retail, we were both in college - it just happened to be the first day that we had a few free hours in our schedules. I remember a guy at work asking me if I had a "hot" date and my replying, "eh, tepid".

21 years later...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

dream and meme

I had one of those baby dreams last night. One of those where I have this cute newborn baby that never cries and always smells good, and I'm always caught up on everything so baby and I can just snuggle and giggle the day away.

Then I woke up and had that mildly disappointed / extremely relieved feeling.

Coincidentally, Brandy tagged me with this mommy meme over on facebook, and because of the sheer synchronicity of it and a good dose of laziness, I post it here as well. I won't tag anyone specific, but feel free to meme away - even the dads.


If by "planned" we mean that I was too caught up in the moment / lazy to go do that whole diaphragm routine, and besides, I wasn't getting any younger... then yeah, he was totally planned.




Excited, scared, nervous, happy, a little freaked out.


28 when I got pregnant; 29 when I had the baby


home pregnancy test


My husband then the father - KIDDING, they're both the same person!


NO way!


Must've been January 17.


Not really, just a little queasy and tired that first trimester.


Eggs and potatoes


I don't remember being irritated. Didn't have any other kids yet, remember?








Yes, after the arrival, because I ended up going into labor the day it was originally planned for.


It was planned as a surprise, but when I told my friends I wasn't coming because I was in labor, they told me to come anyway because they were throwing me a shower. They'd deliver the baby there if needed. I think they really would have.




At a hospital in Rochester, NY. Forget the name. Rochester Memorial?? Rochester General?? Hospital O'Rochester??


Ten or eleven I think. It's all part of that birthing amnesia fog.




Magnum, my ob/gyn, the nurse, and a young intern guy on his maternity rotation.




No, I'd heard it makes you say weird things. And I didn't get an epidural because, DAMNIT!, Mom had three babies without one, so could I!

24. Did you nurse (breastfeed)?


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the lost year

I don't remember third grade.

I don't know what's up with that. I remember bits and pieces of the rest of my K-12 life, and I certainly remember the teachers I had, but third grade is a total fog. Like it never happened.

Meego is in third grade now. He and the other third graders at his school did a music program last Friday. Every month or so, the school has a "Pride Assembly" wherein one of the grades or the choir also does a music program. This month was the third grade's turn.

So Magnum and I went, found a spot in the back of the gym and proudly watched as Meego stole the show. Well.... not exactly. Meego's not really the all-eyes-on-me-in-the-center-of-the-ring type. But he did all the Saturday Night Fever moves and moved his mouth as if he were singing most of the time.

And he also got a "Pride Award" during the assembly. Students are picked from each grade during these assemblies to receive these awards for some sort of virtue, and he was one of the recipients. This is the first year he got one without knowing ahead of time. I think the teachers tell the first and second graders just so they know what they're supposed to do when their names are called and don't freak out.

I knew he was getting one, though, as his teacher had tipped me off the day before. It was fun to see the recognition on his face when his name was called and watch him go forward in his cheesy little super hero costume (part of the music program) to get his Pride Pin.

I hope he remembers third grade.

Monday, February 9, 2009

into the wind

*POOF* it's monday. And it's freakin' WINDY! Meego and I nearly got blown off the face of the earth on our walk to school this morning.

But here I am ready for another week. I'm sure it's tiring to hear more about my bicycle, but she had yet another upgrade on Saturday. All those upgrades from last week brought out other weaknesses. The shiney new chain I got was periodically slipping off the old worn out crank - a rather nerve wracking feeling it was. So now she's got a new crank set. There's hardly anything left of the original Bella!

Anyway, I went for a good ride yesterday to make sure everything is firing as is meant to be, and she's really humming along now. It was a bit chilly - mid 30's, but not bad. As I was out riding, I saw a couple out walking. They were wearing these big parkas and ski masks and ski goggles. I mentioned it later to the family, and we concluded that they were either out robbing 7-11's or they were from some warmer climate place and couldn't take mid 30's.

I'm still kind of curious about them. I mean, it wasn't even snowing yet (that happened later), so why the goggles? They were even more geeky looking than my geeky looking bicycling glasses. By their size and shape, I guessed that one was male and the other female. His 'n' Hers terrorist mask/goggle combos?

Oh well, they probably thought I looked strange. Hopefully they don't blog.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Silver Lining Saturday, part XXV

I'm lazing around on my first saturday in a while where I don't have to go to work with an appearance/illusion? of intelligence and clarity and competence. Actually, I'd gotten used to those Saturday morning classes and am kinda missing it, but I'm sure it will pass.

It's been another banner week for thankfuldom. Let's hit it.

I was feeling quite productive this week, and as I sit here I can see the "to do" list I'd made at the start of the week, now with a bunch of lines scratched through a bunch of the to-do's. So much fun scratching those lines.

Yes, my bicycle is out of the shop, and the weather has been very accomodating to get me going on abusing it once again. NO! I will do better with the maintenance from now on. See, I bought the bike from a shop that was very close to my house, making the maintenance visits very convenient... then the store moved! How rude! BUT, this week, I found a very enjoyable bicycling route to get to the new location from my house. This goes along with my New Year's resolution to go outside of my comfort zone more often, as I had to venture somewhat into the unknown to find this route. It paid off!

On the maintenance note, we decided to keep our current car for the long haul, which prompted me to get it in for a good tune up. It purrs like a kitten now.

The bicycle maintenance shop people and the automotive shop people seem to really like me these days.

I try to think of it as doing our part in stimulating the economy.

I even took the dog in for maintenance, for her annual checkup. CRAP! She has heartworm! Very rare thing in these parts, but somehow she managed. The silver lining to that is, it looks like we caught it relatively early, making the treatment for it not as bad as if we'd caught it later on. She's also now a bit of a celebrity at the vet's, having contracted this rare thing. Yet another reason to dislike mosquitoes.

Wolfgang has gotten and kept his grades up after having a bit of trouble with that last year *a-HEM*. With that, Mr. Extracurricular has been cleared by Magnum and me to play basketball with the middle school program, which meant I had to also take HIM for a physical. Everything checked out fine, but it looks like he may be due for a new eyeglass prescription. Back to the one-family economic stimulation package.

There's more, of course, but I think I'll stop there. Before we're broke.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I shaved my legs for this

We were in the midst of a road trip, travelling through "the south". Chaco and Wolfgang were just little squirts and Meego was not yet in the picture.

We'd made a stop to stretch our legs, get some food, and clean up the sticky grimy toddlers. As I recall, Wolfgang was the grimier of the two. After lunch, I took him into the restroom and gave him a good scrubdown mini makeover.

The new and shiny clean Wolfgang and I radiated out of that restroom and were met by a largish woman of "the south". She looked down at Wolfgang, and I remember vividly what she said:


I'm pretty sure that translates to: "Well, aren't you an attractive and clean young chap!".

That particular term has found a comfy spot in our household vocabulary, often used as a verb as in: "Better go get 'wainchied', the band concert's in a half an hour". Or in it's original form when, say, the dog returns from the groomers.

So yesterday afternoon, I got a call from the bike shop. My bicycle, after 8 days and 4 hours (but who was counting), was ready to be picked up after it's extreme makeover. I happily journeyed over to pick it up.

The technician went to the back, then wheeled her out. I swear she was prancing, if a bicycle could do such a thing.

All I could think was,


<--- [click the pic for BIG and Wainchie]


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

let's hope he doesn't turn emo

I don't know how he does it. Of all the possible combinations (I calculate it to be about 35), Meego manages to pick the ONE shirt/pants combo that Just. Does. Not. Do.

He emerged from his room this morning wearing a bright tie dyed t-shirt and a pair of camo cargo pants... [Take a moment to picture it].... Now, as a mom, I know I must pick my battles. Generally, clothing battles are not worth it. But I couldn't let that one go, especially since he's worn that particular ensemble before with me biting my tongue all the way to school. It's not that he's trying to be particularly CLASH, he just has no fashion sense whatsoever. What. So. Ever.

"Uhm... you should change either your pants or your shirt", I mumbled nonchalantly.

"Why?", he replied cluelessly.

"That outfit is just too..... busy", I clarified elusively

"I can't wear this SHIRT?!", he pried confusingly

"That shirt's fine, just not with THOSE pants", I explained provokingly.

"I can't wear these PANTS?!", he emoted dramatically.

"The PANTS are FINE, just not with THAT SHIRT.", I expounded frustratingly.

(conversation continues a bit longer with similar abrasive befuddlement)

In the end, Meego gave in. Left in a huff and re-emerged from the room having changed the pants to a pair of solid grey cargo pants. Much better.

Except they're too short.

I kept that to myself.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Silver Lining S-day, part XXIV

I didn't get my silver lining "saturday" entry yesterday, so I'll just call it "S-day". I was working. Then I was playing. No blogging.

The LSAT class has come to a satisfying finish, and I may have gotten a GMAT student out of it. Gotta love those high achieving goal-oriented types.

The minor foot injury I've been nursing is well on the mend.

Meego's Science Fair project has been completed and turned in. The actual science fair display day is in a couple of weeks, which means we will be able to soon toss out the stinky mold that is growing and thriving in the sun room.

I found no flea poop on the cat. I guess he's just weird.

My bicycle was in bad shape, and yes, had more issues than I should've let happen, but she'll be bionic when I get her back next week!

I had a couple of errands to run yesterday and Chaco was nice enough to loan me his bicycle. It's a bit bigger and more rugged than my sweet commuter, but it was a glorious bike ride and Chaco knows the hand that feeds him.