Pecked by Ducks

16 Apr

Max on the Monkeybars

I’ve realized, while watching my children doing possible dangerous things, that the only difference between me and my fabulously “crazy” Jewish grandmother is that she said all the “get down from there”s and “God forbid”s out loud. I try to just scream them inside my head… mostly…

13 Oct

Off on an Adventure: Part 2-Where the Au Pair’s Sobbing Fiancée Calls Repeatedly

So when we left our intrepid storyteller in part 1 of our epic adventure tale, Marylin, the booger light switch tagging, freak show of an au pair had just been sent home to Panama, and Minerva, our new - please don’t be a freak - au pair had just arrived on November 6th 2009, from her previous host family in Florida.The boys were a bit fried and probably worried about having a new au pair after their recent experiences, but I really had to get back to work and I figured they are good, well adjusted kids and they would just settle in eventually.

Minerva was coming from a family who had no interest in parenting their child or even having much to do with him, who verbally berated and belittled her about her accent, stranded her without a car or money in a gated community when they would leave, didn’t pay her unless she reminded then and then were rude about it and the story went on and on. I heard from her LCC that Minerva was great, but her family had been horrible and she didn’t complain or leave because of the boy. Also that the family wouldn’t be allowed to continue with the program. So I was thinking, excellent! now she’ll have a positive au pair experience and we can settle down into a routine again.

Thankfully Minerva was a competent driver, and took initiative getting the boys out of the house. Unfortunately, she had had no English experience from her previous placement and she had a very hard time understanding us and keeping up. We were patient, spoke simply, slowly and clearly, but even written instructions were beyond her English level. (Which of course she didn’t tell me about until I was getting frustrated that she wasn’t following instructions.)

My first real indication that something was wrong was when Minerva wouldn’t stop teasing Max. Max does not like to be teased. Ever. He doesn’t even like to be called Maxy Man or Maximus Grumpicus or Maxilator. He will tell you “My name is MAX. Just MAX!” And Minerva just wouldn’t stop. I explained to her that he is sensitive and really doesn’t like it. But it was like she couldn’t read his body language or tell when he was getting upset. He was not subtle. He started telling me he hated her and started being mean to her.

I have no idea why, but she would do the things he was doing to her back to him and he would loose it. Now loosing it for Max is a sneak attack explosion. He goes quiet and stiff and he gets his unhappy then mad look on his face. When he finally can’t take anymore he explodes. Once he threw rocks at her. He kicked her, hit her and would either flail or go limp when she tried to pick him up.

Now granted, Max was 4, but still he’s not allowed to hurt people. So I told Minerva that that was unacceptable behavior and that she needed to give him clear consequences and time out. Also she needed to stop teasing him. Ever. And not push him like that. Instead she would say to him “I don’t want to play with you when you treat me like that.” She would ignore him and once she even just went inside and left him outside alone. I had told her that they were not allowed off the porch without a grown up, and I found him scared and crying back up on the porch.

Another thing that caused distance was that she would sit on the stairs and not join the family. Waiting until we noticed her or went looking for her. If we were there she would do nothing without being told daily. For instance, we told her that she needed to make the boys lunch and get them ready for school every day, but she wouldn’t do it if we were there unless we prompted her. Also she never spent any time with us that wasn’t work time and she wouldn’t eat dinner with us, because of some kind of stomach trouble.

Also she was supposed to be cooking dinner every night, but she was a horrible cook. Everything was bland and dry. So I started writing down recipes and giving her instructions, which (as mentioned before) it turns out she didn’t understand and couldn’t read but didn’t tell me.

She also had a boyfriend in Florida and her mother, sister and nephew were in Panama, so she spent most of her time in her room on Skype talking to the 4 of them.

We got through the holidays but it was clear we were having some personality clashes, and while I’ll admit Max was being horrible.. He was 4…. and she needed to stop teasing him. We were talking to our LCC and having mediations. But she wouldn’t come out of her shell, she didn’t even go out with the other au pairs, and by now Max really really didn’t like her.

During this time her boyfriend had gone to Panama to ask her mom for permission to marry her. And he had moved to the Raleigh area. One day, I guess they had a big fight and he called me all afternoon literally every 10 minutes, crying and asking if she had come home yet. Apologizing all the while saying he was just so worried about her. She had gone to get coffee and was ignoring his calls.

Then something happened with her nephew. I think his mom (Minerva’s sister) got a job far away from home, and her mom needed help taking care of him or something. But Minerva was torn, because she had already paid her extension fee and hadn’t had a chance yet to truly improve her English. She was distracted and frankly didn’t seen like she wanted to be an au pair. More like she wanted to be in the USA and was just putting up with us.

By the middle to end of January I knew there was just no coming back from all of this no matter how much mediation we went through. I knew that it was over, so I let our LCC know, and Minerva left in the beginning of February, 2010.

At this point, we were going to have to get a new au pair and I was unwilling to take another transfer. Also the boys were pretty traumatized and it was going to take at least 2 months after we picked a new au pair for her to even arrive, so I made plans at work to work a split schedule so that Judd could drive the boys to school while I worked from home. Then I could pick up the boys from school and be with them until Judd got home from work, when I could go back to work. It was tight, and I would be working until 9pm, but I figured we could definitely make it happen for the short term. Plus, I was hoping it would be calming for them to just have their mommy and daddy for a while after everything they had been through.

To be Continued in Part 3…

01 Oct

Blessings of a Skinned Knee

Yes, this is the title of a great book about parenting in a world where entitlement and competition abound and the values of our culture are at odds with what we wish to uphold and instill. Instead of anxious overparenting, the book points the way to raising self-reliant, grateful, optimistic children and interestingly (to me) is based on Jewish teachings. But this post isn’t really about the book. It’s about how I couldn’t get the phrase out of my head this past weekend.

When CSP and I were getting ready for our move from NC to MA we had lots of concerns which ran the gambit from house prices, New England weather, school systems, commute time, how moving will affect the kids and so forth.

One of the biggest things we worried about was neighborhood. Before we left MA for NC 3 years ago we had lived in Framingham for 5 years. We did not know our neighbors there. We barely even waved to them. Our yard was not fenced in and we never hung out out side or in our neighborhood. We “went” to the playground or to museums or playdates.

In NC we were in a great neighborhood, lots of kids, we knew most of our neighbors and as the kids were getting older they began running around outside a bit more.

When CSP moved to Boston in March, I was home alone with the kids for two months. So after school and whatever activity we had planned, I basically needed them out of my hair while I made dinner.

It is surprising to me how annoying it is to have kids nudnicking you while you are trying as fast as you can to get some food on the table. “Mommy I’m hungry. Can I have a snack? Can I have some of that? Can I mix? What is that? It looks disgusting. Is it ready yet? How about now? But I’m hungry now. Is it ready now? No I can’t wait 5 minutes. Mommy can you get me some water? Mommy he’s not sharing.”

Ah yes, the witching hour, when everyone is hungry and tired and snippy (yes grown-ups too) and when you want to just scream “Stop mommy-ing me!”

So instead I told them to go outside and not leave the yard. CSP and TA had put in a slide and swing over the holidays and remarkable it worked out pretty well.

So when we started house hunting we really wanted a neighborhood we could trick or treat in and where the kids could play outside with other kids. When we finally decided on Swampscott on the North Shore, we found a house with a fenced in yard, a play set being left by the previous owners, 1 block from the green with swings and 2 blocks from the elementary school. We were pretty psyched with the location and the fact that there were kids in the neighborhood and that we had seen them playing outside and roaming around a bit.

The boys began making friends and playing outside, but the biggest moment for me was when Quinn and Max decided they wanted to learn how to ride their scooters, because the other boys did. It took a weekend in CT at CSP’s mom’s house and some bribery involving hotwheels cars and some amazon bucks, but they finally did it!

Both Quinn and Max had been refusing to ride their bikes or try their scooters or even put on the heelys a second time after begging shamelessly for them. I had begun to despair that they would ever be willing to stretch themselves, but in this instance I was happy for the ambient peer pressure which got them motivated.

Within a week they were tearing up and down our street, taking jumps, hopping cracks and demanding to ride their scooters to school. And this last weekend Quinn demanded to be taught how to ride his bike. It literally took two tries and off he went wibbling and wobbling his way down the street and back.

They both have fallen down and gotten back up. Max is covered in Band-Aids, and when CSP and I arrive home from work they beg to be allowed to stay outside just a little bit longer. They come home from school, do their homework, eat a snack and then go outside to play with the other kids, ride their scooters and bikes, and yesterday? Quinn came tearing around the corner and took his feet off the peddles, showing off his “tricks”. Max came tearing along behind him and ollied about a foot off the ground on his scooter and cut a super sharp turn so he could “get sparks” when the metal ground the pavement.

Last Sunday we walked and the boys scooted 2 blocks to our local insanely expensive tourist trap clam shack, got some ice cream and then walked/scooted home for sunset.

I am so grateful for how much better this neighborhood is turning out than we could even have imagined and when I find bloody towels around the house and Max explains to me that Laura didn’t hear him, but Quinn helped him and cleaned up his knees and took care of him, I can’t help but think that there really are blessings in a skinned knee.

28 Sep

Slacker Mom Strikes Again

So as usual I’ve dropped the ball:) Max and Quinn brought home a fundraiser from school and I promptly forgot about it until CSP found the notice again this morning. That said, please don’t feel you are under any obligation whatsoever. I’m just sending this out last minute so I am not a complete PTA mom failure:)

However, if, by any chance, you could use any of the items I will list below, please consider supporting Quinn and Max’s new school, by making a purchase TODAY. Yep, I am that bad. It ends tomorrow (the 30th) and I’ve had weeks to do this.<gah!>

Anyhoo, they actually have some surprisingly not horrible offerings and you can make your purchase all online, securely and safely from the comfort of your own computer chair. Oh, also if you spend $80 or more you get free standard shipping. (I am not suggesting you spend 80 bucks, I’m just passing along the info). So here’s what they have:)

Stonewall Kitchen items
Crabtree & Evelyn items
Magazine subscriptions
Chocolates/Candies/ Nuts/Peanut Free Candies
Personalized Gifts
Wrapping Paper/Gift Bags (surprise!!:)
Pretty packaged pastas and stuff like that
Kitchen Items
Some Hanukkah stuff
And lots more.

If you are interested, go to and click the green ‘BUY’ button.

You will be taken to an ‘Assign Credit’ field. Enter 2043. and click Go. If you click Verify School Name, you should get a popup that says Hadley School. You can then close that window and now click Go (but you don’t have to verify the school if you don’t want to).

Then just shop for whatever you like and check out. To give credit to both Quinn and Max, you would need to place two orders. The student detail information will be entered during the check-out process, but don’t worry about doing both. I’m sure picking one or the other will be just fine.

Thanks everyone!

21 Aug

Judd’s Mom is Out of the ICU and Craig’s List Made Me Cry

As most of you know, Captain Smarty Pants is in CT with his mom. The surgery had some complications, so instead of going home today, she just got out of the ICU last night. She is very stable now and getting better so we are all very very relieved.

So as we were moving in to the new house, I realized I had dragged a bunch of stuff with us that we don’t need. Also Laura’s headboard didn’t fit up in the attic room and Maria doesn’t want her futon anymore etc. so we have ended up with a bunch of stuff on our front porch that we don’t want/need.

This made me think that having a garage sale was a good idea.

And… it didn’t occur to me that with CSP not coming home today, maybe going forward with said garage sale, by myself, with two small active boys, wasn’t such a good idea.

So last night I posted a couple of ads on Craig’s List and went to bed. This is basically what they said with a little variation:

Garage Sale with Lots of Free Stuff 10-3 Saturday

We have lots of free items like luggage, children’s clothing and toys, books, VHS tapes, and more. As well as:

queen mission style wooden headboard $25
dinning room chandelier $10
wooden futon frame and futon $25
Computer gear
child’s desk and chair with attached paper roll
plant urns
kid’s electronics
and much much more

No early birds please. We have young children and a morning routine we’d like to stick to.

do not reply, I won’t be checking e-mails. Thanks!

And I put my address at the bottom.

Seemed like a regular garage sale post to me? I don’t know, just wanted to tell people that we had a crap-load of free stuff and a couple of things for sale. Didn’t want people to have to come all the way out without some kind of idea of what they’d find?

Anyhoo, got up this morning, got the boys dressed, fed, torn away from the TV and in the back yard playing, so I could begin setting up outside.

Now I have had garage sales before, and yes, posted very similar ads on Craig’s list before (granted not in Boston) and usually, I have to dodge early birds while I set up, so it seemed a little odd to me when no one showed up.

Around 11 or so I decided to list some items individually, since it looked like no one was going to show. I got my laptop and set up on the porch just in case. When I logged into Craig’s List, I found that my ads had been flagged and removed. I checked my e-mail and sure enough, I had 2 e-mails saying my ads had been removed.

Here’s the e-mail:

Your posting has been flagged for removal.

Approximately 98% of postings removed are in violation of craigslist posting guidelines.

Please make sure you are abiding by all posted site rules, including our terms of use:

If you need help figuring out why your posting was flagged, try asking in our flag help forum: Include posting title, body, category, city, how often posted, any images, HTML markup, etc.

If your posting was wrongly flagged down (2% of flagged ads are) please accept our apologies and feel free to repost.

Sorry for the hassle, and thanks for your understanding.

So I clicked on the link to the terms of use and scanned through the ‘no pornography’, ‘no posting about other people’, ‘no drugs’, ‘no selling animals’ etc etc and it didn’t seem like it applied to me. So while breaking up a fight over who’s yellow transformer it was, and finding the yogurt pretzels, and meeting a new neighbor who dropped by, and wiping a butt (no not mine), I just figured I was one of the 2% and reposted my ads along with some individual ‘for sale’ listings. It was just a simple garage sale with nothing controversial, what could possibly be wrong with it?

It wasn’t until after I posted them the second time that I noticed that I had switched the free posting with the garage sale posting. But I just though they were really pretty similar, so it probably wouldn’t matter. Boy was I WRONG!!

Anyhoo, I put my laptop away and still no one came and the boys were bored out of their heads and being totally naughty, which of course was all my fault, so at the stroke of 3, I packed it up and took the boys to Snip-its for their pre first day of school hair cuts, picked up corn dogs at Trader Joe’s because Max has been asking incessantly and grabbed some sandwiches for dinner at our local dairy/café on the way home.

The boys were covered in itchy hair, so we began the torturous bedtime routine along with an extra scrubbing of Quinn’s feet which had some sort of black tar-y substance on the bottoms, finally getting them into bed so I could check e-mail to see if there was any more news about Molly’s new baby.

Welcome little Llama, we are very happy you are here!!

Now I told the boys they needed to settle down before I was going to snuggle them, so I knew my e-mail time was limited before the “Mooooommy…..Will you snuggle meee?”s started.

And that was when I saw that my Craig’s List ads had been flagged and removed again!! WTH? What was I doing wrong? No wonder no one came.  <sigh>  I guess if I wanted to do this next weekend I was going to have to read those 8 pages of terms and conditions more carefully. So I went back to that link and… lets be honest I skimmed back to the what not to do section and still didn’t see anything glaring, so I followed the link to the “ask what you did wrong” forum figuring some nice person could give me some quick tips about what I had done wrong.

There was a long list of onfo they wanted so I cut and pasted my ad from one of the 4 “you have been flagged and removed” e-mails I had received with the posting number and the title and body and category included, when Max called for water. So I sent what I had figuring that would at least get me started and someone could help point me in the right direction and then I ran and got Max some water. I told him “just a few more minutes” when he asked me to snuggle him, and I figured if anyone had replied, I would just quickly let them know I was going to put the boys down and then I’d be right back. Already there was a terse e-mail telling me I had to give all of the information requested before I could get help, so I re-pasted my ad, breaking it up with title headings and adding the few extra points requested.

Then Quinn asked for water and I ran to do that and told him just a min, since I had forgotten to mention that I was going to be afk for a little while I ran back to the computer to find 4 responses titled:

1. maybe because it’s after 3pm on Saturday
2 Humm nothing obvious
3. are your pants on fire?
4. OP = retard

I was floored. I hadn’t even read their responses yet but I was in shock. What had I done to so totally offend a help group that they would call me, first a jerk for asking for help after the fact, second a liar and third a retard? I actually sat down (instead of standing while typing, because I knew I had to get back to the boys) I was so shocked and opened their responses.

I suppose I should have just walked away. Trolls are trolls and while I had heard of them, I have never been the recipient of their useless, unnecessary malevolence so I really had no idea what was about to happen. I really just wanted to know what I had done wrong so I could post my garage sale next week and not have it deleted.

I tried answering politely and asking questions about what I had done wrong. Since I didn’t know posting in 2 places was against the rules, when they told me it was deleted from free stuff because it wasn’t all about free stuff, confused I explained that it had also been deleted from garage sales and that I had accidentally switched them the second time.

Then the really nasty liar/rude/obnoxious/snide responses began and in the middle of it someone (sadly anonymously) nicely explained to me what I had done wrong.

Apparently Craig’s List is moderated by the users so anyone can flag and have your post removed if they don’t like it. Yes even if it is just a personal preference. And if you don’t follow their very specific etiquette rules, which are of course not posted, you get booted.

So I had posted in two places which is apparently a huge no no. First in garage sales (because it was, well, kind of a garage sale) and second, in free stuff (because most of the stuff was free and I didn’t want the people who I thought might not check the garage sale list to miss out).

So first of all in garage sales apparently it is bad form to mention prices. My thinking was that it was polite to let people know what they were in for so they didn’t have to run all the way somewhere to find what they wanted wasn’t in their price range. But apparently this is not so. Give the hours the address and a short list of some of the stuff and that is it. That was helpful feedback at least so I could follow their rules.

Then in free stuff, apparently you are not allowed to mention anything but free stuff period. So I got that totally wrong. But most of all it seems, that posting in two places was really my cardinal sin, not to be born and punished without the courtesy of an explanation or notice and destroying my chance at having people show up at my pitiful-thought I’d be nice and give stuff away (you know, reduce, reuse and all of that blather) instead of taking it to the dump- and sell a few things party. Oh and I get to get called a retard and a liar when I ask for help. Apparently another point against me is that I didn’t read their 8 pages of fine print, because.. you know… like I have time to play semantics.

I tried to stay polite (mostly succeeding) and stay on topic, but not ever having been troll-ed before. I got wrapped up in replying to these mean people. Thinking that logical responses and not taking that sort of treatment was the right thing to do. When all of a sudden I realized I was so angry, hurt and most of all frustrated that I was crying. Actually… frickin’… crying…. The indignity of itl!

There I was, crying, thinking what is wrong with these idiots? They have nothing better to do then sit around and harass people just trying to have a freakin’ yard sale?  I wasn’t asking for help to fix my ‘trying to have an affair’ post like the wack-job posting before me. I just wanted to have a yard sale. These hall monitors have nothing better to do with their lives? Really?

Ok. Right. I guess that was just a rhetorical, frustrated question. They are being nasty on a help forum. Clearly they don’t have anything better to do.

</begin temper tantrum>

But then I realized I had let complete strangers, not only make me cry over nothing, but made my kids wait to be snuggled, and there I was wasting MY time responding. I just…can’t… even believe I let them make me cry. <arg!>  In fact I am so frustrated all over again while writing this I am crying again. stoopid! <kick a door jam> <snif!> (Yes I went and snuggled the boys first) And this is all so is so stupid because there is absolutely no reason why people so inconsequential should be able to break me. <gah!>

<end/ temper tantrum>

Ok, so after 2 months of living without CSP because he had to start his new job up here right away, selling our house, moving to Boston, being in temp housing for 3 more months (3 different temp houses), readjusting to rude drivers and servers and retailers, searching for a house, finding a house, buying a house, moving into our new house, then having Mom G get sick while working full time, trying to get organized and unpacked and trying to be a good mom, I guess I just couldn’t take having these petty strangers not only not let me have my stupid garage sale, but then be mean to me when I innocently wanted to know why.

Enough! I’m going to bed. I am sure I will feel much better at 6am when my small people come to wake me up, touch noses and ask for breakfast.

06 Jul

Off on an Adventure: Part 1 – Where we Almost Commit a Federal Offense

So I bet you have been wondering where the heck I have been.

I know! Right?

I’m still wondering when I’m going to get my holiday card out (for 2009) and thank you notes from the boys birthdays (April) and my crochet post (October) posted.

So here’s a run down of the adventure we have been on. Yes it is epic, is going to require more than one post, and may involve some reference to boogers and or middle-of-the-night flying projectiles along the way just FYI.

It all began back in October (2009) when our fabulous au pair Rocio was preparing to return home after a wonderful year with our family. As usual, while we were preparing for her departure, we were also preparing for the arrival of our new au pair Marylin. This was also the first time we were getting a new au pair while I was working full time. I wasn’t going to be able to be with her 24/7 for the first 2 weeks, so we had her arrive 2 weeks early so she could do the routine with Rocio and not get left adrift.

Our au pairs need to drive every day and it is always a big transition for them. Usually what I do is go out with them in the first day or two for an hour or so and make sure they know all the local laws and how to get back to our house and what all the buttons and levers do in the car. Then I send them out by themselves every day for 2 - 4 hours a day to practice for a week or so. Then I have them go with me while I drop off the kids and then I have them drive home. Then she drives back to the kids and I drive us all home. We do this until the au pair feels confident in the drive and I feel confident in their driving.

I should have known that something was wrong when Rocio wouldn’t let Marylin drive while she was in the car. Marylin was so quiet and “shy” that it was hard to tell - and took a while to figure out - that something was seriously wrong.

I don’t even know how to describe it exactly, but one indicator was that she had totally flat affect. She didn’t react to things and she would stare into middle distance for very long periods of time. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I was uncomfortable enough to not leave her alone with the kids for very long at all. I started working from home the day Rocio left so I could be in the house with them and Marylin was a horrible driver so I never let her drive the kids.

One time I had to go to a doctor’s appointment and I took them with me. I left them at a playground nearby for an hour, and when I returned, the kids were running around like crazy and Marylin was sitting, staring at the ground. It was just… odd. Also, I would tell her things over and over again (plus she had done all of this for 2 weeks with Rocio remember) and she just wouldn’t (couldn’t?) do it. For example, Every day I would come downstairs at 2:30 (time to leave to pick up the kids) and ask, “Did you pack a snack?” and she would say “No” so I would say, “It is very important to pack a snack and water every day for the kids. They are hungry when they get in the car and it is a long drive home. You need to start packing a snack at 2:15.” She would say “Ok.” And the next day? No snack. It took 4 days of telling her every day before she packed a snack on the 5th day.

This made me think that maybe her English was worse than we thought, but because she was so quiet, we just didn’t know. So I began asking her to explain back to me my instructions and she had no problem. She even used different words to explain them back. So was she willfully ignoring me? Or forgetting? Or please let there be some sort of explanation for why? Then I wrote out in excruciating detail my expectations for her each day and she still didn’t do anything unless I prompted her to do so.

I would tell her every day “Take the car out and practice driving.” She would say okay and I would go to my office to work. 2:30 would roll around and I would realize that she never left the house. I would ask her why she didn’t take the car out and she would say things like “Oh” or “I don’t know” and I would say you have to take it out tomorrow and practice. She would say ok, I would remind her and she still wouldn’t do it. <arrrg!>

Also I kept telling her not to download anything on my computer and of course she would say ok and then leave the things she downloaded on my desktop. (Like I wouldn’t notice?) My antivirus was working serious overtime and finally just gave out. I had to wipe the machine and start over. Now I had a back up, but apparently it hadn’t been backing up since before Rocio left so I lost all of the pictures she had left for me of her entire year as well of lots of other things I didn’t immediately notice until I went looking.

So after 3 weeks, I REALLY had to get back to work but I knew Marylin wasn’t working out so I called my LCC (local coordinator for our au pair agency) and explained the situation. Given that Marylin was also telling me she didn’t like driving and wouldn’t drive in the dark, it was an easy excuse for a quick “transition”. The thing we didn’t know was that she was going to have to live with us for 2 weeks while she looked for a new family. That was very awkward, but we were able to couch the whole thing as a driving issue. We felt bad about dumping her off on another family, but I really needed her out of my house.

During those 2 weeks, we found another au pair (Minerva) who was transitioning as well, so was available right away. She was extending for a year meaning we could keep her for 14 months and I was desperate for coverage and she was 24 instead of 18, so I was hoping for a little more drive and independence. Just a little foreshadowing, but I guess I should have been less desperate and at least demanded to read her application and spoken to her previous host family before we accepted her.

Anyhoo, Minerva’s arrival was 4 days before Marylin’s 2 weeks were up, so our fabulous LCC (Erica), said she would take Marylin at 8:00am Friday morning. Minerva’s flight was arriving around noon, so I figured I had plenty of time to clean her room, wash the linens and have everything ready for Minerva’s arrival.

Maybe now is a good time to mention that we don’t go in the au pair’s room. The boys aren’t allowed in ever without permission and I tell our bi-weekly house cleaners, not to pick up after them just to clean what they can. That way if the au pair is neat, their room gets cleaned and if messy, then at least their bathroom is clean and they don’t feel harassed. We try to let that one space at least be their own.

So I ran the kids to school and got home to face… “the horror”.

The place was trashed.


It took 2 garage sized (30 gal? 40 gal?) trash bags just to bag up the piles of trash she had never bagged or taken out, just left in massive piles over the trashcans. The linens were ripped and stained, the toothbrush holder crusted with a quarter inch of leck, the shower caddy, shower curtain, shower surround begrimed. There were layers of toothpaste crusted on the wall near the toothbrush holder and massive amounts of hair strands everywhere.

Now I might have though she was pissed at us and trashed the place deliberately, except that it was clear this was a long term accumulation which must have begun as soon as Rocio left. I literally had to throw everything I could away and scrub what I couldn’t.

I should also mention that maybe two or three weeks before this I had been in my office one day and gone to turn out the light when I noticed a massive booger stuck to the wall right by the light switch.



Now let’s be honest.

I have 2 small boys.

This is not the most disgusting thing I have ever discovered in my house. But still… come on. That’s gross.

So I scraped it off with a putty knife and resigned myself to finding some touch up paint.

Now back to my epic cleaning of the filthy pit of despair. I had vacuumed and mopped and scrubbed and cleared and was finally ready to rush out the door to pick up Minerva when I went to turn out the bathroom light and noticed… it.

A massive booger stuck to the wall right by the light switch.


It couldn’t be.

The boys don’t come in here. Could it possibly be?……


I checked the entire house and next to almost every light switch there was a massive dried-on booger.

I…I….I….. don’t even know what to say.


This was going to make an AWESOME post!!!

But wait….it gets better.

So I picked up Minerva and since it took me so long to clean, I hadn’t had time to buy new things for her room. On the way home, with my apologies, we stoped by Target and picked out all new stuff for her room. Which, I guess is actually nice for her, since with some minimal guidance she got to pick out her new bedding etc. We got her sheets in the washer and dryer, picked up the kids, she met Captain Smarty Pants we had some dinner and CSP put the kids to bed while I cleaned up.

Also I should mention that we have an old Mac on a kid desk in the living room for the boys. It is old and slow and they basically play some little online flash games and occasionally we check movie times or recipes or directions on it. It’s just there so we can watch what the kids are doing.

After the boys fell asleep, CSP came down and for some reason decided to check something on the Mac. Then I heard  ”OMG…holy s**t!!”. Of course I was there in an instant. “What?”

CSP told me to prepare myself because I was never going to be able to un-see what I was about to see - I’m thinking some youtube nonsense - when he opens a photo off the desktop….

…of Marylin dressed in her Halloween schoolgirl costume, in a pose that left it not at all to the imagination as to whether or not she was wearing underpants - she wasn’t, just so we’re clear - and on her bed upstairs in our house.

Now there are a couple of disturbing things (besides the obvious) about this.

First, who took the picture.

Second, why is it on the desktop of a computer that no one in the house except the kids really ever use.

Third, what exactly was she downloading - or uploading - from my computer that caused the total fail of my anti-virus,

and fourth, if I send it to my local coordinator (who now has to be told) is that some sort of crossing digital lines - federal offense or something?

We decided to delete it instead, but now I had to call Erica and tell her everything because she has 2 kids and Marylin is in her house.

I made the phone call, explained everything, made sure Erica fully understood and was relieved I had fulfilled my civic duty. Her response? “Man! It’s always the quiet ones isn’t it?”


I called Erica later that week to check in. And really I just wanted to hear if anything crazy had happened at her house - ok I’ll admit it, I just wanted to know if her house had been booger tagged too. So another fried computer, a flooded bathroom left for 2 days, odd hours on end of staring at nothing and 4 more booger tagged light switches later… Erica sent Marylin home to Panama.

To be Continued in Part 2…

07 Dec

The Village People are Swimming Laps in my Dreams

Why you ask? Because I joined the YMCA last week and that’s just how my loco brain and I roll, that’s why.

So my sister Maria is here for 5 weeks <woot!> and somehow the weekend before Thanksgiving when we were in NYC to see A Steady Rain, we decided that if you do something for 21 days in a row it becomes a habit….

And… that we should join a gym and swim laps for 21 days in a row when she comes down to visit because we could motivate each other.

Why? Ya… I don’t know… it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now granted, so far it has worked. We are 4 days into our 21 and we even got up at 6:15 this morning in the frosty weather and swam. But now I have a question….

I am going to feel less tired and better and stronger and slimmer and… and … and buff-er soon… Right?


Because right now, all I wanna do (yes I have Cheryl Crow stuck in my head too) is crawl under my desk and snuggle the dust bunnies.

I haven’t slept well since we started and I am sore and tired and my throat tastes like chlorine and I hate getting up in the morning and I am sore and I am thinking that the massages and facials ($20 1 hr special running at our local Massage Envy right now with membership or $49 trial 1 hr massage) we are planning for this Weekend as rewards might not be worth it.

Okay so really I am just sniveling. I am totally going to accomplish this, but I also realized this morning that I love my sister. Not just because she is my sister, and she is awesome and smart and fun and gets me, but because we complain the same way.

Oh we are going to crush this mutha. Don’t get me wrong… but we are going to happily snivel about it and enjoy each other’s grumpy company each and every frost covered a** crack of dawn for the next 17 days and then ever M-W-F until she leaves for India after that.

And that is wonderful.

That and the fact that she only laughed at me a little when it took me a while to figure out why - at the YMCA - there were no Hanukkah or non-denominational decorations up to celebrate the season…  <duh!>

27 Oct

Max and the Penguin Mummies

I am not sure if it is the season, or Max is just going through his “monsters under the bed” phase, but this is how our conversation went tonight as I was trying to get him settled down for bed. Lights were out and I was snuggling him.

Max: Mommy?
Me: mmm hummm
Max: Tonight, after I fall asleep will you move me into to your bed? Because if I feel that I am alone in my sleep, then I will dream of…umm… like… penguins that are mummies.
Me: Humm (I made a non comitial noise hoping he’d drop it) Settle down, close your eyes, snuggle up and go shluffies baby.
[after a minute]
Max: Mommy?
Me: mmm hummm
Max: I’m feeling concerned that this bed has monsters around it.
Me: You are feeling concerned? (where does he get this stuff! :)
Max: mmm hummm
Me: Well, this is MY house and no monsters can come in.
Max: Why not?
Me: ‘Cause I’m The Mommy
[Max is quiet for a minute while he thinks about this. Clearly "The Mommy" does have some mythical powers but he still had a question...]
Max: So if a monster came you would spray it with something and it would go away?
Me: Baby, I don’t really think there are monsters for real, but if one did come, yes I would spray it and it would run away. Now settle down, close your eyes, snuggle up and go ni-night.
[silence for a moment]
Max: What would you spray it with?
Me: Sparkle juice. (Sparkle juice? Really? What makes these things come out of my mouth?)
Max: Is sparkle juice like juice but with sparkles?
Me: Well it’s not like juice we would drink, but more like fairy juice with sparkles. It’s all pretty and happy so monsters don’t like it. So settle down, close your eyes, snuggle up and go sleepies.
Max: Mommy?
Me: What Max?
Max: I’m sweaty.
[I pull his duvet off]
Max: Thanks mommy that’s better! (Why does he sound so delightedly surprised?)
Me: You’re welcome baby, now settle down, close your eyes, snuggle up and go to sleep.
[another few moments of silence]
Max: Mommy?
Me: What Max? (still using a nice tone of voice but teeth clenched and about to lose the nice tone)
Max: I love you
[all annoyed wind taken out of my sails]
Me: I love you too baby, now settle down, close your eyes, snuggle up and go to sleep.

And shocker of all shockers?

That’s exactly what he did.

18 Sep

Birthday Luck

Wow! I usually don’t have this kind of luck, but I logged in to this morning to check the Treasury list and it was 2 minutes away from allowing new treasuries! Good thing I am dork enough to have a couple treasury collections all set and ready to go… so here is my Blueberry Lime Margarita pick for the day.

07 Jul

Tuesday Tweet Ta-dah

So since I am such a crappy blogger these days, I thought I’d start some easy… just get it done daily ideas to get me back in the game. Tuesdays, I am going to re-cap mah favorite tweet from the week. And yes, this week I am pathetic enough to post one of my own…

you know you’re a mom when it comes down to this: “Okay guys, I don’t care who did it. I just need to know if it is spit or pee.”


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