Archive for the ‘Working Parent Conundrums’ Category

Is It Worth It?

I had a rough day at work today.  Like everyone in the country, we are affected by recession.  Add that to the fact that the California government passed a budget that reduces our funding streams, and you can see why it was stressful.  While I was driving home, I started to wonder if it was worth it.  Is it worth it to spend my days worring about whether or not my employer is in the red?  Is it worth it to spend 40 hours a week away from my kids?  Does my job even matter?  Am I making a difference?

After some though, I decided that, yeah, I guess it is worth it.  My job does make a difference.  I like being able to provide for my family.  But, I’m just not sure that I want to carry the burden of budgetary issues and staffing issues.  I tend to become a confidant, and so I’m not really sure I want to deal with the issues of those around me either.

So, what does this mean?  Well, I’ll put some feelers out.  I’ll see if I get any bites.  But, more likely than not, I’ll probably stay put.  I like my job, in spite of it all.  Another job would be tough to come by right now, and I’m not sure I want to have to worry about transferring our medical insurance and all of that.  I have enough on my plate without having to worry about all of that.

So, for now I’ll deal with my stress with a junk food bender and some reading.  Then, later, when I’m coming down from the inevitable sugar high,  I’ll figure out what my next move will be.


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My dear friend Becca gave me this recipe, and it’s a staple at our house in the summer.  It’s super quick, healthy, and the kids love it!


1 lb of chicken breasts, thinly sliced (I buy them already sliced)

1 package of cream cheese, softened

1 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp dill

1 cucumber, sliced

Kaiser Rolls


With an electric mixer, mix cream cheese, dill, and garlic powder until creamy.  Refrigerate. (You can do this ahead of time if you want.)

Grill chicken breast slices (or, be like me, and have your husband do it!)

Put chicken, cream cheese spread, and cucumber on a kaiser roll and enjoy!

I usually serve this with a salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion (or green onion).

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A while back, I mentioned that I hate to cook.  And when I say hate, that is exactly what I mean.  I would rather clean a toilet than cook a meal.  For many years, my motto was, “If it doesn’t come in a box, a bag, or a can, I’m not cooking it”. *

Then I had kids.  While we still eat stuff from boxes, bags, and cans, I really am trying to introduce healthier fare, which unfortunately means cooking.  Now, just because I’m cooking does not mean that I will like it, so I look for the easiest recipes that I can find, with as few ingredients as possible.

That leads me to my new idea.  Every so often, I’m going to post a recipe that requires little or no effort.  I’ll let you know how I came upon the recipe, and whether or not my kids will eat it, which of course, is important. 

So, here is my first recipe.  This is modified from my mom’s chili (she doesn’t use black beans or a crock pot).  My kids love this meal…though it might just be the cheese and crackers…..

My Favorite Crock Pot Chili


1 lb or so of ground beef

2 28 oz cans of stewed tomatoes (I throw them in the blender, but you don’t have to

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Chili powder and red pepper flakes to taste


In a large skillet, brown ground beef with some chili powder, drain.  Put beef in crock pot.  Add tomatoes, beans, and enough water to fill the crock pot.  Cover the top of the chili with chili powder.  Stir.  Do that again.  Stir.  Now do it with the red pepper flakes (less if you don’t want it too spicy).  Stir.  Turn crock pot on low and WALK AWAY.  Go to work.  Go grocery shopping.  Clean out a closet or two.  Come back 6-8 hours later and enjoy some great chili.  Serve with sharp or extra sharp chedder cheese and some crackers (oyster, cheez-its, goldfish, saltines) or tortilla chips.



*This rule does not include baking.  I actually like to bake.  Odd, I know…

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I Had Plans

I’m such a procrastinator!  I had great plans for what I was going to do today, since I’m feeling 100% better, and, well, let’s just say, not everything got done.

Here is what I planned to do:

-Pack up some things for our upcoming move.


-Grocery shopping



-clean the bathrooms

-sweep the kitchen floor


-take some of the kids old stuff to the resale shop

-Go out for lunch

-start cleaning/packing the bedroom


Here’s what I actually did:


-took the kids stuff to the place

-went out for lunch

-grocery shopping


-facebook/twitter/myspace/wrote this blog

-considered playing a game on the computer


Oh well…I suppose I shouldn’t push myself.  It is the first day that I’ve felt well in a while….yeah…….

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About 2 weeks ago, I fell.  Well, technically, I didn’t fall.  I slipped on some stairs and caught myself by the armpits on the rail.  I thought I was fine, and went on about my business.  The next day, I was sore, but not enough to really complain about it.  The Boy came to work with me that day, and it was raining.  I picked him up to carry him to the car so we wouldn’t get wet, and when I did, I heard cracking in my rib cage.  From that point on, I was in immense pain.  After picking Brian up from work, I made him take me to urgent care. 

The urgent care doctor sent me for X-rays.  When I returned, she did a physical examination of my ribs.  It was during this exam that she pressed on the wrong spot.  I simultaneously swung to hit her (thankfully, I missed!) and fell to the floor in pain.  She looked at the X-rays, determined that my ribs were not broken, but that I had damaged the cartilage and possibly bruised my ribs.  She gave me vicodin and sent me on my way.

Because vicodin renders me useless, I could only take it at bedtime.  I tried to take it easy, but continued to go to work, because, after all, I have a desk job.  I thought nothing of it.  Well, about a week after my urgent care visit, I had to leave work in tears because it hurt so bad.  I emailed my primary care physician (don’t you love technology?), and he wanted to see me.  I couldn’t get an appointment until this past Friday.  When he did the exam, it was still very painful.  He said that the urgent care doctor should have put me on bedrest, basically, and because she didn’t, my ribs are getting worse instead of better.  Oh, and I still have a nasty cold, that I’ve had for 6 weeks.  He put me on an anti-inflammatory, a muscle relaxer, an antibiotic, and a cough syrup with codeine.  In other words, he’s trying to knock me out.  He is also making me take a week off of work, and wants me lying down for at least 4 hours a day….um…I have 2 kids….how is this possible???

As if this is not enough, we have to move in 3 weeks.  The apartment complex we live in is doing renovations, and the unit we are in is not renovated so they gave us some choices.  We could end our lease on March 31st, we could continue our lease in our current unit until December 31st, or we could move now to a unit that has already been renovated.  We chose to move…of course, we decided this before the whole ordeal with my ribs happened, so, yeah.  Now I have to sit in my apartment, all hopped up on all kinds of drugs, and do nothing…meanwhile, I have to pack, the house is being torn apart by the kids, and I can’t do a thing.  It’s incredibly frustrating. 

So, since I have all of this free time, I’ve decided that I’m just going to write.  I can’t really sit at a desk, so I’ll be using my laptop to get started on a few projects.  Here are some things I have in the works:

– I have been accepted to do some freelance work.  It’s not anything exciting, but once I get some stuff up, I’ll let you know.  Then, if you would be so kind as to go read my articles, and click on some of the ads, that would be GREAT, since that’s how I get paid.

–  I have decided that I want to write a book.  More on that to come, as soon as I get my ideas straight in my head.

–  I will continue to write on this blog.  Be warned, though, I will be on meds, so the posts might not make much sense.  Just Kidding.  I won’t write while intoxicated….that would be bad.

So, those are my plans for this week of rest, because I’m far too Type A to just rest. I have to put my rest to work!

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I’ve been a mom now for 6 1/2 years.  I do not claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  That being said, I’ve made a list of some insights that let me know that I am actually a mom…

You know you’re a mom when:

1.  You have uttered the sentence, “Please do not wipe your booger next to your dinner plate.”

2.  You’ve spent 2 1/2 hours in urgent care only to be told that something is a virus and you should really go home and put your kid to bed.

3.  You open your purse and find a wet wipe, a half eaten candy cane, a hot wheels car, a used tissue, a crayon, and a dirty sock, but you can’t find a pen to save your life.

4.  You have put off grocery shopping in order to avoid an aisle 5 meltdown.

5.  You know the location of every public restroom in town, as well as which ones are the “good ones”.  You are also aware of which restrooms have automatic toilet flushers, and you avoid them like the plague because your kid is petrified of them.

6.  You have washed your kids clothes at someone else’s house because of an “accident”.

7.  You have wondered why on earth they wouldn’t just make all kids shoes with velcro.

8.  You turn your head whenever someone utters the word “mom”.

9.  You know all the restaurants that have “kids eat free” nights.

10.  You have spent 15 minutes or more in a public restroom waiting for someone to poop.

11.  You can quote Spongebob, Hannah Montana, and Kung Fu Panda.

12.  You have ordered a “Crabby Patty” in a restaurant because your kid will eat a “Crabby Patty”, but won’t touch a cheeseburger.

13.  You feel the tiniest bit of pride when your 6 year old corrects their friend’s grammar.  You feel a little bit more pride, when she corrects her friend’s mom’s grammar.  You feel like you will burst with pride when she corrects the grammar of a perfect stranger.

14.  You have smelled another human’s butt, fully anticipating there to be a horrible odor coming from it.  (For those who are not mom’s, this is a good way to see if a diaper needs changing!)

15.  You consider your annual Pap Smear “me time”.

16.  You can, quite literally, change a diaper in your sleep.

17.  You know just how far a container of baby powder will go when yielded by a 3 year old, and how hard it is to vacuum.

18.  You have picked your kid’s lollipop (or binky) up off the street, rinsed it off with orange juice, and handed it back to your kid, all the while telling strangers not to look.

19.  You consider cold cereal to be a perfectly acceptable dinner on nights when Daddy’s not home.

20.  You’ve gone to the store at 2 am for Orajel. Or whiskey.

21.  You’ve chased your kid through a store while wearing an unbuttoned shirt because they escaped from the fitting room.

22.  You’ve left the house looking like hell, meanwhile your kids are dressed to the nines…..because it’s picture day!

23.  You’ve been asked to leave a church service.

24.  Your child says a cuss word, and you know that it’s all your fault.  And you kinda think it’s funny but would  never admit it.

25.  You open your silverware drawer and realize that you have more silly straws than spoons.  And then you consider whether or not it would be wise to allow your kids to eat Jello with a silly straw.

Please add any others you can think of!

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A while back, I wrote about why I hate Thursdays, and in that article, I mentioned that I also hate February. Here is why.

In February, 2005, I was in the throws of Post-Partum Depression. The Boy was born in January, and spent 10 days in the NICU with pneumonia. Brian and my Mom had to go take an Infant CPR class (I was already certified, so I didn’t need the class). This was right around Valentine’s Day. On his way home from the class, Brian had to pull over to barf. Thus started a nasty round of the stomach flu. The Girl got it later that day, and I got it several days later. Did I mention that I have an intense fear of vomit, that was only amplified by the depression? Yeah, there was that.

Jump to February 13, 2006. I picked the kids up from my mom’s, and The Girl has a huge black eye. Mom tells me she fell and hit her face on the wooden foot of the couch. Fine. The next day (note: Valentine’s Day…again) I again pick the kids up. I notice The Girl has a weird rash. I lift up her shirt, and it’s everywhere. I decide we need to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW. So we go. We are there for hours upon hours. The Girl was wearing an undershirt that had lace hearts on it. When one of the many doctors lifts her shirt to examine the rash, the rash has actually taken the form of the heart! He touches her skin, and it leaves more of the rash. This is not a rash, folks, it’s essentially a giant bruise! The formal name is petechiae, and it sucks. They try to tell me she has Leukemia, which of course is devastating. Turns out, it’s not Leukemia (WHEW!), but it is serious. She had a blood disorder called Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP. Basically, her platelet level was dangerously low, and she could have bled to death. They transfer us by ambulance to another hospital, where she is admitted. For several months, we have to take her to the Oncology Unit at Detroit Children’s Hospital to have her levels checked. She had to wear a bike helmet for a few weeks. Finally, it turned out to be the acute version of the disease, and we were out of the woods by her birthday in June, but those were the worst months of my life.

February, 2006 and 2007. I don’t remember specifics, but I know that the kids got sick a LOT in those months. Mostly colds and asthma issues. Oh yeah, and more stomach flu.  It was during these years that I decided that I would no longer participate in February.  We started calling it JanuMarch, and I wouldn’t leave the house for the entire month unless absolutely necessary.

February, 2008. Brian was working the auto show circuit, and wasn’t home for…wait for it….Valentine’s Day.  Are you sensing a theme here?  I am.  Anyway, My mom called me at work to tell me that The Boy was barfing.  A lot.  So, I spent Valentine’s Day at my mom’s house being barfed upon by my son.  And I still have that pesky fear of vomit, so I was all hopped up on Xanax as well.  I remember that I missed half of LOST because I had to change my clothes.  I was pissed.

However, I think that February 2008 was a turning point for me.  On February 29th (Leap Year, Yay!), I flew out to LA and got a job offer.  We moved out here a month later.  And, because January has been so full of illness (we have all had a nasty cold or flu bug that’s going around…and The Boy spent a night barfing), I’m convinced that February will be great!  I’m not going to let this month get the best of me this year!  I will participate!  I won’t hide!  And no one is allowed to get sick!

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It started off as a pretty good morning. The Girl got out of bed with no problem, though she was pretty tired. The people upstairs kept her up pretty late, so I was trying to be patient with her (not my strong suit first thing in the morning). She ate and got herself ready with little instruction from me. I was able to get ready for work. It actually looked like we might make it to school in time for her to play with her friends for a few minutes before class started.

Then, in the matter of one quick moment, the whole morning got turned upside-down.  The Girl didn’t want to wear the socks I had gotten out for her last night.  I reminded her of the rule that whatever is agreed upon the night before is what she has to wear to school.  This resulted in a meltdown of epic proportions.  I finally agreed to let her pick out another pair of socks, which she was unable to do in the midst of the meltdown.  Brian threw all of her socks on the floor while I screamed at her to just pick some already.  Finally, I made her wear the original socks, but only because she was completely incapable of making a decision. In total, we ended up fighting for over 10 minutes about a stupid pair of socks. She did not make it to school in time to play with her friends…all because of socks. I was near tears all the way to work, and still am as I write this, because of a stupid pair of socks.

I think I’ll throw those socks away.

And to think, it’s not even Thursday yet……

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Before I tell you about my day, let me first say that I was not one of the crazy people waiting in lines at 4am, and I did not engage in any herd mentality.  My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones today because of the stupid, greedy, disrespectful people who have truly lost the True Meaning of Christmas.

That being said, I did shop today, and I was out there at 6am.  I live for Black Friday.  This day and Christmas Eve are my favorite days to shop.  It’s not for the deals…this is what gets me in the spirit of the holidays.  I felt I needed a kick start because of the lack of snow this year (no, I don’t miss it, I’m just saying).  Anyway, this is how my day went:

5:45 am:  Roll my turkey-laden body from my nice, comfortable, warm bed.

6:02 am:  Curse that there is frost on my car window.  This is California, for crying out loud!

6:05 am:  Arrive at Walmart (it’s right across the street…don’t worry, I didn’t speed).  Spend about 10 minutes looking for a decent parking place.  Settle for one that was in Timbuktu.

6:15 am:  Say “Holy Hell” for the first of many times when I see the insanity that is Walmart on Black Friday.  Get a coffee at the McDonald’s which is conveniently located in the store.  Spend 5 minutes trying to find a cart.

6:25 am-7:10 am:  Walk around the kids clothing section looking for the $4 pajamas that were in the ad.  They were already gone.  Pick up two other pair.  Head for the toy department.  Find a few of the items I came for.  Spend several minutes in a discussion with a perfect stranger (who was possibly the only one in the store, besides myself, who spoke English), with both of us trying to decide if the stuffed animal I was holding was a cat or a dog.  Decided it was a dog, and kept looking.  Found a cat, but it was the wrong color.  Keep looking.  Decide to buy wrong colored cat.  Witness several pushing/shoving/swearing incidents over items that were either a) not a good gift, b) not a great deal, or c) just plain stupid to be fighting over because I found all of them at Toys R Us for a better price.  Find some great movies for The Boy (Spiderman!) for $2.  Put them in cart.  Try to get to the front of the store.  Get halfway there and realize that if I want to get out alive, I’m gong to have to ditch the cart.  Go down a random aisle, ditch the cart and the pajamas that I picked up earlier.  Head to the cashier.  Wait in line for 15 minutes while sweating buckets because they have the heat on…Hello?  There are a million people in your store…don’t think we need the heat!  Stand in astonishment when the poorly dressed man in front of me (with his 3 SCREAMING children, still in their pajamas) plops down $400 cash on toys, clothes, a microwave, and of course, a gigantic tv.  Pay for my $17 worth of stuff, and get the hell outta there.

7:12 am – Breathe fresh air for the first time in an hour.

7:15 am:  Lock my stuff in the car and start walking to Toys R Us.  Laugh at the guy who thought he was going to get my parking spot.

7:17 am:  Walk into Toys R Us.  Find no carts.  Decide I can use a hand basket.  Say “Holy Hell” again because it’s just as bad as Walmart.

7:18 am – 7:40 am:  Walk around the store, pick up a few things that were good deals.  Get berated by an employee because OTHER PEOPLE (not me, I didn’t use the price scanner, I swear!) left a huge pile of crap by the price scanner and she had to put it away, and she has to work till 1:00 pm and then go work her second job at 3:00 pm.  Bite my tongue to keep from saying “Poor baby, having two jobs must be so hard.  Perhaps you should give one up so someone might have a chance to feed their family.”  Head toward electronics.  Find out that they are only allowing one person at a time to enter the electronics department, and there is a HUGE line to get in there.  Decide it’s not worth it, ditch my hand basket (sorry mean employee, more for you to put away) and leave.

7:43 am:  Back at the car.  Drive to Target.

7:58 am:  Arrive at Target.  Find a parking spot with ease.  I’m pleased.

8:00 am:  Find that there are no carts. I’m less pleased.

8:01 am:  Find a cart.  I’m pleased again.

8:02-9:05am:  Calmly peruse the aisles.  Toy department was a little picked over, and they didn’t have what I went there for, but it wasn’t on sale anyway, so I was cool with it.  Rejoice with a lady who got the last Wii Fit.  Find some more cheap, but good, movies for the kids.  Bought some advent calendars…but wonder why they are not religiously themed.  Got a stocking stuffer for The Girl.  Found the line that I had to wait in before I was assigned a cash register.  Was through that line and paid for myself in under 2 minutes.  I am pleased.

9:06 am:  Step outside and realize that I am STARVING.  Begin quest for breakfast.

9:15 am:  Find McDonalds in a Kmart parking lot.  Order Sausage McMuffin with no egg, hashbrowns, and a caramel iced coffee.  Eat in Kmart parking lot.

9:30 am-10:00 am:  Enter Kmart.  Find a cart right away, and also find that the store is fairly calm.  Spend some time perusing.  Found the toys I was looking for at Target.  Found pajamas for the kids that were BOGO, and super cute.  Looked at what I want to get Brian, but decided to wait on it for now.  Go get in line.  Not too long of a line, but slow moving.  Found a box of candy canes, remembered that I wanted to get some for the kids.  Wait some more.  Finally pay, and leave.

10:00 am – 10:05 am – debate with myself on whether or not I feel like going to the mall.  Decide against it.

10:05 am – 10:35 am:  Go to Michael’s.  Wander aimlessly for a while.  Have minor panic attack because I left my phone in the car.  Find a cute craft project for the kids to make for the grandparents and Godparents.  Find a great deal on a craft set for The Girl.  Pay using my 25% off doorbuster coupon. 

10:36 am – 10:50 am:  Go to Payless to look for shoes for the kids…yeah…the kids.  Am the only shopper in the store.  Have brief conversation with only employee in the store.  Silently embrace and relish in the silence.  Leave without buying anything.

11:00 am – ish – Get home.  Find Brian and kids playing a game.  Join the game.  Fall asleep on the couch while playing the game. 

12:00 pm – Wake up to find Brian making lunch for the kids.  Eat some leftovers. 

Spend the rest of the day hanging out with the kids, cleaning the house (sorta), and finishing the Christmas decorations.  The Girl didn’t feel well this evening, so they were pretty calm. 

Now the kids are in bed and Brian is at work for another hour or so.  I am trying to decide whether I should stay up and wait for him, or hit the hay.  I’m really leaning toward the hay…..

Oh, by the way, I’m almost done shopping!  🙂

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Photo by aprilzosia

I got a phone call today from The Girl’s school. The very nice nurse called to tell me that The Girl felt like she was going to throw up. So, I called Brian, and he went to pick her up.

While I was waiting for Brian to call me to tell me if she was ok, I started thinking that she probably wasn’t sick. She tends to overreact to any little feeling in her stomach (ie, a stuck fart, the need to burp, you get the picture) and says she has to barf. I told my coworker that if it was something like that, I was going to be really mad. Then Brian called and told me what really happened, and I wasn’t mad anymore. I was furious and very worried about my little girl.

For those of you who do not live in earthquake country, we had a statewide earthquake drill this morning, The Great Shakeout. Some places went as far as to have volunteers pretend to be hurt or trapped so that emergency personnel could practice procedures. This, in itself, is a great thing. However, The Girl’s first grade teacher decided that it would be prudent to show a video of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Complete with devastation. To include people (by The Girl’s account, it was children) who were injured and bleeding. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? I totally understand the need for the drill, and I would even condone an animated video or even news footage, but 6 year olds do NOT need to see blood and gore. If it was a fire drill, would they show some kid running around on fire??? I think not.

So, back to my story. The Girl is incredibly sensitive. She cannot even handle cartoon blood. The thought of a loose tooth becoming bloody makes her want to forgo the Tooth Fairy and keep her baby teeth forever. So, of course, she became extremely upset seeing the images from the 1994 earthquake. Of course, I wasn’t there, but I’m guessing she had a full-fledged panic attack, which she interpreted as having to throw up. By the time Brian got to the school, she was fine and wanted to stay, buy of course, they couldn’t let her.

So, now I have to decide how to handle this situation. It is not ok that she got to come home because she was scared, and we treated her as though she was sick, making her lay on the couch all day. Basically, we did that to drive home the point that she can’t just say she’s sick and get to come home and play. But, what do I do on the school end? I really would like to rip the teacher a new one, but clearly, I have to work with her for the rest of the year, and I need her on our side. But she needs to know that The Girl cannot handle that kind of video.

What should I do??? Any suggestions?

Update: I wrote a letter to The Girl’s teacher explaining my concerns.  We have conferences next week, so if she doesn’t call me before then, I will talk to her about it at that time.  I’ll keep you posted.

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