Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hoarder? Or just creative?

Last Saturday, I took my daughter to a sewing class at Jo-Ann Fabric. The objective of the class was to create a pocket owl - essentially a felt owl with button eyes and a kangaroo-like pouch sewn onto his lower half. What I didn't know was that this was a hand sewing class.  I signed her up so that she could keep learning how to use her sewing machine. At first I was disappointed (and so was she) but it soon became clear that the class would be helpful to her regardless since she would be learning sewing terminology, learning how to pin a pattern, etc.

While she was in the class, I wandered around the store, talked on the phone, and then signed the kid up for another class in August.  This one does require the use of a sewing machine. Two-toned pillowcase, here we come!  I am hoping she will start to use her sewing machine and start creating stuff on her own. She and I have been watching Project Runway together and who knows, maybe she'll be on there someday! And I betcha Tim Gunn will look exactly the same in 15 years, too.

On the way home from work the other day, she spotted an empty storefront with a "for lease" sign out front. A hobby shop near our house has closed.  "Mom, how much would it cost to rent that empty store?"

"I'm not sure, sweetie."  I thought she would let it go at that point.

"But how does someone rent it? How do you find out how much it costs?"

"Um, I guess you call the number and then ask them. I'm really not sure. Why?  Are you planning to open a store?"

She looked at me and gave me her best Oh, Mom, you poor, simple fool expression.  "Yes, I'm going to open a store to sell stuff I sew and also stuff that I upcycle."  (She knows the word 'upcycle??????.') 

"That sounds great, sweetie!"

I figured she'd stop thinking about it in a day or so. Part of me is kind of proud that she seems to have some sort of entrepreneurial spirit. I was feeling slightly less proud, however, when she installed this in her room:

One kid's box for creative ideas is one mom's idea of . . . a garbage receptacle in another form. I know the size isn't obvious from the photo but it's large enough for a body. I can't lie. When it comes to clutter, I do get a little Mommy Dearest.  I try my best to suppress it. So, I'm ignoring the cardboard box even though I'm dying a thousand tiny deaths every time I see it. You see, if I thought she would create some stuff, I'd probably try to encourage it. But my girl is a project starter, not a project finisher.  The owl from last Saturday's class?  Still has no eyes. And no stuffing.

Tell me this isn't the first sign of a hoarder. Lie to me if you have to.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Headgear, here we come!

We took Little Miss Crossbite to her first appointment with an orthodontist this morning. We were the first appointment of the day.  When we got there, I spotted a bunch of run-of-the mill cars and an Audi in the parking lot. The orthodontist and his staff I assume.  I wondered if I should just call the bank and start making payments on the Audi directly. Oh, who am I kidding. That thing is paid in full.  It probably only took two or three parents-of-children-with-crooked-teeth to cover that bad boy.

Fancy car aside, the doctor was very nice and did a great job of explaining everything to us. He started by examining our daughter's head and mouth. Then he explained what needs to happen next.  We have known almost since her birth that the kid would need orthodontia. It's been in the cards all along. I made P come to the visit because he tends to think of braces as something that's strictly cosmetic.  However, I think he now understands that having a misaligned jaw means that our daughter's teeth will never wear correctly. I did learn a lot during the consultation. I always thought that the problem was that the kid's lower jaw is too big/wide. However, it's more a matter of her top jaw being too small/narrow.  So, the first step will be a palate expander.

A had been very giggly and silly right up until the moment when she saw the little video of the palate expander. She got pretty serious after she saw the device that will be installed in her mouth in a month or two.  After the expander is installed, we will have to adjust it at home each day.  This expansion process needs to be done at her current age because her bones aren't fused yet. If we wait until she is a teenager, it gets much harder to move bones and teeth around. I asked about a head transplant but Dr. M said he doesn't really do those.

Once the palate has been expanded, the next step is . . . headgear.  I remember when my niece had headgear. It took an act of Congress to get her to wear it at night. So, I can't say that I'm looking forward to it.  The photos of this contraption remind me of some stuff I saw in the Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago (like drills for the skull and so forth). It will attach to her chin and her forehead and then a series of rubber bands will seek to pull her upper jaw outward.  Sounds like fun, right?

Finally, when all of that is done, the orthodontist will take a look to see where the teeth are.  Right now, the incisors on the top are too far back because they are locked in place by the corresponding teeth on the lower jaw. If the teeth haven't aligned themselves voluntarily, she will need limited braces to bring them in line.

Once all of this is done (may take up to a year but we're hoping to be done within six months if she doesn't need the braces), then we just wait until she is a few years older and then see what's what.  Once she has all of her adult teeth, we'll know if everything is lined up properly. If not, then I guess we'll be in for some more fun.

We left the office with a paper that lists a whole slew of upcoming appointments. Oh, and a financial plan, too. It's expensive but it's actually not as bad as I'd feared. Insurance will cover some, we have to make an initial down payment, and then we'll be on a payment plan for the rest.

We're adding it to her tab.

Friday, July 25, 2014

But everyone has jazz shoes!

My daughter is in a summer camp program for which she gets to choose a different theme camp each week. One week it was Junior Lifeguard, for example. This week she was in Irish Dance. At the end of each week, the various camps (there are usually four different themes each week) gather in the auditorium for a recap and/or performance. My daughter asked me to come to the performance today, so I added some extra time to my lunch hour so that I could attend.  However, I need to tell you about the fun events before the big dance recital.

A few days ago, the kid announced that she needed a black skirt for the recital. Done. Her fall/winter clothes are packed away but I dug around  in the basement and found the perfect black skirt. "Now I need a white, orange, or green shirt," she stated. She has plenty of white shirts so I figured we were in good shape.

Then two days ago she made a new announcement: "I need some Irish dance music so that I can practice."

"No problem," I said. I went to the basement to dig through my old CDs. I am a fan of The Chieftains, so I knew I could find one of their CDs in the pile somewhere.  Instead, I happened to find an old CD I'd forgotten I had in my collection. The title?  "Irish Dance Music."  I am not lying. I handed it to her and she popped it into her CD player.

"These songs are too fast," she announced. Are you shitting me? You asked for Irish Dance Music, I come up with a CD called Irish Dance Music, and it does not meet your needs?!   I didn't say that, though. I just bit my tongue and walked away.

But wait, it gets better.  At 9:00 last night (a full half-hour after her bedtime) I heard this: "Mom! I need jazz shoes for tomorrow!"

"You don't have jazz shoes. And no, I am not buying jazz shoes for a one-week summer camp program."

She frowned. "But everyone in the group has jazz shoes!"

"Seriously? Everyone?  I find that hard to believe."  She let me know of her displeasure by stomping back to her bedroom.

This morning, I told her dad about the episode. "Apparently, all God's chillins have jazz shoes, " I explained.

"I have jazz hands - does that help?" He walked into our daughter's bedroom, still in his pajamas, and demonstrated his jazz hands.  She was not impressed.  Mornings are not her thing, as you may have noticed.

On the way to camp this morning, the topic of jazz shoes came up again and once again I put the kibosh on any sort of shoe purchase. Then she gave me some parenting advice related to our morning routine (so helpful!).  "When I'm good, you don't tell me I'm good," she said. "Like when I get ready on time you don't say I'm good, you just say, 'Why can't it be this way every day?'"  So, if I understand correctly, she would like to receive effusive praise for doing something that virtually every human being on the planet is expected to do: put clothes on.

"Okay, thanks for the input," I told her.

Anyway, I did indeed attend the recital today. The girls did a good job. (What was my kid wearing on her feet?  Some ballet slippers the instructor had let her borrow. As far as I could tell, not a single kid was wearing jazz shoes.)  Next week she is signed up for Hip Hop Dance camp. If there is such a thing as "hip hop shoes," so help me, Hannah . . .

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Well, we got our girl back Monday night. I had a bit of drama when I picked her up at the airport.  The airport is two hours away and her flight was scheduled to land at 7:00 p.m.  I left work at 3:30 just to give myself plenty of time and to compensate for traffic. As predicted, I hit quite a bit of traffic but still had plenty of time, so I was fine. I got to the airport at around 6:15 and parked my car in the hourly lot. I then made my way to the ticketing area for AirTran/Southwest. When you are picking up a child flying as an unaccompanied minor, you have to stand in line just as if you are boarding a flight yourself. The line was loooong.  I took my place at the end and waited. And waited.  Because the ticketing area is for outbound passengers, the display screens only list outgoing flights.  So, I pulled out my phone and checked my daughter's flight. Son of a biscuit! The damned plane was landing a full half-hour early.

I continued to inch along in the line, watching the minutes tick by. Before I knew it, it was 6:30. Then 6:31 and so forth. It seemed that nothing was straightforward with the check-in process for any of the people in front of me. Apparently one flight was delayed which was going to cause everyone to miss a connection.  People were getting a little surly.  I figured maybe I should call someone, but I couldn't figure out who to call.  The airport?  The airline?  I tried calling AirTran and got caught up in auto-attendant hell. Grrr.

Finally, I got to the front of the line. The agent reviewed and then handed me my gate pass and my driver's license, and I sprinted upstairs so that I could stand in line again. I got in the first security line. This line is just for the privilege of showing your ID and boarding pass so that you can then move into the regular security line.  By this time I was in a full-blown panic. I waited to hear my name over the loudspeaker or something. "Would the worst mother ever please pick up your child at Gate C22?"

I showed my ID and gate pass to a frowny-faced man and then got in the security line. I tried some yoga breathing as I watched the family in front of me bumbling around as if this was not just their first flight, but possibly their first time out in public. Breathe in, breathe out.  Finally, my shoes and purse made it onto the conveyor belt.  Almost there!  Nope.  The chick from the clueless family thought it would be a good idea to bring a full 16-ounce bottle of Sierra Mist through security. Seriously? Is there anyone on the planet who has not heard of the no liquids thing?  So they shut down the whole scene until the offending beverage could be extracted and discarded.

Finally, finally, I made it through.  I grabbed my shoes and purse and without putting my shoes on, I ran down the concourse. Just be glad you've never seen me run. It is not pretty.  Finally, I got to the gate and saw my daughter sitting behind the desk, perched on a stool. A Southwest employee was with her. "I'll take that one," I said, pointing to my child.

"Mommy!" my daughter exclaimed and ran over to give me a hug.

I apologized to the agent who'd had to watch my daughter.  I gave her my lame excuse about traffic, long lines, etc but I don't think she was too irritated. She told me that in a few years, I'd better watch out for the boys who are going to come around. "Those eyes!" she said.  It is true, my daughter's eyes really are a very beautiful shade of green. I hugged my baby for the first time in ten days. She even held my hand as we walked back up the concourse (something she doesn't usually do now that she is so mature and worldly). She clutched her new American Girl doll, Alana, in her other arm.

We made it home at around 9:15 that evening. I tried to drive straight through, but someone made me stop so that she could poop. The next morning, the story was back to the usual - "why aren't you dressed? did you brush your teeth?"  I guess we wouldn't want her any other way, though. She's feisty, aye. My dad said that when she is a teenager, she is welcome to live with him at the beach and work for a summer. P and I figure she'll get a job at Hooters just to piss us off.  My dad nodded. "You're probably right," he said. Heaven help us.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The cleanest clean room ever

I just had to take a few photos before Her Highness returns and trashes the joint. I found another vitamin earlier (this one was hidden behind her bed), so that brings the grand total to six. I also found her Hello Kitty sleep mask, which has been missing for at least a year. Since she's going to be a fourth grader this year (her school goes up to fifth grade so I think that makes her an upperclassman now?), I thought I would remove some of the Disney Princess paraphenalia and whatnot from her room.  She's too mature for such things, you know. I also removed this red castle mirror that I got at IKEA when she was a toddler. She ruined it long ago with a sharpie so it's not like I can even give it to someone.  Anyway, part of me is tempted to save it just in case she does 'merry' Jack someday.  If you see this, do not ask her about Jack because she will kill me if she finds out. She's known Jack since 4K, I think.  She's had an on-again, off-again crush on him. When they were in first grade, he wadded up a small hunk of brownie, rolled it into a ball, and stuck it in his nose. A brownie booger, apparently. My daughter and her friends were suitably horrified and that's when she decided she didn't like him anymore. I'm guessing that's when she called off the engagement and crossed out her wedding plans.  Now, though, she seems to dig him again. Who knows.

She made these fish at school. I was secretly hoping she'd give them to me, as I think they are uber cool.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

While the mouse is away . . .

. . . the cats will clean out her room. Seriously, I haven't written much because I haven't been doing much. Tonight, P and I could have gone anywhere (since we didn't have to get a sitter and all) and what kind of wild and crazy shenanigans did we get into?  We went to Red Robin (that's right, a place where we can take the kid any time).  On the way home, my other half made me stop at a candy store so that he could get some treats. He's been dying for some chocolate all day. I'm pretty sure he's getting his period. Anyway, we're going to top off the evening by staying home and watching an episode of Breaking Bad. We're steadily working our way through the seasons. After that, we'll probably argue over whether or not we should keep the air conditioning running overnight. So, as you can see, we've got a pretty full evening. 

The kid comes back on Monday. We miss our tiny boss. I'm so glad she's having such a fun summer. My sister has taken her to the pool (multiple times), rock climbing, and to King's Dominion (where my kid rode the hell out of those roller coasters, yo). They've also done some craft projects (I think my sister was glad to have a crafting buddy - yesterday they did tie-dying) and worked in my sister's garden. Today was the hotly anticipated trip to the American Girl store.  My sisters went in on the cost of a doll for their niece (for her birthday).  Apparently my kid exclaimed that today was the best day of her whole life. I'd like to remind her that her loving parents . . . took her to Disney World!  Kids. So fickle. Anyway, I can tell from the photos that she's thrilled with her new doll. 

I have spent a good portion of the week cleaning out her room. I need to tell you that I have found no fewer than five gummy vitamins stashed in various parts of her bedroom. I also sorted a massive bin of markers and crayons. I'm not exaggerating when I say they number in the hundreds. Everyone who knows us is hereby forbidden to purchase a writing implement of any kind for my child.  I made the mistake of letting the dogs in the bedroom while I was cleaning it and I'm almost positive that my foster dog ate Polly Pockets' shirt. He was chewing something and was pretty cagey about it when I asked him what it was.

I know the kid is worried that I'm going to throw a lot of stuff away, but I really didn't toss that much. She seems to think we should save every scrap of paper she has ever graced with some pencil lead, but it's just not happening. I saved some of everything. Some of her artwork, some of her knick-knacks, some of her macaroni jewelry, etc. I've put a fair amount of stuff in storage. Books and such. She might want them for her own kids someday. Anyway, I've made pretty good progress.  The little hoarder will have to start all over again, I guess. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Party's Over

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig. I'm busy unpacking and sorting through mail and whatnot. Some medical bills from my surgery arrived while we were gone. Yay!

On Friday morning, after leaving the beach, we met my sister in Annapolis and transferred our kid to her. While we endured the endless drive home, A was hanging out at a water park and whatnot. She'll be visiting family in Northern Virginia until the 21st. I hope she is having a wonderful time. Her dad and I have to work, but there's no reason why she can't go out and have a ball. Operation Room Clean starts tomorrow. There will be garbage bags involved. Shhhhh. 

The drive home was pretty uneventful. I scoped out  (and stopped at) a couple of vegetarian/vegan restaurants on the way home, so at least we had some culinary adventures to break up the tedium. (Confession: I purposely ate one thing on my vacation that I knew was not vegan: dark chocolate covered Oreos. I'm pretty sure that was my only slip-up.) We stopped overnight on Friday and visited my friend Khau and his family. I've known Khau since I was 14, which is a mighty long time in my book. He surprised us by getting us a fancy room at the Hilton where he works. When we checked in, the clerk told us that we would be in the Presidential Suite. I looked down and noticed some salsa on my shirt from lunch. I don't think I was cut out for the high-falutin' life. The suite was beautiful, though. It was at least twice the size of our first apartment. When we first opened the big double doors leading into the suite, we found a fruit basket and some champagne. Faaaaancy!  We went out to dinner with Khau and his family and then hit the road early the next morning.

Tomorrow we go back to work and back to the daily grind. We had a wonderful vacation. We spent lots of time at the beach, hit the boardwalk a few times, rode lots of rides, and did lots of other fun stuff. On our last day at the beach, we even saw a pod of dolphins and a shark, too. P had a minor stroke when the shark was spotted closer to shore than the area where I had just been swimming. I'm sure the shark was harmless, though.

Most importantly, I brought home some Utz BBQ chips (which I cannot get where I live). I also enjoyed two cola Slurpees while at the beach (we also don't have 7-11s in our neck of the woods).  I also brought home some sand in my ears.  Seriously, every time I think I've got it all out, I find more.

Yummy vegan dessert
She won!

Fancy pants suite at the Hilton

Monday, July 7, 2014

Somebody tell me what day it is (or better yet, don't)

Ahhhh, vacation. I didn't think about work once today.  Woo hoo!

We are currently hanging out at my dad's condo in Ocean City, Maryland. Don't bother robbing our house while we're gone because we have a fourth grade girl and her fifth grade sister watering our plants and watching our house. Just know that they will cut you just as soon as look at you.

We made half the trip on Thursday the 3rd and arrived at the beach on Friday the 4th. The drive was mostly uneventful. It's amazing how smoothly the drive goes when you don't have a nine-year-old in the back seat advising you of your driving faults and asking to stop for ice cream every five or ten minutes. She flew out a week ahead of us so it was just the two of us for the thousand-mile drive. The three of us were reunited on Friday and P and I immediately had to start reprogramming her so that we could stand to be in the same room with her. For the week prior to our arrival, all the kid had heard from my dad was, "Sure, you can do that." I think that if my daughter said, "Grandpa Ted, I'm going to rob the corner market at gunpoint," he would say, "Sure thing, sweetie. Just hand me that revolver so that I can file off the serial number for you."

On Saturday morning, I got up and walked on the beach by myself (my husband and child were still sleeping). I really enjoyed it. The beach is 7/10 of a mile from my dad's condo, so the walk is pretty reasonable. Oh, I almost forgot - I got called a dumb ass on my way there. There is a fairly large intersection that you have to cross to get to the beach. When I arrived at the intersection, I saw a sign that invited me to push the button for a walk signal. So, I pushed it. The robot voice said, "Wait." So, I waited.  I never saw a walk signal. This is a six-lane highway so I didn't want to fling myself into the intersection only to find that I had half a second to make it across all those lanes. So, I waited and watched the light. There was no one else crossing at that time. Well, little did I know, a car to my left wanted to turn right and apparently I, in my stupidity, was preventing her from doing that. I heard her yell, "WATCH THE LIGHTS, DUMB ASS! YOU HAVE THE RIGHT-OF-WAY."  Ah, and a fine good morning to you, too, madame. 

Anyway, I didn't let that twat get me down. I had a fabulous walk on the beach. Waves crashing on the shore is one of the best sounds I know. Later, the three of us returned to the beach to hang out for a while. My dad's girlfriend has been kind enough to drive us around quite a bit. She's taken us to the boardwalk, a go-kart track, Bethany Beach, and a few other places, too. I tried to build up some good will by fixing her computer during my stay. See, I'm good for something!

My uncle was in town over the 4th of July weekend so I was really happy that I got to spend some time with him. He was always one of my favorite people. So far we've been having a really nice time. P and I took a walk on the beach last night. He grew up in the Midwest so he's kind of a pussy when it comes to getting saltwater on him. The tide was coming in so every time a wave threatened his ankles, he leaped in the opposite direction like some kind of grey-haired gazelle.

Today we got up and hit the boardwalk for a while. I had to initiate my husband into the wonders of Thrasher's fries (he only let me add a little bit of vinegar, though). I think he's officially a fan. It was a hot one today, though. Holy cow. We gave some serious thought to paying admission to the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum solely based on its air conditioning.

We've got a few more days of picking sand out of our ears and then we'll hit the road again. Until then, I'll just try to remain blissfully unaware of the calendar.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

One vacation, comin' right up!

Good news - I can resume yelling at my kid tomorrow, when she'll be reunited with me and her dad. We're joining her (plus my dad and his girlfriend) for a week at the beach.  I've been packing for a couple of days. My other half packed in about five minutes flat yesterday. He did have the audacity to ask me if I plan to do any laundry while we are on vacation. I think he was planning to go with is tried and true "bring three pairs of underwear regardless of how many days we will actually be gone" method of packing.  I shot him a look to indicate that laundry isn't really on my agenda next week. Having my toes in the sand, however, is.

As for the kid, as far as I can tell she hasn't been too stressed out.  She's been going out to dinner, visiting water parks, hanging out at amusement parks, and so forth.  My dad sent me a text that said something like "she keeps us busy."  I think that is code for "we didn't think this through too carefully when we invited her to come and visit us."

You've gotta love technology because thanks to video chats (via Google Hangouts) and texting, I've been able to keep up with what the kid is up to this week.  Plus, she doesn't get as homesick when she can chat with me and also see me at the same time.

Anyway, it looks like she's been having a great time!