Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shot to the Heart

Yesterday, I found a permission slip casually laying on the kitchen counter. The permission slip was for a competitive traveling basketball league, and; I surmised by the stealthy placement of the slip- in a location that I was unlikely to miss it- that the Cub was interested in trying out for a team.

When I asked the Cub about the slip, he got teary-eyed as he explained to me that, yes, he really kind of wanted to play, but, he knew that the season interfered with wrestling and, on the one hand, there are a lot of people who want him to wrestle and, on the other hand, there are people who want him to play basketball and he was just. So. Torn.

My heart broke.

So, I asked him what he wanted. Did he want to play basketball? Did he want to wrestle? He reluctantly admitted that he kind of wanted to play basketball but that he didn't want to disappoint his father, who, he believes; really wants him to wrestle.

I hugged him tightly (as tightly as a fourteen year old boy will let his mother hug him, anyway) and told him that his father wants him to be happy-to do what makes him happy, and, I promised to talk to Hugh about the league and to get back to the Cub.

This morning, I broke the news to Hugh. He took it really well.

So, the Cub will try out for the league. I hope he gets on a team with his friends. I hope he enjoys the heck out of the experience. I hope the tournaments are close by, or, that we are able to arrange for the Cub to travel with friends in the event that we are not able to take him (we already have several weekend obligations in the coming months), and, I hope that he always remembers how proud of him we are and how much we love him and support him in everything that he wants to do.

And, one day, I hope I will be able to get the picture of my son tearing up because he was so afraid of disappointing us out of my head.

This may require therapy.

Or, wine.

Same thing, really.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Silver Linings

Late last week, I got a 911 emergency call from Jana: Girl Time was needed, STAT. And, because I am a good friend, I cleared my busy weekend schedule to accommodate her. The laundry and vacuuming had to wait, but, that's ok; my friend needed me.

Aren't you impressed with my loyalty and devotion? Of course you are.

Anyway, we went out to dinner and to the early showing of The Silver Linings Playbook, starring Jennifer Lawrence and the mega-hot Bradley Cooper.

The movie was really good, although, nothing like the book on which the story was based. And, I should know, because, I read the book, and; it was really, really different. Not that it matters, of course, I mean, books are entertaining-in their own way-and movies are fun in a different way and both are valuable to a civilized society.

And, you know, Bradley Cooper.

Also, I digress from my main point which is: Jana and I got to spend some quality time together, and, it didn't take a genius to realize that we have been sorely missing our chats.

Summertime  Porch Nights cannot get here soon enough.

I happened to glance out the window as I was typing that last sentence; the snowstorm that blew into town earlier this evening has resulted in several inches of new snow on the porch. I believe they call that irony.

On the bright side, the snow pack in the high country might actually make it to 100% of normal before the end of the winter, after all, which; will mean the reservoirs and lakes will have a steady supply of water for boating on this summer.

Sometimes you have to search for the silver lining and, sometimes, nature hands you a clue.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Not To Worry

So, I spoke with the insurance company and a very friendly account representative assured me that my claim had been declined simply because the insurance company required additional information from the hospital, but! Not to worry! The claim had already been reprocessed and a payment had been made to the hospital. What's that? Could she tell me how much that payment was for? Well, no, but! Not to worry! Sometimes the company and providers go back and forth several times before the bill is finally settled. Not to worry!

As you can imagine, I was only marginally comforted by the exchange.

In other "not to worry" news, the dreaded winter slump has set in at the store; sales are slow and utility bills are high. But! Not to worry! Spring is right around the corner! The economy is improving; Obama says so!

I am even less than marginally comforted by those assurances, let me tell you.

So...what am I genuinely not worried about these days? Well, my day job, for one. It is going so much better than I ever could have imagined. I mean, for having not a single qualification nor clue about the field going into this thing; I am totally rocking this shit. I am even more shocked by this turn of events than my boss; silly woman actually had "a feeling" about me from the get-go.

I am also not worrying about my offspring these days; they are both doing so well in school and are so much fun to have around, I can't even brag enough about how much I like them. I mean, it goes without saying that I love them, but, liking them is such a nice treat, and; one that I no longer take for granted after witnessing the family dynamics in a sad portion of the population I work with at Day Job.

Speaking of bragging on my kids; the Man-Cub was chosen to participate on a team of students that will be designing and building an aquatic robot. When the robot is complete, the team will compete against other teams, navigating their robots through an underwater maze at the pool in Hooterville. It's quite an honor for the Cub and he is so excited about the process; "we get to solder the wires for the motherboard and everything, mom!".

I'm excited for him.

In teenager news, the girl has been chosen as yearbook editor for next year. She received the honor based on her work on the yearbook this year and I could not be more proud. She is also working diligently on the prom committee, building sets and auditioning DJs and generally enjoying the process.

All in all, my worries are far out shadowed by the bright spots in my life, so; I can't complain. And, it feels really good to be able to recognize that during the drab days of winter; I'm not sure I could have pulled that off in years past.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Needed This Like I Need another Hole in my Head

We received a bill from the hospital in Mount Pilot yesterday. The bill covered The Teenager's emergency appendectomy and arrived in the amount of $18,000.00.

$18,000.00 that our insurance had declined to pay. You know, despite the fact that our plan has an out-of-pocket maximum of $11,000.00 for the family and $2,500.00 out-of-pocket maximum per individual.

I am so frustrated, I can't even begin to form a coherent thought. Well, that's not technically true; I have coherent thoughts, they just aren't very pleasant thoughts.

So, today I get to hit the phones, where I will undoubtedly have to spend precious hours of my time trying to figure this mess out. With any luck, I will be able to uncover some simple mistake that is easily corrected. Worst case-scenario; there was no mistake, or, the mistake is such that we fall into a catch-22 wherein we actually owe a hospital $18,000.00, in which case; I smell a lawsuit against the insurance company in my very near future. We have dutifully paid our premiums for years and we deserve to be protected against this kind of situation.

At least, that's my stance on the matter.

On the bright side, if we do end up having to pay the bill, I hear there is a lot of money to be made in the black market organ trade.

Hell, an appendix alone is apparently worth $18,000.00

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Man-Flu vs. Freshman Orientation: An Epic Battle of Annoyance

We survived Freshman orientation last night, despite the fact that Hugh is in day three-hundred-and-five of Super-Whiny Man Disease.

Or, day four of the flu; same diff.

Indeed, last night, when Hugh bemoaned the fact that he didn't "feeeel goooood"; The Teenager deadpanned "We know, dad. We know". Her comic timing and dry delivery were right on and I couldn't help but feel an enormous wave of parental pride wash over my heart.

But, back to orientation.

It wasn't anything that we hadn't heard before but it felt different when relating it to my last-born. It Which, is ridiculous; we still have four years before the Cub graduates, there is no need to get all weepy, now.

And, please don't pick this moment to remind me that my daughter graduates next spring. I'll cut you.

I will.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Adding Insult to Injury

I mentioned that we are attending the Man-Cub's Freshman orientation at the high school, tomorrow, didn't I?

I wept over the rapidly diminishing childhood of my last-born, right?

I may have also mentioned that my reproductive organs are now dustier than King Tut's tomb, at least, I think I did...

Yeah, well, it gets worse.

Hugh taught the Man-Cub how to shave this weekend.

How to shave.

I personally didn't think that-at the tender age of fourteen-the Cub needed to shave. I mean, just because the shadow from his burgeoning mustache occasionally caused me to suggest that he wipe the cookie crumbs off his upper lip didn't automatically mean that I was ready to surrender this last vestige of his childhood or that I was in any big hurry to enter a world wherein my son will regularly list shaving cream on the weekly grocery list.

That nonsense could have waited a few more months, at least.

Granted, Hugh made similar noises of protest when I took it upon myself to let The Teenager shave her legs back when she was eleven, but, in my defense, girls are just plain mean and she was being teased at school; I've never once heard the Man-Cub's friends rib him about the caterpillar crawling across his face.

And, now, we'll never know if that's how it would have gone down or not.

We'll never know, Hugh!

Also, don't come crying to me when your after-shave goes missing; you reap what you sow, my friend. You reap what you sow.


So, yeah...

...I have a clean-shaven-soon-to-be-high-school-freshman on my hands.

I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We're Having a Heatwave

Yesterday's high temperatures were in the 30's. If you had told me that 32 degrees would be cause for celebration anytime before this month, I would have laughed at you. As it was, I did sort of celebrate-by finally taking my Christmas decorations off the front porch. The celebration didn't include balloons or fun party favors but, it did end with a clear porch, so...yeah.

I have clearly forgotten how to celebrate.

Anywaaayy...Christmas is officially done and away. Oh, except for one lone ornament that I must have overlooked; it's still hanging on the porch. I'll get to it another time and I'll still be months ahead of the time that it generally takes Hugh to remove the last of the Christmas lights. Not that I'm competing with him or anything, I'm just saying.

In addition to spurring me to clear the porch, the sudden rise in temperature also got me in a serious jonesing for summertime. Hell, I'd even settle for springtime, I just need some sunny days and a chance to wear cute sandals with capri pants. Is that really so much to ask?

Plus, I planted something like 200 tulip, crocus and daffodil bulbs in October and I'm anxious to see if they bloom. Too bad we still have at least two more months before that can even begin to happen, warmer temperatures or not.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Partying With the Blue-Haired Set

Last night, The Teenager and I went to see a play performed at our local community theater. The play was Wait Until Dark, a suspenseful tale of a blind woman attacked in her home by a very bad man, searching for a heroin-filled doll.

Also attending the play were two of my co-workers, who were supervising a group of teens from one of our programs, and, the irony that we were enjoying a play about drug-related crimes while in the company of minors who were participating in substance abuse programs (in some cases) was not lost on The Teenager.

The Teenager also pointed out, and, rightly so; that she and the other teens represented a serious minority when it came to the viewing audience, as the theater was filled to capacity with senior citizens, which, will be an important fact to remember as I continue my story.

Wait Until Dark takes place in New York city in the 60's, which somewhat explains why the lead antagonist whipped out a cigarette five minutes into the first act. Both The Teenager and I find cigarette smoke quite repulsive, and, one of my co-workers has terrible migraines, triggered by smoke, so; as smoke filled up the theater, we each experienced some relative discomfort. The Teenager and I, sitting in the second row, front and center, got the worst of it while my co-worker, who was up in the middle row of the right side of the theater was able to avoid direct contact.

The Teenager and I buried our noses in our scarves and, thankfully, the act ended and no one else lit up, but, seriously; there should have been some warning label somewhere, I mean, right?

There probably also should have been a warning label about the shoe that one of the actors threw during a particularly tense scene during the final act, because, when that shoe bounced into the audience and nailed one old guy in the head before bouncing into an old ladies lap behind him; we might have liked to be better prepared to stifle our laughter so as not to ruin the tension of the scene.

For the record? We were not able to stifle that laughter and I feared The Teenager might hyper-ventilate while trying to do so. Plus, it's just bad form to nail your elders in the head with a loafer.

Feel free to save that bit of information for future reference.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bathroom Foraging, Day Two

The water at Place of My Employment was finally restored today; ten minutes before we ended the workday.

Because, of course it was.

On the bright side, thanks to the return of actual flushing toilets, I was able to arrive at my 5:00 hair appointment with an empty bladder, which, I consider a blessing since the restroom at the salon kind of creeps me out.

In news not related to bodily excretions (you're welcome); I am really not liking the cold weather, and, not just because it causes frozen pipes which leads to toiletlessness (oops, sorry!). I am also not digging the icy sidewalks that my co-worker and I are forced to navigate on our daily power-walks. And, while I realize that my sixteen degree temperatures pale in comparison to my parent's negative thirty-seven degree temperatures (Seriously. NEGATIVE thirty-seven. That's insane); I still don't like it.

I am, however, enjoying the slightly longer days; the sun still visible on the horizon when I leave work each day gives me such pleasure, I can't begin to explain it. Suffice it to say that I am feeling far less depressed this winter than I have in recent years, which, I consider a blessing.

And, speaking of depressing things, I have talked myself down from a ledge where the Man-Cub's freshman orientation is concerned; I'm simply going to remove him from public school and teach him at home, where he will be classified as an eighth-grader forever. Along with his sister, the perennial high school junior, of course.

Problem solved.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday? Really?

I spent a large majority of my day labouring under the impression that it was Wednesday. When I finally realized that is was only Tuesday, I was crushed. This is like the longest week, evah.

In addition, the below-zero temperatures we have been experiencing of late finally had their way with the pipes at Place of My Employment; freezing up and leaving us without water today. The situation required my co-workers and me to leave the building in search of public restrooms all day long, and, while I can't speak to the ingenuity of my colleagues; I personally visited toilets at the public library, a local grocery store, Starbucks, and, the Elks Club, where, I discovered the coldest restroom in the history of restrooms, hands down.

I wish I could say that the situation will be any better tomorrow, but, the plumber is really, really busy right now (thank you sub-zero temperatures) and doesn't think he can get to us until late afternoon.

My boss sent out a mass email letting us know that it was perfectly ok to use comp-time or to work from home if our delicate sensitivities can't take another day of bathroom foraging. However, I have meetings I can't reschedule and, as the New Girl, I don't exactly have a lot of comp-time built up, so; my ass will be braving the cold porcelain toilet seats found hither and yon in Hooterville while my lucky colleagues tele-commute from the warmth and comfort of their own couches.

I would declare this all to be a hardship, but, I've recently seen people living with these conditions on a daily basis, so, yeah, not so much.

I am, however, still more than comfortable bitching about it only being Tuesday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

And My Ovaries are Officially Dust

We got an email from the school today, notifying us that we are expected to attend Freshman orientation for the Man-Cub later this month.

I'm going to let that sink in for a minute.....

....aaaand we're done.

Let us never speak of this, again.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lazy, Busy, or Exhausted: Your Call

I don't usually resort to blogging in bullet points unless I am one of the above. I'm not going to cop to which thing it is, exactly, not because I am uncertain as to which it is, but, because I am suffering from all three, simultaneously. So....

  • My business trip went well. I really enjoy the company of my boss and of the staff member whom I supervise, and we had a lot of fun learning more about each other during the ten hours that we spent in the car.
  • It didn't snow on us, which was an unexpected surprise.
  • None of us came down with the stomach flu, despite having been exposed to the germs in each of our households.
  • Yesterday, the kids and I went to Neighboring City to meet up with Jules, who was in town with her girls for a volleyball tournament.
  • It was nice to catch up with Jules and we wished that the rest of the roommates could have joined us as well.
  • I am getting tired of winter and am looking forward to summer.
  • While we were in Neighboring City, we did some shopping. Purchases included new jeans for the Man-Cub, who had outgrown all but one pair from his current wardrobe, and, new cross trainers for me; replacing the pair I have been wearing for at least the past three years.
  • I recently purchased an elliptical machine and have been using it, frequently. I am up to half an hour of continuous use-without-wanting-to-die. My goal is an hour a day.
  • I would really, really like to lose some weight before the summer.
  • Last night, after Hugh got home from refereeing at another wrestling tournament, we all sat down to watch a movie. Somehow, the remote control for the television has gone missing and, despite a thorough and lengthy search of the house, we have yet to find it. I don't know how that happens.
  • I am looking forward to another busy week.
Well, maybe "looking forward to" is over-stating it a bit.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

So Far, So Good

As of this minute, I have not been struck down by the stomach flu. I’m not going to go getting all cocky about that since I am well aware that doing so would be the equivalent of laying a virtual slap on the Univers, an action that practically begs for retaliation.

Also, my boss, with whom I will be driving to Denver tomorrow, was up late last night with her young daughter, who had…the stomach flu. So, our odds of coming out of this without our own bout of it are looking worse and worse.

In addition, The Teenager and the Man-Cub went back to school, today. And, by school, I obviously mean “Germ Pool”. God alone knows what horrors they will be tracking into the house upon their arrival home this afternoon.

On the bright side, if we do manage to dodge the stomach flu bullet, my boss and I will have two days away from the germ-carriers. Well, away from the germ carriers who belong to us, at any rate.

Do you think it’s too late to invest in a couple of those white surgical masks that the Asian folks are always sporting?

If not, do you think white surgical masks will go with a “business casual” wardrobe?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Seven Days In and Already We Have Vomit. Way to Go, 2013

The weekend at Casa de Chelle was both relaxing and eventful. I managed to mark several items off my To-Do list and was feeling pretty good about my accomplishments. That is, until I realized that I still had a fully decorated front porch. I always give Hugh a hard time for leaving the outdoor lights up until March and now I am the one who is slacking on the de-Christmassing front.

In my defense, it is colder than usual outside. And, I am lazy.

But, not too lazy to take advantage of the new elliptical machine that I purchased for myself on Sunday. That’s right; I bought myself a fancy piece of exercise equipment. My goals are lofty and include actually using the machine. For the record, Hugh has no faith in the probability of this happening. I know this because he told me so, in not-very-nice words while attempting to put the machine together last night. I would be offended but, I think his lack of faith had more to do with the fact that he was having a really hard time inserting peg A into slot B as well as with all the rest of the instructions that the construction entailed.

Then, he was struck down by stomach flu at 3:00 this morning. Karma. Boomerang.

That said: please don’t let me get the flu, Lord.


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Life's Too Short

-To match socks from the laundry.

-To read sponsored posts; if I read your blog, it's because I am (or, was) interested in your life, not because I give a rat's patootie about which fabric softener keeps your unmentionables silky soft.

-To pass up dessert. A healthy lifestyle is a great thing but one should always include dessert.

-To stress over things that you cannot change.

-To waste time on negativity.

-To pass up a chance to cuddle with a boy who will soon be a man.

-To pass up the opportunity to tell a teenage girl how awesome she is, even if the only response you get is a condescending sigh and an eye roll.

-To waste time on household chores or a day job when you could be sunning yourself from the deck of a boat, surrounded by friends and family.

-To waste time feeling bad about yourself.

-To skip vacations.

-To say "tomorrow, I'll get to that, tomorrow".

Thursday, January 03, 2013


One of my favorite bloggers is The Pioneer Woman. I love how down-to-earth she seems, despite the fame and the exposure and the best-selling cookbooks and the television show and the clearly awesome family, and...wait; why do I like her again?

But, really. I do. I've used a lot of her photography tips and cooked several of her recipes and I can always count on her website for new ideas, which, is my way of telling you that I stole the idea to use the letters from the word RESOLUTIONS to set my goals for 2013 from Ree Drummond; she's a smart one, that Pioneer Woman.

So, without further adieu, I give you my resolutions for 2013, Pioneer Style.

Relax more. Preferably on the porch. With wine. And, The Girls.
Eat better. Less junk, more whole foods.
Sleep better. This may also require wine. I'm just saying.
Organize the best damn Spring Luncheon my woman's club has ever seen.
Learn something new every day.
Use less profanity. Seriously, I am not employed as a sailor, there is no damn need to swear (See?!).
Try something new every day.
Increase my flexibility-I've let myself get way too tight recently. Yoga? Pilates? Whatever works.
Organize the items in my attic for a yard sale this summer. Actually HAVE a yard sale this summer.
Nest more, this means more crafting, more housecleaning and more home entertaining. Girls? Wine?
Spend more time doing things that make me happy, because; when I'm happy, my whole family is happier.

While all of these things are doable, some will be more difficult than others, I mean, drinking wine with my girlfriends? Torture, pure torture.

I'm willing to make the effort, however.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

This Is NOT the Way to Win Friends, 2013

On the way to work this morning, I heard a muted pinging sound and then watched in horror as a crack zipped across my windshield. The crack is thisclose to impeding my line of sight which means that I am going to need a new windshield sooner rather than later. This pisses me off for a variety of reasons, the very least of which is the fact that we have already replaced the windshield once before.

Not cool.

Oh, and we never did go sledding on New Year's day which means that our tradition is becoming less of a tradition and more of a thing that we do, you know, when we feel like it. I guess I'm ok with that, given the fact that I am getting old enough to wonder if my body can take being hurled down an icy slope with nothing but an inner tube to protect it.

For the record? It probably can't.

We did manage to keep one tradition intact; we ate black eyed peas yesterday. I can still sort of taste them in the back of my throat.

Also not cool.

But, if eating those vile legumes earns us some good luck in 2013, it will be worth it.

Waiiiit a minute, beans eaten...windshield cracked....fuck! I demand a do-over!