Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Bus for the Graham's

My child got kicked off the bus.  Again.  One week of punishment FOR ME.  That's right, me.  I'm the one who has to figure out how to get him to and from school.

What do they expect throwing first and fifth graders on the same bus? CHAOS.  The older kids are always trying to get the little ones to do or say something they shouldn't.  Sigh.

I won't tell you the reason my child got suspended from the bus (he has forbidden it) but I will tell you HE WAS FRAMED.

My kid is no snitch, so he'll do his time.  Just one more day...I can hang that long.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter Flu

When my kids fevers broke last week, I thought this flu stuff was over.  Of course, it was too good to be true.  It turned out my son also had strep throat.  Oops.  Then the flu started kicking my butt...

All weekend I was feeling pretty shitty, but Monday it was starting to hit me pretty hard.  Like every mom out there, I work through whatever hits me because there is just too much to do.  So while I was sneezing, coughing, snotting into tissues and gasping for breath, I kept on chugging.  Fever up and down? Psshh, whatever.  Night sweats?  That's what showers are for. 

By Thursday, I felt like I was dying.  Every breath I took was leading to a coughing fit.  I just could not breathe.  When I did breathe, it just hurt.  I finally admitted defeat and headed to the doctor. 

If you have asthma, you know my pain.  Apparently, my bronchial tubes were inflamed and not letting air in.  I was breathing heavy and not getting enough oxygen in.  I got to breathe misty stuff out of a little tube and got pumped full of antibacterial meds, steroids and some cough medicine with codeine. 

Yes, I feel a thousand times better.  I'm normal-coughing now and that is A-OK with me.  As long as I can breathe and coughing doesn't hurt, well, I can hang with that.  Back to work tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love your doggies (and cats, too).

Dogs Ten Commandments
(Author unkown)
1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years - any separation from you will be very painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me - it is crucial for my well being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment...You have your work, your friends, your entertainment...

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when you're speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I'll NEVER forget it.

7. Before you hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hands but I choose NOT to bite YOU.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I've been out in the sun too long or my heart may be getting old and weak.

9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old.

10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch it" or "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for ME if you are there. Remember that I love you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sick Days

Yesterday I had one of those days when I had a taste of my past life.  Not when I was a caterpillar or anything, but the one where both my kids were babies.  They both have upper respiratory infections and their fevers were pretty high yesterday.  Waiting for them to break was worrisome.  The amount of work that went into making sure they were okay reminded me of their baby days.  I would never wish that insanity on anyone.

Don't get me wrong.  I love my babies and enjoy all the love they have given me, but their baby days were very stressful.  My kids were both surprises.  My daughter was conceived on a cot in Sarajevo (can't wait to tell her THAT) while I was deployed, and my son was made four weeks after my daughter was born.  Yes, I didn't wait: my kids are almost 10 months apart. 

Let me tell you, when your first born is 9 months old and another baby comes about, that is a tough job.  It didn't help that my husband was deployed at the time either.  So you can imagine the sleepless nights and zombie-like days I had keeping us three alive.

That's what the last two days were like.  Hour upon hour I was on the move getting them this and that, giving baths, making sure they were eating, drinking, ALIVE - and taking their temperatures.  I had a chart with their temperatures and what medications were taken when.  I was doping them with the occasional Mucinex for their coughs plus Tylenol and Motrin, since the fevers were so high.  Anything above 103 scares me.

Perhaps I overreacted, but I think not.  After all, they are my only children.  So with my 2:00 AM bedtime, I'm happy their fevers finally broke.  Thank goodness I have tomorrow off to recuperate!   

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!  I was excited to hear my son and husband had a surprise waiting for me yesterday.  Granted, they weren't able to keep their surprise in check: we were eating dinner at Alfred's Victorian!

If you've never been, it’s a mansion located in Middletown, PA with a lot of history.  It was built in 1888, and when Alfred Peligrini purchased it, he fixed her up: the original fixtures were repaired, all woods polished & stained and the stained glass cleaned to show its beauty.  It opened as a restaurant in 1970 and now is on the national Register of Historic Places. 

This was one of great-grandma Ellie & great-grandpa Carl’s favorite places to eat.  They have plaque with their name on it at the table they used to dine at all the time, plus a dish named after them (the one they ordered all the time).  My husband and I have been wanting to take the kids for awhile, but we wanted to wait until they were old enough to behave.

At ages 8 & 9, we felt they were old enough to handle it without throwing a fit.  It was so cute, they both picked out outfits and went all dressed up.  When we got there they behaved like perfect children...I could almost hear the angels singing, it was beautiful.  

So while we were harping all week about behaving, and on the car ride there grandma telling them to bring their manners, we were a tad disappointed when the curmudgeon next to us dropped some F-bombs and called his son-in-law an A-hole.  Yup, my kids got a taste of what it's like when others don't use their inside voice.

Other than the colorful language at the table next to us, the dinner was great.  For an appetizer I had some crab dip which was exquisite.  Cris had a demi portion of fettuccine Alfredo, with home-made pasta.  That's right, home-made pasta.  As an entree, the three non-spontaneous members of our family had chicken Alfredo, while I sampled the chicken alouette.  All it was was chicken breasts with melted cheeses, but it was soooo yummy.  Besides, melty-cheese chicken doesn't sound as good as Chicken Alouette. 

Finally, for dessert, I had some chocolate home.  Dude next to us was hard of hearing and his loud-mouthed pal weren't leaving, so we did.  Besides, Cris was having a hard time with the changes made since his childhood.  No more table side prepared meals.  Bummer! 

Moral of the story? Always bring your manners, you never know who's watching.  It could be an impressionable child.  Shame on you!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

iPhone Coma

I tend to be a very jumpy individual.  I'm constantly watching my back and don't like to sit with doors behind me.  I always need a way out to feel secure.  If I'm not in a space that offers me that safety...well, I tend to get a tad anxious.

I don't know if it has to do with my childhood, or my military years, or if I'm just a nutjob, but certain things make me stop and take notice.  So when I walked in the bathroom after lunch today, I hesitated before entering.  

For whatever reason, all my accidents happen when I need to pee.  As I entered the tiny space they shoved 3 toilets in, I heard the fan going like it was going to take off.  It was loud like a damn airplane.  That's what had my heart going, the noise, but I wasn't waiting any longer.  I walked in and went about my business as fast as I could. 

Thankfully, I have this weird phobia where I have to flush before I get off the toilet.  So when I pulled my pants up and OUT DROPPED MY PHONE...well, at least it was in clear water.

That's right, my iPhone fell in the toilet.  My calendar, my phonebook, my life line, my decided to take a dip in the dog's water bowl.  Sigh.  I fished it out and dried it the best I could, but I could already hear my husband saying, "Really?  Phone #4?"  What excuse would I have?  It wasn't my fault or it was an accident wasn't going to cut it.  But that's what happened.

I don't know if it's going to end up working.  I'm leaving the iPhone off for a couple of days of drying out (ha! sounds like an alkie) and we'll see.  So, while my iPhone is in it's self-induced coma, I'm looking longingly at it in it's bag of rice and want to cry.  I wonder how weird it would be to carry this laptop around...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

UGH! Fans

I used to think that the Raider fans were the freaks of the NFL. That is, until I met the Steeler Nation. Holy cow, they are the most annoying fans! I know this is not going to win me any Pennsylvania followers, and considering it is the state where I live…well, I am kind of surrounded by them. I don’t live in Pittsburgh (thankfully) and though I am sure it is a beautiful place to live, the Steelers are enough to keep me away.

Honestly, no fan is a good sport. All the games are competitions, so a bit of tension is expected. But all this shit-talking is taken too far. Those stupid towels and all this “we went to 7 Super Bowls” – Come on! You didn’t play! Maybe I have been around too many crazies, but I hope Pittsburgh never goes to another Super Bowl for as long as I live in Pennsylvania. I can do without all the fanfare.

I know you are going to say it is no different than sporting a cheesehead as a Packer fan, but that doesn’t make ME a poor sport, does it?

This Day in History...

This past week has been chock full of historical events: The start of Black History Month & Birthday of Langston Hughes (Feb. 1), Groundhog Day & the day Mexico gave New Mexico & California to the U.S. (Feb. 2), The day the music died (Feb. 3), and tons of Civil War history.  So much has been going on in my life, it was hard to get the time to write about the things I wanted.  Work has swallowed me whole and spit me out in little pieces.  You would think with a snow day last week I'd have time to write, but I didn't. 

Langston Hughes is my favorite poet.  One of my favorite poems he has written, which ties into black history month, is My People.  It's short and sweet, and explains the beauty of ALL people.  It basically says we are all the same, regardless of our outward differences.  It's a belief we should all carry, but sadly racism and prejudice still exists.  Remember my post about segregating homerooms?  Surprisingly (*note my sarcasm), that was a failed experiment.  This poem contains powerful words that can be used as a reminder to those who have forgotten that we are ALL the same.

The next day in February brought about Groundhog day.  Supposedly, the groundhog predicted early spring, but with all this ice outside...I just don't see it.  I kind of blew that to the side to impart some history to my kids about the Treaty of Guadalupe.  When that was signed, it ended the Mexican-American War.  The treaty added additional territory to United States, including what is now the states of Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, as well as parts of Colorado and Wyoming.  Win for the U.S. part of my kiddos, loss for their Mexican side.

The day the music died.  A day that the music world mourns.  This is my musical era, so even though I wasn't alive when it happened, it's still a loss when you think of all the music they could have created.  On February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson, died when their plane crashed. Three of Rock and Roll's most promising performers were gone.  American Pie by Don McLean explains about the crash.  It's a great song on it's own, but when you know the words behind it, it gives the song more meaning.

The rest of February has so much more on it's other days.  We still have plenty of birthdays to celebrate: Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Thomas Edison, Victor Hugo, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and all the presidents...who new such a short month would have so much to offer?  Let's not forget Valentine's Day either.  Phew!  I'm going to be a busy mom this month!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bathroom Break

Here I am, in the parking lot with sleeping kids, waiting for my husband to come out of the grocery store...and I really have to pee.

Yes, I texted. Yes, I called. "I'll be right out." he says.  Ten minutes later I'm looking at an empty vitamin water bottle thinking to myself, if a man can do it, so can I.

If I wasn't right under the gigantic lamppost, I might give it a try.  Instead, I'm sitting here wondering how long a 30-year-old bladder can hold liquid.  I almost wish I had Depends.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Cleaning the house is a most horrendous chore.  It doesn't help when no one wants to do their share.  I'm the first to admit wanting a maid.  How heavenly would that be?  Then again, my most hated chore is laundry, and having someone else wash my chonies doesn't sit with me so well! 

Sigh.  Besides not wanting someone else in my unmentionables, the thought of paying them for my feeling lazy keeps me from going there.  Poof! The dream of the housemaid gone.  I am no way saying that those who have a housekeeper are lazy.  Most just don't have the time to get around to the cleaning.  The little money I do have, I'm not spending on a maid - I'd rather put towards seasons of Doctor Who!  (If you don't know what that is, look it up NOW).

Then there is CHILDREN.  Getting them to clean up after themselves is HARD.  Throw their ungrateful butts in the mix and you have chaos.  There are suggestions and materials out there to help you get your kids on track: chore charts with rewards/consequences.  Of course, if I stuck to my guns better I wouldn't be in the predicament I am now, with children who swear it's their siblings turn to do the dishes.

Everyone has jobs they have to do, but sports and other activities throw mud into my well-oiled machine.  It's so easy to say, "Okay, it's late, let's just all go to bed."  If I'm feeling like I've been slacking in the mom department, it's just as easy to put housework aside and spend fun time with my kids.  If that happens though, no one picks up the slack.  I have essentially created the monster, and now it's time to slay it.

I've gone on strike a couple of times, and that has worked only so long.  I have a new plan of action.  The chores will still be there, just adding a few new rules and sticking to my guns.  Wish me luck!  Once my kids figure out what's to come of it, I am not going to be their favorite person!