Monday, December 31, 2007

A Hollister Holiday Story

My oldest princess has a part time job at the local mall, working at Hollister. She thinks she is so cool! Well, she did . Until she realized that the job isn't all that she thought it would be. Glamor and popularity and excessive coolness aside.... it's just not her dream job after all.

Katie was working one of her 4 hr shifts recently during the Christmas shopping rush.... and this is how her story goes:

She had been working for over 2 hours and she was feeling thirsty but it wasn't her break time yet. The store was packed with people, mostly crabby moms. (Boy, I can relate to that, two seconds in that store and I'm a crab and a half!) Katie was working in Betty's One - that means the first room of girls clothing.

One mom came up to her and was asking her something about a shirt. She needed the same shirt in a different size or something like that. Katie said that the lady just kept talking and talking and talking. Katie couldn't understand her. My poor little princess said that the lady was in her face just talking and nothing made sense to Katie - she was speaking English though. Katie said "I was just staring at her for the longest time and I couldn't understand or say anything - I just stared at her".

Oh my. Can you imagine what this poor frustrated mom was thinking at this point?

Katie's story continues.... The lady was talking and talking about the shirt, waving the shirt around, and then she went blurry. That's all Katie remembers. Then she woke up on the floor with a crowd hovering over her and her manager saying "KATIE KATIE KATIE KATIE!" She had herself a nice little seizure just then.

They got her up and moved her to the back room and let her lay on a boxes of sweatshirts, got her some water and asked her if she was ok. Well, she doesn't like to worry people, so she said she was just fine and she just needed to lay there a few minutes. So, that's what she did. Drank the water and rested for a while.

By this time she had an hour left of her shift and she was still feeling kinda goofy. Her manager said she could sit in the chair in the Betty's One room and drink her water for the rest of her shift, so that's what she did. Nice guy, huh? Did he call an ambulance? No. Did he hide her in the back room where she couldn't get any help if she needed it? Yes. Jerk. He better stay far far away from me, cuz I have nothing nice to say to the guy. You'd think he'd want to cover his ass for liability anyway. She said she folded a few pairs of jeans that were next to the chair so that she earned her hour of minimum wage.

Yes, minimum wage. The kid has worked there for a year and they don't give raises.

Then, she drove home. I know! Crazy kid!!! When she got home she was so pale and she looked exhausted. I knew as soon as I saw her that something was really wrong. Gave her some OJ and she told me how the lady was talking to her, she fainted, had a seizure and finished her shift and drove home. I made her promise me to call me for a ride or get a ride home from someone if ever this happens again. Yeah Yeah, she says. So I told her you could hurt someone else - maybe a family with little children. Oh! Well, ok. She promised then. She doesn't want to hurt someone else by accident. I also told her she didn't need to finish that shift, but she said she still needed to sit for a while so it was ok.

Oh my goodness.

Can you just imagine this mom trying to communicate with my Katie, who is staring off into space and non-responsive and then she just drops like a rock to the floor? That poor woman. Sounds like she was already having a difficult shopping day and then Katie faints at her feet.

My little princess has low blood pressure and has a history of occasional fainting followed by a seizure. It hasn't happened in quite a while so I figured she had grown out of it. I guess not. Sugar brings her around again as does fluids. I've taken her to see several docs and nobody could ever come up with anything wrong. They all say "it was probably a one time fluke". This one-time-fluke happens a couple times a year though. She's been having mild seizures since age 6 or 7, fainting since age 10 and that's when the convulsive seizures began too. In her younger years a seizure just looked like she had zoned out. We thought she was a daydreamer. She can feel it coming but was ignoring the signs since she was working and knew she had a break coming up she could get something sugary to drink then. But, she didn't make it till break time.

I think she was reminded of the urgent need to listen to her body when its talking to her. Poor girl. I cannot believe she didn't smack her head when she fell in that cluttered store. Have you ever been in there? I hate that store - I come out with shin bruises from their racks and a massive headache from the music, not to mention the poisonous toxic thick perfume in the air. I don't know how my daughter can stand to go in there and spend 4 hours. Blech!

She's looking for a better job - I wish she'd look harder.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Quick Crazy Update

Finals are over. I'm waiting on my grades but I predict: A, A, B, B and C. darn that last one!

Christmas came and went. It went pretty well! I didn't send out any packages. Bad Mom! Maybe next year. I am still working on my cards.

Birthday invitations are in progress. I am working on designing the the invites for my grandmother's 100th birthday party this summer. Sounds easy, right? No, she has to love them and that is the hard part!

Everyone in my family is home on winter break from school. The neighbors are in and out. This place is like Grand Central Station. Even the neighbor dog came over and ran amuck in my house.

Katie is working hard at Hollister. She hates her job and yet, she doesn't have a different job yet. Lex is also not working. Why can't my girls get motivated enough to get jobs! They are driving me insane!

Gracie is on nap strike. No more naps. None. She's still waking up 3 times every night. She's wearing me down. I'm exhausted!

I bought a $75 football and thought I paid $3.97 for it. Oh dear. I have to go back to Walmart with an expensive football and no receipt. Walmart might eat me alive!

We need to prepare for our next semester of college and school. Not sure when we will have time to do this...

The Ant Guy is coming tomorrow morning.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Who is this scary bearded old man?

We went to see Santa today! This is how my conversation with Santa went....

Me: Hi Santa!
Santa: Ho Ho Ho!
Gracie: screaming already
Me: Sit, Sandy, Sit!
(Sandy sits and looks lovingly at Santa)
Gracie: WAHHHHH!!!!
Me: Hang on to her, Santa!
Santa: Maybe you should come back later
Me: No, thanks, this is fine.
Santa: Really, I'll be here till 3:00
Gracie: WAHHHH!!!!!
Me: Trust me, she won't like you later either.

Here she is running away as fast as she can!
But not without nabbing a candy cane first.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What? Christmas is Coming? So Soon?

We just had Halloween!

I've been so swamped with finals and term papers that Christmas really snuck up on me. I'm not ready. I have all my shopping yet to do, shipping, baking cookies and writing cards. We haven't even taken our family photo yet for our cards - oh boy.... we might have to stretch Christmas into January.

I'm working on a quilt for our ex-foreign exchange student in Germany, Anna. All I have left to do are the edges. It takes a good long time to ship something to Germany, so she won't get her gift until after the holiday. Oh well. I just don't have time till after finals and that's just how it is. I'm disappointed that I can't get things done on time, but I'm resigning to the fact that Christmas is just too soon!

We decided not to decorate for Christmas this year. No lights, no tree, no getting the boxes out of the garage. We have a tornado for a daughter and we'd rather not deal with the chaos of a knocked over tree, ornaments flying through the air, watching her swing from the lights... you get the idea.

I'll dig out our stockings and we can have those on Christmas morning. Otherwise, it's all up to our imaginations this year! Ho Ho Ho!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Great Day yesterday!

Yesterday I had such a great day!

Started off running late, traffic jam, parking permit machine wasn't working and had to find a different one.... ok, that's not the great part...

I got to my first class late but the professor was happy and just chit chatting with students, petting the service dog that always snores in class stuff like that. Once he got started, he gave out the questions that will be on the final exam! So awesome! It was like getting the dream Christmas gift!

So then I go to the women's center to study on their awesome sofa... and they have these really yummy treats. Luna Bars. They are a kind of granola bar infused with tea. Total Yum!

Then my next class is the one I've been looking forward to. We get to evaluate our British Lit teacher. Professor Spaz! I evaluated all right - and I let it all out! After class about 10 people stuck around and vented! It was better than chocolate! Sounds like everyone had similar issues and lots of people wrote it in the evaluations. Good! I told the group about my paper being handed back to someone else. You should have seen the jaws drop. Felt good to get that off my chest.

Next class. Post-Modern and Post-Colonial Fiction. We had our final exam and I totally aced it! I rocked! I think I floated out of that classroom! So happy!

I was having such an awesome day that when I left, I pulled past the parking permit machine and gave my permit to the next person in line. I was leaving and it is good til midnight. So, I shared. I've never done that before - never thought of it. It felt really good so I'm going to do that again sometime.

When I came home, the dog greeted me with her usual enthusiasm but the baby just gave me a wave. She was watching "Fishies" and apparently, I was second rate. It's good to see her growing out of her separation anxiety.

Next class, my evening class. The traffic jam was gone - so weird! The instructor lectured a bit, went over what he expects on the final exam and then we filled out evaluations. I gave this guy a good one. It's not his fault that I kinda got tired of watching Westerns. He was hired the same week as the class started, and I think he did pretty good.

Came home and had some quality couch & tv time with my hubby. Ah, that's always nice!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sarcasm is my forte'

I am writing a paper today about the sarcastic rhetoric of Herman Melville. This is how I imagine Melville - He looks like Chevy Chase don't you think? "They call me Ishmael"

My life is sarcastic so of course I thought this would be a good topic for my term paper. But I'm still struggling to find time to write the term paper! This quicky post is one thing, deep thought and analysis is quite another. And I'm not being sarcastic!

I have three papers due tomorrow so I should be sticking my nose in my research, but "I prefer not to". (Can you hear Chevy Chase?)

I'm going to also discuss satire and irony. I tell ya, I am steeped in irony on a daily basis. Three daughters will do that to a person!

I've decided we should have fish for dinner tonight! LOL!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Proofreaders Wanted!

I have two of my three papers done. Of course, I wrote while doing a bunch of "Mom" things, so who knows how they really turned out. I am too tired to proofread for myself since I tend to overlook my own mistakes. I can type things so very wrong and not see it until after I turn my paper in.

Anyone want to proofread and give me GOOD USEFUL criticism? And not the "start over" kind, because its just too late for that. And not the "yeah, that's fine" kind cuz then I know it bored you to death as soon as you read the title. I don't wanna do that!

I have one more to write. I think I will take a brain break and lay on the floor and play trucks with my tot for a while. Call the teens on their cellies and ask them where they are (they hate that! hehhee) and maybe throw in another load of laundry.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

I'm writing papers this weekend. I have three that are due next week. 1. For my Post Colonial Fiction class I have to write about Cultural Hybridity. 2. For my United States Literature class I have to write about the rhetorical strategy of Herman Melville. and 3. For my Western Literature class (the class where we watch films and never read) I have to write about American Values and/or Identity in the movie "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".

Ouch! Gracie just bit my knee!!!

So anyway... I need to watch this movie and figure out what deep message about American values the director, John Ford, is supposed to be saying. For his movie "Stagecoach" our professor said that the stagecoach was America and the Indians who attacked were representing the communist countries; so the movie was all about America struggling to become a superpower after suffering from the great depression, and it was about WWII, and it was about McArthism.

Hmmm.... I totally missed all that! I saw a stagecoach, John Wayne and some comic book kind of Indian attack. Now when I watch the Liberty Valance movie I'm going to have to pull from the clear blue sky some sort of far fetched ideas about what the movie means and write a paper on it. Any ideas?

I'll work on Cultural Hybridity and Melville's sarcasm later. Tonight is John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart night. Of course, I have to wait until "Finding Nemo" is over - we have to watch Fishies!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

We're Back!

We're back. We drove almost 4,000 miles through all sorts of weather. We had a busy week, saw all the relatives but we still missed Thanksgiving. We had lots of quality time together as a family doing silly things like.... talking to each other, singing to the radio, counting how many times we've each been through Las Vegas, silly things like that.

During the trip we encountered all sorts of weather. We went from 91 degrees to 1 degree. I had to buy the teens some coats! We crossed the desert and went over the snow covered mountains. The trip took us through six states.

We only had one "incident" on the trip. My baby burned her hand on Great Grandma's furnace, which is a propane stove in her living room. The burn is a second degree and didn't warrant a trip to the ER but we were all just sick over it. She has blisters but is using her hand just fine. Looks like its healing nicely.

We went on this spontaneous trip halfway across America because my father-in-law passed away last Tuesday. My husband and 16 yr old daughter left on Monday in hopes of seeing him before he passed on, but they didn't quite get there in time. I left with the rest of the crew on Tuesday afternoon. The funeral services were very nice. During the family visitation, my husband held our little one while he stood at the casket and without prompting, she pointed and said "Grampa" for the very first time. It was a very special moment. I think that one moment will last a long long time in our hearts.

We did have a nice time together on the trip (despite the funeral, weather and burn). Here are some pictures from the road. Just fun stuff here... we only take fun photos!
Oh, by the way... the Las Vegas count is as follows: Katie - 15 times, Lexie 17 times, Gracie 6 times, Sandy the dog 11 times.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Today is a travel day for me, the oldest princess, the youngest princess and the furry princess. Should be an interesting journey! I'm so glad that I have the new mini-van! What a relief to not worry so much about what is dying under the hood.

And the November weather rocks! We are so lucky in that respect too.

I am busy packing and wishing I had more time to take care of details. I'll update my blog from the road if I can. I hope I can find wireless internet - that'll be like a needle in a haystack but there's hope.

Have a good week, folks. I'm off to spend a LOT of quality time with my pincesses.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Oh, to be a Dog!

I just took a big load of hot laundry out of the dryer and plopped it on the couch for folding. On top of the dog! I didn't realize she was laying there on her back stretched out and comfy. The dog looks super happy!

Ah, to be a dog! So carefree! And buried in fresh clean warm laundry.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Feeling Finished was Fleeting

My to-do list exploded!

After breaking my baby's heart yesterday when I left the house despite her tears and they way she cried "mama" reaching for me as I walked out the door, I choked back a lump in my throat and went to school. The professors all did exactly what I expected and announced the term paper assignments. I've got a full to-do list now!

In fact, two of my papers are due tomorrow, but they are short and sweet. I'd love to report that our group presentation went off without a hitch, but no such luck. The professor announced to the entire class that three members of our group got caught plagiarizing! Shock / EEK! Honestly, that really threw me for a loop! Amazingly, she told our group to redo the presentation as she is giving us a second shot at it. I really wish she would have let us just do the presentation and hand the cheaters the Fs they deserved while giving the remainder of us the grades we earned. Group projects just don't always work well. One of the gals who got caught raised her hand and says to the entire class, "This is the first time I've ever heard of this, can you explain what plagiarism is?" There was a collective eyeroll from the class. She's never heard of it, oh please. Academic honesty is a policy written on every syllabus in every class and addressed at the beginning of the semester without fail. So, here's this cheater in an upper level course saying she's never heard of plagiarism. I didn't buy it.

Besides my long list of reading and papers to write, along with catching up on the western movies, I need to run out and buy diapers! And I need to sit in the passenger seat praying for my life while my middle daughter practices for her driving test. (She will take her test on Friday!) And I need to make dentist appointments for the girls too. I also want to find a minute to call the insurance company and switch our primary care provider to a different doc.

So much to do and everything is high priority! So, what am I doing? I'm breastfeeding, blogging and watching Mowgli march with the elephants in The Jungle Book. I'll start working on my to-do list later. I'm having a mommy-moment.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

My Homework is DONE!

I think I'm all caught up on my homework! Well, mostly. Close enough to call it done. Wow! This never happens! Lucky for me, I've already read two of the books for my Fiction class. One I read 2 yrs ago and one I read this past summer. That class assigns a book a week and I'm two books ahead! Wooo Hoooo!!!

I am three movies behind in my Western Lit class. Isn't that weird? Western Literature class and all we do is watch movies.

This week the professors will all assign research papers, so the homework load will really pick up and I'll be busier than ever. And Monday (tomorrow) I have to give a presentation in my British Literature class, so that'll be behind me and done.

This feels great to have some idle time! All my reading is done!!!

Oh, and the schedule for next semester came out. I've picked out my classes but I will need to go to school 4 days a week instead of only 2. This presents a daycare problem, but we'll work it out.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Laundry Monster rears its ugly head

There are 5 of us and I sort the laundry mountain like this: towels, more towels, kitchen towels and bibs and wet towels. whites, darks, jeans and multi-colors. Then we have the pink and red loads. Plus, one more load of this and that. And do you put all the baby socks in a little mesh bag? I do. But for some reason, I still end up with only one sock per pair. How did I do that? Where do they go? And how do I wash sweaty gross volleyball kneepads without ruining them. Everyone has their special instructions for folding, restringing hoody sweatshirts, and all the begging and pleading to not shrink their 100% cotton stuff. Lordy. It's too complicated! I need a college degree in laundry!

Drying is another great adventure. Dry this on inside out, dry this one on low and this on high. Don't dry this! This should dry flat, this has to hang. Clean the lint trap every time!

I am very glad I don't have two kids on the swim team anymore. They used two beach towels a day (morning practice and afternoon practice) then took showers - that's two more towels each. Swim season was a very busy laundry season!

The rule is... check your pockets! They all say "I did, I did!" Then I do it again before I throw anything in. I always get a collection of coins, gum wrappers, and guitar picks. Maybe the concept of taking things out of your pockets is lost in the "check your pockets" instruction.

I let my husband help one time. He did a load of jeans. We had to buy everyone in the family a new pair of jeans, some of us needed two pair. And we had to buy a new washing machine. He is more help if he just steps back. Stay away from the laundry, Mister!

You should see my laundry room. Actually it's a laundry NO room. It's just a walk through space between the house and the garage. It's just barely big enough for the washer and dryer and a little space to walk through. Plus two doors that both swing into the laundry "room". It's a busy little space. No room to store anything, no room to sort or fold. But that's where I do all the laundry, me and the toddler who climbs into the dryer and the dog who is our shadow. We all squeeze in there - and then I lock the doors so nobody opens them and slams into me giving m great big door bruises (experience speaking). We're like circus clowns stuffed in the miniature space battling the family laundry monster.

So, where are the baby's other socks?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday to my husband! I skipped all my classes today and spent the day at home being the mom. It was a good day! Gracie was a scary lion - ROAR!

Long Version: First thing this morning, around 6am, I let Gracie crawl into bed between us for a mommy and daddy snuggle before we all get up. She promptly kicks her father in the nose very hard! The force of the blow sends out a stream of loud cussing, but fortunately, no blood or bruising. Happy Birthday, Daddy!

I skipped school all day long and cleaned and grocery shopped and made taco salad for dinner. That's what the birthday boy wanted, so that's what he got. We had pumpkin pie and ice cream for his birthday treat. Yummy!

Lexie went to hang out with her friends. So, I kept in contact with her via cell phone every hour just because she's a 16 yr old out prowling the town on Halloween, that made me nervous.

Katie had to work at the mall.

Gracie put on her costume and went trick or treating next door. She roared like a fierce lion when I put it on her! Once I got her outside, she didn't mind that she was wearing a costume, but as soon as we got back home, she was yanking it off. Or, I should say she was trying. We got it off and that was the end of that. She liked answering the door and watching us hand out candy.

Keith had a nice birthday. He said he didn't want to hear one more rendition of the happy birthday song though. He heard it enough at school. He didn't dress up to answer the door like he usually does, he said he was tired and just wanted to relax. So, he watched the discovery channel and relaxed like a zombie while I answered the door, took care of Gracie and kept track of Lexie. That was a treat since I should have been in class and he would have had to handle it all. I told him what i wanted to get him for his birthday, but I didn't end up finding it. He said the stores will have them in a week or two and he'll just get it and pretend its from me. Ok! I wanted to get him a turkey fryer. He wants it so he can brew his own beer. Toast / Drink Up!

Then after I got Gracie to bed, the kitchen cleaned up and the pie and ice cream put away, I went to go get Lexie and next thing you know, Halloween was over.

Friday, October 26, 2007

What's for supper?

I am not a cook. I am not a gormet cook, a short order cook or a cook of any kind. Cooking is the part of being a domestic goddess that I dread. Eating... hey, that's another story! I love eating! But cooking, ugh! I do not enjoy any part of it. Thinking about it, grocery shopping, the actual cooking, and the cleaning up. The whole process is my weakness.

Right now I'm in a dinner making rut. I've really only been cooking twice a week since school started. I have excuses that take me almost all the way through the week, but every now and again I have to feed the family.

Since it's Friday, I'm using my Friday excuse for not stepping foot in the kitchen. The excuse "It's Friday!" But I am thinking about it. That counts for something, right?

The trouble I have with cooking is making something everyone will enjoy. This is a rare event. Very rare. Since it's nearly impossible, I usually end up making two meals so that everyone can eat. Or two variations of the same meal. This is why "fend for yourself" night works so wonderfully!

I'm going to get myself out of this rut. I really am! Well, till I fall back into it again. I need to get myself organized by making a list of entrees, beef, chicken and other. I think if I have a list it'll be easier than trying to come up with something. Or maybe I'll have a launching pad to come up with other ideas. I'm determined to get out of my rut. I am open to ideas and suggestions!

Oh, I should point out that my lack of culinary talents are not leaving anyone hungry. I just fed the toddler cottage cheese and an avacado. She had an apple earlier (we shared it) and scrambled eggs for breakfast. Sometime during the day she wolfed down an entire banana and some cookies. She only ate one nugget of dog food today, so she had a pretty healthy menu today. She usually does. Everyone else gets to dig through the freezer and see what kind of magic the microwave can do.

Updates.... we are still safe from the fires but we were wondering the other day when there was a fire 3 miles from our home. Lucky for us, the wind wasn't blowing that day and the fire crews are awesome! It was out in 2 hours and only burned 14 acres. It was just a small one. There is another fire 12 miles from our house but it's all the way across town. School was called off until further notice and the air quality is horrible but improving. My grandma is out of the hospital but not before she tried to run the place. She's home and almost good as new. Plans for her 100th birthday party are in full swing. I'm looking forward to the party!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fire! Fire! Fire!

We are safe, but we are sandwiched between some very bad fires. They are both to the South and the North of us. We have very poor air quality, but hey, we aren't burning.

My college classes were canceled today. Of course, when I left the house at 7:15 am (running late, as usual!) I didn't know this. We only get our TV news from the Los Angeles area, nothing from San Diego. And the LA news never mentions San Diego. So, I didn't know about the fires in North San Diego County when I headed south. I got to the exit I usually take to the college and everyone in the world is getting off here! Interstate closed! The sky was orange and brown, it was awful. I got to the college and the street was deserted. There is usually a mile long line of cars turning onto campus, seriously, it's a mile long at the point where I join it and it goes for 5 miles behind me after I turn into the line to get on campus. But, that's another story.. so the town was deserted and the campus was orange-coned off. I turned around and came back home. When I was driving north on the interstate, there were very few cars, kinda creepy. The road was open where I got off and hopped back on, but as I drove north, it closed behind me. Very frightening to be on such a lonely road. Escondido was on fire, still is.

My husband was dealing with the same type of thing as he drove north to his school. We both drive 45 miles in opposite directions. His school wasn't closed though, but the air was thick with smoke and they had high winds. His college class wasn't canceled either, so he's still working. He'll have to drive home in the dark smoke.

The fires destroyed over 100 homes at Lake Arrowhead, this is where my cousin owns a lake cabin. I sure hope her house is not damaged. She just got home on Sunday from a 5 week adoption trip to Kazakhstan and brought home her newly adopted son. What a welcoming.

We are just watching the fire on the news; watching them show all these fires that are out of control. They keep spouting off statistics that just keep getting worse as the day has worn on. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. 300,000 people evacuated from San Diego. that's enough stats for you for today.

In other news.... my mom called me and said my grandmother (her mom) was taken to the hospital for chest pains. Turns out it wasn't a heart attack, but it was angina. She was given some medication and is on some monitors in the hospital overnight. Mom said she was going to go home today, but so far no answer at the house. I bet she's staying one more night. My grandma is 99 yrs old. And she's too darn stubborn to have a heart attack, so I'm sure she's just fine. But, she's on my mind.

Lets end this post on a good note. My toddler learned how to go DOWN the stairs today! And not by doing a nosedive. So, we've spent most of our day going up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down.... repeat... repeat again!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The baby slept all night long!

After an hour of inconsolable kicking and screaming and thrashing around on the floor, my 19 mth old finally let me hold her and she nursed herself to sleep. Normally, she nurses herself to sleep in my arms so that part isn't any different. The hour of hell was definitely out of character.

I got her tucked in at 9:10 pm. Usually she wakes up at midnight, 2am and 4am before getting up for the day at 6:30. Did I mention that I also wake up at midnight, 2am, 4am and get up for the day at 6:30?

Last night, she fussed at midnight but didn't wake up, she flopped over and all was quiet again. Whew! Next time I heard her fuss was 6am! WOW! She slept for 8 hours straight! All in a row! No interruptions!

If you could see me jumping around and smiling my face off, you'd see how excited I am! I don't want to jinx it by thinking this might be the start of sleeping all night, but I am celebrating it! Major accomplishment! I didn't even care that I was so filled with milk that I nearly exploded by the time morning rolled around. Went to bed a B, woke up a DDD. Had to keep the happy excited jumping to a minimum.

And after 2 years of not sleeping through the night (I'm including pregnancy in that time since I had to get up to go potty 6 times a night!), I am exhausted and have some catching up to do. A good long night snuggled in my bed is just the kind of quality mom-time I needed! Bring it on, I'm ready to make this a habit!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Princess Party!

My oldest princess really is a princess! She was hired to act as Belle from Beauty and the Beast at a birthday party for a 4 yr old girl named Mia. Mia was speachless when she saw that Belle came all the way from Disneyland to be at her birthday party. And she was 100% convinced that Katie was the real Belle! Here are some pictures from the party, Gracie was invited and had a good time too!

The princess costume was an adventure. The party mom asked her to come dressed as any Disney princess. Katie tried on costumes at the costume shop for Snow White and Cinderella and Belle. I've never seen my daughter look so awful in a dress! The costumes just hung on her and she just looked like a girl wearing a cheesy cheap costume. And the wigs weren't very good either; Poor Katie doesn't have the right hair for Snow White or Cinderella. She can't let this little girl down! Mia has an annual pass to Disneyland and she knows what the princesses look like!

So we ran to Walmart to buy fabric since everything else was closed at that hour. By the way, this is the night before the party around 9pm. Luckily, they had a bolt of beautiful golden satin. Whew! Belle will be at the party! We came home and put Baby Princess to bed, Katie ran off with her friends and I was left with a job to do. I laid out the satin on the dining room table, pulled out some patterns for guidance since we didn't have a pattern to work from - I had to piece some old ones together and size it with our best guesses. I worked on it till 1am when Princess Gracie woke up for the first of her night-wakings. (she wakes up 2 or 3 times a night and needs to be fed, snuggled and lulled back to sleep). I went to bed after that. Gracie woke up again at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep till 6am, her next normal waking time. We slept till 7am and then it was back to the piecing together the dress. Between Gracie's demands, and Katie's fussiness about looking perfect, I got the dress done at 12 noon. We grabbed her tiara that she wore to prom last spring, and we were ready! Party in two hours and we had an hour drive to get there!

The neatest thing that happened at the party was Katie's connection with a down's syndrome girl. Jandi does not socialize and prefers to be left alone in her own space, and nobody is allowed to touch her paper and her markers! Nobody until Katie came along dressed as Belle. Not knowing Jandi's personal space issues, Katie was able to interact with Jandi which drew attention from her family. I heard whispers of "Look, she's talking to Belle!" Cameras started coming out. Then a collective gasp from the crowd as Katie took one of her markers and began to color with her. Katie and Jandi drew pictures together and talked together. Tears were being choked back by the grown-ups in the room. Jandi gave Belle a hug and a drawing, Belle gave Jandi a hug back, a drawing and a piece of candy. Katie has a gift with children and her interaction with Jandi was the gift of the day for everyone! Katie was thrilled to pieces after she learned that her interaction with Jandi was a major accomplishment. I'm so proud of her! She has once again been refueled with desire to become a special education teacher. Thank you, Jandi!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Toddler in a Glass Shop

When Keith started up the mower the other day, a rock came flying out of it and hit the patio sliding door. Wow, what a mess! The glass broke into a zillion pieces and of course, it fell inside instead of outside. It was all over the couches, rug, floor, every nook and cranny. Lexie took Sandy and Gracie upstairs and Keith and I cleaned it up.

Today I took my patio door to a glass shop to get a new piece of glass put in it instead of buying a whole new door. I saran wrapped the entire door frame so that no little leftover shards of glass would get in the van, and I'm going to bring my saran wrap to bring the door home too cuz if we are in an accident, I don't want my family to be all cut to bits. I tucked all the seats down on one side of my van and the door fit in there pretty sweetly. (thank you stow 'n go)

18 month old in a glass shop – bad idea. But we got out of there without buying any more panes of glass than we need. But she did touch and/or lick every piece of glass and mirror in the showroom, played peek-a-boo, and ate some Styrofoam off a cut-out display, yelled “HEWWO” to the secretary on the phone, and screamed bloody murder when I restrained her. I’ve never seen so many people so happy to see me go away.

The pane of glass is costing us $147.00 and it’ll be ready later today. I’ll pick it up after I get Lexie from school so that Gracie will be asleep in her carseat and Lexie can stay in the van with her while I get the door.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Balancing Act

As you know, I'm going to college full time while raising princesses. This is a careful balancing act on my part. I admit it.... I feel like I'm wobbling too far in both directions - like a tight rope walker about to fall. That'd be me; I'm a circus star!

Albeit, a falling star.

I picked up two more classes giving me 18 credits this semester. I don't have time for one credit, let alone 18. I've decided I'm just insane, so what the helk. Rephrasing Forest Gump, Insanity is as insanity does.

This morning I am worrying about my daughter's math test, reading Beowulf, watching Sesame Street, doing dishes and laundry, and letting the toddler out to run through the sprinklers. Forgot what I am reading already. Oh yeah, Calvinist theory as it applies to western literature.

Yesterday, I skipped three classes. Baby Princess had a high fever and she was "exploding". This is her very first illness, aside from vaccine reactions. So, I stayed home most of the day with her. As soon as my frazzled hubby came home and muttered something about working from home tonight on the computer (he's working two jobs and picking up extra hours at one), I grabbed my books and headed out muttering something about diarrhea and drove away before he could respond. Poor daddy. He's overworked but he loves his daddy-daughter time, so it may have been good for both of them. I heard they had some nice snuggle time in the rocking chair.

I hope I can balance mom duties with being a college student. I am sure to be wobbling between the demands of both. Hopefully I won't fall - oh heavens, if I do I just wanna do it gracefully!

I need to go out and buy a vacuum cleaner belt and pick up some African literature from the library. Then we'll come home and watch "Cars". Balancing insanity, that's my plan for today.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

My Flogging

Wow. I'm taking a ton of flack for my latest post. My dictionary style writing where I defined Holiday from a Mom's point of view. Not all here, but on Shoutwire and elsewhere in the cyber world.

Shoutwire shows that this had over 8,000 views. 41 comments and most were flaming me. Granted, most of them are knuckle dragging Neanderthals that frequent that forum, so not much harm done. Two very supportive comments that I really appreciated totally made my day!

My husband wrote a comment on another forum where this post appeared - again, I only posted it here and to my close friends - "She was being sarcastic--so was I. In reality, we share many chores over any holiday. After 24 years together, her sense of humor still really cracks me up." That comment made my heart melt! I love making him laugh! And its true, he does a lot of extra Dad duties on any given holiday.

Let me clarify something... I wrote this on the fly. I didn't mean to offend anyone by it. It's just something I wrote. I didn't write it to be viewed by 8,000 people!

Actually, a friend of mine who is a new mom was commenting on how holidays just aren't what they used to be for her since motherhood adds a new dimension. Holidays are actually a lot of work and very exhausting! I agree whole-heartedly! She wasn't complaining and neither am I. At no time did I ever say I am oppressed by my role as the mom. I am just saying - I'm the mom. Being the mom changes things. IN MY OPINION. And as my humor permits me to view the world, that is what I wrote.

Hey lighten up folks, it's just a post written in fun.

Monday, September 3, 2007


Today is Labor Day, a holiday. This is my definition of holiday:

hol i day
- /noun/

1. a day when the Mom of the family works extra hard as the entire family is home from work and school. Longer hours are expected of the family matriarch.

2. customarily a time of excessive manual labor for every Mom. Extra burdens are sometimes called "family outings" in which the mom plans, organizes, executes, and cleans up after a long day of hauling her family's belongings around an amusement park, beach, or fair on a record-breaking hot day.

3. a holy day in which the family gathers for a feast, a feast prepared solely by the Mom after cleaning the house six times while chasing the children and keeping up with their messes before guests arrive to judge her housekeeping skills, while Dad relaxes in his lazyboy in front of a televised sporting event. The feast is then followed by a bigger mess than ever that Mom alone tackles, as it is a holiday after all.

4. to vacation. A period of travel in which the Mom becomes not only the organizer and beast of burden, but also must extend her holiday duties for days on end without ever eating a healthy meal or sleeping more than 4 hours in a comfortable bed. Added duties are keeping the Dad calm while he is lost and maintaining peace and tranquility between the siblings during long boring travels. Mom also competes in vacation sporting events such as "strapping the children in carseats" and "pump gas, wipe the windows, and take the children into the creepy gas station to pee".

Synonyms for Dad: to take a break, to relax. Synonyms for Mom: slave labor, to loose one's mind, insanity

Friday, August 31, 2007

Mommy's in College

I started college this past week. I've been attending Cal State University on a very part time basis for the past two years. With pregnancy and an infant, I haven't been a very good student. Time to jump back in and see if I can finish this quest for an education. So, here I am giving it a try.

First of all, enrollment has skyrocketed. It always took me an hour to get from here to there (including parking) but no.... both Monday and Wednesday it took me 35 minutes to get to the exit that I take (pretty dang good!) and then I was in a bumper to bumper line of cars that went from the exit all the way to the college parking lot. inching forward, inching forward, go a little bit, inch, inch, inch.... you know, like in the movie Office Space.... that took an hour. The line was 6 miles long!!! I'm not kidding. 5 miles from the exit to town, and a mile across to the campus.

I got a $2000 scholarship! I get $500 per semester for 2 yrs, so I'm hoping to finish my BA by then. I should be able to finish it up in 3 semesters if I have planned it well. Then I can begin the teacher credential program. Feels like I will be a student forever. It's a long road.

My classes are twice a week and they go something like this:

US Literature: This class focuses on early American literature up to the year 1750. Wow, that is early! This was a good class. I was terribly late though cuz I misjudged traffic. The professor seems like a decent guy. He is requiring the class to post to an online forum - ha! I can do that! Yippee!

British Literature, again the early period. Oh no. This teacher is a spaz. She's super loud and hyperactive. She was bouncing off the walls. Waving her arms around the whole time too. She tripped over her own feet and almost fell over and she spilled her coffee. She might drive me nuts. I went to another professor and asked if I could take this same class from her instead, but she doesn't teach it. Can I take it independent study? No. I'm stuck with the spaz.

Post-Fiction. This class is about post-colonial, post-modernism, post-feminism, post-whateverism. We have to read 9 books and watch 2 movies. This guy has a following of students who were all excited to see him again. That's a good sign. But he's Chinese and I had a really hard time figuring out what he was saying in English. His accent is going to take me some time to get used to. I hope I don't miss much while he's talking and I am trying to understand it. I sure didn't catch a whole lot this week. He's got a soft voice too. Polar opposite of Professor Spaz.

Western Literature: This class is in the evening and only on Wednesdays. The professor was hired on Monday. He's an art museum director with a PhD in Literature. He is going to assign movies to us. Cool. That's easier with a toddler who likes to rip books apart. Works for me! He seems like he's going to run a good class even though he didn't have time to prepare fully for the class, he seemed like he had a good idea of what we are going to do. Syllabus will be out next week.

So, I have four literature classes. That's 17 books total. Three are anthologies, two are textbook type books full of theory. The rest are just books.

Things I learned this week:

#1 - Leave Really EARLY

#2 - Gracie is fine without me (I keep having to relearn this, for some reason it never sticks in my head)

#3 - The college has a million stairs and I am super outa shape! (how did I forget that?)

#4 - My backpack is heavy. Books, laptop, laptop cooler, water, sandwich, apple, purse, etc. I feel like I'm packing up to move out when I leave the house.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Birthday Today, Poop and Scary boys - What a day!

Today is my birthday. I'm not big on celebrating my birthday or anything, but I did hope to have a nice day. And I did. I'm on a diet, so no birthday cake or excess calories that will bring guilt to me tomorrow.

The teens took me out for the afternoon and we left Toddle-Pants and Daddy at home. The girls and I went to get pedicures! Ooooh, nice! It was really nice. So good to be pampered. Who knew spending $70 on your toes could make you feel so wonderful! So, the three of us have very pretty toes now. Woo hooo! Then we went shopping for some pretty sandals to show off my pretty toes. Found a couple of pairs of capri pants too. I always want more of those since I tend to get food, boogers, slobber, and other misc goo wiped or hugged onto my legs. It was a wonderful afternoon with my girls.

But just before we left for our nice afternoon, we had a little poop crisis. Warning: Stop reading this post now! The rest is just disgusting! I am not responsible for any reaction you might have while reading the rest of this post!

So.. I'm changing Gracie's diaper earlier today.... it was just a wet diaper, no big deal. Then the phone rang, so I let her "air out" while I chatted on the phone for a few minutes.

While she's running around with a nakid butt, Daddy let her and the dog out. He didn't know she was going commando. He's out there tinkering with the grill that isn't working today, Gracie is playing in her dirt spot under the orange tree with "balls" (oranges), and Sandy is taking a crap under the trampoline. Fine, I'm on the phone.

After a bit, here comes Gracie running in. She has dog poop all over her foot! Ewwww! She stepped in it!!! And she has a muddy hand. Mud? Where would she find mud to play in? Ewww, that's poop too!!! GROSS!!! Then I realize... I never finished diapering her. oh no, please no!

Oh Yes! it's HER poop! She pooped in her dirt spot and then picked it up and gave it a good squeeze! Ewww! Yuck, I'll scoop up the yard later she needs a bath now! I yelled at the dog cuz the dog was sniffing her poo. Ok, that's just gross.

I hauled her upstairs for a bath. She had poop on her legs and her foot and hand were totally disgusting! After a nice bath with lots of soap and water and scrubbing, I have a clean girl again! Lets get that diaper on, shall we?

Clean diaper, clean clothes, yippee! Now I just need to go clean up the yard. It's time anyway, I haven't scooped up dog turds for a couple of days. Bad, I know. So, I went out to scoop, and Whaaah? Where are Gracie's turds? They're gone!

I ask the grill master... did you go out and scoop up her turds? Thinking, he should have scooped up the dog schite too! Why would he only clean up her poop and not the dog poop? Men are weird. He says "No, I didn't". Me: "What? Please tell me you did, cuz they're gone! Gracie's poop is missing!" Keith: "Oh, No! Oh, Gross! That stupid dog!"

The dog ate Gracie's poop!!!!

While I'm carrying out the sack of dog crap that I picked up... since the dog doesn't eat her own schite, just Gracie's. You should know that we have the zero lot lines which is how I met Lexie's scary friend. I have to come in the house with my sack of dog turds and go out the front door to take it out. So, I open the front door and some ugly teenage kid is standing right there with his hand up to knock!

I screamed!
I jumped!
I yellled!! Oh My God!!!

The poor kid was here to see Lexie, and I screamed in his face. I didn't know he was there and he really startled me! My ever so easily amused husband starts laughing so hard he just might pee his pants and the kid looks frightened, very frightened. I said to him... "You scared Me!"

So then I yelled to Lexie, since I'd already made a fool of myself, "your scary friend is here!" The whole time, I'm holding a bag of poop.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Her First Taste of Tuna

Awww... another memorable first!

I am on a diet, which means Princess Babycakes is on a diet too. She eats what everyone else eats (the famous See-Food diet), and so it goes. Today's lunch menu item: Tuna.

At 17 mths old, she is about to embark on a new journey of the tastebuds!

I made my unsalted light tuna on cucumber slices lunch for myself and put half the can in a plastic dish for her. Gave her half of my rice cake too. And I gave her a handful of grapes. She wanted "BALL", so grapes it is. And my cherry tomatoes. Fine, they look like balls, she gets those too. Yummy!

As always, she grabs her spoon and digs into her food with her other hand. The first fistful always is thrown over the side of the high chair tray to the dog. Gotta make sure the fat dog doesn't starve to death. Second fistful in the mouth. Ewwww! What a face!!! Blech! She tries again. Same taste! A couple of pieces thrown to the dog and then - Wham! It all goes overboard. The dog is now covered in tuna. As is the wall and the floor. Looks like a tuna exploded in here!

On to the rice cake. She licks. She tosses. It crumbles on impact.

Back to real life. I got her out of the tuna bomb area and let her run free. Here, honey, have a chocolate chip cookie and a cup of juice.

I have a wall, floor, high chair, and dog to scrub. More later!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Family Road Trip!

We are back from our family road trip!

Imagine this... a long roadtrip with your husband, two teenage girls with guitars, a golden retriever who is shedding like crazy, and an active toddler. Got all that? Ok, now add luggage, one more guitar for the hubby, a stroller, toys, food, dog supplies, movies, books, blankets and of course - a big cooler of ice and drinks. Got all that in your mental picture? Ok, now on the way home, add some wall hangings, an endtable, sewing machine, rocks, dishes and little boxes of jewelry and trinkets. Got it now? Oh, wait, add a cardboard box to the load - for some reason it was important to bring home an old cardboard box. Does your mental image of us have it all now cuz - That's us on vacation!!!

It was a LONG trip. Thank the Lord for the dvd player and the movie "Cars". I know the movie dialogue by heart now for the entire movie. Add that to my list of Mom-Talents. I am pretty sure the whole family, including the dog, has it memorized too.

We drove there in two segments. First run was just over 1000 miles and took us 17 hours. Second segment of the trip was 630 miles and took us 10 hours. Then home, 1650 miles and 30 hours.

I gotta say, I have a pretty good traveling toddler! And her carseat must be super comfy because it wasn't too hard to keep her happy. It wasn't always easy though. I did see a vehicle traveling down the highway in the lane next to us, going 80, baby in the front seat on Mom's lap. That just made us all sick to see that.

Here are the highlights:
Our first day we drove to north-central Wyoming to see my Grandma and my Mom. We left at 8:45pm on Sunday night and arrived at 3:00pm on Monday. Along the way, we pulled over on the side of the road in Arizona so I could nurse Gracie. I think it was 2 or 3am. The girls and the dog got out to stretch. When we were ready to go again, we all piled in, buckled up and put the van in drive.... OOOPS! Where's the dog? Oh Lordy, we almost forgot our dog in the Virgin Gorge in Arizona. Yikes! In the afternoon before we got to Grandma's house, we stopped in Shoshone for a milkshake. If you are ever passing through Wyoming you just have to take the road that passes through Shoshone and stop for a milkshake! Awesome!

While in Wyoming, we stayed at the Vision Quest Motel. These fine accommodations included two full size beds . Did I mention that there are 4 adult sized people in our family and one toddler who flops around at night? And a big lovable dog? Did I mention that? Sleep was fleeting.

The highlight of our Wyoming visit for the girls was their "playdate" that Grandma set up for them. They were a little worried about this "playdate" wondering what they were in for. They figured it'd be boring or involved horseback riding or something equally awful. Turns out, a couple of teenage girls came for the "playdate" and said "wanna go swimming?". The girls said "sure!" They soon learned that "swimming" meant going 35 miles up the road to the dam and jumping off a cliff into the reservoir. Lexie said "It felt weird cuz after you jump you fall for such a long time". Ok, there are just some things a mother does NOT need to know! That little tidbit is one of them.

On Wednesday, we loaded up and left for the far side of South Dakota. I think there are 2 towns between my Gma's house and my inlaws. Very boring drive. Around 7pm we heard the radio news about the 35W bridge in Minneapolis. The bridge collapsed. Immediately, I called my sister and she is fine she wasn’t on the bridge and neither were any of her in-laws. Whew!

We got to the in-laws late in the evening and the place soon filled up with Aunts, Uncles and cousins. Gracie was a little overwhelmed, but the girls and the dog were super excited to see everyone! I was super excited knowing I would sleep on a double bed in a quiet dark basement! Whooo Hoooo! I'm gonna get more than 4 hours of sleep tonight! I really miss having a quiet dark basement. Such a wonderful place to sleep and sleep and sleep! Ah!

On Friday, I took one teen and one toddler to the new waterpark in town. For those of you familiar with the town, it's at the Southside swimming pool site. Very cool aquatic park! One of my kids enjoyed it very much! My little one did not enjoy the water. She looked very cute in her swim suit though and isn't that what is important to a girl at the pool? She did enjoy running around on the sidewalk and her cousins took her to the sandbox area.

Saturday we
went to Aunt Gert’s estate give away. This is how we ended up bringing home a sewing machine, dishes, some framed art and an end table. We learned that Aunt Gertrude donated her body to science and is currently attending medical school in Vermillion. She'll be there for 2 years. She passed away a month ago. Her and I share a birthday which gave us a sort of a bond. Also, my daughters all looked just like her baby picture. But, she was 14 pounds when she was born! Thankfully, my girls were all between 7 and 8 pounds. Her baby picture looks amazingly like my girls as babies and she just loved that. She gave me her one and only baby picture last summer.

Sunday, we left all the girls with their cousins and my husband and I got away together for the afternoon. Only one of his brothers tagged along, so it was as alone as we were ever going to get on this trip. We went to the Terry Redlin Art Center. So nice! The paintings are so beautiful and a wonderful peaceful feeling overtakes you as you get sucked into the artwork. I could have stayed there for a few more hours. We bought a small framed print. Then we went out for some mediocre Mexican food with very bad wait service. Made me laugh, South Dakota is just not known for good restaurants. Oh to be back home again!

We packed up and left Monday evening at 8pm Central Time and got home 30 hours later at midnight our time. This was a 1650 mile drive from there to here, but we did it in one shot to get it done.

We've been home for a whole day now so I guess I should unpack and clean up the vacation mess. My new mini-van did really well! It is so full of dog hair now though. We put 3831 miles on it and drove for 69 hours from our house back to our house again. I'd say it's maiden voyage was a wonderful success! We'll do it again in 11 months!

Here are some more vacation pictures, there is a nice collection in the photo gallery of our family web site if you want to see them all:

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Well, my dear blog, I am taking an internet hiatus. I will miss my connection through the world wide web to the outside. But, I will put on my big girl pants and get through the withdrawals and resurface a less addicted person. I think every once in a while we need to get away from our crutches and stand on our own just to remember what that feels like. Gives a person a renewed appreciation for such things. Look for an update when I finish my internet addiction detox.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Adventures at Baby Playgroup

I took Gracie to baby playgroup yesterday. It's actually a breast feeding support group, but only about half the people who go are breastfeeding and we never even talk about feeding, it's just playtime! We haven't been there all summer, so when Daddy needed some time to work at home without anyone helping him throw his papers all over the house, we made a return trip to baby playgroup.

The group is led by lactation consultants/nurses. This time it was led by a different nurse than the usual gal. It went well for the most part. The toddlers played and the infants had to be protected from the toddlers. The usual. One of the mommies has twin girls the same age as Gracie. They had a good time playing together. The twins just started to walk, till now they've been scooting in a seated position instead of crawling. So, the nurse says to the mom "The crawling phase is very important. Babies who don't crawl are most likely to have learning disabilities. You better teach them to crawl." I swear, everyone in the room dropped their jaw to the floor! I don't know why that nurse didn't just beat her up too, may as well have! I really thought that was out of line to talk to that mom in that manner in front of a group and with that blunt tone. Plus, skipping the crawling stage does not cause learning disabilities!

Why can't little Johnny read by age 9? Oh, he didn't crawl before he walked. Well, that certainly explains things!

Otherwise, playgroup went well. The toddlers played, drooled on each other's toys, drank out of each other's sippy cups, laughed, threw things, etc. Good times!

And since I'm on the subject of baby group, I'll paste below a story from the archives about another day at playgroup for your entertainment...... here it is:

She's a Bully! May 3, 2007
I take Gracie to a baby playgroup every Tuesday. A couple of weeks ago, we were at playgroup and in comes a new mom with her brand new baby and her 3 yr old boy. The boy had a handful of cars and trucks.

Gracie crawls up to him really fast and grabs him to pull herself up, which he doesn't enjoy much. His mom says "Be nice to the babies". So, Gracie then grabs a truck from his hands and he starts to cry. She kind of crawls away with it. He is fussing to his mom and she says "share". Ha! Gracie wins!

Then Gracie crawls around behind him and grabs his pants again to pull herself back up and she knocks him to his knees. He starts to cry. His mom rolls her eyes and ignores him, so I let it go too. But, while he's on his knees, Gracie backs up and then..... she comes at him full force and body slams him so he does a face plant. Remember, his hands are full of trucks.

While he's laying on the floor bawling, Gracie takes this opportunity to climb over him. After all, he is laying on the floor! She dives over the top of him and while doing so, she kicks him in the face with her shoe. Ok, now he's really crying! He puts his little hands up to his face and that's when Gracie seizes the opportunity and takes all his trucks and cars!

Once she's got the loot, she's scampering away to the other side of the room.

All the moms were just wide-eyed and stunned. Gracie just beat down a 3 yr old twice her size!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Eyeglasses Drama

One of the princesses needs glasses. Oh dear, here we go!

For the full saga.... read my husband's blog

Short version:
I felt uncomfortable with the service at the JC Penny Optical store, there were a few little things that should have made me turn and run, but for some reason I wasn't in tune with my "I'm getting screwed" radar. Possibly because while my 16 yr old prissy princess was choosing frames for her sweet little expensive taste face, I was dealing with little princess pissy pants. Gracie (16 mths old) soaked through her diaper and peed all over her stroller, was bored outa her mind, wanted to run around and would love nothing more than to twist and break every pair of glasses in that store. So, here I am, trying to manage both princesses without losing my freaking mind and the lady helping us seemed like she was totally not sure what on earth she was doing.

Anyway, Lexie picks out a frame that costs $212. Lenses are an added expense. Ugh.

Came home frustrated and confused, since the lady seemed to be talking in circles while I was running in circles going the other direction.

Fast forward a bit. A week later I call JCP and check on the status of the order. I think they should be arriving soon. Guess what? JCP never ordered them! I have no idea why they never got ordered. She took my credit card number and all the info and we went through the entire purchasing deal. So, who knows?

JCP says they will place the order but I have to pay $10 to rush it now. Screw that. I told JCP that's ridiculous, forget it. We ordered her glasses online from Got the frames for $75 plus had to pay for the lenses. After insurance, we're paying $30 plus $9.95 for shipping. This is the EXACT same frame that she just HAD to have in the store!

Woo Hoooo! Thank you Al Gore for inventing the internet!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another use for Vaseline

Did you know that a 16 mth old can empty a jar of vaseline and smear it all over herself while her big sister/babysitter is going potty? Oh yes. A 16 mth old can grease herself all up from head to toe in under a minute!

Also, there is enough vaseline left on a toddlers hands to re-cover her belly after sister removes the slimey shirt.

And then.... this greased toddler can escape to the back yard while sister-sitter is letting the dog out and trying to figure out what to do the the vaseline monster.

Vaseline and dirt make a wonderful body and hair paste.

And, a toddler can remove her own diaper on the lawn even with vaseline/dirt covered paws. There is enough vaseline to continue to smear on her butt.

Grass sticks to a naked vaseline covered child.

According to the big sister/frustrated babysittter.... oven mitts are essential for baby care when vaseline is involved.

Vaseline also makes a very nice ring around the tub and enables the grass and dirt to stick to the sides of the tub too.

It's just amazing what fun a toddler can have with one little jar of Vaseline.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Happy Feet Spanish Lyrics

I'm trying to figure out what the penguins sing in Spanish. Here are the pieces I've gotten figured out, if you know more or can correct my mistakes, let me know!

This is in the middle of Gloria's Boogie Wonderland. The Penguin Rap:

Yo soy Raul, penguino mas cool, latino, 100% espanol, my brothers que!
Loco me llamen, una senorita me siento, como flama la fiesta, baile baile, muchachita
Mi corazon tiene dynamita boom! exacto! que coma en el plato
Si er tu papi penguino (booyaka booyaka)

My Way sung by Robin Williams to Gloria behind Mumble's back:

Yo se', se termino'
Nuestro amor, divino
Mis amigos, les declare',
Les dire'
Que estoy seguro
Que' es un hombre
Sin nada ma's
Si no un Senor
Con la'grimas
Debe decir
Debe gritar
Debe sentir
En la verdad
Luche, gano
Sobre sal
Lo hice My Way!

(ok, I admit, I kinda lose it at the end there, one verse totally doesn't make sense)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My DMV experience from Sept 2003

We moved to California in 2003 and that meant getting our vehicles all registered and legal with our new residency. In my attempts to accomplish this goal, I learned a lot, made several mistakes, and had quite an adventure. All this blogging about my mini-van made me think this story that I wrote and posted at the time on my family forum would fit right here. Here it is, Copied and Pasted for you blog style.

Day I - Sept 14, 2003
It was 8:30 am and I grabbed the vehicle titles and the checkbook and ran to the DMV office to run in and get new license plates. I had other errands to run too, and thought I'd be back home in an hour or so, since I had only a couple of stops to make. Since it was early and not too hot yet, I let Sandy come along.

I got to the DMV office just before 9:00 and had to wonder why there were so dang many cars there! I couldn't find a place to park. I did get lucky and found a shady spot within a block of the DMV building. I got up to the building and had to wait in line just to get in the door! Once I got in, I had to take a number. The numbers are given out in sets of six or seven, so your number starts with a letter. I was B116. Also was given some paperwork to fill out.

The B window was serving number B036. Hmmmm....

I looked around this overcrowed place at all the people. There were rows of hard plastic chairs, but it was shoulder to shoulder standing room only. Everyone must come early, bet it's not so busy later in the day. I noticed they were giving driving tests over on the other side of the building, that must be why it's so busy. I'll bet they only do that once a week or something, that must explain the mass quantity of people. (I learned later that it's just always like that - always!). Being at the DMV kind of felt like being at a Greyhound bus station. These are the people I share the road with? Egads!

A little after 10:00, I remembered that the dog is sitting in the truck. Whooops, almost forgot! They were now helping B058. I had plenty of time to run her home. So, I did. More cars were circling around the building looking for parking spaces.

Around 12:30, I went back to the DMV. I figured they must have closed over the noon hour so the workers could have lunch. (They don't) I'll get there before 1:00 and get a nice parking spot and a hard plastic chair. Didn't.

They were on B086. Well, I have time to run the truck through the VIN inspection line before I get my turn at the window. I almost forgot that the lady told me I have to do that when she gave me my number.

Walked a block, got the truck and drove up to the VIN inspector's line. Waited. Waited. Waited. Blonde mini-skirt inspector comes over and checks out the truck. She says "wow, that's an old truck" and "sure got a lot of miles" and "take the license plates off and hand them over". And I said "got a screwdriver?" She says "no". So, she said I could turn the plates in when I go inside after I run home and get a screwdriver. I checked, they are now on B093. It's 1:30 in the afternoon. I didn't run home, my number should be soon.

I had to find a parking space again. After circling a few times, I got lucky and got a space. Again, within a block. Not bad. I'm wondering now why the cars in the parking lot of the building never seem to move. Must be the DMV workers. Get back in, they are on B108. Yippee! My turn soon!

About 2:15 they called "Serving B116 at window 12". Felt like I just won the lottery! I got to window 12, and this guy who may or may not have had a toupee says "yeah?" And I said "I need California license plates for my vehicles" He says "You been smogged?" I said "what?" "Smogged" I raised my eyebrows, thinking, oh yeah.... emission tests. He turns to another lady who is just standing around back behind all the window clerks and he says to her "you want this one? I don't think she's been smogged and it's my breaktime". She says "you finish it and then I'll cover for you" they discuss his breaktime for a bit, then he gets up and leaves. She sighs. She says "you been smogged yet?" I said "I drove through some" heh heh. Didn't lighten her up any. She said "why is this title on red paper?" I told her, it's a Salvage title. She kind of groaned. She said "Come back when you've been smogged". I said "what exactly do you mean when you say that?". She said "Go to a mechanic and get a smog test done". oh. ok. And why did I only have one vehicle inspection form? Well, I only had the truck inspected since that is what I drove today. She said I had to have the other vehicle run through the inspection line. Why didn't I do that already? I told her "I only drove one vehicle". Well, I couldn't get plates for the van because it hadn't been inspected by Barbie outside. She starts typing in her computer again. How much did I pay for the truck? I said " I dunno, we've owned it for years and years, and it isn't worth anywhere near what it was worth then, we've nearly driven the life out of it". She said "doesn't matter, I need to know what you paid for it when you bought it and then I'll decide how much it's worth." Told her I didn't know. I'd find out and get smogged and I'll be right back. So, I left.

Went home. It was after 3:00 and Lexie would be home from school soon. I'll get smogged tomorrow.

DMV Day II - the morning.

So, it was Thursday now, and I thought I'd better get to the DMV early so that I could get a good number and not have to wait all day. Good plan.

I took the van today. Needed a VIN inspection on it too. The truck went through the DMV VIN inspection yesterday, so I should be able to get the van done, turn in the paperwork I had on the truck too, and come home with license plates!

I got to the DMV nice and early. Almost 9:00 am. Same as the day before. I got an awesome parking spot too! And, I got lucky and got number B043. Wow!!! They were on B016, so I had time to run the van around and get the VIN inspector to look it over.

Once again, the VIN inspector looked a lot like a Barbie doll. Today, more cleavage than was really necessary. She looked it over and signed my license plate application form and then I was out looking for a place to park again. Not so lucky now, the area was filling up. Parked a half a block away and went in to wait.

Now that it was 9:45 am, I was getting impatient. After all, I did get a better number than yesterday. Well, that's when I noticed, they weren't calling any B numbers. But, the last B number was in the thirties, I should stay in case the B windows open up again and my number gets called. A035, G016, D012, J011, C063, A036, and on it went until about 10:30. B037. Yes! The B people are back!!!

I got my number called at 11:00. Woo Hoo! I'm gonna get these license plates and get home before lunchtime! Here we go!

So, I give the lady at the window my two license plate applications, my two VIN inspection papers, and my two titles. And I say "I need license plates". She says "You been smogged?". Dang it. I totally forgot! "No". And she says "You gotta get smogged" and then she says "Why is this title on red paper?" I tell her it's a salvage title, the van was wrecked when we bought it, it's all fixed up. She says "you gotta prove that it is roadworthy, it has to be reinstated as a legal vehicle to be on the road". I said "oh, it's fixed, you can't even tell it was wrecked" She says "I am not allowed to just believe you, you have to get a brake and light certificate on this vehicle. And, you have to get a weight certificate on your truck". So, I now need 2 smog tests, 1 weight certificate, 1 brake certificate, and 1 light certificate. Long list. I say "Where can I get all this done?" She says "oh, anywhere, all the mechanics do it. Hmmm ok.

So, now it's 11:30 and since I've only had some coffee so far today, I figured I go home and do my smog, brake & light tests this afternoon. Guess it will be a longer day than I thought it would.

DMV Day II - Quest for the license plates continued
Since I had the presence of mind to get a new number before I left this morning - I figured after my smog, brake & light tests I could get those license plates! Got number B116. Geez, I've got plenty of time!

I only have the van today, usually Keith takes the van because he has to commute on the freeway and the van drives and brakes so much better. So, just today with the van. Gotta get this crap done and get some California license plates on this baby. I ran home and called a couple of places to get prices. Holy cow! Smog tests are anywhere from $50 - $70, and I only found one place that said they do brake & light tests, but the guy who can do them is on vacation. That is a $100 package deal.

I had to call Keith's buddy, Mike. He lives in Temecula, helped us move in and gives us all the good shopping and driving advise. So I get Mike on his cell and say "This is Mary" and he says "Who?" He didn't remember me! I say "Keiths wife". Oh yeah. Hehehehe. Sure enough, he knows where I can get smogged for $35.

I went there, the guy says he can do the smog test, but not the brake and lights. And, he couldn't do the smog test for 3 or 4 hours, he was backed up. I decided not to wait that long, and I need the B&L test too, so I drove around going to all these repair shops. I finally found ONE shop that will do the B&L. The lady at the desk says, Smog test is $65 and B&L test is $170. :shock: ouch. I'm going to just give up! It was already past 2:00 in the afternoon.

I went back to the DMV. Dang it! I missed my turn! Had to get a new number. I went back to the "Start Here" line. Told the lady, I had number B116, but I missed my turn. She gave me A096. Cool, the A line is on A088.

Didn't have to wait long, but I did have to sit by a guy who had a really bratty 3-year old. Why do people bring active 3 year-olds to the DMV, geez, you have to sit here for hours. I can't think of any 3 year-old who would be able to stand it. In fact, I can't stand sitting here for hours either. So, I take my place in the hard plastic chair between the guy with the brat and another guy who smells like he's been working on the farm, and he's got an amateur tattoo of a naked lady on his arm. Thank goodness I got a chair. (I think.)

"A096 at Window 8". Again, I feel like I just won a big prize! I fight off the urge to yell BINGO! It's 3:20pm now. I get to the window (sure hope this lady speaks English better than the last one) and tell her that I need license plates, I understand that I only have 20 days from the day I move here to get them, but I tell her that I had trouble getting in for the smog, brake & light tests today. And, the only place I could find that does the B&L - the guy who does it is on vacation. So, could I please have some extra time to get these tests done? My 20 days is up tomorrow. She says the penalty for driving around with out of state plates after 20 days is definitley something I should avoid. I told her that I drove around and called around and only found the one place that does the B&L. (I didn't tell her about the $170 place). She said "Here's a list of places that do the B&L". And she hands me this handy-dandy list! Geez, this would have helped earlier!!! She said "not all the workers here are as helpful as they should be, we're supposed to just run people through as fast as we can, so a lot of people don't get the information they need." But, she doesn't care if she works slower, she'd rather be helpful. Yippeeee!!! I got the best lady at the DMV!!!!

Then, she said "Why do you have a salvage vehicle anyway?" So, I tell her the deal on the van. Then, she says "And you have a truck?" Yes. "Did you get it weighed?" No. So I point out that the weight is listed on the title. She says "We aren't supposed to use that, but I'll just enter it in and you can forget about getting the weight certificate" Yay!!! She says "That'll save you $50 and it'll be the same weight anyway, I don't know why we need to weigh these little pick-ups". So, she says "You can pay for your plates now, and I'll give you temporary permits for both vehicles, but you have to get your smog tests and your B&L test done before you get your license plates. I'll give you till November 1st to get it done, that should give you enough time." I love this lady!!! I fork over $199.00 and get my temporary permits. She says "You are getting these for pretty cheap, an average license plate is around $300, and you just got two for $199". She says some people don't think of this when they buy a car and get some fancy expensive thing.

She says "You know how the fees break down for the license plates?" I said "Well, no" She says "I'm explaining it to everyone because people think that they are going to triple the car license prices, and that's not really how it is" she goes on and on about the breakdown of each tax, there are several line items that make up your license plate fee and only one of those line items will triple. For us, it means an extra $7 on the truck and an extra $23 on the van. But, we won't have to pay our first time Californian fees, so our plates will be cheaper next time anyway. I got better information from this lady than from any of the gubernatorial candidates! She says "Well, if they come through my line, I'll explain it to them too" LOL! I really do love this lady! I tell her "You are the best DMV window! I hope I get Window #8 next time too!" I told her I'd been here for 2 solid days.

She tells me, make an appointment so you don't have to wait very long. She says the lines move by letter, then by number. A means appointment, they get priority. B - registration without an appointment, C - driving test without an appointment, D- I don't remember what D was, no E line, F , G, H, they were all something too, J - Handicapped. They go to the wheelchair accessible windows. She said the B line takes the longest because registering vehicles is everyone's least favorite thing to do, and those people don't have an appointment, so they are the lowest priority. I say "Oh".

Now, it's almost 4:00pm. I'm so happy - I got temporary permits and I didn't have to give up my SD plates yet! I'm going home - it's been another long day at the California DMV.

Here it is... October 12th.... and we are still driving around with South Dakota plates and using our South Dakota drivers licenses. We are waiting to get the vehicles in for smog tests and the brake & light test, and we need our birth certificates to get drivers licenses! Had to order those. So, we are still South Dakotans!

Smog, Brake & Light Tests - Oct. 20
Oh, this was a fun day. After getting everyone off to school, I went to one of the three places in Temecula/Murrieta for a State Certified Brake & Light test on the van. This is required for the van because it has a salvage title, and I must prove to the DMV Gods that the van is roadworthy and not a big pile of crumpled metal on wheels. So, off to get the brakes and lights looked over.

I took it to Rancho Smog in Temecula. Nice guy works there named Mike. He says "Have a seat, we'll call you when it's ready." So, I sit down on the vinyl couch and look at old magazines. I figure, it's 9:00am now & I'm the first one here. All they have to do is check the brakes and lights- I wonder if I'll have time to read a whole magazine? Mike says this is gonna cost me $100 for the brake test, $50 for the lights, and $50 for the smog. Plus certificates.

A few more people came in and sat in the waiting area too. After an hour or two, they left. Their cars were done!!!! Grrrr!!! I sat there thinking "It should be done any minute now".

Around 11:20 Smiling Mike came to me and said "Mrs. Schumacher, you might want to come back and take a look at this". Oh geez. I went to the back ! My van was up in the air, no wheels, pieces and parts everywhere! Gawd! I thought they were just going to test the brakes and lights! Mike says "We have to pull all the wheels off to inspect the brakes. Your front brakes need new pads and your back brakes will not pass the inspection - they leak and they need new parts. The drums have a huge crease in them and You need new ". Oh. Geez. Keith is gonna crap! Mike, while smiling, says they can just put it all back together and do nothing, then we won't pass the test until we get it fixed either here or somewhere else, or they can fix it, or they can fix part of it, so what do I want to do? It's gonna only cost me another $350 to get the brakes fixed. Not fixing them would cost me again for another brake test when I get them fixed somewhere else and then bring it back for another inspection. Cha-Ching! Either way, it's gonna cost more than we anticipated.

Yesterday, Keith gave me instructions not to let them do anything, just inspect and get the hell outa there. So, I didn't know what to do now. I'm not gonna pass the brake test! Had to call Keith. Of course, I interrupted him during the middle of one of his classes, and he says "you can't call me during class - I'll call you at noon". I tell Mike that I don't know what my husband wants, he'll call me back later, and we can explain this to him and find out. So, it's back to the couch for me till Keith calls back.

Then, the guys in the back of Rancho Smog started to go out for lunch. One by one, they left. Mike smiled at every one of them and said "see ya after lunch!" I sit there.

Keith called. I tried to tell him everything, but ended up just giving the cell phone to Mike and let him and Keith discuss this "Man to Man". Then, Keith talks to me again, we're getting the back brakes fixed, replaced, or whatever, and Keith will put new front brake pads on at home. Even though he just did that 6 months ago! Apparently, our back brakes haven't been working, so the front brakes were doing everything, and now the 3 year life of the brake pads has been used up in 6 months. So, let him fix it and pay the man. And, Keith promises to do the front brake pads himself, very soon. Mike says it will pass brake inspection by doing it this way, so, ok this is the way we go.

So, then at 12:30, I decided, I'm sick of sitting on this couch and I wouldn't mind getting some lunch too. My appointment with the Cal State dude is at 1:00. I asked Mike if I could get my stuff out of my van. Then, I walked. Got a fruit smoothie right near the Cal State office. It wasn't very far to walk, and after sitting quietly all morning, I would have been happy to walk ten miles.
Went to my appointment at the Cal State office - that sucked. I was there for about a half an hour talking with someone who couldn't answer any of my questions. Anyway, that's another story. At least I had time to waste today. Walked back to Rancho Smog. Now, it's 1:30.

They are almost done. The van was getting new back brakes, and no new front pads. It passed the brake test. Light test went well. I don't know what they did for that, but I didn't want to know either. It passed. Who cares how they do that. I'm sure they just turn the lights on and walk around the van saying "yup, yup, yup, yup". Now, the van was in the Smog Bay. Should only be another 30 minutes or so. Yay!

Around 2:25. (that was a long half hour!).. Mike says it's done! So, I go to pay the man. Stupid Wells Fargo Card wouldn't work. Again, this is another story of how Wells Fargo ATM cards only work as Credit cards here because it is a South Dakota account number, which is one of three states that do not work in Cali as debit cards. However, there are a lot of places that only do debit and not credit. Guess what. Rancho Smog is one of them. My card says "Denied. Code 605" Ugh. So, I have to write a check and assure Mike that the money is good. Does he believe me? I dunno. I pay him $550 for today's torture. All this takes us a good 20 minutes because Mike feels the need to explain the mechanicky stuff to me again. Again, I do not understand the language, and more than that, I really don't care. I take my receipt and my keys and get the hell outa there.

I've been there at Rancho Smog on the vinyl couch from 9:00 am to 2:55 pm. Except for the one hour that I walked to the Cal State office. I just spent another 6 hours trying to get closer to obtaining license plates. At least the testing is done on the van, we are getting closer to getting those California license plates!

Let's see... my running total of hours on this quest for California license plates has run up to 19 hours so far.

Smog Test for Truck - Nov 19

After the lengthy day at Rancho Smog, I wasn't in any big hurry to spend another day sitting in a mechanic's waiting area with the truck. But, it had to be done, and I'm the one who gets the joy of doing it. So, on Nov. 19th, I finally said to myself ugh. Better just go do it. I had premium gas in the truck and I ran the truck pretty good before I took it in. I really hope this old piece of crap truck passes the smog test!

I took a book.

This time, I went to Murrieta Smog Only. The only thing we need on the truck is a smog test, so this sounded like a good place. And, it's right next door to a fabric store!

I got there in the morning, about 10:00am. Just in case it takes all day. I'm learning to plan ahead for the waiting process now. I went in, notice the stack of tattered magazines in the waiting area and groan to myself. I really don't want to sit there all day.

I ask the guy if he can do a smog test on my pick-up, he asks me all the usual questions, make, model, year, miles, he says sure. It will take about 30 - 40 minutes. I smile, cuz I know that he really means it'll take most of the day. So, I said ok. Gave him the keys and went next door to the fabric store.

I spent 30-40 minutes in there just looking and looking and looking. Dreaming and gazing at the fabrics and looked at lots of design magazines. These were upholstery and drapery fabrics and most of them were around $40 a yard. Give or take a few dollars. When I felt the danger of my credit card trying to jump outa my purse and get some new drapery fabric to make some beautiful curtains I figured I'd go to the Smog place and read my book till they were done with the truck.

I went back and read two chapters and then the guy came out and said it was done and it passed! I'll bet I had the biggest surprise look on my face! So, I paid the guy and he gave me my receipt and said he sent the DMV my smog results electronically. Cool! This place cost me $50 plus $8.25 for the certificate. (which was electronic). Used my Wells Fargo card. That worked too! It was not even noon yet! Wow!!!

21 hours in the quest for new plates.

DMV Thursday, Nov 20

I got all my tests done on both vehicles! Today, I'm coming home with license plates!

I went to the DMV again today. It's been a while. Got there and waited for what must be the standard minimum waiting time 2 hours. Went up to the window and gave the lady all my papers and she says "Your husband needs to sign here. Next!" Dammit.

23 hours in the quest for new plates.

DMV Friday, Nov 21.

Today, the DMV is a lot busier. Good thing I am in the habit of getting there early. Ugh, did I say I have a DMV habit?

Again, waited a couple of hours. Got to the window and she takes the paperwork on the Truck first. Gives me a piece of paper and I give her the van paperwork. She says "this is a wrecked vehicle?" yes. "You need a brake & light certificate". I say what the guy told me at the fixing place. They sent it to the DMV electronically. She says, no, they can't do that. They can only do that for smog tests, not B&L. I should have two slips of paper. The actual certificates. Dammit.

I got another number and went to Rancho Smog. Talked to Mike again. He remembered me. I'm the one with the salvage van that was repaired nicely. Whoever did it did a great job except the back brakes he had to replace. Yah, he did remember me, but of course he did, I was there all freaking day! Mike said they can't just give me copies. I'll have to pay $8.25 for each certificate to be written again. Grrr. I told him I'd go home and look for them. He showed me what they should look like.

26 hours.

DMV Monday. Nov. 24

9:00 am. Back to Rancho Smog. I tell the guy "I can't find the brake and light certificates. I must have pitched them. Because I understood that he was sending it electronically, so I didn't really need the paperwork, and I've cleaned up and tossed stuff since then. He says, ok. He'll write up new ones. I remembered that my stupid Wells Fargo card wouldn't work at their place, so I brought cash today. Mike goes through his certificate book, which was all neat and orderly, and he couldn't find my certificate copies. He needed to look at his copy to rewrite everything. So, another guy looks, they both look. He says do you remember what exactly I gave you? I say no. I was there for hours and hours, I just grabbed the receipt and left. I threw it on the floor in the van. I cleaned out the van since then and threw out all sorts of stuff, but I don't remember those from the cleaning either. I have no idea. Just write new ones. He says, "I didn't give you any certificates!" And, he remembered my van, he remembered me, and he has no copies, so, I guess I didn't loose them! Yay! He writes me two certificates and I didn't have to pay.

9:40 am. Went to the DMV. Waited for a good long time. Got called to window number 4. Wondered where that really good lady went. She prolly got fired for being such a good window lady. She told people about how the taxes worked and stuff. Anyway, this lady took my paperwork, then I asked "Will my plates be sequential since I'm licensing two vehicles?" "No Ma'am". I think I must not have been clear, I ask again. "Can I get my license numbers to be something easy to remember, like one number right after the other, or a number that repeats itself, or my house number or something?" The DMV lady gives me a look. She says "You can order personalized plates, but you gotta do that before you come and git 'em and it costs extra" So, I think, hmmm, she doesn't get it. I'm just asking her to pull out two really cool numbers out of her inventory nothing personalized. So, I try again. It became apparent by the glare in her eyes and the tone of her answers, I think she got sick of me asking for sequential plates, I only asked 3 times! She finally said "M'am, you get what you get, you don't have to keep axe-in me, you aren't getting sequential plates".

This lady gave me my slip of paper for the van. Then, I had to go and wait in line at window number 9. Only two people in front of me, so it didn't take long at all. (not long in DMV time, which I have learned is much slower than real time). Then, I asked this lady for sequential plates. Again, got the big burley NO. This time, I only asked once. This DMV lady didn't look like she was as jolly as the last one. So, I tell her, hey, the other lady took my titles, I need titles. She says they'll get mailed to me in 30 days. Ok. But, I did have one more question...

I asked her what the deal is with the plates she gave me, they start with different numbers. She gives me this "what the hell are you talking about look". I say, does the first number represent where you live? Cuz these are different. She's confused. I try again. These don't start the same "Does the license plate number in any way reflect the county where I live? Like a lot of states, the first number or first two numbers represent the county". She says "we don't do that". She did say that the plate with one letter is for the truck, the plate with three letters is for the car. Oh. So, there is some meaning to the random numbering. She looked really freaked out that I even asked.

I walked out of the DMV carrying California license plates! Yippee!!!! SUCCESS!!!

When I got home at 1:30 pm, I emailed Keith at his school and told him of my success today. I got plates! He replies "Are they sequential?"

How long does it take to go to the DMV and get California license plates? My experience adds up to 31 hours. Compare this to the 5 minutes it took me to get license plates at the South Dakota Hughes County courthouse several years ago. Hmmmm.

DMV Random Comments, Questions and Observations

* Why is the DMV office located out around nothing else. You have to wait and wait and wait, there's no shopping, fast food, gas station, or park anywhere nearby. That would be helpful!!!

* Why isn't my driver's license good enough ID to get a new drivers license? It's good ID everywhere else! I have to come up with a birth certificate? That's better ID?

* Why don't they put in a tv? News, weather, anything!

* Can I get sequentially numbered license plates? Why?

*Why do people have tattoos of people who have no tattoos? Seriously, I saw a lot of tattoos while doing my time at the DMV, and I noticed a lot of tattoos are of people. Usually, it's a man's arm with a woman tattoo. But, the people tattoos do not have tattoos. Isn't that weird?

* Why do all these people smell so bad???

* Why would you bring your toddlers and preschoolers to sit with you for hours at the DMV? Why???

* A drop in daycare service located right next to the DMV might be a really good business idea.

* Naaaa. I don't think I have to go to the ladies room THAT badly! I'll wait a few more hours. Next time, less coffee before coming here!!!

* Can I get license plates that are numbered one right after the other? Please? Yes, I know I already asked this, but I thought I'd try again.

* No, I didn't bring both my vehicles with me today. I only drove ONE. I answered that question almost every time I went there.

* There sure are a lot of really old people who drive. Look at 'em all!

* No, I did not loose my license plates, and they were not stolen. Yes, I still need license plates. I just moved here. (Nobody ever asked if I just moved here, they just asked if my plates were lost or stolen). Wonder what happens more frequently, lost plates, stolen plates, or I just moved here and need plates, hmm.

* Why do the workers at the DMV (except the Vin Inspector) look like they lift weights. A lot.

* Can I have sequentially numbered plates? It would just be kinda cool. No? ok.

One more DMV adventure
April 8, 2004

This morning I went to the DMV to get my California Driver's License. Yeah, I know, I should have done this earlier. I did find out that California requires new residents to get their driver's license within 10 days of moving here. LOL - I didn't even come close to that!

This morning started off kind of early, I had an appointment for the truck to get a new water pump at a place right across from the DMV, so I took the truck to George's Auto. Got the truck there at 7:15, I noticed that there was already a line forming outside the DMV. George and I talked about the truck, got it all checked in, and all that, then I headed across the street. It's 7:30 am now, and the line at the DMV goes from the front door, all across the front of the building, and I took the last place at the end of the side of the building. More people came along and the line went across the little parking lot to the sidewalk on the street.

Doors opened at 8:00, and we all filed in and got numbers. After a while, it was my turn. I gave the lady the form I'd filled out for a license and gave her my certified Wyoming Birth Certificate - a valueable document for getting a license here - and my South Dakota drivers license where I look like I have jaundice. Really, my SD license I have a yellow face. Then, I had to read off letters from a chart hanging on the ceiling. I passed the eye exam!

This lady types all my information in and runs my social security number to see if I'm really me. I am. She instructs me to go stand on the red carpet. I waited in line on the red carpet for another lady - she took my thumbprint, then took my picture - holy cow that flash is bright! Then she hands me the written test and says to take the test in this little room full of people and bring it back when I'm done. Ok. But I can't see. That flash was so bright!

I looked at the test. Spots! Holy cow! It took me a minute. Some of the questions were really silly - I hope nobody ever flunks this test! The only questions I got wrong were about U-turns and pulling a trailer, merging into the freeway in the fog.... things I don't do anyway. There weren't any questions about what the curb colors are - Eddy told me to know those for sure. I did get the question right about how to drive around a trolly. They definately drive different in California - I don't remember any trolly questions on the South Dakota test.

After the lady graded my test - I did just fine - She printed out a sheet of paper and told me that this will be my license until one is mailed to me. I said thanks and turned to leave - took a quick peek at my piece of paper and then I turned back to her and asked "Can I have my married name on my drivers license instead of my maiden name" She didn't answer me and I said "I've been using the name Schumacher for 15 years, can I use it on my drivers license too?" She reaches out for my paper, I gave it to her and she said "Isn't your name Mary Turney?"... Well, it was... but I'd rather use my married name so that my drivers license matches my credit cards, and my vehicle registration and insurance, and everything else. She grunted a bit and scowled, but she says ok, we have to start over.

Didn't really have to start all over, but the lady had to type it all in again, and she had trouble since she was now trying to have two people with the same SSN get a driver's license, so she fiddled around trying to fix it. I had to do my thumbprint again and take my picture again - my hair was still not behaving, so I guess it didn't make any difference to get a second chance at getting a decent photo. Oh well. Blinded again. Geez.

I got a new piece of paper with my "new" name on it. Then, she gave me my test to keep and my old SD driver's license - which now has a hole in it, but I get to keep that too. I left the DMV at 9:30am. Not bad. Only two hours.

Sometime soon, if our mailman actually delivers our mail to our mailbox instead of the neighbor's, I'll get my California driver's license! Cheesy

My adventures at the DMV are finally over! (I hope!)