Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Work is optional when you owe child support...

Or at least that's what my "BFF" thinks. He took more than a week worth of time off work, without pay, because he was out of sick and vacation time. Oh, and don't worry, he wasn't sick or anything. In fact he kept asking for extra time with the kids because he had time off work! Never mind that he knew full well taking that time off would mean I would end up getting less of the support than he already doesn't pay in full every month. You think he could have mentioned it say, when he took the time off without pay??? or perhaps when he got his paycheck and saw that it was significantly less than half of what it normally is! Nope. He waited until I found out - because the deposit was short two days before Christmas. Then, when I sent him a text asking what happened he said "I'm sorry what did you want me to do?" UGH - try work and support the four kids you have with me!
Icing on the cake - Sunday morning when he picked up the kids he tells me they are getting "spoiled" at his house for Christmas, and that his girlfriend just made $400 in tips the night before and is making a ton again that day so they have all this money! Nice huh! (not that I think she should pay his debt to me and the kids but really - is that why he figured he didn't need to work?!)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Q's

http://whittakerwoman.typepad.com/whittaker_woman/ Did this on her blog and, though I'm a little slow to get around to it, I figured I'd go ahead and do it too.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Honestly it just kind of depends on the year, and my mood. I've been known to wrap all my gifts in brown craft paper (off of a GIANT roll that I ordered from Uline a million years ago) and spruce it up with fun ribbon. Then everyone told me I was boring so I stopped... I really liked that brown paper, maybe I should break it out again this year!

2. Real tree or Artificial? I've been rockin the fake tree for a LONG time and I'm over it. We have a real tree at the office and now I'm 100% convinced I need a real one next year!

3. When do you put up the tree? Typically the day after Thanksgiving - but sometimes a bit later.

4. When do you take the tree down? Early January... not really a specific time.

5. Do you like eggnog? Not so much - it has the consistency of snot, only sweet... YUCK!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? One year the only thing I wanted was a purple radio. I was absolutely sure I wouldn't get it because we didn't have much money. When I opened that radio (that I think my parents got some crazy deal on) I couldn't believe it. The tape player started eating tapes years later but my dad actually uses it to this day to listen to talk radio while he works. It always makes me smile to see my purple radio sitting in the middle of a construction zone with my dad still getting use out of it!

8. Easiest person to buy for? Ella. If it's girly girly girly she'll LOVE it!

9. Do You have a nativity scene? Yes, my brother bought it for me a long time ago and I love it!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I'm a loser in this department. I used to buy Christmas cards and never mailed them. Now I save the money knowing they'll never get sent anyway!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? One year my grandma gave me blue eye shadow and a lip gloss when the rest of the grand kids, except for my brother, got Levi jeans and shirts and sleeping bags and, and, and, and.... it was really ridiculous! Buy evenly, or at least do a good job of making it LOOK even - especially for kids!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? We used to watch Christmas Vacation every year on Thanksgiving - it was a tradition... well that and Grumpy Old Men... but this year I think it might be Elf.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I usually try to get it done before Thanksgiving but this year that didn't even come close to happening! I don't have a start date... just before the rush starts for sure!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Absolutely. One mans junk is another mans treasure.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom's (passed down from my dad's grandma) orange rolls - yummy!!!

16. Lights on the tree? I always do white but I think I'm going to change it up next year!

17. Favorite Christmas song? I LOVE Baby it's Cold Outside!!! (one reason I love the movie Elf)

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home? A little of both.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? not so much

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I have a star. It's my favorite ornament!

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Hello, Santa delivers them Christmas night so Christmas morning is when you open them! <---- Heather's answer is exactly right! Oh, and If we're at my grandma Ashley's house the answer is "not until it's dark?"

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Cranky spazzoid shoppers!

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I always do gold, crystal and red.. with white lights. BUT... I'm loving the colors this year so I may switch it up... oh and at work the gifts were wrapped in lime green and bright pink which was pretty cool!

24. Favorite Christmas dinner? I can't pick one answer here - I love the traditional meal at the Ashley Christmas, but we've done tamales at my house which I always love, oh and then there was the time we did fondue which was super fun!!!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I don't really have wants.... I'm content :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is this what an office Christmas is normally like?

First of all we have the office decorating fairy who spends an inordinate amount of time and money decorating for every holiday. I show up on a Monday morning to find Halloween like Disney did it, then a few weeks later Halloween has morphed into a fairytale Fall festival. Soon Thanksgiving has passed and I arrive to work to find an elaborate display of all things Christmas. We have a contests for every occasion as well.

Now we have a Christmas party planned, and a secret Santa gift exchange too. I have been hearing tales of Christmas parties past and it's all very interesting. Things like "we start the liquor flowing at 8 a.m.!" No kidding?! We are going to Club 33 at Disneyland for lunch (seems appropriate considering I feel like I arrive at the Disney decorating barn for work every morning!) and we'll be taking a tour bus to the park. Apparently the alcohol continues to flow on the ride down from what I'm told.

Yesterday the support staff was called into a meeting with The BOSS. Understand that we never have an audience with the office royalty so this is clearly a huge deal! Mr. Boss proceeds to tell us that we need to be aware of how much we drink this year (read: don't get plastered... I think) and that if we are deemed, by him, too drunk to drive home by the time we arrive back at the office at 5:15 or so that he will hire a car to drive us home. Next order of business, because we apparently sit around the giant Christmas tree like a scene from Jerry Springer's Best of Holiday's Special, people were "upset" last year because of their Christmas gift. The Boss doesn't want anyone to "ruin" Christmas again this year so as a result we are to email the office administrator within a half an hour and tell her what store we want a gift card from, or a list of 3 gifts we want and they will select from our list. Ok, so I guess I don't hide my shock well. My chin hit the floor. I cannot imagine complaining about a gift from anyone but I sure as heck can't imagine complaining about a gift at work! Wait, but then again, I can't imagine a workplace where the boss actually has to lecture the employees not to get plastered at the office Christmas party!!!

I couldn't make this stuff up - it's way too crazy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby Isaiah... not to be confused with my son Isaiah...

I’m going to start from the beginning, and it’s a long story, so if you don’t feel like reading it all go ahead and skip to the end.
Five years ago my cousin had twins. She couldn’t take care of them and they were placed in foster care. They were eventually adopted by the foster parents. In August of 2003, 13 months after the twins were born she had a son. She named him Isaiah. I was at the hospital the day she had him. I changed his first diaper and fed him his first bottle. I fell in love. When he was four months old she found herself without a place to live. She asked me to take him in. At the time she said it could be for “a few weeks, months, years… I don’t know.” Honestly I was prepared then to raise him for life. However, because of the open case with the twins at the time DCFS got involved. In spite of the fact that his father (who’s name was not even on the birth certificate) had been recently released from jail after a conviction for WILLFUL harm to a child, the social worker told me to turn Isaiah over to his father. In fact the social worker said he didn’t want a white woman raising a black child and that if I didn’t give the child to the father willingly he would give the man my home address. Out of concern for the safety of the rest of my family and frankly unaware of my options at the time, I complied. I have prayed for Isaiah constantly for the last five years. I have worried about his safety and how his life would turn out.
Fast forward to Saturday night. My mom received a call from my aunt saying that Isaiah had been removed from the home he had been living in due to abuse. I immediately started contemplating what I would do if they asked me to take him in. There really wasn’t ever any doubt. In any event, yesterday I received a call from my cousin saying that DCFS wanted my contact information and details about my home and who lives with me. She asked if I would take him in. Obviously I said yes. There is still plenty of question as to what the court will decide to do. If you know anything about the children’s courts they don’t always make a lot of sense. I volunteered to meet my cousin at the court for a hearing today in part to be a support to her but also to try to get a moment with the social worker in hopes that I can convince her that I would provide a more stable and loving environment that the other option. That other possibility is actually placing him back in the same home he was removed from, which to you and me might seem an obviously poor option but as I said, with the children’s courts you really never know.
I left the house at 7 am, got to court at 8:30, only to find out that I needed cash for parking. I turned around and got cash at a nearby gas station and got back and into the court by 9. I proceeded to wait until 11:45 or so before they called our case. Upon entering the court room the judge essentially took roll, had a sidebar with the attorneys and continued the case, with no further discussion, to January 22. When we left, the attorney for my cousin said that we should get me interviewed by DCFS asap and to get that moving today. When we called them they said they couldn't do anything until I was LiveScanned and that we had to go to Torrance to do that. They said it would only take a few minutes, so we went. It took over two hours. Then I headed back to work. It should have been about an hour drive. It took three. I called work and found out that the updates I had given my coworker throughout the day had not been relayed to my boss! I left her a message, but I never made it to work. I hope I have a job in the morning!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Starbucks "Perfect Oatmeal" ??? Not as perfect as mine!

I got into a little habit of driving through Starbucks almost every morning for some "Perfect Oatmeal." It was getting to be a pretty expensive habit at $2.45 a pop, not to mention the temptation to add a Pumpkin Spice Latte to the bill every day! So I decided to try to recreate it myself. I started by using Quaker one minute quick cook oats. I bought dried fruit from the bins at Winco and some to go coffee cups with lids. I measured out the oatmeal, fruit, and some brown sugar and put it all in the cup, covered it with plastic wrap and I was ready to add milk in the mornings. This was going pretty well I thought. On my way out I'd stick a cup or so of milk in the microwave for a few minutes, pour it over my pre-measured oatmeal mix and put the lid on. I never eat it until I get to work and it's always really good. In fact I think it's better than Starbucks. Oh, and all told it's twice as much food for half the price, literally. Well, I ran out of one minute oats, so I asked Brian to pick some up for me because he was going to the store anyway. He did, but he got the old fashioned oats instead of the one minute stuff. I was a little worried because I don't have time to actually cook oatmeal and my system was working pretty well with the other oats. I decided to give it a practice run at home. I wouldn't want to get all the way to work only to find that my breakfast wasn't cooked!!! Anyway, I have to say that was the best "mistake" ever! My oatmeal can kick Starbucks "(Not so) Perfect Oatmeal's" tail! Maybe I should start a business and sell The Best Oatmeal EVER!!!

Oh and another thing, I bought a new car! A 2008 Saturn Outlook. YEAH me! I should post pictures sometime, but as you well know I'll probably never get around to it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hi, my name is Elissa. It's been 13 days since my last post.

Hi, my name is Elissa and I've fallen off the blog bandwagon again! It's been almost two weeks since my last post!

See, the thing is, it's been really hard to come up with things to write about when the thing I want most to say I can't... Yet. I think I should be able to spill the beans in a few more weeks though. I am buzzing with excitement about my announcement!

In other news, my car is on it's last leg. I need a new one! Well not a NEW one but one that, I don't know, say starts on demand with at least relative frequency. I think it would also be cool if the car would only start with the key, preferably the one that is meant to start the car. (If any of you are looking for a filthy ride come on over to my job and pick it up, it wouldn't take much to steal it!) Oh, and if the air worked that would be such a huge bonus! I mean seriously, I come in to work after lunch looking like I jumped out of a plane on my break. I could deal with it, I guess, if it was just me, but I also have at least one kid prone to car sickness. We can usually head it off with a good dose of nice cold air conditioning but when that option is no longer available then we have a problem. I have been wanting a Saturn Outlook since they came out in late 2007. I've test driven them twice. I'm excited that it seats 8 but gets better gas mileage than my van! So I'm looking. I'm not in a panic at least until the day that my van doesn't start at all but one of these days I'm going to be driving a nice new (at least to me) Outlook! WooHoo!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Say My Name, Say My Name!

So I was doing a mindless questionnaire out of boredom over on the teenyboppers social networking site, also known as MySpace, when I came across a question. The question was why did my parents give me the name they did. Somehow in my mind the rabbit trail from that question led to this post, so here we go.
First of all some background: My mom's childhood neighbor was named Elissa. Obviously when you know someone with a name it becomes familiar to you. My parents chose to name me after her. All is well until I was about 7 days old and they realized there was a problem. So many people had trouble saying my name that by the time I was a week old my brother, who was 22 months old at the time, told a waitress in a restaurant that my name was "Melissa without the M" or at least that's the story as I recall it.
I have spent the rest of my life doing essentially the same thing. I was probably eight when I remember laying awake at night trying to figure out how, exactly, my mom intended people to pronounce my name. Frankly, they usually just called me "liss" (or "chubby cheeks" but that's for another post). See the problem was this: Mom's whole family calls me EEEEElissa (seriously EMPHASIS ON THE E!!!!!). My Dad's family called me something closer to Eh-lissa. People at school pronounced it like Alyssa. And those are just the pronunciations that were somewhere close to right... Then there's the great uncle who, to this day calls me Aleesa, Alicia or something else that is close but really, really not right. I have only had one teacher in my entire school career who said my name right the first time. Many of them never said it right all semester!
When I say my name I say it like the letter "L" and then "issa." Oh and then there's this... I can't ever, ever say "Hi, I'm Elissa" because then I put that pesky "m" right in front of my name and the person will invariably call me "Melissa" for the rest of my life. I learned (probably right around that lying awake incident) that I have to say "hi, my name is Elissa" or I was doomed to be mispronounced! You would think that seeing it written would help, but that only seems to make it worse!

... and my brother's name is Mark. How many times do you think someone has said his name wrong in his whole life?! :~)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The state of my house...

Is unbearable! I have probably 7 loads of dirty laundry, and three loads of unfolded clean laundry. Not to mention the sheets that need to be washed... I woke up this morning to a kitchen full of a weeks worth of dirty dishes, which probably sounds a lot worse than it is but in reality we only get to eat at home about once a week because of work and church schedules, so it was mostly cups and random stuff. I also had about a year and a half worth of mail and random junk piled up on my piano and the buffet behind the piano that really NEEDED to be dealt with... ok, I exaggerate, it was probably only about 3 months worth... I know, I know it's ridiculous!!! My bookshelf in the kitchen had last years leftover consumable textbooks and a few regular textbooks that still needed to go back to the kids teacher. Don't even get me started about the kids rooms!
So, I recruited Ella and Abby to unload the dishwasher. Isaiah loaded it. The kids cleaned their rooms, well they did a kid version of cleaning their rooms which means at least I know there is still carpet in there. I cleared out the textbooks and the drawers and cabinet beneath them. While I was at it I cleaned out my desk. I filled an entire trash bag. Then I found my piano under all the crap that had piled up. I organized and moved all my important junk into the desk... you know where important junk should go. I managed to get the mountain of dirty laundry moved to the garage. Then I realized I'm out of laundry soap, oh... and toilet paper too, but the kids are napping now so I guess I'll have to get to all the laundry tomorrow! As for the T.P., if I get desperate at least I know I have good neighbors!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I might make some enemies but at least the election is over!

First of all I'll say it, I voted for the other guy. Not because I thought he was amazing but because I lean his way politically. I also realize that in the state of California my vote was essentially wasted. All of that said, I was tempted to vote for Obama. I am excited to experience history in the making. I am proud that have come far enough that matters of race won't keep a man from the presidency, and it gives me hope that my daughters too could be president one day. Not that I'd wish the job on them mind you but if they want it... by all means! The irony is that one of the things I don't agree with Obama on is the redistribution of wealth thing, even though I'm probably in the position to benefit from it. My brother's increased taxes will basically be headed straight to my pocket. (Hey Mark, wanna cut out the middle man?)

All the political wrangling of the last few months had me dizzy. I was sick of all of it. I wanted it to end! I was tired of political signs every 3 feet and swarms of people begging me to honk at every street corner.

I am amazed, I must say, that in this state we value farm animals more than human lives. That two consenting gay adults cannot get married (and where you stand on that issue isn't the point but rather the contrast of that fact to this one:) but a 10 year old girl can get an abortion without her parents even knowing it truly blows my mind. What kind of sense does that make? That little girl couldn't get ibuprofen at school, a pair of prescription eyeglasses, or even cold medicine without parental consent, but we will allow her to have the life of her unborn child suctioned from her womb without any thought. All the while we want to make REAL sure that animals headed for slaughter as food have enough room to stretch their legs/wings etc. while they wait! Ridiculous!

You can all call me crazy but I am just plain confused at how this stuff makes any sense.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wilson, and some "coffin" brownies

I'm taking "Wilson" to work on Friday. Actually, Rosie the Riveter is taking Wilson to work on Friday. Among the (many) odd and somewhat interesting facts about the firm where I work is that they have a MAJOR knack for the celebration. I showed up to work one day almost a month ago now and it looked like a Halloween store had exploded into the offices. Then we got the "memo" that we would be having a pumpkin carving contest (realistic fake pumpkins provided by the firm), a costume contest, and two food contests - one for presentation and one for taste. There are some who will not join the fun - the office Jehovah's Witness gets a free pass, no one is looking at her like the Grinch who stole Halloween - but from what I can tell the rest of us better play or risk being the one who just came to the party to eat the food. So I started mulling around ideas. I'm not especially creative, and I don't mind looking stupid from time to time but this was a whole lot of creative pressure!

I ended up picking a really cool looking white pumpkin. Then I started trying to come up with an idea. I had one of those light bulb moments but kind of wondered if it would be lame... Finally I turned to my trusty friend the internet. Lo and behold I'm not the first person to come up with the idea. Needless to say I probably won't win any awards, but at least I won't return with a naked pumpkin!

Meet Wilson:





He will be sitting on a Fed Ex box when I put him on display... just to add a little something to his relevance. Just in case you are wondering, yes - I know that movie is soooooo last decade, or maybe even last century, but it was the best I could come up with!

As for the coffin's, I make a mean brownie, so I decided to put my strength on a platter. I also am fairly handy with some cake decorating tools so we'll see how it goes. I'm baking and cutting out the shapes tonight. Then I'll wrap them up and freeze them so that I can decorate on Thursday night. I'll post pictures of those when they're done if I remember... but they smell YUMMY! Oh, and as an added bonus - tonight, I'm eating brownie scraps!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Out of my love and concern for your taste buds I found it necessary to warn you:

There is a "candy," disguising itself in a Hershey Kiss wrapper, that is unworthy to be consumed by any human - much less be considered candy! Now, I don't know exactly what it is called but it's some kind of holiday bull crap with spices. I think it must be white "chocolate" (anything white calling itself chocolate is NOT chocolate - but that's a whole 'nother blog) colored about the shade of pumpkin pie and flavored with the spice mix meant to go in pumpkin pie. It is horrible. I mean truly awful - DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!

My boss - who I'm convinced at this point must be trying to make me vomit in the stairwell for sport (I'm wondering if Adam put her up to it?) - put a bowl of these by the sign in/out sheet on the third floor. I grabbed one on the way out and popped it in my mouth before heading down the stairs. I realized as soon as it's foul meltiness hit my taste buds that it was a mistake, but there was no remedy. I am stuck running down three flights of stairs with this horrendous excuse for a candy in my mouth. I ran out the door at the bottom floor, knowing that my rescue was near. I reached for the trashcan by the desk of our door man and SPAT that nasty thing out!

I think I may never live it down with the two coworkers who witnessed the event but I have learned my lesson. Never trust a Hershey's Kiss - they are no longer an innocent sweetness in a cute silver wrapper - they are trickery, madness, pure unadulterated BLECH!

Consider yourself warned!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Boring details of life

Yesterday I got up early - for a Saturday - and got the kids ready to go. Brian met us here and we all went down to the property. Oh, and we took Macy the wonder dog with us. Brian helped my dad carry hundred pound planks and put them up on the top of the structure to form the ceiling of the house. The progress is amazing! The kids and I picked up pieces of wood that littered the perimeter of the entire job site. The cut off pieces from all the walls formed an outline around the house. I worked on one section of that, then I went in and started sweeping up the interior. The kids kept working until they had cleaned up pretty much every piece of wood! It was amazing, and exhausting! We stopped for lunch and all eight of us squeezed into the little trailer. That was kind of interesting and a bit cozy! We quit working around two thirty and headed home. We got home, showered, and turned right back around and went to church. It was a LONG day, but a lot of fun! It was the first time I've felt like I actually contributed something to the project. I had my camera but, as usual, I forgot to take any pictures!

Today I decided I was sleeping in! The kids didn't go to their dad's so I didn't have to get them ready early. I woke up around nine thirty. I don't remember the last time I slept that late! I did finally go through a bag of junk that Drew gave me about a week ago. He said there were clothes for the kids in the bag. Most of it was too small, or too stained to actually use. I now have a giant bag of trash in my living room but at least I can check sorting through all that junk off my list! Now I have a week worth of laundry to do and last weeks laundry still needs to be folded... ugh... it never ends! I did enlist the help of the kids to get the dishes done. Obviously, I still have tons to do but I'm taking a break now, it's nap time!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"When are you gonna stop using my last name lady?!"

That was the "important" discussion to be had this morning when the kids were buckled in the car ready to go with their dad to a parade this morning. So I said "what are you talking about?" He replies "well all of your stuff still has Gonzales on it and you still use the bunchagonzos email address and your name isn't even Gonzales anymore, we're divorced you know." To which I answered "actually, my last name is Gonzales." He then tells me "no it's not, it's Ashley, we're divorced." He says divorced nice and slow for emphasis, like I didn't understand it the first time. I tell him "no, it's not. I didn't change my last name back because I have four kids who have the last name Gonzales and I didn't want to make things complicated by having a different one." He's obviously annoyed now and implies that I can't do that. Wow, the logic and intelligence astounds me! So as I'm walking away, already shaking my head in a combination of amusement and disbelief, he says "so, when ARE you gonna change it?" I say, "I'm sure I'll change it when I get married again eventually." As I walk back to the house it takes all the strength I can muster not to laugh out loud! Talk about entertainment.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Big things are happening!!!

I'm dying to blog about it, but I can't... Yet. I'm tempted to send a mass email to everyone I know because I want so badly to tell everyone! Hmmmm is that what people did before blogging?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blonde or Blond?

Oh, I thought of something random and stupid to blog about! How do YOU spell the word "blonde" or "blond" as in the hair color? See, I always thought it was "blonde" but spell check tells me I'm stupid every time I spell it that way so I thought, "fine! you want it your way, I'll spell it your way!" So I started spelling it "blond." Then I'm chatting with a friend online, I spell it spell check's way and they correct me. So, how do you spell it?! Is there a right or wrong? Is this one of those "English" spellings vs. "American" spellings? Maybe "blond" means something totally different than "blonde" who knows?! I don't prefer to look stupid though, so if someone with a freaking English degree could throw me a bone I'd totally appreciate it!

It's been a really long time since I've blogged!

So, I decided to write something. There's only one catch... I have HUGE things happening that I can't blog about! Argh! If you know me and wanna know - hit me up and I'll give you the info in an email.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No excitement last night!

Thank goodness! I slept through the whole night without a single bloody nose or hacking cough waking me up - mine or the kids! I basically spent all day yesterday cleaning. Now my house looks like it needs to be cleaned... as opposed to looking like it had been hit by hurricane Ike! Oh, and don't even get me started on my van! Three trash bags, a full basket of dirty clothes, a basket of toys, and an insane amount of shoes later I wouldn't die of embarrassment if you saw the inside of my vehicle! It could, however, still use a good washing. Oh, and I did at least four loads of laundry. Well to say they are done might not be exactly correct because they aren't all folded or put away but they are clean! I could go try to "finish" the job but frankly the job will never be done and it's my Sabbath. I'm taking the day off!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Middle of the night fun...

Two nights in a row now I've been awakened by Sophia who, most nights, sleeps in my bed. The night before last she woke me up and says with her whiniest sleepy voice "mommy why is my face so sticky?!" I know there must me something at least somewhat askew because she didn't go to sleep with a sticky face. I blink until my eyes start working and the scene comes into relative focus - you know for a dimly lit bedroom in the middle of the night. I realize that her face, and MY pillow are COVERED in blood! Ugh! So, because I'm in desperate need of every minute of sleep I can get, I toss the bloody pillow on the floor and give her some tissue and we fall back to sleep. In the morning it took a good ten minutes of work in the shower to get all that blood off and reveal her pretty face. The one good thing was that at least the mess was confined to one pillow and her face.
Last night however... She literally bled everywhere. I haven't checked the carpet thoroughly yet but it wouldn't surprise me if I found some spots. She managed to bleed on my side of the bed, her side of the bed, the middle of the bed, the blanket on top of the bed, the sheet in about a dozen places, I mean EVERYWHERE! Plus the bleed wouldn't stop. (which, in my awake mind, is probably why she managed to bleed in so many places!) I had to pinch her nose with tissue to keep it from bleeding. We both fell asleep like that. Oh, and the superhero mommy I am, I covered the bed in towels (red ones thank you) and we went back to sleep. I'm off to bleach my sheets now. Happy Saturday to me!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

why does it feel like 2 a.m.?

It's only 8:45 or so but I swear it feels like the middle of the night. I've been sick - love how kids so generously share the one thing you wish they'd keep to themselves - anyway, I guess I'm waking up partly because of the hacking and congestion. Whatever the reason it's annoying to wake up four times a night when I have to get up for work at 6:30 in the morning! Plus I'm in perpetual need of a nap! I'm beat!

In other news, today I found out that my work only pays for junior college - not the next two years... which is AWESOME... since I already have my associates. So much for that. I think I might get some loans and finish anyway because I really want to be able to move up in a career.

Another thing I found out is that somehow the firm administrator has decided that the office clerk and I are salaried and exempt. In other words she won't pay overtime. She says that "it all works out in the end" because if I have to go to the doctor or something she won't deduct it from my pay so it's a wash.

Except that I'm not as dumb as I may appear and the way I'm looking at it I don't think it ever comes out even for me. First of all my start time is 8:15 a.m. but she wants me there to sign in, turn on lights, check voicemail, turn on the computer, start coffee, and switch the phones off night service and I have to do all of that before my start time so that I can be at my desk ready to answer my phone by 8:15. Basically I need to be there ten minutes early every day. Then there's the fact that I have to be back from lunch by 2 p.m. every day. That sounds easy except that my lunch depends on someone being there to cover my desk so that I can leave. I'm supposed to get an hour but if my desk isn't covered until 1:15 p.m. then I have to shorten my lunch or risk getting in trouble for not being back by 2.

Basically on a daily basis I work an extra 20 minutes. That's just the regular stuff, never mind that there are special circumstances that she wants me to come in almost an hour early to prepare for depositions that get put on calendar for a time before the office is even open. I realize that the regular twenty minutes a day over eight hours isn't much, and I wouldn't really care except that she keeps telling me it will "all balance out" and that I'm "salary" - which in her vocabulary means exempt from overtime. By my calculations just at straight time (not time and a half which it should be since it's over 40 hours per week) I will work an extra 6 hours and 40 minutes a month. Over the course of a year that's easily ten extra days of work. I'm absolutely certain she's not planning on giving me an extra two weeks of vacation (or sick time) every year to compensate.

But alas, I cannot complain. At least not to anyone who can do anything about it... seeing as complaining to the powers that be could cost me the job altogether.

Monday, September 15, 2008

In my middle of the night stupor... I forgot

To mention that the sick one was Sophia. That was her coughing, puking and dancing in the shower at 3 in the morning. She slept better the next night though I don't know how she'll do tonight because she is at her dad's house. Anyway, I figured I'd enlighten those of you who read that post and thought... HUH?! All 4 of you :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A few pics of the house - under construction

I took these two pictures with my camera phone on my birthday on Monday and even by Friday there was more done but these are pretty amazing to me!

I took this one standing where the garage connects to my parents bathroom/closet area at the end of the house... at the opposite end (at the far end of that runway of flooring) is my bedroom... :) In between there will be my parents bedroom, living room, kitchen, the laundry room and a bathroom, my kitchen and great room, the guest room, Isaiah's room, the GIANT sized girls room, and then my room. I guess in the picture it doesn't look that big but... it's HUGE!

This picture was taken from what will be my living room, right in front of what will be my fireplace, looking towards the three car garage - even more of the garage is framed now!

up all night.

Cough medicine, she's still coughing. Inhaler, she's STILL coughing. A little puking from coughing... some more puking from coughing... warm shower, she's still coughing... but at least she stopped puking. She's dancing in the shower. It's 3:08 am.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Pre Birthday

So I did the whole quickie run down on my actual birthday but I celebrated all day on Sunday too. I went to Brian's in the morning. He made me breakfast - an omelette and toast and some yummy iced coffee. I've never made myself iced coffee before, actually the only person who has ever made me iced coffee was an employee at Starbucks, until now, so that was cool! Then we watched a movie, hung out and relaxed. Then for dinner he took me to Logan's Roadhouse, mmmm sweet tea, salted peanuts (shells go on the floor :D), fresh baked bread and tons of butter, steak, smothered mashed potatoes, veggies... and then me hiding behind him while they made a ton of noise for my birthday and delivered ice cream for the occasion. I never realized how horrifying that can be, but it was fun.
Then we headed over to Victoria Gardens. We wandered through Borders looking at books, magazines, movies, calendars (Some of them with very interesting daily phrases! For example, at a price of around ten bucks you can have a calendar with quotes like "Butter my butt and call me a biscuit!"), and well, a little bit of everything. After Borders we wandered Victoria Gardens and talked. Then we stopped a Cheesecake factory for a slice to go.
For my birthday Brian bought me a new lunch box. Now, this might seem a little funny to most of you but, he knows that I've been "borrowing" Ella's lunch bag from her backpack set to take my lunch to work every day because I didn't have my own lunch box. Not only did he get me something totally useful but it's super cute too. In fact it's so cute that it was the talk of the office yesterday. People were all asking aroung to find out who's cool lunch box was in the fridge. I'd post pictures but... I'm feeling lazy so I'll do it another time. I can stop borrowing Ella's now that I have my own. He also got me Les Miserables the movie and some super cute pens.
After our Victoria Gardens excursion we watched Les Mis and ate cheesecake, yummy! It was the perfect birthday before my birthday!

My Birthday Run Down:

Woke up early for work.
Not enough sleep because I stayed up late watching Les Miserables with Brian for my birthday the night before.
Get ready and leave for work.
My car seatbelt (which is one of those old school automatic ones) is broken - fortunately it's in the seatbelt "on" position, but the motor decides to run the entire time I'm driving today.
I stop for gas.
I realize my atm card is missing.
I have lost my atm card for the first time in my entire life. UGH!
Drive to work on "E" trying to figure out how I'm going to score access to my money so I can get home.
Realize that I'm pretty sure Taco Bell has my atm card.
Call Taco Bell about 20 times.
My drive to work takes me an extra ten minutes so I get to work two minutes late.
Get a very cool card on my desk at work signed by everyone I work with, and my little buddy Evan who left the firm a week ago.
Get thru to Taco Bell and locate my atm card, SIGH of relief!
Go to the trailer at the property to see my kids.
The garage is framed - holy cow this is cool!!!
They give me the coolest gifts ever!
A bracelet they picked out.
A Burts Bees lip stick.
A new nail polish color (I'm obsessed with polish)
And the BEST thing of all - a scrapbook they all put together of their trip to Riley's Farm with The Grove homeschool group. I missed it on account of my working mom status and that had been a rough day so this was a really awesome gift! I almost cried.
Then we went to dinner at Portillos - never been there before - it was good and very cool. Fast food, but not really fast food.
Cupcakes for birthday cake.
Dad screws my seatbelt down so the stupid motor will stop running - this might actually be the best thing he could have given me for my birthday - a little sanity!
Drove towards home.
Drove thru Taco Bell and picked up my atm card.
Got home with four sleeping kids.
Ahhhh.
I'm 32.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

oooh, ooooh, guess what?

The tooth fairy remembered to come! See, what had happened was... just kidding. I fell asleep at probably 9:15 the night she lost her tooth out of sheer exhaustion! I couldn't keep my eyes open a second longer. Lucky for me Brian gets out of class at ten and he routinely calls me then to chat. It's a good time for me to talk usually because I have a house full of sleeping kids and it's quiet. I'm almost never asleep at ten. When he called it woke me up and I realized it was a good thing he did because I had forgotten to... um... show the tooth fairy where Abby sleeps. Anyway that got handled and the only problem I faced after that was the wake up call at around 3 am. Abby had found her loot - $3. She promptly brought it to my room, proclaiming her good fortune, and climbed into bed with me. Then she woke up screaming every 20 minutes for the rest of the night because her "money was LOST!!!!!" I got no sleep. I hate the tooth fairy.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Abby lost her first tooth!


Sorry she looks bug eye-d but she was SUPER excited about that tooth being gone finally! It has caused her nagging pain for days at least. Tonight she says "Mom, will you pull my tooth?" So I said "Sure!" Well, in my experience that request is followed swiftly by a "No, don't do it, it's gonna hurt." Complete with a locked jaw. Not Abby! She opened right up and it came out with basically no effort at all. Yeah Abby!

As a side note the tooth fairy has a terrible time remembering to arrive at our house on lost tooth nights. She usually makes it within a day or two. She is far worse since there has only been one parent in this house. I can't for the life of me figure out why.

What's a tooth fairy to do when a tooth comes out right at bedtime and there is no time to run to the store for cash? Luckily, I have a small stash in my purse she can borrow - that is IF she remembers to stop here tonight!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How's this for stupid?

I'm driving home, my car full of kids because, well, I have a lot of them but anyway... So I turn on the residential street that I take into my neighborhood and there is a car in front of me. He slows way down and pulls to the right, as if to park, so I continue on past him. Then he makes a hard left right in front of me and tries to make a u-turn. No blinker. No brain? I don't know but I slam on my breaks, he pulls into a driveway, and I miss hitting him by MAYBE an inch! Then he looks at me like "what the H&!!'S your problem lady?!?!?!" Um, my problem, dear sir, is that YOU are an IDIOT! I back up and make sure I didn't actually hit him because the thud my car made when it came to that sudden stop left me slightly unsure. Not to mention the fact that from where I sat it sure LOOKED like I was in contact with his car - though my head told me that if I had in fact made contact the impact would have been at least a little more jarring. I back up, pull around and continue on my way, in my rearview mirror I see him pull up to the curb and park in the location he must have been aiming for when he made the moronic u-turn in front of me. I drove home shaking and answering the kids questions about why he/I did that etc.
So, how's that for stupid?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Funeral boycott

Obviously my "opt out" form idea didn't work since I never did locate the necessary paperwork so now I have a new plan. If you want me to come to your funeral you better not die any time soon. I can't keep tragedy from happening but whether or not I go to a funeral is something I can control. So I think I'm boycotting the next funeral that comes up. That said if the food is gonna be good I might still come to the after party.
Oh, and if somehow it's mine - I'm still not going! You all better throw a big party, eat some good food, and have a few drinks. While you're at it maybe you could ditch your filter and say things that will make my brother have to "go to the bathroom" or something out of embarrassment. I don't know but I do know that I'm done with funerals for a while.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

These are strange feelings...

My father in law of 12 years, Alfred Soto Gonzales Jr., died today. The announcement came with a text from my ex at 6:04 this evening that said "He is all better." I knew that must mean he was gone but somehow I felt compelled to text back and ask the question anyway.
It is an interesting loss for me. I was not particularly close to the man who's life was punctuated by drug use and abuse of his family for the vast majority of the time I knew him. He was, in spite of those negative qualities, an amazingly talented man. He could play the harmonica insanely well. It was not an instrument I ever would have thought to appreciate so much before I heard him play. I'll never hear a harmonica again with out thinking of him... well him and Grandpa Bob Guier. To be fair he could also be incredibly sweet. He rarely called me by my name, most often he called me "baby."
Life changed for Al when he chose to follow Christ several years ago. His life changed drastically. His face had a softness I hadn't ever seen in him before. It wasn't a change that was permanent and easy. He struggled, and failed, but in the end he claimed faith in Christ.
The last conversation I had with him was just before Father's Day in June of this year. Prior to that I hadn't spoken with him since the night Drew and I split and on that night he was spewing hatred and venom at me. In our last conversation though, he told me he was sorry, and that he loved me. I told him I loved him too.
I made plans to go visit him last week but he didn't want visitors in the hospital, so I told the family to let him know that I'd come see him when he was home. I didn't get the chance.
This loss is not as hard for me personally as the loss of Karissa, not even close. It is breaking my heart though to know that, in the morning when their dad tells them, my kids hearts will break one more time. They are going to grow up to be the most resilient people on the planet for all the heartbreak they have endured in the last few years. I think my kids are my heroes.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What happens when I leave my computer in my parents car... a horror story!

I quit watching TV almost completely. It's been forever since I watched television at all, much less on any sort of regular basis. Now, don't think I'm amazing or anything, I basically just replaced the TV with my laptop. So imagine my absolute dismay when I realized that I had left my beloved laptop in the trunk of my parents car last night!
The problem is that I trade cars with my mom every morning at work so she has the van with the kids. I decided to bring my computer because I can hang out online when I eat lunch alone at Panera, which I planned on doing yesterday. Well, not only did I not eat lunch alone at Panera, which then meant that bringing my computer to begin with was a wasted effort, but then I forgot to get it when we switched cars back at the end of the day. ARGH!
In my boredom I gave myself a pedicure last night. Then I did the unthinkable... I turned on the TV! I watched two of the US divers take a leap off an insanely tall platform and flipped through the channels a few times before I was tired of it and turned it back off.
Tonight we went to dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory or as Sophia calls it the Owd Skabetti Factowee. That place is beautiful! We (I say in the "corporate" sense, since the "we" who paid was named Dad) paid for two adult meals and got four kids dinners free because we brought in a list of 5 books that each of the kids had read. My dad laughed that it cost less to eat there than it would have to buy us all In N Out. I'm stuffed and I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Oh, and one more bit of good news - this oh so exciting post was brought to you via my laptop - which I remembered to bring home today!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just a couple more


This is Brian again on that tree... do you see how big it is?


This ant - which if you can't tell is GIANT - and his other Goliath like pals did this:

to the tree... Yeah, I stayed with the rodent sized ants... and I thought I was playing it "safe!"

I promised pictures


This is where I start the hike... and yes I use it.


The view on the way up...


This used to be a HUGE waterfall. The first few times we hiked here there was a giant bank of snow extending from just left of the waterfall in this picture. It has melted and the volume of water is less the farther we get from winter but I know it will be full again next year!


Believe it or not this is the view from right next to those porta potties!


If a tree falls in the mountain... Brian is standing on a tree that has fallen across a stream. He walked across it... I took pictures and stayed on solid ground! I would say I stayed where it was "safe" but I'll post a picture in another blog that could prove otherwise!

I'm feeling a little bit of a blog drought

I can't seem to come up with any exciting or, to be really honest, even vaguely interesting blog topics lately. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I'm not with my kids as much and therefore have way less opportunity for funny stuff to happen.
Some random stuff:
I went out to the property last night. Had dinner in the trailer with the fam... 4 kids, mom, dad and me at a table smaller than a standard four seater restaurant booth. Good times! Pretty exciting progress is being made on the house. The walls have been framed to the floor level and dad said we might have some of the floor done in the next week. Not like actual inside residential flooring but what I think is called "sub" floor. Then the walls of the house will start to be framed!
Another thing, a while back I went on a hike. I took a bunch of pictures... I don't know if any of them are good but I'm uploading them as I type this and I'll post a few like I said I would forever ago.
Lately I'm tired a lot and can't figure out how I'm supposed to balance this whole full time working mom gig. For the moment my normally messy house has become my downright filthy house. Too bad I don't make enough to hire someone to clean it...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I think I know how this thing works...

I got caught in a swirl of drama at work because... something dreadful happened... the postage meter ran out - or at least ran low enough that we couldn't finish processing the mail. This really is a pretty major problem. It's also one that the person in my position is supposed to have prevented. Never mind that the prevention should have started about the day I did and I wasn't really up on all the requirements of the job on that day. Anyhow, I managed to figure it out and correct course before the world exploded... which is to say I made a phone call and got the nice folks who make our meter to tell me how to load money onto it.
I think though I learned another, probably even more important, lesson. In my job, the MOST critical task I face is to anticipate EVERY problem and avert the crisis BEFORE the office administrator is aware it existed. In short... I'm going to learn to read minds and run interference. Did you know how much I love that kind of thing?
On the personal side of things the people I work with are all very nice. I think my favorite part of the job so far though is that I've been told at least twenty times that I have an amazing phone voice and perfect diction. Yeah me!!! Wait, that's not my favorite part of the job, I lied. If I'm being completely honest I'd probably admit that my favorite part of the job is be the real life paycheck - as opposed to that thing I used to get from the diner that was masquerading as a paycheck.
I paid off two debts on Thursday night. I'm on a mission. I'm getting OUT of debt!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Time flies...

Even when not having fun. I can't believe it's been four weeks today. I woke up pissed off. I went to work and fought tears all day.
My dad has been working on our house... well he has been, but now I'm thinking we've just hit another snag. Last night my parents got a call that their house on the mountain (which is their primary residence) had been flooded with water from a broken pipe for about a week. They haven't been home in that time because my dad has been working so hard at trying to get things moving at our property, so they've been staying down there in the trailer.
The house is old. The floors are all wood. Well, now they're all buckled, waterlogged wood. Just another project for my dad to work on, with all the time he doesn't have.
You know what's funny? For a lot of people their house flooding, tools and workshop being destroyed, and a ton of other damage, would be considered a big deal. In my family... it doesn't even make the list of the top ten worst things that have happened in the last two years.
Someone spoke to me today the time tested words of wisdom "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." You know what I think? I think I'd like God to stop trusting my family so darned much! I'd love for us all to have a year of the easy life... Anyone know where God keeps the sign up forms for winning the lottery? At very least I think we should get to opt out on the next round of crap.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm EXHAUSTED!

My night owl tendencies do not mix well with a 6:15 a.m. wake up call. I've even been going to bed "early." Well, at least earlier. I haven't made it to midnight all week. To be honest though I really need about two more hours a night than I'm getting. I'm trying to get to bed early, I really am, but it's tough to switch from working till 11:30 p.m. one week to working at the crack of dawn the next. I'm sure it'll all even out soon enough.
Then there is the matter of my kids. They are beyond tired but they miss me. They refuse to go to sleep. They've been in bed for a good hour and a half and the younger two are tired to the point of uncontrollable crying and yet... they are awake.
I'm not a nice mommy tonight. I want a quiet house. I want to go to sleep. I haven't gotten anything done that I want and need to get done. In all likelihood I'll probably fall asleep while on the phone trying to have a conversation with Brian once the kids crash.
Oh, that and the dog won't stop barking!
On a positive note... I LOVE my new job. I enjoy the people and I'm really looking forward to learning everything that they need me to know. There have been several comments about how happy they are to have me. Specifically it has been mentioned that people have made a point of telling my boss know what a good job I'm doing. To tell you the truth that feels really nice!
Once I get this internal clock thing worked out, and the kids are acclimated to this new life, it will all be a lot smoother!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What is it with earthquakes?

I think they know when I start a new job. There was an earthquake on my first day of work in an office when I got my first "real" job. Yesterday there was an earthquake on my second day of my first "real" job in 7 years. I think I'm never going to start a new job again or I'll have to skip the third day of work just to be safe! Actually what I think might be even more odd than the fact that there's the connection to starting a new job (I mean geez I knew this was earth shattering news but come on!!!) is the fact that I had just talked about earthquakes with Brian the night before. I asked him if he had ever been on the phone with someone who was about 20 minutes away during an earthquake. He hadn't but I have - and it's interesting. If you hear someone else go through it and know it's coming it sort of takes the edge off of it. At least it does for me. I wasn't on the phone when it happened but it just struck me as odd that probably 12 hours later we had one.
Anyway - I'm off to work... no aftershocks today please! I'm on the second floor - talk about feeling the earth move.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Day One...

Of my new REAL job - I'm LOVING life!!! I'm looking forward to mastering the basics so that I can start learning more than they require of me. I found out that they will pay for me to go to school if I want to take courses that relate to the job. Oh, and not just for the classes but the books too!
There are a lot of little details to learn. For instance, one person does not get voicemail - ever! So I have to remember to take written messages for them. Several others get all their calls screened but others I can just transfer directly. There is some very specific language they want me to use that isn't necessarily first nature but I'll get that down soon I'm sure. That kind of thing I had to do at the diner so it's really not any different here - just a different script.
I learned how to process the mail, and log medical records... there is a lot involved with that but it will be second nature in about a half a second - I got it all done myself today (while they trained me) even though it was my first day. I know there is a lot more to learn but I'm not worried about it at all now... just super excited!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Drumroll Please....

Tonight is my last night at Richie's Diner, because I got a JOB yesterday! I was hired as a receptionist for a law firm. I am incredibly excited to get started on Monday. It seems, from my understanding of the position, that there will be enough variety to keep things very interesting. The position requires significantly more than just answering phones which is GREAT! I am full of nervous excitement to start learning the job. The newness of soaking in tons of information and then putting it into use will be good for me. I haven't had an opportunity to challenge my brain in a while. Making 8 shakes at the same time might be the epitome of multitasking but it was definitely not challenging my mind. Now I can start exercising my brain instead of my ice-cream scooping right arm - you should see the crazy muscle I have from that!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fun Stuff...

The kids went to their dad's last night because he hadn't really seen them much over the weekend. He had some time off work and asked if he could take them last night. So they went. I got a call around 8:45 from Ella buzzing with excitement. They had gone to their dad's church for VBS. (I'm guessing that means some churches do VBS in the evening?) She had so much fun. She was begging to go back again, and could they please stay at dad's an extra night. She asks me what I'm doing. I tell her I went to church. She asks about ten times who I'm with and if I'm ok because she's worried that I'm lonely. I tell her I'm fine, and with friends (never mind that little 's' on the end because at that precise moment I was just with Brian - but we'd been with friends at church) and she starts asking who, what, when, why, where, etc. I think she's missed the "you're the kid memo" so I tell her that I'm ok, I'm having fun and she doesn't need to worry about me. All the while skillfully avoiding answering the "WHO" question. Then she puts her dad on the phone. He says he's off work on Thursday and asks if the kids can stay. I can't really think of a reason to say no so I say ok.
So as it turns out I am on my own today. I have to exchange a bathing suit that I bought for Abby that was too small. Then I think I'm going to steal Brian and go for a hike. I'm going to try to remember to bring my actual camera - as opposed to being stuck with my crappy camera phone. If I remember, and if I get any decent pictures I'll post them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This has really got to stop...

I cried last night. Yeah I know crying is ok... even good... at times like this. Unfortunately my body doesn't exactly agree. I'm not sure if it's possible to be allergic to ones own tears but when I cry, especially at night, I wake up with eyelids that are a half an inch thick. That might sound like an exaggeration and well it might be a slight one but honestly I look like I have a disease. I took a picture (with my crappy camera phone) about two hours after I woke up - and after ice packs and eye drops by the gallon. The swelling had started to go down but they were still really swollen. I don't think the picture does justice to how gross my eye really looked but I'll post it anyway... thats as far as I could open my eye and even opening it that far was painful. Oh, and that's the good eye... I couldn't keep the other one open long enough to take a picture! Cute huh?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beach day...

We do it once a year whether we need it or not. Actually our friends have a birthday party for their daughter at the beach every year. We always go and it is usually the only beach trip we make in a year. I hate sand and I don't like cold salty water. Then there's the overprotective mom side of me... and in my mind the ocean plus four kids is a frightening combination. I always enjoy this trip though. Good food and good friends makes for a great day. Up until last year our arrival at the beach was accompanied by the "we're not staying very long" speech because the former hated going... well... pretty much anywhere. Last year I went as a single mom for the first time but I left the little one with my parents because the idea of me on my own watching four kids was too much. This year I couldn't really count on having my parents watch Sophia - plus I knew she was old enough to really enjoy the time with her friends so I decided we would all go. Then I started thinking that it would be nice to have an extra set of eyes. So I asked Brian to come.
It was cool because he got to meet a bunch of my friends. It was nice too that I didn't have to worry quite so much about the fact that I couldn't be at the fire pit and on the water at the same time.
We all had a blast! It was 9:30p.m. before we left the beach, bundled in sandy towels and carrying a sleeping Sophia. It was tons of fun!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

When you ask "how are you?" do you want the truth?

It's an interesting thing that I think most of us do... we ask "how are you?" as if it is a form of "hello." The downside of that is the fact that, when life is crap for the person to whom you pose the question, it leaves the person asked in a bit of a quandary. Do you want the truth? If so, I can't even type the answer here - because I don't know who's reading this - but it would be a string of four letter words for sure. On the other hand I could give the standard response "fine" but that's a lie... of insane proportions.
I keep wondering when I'll feel like life is "fine" again... how long does it take to get from hell back to somewhere that even vaguely resembles fine?
Then there's this... I think there's a part of me that's afraid to ever be fine again.... because in my experience "fine" doesn't seem to last very long. I'm tempted to list the crap that we've been through as a family in the last few years but I won't because, to be honest, even the most horrific things we've been through up to this point seem like a party compared to the horror of missing Karissa.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

sometimes music helps... sometimes it just makes me cry... you pick

One More Day

Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money
Or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished, for one more day with you

One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you


First thing I'd do, is pray for time to crawl
Then I'd unplug the telephone
And keep the TV off
I'd hold you every second
Say a million I love you's
That's what I'd do, with one more day with you

One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day
Leave me wishing still, for one more day


By: Diamond Rio

how?

does a parent live through the loss of a child? My sister in law Adrianne and brother Mark have long been my parenting heroes. They tirelessly cared for their beautiful special needs daughter Karissa through countless seizures, insane meal requirements, not to mention the energy of at least four of my kids. They are the perfect parents for her. They never rested from their efforts to give her the best chance at a healthy full life.
Yesterday, after only 3 short years with us, Karissa went to be with Jesus. I can't describe the pain I feel. I can't express how sad my kids were when I told them that their cousin had died. Most of all I can't even begin to wrap my brain around the pain Mark and Adrianne are feeling and the Grand Canyon sized hole that has been left in their hearts.
I think, in the case of our family, if we didn't have a HOPE then we would never be able to get through this pain. We cling to the thoughts of Karissa in heaven, seizure free, running without falling, and perfectly able to express everything she could not express to us in her earthly body... all of that, and doing "tickle arms" with Jesus.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Family night... is this better?

Tonight I'm working on creating a slightly more impressive "family night." So instead of a drive thru Taco Bell and Mary Poppins... We did Pizza. The kids have been BEGGING to stay up late to watch the newest episode of "Clean House: The Messiest Home in America." So I figured, what's a movie (or a much anticipated TV show) without popcorn? I picked up popcorn and then had a great idea! S'mores! Now I pretty much think that s'mores are the greatest delicacy of summer. Never mind that the best way to make them is to roast the marshmallows over an open fire pit at the beach. I settled for roasting them over an open flame on my range top. In any event they were a hit. Now we're waiting on our show to start and probably some popcorn too. Only downside as I can see it is that I think the kids are taking this clean house thing as a challenge to make ours the messiest home in America.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm an expo

for real now... or as real as it can be I guess. They moved my name from the host list to the expo list for the schedule. I have 4 expo days this week and only one hosting day. This is good news because I get "tipped out" on my expo days. I don't make much in tips. I think on my best day I made $25 and on my worst day I made about $9 but it's still better than nothing. I would say that it's at least gas money but these days I'm probably lucky if $9 in gas gets me out of the parking lot.
I am however still looking for a job. A "real" job as I like to call it. I know it's out there somewhere... and I'll find it when the timing is right!
(Just an FYI in case you don't know "expo" is short for "expeditor." An expeditor is someone who pulls the prepared dishes from the kitchen, checks them for accuracy, assembles the entire order for a table, and delivers it to the table... we are basically servers who just don't take the order. Oh, and I make shakes, sundaes and banana splits too)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sad but true

My son must be unbearably bored because I looked over just now to see him delicately arranging my daughter's blond dress up wig onto his... "best friend" the blue balloon... See for yourself...
What might be more disturbing is how proud he seems of the accomplishment... we need a playdate!

According to Abby

The birthday party I threw the older two girls yesterday (a full two and three months after their actual birthdays) was "the best party ever."
To try and make it seem slightly less ridiculous that it took so long to have a party for them I should mention that I tried to do it earlier but the place they wanted to go was booked for two months ahead... I knew the party was going to come after their birthdays to begin with but this scheduling issue made it downright silly.
When Ella was turning 5 I was so excited because I had decided that for each of my three girls fifth birthday's I was going to take them to tea. For Ella we did that - in formal dresses and tiara's and everything. It was so much fun and so girly. When I started planning this tradition Ella was about to turn four and Abby was not yet two. At that point the fullness of Abby's personality had not yet surfaced. When Abby was about to turn four I started talking to her about how "next year" she was going to get to have her 5 year old tea party. (not five year old tea... but a party for a five year old... you got that, right?!) Well she immediately scrunches up her face and says "I don't want a tea party! I'm gonna have a gymnastics party." Her only experience with gymnastics was a party we had been to about a year earlier. Well, that and the fact that she tumbles, literally, through her entire day - every day. A patch of grass is an invitation to tumble... well, then again, so is a patch of carpet... or any other soft enough surface.
I gave up my dream of a tea party tradition, clinging to the hope that Sophia will let me throw her a tea party when she turns five, and started planning for a gymnastics party.
Ella basically had to go along for the ride... she had fun too even if her natural tendency is tea parties and not gymnastics.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Life Lessons?

Gotta love when one of the kids asks "hey mom, when was the last time 'we' did laundry? 'Cuz I don't have any socks!" Well... yeah it's time I know... I need to get some laundry done. Which makes me wonder if it isn't time to start teaching the kids to do laundry soon. What age is the right age to teach a kid to do laundry? I think I started doing at least some of my own laundry by about the fifth grade. I did most of it in junior high and by high school my mom wasn't touching my laundry except to make fun of the "hair scrunchies" that I called underwear. School is out for summer - maybe it's time for some life lessons?!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Isaiah and the Lakers

I let the kids stay up late tonight to watch the Laker game...or the Celtics game as it turns out. Anyway - poor Isaiah was so distressed about how far behind we were getting that he made me turn off the game. We finally turned it back on about half time. It wasn't good. He sat at the table writing down the score every time it changed and lamenting our misfortune. When the game ended and we lost... big... he was pacing the living room and getting emotional because it was "so sad for the Lakers" to have lost.
Funny to watch a 9 year old who loves basketball get to watch a game and be that intense about it. He hadn't gotten to watch any of the other games in the finals because he was either with his dad or I was working so this is the only one he got to see... and we lost. I guess it was a good lesson though. I actually found myself saying the words "sometimes it's ok to not win, you just have to always do your best."

I don't get a lot of traffic here...

and that's ok with me. Something funny happened on Friday the 13th though! I usually get somewhere between 15 and 30 readers a day... not too shabby for someone who just writes for the sake of it and not to be read by the world. Friday, however, I had 152 readers. So of course I'm thinking "what the heck?!" Then I remembered I had posted the "family night" blog on the 12th. I also posted a comment on WhittakerWoman's blog with the link back to my post because those were her instructions... Well, she has a gagillion readers and I guess I got a few to visit my way.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I just turned in...

The last work samples of the school year for my two older kids homeschooling. YEAH! It's officially summer in the Gonzo's house! I have been so ready for the school year to end. I can't even tell you how glad I am that I don't have to teach another school subject for a few months... the life lessons I get to teach are enough for a bit.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

If you found out...

That your dad had terminal cancer would you call and talk to him? Perhaps even go visit if he lived say a half hour away? Yeah, that's kinda what I thought... just checking. It's amazing how I get these random (and often terribly sad) reminders of how disturbingly detached my former was/is. Wow.
I talked to my former father in law yesterday for the first time since the day my ex and I split. The last time I heard his voice he was threatening to kill me if his son hurt himself because I "left" him. Needless to say I was a little nervous to make the call. I'm glad I did. We had a short sweet conversation right before the doctors came to take him to CT.
Today my parents stopped by the hospital where he is currently going stir crazy in Hollywood. They had a great visit with him. He talked about his church - which he has apparently started going to again in the last year. He also told them how sad he was that he hadn't heard from his son.
I called him again tonight. He said he's still waiting to find out the plan of attack... actually he said he's waiting for the doctors to finish "jibber-jabbering" and tell him what's next. He is sick and tired of being cooped up in a hospital room with nothing to do.
I told him I'd come see him as soon as he was home since I can't take the kids in to the hospital anyway - not to mention that driving to Hollywood with four kids sounds like a nightmare of it's own.
If you think of it I know he and the family would appreciate your prayers!

"Family Night"

Well since I love to read WhittakerWoman's blog and she asked... I'll answer... even if my answer SUCKS, because it does! Royally!
So tonight was "family night" in my house. The start of my problem is most likely the fact that it occurred by default because I happen not to be working tonight so it's just me and the kids. Then there's the fact that "family night" consisted of a trip to Target so the kids could buy a father's day gift for their dad, my ex. Followed by the lovely bonding experience that is the Taco Bell drive thru... and finally Mary Poppins on dvd.
Yep, I'm a rockstar... you can tell me, because I already know.

I got to test for two positions today...

The first one was a series of data entry, math and reading comprehension. The second was a basic typing test that I've taken there before - but it was more than 6 months ago so that score didn't count. I was feeling pretty harried because my morning didn't go smoothly but I got there and took the test. After I finished the first test I go to the proctor and she says, basically, "Thanks, if you passed you'll be on the eligibility list. If you didn't, you won't." Wow, ok thanks... Maybe I'm entirely too results oriented but I really wanted to know if I succeeded or failed! Then it was on to the next test. I felt pretty confident about a typing test until I realized how distracted I was by the lack of information on the previous test. By the time I finished the typing test I was fairly convinced that I had failed it. I needed 40 wpm to pass. I know I have typed as well as about 55 wpm on previous tests... today... 47 wpm. Not too bad I guess. At least I know I'm on the eligibility list for that job.

Murphy's Law...

I have a test for a job in 45 minutes. I wanted to get online to type so that I would be prepared for the typing portion... sleeping hands don't type fast. Of course that means that my internet connection wouldn't work. I restarted the modem... did all the stuff I normally do when it fritzes... but none of that helped. You know when my connection started working? When my ex rang the doorbell to pick up the kids. Like EXACTLY when the doorbell rang. So anyway, next time I know that when my internet connection is bad I don't need to restart my modem. I'll just run out front and ring my doorbell.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Between 2 p.m. yesterday and 5 p.m. today

I spent 15 hours at work... What are the consequence of working that many hours in the Diner? Well, how 'bout this... I have the words of The Shoop Shoop Song looping in my brain and it's driving me insane!

"Does he love me I wanna know
How can I tell if he loves me so
Is it in his eyes?
Oh no you'll be deceived
Is it in his eyes?
Oh no he'll make believe
If you wanna know if he loves you so
It's in his kiss
That's where it is"

Is there a cure for this? Or maybe I just infected you too? ha ha!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

So it seems...

People graduating is good for the restaurant business... I got called in early today, and they added me for tomorrow. Good for a little extra money!
Also my former father in law is very sick. He is not eligible for a transplant. The doctors are starting chemo today. I should know more in the next couple of days... but it's not looking good.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Electric Vehicle?

For over a year now I've had my heart set on getting a Saturn Outlook. I know that wouldn't be a dream car for... well... ANY of the rest of the world but I have four kids. That basically means if they ever want to have a friend over (and of course they ALL want to have friends over at the same time) I need a vehicle with plenty of seats. The Outlook seats 8 - and comfortably too. Even a six foot tall 260 lb man can sit in the third row seat and be comfortable and it's not like some kind of contortionist trick to get back there. (don't ask me how I know this or I'll have to tell you) Then there is the fact that the Outlook gets something like 27 miles per gallon (hwy). I had picked out the car and planned that when I went back to work when the house was built I'd buy it. Well the house has taken a lot longer to get started than I thought it would at the time... and you know a few other things came up that turned life upside down too. In any event I'm now starting to contemplate what kind of car to buy when I am finally ready. My plan is to get a real job (soon I hope), pay off all of my debts (which once I'm making a little money won't take long at all), save a little for furniture at the new house and then buy a car.

All that sounds great right... except that now, with gas creeping ever closer to $5 a gallon and my guess that it will probably go a LOT higher, I'm thinking 27 miles a gallon isn't nearly enough. So I start doing what I do best. I start digging around online. I find this company that manufactures fully electric vehicles in the US that isn't just some prototype for politicians. I mean they actually make them and sell them right now. The even crazier thing is that they aren't expensive. They sell a minivan style vehicle that looks a little like the boxy Volkswagen van and it's retail price is under $20,000! Are you kidding? My car payment would be less than the cost of a month worth of gas!
There are drawbacks - like the fact that this particular vehicle can go only around 70 miles on a charge... but honestly I VERY rarely go farther than that anyway. I can always recharge at my destination because it uses a standard plug. If I need to I can keep the car I currently have for those random long trips anyway. Here's what I think may be the coolest part. We are going to have solar electricity at my new house. Which means that there would be exactly ZERO cost for fuel. I think that sounds great! Today I requested more information about the cars from the company that makes them.
Now if I could just get a job so that looking at cars to begin with doesn't seem so... cart before the horse!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

To those who may have been confused...

When I said that my BFF was engaged... I did actually mean that my best friend Lauren had gotten engaged. Some of you know that I call a certain someone my "BFF" in jest... so I guess I may have confused a reader or two.... Sorry Mark & Adrianne (and anyone else who knows my code)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My BFF

Got engaged today... let the planning begin! Just one question: Could I get some more action in my day? I don't think I've had enough big news - from opposite ends of the spectrum at that! Geez!

I just found out...

That my former father in law has inoperable liver cancer. The doctors say he has 6 months to 3 years to live if the medications work. They are still checking to see if it has spread to his bones so that could change the timeline too I guess. It sure is strange, and sad. Really, really sad.

Should I start a tally?

Of how many jobs I apply to? I've applied to so many that I've lost count and lost track. When someone calls (or emails) to set up an interview I'm going to wonder what job it's for!

And now for some other randomness...

Last night the owner came in to my work. I asked him about the specific measure of ice cream that is supposed to go in our shakes. I asked him because the recipe calls for 12 oz but I recently discovered that, using the system we have been given to fill shake containers with ice cream, we are only putting 9 or 10 oz's in. I brought this to the attention of two managers. One was afraid to make a change because if a "big boss" measured a shake cup it would weigh too much and he didn't want to get in trouble. The other one said "the shakes look full enough to me and Carlos doesn't want to change it." I inferred that the reasoning was the same. So I figured when I had one of those "big bosses" attention I'd ask them - if they don't want to fix the problem then fine but at least I'd have tried right?! So when the owner asked how things were going or if there were any problems I wanted to talk about I mentioned it. He said "We do the right thing, all the time. If the recipe calls for 12 oz that what we do. We aren't going to steal from our customers!" Can I tell you how great it was to hear that from the OWNER?! Anyway so he set Carlos straight... except that as it turns out the one manager had never even talked to Carlos about it... she just pulled his name out of her backside... because that's how she rolls. Carlos comes to me and tells me never to tell the owner something that I haven't come to him directly with first. The Owner walks up in the midst of this and tells the manager that it is unacceptable for him to scold me for that. He says I should feel free to talk to him about anything at all and at any time without fear of reprisals. Ahh, the joys. At some point the owner tells me he should make me manager because he really appreciates that kind of attention to detail. I tell him I don't want to be a restaurant manger - I don't want the stress - but now I'm thinking maybe I should ask if they have any openings at the corporate office because that would be more my style. Maybe next time I see him I'll ask. After all I'm applying for every other possible job opening I can find!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I'm competing for title of most jobs applied for online...

without ever getting a job! Ok, so I added that last part because I thought it made it sound funnier, but really I've applied for so many jobs online in the last few days! I am starting to feel an urgency about getting real work. I really want to be able to make enough money to have a little breathing room every month. I have also realized that retail and restaurant work will never be for me. I hate not knowing until Friday or Saturday what my schedule will be for the next week. I hate not being able to plan my life at least a week or two ahead! Most of all I HATE making $8 an hour when the job I left six years ago paid me somewhere around $14... and my starting pay at my last three jobs before that was in the vicinity of $11 an hour... ten or more years ago! I can do way better than this.
On a more positive note - I do think that this was a good starting point. I got to practice leaving my kids 15 to 20 hours a week before I jumped in and started working 40 or so. In any event I'm now applying for every job I can find that I'm even remotely qualified to do.
I also called the Riv. Co. Sheriffs Dept. again today and they said (again) that I'm still in it but there's some "bad news." The next two dispatch academies are full so I should not expect to hear anything until probably August. All the more reason to find a job in the meantime I guess!
Oh, and I hiked again yesterday... it's probably been about a month since the last time I hiked. I'm sore today.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I'd been thinking for a while about...

having the girls donate their hair to Locks of Love. I had mentioned it to the girls and they were kind of hesitant I think because they didn't really have any concept of what would look like for them to do it. Then Whittaker Woman http://whittakerwoman.typepad.com/whittaker_woman/ posted pics on her blog of her girls "before" and "after" they donated their hair to Locks of Love. Well since Whittaker Woman's girls are in her hubby's "Throwin Rocks at ya Boo Daddy" videos my girls think they are celebrities. That, combined with the fact that their "after" hair do's are SO cute, convinced my girls that they really wanted to give their hair away. So I made the appointment. I mentioned it to their dad and he gave me what I thought was mock resistance to the idea but since we'd cut their hair short before I didn't think he was serious.
Today was the day. We got their hair done and they were beaming! Both of the girls love their new hair. Then after Ella's was done she says "Dad's gonna yell at me! He's gonna be SOOOO mad!" Well I texted him a picture and said that the girls really liked their new hair but that Ella was afraid he was going to yell at her so to be nice about it. Well he responded that we needed to "talk" about my "decision to cut their hair!" UGH! Are you kidding me? We have to disagree about something THAT petty? Especially when it was a sweet and giving gesture for the girls to donate their hair!
Oh, and Isaiah got his hair done too - for good measure, though he didn't donate any of his!




Thursday, May 29, 2008

Working on... working?

Today I gave up my shift at work to go apply for a serving position at a restaurant that will be opening in July. That turned out to be a bust. I know almost nothing about liquor and well, the opening role play of the interview was liquor related. So I crashed and burned. I've spent the rest of the day trying to redeem the lost opportunity. I requested testing for two jobs with Riverside County and applied for three more jobs I found on Monster. We'll see.
Anyway I'm ready for a grown up job... like yesterday! First I'd like to be doing something fulfilling - with a bent toward public service... oh and something over minimum wage would be fantastic! Anyone know of a job opening?

I'm watching TV

I'm sure that doesn't sound like some big revelation but it is. I haven't watched television in months... in fact probably close to a year. Sure I've seen TV when my parents have been here and they've been watching - or every once in a while at someone else's house but I haven't had the TV on for myself in forever. In fact this has been the first year I've missed entire seasons of Survivor, Amazing Race, American Idol, Big Brother... all the reality TV I used to love.
This viewing marathon started because my dad left the TV on when my parents left the house tonight. On a whim I started flipping channels. I ended up on National Geographic. I watched Prison Nation... then some show came on about the "Chupacabra" and now the "Loch Ness Monster." I actually watched Prison Nation... the next two shows have just been background noise. Seriously they are so irritating I am reminded why I don't watch tv.
The only show I haven't given up is LOST because, really, it's the best show on television. Thought to be honest I don't watch it on TV anyway so I guess it doesn't really count. Gotta love having the ability to watch it online!
The funny thing about it is that I never realized how much commercials are a part of our culture until I hadn't seen one in nearly a year. People make references to them and I am completely in the dark! Oh, and then there's the fact that I haven't seen an ad for a single movie so I have absolutely no idea what is out, has come out, or will come out soon. Anybody have a movie to recommend - I'm sure I haven't heard anything about it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Artichokes

I LOVE them! Winco has them on sale for $0.68. I ate one for lunch. YUM! That's all.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who knew I was moving to Kansas...

Well technically it's Perris and it's practically on the border of Riverside but that's not even the point. I just got a call saying that there is a Tornado warning in the area near March Air base... which I can see from my property! Crazy isn't it... I didn't realize that we could experience a little bit of Kansas right here in So. Cal!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

funny but I just realized...

That I sleep in the exact same position as Sophia. Is sleep position a genetic factor? Who knew. Well, I'm not posting a pic of myself sleeping but she's so much cuter anyway!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vegas Vacation...

Not for me. My ex spent this weekend in Vegas. He went to the Academy of Country Music Awards. I think it is incredibly generous of me to send him to Vegas for such a cool vacation with some of the child support dollars he still owes me! How many of you would send your ex on vacation? Ok, fine you're right... given a choice I wouldn't have either.

what do you do with four kids when it 7000 degrees outside at 9 am?

Well I'm pretty sure mine are terrorizing their bedrooms. I hear them talking about making "obstacle courses" and I'm fairly convinced that means they are rearranging furniture. I haven't gone to check yet but I have a feeling I should take my camera with me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dinner tonight

I decided to drive thru El Pollo Loco for dinner with the kids tonight. I figured it would be cheap and quick both of which are fine attributes for dinner when four kids are hungry and I TOTALLY don't feel like cooking anything in this heat! We drive thru and I order a bunch of chicken tacos for $1 each. Oh, and I added in flan and a drink for me... the kids call it "mommy stuff" any time I get junk that I don't let them eat/drink but I digress... I ordered the taco's with no onions. Doesn't seem like that should be too big of a problem since they assemble them when you order, but I get the "go ahead and park, we'll bring it out to you" speach. So I park. And I sit. I wait. I wait some more. After ten minutes of waiting, for what seems like a fairly simple order, I call the store from the car using the number on the receipt. They tell me they'll bring it right out. So five minutes later a woman appears - with no food - to tell me that they made the taco's with onions so they are remaking them. To thank me for my patience they are giving me the TEN extra tacos they made wrong, four free flan, and two free drinks. So by the time I leave I have waited over twenty minutes but I have 20 tacos, 5 flan and 3 large drinks... seems to me like this isn't really good business for them. Isaiah said we should go back all the time. After all... getting more than you ordered by two or three times is a pretty good bargain!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

was rough!!! First of all I woke up to my alarm which is not my usual thing. Then I started getting ready for work. I had to wake up the kids and make them get dressed. Then their dad picked them up. I cried. While I finished getting ready for work, then in the car on the way to work, I was crying. Not just tears but that annoying, breathing hard kind of cry. I managed to pull myself together in the car and go inside. So I'm hanging in there and a girl I work with asks what I'm doing with my kids for mothers day. I tell her that I'm not doing anything and that I'd rather not talk about it. I try not to be rude but honestly I feel the tears coming on again and I know I can't discuss it without bawling. Instead of dropping it though she goes on... "what did they get you?" "didn't you do anything? You must be doing SOMETHING" blah, blah, blah... and I run to the bathroom to pull myself together, again.
So I was pretty much ok after that with a couple of quick exceptions but I had a killer headache all day.