Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not Quite Disgusting, But Close

Hershey's had me foiled again this weekend! On Sunday I saw the weekly Target ad and felt my heart rate go up when I saw that there were new Kisses out there and on sale this week. I have been let down by the Hershey company in the past, so terribly that I actually wrote them a letter about how their version of a chocolate truffle Kiss actually tasted like chocolate wrapped around a ball of sand. But this time I was certain they would have the formula right for the latest and greatest Pumpkin Kiss. Like I said, foiled again, in more way than one.

The wrapper is pretty, but that is where it ends.

The color is so nasty that even my first impression was "blah".

The inside didn't help the poor little Kiss.

This poor boy had grand expectations and was equally disappointed.

Try them if you dare! They taste like white chocolate with some type of flavoring dumped in. I'm not quite sure what type of pumpkin related flavor is in them as the words cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves are not in the ingredient list. Another possibly good thing gone bad by the Hershey company.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Crash Be Gone

We finally ordered a new computer. A month ago. When she first arrived I placed the box on the counter and for three days Vinnie and I would walk past it with a sideways glance. Neither of us wanted to open the box and boot her up due to the Dell Disaster we have been coping with for the last four years. The Dell, on several occasions, has caused us to consider divorce because nothing is more stressful in the age of technology than a crashy computer. It was kind of like the saying "If mama ain't happy, nobody happy," when your computer crashes and blue screens several times daily ain't nobody happy, especially the guy whose paycheck relies on the machine. And yes, we called Dell many times over the years, in fact the only overseas calls I have ever made, we even paid them an extra hundred dollars to receive phone support after our initial coverage ended.

Needless to say, it was either Vinnie get a new computer and be 90% more efficient at his job or get a new job, or heaven forbid, I get a real job. We did not have it in us to do the Dell thing again, even though others we knew have loved their Dells. Between the unhappy blue screen of death and the terrible support, Dell has lost a customer.

So, we ordered this Lenovo thing, laptop actually, and we were both so gun shy we forced her to sit in the box like she was knitted underwear from Great Aunt Martha. The day we finally let her out and started her up she wouldn't boot up properly. Vinnie just started walking away mumbling something about "Just send it back, send it back, I can't deal with another piece of shit." I, having more faith than a farmer waiting for rain, decided to stick with her and got her up and running in a new pair of Asics.

After being certain she could get her gears turning or bytes biting, whatever the terms are these days we let her sit again until last night when the big internet test took place. I don't think if tigerdirect.com placed a limit of 30 days on our possible return that we would even have gotten to the internet hook-up this year. She looked mighty fine on the counter next to the Kitchen-Aid mixer and surprisingly has survived the creation of quite a few baked items since she arrived. We really didn't want to push our luck but we really needed to know if she was worthy.

Her location was altered and the internet cord attached in the appropriate place. Then the great debate began as to how to get connected. We had a disc, but we didn't think it was the right disc. We figured some type of settings needed to be typed in but we didn't know where. Really, we assumed it had to be difficult so we made a quick call to our internet provider for some technical support and next thing you know I can type, search, read and browse without having to reboot, shut down, restore my previous session because of a crash, or scream. Vinnie told the support tech not to tell anybody that all we had to do was plug in the other end of the cable to the router.

Right now I am in love with her speed and consistency. I think I should borrow her shoes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Corn Feet

Until I officially became entangled in the farming business I had no idea how ugly the base of a stalk of corn looks. No wonder the nasty little corn feet are cut off when corn shocks are made!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Trying To Save a Buck or Two

My attempt to save myself more than a few bucks today really backfired. After morning Mass at the children's school I figured I would shop locally this week for groceries (really bananas, all we ever really need is bananas) and save money on gas and the extra $50 worth of stuff that is "on sale" but that we don't need. My trip was ever so successful and the milk percentage that we drink, or close enough anyway because really 1% isn't gonna kill us in a week, was even on sale.

Unfortunately it all came crashing down and my tidy savings went out the window when I open the passenger door of the van to put my slight purchases on the seat and my ergonomically correct mug smashed onto the cement parking lot. Most people would shrug off such a loss but those of us that are sensory challenged have a difficult time parting with items that make us feel "normal" and on days when my pants fit funny I could at least use this mug because as Goldilocks would say, "It was just right!"

I should have spent the extra money on gas and driven to Meijer because then I would have purchased enough stuff to justify opening the hatch and the mug never would have fallen out. Now I have to go back to the Flint Farmer's Market and hope that there is another mug in my size.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sometimes It Isn't About Us

Sometimes the answers to dilemmas we face as parents are not always as clear as we want them to be but often times if we lay it all out on the table before making a decision we have a better chance to focus. At the beginning of this school year we were forced to make a difficult choice regarding our 5 year old son that was enrolled in kindergarten. Although we knew before classes started that he would be the only boy among 6 girls in the class we still maintained that he would hold a position in that group. Shortly after the year began it became very apparent that this classroom was not going to be a good fit for him so I started the agonizing process of trying to find out what would be best for Gibby. Note: I did not say what was best for me, because truly and honestly the easiest thing would have been to drop him off each day with the other kids and pick him up at the end of day.

I researched schools online, called some of them and even spent a half day in two different classrooms observing. And although I know my child, I still sought out the opinion of others who knew him and those that have valuable experience in education. I was doing my best to make a switch but I desperately want to make the RIGHT switch. It was a challenge for all of us, but especially for Gibby. We did attempt to make it easier by allowing him some limited and very guided choice in the matter. We encouraged him to choose what we thought would be best for him in the future and not what would be convenient for me right now. And I'm proud of Gibby for giving it a chance to work, to take a leap and trust that mom and dad sometimes know what they are talking about. He is now happily homeschooling the kindergarten curriculum and attending a high-energy preschool classroom in the mornings to meet his socialization needs. It is amazing how a problem can work itself out with the best possible solution if one chooses to seek out the right resources and puts their child ahead of all other worries and comforts.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To Be Three

Or ten.

I imagine he will tug at my heart in seven years the same way he did when he was born three years ago and as he does today. Somehow all the trials, frustrations and complexities of getting him to the talking/eating/using the toilet stage melt away when I view him in his natural element:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

2-4-2 and 3.1

2 Straight days of steady rain,

4 kids,

2 dogs,

and a 5k run at Genesys Health Park on some slick but beautiful paved trails.

It apparently was the last race I will run during the official calendar season of fall as I am going to be entering the wonderful world of having a dancer audition for a part in the Flint Institute of Music's Whiting Production of the Nutcracker.

Anyway, the race course was great, a bit on the curvy side and with the rain and wooden bridges one had to be extra cautious, but the rain was definitely welcome with the heat and humidity.

And I knew one of these races would finally come through for me on the post-race refreshment front! I have been disappointed the past few races but the people directing this race knew how to keep us happy as we were waiting for the chip-timed results. Krispy Creme donuts, cinnamon roll things, bananas, apples, bagels from Big Apple, Fruit and Yogurt Parfait from that place with the golden arches that I am vehemently against but I will give them credit nonetheless, and some kind of baked fiber/fruit/chocolate chip bar that contained a week worth of fiber but still tasted really good.

Overall, this was a great race, the usual nice (long sleeve!) t-shirt, exciting course, yummy post-race food but they really lost it with the awards. I mean, I know I shouldn't complain and all because I did receive an award but I'm not quite sure what to do with it. It is the plaque thing in the upper left of the photo. I'm not thinking I want to hang it next to my 6th grade "diploma" plaque or replace our wedding photo with it (I know, for those of you that have been here, what photo?). Maybe Vinnie could use it as a coaster for his whiskey glass in the barn? Or possible I could send it to the student loan people and they would accept it in lieu of this month's payment? Because really, without a "real" job, that is all I am worth at this point in time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Meet E

Again. It has happened again. A small simple letter switch because some well-meaning individual thinks the first "e" in my name is a typo and should be an "i". I always tell people it's with an "e" not an "i" and then I proceed to spell it for them: M-e-c-h-e-l-l-e. No, no, not one "l", two "l's" but with an "e" and not an "i".

The trouble started early. When I was in kindergarten I discovered that you could spell Mechelle with an "i" as opposed to an "e" so quite frequently I would switch them up. I had the coolest name! You could spell it two ways! Then somewhere in between taking a test with a purple crayon in the room across the hall and watching the Letter People on t.v. there was a conversation between my mom and the teacher. I vaguely remember it, but it was regarding my confusion about my identity because I kept changing the spelling of my name. From then on I was discouraged from spelling it the wrong way. No more cool name for me.

I made it though elementary and middle school where teachers were always double checking the accuracy of my name spelling on the first day of class. And it was just assumed that I would never be able to own any of those personalized items that were all the rage with my real name on them. Like the colored rulers or pencils that had Jennifer in fancy letters. Nope. I do remember one Christmas I found a red ruler in my stocking with MECHELLE on it and I was so excited that the spelling must be common enough to delegate the use on other such items. Upon closer inspection I realized my mom had taken black marker and added lines to the I. The fact that you could not find the spelling of my name on such items caused my paternal grandmother such angst that she took to buying me things that had Shelly on them. In fact, I wonder if some of her dislike for my mother started with the odd-spelling her first granddaughter's name. Geez, she couldn't find anything made out of 14k gold with that spelling on it! With disappointment in hand she bought me a gold chain with the letters S-h-e-l-l-y hanging from it. Thankfully the name never took and that grandma was the only one who called me that.

In high school I kept the "e" and dropped an "l". Again, with teachers making sure The Book was correct in regard to my first name.

College was back to two "l's" and acceptance of the "e". Most professors in the early years didn't care but as the classes got smaller I started receiving the verification question once again.

The best job I ever had in college I almost didn't get an interview for because my future boss thought I had a typo in the heading of my resume. He told me this after he hired me and we had a working relationship.

Skip forward to today where I received a phone call from my doctor's office because the labs I had drawn on August 22nd were still not in the system. In fact the lab claimed my last blood draw at their facility was March 08. I'm quite a regular there these days so I knew something was not right but it never entered my mind that the old "i" got put in place of the "e" and my second personality was under scrutiny and not my real one. I'm thinking if the results are less than desirable I will have them treat that woman with the "i" instead of the "e" and I'll go about my regular life, maybe change my name to Shelly if I have to.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Playing with Mary

When Mary asked for five things that drive her blog-readers crazy she probably didn't anticipate that it would take me days to whittle down my list to such a manageable number, but I think I finally did it and because the past week has been hell but is now looking up I want you all to know that number one is the nearest and dearest to my heart right now:

1. Parents that do things or make choices for the sake of their own convenience without any regard for what is best for their child/children.

2. Politics.

3. Graham crackers that don't break on the lines.

4. Potty training.

5. Walkers that line up for races in front of runners and then proceed to walk in unpassable packs.

Bonus: Crappy race t-shirts!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Number One Way to Tell Fall is Coming

Back when we were homeschooling I required the children to watch the entire series of Little House on the Prairie, all nine seasons. They loved it! But for some reason the discs sit in their homes until about this time of the year when they innocently pop out and I find the theme song to Little House blaring. This is how I know that fall is coming and winter is soon to follow, because with nine seasons you have to start about now to get to the end, you know, the one where Albert is all addicted to morphine and we have to watch him puke all over himself while he is detoxing with Pa in the middle of the woods. I sure wish spring would hurry up.

One Lucky Gal

I might complain about this farming business once in a while but with morning views like these I sure am thankful that I married a farmer!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What's A Boy To Do?

When school takes away your older siblings and leaves you with nobody but the dog a nap is definitely in order.

I think it has the potential to be a long year for Ollie:

Yesterday he came home from the store with new shoes and walked into the house calling out "Diezel! Gibby! See what I got!" The only "guys" to come running were the two gal dogs and they were thrilled to find a new pair of shoes to chew on.

Today I finished up on the computer and turned around to find 3 cheese sticks on the table, each in a different spot. When I asked Ollie who the cheese sticks were for he said, "Senna, Diezel and Gibby." Sadly it was only morning so I put the cheese sticks back into the refrigerator only to find them placed back on the table two more times within that hour.

I'm not too worried though, soon he'll start his music class and possibly a play group that meets on Fridays. Not to mention I plan to get off my rear-end soon to paint the living room, I'm sure he'll be tons of help. Plus, he has the added benefit of being the only child here to lick the beater after I'm done mixing any possible combination of ingredients for a horribly good (for you) baked something or other. You can't beat that!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Happy (Sad) First Day of School

I won't bore anyone with the trauma and drama of the first day, just know that the mug full of coffee in my hand was an essential component of keeping my sanity.

Now I need to go check out Kids Know Stuff for a cool new giveaway!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Smooth Start

As communicated by Mr. Principal: "I think that the best thing to do right now is to not send the children to the local elementary school. I will have to work out an alternative program."

This brought me lighter steps all day and took away the dread of the start of the new school year. I am thankful Mr. Principal took the time to review what concerned parents had to say about transporting their children 2 days a week to another local school for physical education.

There is nothing better than feeling as though you have achieved a small victory for someone else. Because in this case it wasn't about who was right and who was wrong. It was about the children and what is best for them.