Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cookies Galore

This year,  I am the Troop Cookie Manager for The Big One's Girl Scout Troop.  Yes, that is a real title.  We even get our own abbreviation (TCM) in all the hand out materials that parents get.
I am in charge of the whole cookie process for our troop.

I have to tell you, as much I used to think the whole cookie thing was a little crazy, that was nothing compared to the knowledge I have gained and the realization that this is nuts.

For starters, as the TCM, I had to attend training on how to do my job.  I was given a manual that is actually about a half inch thick, and the size of standard notebook paper.  There is tons of information in there.   I have found that manual to be invaluable already.  I carry it like my Bible.

Once I was trained, I had to train all the parents on cookie selling.  It sounds pretty simple, but it isn't.  There is a ton of paperwork for each parent to fill out.  We have opted to let the girls use an online Cookie website, so with the permission slips needed for that, and the cookies in general, I had to get at least 4 signed forms from parents.  On top of that, they had a parent hand book to go over.  We have to go over all the rules of the sale, some of which are very specific, and parents must adhere to all rules or else we, as a troop, face penalties.  It is all a bit much when you go over it, but we got it done.

After every one signs up, I have to put in an order for the entire troop for cookies.  We use the "Cookies Now" program here.  That means we dont' take orders.  You start selling from day one with cookies in hand.  I have to decide how many cookies the troop will need, how to divide up the order, and then maintain everything from that point through the sale.

I just finished picking up the entire initial order for our troop from the warehouse, and that is insane.

Imagine a large warehouse that has storage and loading/unloading facilities for semi-trucks.  I pull up to see 8 semi truck loading bay windows in a row full of Girl Scout cookies.  At each window is a different area with in our Council, all labeled so that you could find your Service Unit.  In each bay is a group of women, and thousands upon thousands of boxes of cookies.  You find your window, go up, and check in.  This means you take any paperwork they have for you, and then you count every case of cookies that they have preset on a pallet for you to make sure it matches what you ordered.  Once you say they are all there, you sign for the cookies, then go to your car.  We signed up for a time slot.  At your allotted time slot, you very quickly back up to the loading bay.  Women start jumping down, and this insanely fast loading process start.  IT has to be fast.  You have fine minutes to get your cookies loaded and get out.    Really.  Seriously.

I think the next best example of crazy is the booth sale lottery.  They call it a lottery, but it really isn't.  If you are familiar with sports at all, it is much more like a draft.  Every troop send a representative.  There are sign up sheets with time slots and locations of every booth sale we can get all around the room.  The process goes in rounds.  The first round starts, and a troop number is called.  That troop screams out of excitement, gets to run up, and make their time and place pick for their first sale.  Afterward, the next number gets called. It goes on and on until all each troop has been called once in the round.  Then round two starts.  There really is a lot of screaming and some power plays for good spots.  Teams from different troops sit together muttering strategies on getting the best spots.
Insane I tell you.

There is so much more involved with the whole process.  You have the booth sales to manage for your own troop, keeping the staffed, dealing with the girls, and keeping the cookies straight.  There is inventory and money to manage.  There is so much going on behind the scenes of those cookies rolling down the street in a wagon.

I guess, before I got involved in the whole process, I just never knew how intense it is.  This is serious business.

Along the way, we are trying to teach the girls a lot about life.  We are trying to help them gain skills they can carry over into adult hood.  We are trying to raise money for community service events and more.

I'm not trying to say cookies are bad, by any means.  I'm just saying, the next time you see a worn out parent standing next to a seven year old in front of a supermarket, who has probably driven them crazy with the process, buy a box, and give the parent a nod.  Not so much for the kids, but just to say, you must be one seriously dedicated parent to go through all this, and I respect that.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I May Have Been Wrong

I recently wrote about my new neighbors.

I may have gotten something wrong.  I can't say for sure, but its definitely under review.

In that blog post, I wrote that there was no "puff, puff, give" going on with them.  Well, apparently, there is with someone, just not in the garage.  Its in the backyard.

After school on Friday, I gave the girls a Popsicle, and told them they could eat it outside.  Score for me.  They go chill out side and don't make a mess in here.  I opened the blinds and a window so that I could see and hear them.   A few minutes later I decided to join them.  I walk out, and it nearly knocked me over.

Now, I am no pot aficionado, but having gone to a few concerts back in the day, I'm pretty sure I know it when I smell it.  I think that was it.  Our garages are not attached, and you have to walk through the yard to get to them.  I walked past The Girls, into the garage, and started sniffing.   I couldn't smell it at all.  That meant someone was actually sitting in their backyard, enjoying a little chronic, and hoping no one would notice.  I was shocked.  I mean, had I had the presence of thought in the moment, I would have run,or at least waddled quickly, upstairs to either of the girls' bedrooms to look out the windows.  I could probably have seen who it was, if they were still hanging out there.
Instead, in a very passive aggressive manor, I just started talking out loud about how rude it was, and more importantly, how strong the order was.  I mean, they must be total idiots to think no one would either notice or care.  I did both!

I'm pissed.  I don't appreciate pot smoking right next to my children's toys.  I really don't appreciate the potential contact high.  We don't smoke pot, and I don't plan on starting now.  I absolutely don't want to smell it, or have my girls smell it.  I really take offense the the fact that they would break the law right there under my nose.  Not only that, but I already eat enough in this pregnancy, being on a "See food" diet and all.  I don't need anyone making that any worse.  I get a little worked up about somethings, if you can't tell.  Probably the reason that all Bob Marley music makes me really mad, but that is for another post.

So, here we are, in a new house, with new neighbors, but what's old is new again.  Just like the first set of neighbors we had when we moved here, someone is smoking up right next to us.  I'm not sure how I get so lucky all the time.  Maybe I just notice it more than most people since it makes me crazy.  I'm not really totally sure which neighbors did it either, and I hope I never find out.  If you are going to break the law, just keep it to your selves, please, people.  I don't need to be a part of that.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Going Outside Again

As I have been posting, moving has had its up and downs, as usual.  This time, one of the ups we planned for is really turning out to be fantastic.  We have usable outdoor space again!
At out last house, we were supposed to have a yard, but thanks to the ridiculous lack of care that was put into designing our home, we ended up with 5 massive concrete steps with no railing on one side, and a lot of prickly plants.  The Girls hardly ever got to go out if we were home.  Those steps scared me.  There was really no room for them to play safely.  About the only thing they could do would be to chalk on the tiny cement landing we had.  That was fine, but I still had to watch them to make sure no one fell off the steps, especially when The Little One was really little.

Now, though, that has changed.  Our yard area is level.  It is still mostly concrete, but that's ok.  They can play.  Thanks to the dollar store box of new chalk I bought, they go outside and play hopscotch just about every day.  Yesterday, The Big One ask to take her books outside to sit and read.  As soon as I can get someone to carry it for me, I'm going to go get a couple of bags of sand, and set up their sand box again, which has sadly lain up against a fence for two years.  There is so much they can do!  I keep finding bottles of bubbles, and later today, The Little One and I are going to have a bubble-palooza fest outside in celebration of the fact that we now have a place to chase them again.  Well, she can jump for and chase them while I blow them from my seat.  Still, it is really fantastic to be able to go out and do things, even in our little space.
My husband and I have a few plans, aside from the sand box, for the space.  We are also going to be setting up their playhouse again once we clean up a little of the barky landscaped area.  We hope to get a new patio swing and a little patio set for them.  I can't wait for picnics in the back yard this spring.  Ice cream will now be eaten out there.  Just the amount of potential mess moved from in the house to outside makes me all giddy.

On top of that, they both go outside, together, at the same time, and leave me alone, in here, to get things done.  I have never had that before.  I open the blinds and windows.  I can hear them and see them, though they often can't see me due to the sunlight which makes things a bit more fun for me.  They go.  Safely.  They are not underfoot.  They are not on top of me asking me to entertain them.  They are not sitting in their rooms fighting.  They are at least outside fighting, and even though the neighbors can hear that, I don't care.  They are  there and I am here!  Woot for that!

Seriously, this is fantastic.  I think we all look forward to lots of fun time in our own little outdoor space again. I see a much sunnier future for us with our little yard.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Version 2.0 - Meaner than Ever Before

I'm not really sure what happened.  The Little One has always been a little feisty.  However, in the last few days, I swear she has been replaced by a new, much meaner version of herself.
Actually, I kind of know what happened.  Her dad left for a little deployment.  This one won't be big, but she doesn't quite get that at this point.  She is very much a daddy's girl.  In fact, we often just call her DG.  She loves him so much.  It's really cute and all, until he up an leaves and I'm left with the after math.  This kid is seriously a handful right now.  She is constantly picking on someone, be it me or her big sister.  I even ask her if she was taking up the meanness slack since her father was gone, and she said yes.  Straight up.  She know she is being mean.  I'm also not sure who is more frustrated right now; Ava because her dad is gone, or Lilly or me for dealing with her.

It isn't just mean, either.  She is being completely disobedient and defiant, in almost every way she can.  When she woke up this morning, in my bed because she wouldn't sleep in hers, I snuggled her, and kind of jokingly ask her if she was going to listen better today.  Anytime I ask her things like that, she usually sucks up, gets snugly back, and says she will do better.  Not right now, though.  She refused to look at me or answer me. She turned her head, got a mad look, and ignored me. She has a will of iron, too.  I could not get her to talk to me, no matter how much I tried.  It took me five minutes to get her to acknowledge me, and say she would be better.  By that time, it had gone beyond playing to something kind of serious.

This child is wearing me out.  We go to pick The Big One up from school, and if I could pick her up right now, I would be hip carrying her everywhere and not to snuggle and be sweet, either.  She won't stay with me when we walk and runs across drive ways where parents in a rush turn in without looking.  She runs all over the school, which isn't cool.  She nearly knocks over adults and other kids.  When we are standing at the gate waiting to be let in, she runs toward the street and stops just at the edge of the side walk.  I swear she is trying to give me a coronary.

Her poor Big Sister is taking a beating, too.  The Little One in constantly picking on her.  In fact, I have even said several times "Quit picking on your Big Sister" which just sounds wrong.

I do understand the "Acting out" if you will, but that doesn't mean I like it.  I don't.  No one would.  I also know that she is young, and having a hard time figuring it out, and how to deal with all the emotion build up she has inside.  We just need to get through it all so that she can go back to her normal, much nicer but still full of it self.  Right now, I won't let her get away with everything, but I will try to be understanding with her.  I will snuggle her at night, and let her sleep with me for the moment.  I'll be sure to read to her lots, and try to get her out of the house to play more and do fun things.  I will also be hiring a babysitter as much as I can to save my own sanity as we go through this.
It will get better.  She will adjust.  Everything is just a phase and all that.  Regardless, if you notice a run on dark chocolate the next time you go to the commissary, believe it was me who took it all, just to be prepared for now.

New Neighbor Woes

Having moved recently, I have decided that I have a love hate relationship with our new location.  I love our new house.  It is just so much better than the old one.  I really do.  It just suits us better.

There is a down side.  I can't handle our new neighbors.  While they don't have any "puff, puff, give" going on in the garage, that I know of, like some of our previous neighbors did, after just a couple of weeks of living here, we already have issues.

For starters, I can't handle her parking.  I know that may not make a lot of sense, but we park on of our cars on the street in front of the house, and so do they.  Well, she tries to, but she sucks at it.  She sucks worse than I do at parallel parking, and that says a lot.  It really wouldn't matter how bad she is, if it wasn't for the fact that she always takes up two spaces when she can.  She sees it as one easy spot for her, instead of the two spots it should be.  It drive me up the frigging wall.  That little bit of space out there is a precious commodity.  You try to preserve and respect it as much as possible for all the people on the street.  Its just the polite thing to do.  She, apparently, never got that memo or doesn't give a rat's hiney.  Also, when I can't quite get into a space or need help, I ask My Husband, who is seriously the best parallel parker in the whole wide world, to come out and spot me.  I have even ask him to help coach me and let me practice so that I can get better.  After all, he is the parking king.  Her husband doesn't so much help her as stand on the porch and yell "Your not doing that right!" when she can't even hear him.  It's fantastic.  I would dare say our entire street hold this grievance against them, even though they don't live next to them.

My biggest problem with them at the moment, though is that they are probably the loudest people I have ever heard in my life.  We live in a town home, and are attached to them by one wall; one miserable, stupid wall.  I can not fathom how they make as much noise as they do.  Seriously.  They could start up a drum circle over there and I think it would only serve to muddle the yelling, and not actually increase their volume level at all.

They have at least three kids, a baby, a toddler, and a tween.  I know the baby cries.  That I can forgive, easily.  The toddler, though, I'm thinking is allowed to run amok at all hours. I think I've figured out that her bedroom must be adjacent to ours, and most likely, her bed is up against the wall that joins our homes, and our bedrooms more specifically.  I also think she either jumps and falls in her bed and onto the wall all night, or actually lays there and kicks the crap out of the wall.  It seriously sounds like kicking.

When we are downstairs, the adjoining wall is up against their staircase.  All day long you hear what sounds like an elephant heard running up and down.  The other night, I actually fantasized about cutting a hole in the wall, right where their stair case is, and reaching through to grab the next person running on the stairs.  A few things kept from actually doing it, like possible criminal charges and being kicked out of my own home.  The biggest thing that made just a drew was trying to figure out how to make sure I got them going up, and not down.  After all, it wouldn't be to hurt them, just to scare them a little and make them stop.

I just can't take it.

My Husband has already gone over there at about 10:00pm one night.  They answered and he told them rather bluntly that it sounded like someone was kicking our wall.  The man of that house didn't seem shocked, surprised, or even upset.  He just said ok, and went back in, but the noise did stop!  That tells me it is some sort of behavioural issue they are completely overlooking normally.  I mean, if in one minute you can make it stop, and we would have heard if there had been yelling at the child, or anything else, then you could make it stop all the time if you chose too.  Not cool.

I don't let my kids behave like that.  In fact, if we are in any area of the home that I know they can probably hear us in, because we can hear them, I make my girls keep their voices down at night or in the early morning.  I try to make them understand that we should show respect for our neighbors and those around us.  Its becoming a problem for me, though, because I don't really want to make them be nice anymore.  I want to teach my girls the right thing, but some days when we get up at the crack of dawn and our neighbors are still sleeping, I seriously would like to send them into the bathroom and tell them the first one to finish got an ice cream, and just let the screaming fights ensue.  IT would be nice.  I'm not like that, though.  I'll continue to teach the girls to behave, and not let mine run amok just to spite the neighbors.  I may, however, get a very loud new sound system and hope they enjoy Nirvana.  At 6:00am.

I hope that things get a little better now that he has gone over there once, because I'm not sure how things will be if I have to go over there.  I don't want to, but I will if I need to.  I don't imagine it will be pretty, either.  I already have an internal filter on the fritz.  I'm pregnant.  I'm tired.  I'm super grouchy.  I'm also a natural red head.  All in all, I would say that makes me a ticking time bomb.

Somehow, be it force or not, we will figure this all out.  Maybe I'll get lucky and they will get orders elsewhere, soon.  That would be fantastic.  Unless the next set of neighbors ends up being worse which would about be my luck.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Coffee Just Got Better

As long as I am coming clean on addictions, my crock pot and scrap booking, I should admit that I have a serious caffeine addiction.  This one really is a real, physical and psychological addiction.  I need caffeine.  I crave it.
I drink Coke Zero like there going to quit making it, which they better not because I would have to learn to like diet Coke, and that is a yuck.  As much as I love Coke Zero, I love, love, and love, coffee.

Normally, I don't care about this addiction.  I really don't.  In fact, the addiction often helps me make it though the day, and I could care less about the negative health aspects of consuming so much caffeine. Unfortunately, right now isn't normal.  The problem I have with both of these addictions right now is that, of course, I am pregnant, and that means I really do need to limit my caffeine intake some what.
So, right now, I get one, very small, cup of coffee a day.  It is 8 ounces.  I know because I use the Starbucks VIA which takes 8 ounces of water exactly.  I love that cup.  I savor it.  I don't rush though it.  It usually takes me an hour to drink it.  Really.  The first sip is like a little bit of heaven and sanity coming at me all at once.  I turn on the TV for what ever children are in the house, and insist they watch it for at least 10 minutes while I start my cup.  Once I've gotten a few sips in, then they can return to the screaming banshees that normally run my house.
Obviously, I love that cup of coffee.
Today, though, I have to tell you it just got better.  Really.  I swear.
I drink my coffee with creamer.  I prefer some kind of vanilla or caramel flavor, and I usually buy what is on sale.  However, the one thing I don't like is that those creamers are made of oil.  Once, I ran out of creamer and tried to mix a little milk in.  It was terrible!  They can't be mixed into a drink, and sort of separated.  I had to actually throw good coffee away.  That grosses me out a little.  I tried fat free milk and syrup, but that just didn't quite get it right.  So, I stick with the artificial creamers.
Until now.
International Delight came out with a new line of Coffee House Inspirations make with real cream and milk.  I had to try.  Today, I actually indulged in a bottle sans coupon.  That must be chalked up to a pregnancy craving, because I always use coupons for creamer.  I just had to have it, though.
As soon as I opened it, I could tell the difference.  It looks different.  Is smells different.  Actually, is smells like really good icing.  That alone made me nuts.  I almost couldn't wait for my water to boil to make the coffee. The flavor didn't disappoint, either.  That stuff is fantastic.  Really.  I swear.  Probably the best coffee creamer for home use ever.  I mean, even Kanye West couldn't come up with another creamer and upstage this one.  Its that good.
If you like creamers, and don't really care about the calories, try it.  I'm pretty sure you will love it.  Though maybe not as much as a crazy pregnant woman who only gets one cup a day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Prime Example

People joke about how inefficient the government is.  We all know its true.  When you get smacked in the face with a prime example of just how ridiculous things are sometimes, though, it still manages to shock you.

I am still embroiled in the fight for health care.

Today, I spent the most inane day chasing a fictitious person or department that I think I have ever spent, and to no avail.  I think my time would have been better spent buying lottery tickets or chasing the end of a rainbow to look for a pot of gold.

Actually, my chase started yesterday.  I called my insurance, Tricare, again, to check for a change in my status.  There was none.  I ask specifically who I needed to speak with at Balboa, as the number on my referral paperwork didn't answer.  I was told to speak with the "Referral Management Center", but they had no number aside from the main appointment line to give me.  Fine.  I can go from there.

I called the number on my paperwork a few more times to no avail.  Instead, I opted for the Quarterdeck.  For those who don't know, the Quarterdeck is the main reception desk, if you will, at any command.  Balboa is a military command.  I called and the the typical answer that sounds like "Wahwahwah..whahwahwhahwawawah..Sir or Ma'am".  In reality, each command says the same thing when they answer the phone.  They state the name of the command, their name and rank, that it is a non secure line, and ask how they can help you, "Sir or Ma'am".  All I ever understand is the "Sir or Ma'am" and I know that is my cue to start speaking.   I told the Quarterdeck person who I was looking for, and was put on hold.  She came back, ask again, and put me on hold again.  After a bit of a wait, a man answered, and I only got the Sir or Ma'am.  So, I assumed another person sitting at the desk picked up, and I just started talking again.  Turns out, she had transferred me.  I still don't know where, but this guy must work somewhere she thought I should be talking to.  After I told him who I was looking for, he put me on hold.  He came back and ask me exactly what I was trying to do because he couldn't find any department labeled "Referral Management Center".  After he sort of understood, he put me on hold again.  We did this questions and answer session followed by a hold period about 4 times.  After the second, I could hear a female voice trying to assist him when he came back on the line.  Then, we hit a break through.  He realized what I was trying to reach, and told me he knew that they existed, and where they were located on the (very large) campus, but he had no name for the department or phone number.  I ask for the location and was given building 6, third deck, aka third floor.  Finally, they came to the realization that there was no further information they could give me.  They only had the location, and were never going to be able to find the phone number or name of the department.  That was it.  That was all I was going to get.
 So, today, armed with that mother load of information, a paper copy of my referral, and the anger of a wet hen, I headed down there to clear all this up.  The whole family went.  I felt it prudent to take someone with me, and with that someone being My Husband, the kids got in on the show, too.  Once we got there, my husband pulled up as close to building 6 as possible and let The Big One and I out while he went to park.  We go in, and head to the third floor.  We step off the elevator, and immediately my day gets worse.  The entire floor is children's mental health.  Now, had it just been mental health, I might have thought it was a dig at me, and may have even stayed to chat at that point, after all someone needs to know that Balboa is creating additional patients for that department themselves.  However, it wasn't.  Not to be deterred, I went to the reception desk, and told them that the Quarterdeck had sent me there, and who I was looking for.  They were a bit perplexed.
They conferred for a minute and decided it was just a little screw up.  "Oh.  Its the 4th deck that you need.  All that admin stuff is up there."
So, The Big One and I got back in the elevator and she hit 4.  I texted My husband to tell him he could then find us on the 5th floor.
The door opened, we got out, checked out the signs, and I think my blood pressure raised 10 points on either side.  None of the offices listed seemed to be what I was looking for.  After all, I have no name, but I was hoping I could figure it out.  Again, not deterred, I had to find someone to ask.  There was no receptionist, only individual offices.  So, I peeked around the corner to speak to whomever was in the break room.  I again explained the whole deal.  If you read my blog much, and are familiar with my struggle, you might be able to guess what she told me.  I needed the 5th floor.  That department must be there.  Of course they must.
We headed for the elevator.  I repeated my last text with the 5th floor change.  There was a reception desk.   I ask the lady there, who looked completely confused.  She took me to an office where Woman 1 sat.  Having the story down pat, I quickly explained what I needed.  Woman1 said she couldn't help me, but was going to take me to someone who could.  WE went into Man1's office.  Man1 said that wasn't his department, but that he knew who I needed.  Across from his office was Woman2 and Man2.  Woman one goes in there, starts to look up the info that I need with Woman2, as Man1 discusses the whole thing with them.  After a while, Man1 gives up, but not the two ladies.  They went to town trying to figure it out.  I was amazed, they actually kind of got what I was trying to do, and were determined to help me find the right people.  After, no joke, 25 minutes of ridiculous phone calls, they finally found the right department.  They had a name, location, and phone number.  They were amazed.  They couldn't believe it had been that difficult for them to find.  Turns out, the department was in building 6, but floor 2, right before construction started.  Since their floor was completely closed for renovations, they had moved to a building all the way across the campus.  They had also changed their name, to Utilization Management, but must not have put that out too well.

Now, as an aside, I want to point out that it was difficult for them, and they work in that system.  They actually know people, faces, and positions, and they were getting a terrible run around trying to figure it out.  How am I supposed to be able to navigate this system if even the people who work in it can't?

Woman2 was speaking with someone, and said that I was standing right there.  She handed me the phone.  I got on the phone and ended up speaking the department head.  I had to explain my self for the zillionth time.  She understood and told me she couldn't help me.  She pulled up my information, and the way the man I last spoke with in December, who scheduled appointment for Balboa, had closed out my referral, she couldn't do anything.  They had said to have me start a new referral 4 weeks out for my delivery.  That won't work for us.  I might have organs falling out of my body by then.  She told me that I needed to go to the surgery department, get them to fix it, and release me.  If they couldn't, we needed to start all over again with a brand new referral and hope that Balboa didn't screw up.  As long as I talked to her before Balboa got to the referral, she could take care of it.

Just wow.

They really only know how to screw things up, and not to fix it.

I did go over to surgery, and to sum up, the man who made the appointment took notes, because he didn't understand what I as saying medically, and said he would speak to the department head.  If the department head agreed to release me, he would let me know the next day.  That's it.  That's all that can be done.

All that time, all that effort.  Just to wait for a phone call.   Tomorrow morning, either he calls me as promised, or I will call him, and his department head, or whom ever else I need to.  If I need to throw in an Admiral somewhere, so be it.  Let's just get this party started.

I know this has been a long post, but thanks for sticking with me.  You see how much time government inefficiency waists.  Had they not been such screw ups, we could have all been done with post and moved on already.  In fact, I think my coffee is cold and I need to reheat it now.  Just More unnecessary waist of our resources as a result of government bureaucracy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Other Addiction

I've posted before about my addiction to my Crock Pot.  I have another addiction.  This one, though not derived of a normal domestic habit, may serve to make me seem even more matronly in some people's eyes.

I scrap book, and I love it.

I am addicted to all things scrappy.  I love the products and gizmos.  I am a consultant for a popular scrap booking company just so that I can get a discount on all of their things.  I need that discount to enable my habit.  I have friends who do the same, and we trade discounts.  We are all pushers.

It is a bad habit.  Bad in the sense that it is costly.  It is also a fantastic habit, as I am saving and creating something that, I hope, my children will cherish when they are old.  I scrap all kinds of stuff stuff for them.  They will get not only pictures of their child hood, but mementos and notes about what was going on at the time.  It will be something they can really hold onto forever.

I scrap other stuff to.  I suppose technically I paper craft other stuff, but ehh..  I make invitations, all my own cards, anything I can do with paper and some tools, I will.  I love it!
Recently, I helped a friend make all of the decorations for a big birthday party she had.  It all turned out fabulous.  You can't buy the kind of cool, super themed stuff that you can make yourself.
I have made favors and name tags for baby showers, all so cute its ridiculous.
I can't wait to make some for a friends shower again coming up this year.
I'm working on a wedding album for my sister, which she may actually get before her 10th anniversary. In it, are the guest sign in pages that I created for the wedding.  They match the rest of the album perfectly, and actually matched the look of the wedding, instead of those premade books many people use.  I also have little memory cards in there that I made.  I cut them, put them on each table at the reception with pens.  People write notes to the new couple, and once they finally get the album, they can look back at all the wonderful things people said to them forever.

Its awesome.  Seriously geeky sometimes, but awesome! I'm even thinking of opening an etsy shop with some of my fantastic goods, because I love it sooo much.

I need to share my crafty love more often.  I'm going to try and post some pictures of the my favorite things I have created.  Maybe I'll actually inspire someone else to start crafting.  Or maybe I'll just scare you a little more with my fanatical zeal.  Either way, it will probably be a good time for those that read.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I So Should Not Be Surprised

So, I posted that I got my medical records, which is great.
Problem is, they aren't correct.

Reading through those records, I was shocked to see just how riddled with inaccurate, incorrect, and biased information they were.

There were little things that were misleading.  There were big things that were incorrect.

Little things like not being able to believe that I didn't have chronic high blood because I'm overweight, even though every single appointment it was fine, and refusing to believe I didn't have gestational diabetes, because fat people who have big babies must, were just the opening offences.

The big error, and the one that concerns me the most, is that if I understand how to read and compare the sight of my own abdomen in the mirror to labeled pictures of incisions on Google, the site of my incision is listed incorrectly.  That would seem to be a pretty big error to me.  Maybe not to some people, but honestly, if you can't even list the correct position that you cut, when it was such a big deal and uncommon procedure that room full of people gathered to watch, then I think we have a big problem.

I don't want to go into my detailed information right now, but let me assure you, that there were more things to make me upset, than there were to reassure me in there.

The only nice thing is that the OB I saw through the pregnancy, not the one who delivered, did mention how nice I am and what a great disposition I have.

Moral of that story; nice people finish last.  When it comes to medical stuff, mean people who push their own way, and piss off doctors are probably the ones who get the care they want, even if begrudgingly.  Lesson learned, and I suppose I won't be nice to anyone there ever again, just in case.

One Hurdle Down, One To Go

So far, we have had tow major hurdles with Naval Hospital Balboa, and getting everything we need for this pregnancy done.  One is to get my medical records, and the other is get them to drop me so that I can see a surgeon elsewhere.

Today, I got over one of the hurdles.  The whole family and I went to Balboa to get my records.  I brought my husband because I felt like I needed someone to be able to pull me from a fight pretty quickly, or at least be ready to bail me out.  The kids just got to come along for the show.

Once we got there, and found a place to park in that ridiculously over crowded area, we headed in towards where i thought records would be.  My Husband wanted to stop in the OB/GYM building and ask for it.  I told him that my records wouldn't be there any more, but he wanted to ask.  I waited outside.  I didn't even want to go in for multiple reasons.  The first reason is that I hate that place, and just being on the campus brings back horrible memories.  I started reliving a lot of the trauma I experience just being there, walking the grounds.  Another reason is that should I ever, and I mean ever, run into that OB who butchered me again, I don't know that I could maintain myself.  I expect that I would lose complete control.  I'm sure I would unleash a verbal assault on him the likes of which he had never seen before.  I just don't see that being a good situation.  Though, if I were given that opportunity, I think I would feel better in the long run.  It would be a little like confronting a person who attacked you.  After a couple of minutes, My Husband came to the sliding doors and motioned me in.  I had to go in and give them my ID.  I ask him if he had told the guy how long ago  I had been there, and he indicated that he did.  The uniformed man at he desk ask me to sit while he looked for my records.  I sat, waited, and just hoped it would all end quickly.  I think sitting in that OB/GYN waiting room was far more uncomfortable that any pap smear or other OB/GYN visit I have ever had.  Finally the guy came back to the window, and ask me how long ago it had been since I had been seen there.  When I said 3 years plus, he said he misunderstood, and I had to go to medical records.  Thanks for the unnecessary pain, yet again, people.
     We walked over to the medical records department, and the older lady behind the desk ask if she could help us.  I told her I needed a copy of my records.  She immediately said to fill out a form and it would be 10 weeks.  I immediately told her I had sent in the request twice, and I didn't have 10  more weeks to wait.  She backed off and said that I would have to speak to the young woman beside her.  I needed to sign in and sit down.  The young woman looked at me, and ask for my ID, no sign in necessary.  She wrote down my info, told me to sit, and went back to helping the older gentleman she was with.
     After a few minutes, she was done helping that man, and called me up.  She ask me again if we had sent in the request, and I told her my OB's office had done it twice, more than 12 weeks ago actually, and that I needed my record.  Another young woman came up, told me the requests were not in the system, and they would have to pull everything again.  I can't help the fact that the requests weren't where they were supposed to be.  More than likely, my complicated last name situation with both my maiden and married meant that they couldn't locate me in the system and they didn't bother on following it up.  That always happens there because my last name is technically different than my husbands, and all of my info is based on him.  Anyway, they gave me a little grief about how much of my record that I needed, and then started to work, not telling me that I could sit and wait, or how long it would take.  They ask for my ID again, realized that they had the info, then just ignored me.  After about 10 minutes, the second girl came back in, and the first one finished printing.  They had my entire record ready to go in about 15 minutes.  Amazing considering that they always tell you it takes 10-12 weeks to get anything.
Regardless less as to how ridiculous it was that I had to physically go down there, I have my record.  It hopefully has everything my OB team needs so that they can begin to make some plans.

There was some good news with all of this.  I tried to get through just enough of the record immediately to see where the incision was on my uterus.  If I understood it all correctly, with a little help from google, the cut was made in the better position so that The Littlest One can stay in longer.  We were worried they may have to take her really early.  Now, with some good luck and preparation, she should be able to stay in a bit longer and be ready to come out before they take her.  We will take all the good news we can get.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Fight Of The Decade

Tonight, there was a fight in my house.  A big one.  Something that has been brewing for about a decade now finally came to blows.  It didn't end well for either party.

Since the day I moved from home to be with my husband, he has loathed a furniture set that my parents gave us to use.  It is gorgeous.  All real wood, and almost an antique.  At this point, though, it needs some restoration.  We haven't done it.  Not our thing.  Yet, I can't get rid of it.  I want to give it back to my parents so that they can have it restored.  The pieces i have are the small love seat, and the side chair to match.  My mom still has the coffee table and end tables that came with it.  She actually still uses them.  Unfortunately, the rocking chair that matched passed away to the rest place for old furniture, aka the dump, last year.

As I said, My Husband hates them.  He would love to see our pieces go to that old furniture resting place as well.  I won't let him, though.  Instead, we carry them from home to home, and he loathes them a little more each time.

We just finished moving to a new house tonight with four bedrooms for the new baby.  My husband has enjoyed some of the process.  He has been able to use our old truck.  He loves his old truck.  We recently got a new one, but the old one is sitting here, waiting until my brother comes to get it.  My husband didn't want to give up that truck, but he had no choice, as it needed more work that we can afford to get done.  Thankfully, my brother is a mechanic, and he can do it himself.  My Husband at least gets to pass the beloved truck on to someone he knows will take care of it, and using that truck, even just to take things from one house to another, has really been the highlight of this whole move for him.

In the process of this move, My husband  had to move that sofa and chair yet again.  There is sits in the garage, giving him the evil eye, every time he walks in there.

Our trash dump is closed for the weekend.  So, My Husband decided to load the old truck up that he has been using for the move one last time, park it in the garage, and take everything over when the trash area opens tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the garage is full of crap, and that is a big truck.  So, I had to guide him in as backed in so that he could fit the truck.

I was doing my job, before anyone asks.  He was backing up.  I had him slow down.  I was yelling out distance increments to let him know how much room he had, in addition to motioning with my hands.
Two feet.
One foot.
Six inches.

He didn't stop fast enough.
There was a crunch.
Directly behind him, right where he needed to stop, sat my beloved furniture.

He backed into it too fast, and cracked the chair back in half.

My heart dropped.

I hung my head and told him he broke it, too tired to be pissed. That, and in my heart I know he didn't do it on purpose.

He got out, all smiling, and laughed.  "I didn't mean to do it, you know."  He also let me know that he wasn't terribly upset.  The universe, though, was.  He had struck the first blow, but the furniture wasn't going down without a fight.

The truck wouldn't fit.  He adjusted the furniture, and tried again.  He still needed just a few inches to get the garage door to close.

He pulled up a couple of feet, and grabbed the chair, turned to carry it to the side of the garage, and it happened.  Another crunch.
My eyes must have been huge.  I just stood there staring.  He looked at me.
"You broke your tail light."
"I did not."

I didn't respond, but tapped the spider web pattern in the tail light.

He looked, his face went red.  He made a fist, and  I swear he nearly hit the chair, until he realized it probably wouldn't do him any good to punch a piece of solid oak.

Tit for tat.  The chair fought back.

So, the first blows have been rendered.  I'm not sure yet of the outcome.  I do know that these won't be the last blows thrown by either party, though.

I also know that when I tell this story to my brother, who still wants the truck, it will be much less dramatic, and play down any damage that might prevent him from taking it.  After all, we need it moved as soon as possible least it be the victim of this senseless feud again.

Fishing....for Comments

I never realized that the way I had my comments set up prohibited many people from actually leaving me comments.  I was in a tizzy over the fact that I rarely get any.  In fact, I nearly wrote a blog about it.  Then, thankfully, someone pointed out to me that you had to have a blogger account to be able to comment.

I have changed all that!  If you were unable to comment before, you should be able to now.  They are still set up to be moderated (that will stay).  So, you won't see them right away, but they will go up now.

All of this is to say, please start commenting!  I'm looking for some readership here.  You can follow me, too, if you have an account.  After all, if I don't start getting comments, followers, and things, how will I ever get my own TV show.  Which is, of course, what every blogger wants these days.

Thank you!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Crap I Say When I Am Pregnant

Like "Poop" My Dad Says, I think that Crap I Say When I Am Pregnant" could be just as funny.
Or Frightening.

For example, all said today:
"I don't know how I was sweet to her.  I'm not sweet to anyone anymore."

"I'd ask you to rub what hurts, but that would start a very different kind of special time."

and my personal favorite...

"The amount of curse words coming out of my mouth is in direct proportion to the amount of pain in my vagina."

See, while knocked up, the little filter that runs from my brain to my mouth shrinks right along with the brain.  All the blood is going down south, and can't be keeping my filter running at top speed, which I need at all times.

On top of the emotional roller coaster, I bet I make for one fantastic person to live with right now.  Really.  I must.   Interesting at the very least.

If I spout of more gems, I'll be sure to let you know.  I might just start a chain of CISWIAP (Crap I say when I am pregnant) posts.  Look for them.  They will probably be your favorites.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An Apology for My Man

I think I need to just apologize to my husband now, and make it a standing apology until sometime middle of this year.

I have come to the realization that third pregnancies make you bigger faster.  That and the fact that junk food seems to be calling me by name.  It is.  I swear.  As proof I offer you the fact that i actually ate nachos from 7/11 tonight.  So, were growing something big over here, be it me or the baby.

As a direct result, I am now totally in maternity clothes at 5 months, and I have never had to wear them with the girls before.  I can't help it.  I'm shaped all funny.

More importantly than my maternity jeans, though, are what I will be referring to as my maternity underwear.
The cute stuff is long gone, be it bras or panties.

First of all, if you think that starting with big boobs they wouldn't get all that much bigger, you would be wrong.  Very wrong.  Were up at least 2 cup sizes here, if not more.  I know I have gone from an F (yes I meant F) to at least an H again.  Lovely.  They are spilling out all over the place, and I have no choice but to revert to the big old supportive bras I use to wear, just to keep them up.  The cute, lacy things (yes they have cute and lacy in F) will just have to wait until they deflate.

Then, we have the underwear.  No more high cut, this cut, or that cut for me.  I'm rocking the straight up granny panties at this point, and i love them.  Over sized ones too.  Sexy, no, but they sure do feel good under my jeans with the gigantic belly panel.

So, I sincerely apologize to my husband, who is the one who gets to see the glory that is me in my skivvies.  I promise to do a lot better after we heal up from the baby and whatever else comes with it. Until then, just remember all those goodies are still there, tucked away safely, and waiting until i can actually bend over and reach my toes to put them on again.  ; )

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Now The Battle Begins

I got a letter in the mail today from my insurance.  They were letting me know my referal went though, but with modifications.  The referal for the surgeon.  It said, as we know, that I was to be seen at Balboa.  It was also dated the same day that I got a call from Balboa.
So, I called them.  I explained why that I couldn't be seen at Balboa, and was told there was nothing they could do for me.  It was my "choice" to be seen outside, and while I may not want to be seen there, I have to go back to Balboa to get them to drop me.  Thus far, Balboa has put in no further paperwork to drop me, or push the referral on, and I am pretty much stuck.
I don't have time to be stuck.

They seem to be missing something.  My life, and the life of my child, could potentially depend on this.  This isn't funny.  While my life may be a bit over an over exageration, it is possible, and my organs are certainly in peril.
I don't think they get that I don't have time to play games.

Nor shall I.

If they want me to take on the system, I can and will.  There is no choice.  There is no rolling over.  Something has to be done somewhere, and apparently, I'm going to get it done myself.