Sunday, September 29, 2013

The apple of my eye

As is mandatory this time of year, we went apple-picking at a local orchard yesterday. It was a beautiful day - sunny and around 75 degrees. Every family in the state apparently had the same idea, as the joint was definitely jumping. When we got there, we boarded a tractor-drawn wagon and were then dropped off in the middle of the orchard. We were picking Red Delicious, Cortland, and Gala apples. I cautioned my husband and child not to pick too many apples because I'm really the only person in our home who eats apples (I eat one a day, sometimes two). P will eat one if it is baked into a pie. A will eat one if it is slathered in peanut butter.

The apples were infinitely more plentiful than last year. Weather problems in 2012 led to a bad crop, as I recall.  I remember going to the orchard with the kid and at times we were actually reduced to giving a second look to some of the ones that were on the ground. "Well, this one is only half rotten!" This year was a vast improvement. We gathered about 20 apples, ate three, and then headed back to the main building where one pays for the apples and can buy other stuff.  Patrick bought a baked good - some sort of apple square pastry thing. We also got a half-gallon of apple cider to take home and a little pint of apple cider to drink right away.

P and I sat under a tree while the kid played on a wooden train and whatnot. After a few minutes, she ran over to have a few sips of the apple cider. I watched her take a sip and then - I kid you not - lick the cap and then put it back on the container. WTF?  Seriously, do you have to spell out every little thing for kids? Is nothing prone to common sense?  I must admit that I never explicitly told her, "Don't lick something that you're sharing with other people."  She also keeps using my toothbrush lately.

Today, I baked my husband an apple tart using some of the Cortland apples we picked yesterday.  Fortunately, I can make this sort of thing without being tempted by it myself. I like apples just plain - I don't think they need to be disguised in any way. I also have issues with raisins in cookies, so I'm far from an authority on this stuff.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A good excuse?

This, my friends, is why I can never do any abdominal crunches at home.

This chick needs some sleep, ya'll

For most of my adult life, I've never truly felt like I've had a good night's sleep. There are a few obstacles in my way: my hips, my brain, and my husband's head.

I have bad hips. I inherited them from that lady who gave birth to me.  From what the doctors tell me, there is too much laxity in the ligaments that hold my hips together. All I know is that they hurt.  They hurt at night and on long car rides. They hurt whether I'm fat or skinny. There are poses in yoga that I cannot do, thanks to my stupid hips.

Anyway, in order to sleep at night, I take Tylenol PM. Lately, I've grown somewhat alarmed about the dangers of taking acetaminophen over time. I keep hearing scary things.  So, I've decided to wean myself off the Tylenol just in case it might, you know, kill me. But, now instead of worrying that my liver will explode, I'm worried that I'll get even less sleep.

My mom used to say that men and babies fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow, because they have nothing to think about. Now, I love my husband but when I'm in bed and then he comes to bed later, I can literally hear him falling asleep about thirty seconds after he is horizontal. Must be nice. And speaking of my husband, he's developed a new little quirk: snoring. He was never much of a snorer unless he had a head cold or something like that. Now he snores to wake the dead. I don't know what has changed with him, but it's making me very irritable. I think I'm going to buy some ear plugs and keep them handy for nights when the snoring gets too bad. I've been resistant to using them because I don't want to risk not being able to hear my child if she needs me at night. Plus, wearing ear plugs makes it official: I've turned into my mother.

The other hurdle is just my inability to turn my brain off. Like yesterday, I was really worked up about about how a client had treated me. I went to yoga in an effort to make my brain forget about it. Alas, it still remembered.  Even when I was lying on my yoga mat during savasana, I was thinking, "Grrrrrrr."  Then I fretted about it some more when I got home.  I just find it so incredibly difficult to clear my mind, even at bedtime. When I was taking the Tylenol PM, it basically overrode my brain and said, "I'm shutting this shit down right now."  And I would fall asleep. 

I wish I had one of those sensory deprivation chambers. I feel like I could sleep in one of those.  I may have to settle for trying melatonin or something. Or just giving up sleep altogether.

In the mean time, I'll try to stop hatin' on my hips. 

homage to my hips
By Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved, 
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

All Better Now

I got my mom-mobile back on Thursday. It has been at the auto body shop since Monday morning. The insurance company supplied me with a rental car. They supply an "economy" car. I had the option of paying more for an upgrade but had no reason to do that. I mean, I'm already out $500 for the deductible for an accident that was not my fault. I am still a little bitter about it. I've been been paying for car insurance since I was 19 and someone else gets to drive around with none, even though it is against the law. :::sigh:::

Anyway, the car I rented was a Toyota Yaris. It was tiny. In fact, it can only be seen under a microscope. Looking on the bright side, it fit in my garage like nobody's business.  I have to do some maneuvering to make my mom-mobile fit in there. I will also say that the Yaris gets kick-ass gas mileage. I drove for three days on a quarter tank of gas. I'm used to a bigger vehicle with a much larger engine, so at times I would look down at the speedometer (while driving on the highway) only to discover that I wasn't even going the speed limit. So, I'd hit the gas to speed up and the engine would roar like my request was completely unreasonable. Plus, this particular car had a fun little quirk where the hatchback door would periodically become unlatched somehow. The door wouldn't fly open, but every time I rounded a corner or hit a bump, the car would emit a loud beep and the cabin lights would come on. Good times.

Fortunately, I got my van back after just a few days. I worked at a fundraiser yesterday and I had to haul bins of merchandise, snow fencing, etc.  I could barely fit myself into the Yaris; I knew that anything larger than my purse would be a no-go.

So, I'm back to being hopelessly uncool with my mini-van, but I don't mind. The passenger side looks good as new. In fact, I think the new door is actually an improvement over the old. The new door came off a van with significantly fewer miles on it. Plus, the old door stuck sometimes because SOMEone (a curly-haired someone who sits in the back seat) has been spilling drinks on that door for the past six years. So every summer, when it gets super hot, old juice (stuff that's way down in the track) is re-activated and gets sticky all over again.

Say what you will about my mom-mobile but it is paid for and I'm gonna drive that mofo into the ground, ya'll. Into the GROUND.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Being a bridesmaid is not for the faint of heart

My sister's wedding is coming up in November. I was instructed to go to David's Bridal and select a bridesmaid's dress in the color Malibu. It's a turquoise-y shade of blue.  The bridesmaids are allowed to choose any dress they want as long as it's in the right color. I was grateful for that. I think we've all seen those wedding parties where the identical bridesmaid dresses result in cuteness and perfection for the bride's tall, tan sorority sister, but lead to sartorial tragedy for the bride's shorter, fatter friend.

I spent quite a bit of time studying the David's Bridal website.  I had trouble getting past this photo on the home page:

Now, does any bride really say, "THIS is what I want to look like on my wedding day." I am not sure what is up with the pose, but it is very reminiscent of the cat-cow postures we do in yoga class. You're supposed to exhale on the cat, so I assume that is what she is doing here. Then she will need to inhale when she moves to cow. I don't know what is more annoying - the pose or the anorexia.

Anywho, I looked at all of the bridesmaids' dresses but didn't have a clue as to which one would actually look good on me. None of them, was my suspicion.  Most of these dresses are engineered for someone a lot younger and more, um, streamlined than I am.  I decided I'd better just get my arse over to the local David's Bridal shop and have a look-see. I then attempted to recruit someone to come with me to prevent me from making a horrifying mistake. My niece (well, one of my nieces) took the challenge and volunteered to accompany me.

When we got to David's Bridal, the dress selection was a little overwhelming. There were two rows of voluminous fabric. We began sifting through the gobs of gowns.  A salesperson came by to ask if we needed anything. I asked her if it would make sense to take my measurements as a starting point.  I already knew that my skinny sister had to purchase a wedding gown in a much larger size than what she actually wears, so I was prepared to be in the same boat with my dress. "Just pick one out in your usual size," she advised me. And then walked away.

My niece and I found a few gowns in my size (or what I thought was my size) and took them to the fitting rooms. We had trouble finding my size in the sample gowns I liked, so eventually we just decided that I should try ANY gown that was available in my size.  I was escorted into a fitting room, where I hung the three dresses on the hook. Oh, and the salesperson slapped a "Congratulations, Claudia!" post-it on the outside of the door. Each occupied fitting room had one. The first thing I noticed, once I had closed the door behind me, was that the fitting room did not have a mirror. I think the message there is, "You must come out and share your shame with the masses."  I pulled the first dress off the hanger (well, I took my clothes off first) and started battling my way into it. Beads of sweat promptly formed on my forehead. The dress was too tight. The next one fit, but not terribly well. The third one was too tight. All of the dresses would have fit fine except that my bosom had to go and throw a wrench in the works. I got dressed in my regular clothes and then my niece and I went back to the dress aisle to find a few styles in a larger size. It was depressing, but I'll live.

The youthful salesperson was only vaguely helpful. I had been expecting some guidance, such as "this style seems to work well for busty girls." That sort of thing.  Apparently we were mostly on our own. My niece was very helpful, though. She gave me her honest opinion and found more gowns for me to try on. When I was in the fitting room, I could hear her giving her opinion to some other bridesmaids and brides. I reminded her that I was not paying her to help other people.

Eventually, I narrowed it down to two dresses that seemed to fit well. Or, as well as can be expected, I guess. I hadn't been sure if I should go with a strapless dress, as I don't want to be tugging at it all night at the wedding. However, I did end up choosing a strapless number. "Congratulations, Claudia!" I will need to buy some appropriate  undergarments, of course.  As it turned out, they had this dress in stock in the designated color, so I was able to buy it on the spot vs. ordering it.  By then, I was sweaty and gross. My make-up was running. I felt fat and mushy.  While I was in the fitting room, I heard a woman asking if it was possible to special order a size 0.  I briefly thought of knifing her. "Congratulations, Claudia! That's a felony!"

Once we escaped the bridal shop, we walked next door to Red Robin, where I bought my niece a drink at the bar. I figured that the least I could do to reward her for her hard work was to give her a $2.50 glass of wine (in my defense, they were running a special).

In case you're dying to know, the dress I bought is this one . . . about 500 sizes bigger.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Unamusement Park

My daughter and I had been looking forward to the trip for a couple of months. We had two tickets to spend the day at a huge amusement park located about three hours from our home. It was Kohl's Friends & Family Day at the park. I purchased the tickets through my friend Tammy, who works for Kohl's. The tickets were significantly cheaper than the usual admission price and parking was free. Another bonus is that the park was closed to the general public and was open only to Kohl's peeps, so that meant shorter lines and whatnot. So, we were in. We couldn't wait! All I really had to do is to pretend to like Tammy so that I could qualify under the "friend" category. Ha! Just kidding, Tammy! You know I heart you!

To avoid driving three hours in one stretch this morning, the kid and I drove to my friend Kathy's house last night. She lives about halfway in between our house and the amusement park. I freeload at her house periodically and we always have a great time. We watch TV and drink wine and yell at her dogs to be quiet.

When I woke up this morning, I knew right away that the weather would be a problem. The forecast called for rain and lots of it. Since we had already purchased the tickets, I figured I may as well drive down there and see if the situation might start to seem more promising. If we got down there and the rain was fairly light, I felt like we could tough it out. We had umbrellas, rain jackets, etc. I mean, I'm prissy and all, but I'm willing to set that aside in order to deliver a good time to my kid.

We drove for 90 minutes in relentless, build-an-ark-ASAP type rain. As we neared the park, I basically knew it was a no-go. The thermometer in my car told me that it was just 55 degrees. The rain was not letting up. I checked the weather app on my phone. The chance of rain was currently 100%, forecasted to drop to 90% at around 3:00 p.m. I guessed that the park was probably still running, as I know most parks only shut down if there is thunder and lightning, but geez, it had to be miserable there. I was picturing wet seats and soggy pretzels and stuff.  I told the kid that we would drive to a nearby mall and work on a game plan.  The look on her face just about broke my heart. She is old enough to understand that I can't control the weather, but that didn't do much to curb her disappointment. We decided to poke around in the mall for a bit and then see if the weather changed.  We grabbed some breakfast and then went to Disney Store, where my guilt over the whole situation caused me to buy her stuff she doesn't need. Then I let her get ice cream.

When we left the mall, it was raining just as hard. I decided that we'd drive back towards home but that we'd spend the afternoon at a museum that features an IMAX theater and an indoor butterfly garden where butterflies land on you and whatnot. The kid knew it was better than nothing, so she signed on to the plan. We got to the museum and bought our tickets. Then we set off to find the butterfly garden. We found it and . . . it was closed. Son of a biscuit!  It might've been nice for the museum people to mention that when I bought the tickets. Had I known, I would have gone elsewhere. But, by then we were just used to bad luck.  Anyway, we wandered around the museum for a while and then went to a 3-D IMAX movie, which was pretty cool. It was about prehistoric sea creatures.

After the museum, we drove back home. We made a brief stop at Trader Joe's. I let the kid get more stuff she doesn't need. I guess I was just desperate for her to feel like it was a fun day after all. I even let her have fries for dinner. And kettle corn. Parental guilt is a strong force indeed.

Next summer, I'm getting my kid on a roller coaster come hell or high water.  Word.

Oh yes, allllllmost as much fun as a roller coaster.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rescues and Adoptions and Volunteers, Oh My!

I'm writing this at the end of a long, crabby week, so bear with me.

Thinking of adopting from a rescue? Great! That's the best news I've heard all day. There are lots of homeless dogs out there and if you can give one of them a good home . . . well, good on ya, mate. You're doing something important and meaningful. As a longtime volunteer for a Boxer Rescue organization, I feel privileged to have worked with so many wonderful adopters over the years. I've developed friendships with many of the folks who've adopted my foster dogs. It's a perk of the job!

While the vast majority of folks who apply to adopt from our rescue are well-intentioned and are stellar dog owners to boot, lately we've had a few applicants who are, shall we say, a bit challenging.

Now, at the risk of spilling a few insider secrets, I'm going to pass on a couple of tips to folks who are considering adopting from a rescue organization:

1. The rescue will ask you for your veterinarian's name and phone number. They aren't just doing this for fun - they will actually call your vet and confirm that you've kept all of your past animals up to date on stuff like annual exams, vaccinations, etc.
    • If you want to make life easier, be sure to call your veterinarian's office and confirm that your records are in order.  Also, make sure the records are under your name. Or your spouse's name. Or both. You would not believe how many people have vet records under some other person's name. The nice people who process applications are seldom blessed with psychic powers. It gets frustrating when they have to call a vet clinic over and over again. "The applicant says that maybe the records are under their brother's mailman's name - can you check?"
    • Be aware that if you've used umpteen different veterinary clinics, it sends up a red flag. Changing clinics once or twice is not the end of the world, but it's important to establish an ongoing relationship with a veterinarian who knows your animals well.
    • Give vaccinations yourself?  This is okay, but you need to save the label from the vaccine. Rescues would love to take your word for it, but unfortunately, people lie right to our faces all the time. 
    • Don't believe that cats need veterinary care?  Think again, s'il vous plait. Cats are 1A mega ultra black belt-level experts when it comes to hiding illnesses.  Until recently, I had cats my entire life. Do they hate to go to the vet? You betcha. But am I a veterinarian who can treat a cat on my own? Not even close. Plus, the rabies vaccination is required by law in most areas. And you can't give that one on your own.
    • Have concerns about the possibility of over-vaccinating?  This is usually not a problem, provided that you have taken your animals in annually for exams and have run titers as needed.  If you're not familiar with a titer, this is a blood test that confirms that your animal has enough of the vaccine in his/her blood to provide protection. 
    • When it comes to veterinary care, rescues will generally overlook small stuff like a missed distemper vaccination for your cat. What they are looking for is a history of providing regular vet care, as that is the only way they can get a good idea of whether or not you will provide a high level of care for the dog you'd like to adopt.
2. Try to keep in mind that the people you are contacting about adoption are volunteers. They aren't expecting any praise or special recognition.  Generally speaking, they are just hoping to be treated respectfully. You wouldn't believe how many people read us the riot act, tell us that we suck ass, inform us that we are stupid for passing up the world's best home for a dog . . . and then re-apply six months later. One thing I can tell you for sure is that rescue volunteers have long memories. Remember, they aren't trying to annoy or upset anyone.  But if someone's vet records do not pan out or there are other issues, sometimes the volunteers' hands are tied. There are guidelines and by-laws that they have to follow. As hard as it is, please try not to take it personally.  Your best bet is to have your ducks in a row before you apply, and then not to say anything wacky on the application.

3. Show a willingness to learn. When it comes to dogs, try to accept that some of the stuff you've always heard and have always believed may not align with current "best practices." Dog training has changed over the last two decades. Gone are the days of alpha-rolling a dog, of swatting a dog with newspaper, and of rubbing a dog's nose in his own feces. Today, we know a lot more about how dogs' brains work and why those methods are ineffective. Educate yourself on concepts like positive reinforcement training. Rescues are looking for applicants who are flexible and tolerant.

4. The last issue I wanted to mention is . . . fencing. Every rescue has its own policies when it comes to fencing and what is required. Some communities prohibit above-ground fencing, so it's hard to require it across the board. Rather, the rescue is looking for evidence that you have a way to contain the dog safely and that you take the dog's safety very seriously. Accidents happen, but don't tempt fate.

Occasionally, an applicant comes to us with a line of thinking that seems basically to consist of: "You should be so glad that I am considering one of your mangy homeless dogs that you should overlook every red flag on my application." This is a small percentage of people, but lately we've had several applicants who have been downright abusive to our volunteers. It's upsetting. This is one reason why volunteers burn out and then leave rescue forever.

If you are declined by a rescue or if it appears that they are struggling with some aspect of your application, please don't open fire on the volunteers. They are doing their best. Most of them have full-time jobs, families, etc. Instead, consider asking, "What could I do differently so that I can be considered for adoption?" Sometimes a more honest approach opens the door to adoption.

Yes, rescues are picky. Yes, the application can be a pain in the arse. Yes, the volunteers can get crabby. But, just like your heart is in the right place by wanting to adopt a homeless animal, my heart is already deeply attached to that homeless animal. If you're going to adopt one of my foster dogs, I just need you to be tens kinds of awesome. It's not too much to ask, right?

Gideon, the bestest Boxer boy in the whole wide world

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Since I'm sure you're dying to know . . .

Some randomness for you . .

I haven't written recently because I'm still recovering from the first week of school. It was brutal, just brutal. Now, my daughter needs to get up and get out of the house at the same time every weekday, regardless of whether school is in session or not. However, the first week of school was particularly bad - at least in the mornings. Maybe it's because we have extra stuff to deal with - lunchbox, backpack, etc. I don't know. Yesterday was just as bad as last week. We sent her off to daycare with dirty teeth and no breakfast, because she couldn't get her act together (I did toss her an apple as she and her dad were leaving). Her dad set the punishment - no Kindle and no TV last night. This hits her where it hurts because no Kindle = no Minecraft.  Honestly, I think we could threaten to send her to Siberia and she'd still spend half an hour rolling around in her bed and complaining that she can't get dressed because Gretchen (her dog) is standing on her sock.

In other news, I think she is planning to bury me and her dad - sooner than later.  She and I were on a little road trip last week. She occupied herself in the back seat by making a collage out of some Halloween-themed foam stickers I bought her recently.  "Mom, where do you buy rips anyway?"

I had no idea what she was talking about.  I glanced back at what she was doing and saw that she had created a cemetery out of headstone stickers. Each sticker bore the letters R.I.P.

"Ohhhh," I said. "That stands for rest in peace, sweetie. It's not rips."

"Well, where can I buy one?"

"A headstone? There is a place over on Riverside that makes them. Why, are you planning to bury me and Daddy soon?"

She just shrugged like this was an ordinary conversation. I explained to her that I don't really want to be buried (even after I'm dead), so she will not need to purchase a rip for me. Then we talked a bit about organ donation. I told her that if any of my organs are worth having, she should make sure they get donated. She assured me that if it seemed like I might need any of my organs in the event that there's some way to resuscitate me or fix whatever killed me, she'll make sure to hang onto them for a bit. So, that's all very reassuring. I think her dad and I will sleep with our bedroom door locked for a while, just to be on the safe side.

Update on self-improvement project: not much to report. I may have lost some weight but I don't know because I haven't been weighing myself. I find it too traumatic. However, I've been working out and watching my food very carefully, so I think I'm doing okay. My sister gave me a couple of jobs for the wedding, so I'm working on those. One job is to assemble a photo montage, which will be played at the reception. It's a lot of fun - I like doing that sort of thing. Plus, I'm pretty sure this is better than some of the jobs a bride could dole out.

And finally . . . my mom-mobile.  As you may recall, I was hit by an uninsured driver a couple weeks ago. Now, I knew that the insurance company would find various ways to botch this whole process; I just didn't realize they would start bungling it quite so soon. The accident happened on August 29th. I spoke with a claim rep on the 30th, which was the Friday before the holiday weekend. That person told me that I have exactly one choice as far as where I can take my car for the repair: a Chevy dealership. I don't drive a Chevy, but I guess that's how these things work. She told me that the Chevy place would call me to set up an appointment. I figured that with the holiday weekend, I'd probably hear something on Tuesday. I heard nothing. No ringy-dingy

So, on Friday the 6th, I called the insurance company for an update. I explained that I had not been contacted by the auto-body shop. The insurance lady put me on hold and called the Chevy dealership. Then she got back on the phone with me. "Dave left you a voicemail on Tuesday," she said. I told her I would just call the dealership myself.  I then asked if they had contacted the woman who hit me. She told me no and then proceeded to make me repeat everything that had transpired thus far.

I then hung up and called the repair guy. "Oh, I called you on Tuesday and left a message at such-and-such number that the insurance company gave me," he said. I explained that I have had the same home phone number for over 15 years and that I in no way recognized the phone number he used. But, whatevs, right?

So, anyway, I took my car in today to get an estimate. Drumroll, please . . . $2,414.00.  Ouch. I have to pay $500, which sucks every which way.

In order to end this party on a light note, I thought I'd share photos of the massive sunflower my daughter and I managed to grow this summer. We try it every summer, but usually some woodland creature demolishes it before it gets a chance to get up and running. She says it's "her" sunflower but I can't help but notice that it somehow grew without any watering from her. Or, any involvement at all, for that matter. Ah well. That bee is pretty pumped about it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Self-Improvement Project

My middle sister got engaged in July. I figured I'd have a year or so to get my act together before the wedding . . . you know, lose a couple hundred pounds, have my nails done, do something about my hair, etc.  Wedding photos tend to hang around for a lifetime, so that's a little scary. I was imagining my sister showing the photos to her friends and having them say, "Awww, what a beautiful wedding! That's so sad about your sister, though." And there I'd be, with my bad hair and overly-ample mid-section, staring blankly at the camera.

My sister is getting married in November.  As in, this November. Now, I know that the wedding is not about me. I had my day, back in 1997.  However, I've got to throw a Hail Mary pass here and try to get my shit together. Last week I saw a Groupon offer for a teeth-whitening kit. Ordered. Then I contacted the nice lady who cuts my hair and made an appointment to have her cut, color, and highlight my hair right before the wedding. Then I talked to a friend who does nails as a hobby. I had acrylic nails back when Clinton was in office and wondered what the new options are. She recommended gel nails. So, I need to make an appointment for that as well. Maybe I'll go crazy and get a pedicure, too. I've never had one.

That just leaves "massive weight loss" to cover. If I stop eating now, I might be good to go by November. I have a friend who sells Plexus so I'm trying that for a bit to see if it helps to kick-start my old-lady metabolism. I have to confess that I don't feel hungry in the mornings anymore (after breakfast but before lunch). So, it seems to be at least moderately effective. I'm still ready to gnaw off my own arm in the afternoon, though.

Also, P and I joined a gym together. I already belonged to a gym, but it was pretty far from home (I'll spare you the long story about why I joined a gym that was not in a convenient location). Anyway, we toured a couple of gyms after work last Wednesday, and then discussed them over margaritas. You know, as one does.  We'd left our kid at a friend's house. Anyway, it was toss-up between a huge gym that's open 24 hours and has a low monthly cost and a higher-cost gym that offers childcare. So, we selected the one that offers childcare so that we can both go at the same time. We may do something different once the kid can be left home alone for short periods of time. However, based on the current status of her decision-making skills, she might be in college by then.

I also continue to go to yoga regularly.  I just need to get in more cardio. And, you know, stop eating and all.

I am not sure how formal the wedding will be. I know that I'm in the wedding, though my sister didn't specifically use the word "bridesmaid." She did say, "Don't buy a dress. I'll tell you what to wear." She didn't mean it like it sounds, though. I think she is going to tell me vaguely what color to wear and then I should show up wearing something in that color.  My daughter will be a flower girl.

I have some reason to be concerned about the color she will choose.  You see, when we were kids, one time I talked my middle sister into climbing into the dryer. Then I closed the door and turned it on. Now, I only let her go around once or twice so don't look at me like that.  She was not injured, but the topic still comes up from time to time. Plus, once time I locked her in the basement. Then, every time she would come up the stairs and try to escape, I would jam a metal yardstick under the door and slide it back and forth, smacking her in the shins. So, if my sister really wanted to get me back, she would ask me to wear a color like this one:

Anyway, I don't know what will happen between now and November. I do know that I'm gonna eat/drink myself into a stupor at that reception, though. 

My beautiful sister and my adorable kid.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day of School Checklist

Brand new purple glittery high tops?    Check!
Sequined shirt?     Check!
Skinny jeans?     Check!
Third grade attitude?     Check!

I'm taking bets as far as how long it will take her teacher to move her desk for the first time. Let me know what you'd like to wager.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Oh Minivan, My Minivan

I may drive the most boring vehicle known to humankind but dammit, it's paid for and it's mine. It has its quirks - the timer thingie on the windshield no longer works - but the body was in perfect condition. Until Thursday.

I picked A up from her new daycare after work. We decided to stop for some frozen yogurt on the way home. I was leaving the parking lot and was about to turn right onto the street when I felt an impact on the right side of the van - right where my daughter was sitting. I was stunned for a moment (what the hell? did I hit a parked car?)  I backed up and then got out of the car. I quickly realized that another driver had backed into me as I was passing. A lady was jumping out of her car, saying, "I'm so sorry, are you okay? I didn't see you!"  She asked if my daughter was okay. I said she was fine and opened the sliding door so that we could both see my daughter. My daughter looked perplexed but uninjured.

I could see right away that the damage was pretty significant. Even though the impact was at low speed, I was moving when she hit me so there was some nice scraping action as well.

"Could I get your insurance information?" I asked. "I will need to file a claim."

She went back to her car and started to rummage through her wallet. She had two small children in the back. The car was an old Buick Century. It appeared to boast more rust than paint, so I guess that's why she didn't even look to see if her car had sustained any damage.After a few moments she walked back over to me.

"I'm not going to lie to you," she said. "I don't have insurance.  I'm so sorry. I've been trying not to have any accidents. I feel like I'm 'bout to cry." At that point I actually gave her a little hug because she seemed so upset. I mean, I was frustrated as hell but obviously she didn't hit me intentionally.

"I'll pay for it," she added a moment later. I nodded. 

I took her name and number. I also wrote down the make and model of the car, as well as the license plate number. We both use the same childcare so I guess I wasn't too worried about her disappearing.

At that point, she left. I pulled over into a parking space in an attempt to figure out what to do next. I tried multiple times to call my husband, but he was at work and didn't answer. Right about that time, a lady walked up to the van and knocked on the window. 

"Hi," she said. "I saw the accident and wanted to give you my name and number. I've had two cataract surgeries and even I could clearly see that she just backed right into you."

I gratefully collected her contact information.  She insisted on writing a little paragraph describing what she'd seen, signed it, and gave me that as well. She seemed very nice. Once she was gone, I called my insurance company. I know that the lady didn't want me to file a claim. However, I wasn't sure what do to. I am no auto body expert, but my guess is that we are looking at at least $1500 in repairs, if not significantly more.  In addition to the damage to the door, the back panel was also damaged. Plus, the door opens/closes automatically and I'm guessing that there is some cost involved with retaining that functionality as well.

Now, I try desperately not to be a judgmental person but if this lady has a couple thousand dollars sitting around . . . she probably would have used some of it to purchase insurance.  So, I called and filed the claim. I wondered if I should have called the police. The claims agent told me that since the wreck happened on private property in a parking lot, the police probably would not have been willing to come out.

I didn't realize it at the time, but it's illegal not to carry insurance in our state. Honestly, I am not trying to get the lady in trouble. I mean, she was very apologetic and seemed very nice. But, at the same time, I'm the one stuck with a damaged vehicle and a $500 deductible. Grrrrr

I went to yoga yesterday morning and really tried to focus on releasing my anger and frustration over this situation. It only partially worked - I'm still pretty irritated. But, I'll get over it.

Let this be a lesson, kids. When pulling out, try looking in your rear view mirror. Or even turning your head around just to be on the safe side. It's crazy how effective it is.