Friday, August 28, 2009

Secret weapon

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of this blog. I've been documenting all of my angst and parental pride and vacations and various haircuts for you all to see for an entire year. All 3 of you people who actually read this thing.
I meant to post this yesterday, on the actual day, but dag nab it, I was busy. You aren't the only thing in my life you know, just chill and give me some SPACE! Thanks, I'm ok now.

In celebration of this terribly important occasion, I'll tell you a story.


I was in college once. Well twice actually. 3 semesters if we're getting technical. Actually it wasn't college, it was JUNIOR college, but whatev.
This particular story takes place at a time when I was working a full time job. For the same company that I'm currently working, but back then I was single, and my kids were 4 and 1, and I made a lot less money.

-40 hr week job
-single mom
-school 4 nights a week (3 hours each night)
-SINGLE, which means needed a babysitter
-made $12/hr
-my boss was a world class bitch

This is the year I started drinking coffee.

I don't think I need to spell out any further that I was stressed and always in a hurry. I was running a little late for class one night and the parking lot was always a madhouse. Cars were always circling, stalking students to claim their spots before they even made it to their cars. It could take 20 minutes to park.

On this day I was driving my mom's old gray van. I don't remember why. My Camry may have been broken, or out of gas, or some other such tragedy. Anyways, just as I pulled in the driveway I noticed a car starting to back out in the first row. There was also a truck coming around the corner from the second row, no doubt they saw the person leaving from the other side and were coming to claim that spot.

I showed zero hesitation. It was a war zone and it was every man for himself. I was a busy ass kicking mommy and I needed to get to class, so I could get home, so I could get my homework done, so I could get to sleep, so I could get to work, and yeah.
I cut off the truck.
I got the spot.
I knew it was rude.
I knew I was in the wrong.
But in war, you do what you gotta do.

I threw it in park and could see in my sideview mirror that the truck had stopped directly behind me. Two men jumped out. Well, men-boys. Probably 20 years old, ready to beat some respect into the freshman who stole their spot.

I touched up my chapstick, grabbed my purse and hopped down to the ground, ready to do battle.

I was wearing a baby pink skirt, black tank top, my hair up with curly tendrils, very ballerina-ish, and completely not what these men-boys were expecting. They stopped dead in their tracks, mouths open and......

well.... they retreated. Spoke not a word, but turned around, ran back to their truck and drove off.

It may be war, I may be out numbered, but I have boobs, so I win.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Whose homework?

I really suck at keeping up with all of the kids' school work. We're in the second week of school now and I've already messed up.

Damien has to read to me every night for 20 minutes, AND I have to initial his reading log. We did the reading, forgot the initials, so he almost had to miss recess today because of it.
Emily has to read too, not to me though, but she always wants to know how long she read and I guess I'm the one with the stopwatch. Plus I have to sign her reading log every week.
She forgot to bring her math book home once already, and I had to sign a paper that her homework was late.
On top of the regular school paperwork, I had to register Emily for advanced band, and redo the bus registration. Damien wants to sign up for piano through his school.

Plus....I have to quiz Damien on his spelling words, and Emily has to be at school 45 minutes early on Wednesdays now for band, but Damien isn't supposed to be on school grounds until 15 minutes before school starts.
Tomorrow's Damien's back to school night, Emily's is next week.

Not to mention the food. I bought enough....or what I thought was enough, lunch-ey type food for a few weeks at least, but here we are after 7 school days and this morning the only thing they had to pack was a sandwich. Thank you Patrick and Cali. I had to run in 7-11 on the way to drop them off and get them chips, string cheese, beef jerky, a rice krispy treat and gave them both milk money.
Is it summer yet? I'm exhausted already.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little butterfly

Emily and Damien spent Saturday with a friend, so Patrick and I took Caliana to the city kid's festival.

This is her playing with a magnet table at the traveling kids' museum. A photographer for the paper was chasing her around taking pictures.

Getting her face painted.

Not timid about sliding headfirst....even after she somersaulted down


A day to remember

Friday, August 21, 2009

A hole in my face

I was 18 when I got my bellybutton pierced. It was unplanned. I was at the tattoo studio with a good friend, her boyfriend and my 3 month old Emily.
My friend was getting a fairy tattoo and wanted me to come along. While I was watching her get inked, I casually mentioned that it would be cool to get my bellybutton pierced and my friend was like "GO, do it, I'll even pay for it!"

So I left my baby under the care of her boyfriend (who I knew through high school), and went off to another room. I remember laying on a chair, a lot like a dentist's chair, and the clamps, and I got a little hot, and my heart was racing. And the needle, it hurt, a lot. It took a long time to heal, over a year. I hear that bellybuttons take a long time anyways, but I'm sure nursing my daughter didn't help speed things along. It was sore for a long time.

When I was 6 months pregnant with Damien, I took it out. When he was done nursing, I tried to put it back. It had closed up, partially. I spent a good half an hour in front of the mirror in my room trying to force it back through. Probably the most masochistic thing I have ever done.
It eventually went through, and less than a year later, my body rejected it.


I was 24 when I got my nipples pierced. I'm not sure where I got the idea, because that so is not me, except I guess it is. It was January. I had a 5 year old and a 2 year old, and we were living on my job that paid $12 an hour. It wasn't easy, and I rarely bought things for myself. So when I got my tax return, I got pierced and then we went to Toys R Us and bought a gamecube. I remember spending that evening with them playing Mario Sunshine.

I went to a different studio that time. Mostly because they had a piercing happy hour, where all piercings were 30% off, and hey I was on a budget.
The strangest part of that experience was going into a small room with a man I had just met, and standing there with no shirt on while he knelt in front of me and made the marks. I was prepared for the same kind of pain as my bellybutton, but it wasn't as bad. Perhaps because I had already nursed two babies by that point. I loved those piercings, but they're not the type you get to share with a lot of people.

I had to take them out a year and a half later to nurse Caliana.


So yesterday I decided to get pierced again. This time with something that wouldn't interfere should I choose to procreate again. I went back to "happy hour" and had the same piercer as before. I got prepped, and felt that familiar hot flash and shortness of breath, but it was nothing. By far the easiest one thus far. Easier than my ears even.

I guess getting stabbed with a needle is a pretty masochistic method of therapy and self indulgence,'s also exciting, and my day needed some excitement.

I'm loving it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I has caffeine please?

Today is living up to the "tedious Thursday" reputation. It was overcast until lunchtime, and now the sun is shining, but it feels more oppressive than glorious. My work is all around me, mocking. Plenty to do, but not enough focus. The coffee has worn off. I had a healthy sandwich for lunch, which just didn't have nearly enough sugar to keep me amped up. Yesterday I was drinking red bull with licorice for a straw. Now that's the way to do it.
Burnout. I think that's what this looks like. I am not fulfilled in my work. No....I'm not going to go there in this post. I've had enough of the "what should I do with my life" ramblings.
The only point of this post was that I'm sitting here, completely unmotivated, with the drudgery and the heavy limbs, and the droopy eyelids, watching the clock. And it sucks.

I think I'm going to do something exciting after work. Something to liven up my day. Something just for me. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First day


I told them their bus number 20 times. Number 220. We even made up a little reminder phrase.....2 minus 2 is 0! Brilliant, no?

Damien got on bus number 222.
Then when it got to Emily's school, he got OFF the bus to go find Emily. Then they asked someone which bus they were supposed to get on and that someone directed them to bus number 223, which went kind of near our house, but they ended up having to walk like a half a mile. Today, maybe they'll listen to me.

In the class:

Damien was a few minutes late, and everyone was already seated at their desks when he walked in. As he sat in his seat, a boy near him yelled out "Oh my god, he has an earring! Dude, how old are you?"
Damien replies, "seven"

Then the teacher asks, "how many of you are seven?"
The majority of the class raises their hands.
Then she asked how many kids were 8.
Only the "oh my god" boy raised his hand.

I have a feeling he's going home on a mission. "But MOM, there's a SEVEN year old in my class that has HIS ear pieeeeeerrrrrced."


Emily had to do "getting to know you" interviews with another girl in her class. They pair up, ask each other questions and then read the other persons name and 3 interesting things about them to the class. I remember doing this in high school.

Emily remembers everything that was read about her to the class, but she couldn't tell me a single thing about the girl she interviewed. Not even her name. So much for "getting to know you"

At home:

I really like the kids getting home before I do. By the time I got there, Patrick had already gone through their backpacks, set aside the paperwork for me, and had them do their homework.
For the first day, their homework was to gather items that represented things they liked and put them in a paper bag.
Damien had an apple, his legos, a drawing of a skull that his dad drew......
Emily had an Avril Lavigne CD, a book, some of her gymnastics and cheer awards.....

And I had homework too. 2 FAT packets of paperwork. Where I had to write emergency pick up names and numbers no less than 4 times..... each. Mildly irritating to say the least.

Emily's teacher had also sent home a "parent perspective" worksheet, where I had to write about her.

Things like her "academic strengths and weaknesses, her special talents, hobbies, fears and insecurities..."

Emily hovered the entire time I filled it out. I was as honest as possible, while trying not to be too braggy or too critical.....and with the knowledge that Emily herself would be reading it. She grabbed it as soon as I was done, read it, and stated that it made her "feel really good about herself"

Monday, August 17, 2009

back at it

Summer is over.

Wait, let me rephrase that, since it IS mid-August and the sun is blazing down upon us.

Summer vacation is over.

Not that I get a vacation. Except I kind of do. I get a vacation from the morning school traffic, and the paperwork and the conferences and the lunch packing and all that.

My kids started 2nd and 5th grade today. At separate schools. Two local elementary schools combined and split the grades this year. That means Damien is the senior at his new school since it only has grades K-2. It also means he gets more opportunity than he did before, like getting to use the school computers.
Emily is still at the same school she's always been, except now it only has grades 3-6, which means she's also provided more opportunity, like spanish classes. They're both very excited, as am I.

It also means a whole lot of new kids, the kids that went to that other school last year are now all intermingled with the ones they've shared classes with for a few years. Like I said, lots of opportunity.

This will also be their first year riding the bus home. I'm very nervous about that, especially since they're at different schools. Damien gets out in 10 minutes and has to find his way onto the correct bus. It will then head over to Emily's school. I told her that if she gets on that bus and doesn't see her brother, she needs to TELL SOMEONE! Knowing her, she'll do a quick scan, won't see him and panic. But, it will all be ok, right? Right. I can't wait to hear how it all went.

In the

Friday, August 14, 2009

And he counted the money SIX times

I work in accounting. I do a lot of banking. At one of our banks there is a teller named Arthur. Arthur Walsh. I know this because EVERY time I deal with him, he tells me that we have the same last name. EVERY time. And I go there a lot. Not only for this reason, but numerous other unspecific ones, this guy just rubs me the wrong way.

Today's conversation went something like this.

Arthur: HEY there! Miss Walsh right? We have the same last name!

Me: Huh?

Arthur: Brittany, right?

Me: Brandi


*I tell him what business I need taken care of*

Arthur: Sure, just a few minutes, I need an override.....thanks for your patience.....I mean what else would you be doing right? I mean if you weren't here, or working....or whatever you do on a Friday

Me: Uh....I'd probably be taking my kids school shopping. They go back Monday.

Arthur: That must be a relief for you.

Me: (because I talk too much) Not really, I work, so right now, they're home and I'm not. I just get up and go to work. Now I'm going to have to get them up, make sure they get dressed and off to school and all that. There are advantages to the routine though. They brush their teeth more often during the school year.

Arthur: Really?

Me: That was a joke

Arthur: *looking kind of confused and having difficulty counting my money*.... I....uh....I don't get it.

Me: I just meant....less structure during the summerrrrr...nevermind.

Even though we share the same last name, we're definitely not related.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maybe next year

When I was a teenager....a younger teenager....I paid my own way into the fair every year.
My best friend and I had a very enterprising business of selling lemonade on a local park's bike trail. We rode our bikes....and sometimes walked, in the heat, pulling a wagon full of supplies. We set up at the top of two hills and sold to everyone. Everyone that brought money with them on their bike ride or hike that is. We also gave free water to the dogs and passed the time riding down the hills in our wagon. Fond memories these. When I really think about it, we were a bit old to be having a lemonade stand, but we actually did pretty well. As well as you can I guess at 25 cents a cup.

It would usually be just enough money to get us in and get all day ride bracelets. And we stayed all day. And we rode the rides all day. With no money for food, or drinks. It was deathly hot and we would beg water from the different food stands. One such stand took pity on us and would give us food. It was a cajun restaurant and everything was spicy, but beggars can't be choosers. Plus their peach cobbler was delicious. The couple who ran it was so kind, they remembered us year after year and I still think of them every time I eat jambalaya. They were replaced years ago by Johnny Garlic's.

Nowadays, I go to the fair in a much different way. My mom went to school with the owners, so we only have to pay to get in, and then the entire family is provided with ride bracelets, umbrella tables in the shade, an entire lunch spread, bottled water, sodas, bottles of wine, caramel apples, cheesecake..........

Sorry, I had to go get a snack.

I do the rides differently too. All those years ago, we spent the majority of our time on the zipper and the kamikaze, flipping and twirling and screaming.

Now my ride partner is 3 years old, and I got to ride such exciting rides as the caterpillar roller coaster, the bouncing cars and the super slide.

Around 9 pm I met up with Patrick and the older kids. Patrick asked if there was anything else I wanted to do or if I wanted to head home. I looked wistfully towards the zipper and just then Damien threw up.

I guess you can't have your cheesecake and eat it too.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I get home from work, totally wiped out, I flop down on the couch. My husband flops down in the desk chair a few feet away. We just stare, not speaking a word, trying to replenish our depleted stores of energy.

The kids are running in and out, grabbing toys and blankets. Emily is hosting a tea party for Cali and her dolls out on the grass. Cali stops suddenly, her arms full of her Buzz, Woody and Jessie dolls. She looks at me, looks at her dad, looks back at me and says

"Mom, I screamed all day. Dad got mad."

He keeps staring and nods slowly.

She grins and runs off yelling

"We playing with we friends and we dolls!"

Thank god for older siblings.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Too tuckered to type

I am tired. I am stressed. My brain is somewhere between numb and fuzzy.

I can't seem to string together a coherant sentence (not claiming that this is news). I can't seem to get enough of anything lately.

Enough time, enough money, enough sleep, enough coffee...........

Enough bitching? Ok.


Caliana had her doctor appointment last Friday. 26lbs, 36 inches. Just to get that out of the way.

She really enjoys doctor and dentists offices. She likes being given instructions and asked questions.

When the dr came in, she started right up with the questions

dr: who lives at home?

me: well, there's daddy, and Emily....she's 10.

dr: *glances up quickly* TEN??

me: yes.....and there's Damien, he's 7.

dr: SEVEN??

me: yeah....uh...

dr: what's daddy's name?

me: Patrick

dr: and how old is he?...

me: 28

dr: *another quick glance at me" how old are YOU??

me: 28

dr: *shakes head and goes back to writing*

I don't really blame her. The average age of a woman starting a family in this area is about 40.

Next she asked:

"where does Cali go when you're working?"

"she's at home"

"does your husband work from home?"


"*sigh* well, where does she go when you're BOTH at work?"

"my husband is a stay at home dad"


Then she had a whole slew of questions:

"Where do you work?"
"Is he looking for work?"
"Is he going to be looking for work after the kids go back to school?"
"Isn't that hard on you, being the sole provider?"

I started to feel kinda bad for all the stay at home dads out there. It's a big job he does, taking care of our children and the home every day. I don't think she would have been asking me these questions if I was the working dad and he was the stay at home mom.

All in all though, Caliana is perfectly healthy. Advanced verbally and cognitively and even in the "way she moves". Not that I didn't know that already.

We did discuss the immunizations. The decision was made to do the ones that are potentially fatal, and to space them out.

So she had a couple. She didn't like it, but that girl is tougher than she looks.

When it was all over I hugged her and asked

"are you ready to go home?"

"No, I want to stay at the doctor"

Go figure.