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!