Friday, February 29, 2008

Background and Disclaimer.

Let me start by saying, that Tiffany is a little worried that I might make her look bad! And trust me, Tiff, I am trying, but it is kind of hard. Cause seriously, she doesn't ever screw up too much. It is me that says the really mean things, yells, screams, and curses. Tiffany tends to keep her cool and level me out a bit. So when she does screw up a little, it is even funnier. Cause I screw up all the time, and in big ways. So Tiff, I won't make you look too bad, and yes, I will share some stories that make me look stupid. Trust me. They are coming.

Now. It wouldn't be an accurate depiction of our friendship with out some work stories. But in order to make them easier to follow, I should give you some background.

Tiffany and I first worked for rival apartment management companies. When my company opened a new complex we recruited her. I being bossy, demanded I become the leasing manager. Th manager allowed this to appease me. It really didn't mean anything except I did more work, and received no more pay. But I felt special, and was able to tell people what to do. Technically that meant Tiffany worked directly underneath me. But, like, I said. Not really.

The other girl that worked underneath me was S. We don't like S. For no good reason. We talk a lot of shit about her. Still do. I run into her at the gym almost everyday. I hardly ever speak to her, and when she looks bad I make sure to call Tiffany right away to report. And she always has a camel toe. Ewwwww.

Then there was Bobby. Not his real name. Bobby we like. Except he got really moody, but that wasn't until long after I quit. Bobby was the Assistant Manager. For those of you not familiar with the chain of command in an apartment leasing office, it goes leasing staff, leasing manager, assistant manager, manager. Then you have your lovely supervisor who works with many properties. But back to my point. Bobby was number two in command, but did all of the manager's work too.

Because Frat Boy Mike is an idiot. Really. The worst boss I have ever had. A lot of our stories revolve around Frat Boy Mike. So it helps to have a little background on him. Mike is married with one child. A son. Jill and Mike's son are literally just days apart in age. His wife is nice. Lord help her. Who knows what she was thinking. They all live with Mike's mom in her TWO ROOM house. I don't mean two bedrooms folks. I mean two rooms. And they both made decent money. I am talking two adults that both bring home between 30 and 40 grand a year. This situation still perplexes me to this day. But moving on. Mike liked me for some reason. I don't think he ever had any idea that behind his back, I talked the most shit. He was seriously confused when I quit.

The last player is SheDevil. SheDevil was our supervisor. She graced us with her presence from time to time. She was slightly scary.

So there you have it. Our office.

And I have to warn you. I will soon be taking a break from "A Tribute to Tiffany" to post my "100 Random Things" blog. Because this, folks, is blog number 98! Just two more to go until number 100!


When Tiffany drinks she morphs into her alter ego, Tippy. Tippy is fun good times. And she appears after, like, two sips of alcohol because Tiffany has the worlds lowest tolerance, which is amazing really when you think about how often she hits the box wine before noon. While we all love Tippy, I am pretty sure random strangers do not.

After Tiffany went out to eat one night, she could not keep Tippy at bay. Deciding it was unacceptable to return to her husband and children as Tippy the Wonder Drunk, she hatched a plan. Hang out at Walmart until the buzz wore off. Fine enough. So off to Walmart Tippy went.

The problem? Tippy sees some poor guy and decides it is none other than KANYE WEST. And she wants an autograph.

"KANYE!" She yells! And yells. And giggles. It was so not Kanye. Poor guy.

And, although, Tippy never did get Kanye's autograph, at least we did manage to get one good photo of Tippy and Kanye at Walmart.

Photo courtesy of Tricia's boredness circa 2005.

As if a stalker wasn't bad enough.

So Tiffany has banned me from telling some of the funnier stories because she is afraid they will make her look like a hooker or make her husband look like a douchebag. I keep trying to tell her they will not make either her or her husband look like big dorks. Seriously, Tipp, white guys who can rap while riding on their kids minibikes are cool, I tell you. And Hubby and Cousin have talent, even if they do say p*ssy a lot in the video. And we all know how much I hate that word. I won't even write it. But, really, we need to talk her into letting us either tell the Captain Hook story or posting a link to the video of her Hubby and his Cousin rapping. So if you could just stop by her page and harass the shit out of her until she concedes, I would appreciate it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tiffany's Stalker. Part III.

Okay, see, I have a bajillion funny stories in my "Tribute to Tiffany." And they all make me giggle thinking about them. They make Tiff giggle too. Then we get on the phone and we laugh some more about how fucking hysterical we are. So the point is I have to go ahead and finish up the Stalker story, so I can move on to some of the other stories.

It had been awhile since Violent had shown up at Tiffany's house, but that didn't stop her from calling and calling and calling...until one day. She stopped. Tiffany and I stared at the phone in stunned silence. Maybe it was broken? Was there a dial tone? Surely Violent the Stalker hadn't finally gotten the hint? Or? Maybe she had.

And when she finally got it, it was baaaad. Real bad. It started with the emails. Demanding ones. Apparently Tiffany had a book and an outfit that her child had long since grown out of that she needed back URGENTLY. She demanded that Tiffany mail them to her. Right away. The urgency of it all sort of scared Tiffany. She mailed them out that day.

It should have been the end. But it wasn't. Violent was pissed. And she wanted revenge.

I imagine her sitting at her computer, squinting her beady little eyes (okay, in reality, she didn't have beady little eyes, but go with it. It makes the story better.), rubbing her hands together, throwing back her head, cackling before she settled in to draft her email. The one to the mommies of the online message board. We don't know the exact wording of the email, but I am sure it goes something like this:

Hey Online Message Board Type People,

This is Violent. Well, my real name is Violet. But I stalk people and write scarily demanding emails, so most people have taken to calling me Violent. It fits. And no one ever gave me a nickname before, because I have no friends. Also, I like to tell people about how I have no friends. Actually, it was the second sentence out of my mouth when first meeting Tricia. Come to think of it, I also told this fact to Tiffany right of the bat, which should have been a warning. But that Tiffany girl is a suuuucccckkkkaaaa! And a bitch. Which is why I am writing. I want everyone to stop talking to that hooker right this minute. And if you don't, I am going to show up at each and every one of your homes. If that doesn't phase you, I will call until you have to take the phone off the hook. Don't make me hunt you down.

Hugs and Kisses,

Tiffany got kicked off the message board the same day.

Tiffany's Stalker. Part II.

For those of you just joining us, I am currently working on a series of stories called, "A Tribute to Tiffany" cause, well, Tiffany and I are fucking funny. So kick back, relax, and enjoy another installment.....

Truth be told, I blamed Tiffany for the whole Violent incident. Gah! I mean, it was her fault that Crazy was at her house. Yes, I know. Perhaps if I had not been talking shit about her, I would not have been caught talking shit about her. But if Tiffany had just warned me that sometimes she gives in to Violent and lets her come over, then I wouldn't have opened my big mouth. See how I did that ladies and gentlemen? See how I made it all her fault? And? I planned on telling her just how it was her fault. Which I did. I even cried. But first, I had to know.

"What happened when she heard me say that?"

"Ha! I told her you were just jealous of her!"

"And she bought that load of crap?! Moron!" You can see how well I learned my lesson about talking shit. "But seriously. what are you going to do about her calling all the time? You have to put a stop to it."

Tiffany agreed. It did need to stop. But Tiffany is notorious for being non-confrontational, so the only option she could come up with was not answering the phone. I voted for telling her just what a loony she was, but apparently Tiffany felt this was the wrong plan. No. no. no. Tiffany thought it much better to ignore the problem and pray it went away.

It didn't.

Instead, it showed up on her doorstep.

Thinking quickly, Tiffany pulled the suitcases out from under her bed, dragging them into the living room, before throwing open the door.

"Hey Violet," she says angling the door so Violet can surely see the pile of suitcases. "We are just getting ready to go out of town." Like forever. So don't ever call or write. Okay now?

Crisis temporarily averted.

Tiffany's Stalker. Part I.

There once was a girl named Violet......but for fun, we call her Violent. Violent holds a special, special place in our hearts, because Violent is a special, special girl. And so the story begins...

"We should start a play group." It was an excellent suggestion Tiffany made. We didn't quite fit the mold of the other playgroups in the area. We were about ten years younger than most of the moms in the other playgroups, and yes that makes a difference. You know, like, when they say things like, "Oh you wouldn't understand, you are soooo young." As if mid-twenties is the same as sixteen. Also, while Tiff and I love our children, we are the first to admit we don't love being moms all the time. The playgroups we had attended were filled with mothers claiming they loved every single minute of parenthood. Smile. Liars. We wanted a group of moms that were real. That complained when their kids cried for hours at a time. Moms that admitted it was a lot harder to be a parent than we ever expected. And also, a group of moms that didn't criticize us for being "young" when we had our children.

We had a few people we were interested in inviting to our playgroup. One of them was from an online parenting board Tiffany was part of. She was about our age. Had three children around our children's ages. She seemed to fit what we were looking for. We set up our first meeting at the mall play area. We were excited. Very excited. We just knew this was the start of something amazing.

It didn't go well. We just didn't mesh. Here were Tiff and I riding on the plastic alligator in the play area, hooting and hollering like idiots. And the other mommies just kind of looked at us funny. Although, they quite nicely took pictures for us to include in our lovely video montage. But it was awkward. We left there, snickering about how weird it had been.

"Wow, good pick Tiff with that Violet girl. She was buckets of fun," I said sarcastically.

"Yeah, I think we are never going to hang out with her again." For the next few days Violet became the butt of our jokes. It was mean. We know. But irresistible. And? She set herself up by doing things like calling Tiffany FOURTEEN times in a row. Girl. She didn't answer. Leave a message, then do what normal fucking people do. WAIT FOR HER TO CALL YOU BACK.

Tiffany eventually became slightly alarmed by the behavior, when Violet started randomly showing up at her house. I mean, that is normal right? Call forty times and when they don't answer, load your bajillion children in the car and drive thirty minutes to their house. Creeeeeepy!

But, the problem was. Tiffany had a soft spot. She felt sorry for poor friendless, creepy girl. So she would eventually answer the phone or open her door. Now, I am not saying having a stalker was her fault, but I told her not to answer the phone! She just doesn't listen to me, though. Shame. So the stalking continued on.

A few weeks after the initial playgroup fiasco, I went to Dallas for an appointment with Emmi's ENT. Something big happened at that appointment. Honestly, I can't remember what. They scheduled Emmi's surgery? Or we got some test results? I don't know, but I do remember that I wanted to talk to Tiffany very badly. I called. She didn't answer. I waited another hour. Still no answer. I drove from Dallas to Houston without hearing back from her. I tried her again. I got the answering machine.

"Tiffany! Damn it! Answer your stupid phone. I know you are there, and I have something important to tell you! Don't make me turn into Violent and start....."

Tiffany grabs the phone. "He-hello," she stammers. She sounds funny. But who cares. I have something important to tell her. Whatever she has going on can wait! I launch into my story. She interrupts. "Oh that's great Tricia." Huh? That response didn't go with what I was saying. I am confused. And now irritated. "Well, I'll have to call you back when Violet and I finish the movie we are watching."


Violet. Watching a movie. In Tiffany's living room. With the answering machine about a foot from her head. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. This was not pretty. Not pretty at all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I am calling this series....

A Tribute to Tiffany
The trials and tribulations of a friendship through the eyes of Tricia.
While on the way home from Austin today, Tiffany and I decided I should present a series entitled "A Tribute to Tiffany." We have so many funny stories that did not get the credit they deserved, because well, we didn't have blogs back then. Although, let's face it, Tiffany has done a piss poor job of updating her blog lately. Also, she never shares her funny stories. Take for instance, the giving away of the kittens today with the girl buying a cat for her boyfriend. I even set you up with the best punch line, Tiffany. "That isn't the kind of pussy he wants," is seriously funny shit. But I digress. I am going to go back, and share some of our better moments. They will make you laugh, they will make you cry, and some will scare you (we had a stalker, y'all!).
Until my first installment, take a moment to enjoy a little video montage Tiffany and I put together back in 2006.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

HCAD Wins Again.

Whenever asked what my favorite book/movie/place is, I can never come up with one answer. It depends so much on my mood at the time. I can't pick just one particular thing. I could never narrow down my favorite places to one specific place. But I can tell you one place that is not my favorite.

The HCAD office. Or the Harris County Appraisal District, if you will.

I have had a few encounters with the HCAD office. Most recently, work related. I needed to pick up some documents before going to Austin tomorrow for work. I couldn't make it Friday. I planned to go Monday, but I had a doctor's appointment. That left this morning.

In Houston, you have to plan trips in to the city (not that the office is downtown or anything, but I have to travel in the direction of downtown) carefully. Time it wrong, and you add an hour, in the least, to your drive. If you aren't familiar with Houston, let me break it down for you. I have a Houston address. Another mile down the road, and you are in Cypress. Which means I live pretty much as far on the NW edge of Houston as you can get. It takes me an hour, on a good day, to get downtown. It would take you two hours to reach the SE side of town on a day of typical traffic. It is huge. There are tons of cars. It is a pain in the ass to go anywhere in this city. And? There is always construction on at least one of the major highways. When going to the HCAD office, there is another factor to consider. The later in the morning, the more people in line. It is a tricky balance, traffic versus waiting room.

Luckily, the HCAD office is fairly close to me, considering. I live off of 290, and the office is right on 290 just a few miles up. But those few miles are horrendous. First, the beltway feeds into 290 between here and there. And right past the HCAD office? 610. Two major interchanges in Houston. Both incredibly busy in the morning. Both blocking my commute. I sat and watched the news reports. I wanted the traffic to die down just enough that I could make the drive in under an hour, but not so much that the other HCAD bound Houstonians had left their house. I had to beat them to the waiting room, so that I could get my golden ticket (that's right, they have a "please take your number and sit for forty minutes while eight employees scratch their asses, two pick their noses, and one person actually helps you" ticket machine there), and spend less than an hour waiting in order to be home before Emmi got off the bus. At exactly 8:41, I left the house.

It was clear sailing for about a mile. Then a dead stop. For twenty minutes. I rolled forward an inch and cheered in victory for all the progress I had made. Luckily, I had Tiffany on the phone to entertain me. We talk about important things like our love of cleaning products, how she stalks my blog (Heyyyy Girl! Holla!), how no one in SC uses the word "Holla" and she should start that trend, how Kenny gives me shit for paying 4 bucks for coffee then later in the day goes out and buys a truck (Yep, a truck. Dude, I just bought coffee. You win.), and of course how I yelled at the daycare workers at the gym and now have to avoid them like the plague. Forty minutes into our conversation, I arrive at the HCAD office. The parking lot seems oddly empty.

I am optimistic. I can feel it. This is going to be my time to get in and get out without a wait. I will be the HCAD champ. I will beat the traffic versus waiting room game. It is going to be a good day.

I walk in and pass the help desk. Help? What help? I don't need your help. I know where I am going. Right up to the third floor. Look at me go. I step off the elevator...and NO ONE. The waiting room is empty. I take my ticket. They are on my number. Glory, glory Hallelujah! It is my day. And? They have the documents I need ready. The have record of receipt of payment. The papers are in my hand, and I am back in the elevator in less than two minutes. I do a happy dance in the elevator. I shake my booty. I pray there are no cameras in the elevator, but just in case I look up and blow a kiss. There. Let them think I know they are watching.

When the elevator doors open, there seems to be a bit of a commotion around the security desk. Uhhh. It was just a happy dance. You don't have to call everyone over to watch the video and laugh at me. Then, I realize I am not the attraction at all. There is someone lying on the floor. And there are paramedics. And ambulances.

Blocking my car.

PS The guy was okay. Just a little low blood sugar.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tired? Ha!

Yesterday, I thought I was just tired from the lack of sleep. I chalked the achy muscles up to the stress from the night before. My headache, also from lack of sleep.

Emmi stayed home from school yesterday, as she finally drifted off to sleep around the time she would have to get up for school. She slept until halfway through her school day. When she finally did get up, she was cranky and didn't feel like doing much. I figured I would distract her by taking her to Target, and letting her pick out a toy or game (which by the way, we found a neighborhood sounds bingo game...perfect! Any listening activity is great for her.). Afterwards, I went to get some desserts from the tea room that my friend works at. She casually mentioned that I didn't look so good.

It wasn't until then that I realized maybe I felt a little feverish. When I got home, I discovered I had 102 fever! Within an hour it hit 103. Kenny was on the other side of town, and it took a good hour for him to get home. Luckily, Jill came home from school an dutifully played with Emmi while I camped out in the bed. I could barely move. The fever made me nauseous. I was shaking uncontrollably. It was not pretty.

This morning, my fever is down around 99.5, and I feel wonderful in comparison. I am hoping that my temperature will stay down today. I don't think I can handle two days in a row of being that sick.

Friday, February 22, 2008

She will make a great bank robber.

Yesterday was my day to take Jill and the neighbor to gymnastics. It is actually quite relaxing. I like watching them. Emmi stays home with Kenny. I sit for an hour and a half. Sometimes I even read.

I came home to find Kenny extremely frustrated.

"You would not believe how naughty that baby has been!" He had even worked up a sweat chasing her around. In the hour I had been gone, she had removed various items from the fridge either hiding them elsewhere or flinging them across the room, she then spent a good fifteen minutes trying to slam the cabinet doors in the kitchen. When that earned her time out, she started hitting Kenny. I walked into the kitchen to an assault of tomatoes. Seriously. She was throwing tomatoes at me!

Dinner did not go much better. She never sat down. Not once. And? Knowing that we were all occupied with eating gave her more opportunity to be naughty. By the time dinner was over, we were exhausted from chasing her around the house and fighting her in time out.

Jill? Was great. I let her have some ice cream, she was so well behaved. Kenny walked out back to sit by himself for a minute. I was washing up the dinner dishes, when I heard Emmi scream. Immediately after the scream, I realized I could hear water running in my bathroom. Great. Just great. She probably turned on the hot water, and burned her little feet.

I ran into the bathroom, and all I could see was a tub full of blood. It took me a minute to register that there was a razor out. And then I saw her hand. Or what was left off it. She had cut off the skin of her thumb. With my razor. And it was bad. It took a good five minutes (which felt like eternity) to slow the bleeding down enough to get her dressed. We rushed off to the hospital.

Ten minutes after we walked in the door, they had us back in a room. I think the fact that she was dripping blood on their floor moved us ahead of the ten thousand people with the flu (one of whom was wearing sunglasses at 7:30pm indoors). And? There was nothing they could do besides stop the bleeding. You can't stitch it. There is nothing to stitch in an cut like that. The bandaged her up, gave her some good happy drugs for the night and a big dose of antibiotics, explained that she probably will never have a thumbprint on that finger (as it will just be scar tissue), and sent us on the way.

She woke up three times last night. The first time, she had pulled the bandaged off and was bleeding again. It took both Kenny and I to hold her down to rebandage the finger. She refused to take the medicine, so I had to fight her to get her to take it, pouring it in her mouth, then blowing hard on her face to make her swallow (works everytime, and learned it from the vet!).

After Kenny and I crawled back into bed around 2:30 this morning, Kenny giggles. "She has no finger print. She'll make a great bank robber!"

Well, we certainly know she is naughty enough.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Emmi woke up with a fever. I didn't need to take her temperature to know it was high. She was burning hot, and shivering. Great. I had so much to do today. Way too much to have a sick kid at home. But such is my luck.

I set her up on the couch. Winnie the Pooh blanket. Monkey. Hippo. Rar-rar (Which is a tiger, and says "raaaarrrrr." Hence the name.). A drink. A pop tart. Handy Manny on TV. She snuggled down, eyes at half mast. I had hope that maybe, just maybe it would go okay today. She was so sick, she wasn't moving.

Then her fever crept higher. She started dry-heaving. I generally like to let fever runs its course. Fevers happen for a reason. But when it starts getting too high, obviously I have to do something. I gave her Tylenol.

Thirty minutes later, I hear her shuffling around on the couch. Rar-rar flies across the room, followed by a loud "RAAAARRRRR" and a giggle as it hits the dog. Uh oh. From my vantage point, I see her blanket kicked to the ground, little legs waggling in the air.

Then.....she emerges. Screaming. Laughing. Happy. And she wants to play.

I got very little done today. I tried to bribe her with paints. She painted the wood floors. I gave her a new coloring book. She told me no. She spent most of the morning grabbing my hand whenever I tried to type. Makes it real easy to edit graphics with a kid hanging on my arm. So now that the kids are tucked in bed, I am still working. Not relaxing. Working.

I don't care how sick she is tomorrow. I am doping her up, and sending her to school.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Here a poo. There a poo. Everywhere a poo poo.

Emmi was rolling around on the floor, holding her tummy and moaning. I took her to the bathroom. She grunted a bit. Nothing.

I had the perfect solution. A warm bath to get things moving.

If only that were the problem.

About ten minutes into the bath, there was poo everywhere. In my bathtub, which I rarely let the kids bathe in. The very bathtub I planned on relaxing in later tonight, with a book and glass of wine.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I am bored. The kind of bored that makes you want to scream. The kind where if my child tells me one more story about the pretend horse she has and I have to feign interest, I might seriously consider running off. The kind where all I want is to leave the house (and the occupants of said house) for, hell, even five minutes. I want to talk to someone other than the only three people I see all week long, every week. It isn't their fault. They have done nothing wrong, but every once in awhile I get to a point where I need a break. Today is that day. It is all I can do to keep from screaming at them. To tell them to shut the hell up. I don't want them to help me figure out "fun" things to do. It is not that I need something to do. It is that I need to get away. Not for long. Just for a little while. An hour tops. I love my family. But they are driving me crazy today.

And? My ankle hurts badly. This is my own fault. Because when my leg was hurting so badly, I refused to slow down. I am paying for it now. And it makes it hard to run away when I can barely hobble.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cupcakes, cookies, and pink icing.

Valentines's Day Class Parties
Jill and Emmi at Jill's class party.
Emmi decorating a cookie at her class party.

I have to admit, I am a sucker for Valentine's Day. I think it is because Valentine's Day is the one holiday that is simply about expressing how much you care about your loved ones. I am not into the whole dozen roses and big, fancy presents. That is what your birthday and Christmas is for. Okay, so maybe there is the whole Jesus's birthday thing that Christmas is actually for but, let's face it, it is about giving presents, too. But Valentine's Day to me is about finding fun ways to show my family how much I care about them.

It is about helping the girls fill out Valentine's Day cards for their friends, and staying up late the night before decorating twenty four cupcakes for a first grade party. Then, waking up an extra twenty minutes early to make Jill heart shaped waffles with whipped cream and strawberries and to make Emmi heart shaped sandwiches for her lunch. And of course, spending the day attending both kids Valentine's Day parties at school, leaving covered in pink icing from the cupcakes and cookies with two kids bouncing off the walls from sugar overdose. Yet, still coming home and decorating more pink cupcakes, because they were too tired to help the night before. And also, it is about one night of the year, Kenny and I waiting until the kids are in bed to have dinner, so that we can have an actual conversation. Not just one that revolves around making Emmi sit in her seat, and reprimanding Jill for playing with her food. Aside from all of that it is about making sure I tell my kids, Kenny, and my family just how much they mean to me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A big, huge dissappointment.

A few weeks ago I read a review of a book that I thought I would for sure love. I tore the review out of the magazine, and stuck in on the fridge. A few days ago, I made it to the bookstore to get the much waited for book. It had so much promise. The best of both worlds. It promised to feed both of my reading addictions. My constant need to be in the middle of a good book, and my love for trashy star rags. Oh yes. It would be like heaven.

That is, until I started reading it. My six-year-old can come up with more variable sentence structures than the two dimwits who wrote this book. Seriously, forty pages in, and I am not sure if they have ventured into the world of complex or compound sentences. I know for damn sure they couldn't tell me the difference between the two. I normally read at least hundred pages in a day. One day. Between work and kids and dinner and cleaning the house. In four days, I have muddled through forty pages, drug down by the overwhelming number of simple sentences beginning with "I." "I've got to get to the back room." "I wobble my way through the distorted faces." "I step inside the all-white room." "I murmur an apology" All of these and more in just two paragraphs. I need variety ladies. Variety. I need a rythm and flow to the book. Not a dadadadadadada all the way through. Take me on a ride. Draw me in. Use your words....and in more than one simple freakin' sentence structure. So to you, Celebutante, I am extremely unhappy. You are not the book of my dreams. You are a waste of $17 (thank goodness for that membership card, or it would have been more).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rain, rain, go away.

I got up this morning anticipating an early morning trip to the gym, so I spent very little time on my hair. I threw on whatever clean clothes I could find in my closet, and headed to the bus stop. After both kids were off to school, I changed into my gym clothes, and headed first to the bank, then the gym. I knew that I would have little time after the gym to really get dressed between working and taking Emmi to therapy. But then, I reached a standstill in work. I took my shower, and while still waiting on the answer I needed to keep working, I decided to *shocker* actually do my hair and get dressed. I mean in something other than sweatpants. I pulled out my wide leg pants, my patent leather brown flats, and a nice boatneck, brown striped, short-sleeved sweater. I actually took the time to make my hair curve nicely in the back, instead of sticking every which way. I took one more glance in the mirror, happy that I had actually made some effort today. Then I walked out the door.

A few minutes later, a wall of rain washes over my car, pounding so hard, I can no longer hear the radio. I turn my wipers up as high as they could go, and, yet, I still can't see more than a few feet in front of me. I found a close parking spot, and searched my car frantically for anything to use as an umbrella. Nothing.

Forty minutes getting dressed. 3.5 second run from car to door. Soaked. Completely. Hair dripping water. Pants legs soaked three inches up. Shoes full of water.

I am never getting dressed nice again.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's not even about her.

So we all know the pants are horribly ugly. I am not even going to get into it. What I have to tell you friends is about the guy. See him back there. Yeah, I know him. If he isn't lying about that actually being him, but I kind of believe it. Anyway, we went to school together since like elementary school. My friend had a huge crush on him, so we did things like ride our bikes past his house forty times. And? Pathetic as it is, I feel like I have some kind of claim to faim cause I know the guy who ended up in the background of the picture that has been in every tabloid magazine know to man.

And, really, Jessica, the pants are doing nothing for you.

If you were me...

First of all, you would be laughing hysterically. Why? Because I sat down to transfer pictures, and turned on Rob & Big. Rob decided they should be on the cover of Good Friends Cereal, because the covers all had "mulitcultural happy best friends." So Rob called the cereal company and left a message. After his message, he was talking to Big about how great their cereal would be. "Black, crunchy flakes. Little white almonds." Okay, see. That is probably a lot funnier if you have ever seen Rob & Big. Just trust me. Hill-a-rious!

But anyway, if you were me, this is what you would have been doing all day.

Sitting by the pool, reading a book, while the kids splashed around. Actually, I lie. I have not done this all day. First we washed both cars, and let the kids ride around in the front yard. Then, Kenny mowed the grass, while I sat in a lawn chair and read my book. In about an hour our friends are coming over to BBQ and hang out by the pool with us.

I love summer...uh, I mean, February.

If daddy didn't look like he was packing heat....or whatever.

Yesterday, might possibly have been the most perfect day. The weather was spectacular. In the 70's, lots of sunshine. We made plans with our neighbors to meet at a local park in the afternoon. The kids had a great time. Running, laughing. Just being kids. My neighbor and I sat on a bench for the majority of the time, only getting up to occasionally help the younger children on the play equipment. Kenny spent his time wandering around with Emmi. He seemed content, though I offered to take over for him often. It was very relaxing until...

A family of five rolled up to the park. In their low-rider. With rap music blaring. Out steps SPM (South Park Mexican, for those of you who need translation). Okay, so maybe it wasn't SPM, but, dude, he is from Houston. It could have been him. SPM holds the door open so his three unrestrained children can tumble out of the backseat. A few minutes later, Momma, squeezes herself out of the car. The woman is very big. Now, I am not one to judge. Your weight is not my concern. I could care less. Honestly, I don't normally even see it, but this was not what you would even call overweight. I am talking near five hundred pounds, and barely five feet tall. Can barely walk. Sweating profusely and white as a sheet (no really, Momma was a white lady) by the time she made it to the bench a total of five feet from her car.

SPM takes the middle child, approximately four or five years old, over to the monkey bars. He wanders around after him, never saying a word, but pleasantly smiling. Momma sits on her bench near the swings, scowling, yelling out instructions for her oldest child (maybe twelve) who has been put in charge of the youngest child (who appears to be about 18 months old). Everything the twelve-year-old does is wrong. "He doesn't like that. Hold him better, you brat. Why the hell can't you do anything right?!" I give Momma the evil eye. Momma barks more instructions. They head to the swings, where Emmi and I are. Momma makes her way to a bench closer to the swings, so she can more effectively unleash her tirade on the oldest child.

Eventually, Emmi starts pointing and yelling, "MEAN!" I know Momma hears. I try to distract Emmi. Eventually even I can no longer stand the verbal assualt. My child has heard more curse words in the past five minutes that in her whole life. I drag Emmi from the swings. Momma, unhappy again with the oldest daughter, yells "Turn his ass around. Can't you hold him right?" As I walk past Momma, I mutter "Why don't you get your ass off the bench and do it yourself, if you don't like how she is doing it." Momma glares at me. What Lady? What are you going to do? I can outrun you. Come on. Come get me. I smirk.

Our group begins to pack up. I was watching a few of the kids with our group who were near the swings, so I have a full view of what happens next. The toddler, now get ready for this, falls. That's right. A toddler, walking in uneven mulch, falls. Down. Trips. And then begins to cry. He has mulch on his hands. A little on his face. He is not injured. Momma? She starts screaming.

"You fucking brat. Get your fucking ass over here. You were supposed to be watching him!" The twelve-year-old, reluctantly walks over to her mother, who immediately grabs her by the shirt and smacks her four times. Hard. She curses her loudly for another few minutes. I take a few steps toward them. SPM shushes Momma. I consider my options. I want to say something. But, honestly, the daddy looks like he is quite possibly going to kill me if I come any closer. He looks like he is packing heat....or whatever (I am not up on my gangsta know, since I am a stereotypical white girl from the burbs). I am torn. Someone should say something. Do something. If this is the abuse this child receives in a park, in front of at least twenty people, then what happens behind closed doors?

What I wish I would have said was not for the mom, but for the daughter. I wished I would have said, "You deserve a better life than this. You do not have to take this. This is abuse." But I didn't. And I feel like I failed that poor child.

There are days when I am at wits end, and I raise my voice at my children. And I feel bad afterward. Horrible. Sometimes, I feel like am I not a good parent. But then, I see things like this, and I realize that my children have it good. They may not know it. They make take it for granted. When Jill yells things like, "You are the worst Mommy EVER," I can't get mad. She doesn't understand, that in fact, I am far from the worst mommy ever. And she shouldn't have to understand that. I am happy that my child think I am horrible for making them clean their rooms, or not allowing Jill to play outside after she pushed her sister. I am glad that I am a horrible mom because I refuse to cook a second meal, when she won't eat the first I made (For the record, the rule is she can make her own sandwich if she won't eat the meal I cooked.). I am not a perfect mom. My children will hate me somedays. They will not like my rules (I already can tell I am strict compared to other parents). They will yell and me, and I will yell at them. But they will never endure the kind of abuse that children like I saw in the park yesterday did. My children will not be able to comprehend that type of abuse. They will be naive to it. And for that, I am glad.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

We perform our own stunts.

It all started with Emmi touching Jill's book. Or looking at it funny. Or hell, I don't know, maybe she breathed on it. Whatever. Jill screamed. She tore the book from Emmi's hands then ripped it to shreds. Then? She pushed Emmi to the ground and kicked her.

Kenny and I decide to act out the scene with appropriate ways to handle the situation. Kenny, played Emmi, standing in the corner with a book, screaming "IT MINE. IT EMMI'S!" Jill was Kenny waiting to intervene when politely asked. I was Jill.

Scenario One:

I walk into the room. I see Emmi [Kenny] has the book. I immediately go to Kenny [Jill] and in a very calm voice explain that it is my book and I would like it back.

We discussed how this scenario worked better. Why everyone was happier with the outcome. Jill would still have the book. It wasn't ripped. Emmi would not have been pushed or kicked. We had Jill practice.

Then? For fun. Scenario Two:

Emmi (still played by Kenny) stood in the corner screaming about the book. I, as Jill, walk in, see her and start screaming. I jumped up and down. I spun in goofy circles. I then jerked the book from Emmi [Kenny's] hands. Kenny immediately throws himself to the ground. In the process, he somehow kicks my shin.

There is a cracking sound. There is no pain. But I clearly remember thinking, "That was not good." Jill is laughing hysterically. Kenny is laughing pretty hard too. No one realizes I am injured.

Until I collapes to the ground. The huge lump on my shin kind of indicated there was a problem, as well.

"Oh shit!" Kenny yelled (and we wonder where the kiddies learn these words!) when he saw the odd protrusion on my shin.

Between sobbing, I start laughing. "You broke my leg!" I laugh some more, with tears streaming down my face. "Seriously, you broke my leg throwing yourself on the ground!"

He still feels horrible about it all. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need Kenny to bring me another drink. And a snack. Oh and while he is up, I will need magazines, the tv remote, the book I am reading, and an extra pillow. Exactly how long do you think I can milk this?


My friend, let's call her Soon-to-be-Bride (or Bride for short), called me about six months ago to tell me that she was engaged. She asked me to be a bridesmaid. She also assigned me the duty of making sure her dad didn't cry too much. He does laugh at my jokes a lot. This should be easy. Before we hung up, she again reminded me that I was to keep her dad laughing.

"Oh, Bride, that will be no problem. I have been saving up lots of stories for him. I have some real good ones that I couldn't tell him before. But now that you will be married, off living on your own, I don't think he can ground you. Hey, remember that time they went out of town, and we...."

I was immediately stripped of my DaddyWatch Duties. She threatened to make me wear the ugliest bridesmaid dress ever, if I told him any of my stories. She is no fun.

A few months pass, and while at dinner one night I get a voicemail. I listen to it a few times, before I jump up screaming, "BRIDE IS PREGNANT!" Then, in my head I started to count out the days. Assuming she is about a month pregnant, that would put us smack dab in the middle of rehersal dinner when that baby was due to pop out! Bride would have to change the date.

Last night, she texted me the new day and location. Two months away. Thinking I had eight months, I had not even started thinking about getting my bridesmaid dress.

I texted her back. "What do I need to do about ordering my bridesmaid dress?"

She responds. "I'll let you know. Since it is in spring now, instead of fall, I have to pick new colors."

Oh. Right. "That makes sense. Wrong seasonal colors. Bad. Pregnant bride. That is okay!"

She threatens to make me wear pastels. Peach. With puffy sleeves. And a big bow on the front.

Disclaimer: I, myself, was four months pregnant when I got married. I have every right to tease her for being pregnant during her wedding. It is not mean. Just funny.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Working Conditions are Horrible.

Working from home may sound like a dream. But do tell me. Do you have to work with a three-year-old attached to your head, pulling your hair, from time-to-time smacking you on the top of the head while yelling, "That's pretty!", pausing only long enough to reapply her lipgloss? Yeah. Didn't think so.

Monday, February 4, 2008

One day I will learn.

I know some people find it hard to believe that I often don't stand up for myself. Probably because I am so outspoken. And, also? Because I have no problem standing up for other people. It is just myself that I struggle with.

I mentioned before that my neighbor is having some health problems. Everyone is pitching in to help her and her family out. I, of course, want to help as she is one of my favorites. No offense to the others, she just has made the most effort to get to know me since we moved over to this neck of the woods.

The problem? I work full-time. I know this is hard for my neighbors to understand, as I work from home. Plus, I am available for every school function, I am there when the bus comes, I am outside with the kids in the afternoon. It probably looks to them, as stay-at-home-Moms (lucky bitches!) that I am one of them. But what they don't see is that I get up at least an hour before the kids. That means by 5:30 on most weekdays. I work furiously during Emmi's school hours, as that is the only uninterrupted time I have all day. I don't take a lunch break until the kids are home, so that I can combine a lunch break with play time. I eat while watching Emmi ride her tricycle around or while cuddling with her on the couch. Then I get her involved in an activity and scramble to work some more. Generally, I get nothing done until Jill is home from school. Then Jill takes over as care giver and entertainer of Emmi, fixing snacks and playing games. At dinner time, I stop working until bedtime. During this two hour window, I devote my time to the girls. After they go to bed, I normally have about an hour left of my work day. That means I am working up until 8:30 everyday. Plus, I often have to make up hours over the weekend in the mornings (meaning I get up early even on the weekends), since Emmi has therapy, there are dance and gymnastics classes, and I try to run daily. My days are busy. I consider myself lucky to be able to work from home and have the flexibility to set my own schedule. But setting my own schedule does not mean deciding how many hours I work, it means decided when I work those set hours.

Right now, I have my schedule set perfectly. It works. I get enough done. I get time for the gym. I take my girls to their lessons. I am here with them when they are home from school. But one little thing, and it means I either stay up late or work more on the weekend. I hate working on the weekend, as I try to leave that time open for my family. Occasionally, I do make sacrifices. Like now. When my neighbor is having surgery. But I explained my limitations before the divvied up tasks. I told them without a doubt Thursdays were out of the question for me to pitch in with anything. No dinners, no watching children. Nothing. I also explained that at most, I could sacrifice one day to watch children. I offered to make up for it by providing an extra meal, taking over for someone else. And what happens? They assign me Thursday to cook the meal! I don't even have time to cook my own family a meal on Thursdays. That is frozen pizza night at our house!

I talk to the neighbor in charge of arranging everything. She did change the days for me, but she acted like it was an issue and I was being difficult. Then she called back, and asked me to watch kids for more than one day. I feebly explained that I really couldn't, but ended up agreeing that I would. Now? I am mad at myself. Seriously, I should have said no. I mean, really, what was I scared of. That they would be mad at me? These are the same neighbors that have Mom's lunches, and don't invite me. That hand out invitations at the bus stop, and specifically don't have one for me. Me? I had surgery less than a month ago. Did I get one meal? Did anyone offer to do anything for me? No. And here I am sentencing myself to a full Saturday of work or having to use a vacation day this week (which for the record, I only used one vacation day after my own surgery! I sat propped in bed with my computer working to avoid using my vacation or sick time.).

I just keep reminding myself that the woman who I am actually helping out is the one I like a lot. Maybe that will make me feel better.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

To The Races!

Kenny and I? We get bored. And are easily entertained. Not to mention a little childish.

After the kids were in bed, Kenny and I stood in the living room deciding what we wanted to do. The dogs circled our feet, anxious for attention. Macy, our oldest boxer, nipped my hand enticing me to play with her. Normally, I would shove her around and let her growl at me some. But for some reason, I jumped on her. Like a horse.

"Race you!" I yelled. I took off down the hall, dragging a half galloping Macy underneath me.

"CHEATER!" Kenny screamed as he jumped on Sadie, trying to catch up. Sadie didn't budge. She cowered under him, whining.

"You horse sucks, LOSER!" I triumphtly punched the air. I patted my horse, I mean, dog. She licked my hand happily, not at all understanding the game.

"That's not fair. I had a gimp horse. I want to trade." Loser. Blaming his horse.

We lined the dogs up at the end of the hall. This time I stood over Sadie. Kenny took Macy.

"Ready, set, GO!"

Sadie and I were off, leaving Kenny and Macy in a cloud of dust. Somewhere midway down the hall, I fell off of Sadie. Laughing hysterically, I rolled over to see Kenny and Macy still sitting at the starting line.

Dude. He is the worst dog jockey I have ever met.

On the left, Macy, one time champ in the Saturday Night Dog Races.

On the right, Sadie, winner by default after Macy refused to leave the starting line.

Are you kidding?!

I just spent, no lie, at least forty minutes arranging and rearranging the photos in the "It never ends" post to get them just so. I scooted, added spaces, aligned words. I clicked back and forth on the preview view. And? It still isn't lined up right! I give up.

It never ends. But we like it!

This morning has been bliss. Jill had a friend spend the night. Instead of waking me up before the sun, I woke up to the two of them quietly playing upstairs. I drank my coffee in peace, while reading on the couch. I was up forty minutes before they ventured downstairs for breakfast. They ate quickly and went back up to their game, leaving me to watch a little HGTV. My favorite.

This morning's show on HGTV was about a family remodeling their kitchen. They had a contractor, and it still took four months! That seems like a horribly long time, considering we did the majority of our home in five weeks.

Five long weeks in hell. Working ten hours a day on the house. We ate countless fast food meals. We were sore and tired, as we did all of the work ourselves (although my parents pitched in a more than a few times!). A few friends stopped by to help. But they would work an hour or so half-heartedly then leave, claiming exhaustion (but we did appreciate the company.). Wimps! The kids were cranky from going from house to house, and never having much to do in the then vacate, under contrustion home.

Although, we finished quite a bit of the original work we had planned, a year later there is still a lot to check off our list. Our bathroom countertops still have not been replaced. The girls' bathroom has not even been touched, although we have already purchased tile, bathroom sink, fixtures, and faucets. Those items have taken up permanent residence in our garage. The pool is in and finished, but the outdoor kitchen is nothing more than gas, water, and sewer line connections. We have a door in the gameroom that leads to nothing but attic, although, it is supposed to be an office. The projects never end, but at the same time we have loved the process of making this home our very own. It has been fun to watch it transform. I am still blown away by how much has changed since the day we bought it.

And so I leave you with the before and after shots of our home. The pictures are not the best. Oh well!

In the kitchen we removed the white tile backsplash, and replaced it with slate. (That was my handy work!)
We added granite countertops, refinished the cabinets, and put in 18-inch travertine floors.

We took out the carpet in the formal living, dining, and den. We laid bamboo woods floors. Ourselves. We were covered in wood glue. Seriously. Weeks later, we still could not get the glue off of our hands. It was the worst part. We used the same slate tiles for the fireplace that we had used in the kitchen. I have fallen completely in love with the Ralph Lauren Metallics paints. It has allowed us to use color subtly without appearing drab. My favorite is the Harvest Gold in the living room. We used a linen techinique with a cranberry glaze in the art niche. I love the effect.

Jill requested a "pink" room. It has morphed into a french poodle theme, and is still a work in progress.

We again used the metallic paints. In the picture the colors are much more vibrant than they actually are. I wish the true color showed in photos.

Emmi's room still has a way to go. I oiginally matched the colors to her crib bedding, and went from there. Her own tastes are beginning to emerge. I have since learned that her favorite colors are yellow, black, and blue. Since, I believe my children's rooms should be a reflection of their likes and personalities, I think I will probably change it to fit her more. I have yet to come up with any theme other than bumble bees that uses black, yellow, and blue. I am thinking pale sky blue walls. Bumble bee accents. White bedding perhaps? I need to think on it awhile.

I got tired of arranging photos, so I left off the gameroom (complete with a cupcake theme!), our bathroom (which my father and I textured and painted and has my favorite tile in the whole house), our half bath (which I am still unhappy with the color of.), and of course the backyard.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Never, NEVER, underestimate the power of a cookie.

One of my neighbors (we'll call her Neighbor A) found out that the pain in her arm is actually something quite serious. She needs emergency surgery, and she is pretty much unable to take care of her children until then. You know, since she can't lift anything. Or hardly move. The neighbors have all pitched in to help, because we are good like that. We are taking turns with her two youngest children during the school day and with preparing meals. Today was another neighbor's (we'll call her Neighbor B) day with the children.

Neighbor B calls me panicked.

"Trish? It's Neighbor B. I have a huge problem. My friend's husband has had a heart attack. I have to get to the hospital. Can you watch all of the kids?"

I immediately agree, of course. Then it dawns on me. All of the kids. Neighbor A and Neighbor B's kids. Plus mine. As long as she is back before school lets out, this is just four children. As soon as school is out, this becomes EIGHT kids. The oldest being in second grade. One second grader, two first graders, a kindergartner, one four-year-old, two three-year-olds, and a one year-old. Oh hell.

I have exactly one hour until they arrive. We have company coming over this evening. I still need to clean the whole house. I scramble to clean the downstairs, thinking I could work on the upstairs while watching the kids play. In between cleaning, I am working. One hour passes in ten minutes, and I still have not managed to have lunch. I am pretty sure once the kids are all here, I won't get lunch.

The doorbell rings. Tons of children invade my home. By the door is a pile of shoes, socks, jackets, and stuffed animals. They have all run in different directions. It takes me a full twenty minutes to locate them all and bring them upstairs.

An hour later, every basket that contains toys has been dumped out in the game room. A 200 piece puzzle has been shoved into piggy bank. One toilet is clogged. A clothing rod has been pulled down in Jill's closet. All the beds are unmade. At least thirty toys have been thrown over the railing. A blue crayon line runs the length of the hallway. The dollhouse has been dumped upside down. The couch cushions are on the floor. And, two children are missing.

I am delirious from the lack of food. The piles of toys are threatening to rise up and attack me. The noise level in the home is incredible. I start to cry. Help me! Must do something. Quick. Think.

COOKIES! I have cookies! I find a few of the kids and lure them to the television with the cookies. Once they are settled, I find the rest of the children. Dangling cookies in front of their faces, I lead them to the other children already in front of the TV. I promise to keep the cookies coming, as long as they promise to stay.

It has been twenty minutes. All I can hear is Monsters, Inc. and the occasionally call for a cookie. Never, NEVER, underestimate the power of a cookie.