Friday, March 29, 2013

Top 10 Ways I Am Nicer Than A Substitute

Real life conversation:

Boy Child:  We had a sub today.  It was Ms. So and So.  She's so nice.  I think she's my favorite sub ever.

Girl 2:  Isn't she the one who has a strict policy of no screaming?

Boy Child:  Yes.  She's so unbelievably patient.  I really like her.

Girl 2:  Oh my gosh.  I love her.

MeReally?  You love her?  Isn't that a bit strong?  Y'know for a sub?  But I guess the no screaming thing sounds like a good policy.  Is she young?

Boy Child:  No.  She's a retired teacher.  I think she's about 67.  And, really mom.  Lots of kids love her.

Girl 1:  Oh, yeah.  She's super, super nice.  I wish I had been in her class when she was still teaching.

*more gushing about said substitute teacher*

Boy Child:  Yeah.....she's nicer than you, mom.

*dead silence*

Girl 1:  Aw.  That's kinda mean.  I don't think she makes chocolate chip cookies like least I don't think she does.  At least she hasn't brought them to school.

Me:  I'm right here.  I can hear you.

So, I bring you - The Top 10 Ways I Am Nicer Than A Substitute (Kinda..........depending on what kind of day I'm having and who the substitute is)

10.  I don't feel pressured to wear holiday sweaters or jewelry.  I just do it out of pure love for the holidays and the kids.

9.  I have a disobedient dog who is an asshead, but I don't run him over with my Yukon because the kids love him.

8.  When I see kids I know in the supermarket and my cart is full of beer and tampons, I don't hide.  I go right up and say, "Hey!  Don't I know you?"

7.  I don't need a lesson plan that someone else wrote to direct my day.  I fly straight by the seat of my pants.  Usually this involves something nice.  And fun.

6.  I have a strict policy of no screaming.  Instituted Monday through Friday between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m.

5.  I don't rely on the "know it all" in the room to tell me what to do.  I just know instinctively what I am supposed to do.  Sometimes it involves screaming.  It is sometimes nice.  And fun.

4.  I don't use bribery to make the kids behave.

3.  I usually know all my  kids' names.

2.  I can nicely improvise better than frat kids on quarter drink night.

And the top reason why I am nicer than a substitute:

1.  I make chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Waiting for Superman? Nah. I'm just waiting to find a $20 in my pocket.

I wrote this post a long time ago and today I was reminded of it when I was listening to NPR and someone made a reference to the movie.  So, since I am still in season 2 of The Killing, I decided to just finish this up and post it.

Disclaimer - I have never seen Waiting for Superman because I have a hard and fast rule against watching documentaries.  I watched Food, Inc. and then I felt compelled to completely change the way I eat.  So, I figure I've done my documentary deed for my life.

This isn't about the movie.  I want to watch the movie.  I've heard it's good. 

It's the title of the movie that intrigues me (but, again, not enough yet to actually watch the movie).

Waiting for Superman?  Well, I'm waiting for a lot of things, too.  But, Superman is not on my list.

1.  I'm waiting to win the lottery.  This is somewhat insane since I have never played the lottery.
2.  I'm waiting to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.
3.  I'm waiting for my kids to miraculously do their chores without being reminded.
4.  I'm waiting for my retirement so that I can learn to craft better.  Or craft at all.
5.  I'm waiting for a real job from which I can retire.
6.  I'm waiting for anyone to carry what's on the stairs (directly blocking every one's path) up or down the stairs to where that crap goes.
7.  I'm waiting on my family to learn that the toilet paper goes OVER the roll, not under the roll.
8.  I'm waiting on my family to replace the toilet paper roll.
9.  I'm waiting on my four year old kids to learn inside voices.
10.  I'm waiting for Cesar Millan to come over and train my dog.
11.  And on that same note, I'm waiting to be in a tight situation so that Jim Caviezel (John, not Jesus) can come and kick some a$$ on my behalf.

Person of Interest "John?  It's me, Ms. Day In The Life.  I'm waiting on you to come get me outta this jam."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When you need to decide what's for dinner ten minutes before dinner.

I didn't know what I was making for dinner when I got up this morning because we are having another eat from our pantry challenge (due to too much Spicy Ginger).  I defrosted two chicken breasts in the hope that I would have some inspiration while working.

So, not only did I have inspiration (in the form of my frantic Google search at 4:14 p.m.), I scored a big hit tonight with food straight from my pantry/freezer by modifying a bunch of pasta recipes I found online and adding in some other stuff I had in the cabinet.

Hot dog, y'all!

Here's the skinny in case you ever find yourself in a dinner emergency (and you probably won't because you are probably way more organized than me):

Delicious hot/cold pasta salad/main course

2 chicken breasts
1 bag of farafalle pasta (or bow-tie - really is that the same thing? or whatever kind of pasta you have in the cabinet)
half a bag of frozen peas, cooked (about two cups?)
a good amount of black olives (half a can?  or a whole can if you really like olives)
one medium size cucumber, diced
feta cheese to taste
about 1/4 cup of Italian dressing
olive oil
gomashio (I only just found out about gomashio when my sister made me some.  I'm pretty addicted to it now.)

Cut up the chicken into bite size pieces.  Coat the pieces liberally with mayonnaise and Italian dressing.  Cover and let it sit in fridge for at least an hour (or more time if you think ahead). 

Cook your bow tie pasta according to the package directions.  While you are doing that, drain the chicken pieces (but not completely - leave some of that mayo/dressing juiciness on them) and sear them/brown them on fairly high heat so that they cook quickly and brown up nicely.

When the chicken is fully cooked add it to the cooked (and drained) pasta.  Add a splash of olive oil (or more if you like olive oil), and about 1/4 cup of Italian dressing.  Add your cooked peas, about a half a can of olives and your diced cucumber to the pasta/chicken mix.  Mix it all up.

After serving sprinkle with feta cheese (or Parmesan if you prefer that, but feta is just delish) and gomashio.

Best.  Pasta.  Salad/Dish.  Ever.  I loved it.  The kids loved it (minus the feta and gomashio).  Hubby liked it. 

What's on the menu tomorrow?  I think peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Happy eating, y'all.  I'll be back soon - I think I'm on episode 6 of 13.

P.S. - It was eaten too fast for photos. 
P.S.S. - I also made these yummy morsels again, too.  Oh my.  Super delish.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm not a detective. I only play one on TV.

I miss you guys, but I'm in the middle of a-ton-o-work and a serious addiction that looks like this:

Step 1:  Admit you have a problem.

My name is Ms. Day In The Life and I am addicted to The Killing

(Because it's an addiction, I will have to write a long post about it when I'm done with Season 2.  That's your warning and my apology.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Date night over 40. I'm not proud.

We hadn't been on the proverbial date night for a while.  So, a few days ago hubby said, "Let's go out Saturday night," it took about a quarter of one second for me to imagine a peaceful dinner without any interruptions and possibly an adult beverage (or two). 

I said, "Okay," incredibly quickly and effortlessly and had messaged the lovely lady that watches our heathens when we are gone in record time.  That was the easy part. 

The rest of this post is kinda how the remaining details went down.  Let me reiterate:  I am not proud.

1.  Answering the question - What to do?  Once you hit 35 (ahem), deciding what to do on any special occasion (or just date night) becomes particularly problematic.  Add in the four kids who must be left with a sitter, the fact that hubby has a physical injury which currently (until his impending surgery) is causing him constant pain, and the fact that I have been nursing a migraine for about a week and you *might* have a recipe for disaster.

We went through the long (and quite ridiculous) pretense of pretending we would do something other than go out to eat and try to stay awake until we were actually back home.  Sample of that:

Hubby:  Well, babe, what could we do?
Me:  Whatever.  Go eat?
Hubby:  Well, what do you like to do?
Me:  Hmm.  I dunno.  Eat?
Hubby:  We could go to the movies?
Me:  Okay.
Hubby:  A short movie.
Me:  Okay.
Hubby:  Who am I kidding?  I don't want to see a movie.  At the theater.
Me:  Yeah, me neither.
Hubby:  I guess we could go eat?
Me:  Okay.  That sounds good. 

This pretense continued until Saturday shortly before our departure time when hubby said, "Was there anything in the paper going on this weekend?"

I had actually looked through The Weekender, recognized one band that was in town, saw that they were playing at a venue about 35 minutes from our house, ruled that out, and skipped over the rest of the entertainment advertisements with mild disgust that I was far too old to watch bands in bars. 

I said, "Well, I saw that The Texas Tornados are playing.  I really love them.  Too bad they are about 20 years late."

(Hubby did not reply.)

2.  Once we decided we would go eat (!), we had to decide where.  I have written about our absolute favorite place on the planet to eat, Spicy Ginger, a few times.  It's a little embarrassing that they know our names there and *kinda* treat us like family.  Regardless, we decided we were both hungry for steak. 

We toyed briefly (and when I say We toyed briefly I mean I thought about it for one millisecond before deciding it was not going to happen) with eating at "the best steak place in our city".  I figured a meal for the two of us plus a few drinks for me would cost about $250.00.  Then I thought about how many kids' pairs of shoes I could buy for that same amount of money and we decided on Saltgrass.  Perfect. 

3.   Saturday was a rainy first day of spring break and we were cooped up inside with four slightly rotten kids and a wildly insane puppy.  So, yeah.  It was joyful. 

I guess you could say hubby and I both were stir crazy like we'd been locked in an insane asylum wanted to get away by the time 6:30 rolled around.  Normally when I know I am going out to eat I try to starve myself a little so that I can be really hungry and enjoy my food. 

But, I've been having some eating issues lately (by eating issues I mean I have wanted to eat everything that isn't nailed down).  As luck would have it, this insane hunger that's been plaguing me oddly stopped Saturday morning.  I woke up and I had no appetite.  (This usually only happens when I have a severe stomach virus or I am in a coma.  I have never actually been in a coma, but it's how I imagine it.)  I ate a smoothie for breakfast, I wasn't hungry for lunch, and I ate a few pieces of Girl 3's dinner that she couldn't finish.  You would have thought that by 6:30 I would have been ready to eat the menu, but truthfully nothing sounded good.

So, off we went to the previously decided upon steak place.  (We passed Spicy Ginger on the way and I had to remind hubby that we were both hungry for steaks.)

4.  It was a 45 minute wait at the steak place.  And our buzzer thingie didn't work.  And I had to drink a margarita on an empty stomach.  And on the way over to the steak place (before said margarita) my headache came back with a vengeance.  And the appetizer we got was meh at best.  By the time we were seated and ready to order my head was splitting open, and I had completely lost any vestige of an appetite that might have been there.

5.  Poor hubby.  I felt positively miserable for refusing to eat any of my dinner, but the thought of food was making me sick and my head hurt so badly I really was struggling to keep it upright.  He *may* have blamed the two margaritas I had on an empty stomach, but he is a gem so he never said that.

6.  At about 9:00 we headed home.  The kids had just gone to bed when we rolled into the driveway.  (I'm pretty sure our sitter thinks we are 90 year olds.) 

Thank The Date Night Stars, our evening was not a total loss.  We managed to watch The King's Speech on Netflix and I give it 10 stars out of 10.  I stayed awake during the whole thing (except possibly the beginning credits and about 10 minutes after that - shhhh - don't tell hubby) and it was such a delight that I managed to forget about the pain in my head for a while. 

After the movie ended is where it got complicated.  In Texas we have this nasty thing called Daylight Savings Time.  So, the movie ended past midnight (which was really 1:00 a.m.).  I decided at that time to break down and take some serious migraine medication.  As you might know the meds contain lots of caffeine.  And it had started thundering and lightening (of course because we haven't had thunder and lightening in about eight months).  And puppy and the kids cried all night.  And I ended up sleeping in Girl 1's single bed. 

Too bad I couldn't have had date night around 4:00 a.m. because I was still wide awake and I think my appetite was even coming back.

7.  Boy child had my steak dinner for breakfast. 

Date night over 40, people. 

How much will it cost for a re-do?

Friday, March 8, 2013

My mom is probably getting tired of rolling over in her grave. So, sorry mom?

My mom always knew the correct way to do everything - fold and put away various sizes of bath towels, make a bed correctly so that you could bounce a penny off of it, clean a toilet so that it sparkled, get that awful burned stuff off the bottom of pans (not that I ever burn anything in my pans), and on, and on.  And if she didn't know the correct way to do something she would consult someone who did know. 

One time I was watching the Martha Stewart show (when we just had one kid, so I had virtually nothing to do, and I guess we could still afford cable) and I remember Martha saying in that smug way of hers, "Now there is a correct way to do everything.  Today we are going to learn the correct way to fold sheets."  And, I thought to myself, "My God.  My mom was Martha Stewart.....and what is the correct way to fold sheets again???  I better watch this so I can remember it this time."  I watched the show intently, and then promptly forgot how to fold sheets correctly. 

Thankfully, it doesn't matter because not only can we really not afford lots and lots of sheets for every one's beds, we live in a tiny house so where would we put all those extra sheets when we have stuff like underwear and toothbrushes to find a home for?  In fact, my motto now is pretty much, "Be happy there are clean sheets somewhere near your bed and try your best to get them on your bed so that your skin does not come in direct contact with the mattress because that would be germy."

Now, I've blogged plenty about my lack of cleaning skills, but just for the record my skills at any other kind of home cleaning/organization also suck.  I'm pretty sure my closets, bed sheets, and kitchen cabinets would make Martha Stewart sh*t her pants.  (Sorry, Martha.  And BTW, what is the proper way to clean that?)

But, forget about Martha for a second (because who really gives a damn about her).  Lately I've been thinking about how horrified my own momma would be if she were reading my blog...or worse yet, visiting my house.  Here's what's gone south.

1.  The sheet folding and bed making.  I know how to make a bed.  Really, you guys.  I do.  My mom taught me how to make a square corner before the days of fitted sheets (yes, I am that old).  And, I have taught each of my kids (except the four year old) how to make a square corner on a flat sheet (yes, you can applaud).  I know how to put the top sheet on upside down so that the top hem can show on the right side.  But, God love my mom...I have four kids (she had 10, so know that when I say that to her - to heaven - she frowns a titch back at me)!!! 

Here's what happens when the sheets get washed in my house.  I usually have someone take them out of the dryer and haul them up to each person's bed...or sometimes they just get dumped on the (clean) floor until each person picks up their clean sheets.  Then, frantically (usually right before bed) everyone tries to spread their sheets on their beds so that they just stay on there and they can sleep on their sheets instead of the mattress. 

Except my bed.  Here's the cool trick I just learned with my bed.  I can get the sheets off and back on without ever taking the heavy blanket or comforter off!  It's like magic and I have thought since I learned this about a month ago - why did I not know this trick?  Where have I been living?  Under a rock?  Cheesus.  It's kinda like how I imagine all girls feel when they learn to take their bra off without taking their shirts off.  Sassy, smart, with a little bad girl thrown in there for good measure?   Oh, and if you've been doing this for years - please do not leave me a comment telling me that because that would just be mean.

Now, my dilemma is - do I teach my kids The Cheater's Way or not?  I say no.  I let them keep knowing the correct way and thinking there is no other way.  (Like it matters since they really don't ever do The Correct Way anyway.)  (Even thinking about teaching them The Cheater's Way makes me want to apologize to my mom.)

2.  The clothes folding and putting away.  Now, recently I wrote this about getting my kids to take their clothes off and put them in the dirty clothes the correct way (right side out and separated) and one of my lovely (and incredibly smart) readers recommended I simply have the kids put their clean clothes on inside out (exactly how they were placed in their dirty clothes) and right-side out them by putting them on thereby decreasing the amount of right-side outting that has to be done.  For me this comment was another I Took My Bra Off Without Removing My Shirt type moment.  Pure genius.  So, now if you happen to open one of my kids' drawers (and I am not saying I recommend this by any stretch of the imagination) you will see a bunch of (clean) clothes that are inside-out and some pants that, in fact, still have clean underwear right inside of them!  I think the kids like this new system (although they seemed completely unfazed when I announced the amazing things I had learned), but I'm not sure I am up to this kind of blatant disregard for what I have been taught (I can *kinda* feel my mom's eyes boring into our closets right now).

Our closets now look like World War III and my kids still find something to grumble about when it comes to the laundering of the clothes.

3.  Cleaning our tubs.  We have a house cleaner (who I love and if I wasn't already married - I would ask her to marry me) who comes once every two weeks.  If we had a million dollars I would ask her and her three kids to move in with us (and I'd also ask hubby to buy us a bigger house) so that my house could look like it does right after she comes here all the time.  But, for now I have to just have that clean house look for about five minutes immediately after she leaves (because damned if someone doesn't do something like spill a gallon of milk right as she is pulling out of our neighborhood).

So, someone asked me how often I clean during the time that she's not here.  My ideal answer to this question would be, "Um, never.  I don't clean at all the week she doesn't come over."  But, let's be honest.  I live with five other people.  In a kinda smallish house.  Sh*t happens (literally and figuratively).  To not live in complete filth I have to do some cleaning.  The dishes (although now we have that on the chore chart), the laundry, the counters, the kitchen (generally), occasional sweeping and vacuuming, and the toilets are things that have to be done.  So, I do them or I have the kids do them.

Here's the thing - I cannot clean a tub to save my life.  Why does the tub sparkle after my house cleaner leaves?  And when I clean it - it looks fairly similar to right before I cleaned it?  I suspect it's because she uses some sort of chemical that causes legs to grow out of your back to clean the tubs.  But, I don't really care enough to ask her and I don't even know if she would tell me. 

After about a year of wondering this and debating whether I should just ask her what she uses, I just stopped cleaning the tubs. 

(My mom is in heaven saying, "Ewww.")

There you have it.  And if you never want to come visit, that's okay.  I understand.  Just know that my mom did teach me better.  This is all on me, and probably she is just as appalled as you are.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why dinner with my family can be like the eye of a hurricane only without the rain.

I vowed to be a better blogger and just as soon as I did, I broke my vows.  Good thing I've done a teensy bit better with my marriage vows.

Here's the thing - I can't think of anything to write.  I have an enormous writer's block on my head.  And, I've been flirting with a migraine for two days.

I *might* have the beginnings of a migraine because spring break for all four of my kids is next week and they all have had spring fever since the middle of February (what???).  They've taken to saying school is almost over.  Frankly, I don't know what that means.

I think it means that their brains are already on vacation and when this happens monkey brain takes over.  And, monkey brain (as you should know if you've ever been to the zoo) causes the body to not  behave at all.

I have found these last few days that it takes tremendous effort to want to be in the same room with all the kids at once.  It's often felt like I think those reporters feel when they are broadcasting from the eye of the hurricane.  I imagine they feel like it's difficult to talk or think, it's dangerous, and at any moment everything might blow.

Sample of our "dinner conversation" (if you can call it that).  I suggested a family rule that we are all going to strive to keep:  No interrupting.  Why did I do that?  Because I am a glutton for punishment.  (I was interrupted about six times while making the rule.)

Girl 2:  I did the P.E. challenge thing today and I did 24 sit-ups.

Me:  Wow.  24?  That's...

Girl 1:  Not to be mean (which is what she now says instead of no offense because no offense "is in fact offensive") but, I doubt very much that you can do 24 sit-ups.

Me:  That's great!  Girl 1, stop being snotty.

Girl 2:  I CAN TO DO 24 SIT-UPS.

Girl 3:  I can do 24 sit-ups, too.

Girl 1 to Girl 3:  Ha!  Not to be mean, but I doubt you even know what a sit-up is.  Because you're four! 

Girl 3:  NOT TO BE MEAN, BUT I DO KNOW WHAT A SIT-UP IS AND I CAN DO 24 SIT-UPS!  In fact, I think I can do a million.

Girl 1:  Hahahahaha!  Not to be mean, but I know for fact that you can't even count to a million because you can't even count to TWELVE!


Does this make you want to be with these people?  And furthermore, does this make any sense?

So, that's why I have a big writer's block that is painful and makes my head hurt.  And, also it might be dangerous and at any moment knock over this tiny bridge on which I am standing.

But, I did want to bring you this because it makes me laugh so hard every time I watch and I've already watched it about a million times because I have really needed a laugh (and not to be mean, but I can count to a million) .  Cheers!