Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Technology… a two edged sword…

Web Cams at school…

The good news is that Mom can keep an eye on you during the day, so she knows that you are safe and having fun.

The bad news is that Mom has proof that you can do chores without complaining, like getting your nap mat ready all by yourself.

The really bad news is that you have big, poufy cheeks and even with low resolution, she saw you smiling through the process. BUSTED.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Can you hear me now?

Last week I did the one thing I have never done before. No, I did finish all my ice cream. No, I did sneak upstairs to watch a movie at 3 pm without the hubby and the kids instead of spending quality time with them. No, I actually killed my cell phone. I am debating if it was my fault or if it was my cell phone’s way of telling me that it didn’t like me much.

I have never been shy or secretive about my love for gadgets – although I must admit that I am not as geeky as other people I know. Still, the gadgets can only be purchased when there is an actual reason to purchase them rather than just having a collection of items in my home. I mean, if it were up to Sunshine, we would live in the Jetson’s home, but I can’t afford his dreams of electronics…. Bill Gates can’t afford his dreams of electronics. So, when I need an electronic device, I get the coolest item out there, but I won’t go and get an iPhone (although I would LOVE one) just because my phone is still working and I have a contract. It’s called discipline. It’s called budget. It’s called many-nights-hoping-that-I-can-get-my-hands-on-one. Still, like I have said before, the children like to be fed and clothed (who knew?) so I can’t splurge all the time.

Still, earlier this year I dropped my Motorola Q phone one time too many (after 2 years with it with a toddler at the time!) and the screen cracked. Shit. I was still living in the Appalachia Region and the AT&T service up there is spotty at best, so I couldn’t take the chance to get the iPhone. So I went to Verizon (my service provider) and got myself an Droid. Pretty cool phone. Now, I don’t like going to places like Sears and being offered a $30 insurance plan for a $40 item that already comes with a 1 year warranty, so I always decline those. I can’t remember if I got insurance offered for my new phone… it doesn’t matter, I didn’t get it. I renewed my contract and off I went with my $600 phone for the low price of less than $200. Then, two months later, we moved to a metropolis where AT&T service is great. Crap.

So now I have the wrong phone (but still pretty cool) and I am stuck with the contract. Sigh. I’ll live. There are other worst things in the world than not having the right phone right? Right. Like not having a phone at all… Enter my dad (parents are always guilty of what happens to you, right? I am getting ready to be blamed for my children’s mishaps). He is sick. He is going from one doctor to the other. Daily updates. So, like a wonderful daughter that I am, I carry my phone with me all the time. When I am at work, I usually take my phone out of my purse and leave it on my desk until the end of the day, but since my dad is sick, I was carrying it with me now. Put it in my pocket if I walk away, you know, just in case.

Last week, I forgot about my phone in my pocket. I went to the restroom. As I go to sit I hear PLONK! Yep. Phone went straight into the toilet. After that 1 millisecond between CRAP! I dropped my phone in the toilet and SHIT, I HAVE TO PUT MY HAND IN THERE TO GET IT!!! I thought of the plan, the expense, my dad, and took it out. The phone was in there a total of 2.3 seconds. It seems that if your phone is on and it comes in contact with the water, it is immediately fried (I think that the people who design these things don’t have any children. Really? Who designs a phone that won’t survive 2.3 seconds in water?) I didn’t know that. Here I was in the stall, pants around my ankles, pulling toilet paper like crazy trying to dry this expensive piece of communications, all while I desperately needed to pee.

I wrapped up the phone in paper towels (yes, I peed AND WASHED MY HANDS THOROUGHLY too) and brought it back to my desk. I googled “phone” “toilet” and saw that there wasn’t a lot of hope for me or my phone. I took the battery out and when I got home I put the thing in a bag of uncooked rice and on top of a warm place for 3 days like the hope-mongers on the internet had suggested. At the end, I had an expensive paper weight. I went to the store when they told me about the “insurance”. Since I didn’t have it, I could get a refurbished phone for about $300 or a new one for $600. I walked out without a phone. I went to e-bay, craiglist… the phone was the same cost. Stupid phone. I could’ve gotten a cheaper phone, but with work, I need data processing. Stupid phone. Jumping out of my pocket onto certain death. Every person that heard about my phone being dead asked the same stupid question: “Did you have insurance?” No… if I had insurance I wouldn’t be sitting here trying to give my chest compressions (I told people it had fallen into a bucket of water, not in the toilet)?

Finally, one if the IT guys at work told me that they have some spare phones in a drawer downstairs. Would I want a phone? All I had to do was transfer the number to it! Yes! YES I DO! He came upstairs with… A DROID!!! He told me: “If you have the chargers for this one, you can have it.” So now I have a phone again. Exactly the same phone. Free of charge. Gotta love the IT guys! They are the angels of electronics! (I hear choirs every time they save my work!)

And by the way, did I mention that the same weekend my phone died, so did the hard drive to our PS3? That one was under warranty. Not a good weekend for electronics in our home. But when we got the Wii and got the extended warranty offered, I TOOK IT.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I don’t need no stinkin’ lists…

I am not old. I don’t care that my birthday is coming in a couple of weeks and I am pushing 40. I am NOT getting older. Sunshine turned 40 this year and after I the kids made sure to let him know that it was a BIG number, he just jokes and tells me that when you get “that” age, the mind is the first thing to go. I don’t believe him. I am sharp! I can remember ANYTHING!

When I go grocery shopping, I take a list because Sunshine is in charge of cooking in our home (I can cook, but this is his one of his departments) and he knows what he needs. I LOVE grocery shopping, so I take care of that with the list he compiles for me. Still, I don’t need any other lists. Armed with this knowledge, Mini-Me and I headed to the store to buy 2 things: a pedometer (I lost my new one 2 days before I start my walking program at work) and a disposable cell phone (that’s another story). As we were walking out, my shopping buddy asks me: “Do you have a list?” A list? “Son, (use your best Blazing Saddles voice here) we don’t need no stinkin’ lists…” So off we go to Wal-Mart.

I walked in to Mecca the store. Of course, we don’t need a cart or a basket for just two things. As I walked in, I remembered: nail files. I need nail files. So we go to the Beauty Section. As we go through, I see the body lotion. Oh, I need that – so we take two. As I look for the nail files I remember I need lipstick and eyeliner. Check. So we get the items and the nail files. Mini-me is walking with me with a dazed look on his face as I start picking stuff from the shelves. He offers to help. Awesome. So we have the stuff and head towards electronics. Crap. Skywalker needs a white T-shirt for school. Oh, I’ll get that on my way out. We talk to the guy in electronics. What’s the difference between this crappy expensive phone and that less crappy and more expensive phone? Oh, Ok, then, I will take this one. By the way, can we pay for these other items here? No, Mini-Me, we are not getting any DS or Wii games today. Oh, yes, here is my card. Yes, thank you and have a good day too.

We were on a mission. We went, we saw, we purchased, we conquered. Leaving the store, we noticed that it was pouring outside. That’s cool. I take Mini-Me’s hand and make a mad dash to the car. Have you ever noticed how slow children move when they are getting in the car? I mean, they are in the car already, so they are not getting wet anymore, so what’s the hurry to sit in the booster seat and get their foot out the way of the door? I shoved put Mini Me in the car and jumped into my seat. We laugh at how wet we are. We head home.

Ten minutes down the expressway I realize it. I forgot the pedometer. Damn it. And the T-shirt. Crap. Don't tell Mini-Me... he might start calling me old.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I see London, I see France…

What makes you a male or a female? Is it the XY chromosome combination? No. Is it having a beard or not? Nope. Is it wearing make-up? Nah. Is it having a penis? Of course not! Is it the ability to have babies? We could go forever talking about the physical and psychological characteristics of what makes a human being a male or a female. In this world, where the lines are so blurred (I mean, men giving birth and wearing makeup, and we all know at least a couple of women that could use a shave) we constantly wonder what is it that makes us one gender or another.
Mini-me has the answer. This last weekend, he wanted to help me with some bags after our shopping trip to the grocery store. He slung the bag on his shoulder and said: “Look Mami, like a girl purse!” I said to him: “Are you a girl then?” His response (pretty loudly of course): “Of course not, silly. I wear underwear and girls wear panties.” “Is that what makes you a boy or a girl?” “Yep” “You’re a girl; don’t you wear panties, Mami?” Softly: “Of course I do”… And then I thought… but if I did ALL the time, I wouldn’t be having this conversation in the middle of the cashier area in Wal-Mart, with 20 people laughing at me because you wouldn’t be here for it… but I wouldn’t have it ANY other way.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What do you mean my dad is NOT Superman?

Maybe I should say: What the HELL do you mean my dad is not Superman?? My mom just called 5 minutes ago. My dad has prostate cancer.

My mom and dad are regular blood donors - the kind that gives blood once every 6 weeks. Sometime last month my dad was refused because he was anemic. My dad is NEVER anemic. He has been turned away because his hemoglobin is high, but never because it is low. So he got some tests done and the PSA came back high. Last year's results were normal. My Brother-the-Doctor told my dad to get checked out right away. That was sign #1: my brother getting involved like that. Ask any good doctor and they'll tell you the same thing: "I don't treat family members. It's too personal." Then he called in a favor with my dad's doctor (they did their residence together). That freaked ME out: my brother doesn't do that. After the exams, my dad's physician told him that there was something there that needed to be checked out by an urologist. Also, he needed a colonoscopy. My dad called me to tell me that he had an appointment in 2 days. That was sign #3: I knew the office he was referred to. There is a waiting list for new patients that is about 2 months out. I didn't tell him.

Finally, the biopsy was last week. Results were going to be available today. My dad told his doctor to schedule his colonoscopy, BEFORE the biopsy results were back. He said that if it turned out that he did have cancer, no one was going to put nothing up his butt.

After yesterday's colonoscopy he sounded great on the phone. He was upbeat and even told me that if indeed he had a "little bit of cancer" at least the colonoscopy was done.

Today my mom called from the doctor's office. I asked her how my dad was doing, "he's scared". I asked her how she is doing, " I am sad."

The thought of my mom being so sad is just as bad and scary as my dad having cancer. Him being scared about it is worse than ANYTHING. I have a very close relationship with both my parents. I call my dad EVERY day. I asked him last weekend if it bothered him that I called him so much and his response was, "Not unless I am in the bathroom or have a doctor's finger up my ass." My dad is funny, smart as hell, and very loving (BTW, he doesn't answer the phone if he's, uhm... busy... he just calls me back.) He adores my mom and his kids (although we know that my mom goes first). They just celebrated their 40th anniversary.

I am sitting here at work, trying to keep a straight face. Trying to compose my thoughts. I am OK for now, but I can't help to get watery eyes every so often. That's my dad. He is my Superman.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I have NO idea where he learns some of this stuff... I swear.

ince we are now settling into our new home and our new lives, we are trying to spend some quality time together as a family. For the last couple of weeks, we have been treating ourselves to dinner on Sunday night and sampling some of the local restaurants in the new neighborhood.

Last Sunday we tried a little Italian place close to our house. Good food but overpriced – it was just pasta after all, and even if you flew it in from Italy, I know it is NOT worth that much money… but I digress. The place has several TVs inside of the location, giving it a casual if not even sports bar atmosphere. All the TVs were tuned in to different sports. One of the TVs was tuned into a dirt bike competition. Skywalker was sitting there and asked, very casually if he could have a dirt bike. I almost chocked on my $13.95 eggplant parmesan. I had to decline his request. Then the negotiating began:

S: “But Mooooom, why not?”
Me: Because you are too young and it’s dangerous.
S: But my friend So-and-So has one and he is one year younger than me!
Me: What is his last name?
S: Dangerous
Me: What is your last name?
S: My mother is a pain… (That’s what it sounded like when he said the last names)
Me: Are they the same? No? Then that’s why he has one and you don’t.
S: But Mooooooommmmm….

At this point Sunshine jumped in and pointed at the TV… just in time for Skywalker to see a major accident replay. “THAT is why you are not getting a dirt bike,” he said. Skywalker’s response? “You guys don’t let me have anything.”

Since I don’t like such generalizations, I asked him what he was talking about. “I asked for a dog and you also said NO.” Ah, the DOG conversation. I reminded Skywalker about his failed attempt on being a pet owner, which ended with us having to give away his guinea pig… less than a year ago. “Oh,” he said, “but you won’t let me have a cell phone either! I have to wait until I’m 13!” I reminded him that I had promised to THINK about it when he was 13 not that he was going to get one then. And then, my son pouted. Sunshine and I just started laughing at his reaction. We were once again the “meanest” ever (so if any of you thought you had the title this week, we have usurped it). As I paid for the delicious dinner that I had just provided my son, including the dessert that HE wanted, I told him that once he could have a dirt bike, a dog, AND a cell phone – “Yeah, I know, when I can pay for it myself, in my own home,” he said. (Have I said this THAT many times?)

As we walked home from the restaurant, my NINE YEAR OLD SON turned around and said, “You know, when I move out, I AM going to have a dog, AND a cell phone, AND a dirt bike… I will have a nice pad, where I can entertain the SWEET LADIESSS…” Sunshine caught me as I simultaneously tripped, choked on my own spit, had heartburn and had this image of my son:

“Let it go. Don’t worry,” said Sunshine, “with that repertoire, the line of ladies will  probably be a bunch of posters taped to the wall.”

Monday, May 24, 2010

When can a furnace NOT burn any fuel?

Hello, my name is Loving Wife, Working Mom and I am going through menopause. Who would’ve guessed? Not me! And at 36! Well, I saw the signs coming and I have been having symptoms, but I thought that it was just the beginning of a LONG journey, not that I was going to be catapulted into this torture. I have to say that menopause is just another cruel joke from Mother Nature. The more I think about it, the more I think SHE is a bitch, although I have my suspicions that it was Father Nature, but men did not want to be blamed for all the crap women go through (they already go through that at home) so they changed it to a female. I can assure you: no woman would’ve blamed on her own kind the monthly bloated feeling, the hormonal mood swings, the headaches, the damned discomfort of wearing a diaper or a plug for days at a time, the weight gain, the carrying of the kid for 9 months (sometimes more), the swollen feet, the extra fat that takes years to drop off (unless you have a trainer and your job is to look good and brain wash 13 year old girls into thinking that losing 30 pounds or more in 6 weeks in time for the Oscars or the latest Victoria’s Secret catalog is normal) – and THEN… after YEARS of putting up with this crap, in the name of childbearing, then, you are handed with the Golden Ticket of menopause.

Five years ago my doctor told me that I had secondary infertility. The reason: my hormones were about 10-15 years older than my body and my eggs were “aged”. In other words: unless your eggs are made of wine or cheese, this was not a good thing. Still, God blessed us with another son when we weren’t looking. Fast forward 3 years and all of a sudden, at the age of 35 I was having symptoms that I couldn't explain and refused to admit, but were clear signs: including this burning sensation in one ear and a funky buzzing in another. My heart (which is very sensitive to any hormonal changes) was having a tough time keeping up. Finally, my GYN did a test and there it was: I was going through menopause. Not peri-menopause like a lot of women my age, but menopause. My hormonal age never slowed down and here I was. I was able to talk to my doctor into a partial hysterectomy and she agreed. It’s not like I was allowed to use my uterus anyway, so why keep it there giving me troubles? Out it came. Best decision I've ever made after saying "Yes, I'll marry you".

The symptoms abated for a while. Then, the bitch, Mother Nature (why MOTHER, WHY? WHAT DID WOMEN EVER DO TO YOU???) upped it another notch. Women in menopause have difficulty losing weight. Oh yeah, I said: take that, I will watch my weight and exercise more often and all that. She scoffed. Now, I am having hot and cold flashes. Holy shit. Last night I woke up at 4 AM drenched in sweat. Not glistening, not mildly bothered, not covered in dew… SWEATING. I thought that the air conditioner had broken. I rolled over and saw Sunshine, bundled next to me like an Eskimo in a wind storm in Antarctica. What was going on?? I kicked off all the sheets off of me and laid in bed trying to catch a breeze from the fan, which is usually at full blast, but I swear I didn’t feel anything. I ended up getting up about 40 minutes later and went to the Y to work out. Might as well. It’s not like I could sleep anyway and I was already sweating.

So please, Mother Nature, explain this to me (or any of your bastardly minions out there) how can it be that you can raise my core temperature to the point of sweat rolling down my back, but not burn a single calorie in the process? What are you burning in there? Hopes and dreams? So I got a hysterectomy and tried to get my hormones under control – are you so mad that I don’t get your monthly curse that you have now the urge to punish me? Until what age? Haven’t I done everything you wanted me to do so far? You defy the laws of physics.

And as I sit here, under an AC vent at work, with two women next to me in sweaters while I am dabbing by glistening forehead, I wonder why you didn’t spend this enough time and effort in channeling this heat/energy source in some other way, so we can harness it and use it for fuel instead of dumping oil into the Gulf. If this is payback, let me remind you Mother Nature, that I am pretty sure that it wasn’t a woman that designed the Hummer.