Priorities

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There are so many stories to tell … Instead I spent my day writing the content for a game. On Tuesday The Eternal Game of Life will be played by the youth. Here’s hoping my contribution will be more meaningful than the inane babblings of the minutia in my life I post here.

Oops! The name should be the Game of Eternal Life. The other way makes it sound like the game will never end! It’s like I’m tired or something.

Nine Years of Pure Unadulterated Estrogen

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birthdayNine years ago an elephant sat on my chest. Through the magical zipper at the bottom of my stomach came my baby girl. She emerged at 8:03 on a sunny Friday morning. As predicted, she was a big baby with lots of dark, curly hair. She outweighed both her brothers at birth by three pounds.

While some think chubby babies are cute and seem more healthy, her 9 lbs. 4 oz. are most to blame for her two day stay in the NICU. The rest of the blame rests on me.

It was the easiest pregnancy by normal standards. I used to have to remind myself she was in there because I felt so great. Diabetes wise it was my hardest pregnancy. I struggled to maintain tight control of my blood sugars. The extra sugar my body “fed” her caused her body to produce extra insulin to compensate. It took a lot of time  after birth for her body to regulate.

No matter what any doctor said, I still blame myself for her NICU stay and the nurses calling her the Queen of the Nursery. Although I consider myself very lucky that rooming with preemies was her only challenge. There was the very real possibility she could have been born with a chromosomal abnormality. Yet she was perfect. Our Little Miss.

The day after she turned 4, she insisted she was “almost 5” and began resenting the name Little Miss. “I not little!” No honey, you’re not little. You never were. You have always been a tall drink of water looking much older than your actual age. Grandma was frustrated when Gwen put on her birthday dress. Grandma made it a size 14 and the hem falls inches above her knees. Like her oldest brother Gavin, we can barely keep this girl clothed properly!

It’s her last year in the single digits. She woke up around 2:00 am and noted the time on her alarm clock. “These are the last few hours I will be 8!” she told herself. In my mind she was never supposed to age beyond the first grade. This is the girl who has been going on 20 since the day she was born! In this picture she is going on 14 months old. And she thought she was going on 14 years old! That’s my Gwen.

She is beautiful and she knows it. She is the most confident and mature child I have ever known. She is smart, manipulative, shrill, sunshine and friendliness personified, not to mention really funny.

Being young has its perks. She was so happy to go to school today. Personally, I would have been a little put out to have two days off of school for a “midwinter break” only to have to return on my birthday! Not Gwen. She’s fine with it. She may be upset when she sees that we got her an American Girl dress that matches the dress her doll came with. Upset because tomorrow is her PE day and she can’t wear dresses. Both her boys were thrilled to announce they had three recesses the first day of first grade. Gwen was mad to learn that she had two PE days each week! That is two whole days she is forced to wear athletic shoes. Oh the humanity!

She definitely keeps growing up. There is nothing I can do about it. We sure have loved every second with this minx of a girl. She has charmed us with her wiles, tested our patience, warmed our hearts, and balanced out our family.

Happy birthday Gwen!

In the Eyes

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It’s finally time to start getting bids for our backyard. Soon the patch of weeds, also known as our backyard, will be hardscaped into something spectacular. We have our own ideas of what we want. The question is, how much can we do with our budget?

A husband and wife team came over to check out our yard and give us a quote. What I really love about them is their shiny eyes. It was obvious they were excited about all the possibilities. I could see the wheels in their minds turning. Little did I know that as I was observing them, they were observing us, particularly me.

Wife: How long have you two been married?
Me: Sixteen years.
Wife: I have been watching you look at him (Heath) when he talks. I can see in your eyes that you have a lot of love and respect for him. It’s neat to see how much you love each other.

That made my day! Heath is my everything. What a compliment. Recently he told me that he was glad I was there as he goes through a challenging experience. I hate watching him have to but there’s nothing I can do about it. We just keep looking in each other’s eyes. And we keep the fridge stocked with Diet Coke. True love.

Change of Plans

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McTeacher’s Night turned into an impromptu date night. For a couple weeks we had planned on going through McDonald’s drive thru so we could support the school. Going through the drive thru was a brilliant idea. As we drove away we could see into the restaurant. It looked like ants on a lollipop inside.

Gavin still hates McDonald’s and refuses to eat there. Unfortunately our only choices for fast food nearby is Taco Bell or McDonald’s. We try to warn him ahead of time so he can make his own dinner rather than eat the poison that is McDonald’s! We took orders from Gwen and Parker and told the kids we would not be eating with them.

At some point in the day Heath said we should pick up food for the kids and go out on our own. It would be a makeup call on our anniversary. Then we could go to the mall and buy Gwen’s birthday gifts. As we drove to McDonald’s we decided to skip having Gwen go to her Activity Days meeting. It’s an hour and 15 minutes long. Not really enough time to drop her off, eat, and pick her up again. When we went out for my birthday we had a friend bring her home so we could have enough time to eat. With the mall we needed nowhere near the church, she was going to have to stay home.

Her leaders were scrambling to salvage the activity as it was. One leader was going to teach a fitness class and talk about nutrition but she got the flu on Valentine’s Day. The other two leaders were hoping to show a church approved movie. Gwen was all excited. “Like Finding Dory?” I told her no, that movie is not church approved. It would be more like The Living Scriptures cartoons we gave away when we moved. She was not impressed. Heath said those movies probably wouldn’t even work. They would have to see what they could find in the meetinghouse library and who knows if videos and DVD’s are even stored there anymore!

All three kids were on their own to eat dinner. We left for a casual, but welcome, date. Café Rio was our dinner of choice. I don’t know why people around here don’t like Café Rio. I love it. More than anything else, I love the memories of Café Rio. A college roommate turned me onto the restaurant when it was only in St. George. When I met Heath we would go there on our way to Lake Mead to camp with my family. Café Rio is our family tradition. Living near a Café Rio again is wonderful.

We enjoyed our meal and talked. Then we walked in the sprinkling rain to the American Girl Store. The revolving door was locked. Heath tried the regular door. Locked. We looked at the sign and were confused. The store should close at 8:00 pm and it was only a little past 7:00. Finally we saw the sign stating that Wednesday would have a special 6:00 pm closing time so they could change the displays. Oh good heavens!

We were stunned. I get emails from American Girl almost daily. Not once was I given a heads up on the special one day only store hours. We went to the Lego store but that’s not what we had planned to get her for her birthday. There were certainly things she would enjoy but we had a plan. That plan had been sabotaged by millennials.

I’m sorry but it’s true. Millennials have their own work ethic. It rarely involves much hard work and is selfish in nature. Heath and I kept saying over and over again what it was like for us to work retail. There was no closing early. For any reason. Much less inventory. I was lucky enough to not have to deal with the dreaded inventory days. I think because I was still in high school I was allowed to go home when the store closed and we had finished our hour of returns and cleaning up the store.

Heath had worked retail at a mall. He could not believe the mall would allow a store to close early like that. I get that Wednesday night is not the mall’s heaviest traffic day, but still. We went home to look up what we wanted online. We found some fun stuff that we could have delivered for the unnecessary shipping fee of $16.00. Unnecessary because if the store had been open we could have taken our purchases home on our own.

There was no mention of expected delivery dates. For twice the cost of normal shipping, we could have the items delivered in 3-5 business days. Barely in time for her birthday. There was no way on God’s green earth we were paying that extortion. The plan was to give a piece of our minds as feedback no matter what. Heath pulled up an email form, handed me his laptop, and told me to go nuts. I was very professional.

While we don’t pay Gavin to babysit, I felt it was worth mentioning that we had a babysitter in order to do our shopping. We may leave our kids on their own frequently but it’s not like I was looking forward to finding time later to try this again. It’s just outrageous the store was closed like that for such a lame reason. When did the customer stop being important?

I am shocked at the way I am treated as a customer. I’m never right. Even the girl I talked to at Medtronic about my battery alarms, talked to me like I was an idiot. Like I haven’t been wearing an insulin pump for nearly as long as she has been alive! What happened to standard customer service?

Plan D (or whatever letter we’re on) is for Heath to take Gavin to the store on Saturday after his basketball game near the mall. Heath printed out our online cart. Hopefully he can get those items. I’m still so annoyed. I wonder when I will get a response to my email?

I’ve Learned

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If a Valentine idea was good enough when Parker was in first grade, it is still a good idea now that Gwen is in third grade. Besides that, this is a new school. No one here has seen that this is a repeat Valentine. It turned out just as well the second time. No need to reinvent the wheel.

We did not decorate a box. Gwen wanted to decorate a gallon sized Ziploc bag. I was not at all okay with that idea and neither was her father! It’s bad enough we threw the Valentines together last minute, and only because we had already bought the suckers. I could not, in good conscience, send her to school with a ghetto Valentine bag. The Lego bag she carried her Valentines to class in will just have to do. I was kind of hoping the class would decorate paper bags. That has been the case since Gavin was in first grade.

Valentine-Box-024 I don’t think we have made a Valentine box since then. It was adorable! Ahh, memories.

I read this on Facebook and had to share.

“It’s beautiful and poignant and wonderful and sad when your kids grow up. But beneath the mixed feelings, you know deep in your heart that you no longer have to help them make Valentine boxes or stand at Wal-Mart studying the picked-over selection of Spiderman and Hello Kitty Valentines. Old kids FOR THE WIN. Pass the chocolate.” ~ Stephanie Black

I so love and miss Stephanie! She is dead on with this. Two more years. I hope. Gwen loves Valentine’s Day and will probably want to continue to give Valentines well into middle and high school. By then I will be off the hook with helping. Parker told me that the middle school was selling stuffed animals to be given away as Valentines. He chose not to buy one for any friends because he didn’t want to spend his money! He did come home with a cute stuffed llama his bus buddy gave him.

Gavin came home with the pride and sore legs of winning first place in running. He ran 14 laps at race pace around the softball field in PE today. No need for commercialized messages of love. He just loves running! Running, will you be my Valentine?

Last year Paradise, this year …

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Birthdays or anniversaries on Fridays are a rare treat indeed. All the waiting for celebrations are skipped when the celebrated day naturally occurs on Friday. Saturdays are good too. If you can have your special day on a weekend, you have fun built right in!

It has been 16 years of wedded bliss for us. Our marriage is now old enough to drive. Too bad it couldn’t drive Gwen to and from her performance this past weekend. Apparently driving privileges are only granted to people. Instead of staring deeply into each other’s eyes over a fancy meal, reminiscing over our time together while the kids entertain each other, we had an entirely different experience.

Our anniversary evening began at 2:00 pm when we got in the van to pick up Gwen from school. The boys hadn’t even come home from school yet. We saw them walking and told them they were on their own. Two hours later we made it back home for a quick 45 minute break before having to brave the traffic again to go back.

Two hours is a long time to be in the car and not have really gone anywhere. The theater isn’t far but between the school parking lot traffic (took over 30 minutes to get out) and the insane commuter traffic, a short couple of miles turns into two hours. And grumpy moods. That school parking lot was an experience. Why do parents insist on driving their kids when there are school buses that do it for you?

Given all the en vogue food allergies these days plus designer diets, the PTA couldn’t even buy pizza for the kids for dinner. Parents had to furnish dinner. Which is a bit of a trick. Gwen ate a McDonald’s happy meal on the way to the theater. Dinner for her was before 3:00 pm. The  PTA did offer fruits and veggies along with rice patties for the kids shortly before performance time.

At one point I wanted to dress up to watch these performances. The idea came from kids movies where the parents put on their theater best to support their children’s performance. By the time we got to Friday, I was so overwhelmed with the whole thing that I decided against the dress. I wore a nice shirt and jeans instead. Had I worn the dress I would have been even more upset that we essentially paid to watch a dress rehearsal.

No one was ready. The director read most of the lines just to keep the show moving. Cruella didn’t know any of the songs. And an entire scene was skipped. I only knew because it was a scene with Gwen’s only line. She did not get to say her line and she was upset.

She came out with the Scottie dogs for the Twilight Bark song. I was confused when I saw that she didn’t have a costume. When she came out again she looked a little lost as she ran under the piano with the other kids. She was crying as she clipped the flower back on her Dalmatian dog ear headband. I watched as she wiped the tears from her face and continued to act. A few minutes later all the kids on stage yelled, “101 Dalmatians!” I realized the show was wrapping up yet Gwen never said her line. I was very confused.

Before the show started the PTA moms greeted the audience and introduced the directors. While the show was mentioned, it seemed to take a back seat to the all important instructions of how to retrieve the kids afterwards. It seemed tacky. Gwen was fighting back tears when I got backstage. The PTA mom asked who I was looking for and sent Gwen out to me. There was no clipboard for parents to sign their kids out. Gwen melted into sobs when she got to me.

I did my best to comfort her confused and frustrated heart as we walked out. I was pretty steamed myself. All I could think of was how much money we were asked to put into this. And her scene was cut!

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Heath and I laughed when Gwen gave us our tickets. Apparently we are now the We Stoners! We joked that we must be stoners for having to pay to watch our child perform. Little did we know!

Saturday morning I got up and resolved to give the directors another chance. I would only send a nasty email if Gwen’s part was cut again. I did go a little crazy on the hair and makeup. Parents weren’t given any instructions for Friday other than keep long hair out of faces. That night we were sent an email stating that the lights washed out the kids too much so it would be helpful if parents put mascara and lipstick on their kids for Saturday.

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Her hair didn’t stay as puffy as I wanted it to but the buns were still cute. I went to town on her makeup. If my girl was going to have to play a part without a costume and have her line cut, she was going to look smashing doing it. I was so proud of how mature she appeared on stage anyway. She knew all the songs and dances when the other kids struggled. Even though she did cry on stage out of sheer confusion, she pulled herself together quickly and painted a smile on her face. The show must go on.

At Saturday’s rehearsal Gwen asked the director what happened to her scene. The director argued with her that nothing was cut. The director and assistant director are very young. This may be their first play on their own. I was proud of Gwen for sticking up for herself and even more proud that she didn’t let the argument continue. Gwen dropped it when the director refused to believe there was a mistake.

Gwen quietly made up her mind to not do the Scottie part. People kept telling her she needed to go out there for her song. She refused. She realized that was where the problem had occurred. There was no time to switch parts between the Twilight Bark and the
Fur Vault scene. Plus, she didn’t even have a Scottie costume. Success! The scene went off without a hitch and Gwen delivered her line clearly.

I found it interesting that there was no mention of pick up procedures. Pick up took a long time since there was only one clipboard and kids weren’t being released until they had been signed out! We were all quite happy when it was all over.

Overall it was a good experience for Gwen. She didn’t learn much by way of acting but she did exhibit a lot of maturity and responsibility. She enjoyed herself and had fun. Yes, I will let her do it again. It will help if I know it’s not the same company next year!

Sixteen years ago, Heath and I would have never imagined an anniversary like this. We never would have thought we would ever celebrate an anniversary in Hawaii. Even more outlandish was the idea that after Hawaii we would celebrate the following year carpooling Gwen all over kingdom come for a half hour play. *sigh*

What’s Worse?

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Ever play that game? You compare two unlikely scenarios and pick which is worse. Or usually yell OH really loudly then laugh. The scenarios aren’t real and therefore it’s an entertaining game. Until it is real …

Dun dun DUHHHHNNN!!!

What’s worse, having someone get on their hands and knees to touch your dirty floors? Or answering the door in your pajamas … hair in a greasy ponytail … no makeup … and no bra.

This actually happened.

Needless to say I will not be working out today. I have men in my house. Men that now have a great story to tell about the surprised homeowner who answered the door in her pajamas. I thought I was mortified when the lady came to check out our requests and my floors needed a good sweeping. That was months ago. I greeted four men braless this morning. Can I die now?

Heath was presenting on a call and I was in the middle of doing dishes. I hated sending Gwen off to school. My only friend left me for the third grade! Poor thing had to swim to the bus stop. The temperature finally came up enough that it rained yesterday, melting most of the snow. Luckily it didn’t freeze over night. That would have been a virtual ice skating rink. Now it’s nearly 50 degrees outside and pouring rain. Inches and inches of rain on top of ponds forming on the sidewalks and roadways.

The washing machine shouldn’t trip the breaker anymore. The handyman guy is cleaning up more paint splatters on the floor and he said he would get into the crawl space to fix the squeaks. He mentioned a couple of tasks he would work on today.

Now that Heath is off the phone I’m going to shower away my shame. Does shame wash away with soap and water?

Ranting and Diet Coke are Really the Best Medicine

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Snow days, two hour delays, and snow bus routes. My child is still a hostage of the play she is in. She needs a plain black long sleeved shirt to go under her costume on Friday. I just found out this morning. I could scream. Well … I kind of did. There was more to my stress than just two messed up mornings but that’s not the point. Yelling felt fabulous, I have to say.

The kids enjoyed their day off yesterday. I told Heath that I felt like a bad mom because I just didn’t want them home. He assured me they were fine. I was so busy worrying about my endo appointment that I didn’t really see my kids. He was right. They were fine. They found friends outside and they found things to do at home. Heath and I were gone for two hours for my appointment. We went grocery shopping on our way home. The G’s hardly noticed. When we walked in Parker asked what we did. I guess he wasn’t paying attention when we said I had a doctor’s appointment. He only heard “don’t fight and we don’t know when we’ll be back.”

This morning I was ripped out of a deep sleep as the phone rang. The city on the caller ID was not the same city that normally comes up with calls from the superintendent. That was weird. A pre-recorded voice cheerily told me that all schools in our district were on a two hour delay due to weather. No surprise. It warmed up enough yesterday evening to make a slushy mess of the snow but of course it all froze over night. Which makes for a nightmarish morning commute.

I was lazy and decided not to tell the boys. They didn’t sleep in yesterday! This way if they did wake up on time they would be ready to enjoy their two hours. Otherwise they could sleep in. Either way I was fine with it. They were showered and dressed by 7:00. Gwen was up on her own too. They were all excited to have a long morning to do whatever they wanted. The phone rang later and we found out the buses would be on snow routes today.

I got my workout in and I managed to shower before the boys left. Actually, I rushed my shower skipping leg shaving. I rushed out of the shower and didn’t even put on lotion! I did jump into underwear so I had a place for my pump to clip to. Then I quickly tied a robe around me so I could send the boys out the door. Gavin slipped a little at the end of the driveway and I wondered if I should put clothes on to drive them to their bus stop. I didn’t. Maybe that’s the real reason why he didn’t text me when they got on the bus. More likely it was the strange morning that made him forget. Heath did drive to their stop to check on them. No one was there so he came back home.

My plan all along was to take Gwen to her bus stop. Originally I thought it would be nice to walk with her. I changed my mind when I saw that the listed snow route bus stop was the same as a normal bus route. The boys pick up the bus on the main road so their stop shouldn’t change. I could not figure out why a snow route would include driving through the neighborhoods and stopping at the same places for the elementary kids. So I was prepared for anything by driving.

It was hard to turn around where I wanted to with oncoming cars and a car behind me. So I just drove Gwen all the way to her stop. We saw two other boys at the bus stop so we assumed we were in the right place. I did get a text message from someone when I started driving. I parked across the street from the bus stop and asked Gwen what she wanted me to do. She asked me to stand and wait with her. I checked my text message first.

A friend of mine had texted that the bus would be at the entrance to that other neighborhood on the main road. That made much more sense than what the school site said. I rolled down the window and told the boys about the change in bus stops for the snow route. I also offered them a ride which they both refused. Stranger danger! Even though the one kid knows I live across the street from him and the other kid also knows I’m Gwen’s mom. They assured me they could walk. Okay. Not much I could do about it except worry that they couldn’t walk fast enough.

We parked near the main road and got out to join the throngs of parents and students walking to the corner. I was grateful to see the boys make it before the bus showed up. My friend always walks her first grade daughter to the bus door and she will talk to the bus driver. This time the conversation seemed to be more than a simple greeting. So I waited for her. She said that the bus will follow the same snow route in the afternoon and that stop is where the kids will be dropped off after school. It doesn’t matter for Gwen since she will be rehearsing after school. I appreciated the information for the next snow route day.

I found it interesting how many moms said they loved the two hour delay and wished every day started that late. Oh to have your oldest child be in the first grade! They also said things like, “Wasn’t it so nice to wake up to snow yesterday?” Yes I remember when my kids were little and we spent all our time together. They grew up and no longer see me as their sole source of entertainment. I no longer plan my days around my kids. My routine is completely different now and weather related school changes can really mess up a lot of things!

I was not happy to get my last kid off to school and finally get home at 11:00 am. Although it was nice that I was able to fit in my workout and shower this morning. Not only that but I was dressed with full hair and makeup too. That part was nice. I don’t ever want to do this again. It was annoying. But at least the kids don’t have to make up the day in the summer. Snow days they do have to make up. So far there have been two of those.

When I walked in Heath updated me on the latest in our personal soap opera. That’s when I yelled. And it was lovely. We grabbed some lunch, put gas in my van, and picked up a snow shovel, thus guaranteeing the end of snow for the year. I hope anyway.

I posted my newfound knowledge of snow bus routes on our neighborhood Facebook page. Many parents responded and were very grateful for the information. I’m glad I posted that. I can’t believe the school sites are wrong. Don’t point parents to the websites if you can’t provide accurate information!

Drama, drama, drama. The soap opera continues. There are words to describe these people. I’m not allowed to use them. Although the internet is full of them including pictures. I need another Diet Coke.

Here we go again!

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Another snow day.

Of all the days this could happen, today is not my first choice. I blame Parker. Last night he was lying on the floor under a blanket as we watched a movie. He worked up his best wishing hope-against-hope face and said, “I hope there’s no school tomorrow.” Ask and ye shall receive!

Wally Weatherman has been hinting that today might be a snow day. Snow did start to fall as predicted last night. I just really hoped it wouldn’t be a snow day. First of all, how does that affect my drama hostage? Gwen asked what would happen if tomorrow was a snow day too, or if the whole week was a snow day! I don’t know. Heaven help us all if that happens. I did get an email from the drama parents saying to help our kids practice at home. Links were included for the music as well as a video link of the last school that put on this play. It would help the kids with line cues.

I have an appointment to see an endocrinologist this afternoon. With a winter weather advisory in effect until my appointment time, we will be leaving an hour earlier than my scheduled arrival time. The clinic is 20 minutes away on a good day. Today is not a good day! The snow has been steadily falling since I confirmed they are indeed open and expecting to see patients. Fabulous.

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I’m kind of getting tired of the snow. This has been a pretty unusual winter. On the news this morning they said this is the most snow they have seen in three years. By the way, they did not talk about anything else. There were no fires, no senseless murders, not even anything on Trump and his barrage of executive orders. They didn’t even switch over to Good Morning America. Flake by flake coverage.

Heath said the last time he knew of it snowing around here in February was 16 years ago when we were on our honeymoon in Victoria! They had flake by flake coverage then too. I laughed all morning because I had only lived in Utah and snow just isn’t that big a deal. Now that I have lived in Northern California for nearly a decade I’m a big baby. Plus I can see how slippery and inconvenient snow is in the Great Northwest. I wonder if we should invest in a snow shovel after all. Or ski pants for the kids. My laundry room is full of wet jeans.

Early this morning the school texted me, then called my home phone as well as my cell phone to let me know that school was canceled in our district. Heath and I were really hoping for a two hour delay. Oh well. I decided to let the boys know so they could turn off their alarms and sleep in. They both had the same response.

Parker: I was having a great dream!
Me: I’m sorry. Just turn off your alarm and go back to your dream.
Parker: I know, I’m just so excited! I was hoping there would be no school today!

As I tripped in Gavin’s room (and am now developing a bruise on the side of my foot)
Gavin: Hello!
Me: Hey Gavin, school is canceled today. Turn off your alarm and go back to sleep.
Gavin: I just had a dream about that!
Me: Sorry, I just didn’t want you to get up and get ready. You can sleep as long as you like.

All three kids were up before 8:00 am and bundling up to play in the snow. No surprise the neighborhood kids didn’t really go out until later in the morning, despite my text to one mom. It’s just as well. Her 7th grade daughter probably wasn’t interested in hanging out with my 8th and 6th grade sons. Her 5th grader was fighting off a cold and grateful for the snow day to recuperate. Gwen was bummed and came in to watch a movie until she could come up with other friends to play with.

Gwen played with one friend who goes to a private school. They played until lunchtime. Then she went to a new friend’s house. I asked who this girl was I had never heard of.

Gwen: She’s Carson’s older sister. I think she’s like 11 or something.
Me: I didn’t know he had any siblings. Is she a 5th grader?
Gwen: No, she’s like a 7th grader or something.

All righty then. Sure why not? Gwen is best friends with a 5th grader so why not hang out with the 7th grade older sister of the boy Gwen walks to the bus stop with! The girl had a hot chocolate stand with some other middle school girls in the neighborhood. Gwen said she helped but she didn’t make any money because she only helped. Too funny. I love the entrepreneurial spirit on this street!

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Everyone must be warming by their fireplaces now. The street is empty again. The snow is quite pretty … when you have nowhere to go.

Ransom Note

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Gwen has been kept at school until 6:30 every night this week. Her school day ends at 2:15 on Fridays, yet she will not be allowed to go home until 6:30 pm. Before you start thinking the worst let me say that we all signed off on this idea!

She brought home a note that we had nearly a month to consider. It talked about a drama opportunity after school for Disney’s 101 Dalmatians KIDS. The after school commitment would be for two weeks. All students would be in the capable hands of professional directors. The culmination would be a two day performance in a real theater. Parents were asked to give permission along with money. PTA members were asked for $55 while non PTA members would pay $65. Since I don’t believe in the vampires also known as the PTA, I paid $65.

A mandatory parent meeting was held on the first practice day. I think that’s a little strange. My kid had already committed at that point. The money had already been paid. After the deed was done and I had given over my last born child, that’s when we found out how long the practices would be. Every night. Until blood dripped from the children’s eyes. Okay, maybe not that.

After a couple of practices the parents were given a ransom note at pickup. As if we hadn’t sacrificed enough already! The first day was nightmare enough. Thank goodness we are a two parent household. The mandatory parent meeting went from 6:00-6:30. Deacons were supposed to invade our home at 7:00 for a pizza/Forsa party. Parker had to be at the church for Scouts at 7:00. One of us had to be home in case the pizza dude came early. Which he did. It was a tense hour as Heath and I were pulled in multiple directions at once.

Then finding out that Friday practices would be four hours long was a bit shocking. Next Friday the parents are expected to get their kids from school to the theater within 30 minutes of school ending for a dress rehearsal and then the first performance. My eyes get bigger and bigger with every new expectation I feel like I wasn’t adequately prepared for but forced to deal with because I signed my name.

The ransom note is the cherry on top.

For the privilege of no room or board I am now being asked to pay to get my child back on performance days. Early ticket prices are a whole $2 per ticket cheaper than posting bail at the box office. For the “bargain” of $20 Gwen will allowed to come home with us this weekend as opposed to going with Child Protective Services. Actually it’s more than that. We will have to pay $20 on Friday for her to sleep in her own bed. The boys can stay home on Saturday while we use our $10 tickets to redeem our child.

Gwen melts down every night. Who can blame her? She comes home all smiles and excitement personified. She eats dinner that we calculate to be on the table in time for her to walk through that front door. Homework immediately follows along with green eyed jealousy. Every child was guaranteed a role. Gwen is Spot with one short line. I keep telling her it’s better than the other dogs whose parts were divided among four kids. There are 22 narrators alone.

Last night Gwen was given a second role. She is also a Scottie dog. I’m not sure how the costumes will work so the audience will recognize her as part of the Scottie dog group singing a song and also a Dalmatian named Spot. She is still upset that her debut role is not a main character! I keep telling her that they trust her enough to give her two parts and that’s something. Next year she may get a main role. Ugh, next year … Not sure I want to agree to a next year. The PTA has already robbed me blind. Serial killers are more reasonable than this!