Sunday, May 23, 2010

Good Fences Make Good Jerkheads

Today is the last day for a long while that our family will be held hostage by "The Girl has homework". We have spent days on end this school year frozen in time waiting for her to get done with her homework.

If she has homework to do none of us can:
  • Watch anything on TV (or she'll get distracted making the work last longer).
  • Go anywhere (or she'll get upset making her work slower).
  • Do anything amusing (or she gets jealous and then upset and then see above).

We have been held captive by her non-stop homework status every school night and most weekends for the entire school year. But that stops today. She's been doing homework since noon today and she's almost done. Tomorrow is her last two finals. And then we will all be free!

To keep ourselves from going stir crazy today, The Boy and I worked outside. Look what he did for me. He took this boring side of the shed...

And turned it into this!
All I did was put chalk marks on the side showing where I wanted them and he did the rest. Measured, leveled, drilled and installed!

These three pots used to hang on our fence but...
our fence is gone.

Our new neighbors behind us (we refer to them as the Jerkheads), are in the process of barricading themselves into their yard. Our old fence only went halfway across the back, which might sound strange but when we put it up we just needed the dogs in the diagonal yard to stop barking and jumping insanely at their fence corner whenever we walked out out backdoor. The short fence kept us off their radar. The rest of the yard was left open combining four yards into one large play space for all of the kids. No fences, just bush rows and lots of wide open grass space.

But the new neighbors with their Baby-So-Precious don't see it that way. They feel the need to spend this incredible amount of money to "Keep her safe". This giant cage should do that just fine. Or as my other neighbor suggested you could just watch your kid!

Anyway, it is seriously bumming all of out that our view and our main route of movement is going to be obstructed by this nonsense.
Did I say nonsense? Let me give you a taste of the Jerkhead mentality.

I mentioned our old fence, forty feet of dog blinder back behind our tiny grove of trees. When Mr. Jerkface first came around to tell us about the fence, we left the conversation believing that he was just going to tie his new fence into our fence. Not the case come to find out.

Last week the fence guys were out back putting in all of the fence posts. I noticed them moving around quite bit behind our fence but I didn't think much about it. After they left, I went to take a look at the situation and couldn't believe my eyes. The line of posts continued in a straight as an arrow line around the property and kept going right on behind our fence with only THREE INCHES between the two!

I wish I had taken some pictures with our fence still standing but here's how close it was.
The next day the fence guys were back. A nice enough guy, he also thought it was weird that the Jerkheads choose to buy an extra forty feet of fence when they didn't need to. "But I'm not going to argue with people who want to spend!", the fence guy cackled.

Yeah, good point.

We told the fence guy that we would take ours down and he appreciated that. "It wasn't easy to get these posts in with your fence right there, you know. I didn't know how we were going to get the rest of the fence up!"

Well when he comes back tomorrow, he can slap that fence up without a hitch. Then the Jerkheads will be all caved up and Baby-So-Precious will be safe.

Enough of all of this though. It's almost time to watch Lost!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Big Dog No More

First, this isn't a post about Marco. Stop panicking.

Last night at the Leader Appreciation Dinner, I made the statement that Girl Scouting will take as much of your life as you are willing to give them. And it's true. I was encouraging the leaders to find some way to promote and support Girl Scouting outside of the circle of their own troop but not to burn themselves out. This was at the event where I was handing over the keys of being the Big Dog.

The Big Dog? That's what my kids call the job I had. My title was actually Service Unit Director. I've been the SUD for five out of the last six years. I took one year off in the middle, but I knew it would just be a hiatus.

The SUD helps coordinate all of the leaders in the city. Cookie sales, the nut sale, camping events, trainings, service project and community events. I ran a monthly meeting and sent out about a million emails.

The first year I did it, my kids were in the fourth grade. The first meeting I had to run I was frantically rushing around the house making sure I wasn't forgetting anything. The Boy asked what kind of meeting I was leaving for.

Me: It's a meeting of just leaders. No girls. It helps leaders be better leaders.

Boy: And you're the president?

Me: I guess sort of. I'm called the Director.

Boy: So you're the Big Dog.

Me: Sure.

But that's the name that stuck with my kids. As I would be packing up the car, they would ask, "You've got a Big Dog meeting tonight?"

Last night was it for me as Big Dog. And no hiatus this time. I've handed the whole thing over to a new batch of leaders. Did I stop before getting burned out? Just barely. It was getting a little uncomfortably warm this past year. I am very grateful to the leader who is taking my place and I know she will do an amazing job.

As for me, I've got a few more years of being a leader and I am happily going to sink into the circle of my own troop.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Gripes about Groups

As the first year of high school comes to a close around here, I'm feeling a need to vent about one particular part of school that didn't go so hot, Student Council.

The Girl tried, really tried, to be involved with Student Council this year but she was literally a day late and a dollar short for most everything. She was constantly missing events and meetings simply because she never knew when things were happening. Communication for this group is right at the level of sending smoke signals. Mostly news is just passed on by word of mouth (or texting) and just like that classic game of Telephone, along the way the messages would get garbled and lost.

Now you are saying, I'm sure that if she put forth a little more effort, she would have been able to participate more. People, I'm telling you she tried! She would ask her friends, text officers, check her Facebook and walk by the Student Council bulletin board all the time and she still had no idea what was going on...for an entire school year!

Right now she's at the Student Council banquet. We found out about it yesterday. She was told to bring a dessert and it started at 6:30. At 6:15 she started getting texts from people asking where she was because it started at 6:00. That's been Student Council in a nutshell. (And, no. I didn't send a dessert.)

I don't know if it's the officers in charge right now or the overly-taxed, mostly absent advisor or what, but I am completely done with Student Council.

I wish she were. But, alas, no.

I thought that Cross Country was unorganized, but at least there was a written schedule and a phone number of somebody who actually knew something you could call. The problems with Cross Country came mostly with being told things like, "It's just like we did last year". When I would point out that we weren't around last year, there would be an honest moment of surprise and then apology. Unfortunately, this scenario happened over and over and over during the season, but at least we did eventually get answers. I take solace in that THIS year, we'll be in the know.

The Girl has now left the Student Council banquet to go to Dance Team try-outs. I'm not down with this. Not at all. But I'm putting on a brave face and letting her make her own decision. The parent letter she brought home after the first try-out read like a nightmare; required uniforms, year long fundraisers, dance camp, hours of practice for 2 minutes of performance one a week. Ugh. I am filled with dread. Please, please, please just let it be organized at least!

Update: She made the team!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Easter Bunny Foiled!

You may not be aware of this but we have a special arrangement with the Easter Bunny. He brings candy. He brings baskets. He finds the colored hard-boiled eggs we leave in the refrigerator and hides them around the house. But where he differs is what he hides in the plastic eggs. Our Easter Bunny hides puzzle pieces. Once all of the eggs are found, the puzzle pieces are all dumped together and we spend the next week or so putting together the puzzle. It becomes a nice time filler for a long spring break.

This year, as we were putting together the puzzle 100 Cats and a Fish, I noticed something funny right away. There were only three corners to our rectangular puzzle. Hmmm....

As the days went on, key pieces that should have been very easy to spot were just not there. My suspicions grew.

When the puzzle was "complete" there were 29 missing pieces. 29. That's a whole lot more than could be lost in the chairs, eaten by the dog or stolen by a cat. The only conclusion was that not all of the eggs had been found.

We looked everywhere but it was just too well hidden.

Then, 27 days later, while I was looking for the spider Charlie Brown, I found the egg hidden behind the mirror in the bathroom.
And inside were 29 puzzle pieces, including a corner.
We took the puzzle down weeks ago and we are not putting it back together again for a long, long time. But at least I know that all of the pieces are back in one spot.

Charlie Brown, on the other hand, has not come back. I think a cat ate him.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Gifts of Spring

Spring brings...

Door to door salesmen and solicitors. Yard guys look at our grass-less, violet filled yard and start to drool. Window guys look at our original windows and start to have convulsions. Siding guys get a glazed-over look when they try to pass me brochures. Then there's the guys who want to discuss the issues and the guys who want to run the world and the ladies who want to save our souls. People walking the beat bloom in the spring-like weeds.

Two quick door to door guy stories. Earlier in the week a window guy showed up. His "estimate" was somewhere between $300 and $1000 a window. That's an estimate? Isn't honing in on a more exact price his job? He might as well said somewhere between $10 and $1,000,000. We shooed him away right quick.

Yesterday I was in the Kingdom of Laundry. As I got to the top of the steps I heard a hearty knock on the front screen. I don't know what that guy was selling or promoting because I pressed myself against the wall and slunk out the backdoor. I hung out with Marco until he went away. Yeah. I'm a people person.

Spring brings...

Spiders. Oodles and oodles of spiders. This house has acquired the weirdest, creepiest spiders this spring. And I haven't seen the same type twice. There was the overly large black one descending right in the middle of the living room yesterday. The Girl, very nonchalant, said, "Hey, there's a spider in the living room." When I went to check it out the spider was just hanging there like a tiny pinata that wiggled on its own. Without realizing it I started chanting, No! No! No! No! No! Luckily, The Man was already on the case, capturing said pinata and throwing him outside.

That's right. We capture spiders and put them outside. Except those yellow ones that bite. They get to meet their maker.

There's another spider in the downstairs bathroom right now that The Man is keeping as a pet because he's "cool." I call him Charlie Brown. He's hiding right now, but the next time he's out I'll take his picture so you can see how why he's named that.
(Ugh. I just spent 7 seconds looking at spider site to see if I could identify what kind of spider Charlie actually is. Never again. That was terrible.)

Spring brings...

Bats. Not in the house yet, but they were out last night when The Boy and I were out back by the fire. Give it a few more days and one of the little darlings will be banging off the walls and hanging from my curtains. Good times. It's not spring until we spend a good chunk of an evening chasing a bat out of the house.