Monday, September 29, 2008

Girls night out...

I threw caution to the wind and had a girls night out on Friday night. I promised the gals that I wouldn't blog about them, so I won't, and truly they were so much fun I really can't make fun of 'em anyway. However, I went to my first ever Sandpoint, ID bar Friday night.

Those of you who knew me before marriage and children will find that surprising. But once you "settle down" you find that you hit the bars a little less often. What a fun time, though I paid for it dearly on Saturday. My friend and I each had a bottle + one glass of wine while we were out. Granted it was over an 8-hour period (started at 6, ended at 2) but the old metabolism isn't quite runnin' like it used to.

We had dinner, went to a concert and then hung out at the Coldwater Creek Wine Bar, before heading down the street to A&Ps. Well, it was a pretty rough crowd for my comfort zone so really I just peeked in, maybe stuck a toe in the door. Then we stumbled across the street to Synergy, which allegedly is the "place to be" for dancing. So I guess only 12 people like dancing to techno-music in Sandpoint. We weren't high on illicit drugs so decided that maybe that wasn't the place for us.

Next we hit the 219. There were four of us, and only 2 of us actually got carded. I wasn't one of them. However, I was wearing this boiled-wool grandma sweater, that turned out to be the best desperate man-repellent ever. As soon as we got into the bar we quickly made our way to the back where the pool table was a safe haven among a room full of lonlely loggers and tarted-up underage female drinkers looking to score. The grandma sweater once again did its job.

We then decided to attempt to get into Eichardt's, but they were closing because no one was there, despite our attempts to remind them that we were, in fact, there. We made the rounds attempting a few more places, but really the grandma sweater was starting to make me feel a little uncomfortable. After all, back in the "day" I wouldn't have been caught dead looking like a 50-year old in a bar. My confidence was shaken, particularly after a drunk 19 year old referred to me as a librarian. The nerd goggle glasses with rhinestones probably didn't help.

Eventually we all parted ways, but not before four very drunk women hugged each other and said how much fun we had and how GREAT everyone is and how we have to do this again. And soon. After Saturday I don't think I can look at a bottle of wine for about three months without my stomach turning. Burp.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Things I learned at an amusement park

We took the kids to Silverwood Theme Park, a short 25 minute drive from our house for probably the last time this season. We spent 7 hours there and aside from having a lot of fun as a family, I learned some important lessons about life. Hard to imagine life lessons while screaming your ass off on the aptly named "The Scrambler" but bear with me.

Lesson #1: Children and adults experience fear at completely different times during the same event. For example, while in line for a giant rollercoaster an adult is thinking: "I hope my life insurance policy is current because I might die. Will my spouse remarry soon after my death on this roller coaster? Is this ride worth the possibility of death? Did I put on clean underwear today? What if I die or poop my pants? What if I say the F-word on this ride in front of other people's children?" You know, the kinds of things likely to send anyone into a panic attack.

Children, in the same line for the same roller coaster think, "Cool! I am going to go on this big roller coaster."

Adults, once on the ride think, "Cool! This roller coaster is awesome, I am so glad I didn't chicken out." Children, next to the aforementioned adult, are thinking,"What was I thinking getting on this roller coaster? I might die, and then no more cartoons! I won't get to see the final episode of Hannah Montana! My brother will steal all my toys! Wait a minute, did I just pee a little?"

Lesson #2: People think you are weird for taking your four year old on the northwest's scariest roller coaster. Yes, another "mom of the year" moment for me, but I did take my four year old on a giant roller coaster, and I did get the stink eye from other people. But here's what I actually learned: it isn't fair to put our fears onto our children, especially when it is something we are willing to do ourselves.

For the past three years that we have been going to Silverwood Kaylee has watched me ride these big roller coasters. Yes, I am a BIG KID when it comes to theme parks. So I was a little hesitant to let Kaylee try, even though she was big enough to ride with me last summer and all of this summer. She asked me and I decided, what the heck? (must have been the medication talking)

So we got in line, took a ride, and all she said at the end was: "That terrified me! Let's do it again!" I was SO PROUD!

Lesson #3: No matter what, people you know really well can still surprise you. My Dad is 68 years old. I've known him for nearly 36 of those years. He has been coming with us to Silverwood at least once or twice a summer since we've lived here. He's never actually ridden any of the rides, and certainly not with the kids. I figured he just liked watching. Wrong-ola.

Now that the kids are older, he was ALL OVER going on rides with them. He took them on the log ride (looks like a big terd with a couple of seats carved out), the tilt-a-whirl (guaranteed to make most people hurl), the aforementioned scrambler, and even one of the big roller coasters. Is it weird for a child to be proud of a parent?

Lesson #4: Even if something is more difficult than you thought, a lot of the time you end up thinking you had a good time anyway. In our infinite wisdom we decided that maybe we should do those "Olde Tyme Muggs" photos, you know the ones where you dress up in western stuff and pay $50 for a 5X7 sepia tinted print?

Three of the four of us really enjoyed the experience. One of us, the youngest of the bunch, was a complete pain in the patootie the entire time. Wouldn't smile, wouldn't look at the camera, kept pulling his stuff off. It was a nightmare. The end result: a pretty darn funny picture of Mark, Kaylee and I smiling and Brady scowling at the camera.

As we were preparing to leave, Brady says, "that was fun!" Are ya kiddin' me??

Lesson #5: Better to enjoy quality fun time with the kids now because someday they won't give you the time of day. Mark took Brady for a nap mid-day, though I wasn't sure who needed one more! Kaylee and I had some quality mom/daughter time.

We went on as many rides as we could and I soaked up all that time with her, in between trying to keep the elephant ear from coming back up while on the tilt-a-whirl... We were sitting on the tilt-a-whirl waiting for the ride to start and Kaylee said, "I am glad I'm here with you." Just warmed my heart!

I got to thinking that I was really glad we had time to just hang out, no rules, no restrictions, just for fun because I know, as a former middle school teacher, that in about 10 years she won't even give me the time of day!

All in all, I learned a lot of stuff, probably more than what is written here, but I'll save it for another time.

Click here to see photos and descriptions of Timber Terror and Tremors, the Big Rides at the Park:

Then, you can start that nomination form for mother of the year for me....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This will surely get me fired....

The poll on "what do you want me to blog about" isn't closed yet, but I see that three of you are curious about my job. I am the executive director for a local nonprofit. Lucky me. Actually 95% of the time I absolutely LOVE my job. Then the other 5%.....

I have mentioned, in the past, that there are some crazy ass people that live in North Idaho. One of them in particular is (actually was until this morning) a volunteer at my organization. This individual will remain unamed, however I cannot resist the opportunity to share with you what happened.

As a quick disclaimer, 99.9% of my volunteers are amazing, wonderful, generous and kind. They do so much for this organization on their own time and essentially keep us afloat. Nonprofits would never survive without volunteers, that's a fact. Unfortunately sometimes there are volunteers that you have to fire. Which is what I did today.

I have this "person" who for quite some time hasn't liked many things I have done, mostly because they are used to "how things used to be". I absolutely cannot stand the "that's not how we did it in the past" mentality because that, my friends, prevents forward progress. But I digress....

In their infinite wisdom this person has been working "behind the scenes" sending damaging emails to a select group of our other volunteers (anyone else feel like they are in junior high besides me??), attacking me as a person, questioning my integrity, and insinuating that I am not doing my job.

But the absolutely BEST part of this whole situation is that this volunteer left a GIANT PILE of emails that they printed documenting the aforementioned attacks. SMART. I found this little pile of gold upstairs when preparing for another meeting. Quite funny because they have been sitting there for a week and a half.

Call me crazy, but if you knew you left a damaging pile of documentable insults and highly inappropriate activities, wouldn't you AT LEAST try to retrieve it? DUH!

Okay, that will potentially get me fired, but this part SURELY will:

An excerpt from one of the printed emails I found:

"Of course Amy won't be there because of the fall out. She is good at using a sick kid and her husband's job as excuses. His month end closing seems to fall at all times of the month depending on when Amy needs an excuse. See you at 4."

Okay, first of all the email print out is dated Sept. 4. For those of you in finance (and you know who you are!) month end is ALWAYS at the beginning of the month following close.

Secondly, we are all aware of the situation with Mr. Sinky Pants so clearly I didn't "use" a sick kid as an "excuse". I actually attended this meeting mentioned above, where she brought all her photocopied emails, notes and conspiracy theories, no doubt with a plan to expose me as a fraud!

Then she left them behind! Is she a politician???? Boy she should be!

One final disclaimer, I would never normally write about a volunteer in a negative way. Volunteers are literally the heart and soul of our community, and my organization. They contribute their time, talents and expertise in ways you cannot imagine.

However, as has been established in the past, blogging is cheap therapy for me so I had to do this. I had to share what I am coming to think of as one of the worst experiences of my career to date (having to fire a volunteer with witnesses present isn't the top of my list of favorite things to do) but at the same time serves to reinforce the notion that without a sense of humor, in this life, we would all be lost.

Keep reading, keep sharing, and most of all, keep laughing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The new booby debate rages on

Mark and I met for lunch today at Subway (did you know you can get a tasty 6 inch sandwich under 300 calories for $5??) and took in some "scenery" while we were there. Actually, Mark enjoyed the view while I pondered the benefits of a boob job.

This is one of my favorite topics to discuss with him because when it comes to women's breasts, there is no logic for a man. We go back and forth on what is a better investment, boobs or a boat? Tough call for me as a small breasted woman living 10 minutes from a lake.

So, I figure for the cost of a decent boob job (roughly $4800 thanks to one of my friends who had the consultation and got the job done) you can also buy a decent used boat.

I think that is interesting. Not that I would mind having a nice rack, since what little I had when I got married droops well below my armpits (the end result of two children) and my belly sticks out further than they do prompting questions from my children like "is there a baby in there"?

Just for fun, let's compare, apples to apples:

Boat: floats on water
Boobs: floats in water
winner: boat

Boat: for a nice used boat, price tag of about $5000
Boobs: for a brand new set, price tag of $4800
winner: boobs

Boat: fun for for the whole family
Boobs: fun only for me, and, on rare occasions, Mark
winner: boat

Boat: replacement cost in 10 - 20 years: could be nothing if you take care of your boat
Boobs: replacement cost: another $4800 or more (with inflation) no matter HOW well you take care of 'em
winner: boat

Boat: everyone can see it and admire it all summer long
Boobs: everyone can see MOST of them and admire them all summer long
winner: toss up

Boat: we will have WAY more friends with a boat
Boobs: only I will have way more friends and Mark may not like them!
winner: depends on who you ask! but in all fairness, the boat wins this argument

Clearly, the boat is the best investment for the expense. Way more bang for our buck and truly fun for the whole family. New boobs might actually end up creating another family member (just ask the aforementioned friend who did get the boob job!!) and would really prevent us from getting out there and enjoying the lake.

I have another poll to see what you, my wonderful readers who keep sending this to everyone they know (hint hint) think about the boat vs boob debate.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Writer's block?

I woke up today with a pretty bad case of writer's block. Usually I have all sorts of things to discuss on my blog (as you are probably aware) and today for some reason, I just couldn't think. Well, that isn't entirely true.

I could blog about all sorts of stuff, but when your family/friends/co-workers all read your blog it puts some severe limitations on what you can discuss. One of my favorite friends reads the blog after we hang out hoping that I don't blog about something they did! Not that I think it would ruin our friendship or anything but I haven't quite gotten to the no-holds-barred approach in my blogging.

For example, I have YEARS and YEARS worth of material from my parents (sorry Mom & Dad, but you know its true!) but at the same time since I at least know my Mom reads it (she's even posted comments, thanks Mom!!) I have to be careful or I'll be cut out of the will entirely. I usually save my family issues for paid therapy sessions anyway since there's that patient/doctor privilege thing.

And when it comes to my brother, well I have lots of stuff to talk about, like how he still gives me wet willies every now and again, how he used to sit on me and fart (still traumatized about it), how he shot me in the pinky toe with a bb gun when we were kids and it swelled up bigger than my BIG toe, or how no matter how old I get I will never EVER be as smart as he is. However, I do think I was at least blessed with common sense, or as I like to call it "street smarts". My brother, not so much.

That's a whole other blog session, but a quick example: When we were kids he built a bomb in our garage on the 4th of July and didn't bother to hide it from the folks. Yep, left it sitting on the workbench in the garage where the adults would see it when they headed out for the fireworks. Now, I may not be smart enough to build a bomb out of fertilizer, gun powder, a baby food jar and who knows what else, but I sure know better than to leave it in plain sight. Duh!

Funny thing is, I don't seem to have any trouble making fun of my husband or children. Of course the kids can't read, so that's a no brainer. And at least Mark has a good sense of humor so he doesn't get too excited about most things, but he is very sensitive to any further references to boners.

Hopefully this writer's block thing will be cured soon, or at least I'll get over the worry about being fired and start talking about all the crazy stuff that happens in my job (hint: Mark, you better get a raise pretty soon or we're gonna be in trouble!).

In the meantime, I have added another poll to my blog. Since the noodle thing didn't pan out (I think Google AdSense is conspiring against me) I'll figure something else out. Check it out, and enjoy the day folks!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I got my ass kicked by a vacuum cleaner

If you are eating or about to eat, don't read on. Otherwise, enter at your own risk.

Unfortunately for us our cleaning lady didn't come yesterday as scheduled. I was home with Brady a.k.a. Sir Poops A Lot because daycare sent him home (again) with the hershey squirts. I can spell diarrhea now (thanks google) and am now fully aware that yellow diarrhea can mean Giardia. And when the first question every nurse & doctor asks is "have you been camping lately?" its a sure bet they think the same thing.

Anyhoozer, the poor little dude has something going on, so bad that we had to catch him in the act of filling his drawers so that we could stuff the liquid poo into a little cup for analysis. I thought Mark was going to barf, which would not have been fun. We managed to get a "sample" as they call it and rushed to the lab at the local hospital. Granted it was 4pm, but come on lady, have a sense of humor instead of just staring when I say "Thank God you're here, you don't know what I had to go through to get that!". Well, maybe she doesn't speak English.

But I digress. I didn't want to have our cleaning lady experience the children on Friday so we canceled her visit. She comes every 2 weeks and before you peg me as one of "those" people who doesn't "do" cleaning, please know that I am just lazy. And I want to use my weekends to enjoy yelling at my children rather than cleaning. In any event, because of Mr. Stinky Pants and whatever plague he might be spreading, I thought it best to go ahead and clean the house myself.

There was a running joke at Kaylee's daycare for months because everytime she saw the vacuum she would get really scared. They always teased me that it was because she had never seen me use one. I didn't quite have the heart to tell them they were right. Would've ruined all their fun!

So I actually (I know Mom, hard to believe) cleaned my own house today. Toilets, sinks, mopping floors, scrubbing tubs, etc etc. Well, okay I didn't dust but we live on a dirt road so it wouldn't have done any good anyway!

But the hardest part of the whole event was the dang vacuum cleaner. Ladies & gentlemen, that thing was a work out! I was sweating when I got done, I could tell I gave my abs and obliques a good workout (heck I didn't even know I still had those things!) and even my arms were tired. I was starting to breathe heavy too, which really isn't a good sign.

Needless to say, had I known years ago that cleaning, and in particular vacuuming, could take the place of a 30 minute cardio workout I would have started doing the work more often! Oh, who am I kidding? I already told you how lazy I am! Can't wait for the cleaning lady to come back, I don't have the strength to keep this up!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Anyone ever watch America's Got Talent?

Clearly we need a hobby. We watched America's Got Talent last night after we put the kids to bed. Which isn't THAT bad, except we TiVo'd it while watching a special on the World Trade Center (yes, 7 years later we are still totally fascinated with the same story that hasn't changed).

Once we were thoroughly depressed all over again, we started watching AGT, thinking that would make us feel better. Amazingly, it did! Thankfully I am not an african-american tranvestite from Jamaica singing disco tunes in an opera voice to win a million bucks. Nope, I am a lazy 35 year old working mom watching others humiliate themselves on national television instead of doing something healthy, like maybe Pilates. You do the math.

Best part of the whole show? Watching Jerry Springer freak out on the promos for the upcoming acts right before the commercial break. He looks like the microphone is made of molten hot lava or something. He can barely hang onto the thing. I can't wait until he actually drops it!

I am sure that this is just a temporary phase as Dancing with the Stars begins its new season in a few weeks. Mark LOVES that show, not because of the dancing (though he was disturbingly impressed and enamored with rhythmic gymnastics during the Olympics) but OF COURSE because of all the boobs in little costumes he can stare at, pause, rewind, etc because of TiVo. Ah, the joys of "reality" tv programming.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Camping in North Idaho

What a weekend it was. We went camping AGAIN, this time up by Priest Lake near the golf course. We also spent three nights, instead of our usual two. Boy was that a mistake.

But I have to tell a quick story about the grocery store in Priest Lake. We were about a half mile walk from the nearest store, so in our infinite wisdom we thought we would walk with the kids down there & get some ice cream.

On the way you have to cross the highway, which one would think poses the greatest risk to life & limb. One would be wrong. Actually, the biggest hazard was avoiding the children & adults riding 4-wheelers and motorbikes on the pathway. So while we weren't leaving our "carbon footprint" the rest of the town apparently thought that riding small motorized vehicles around for no apparent reason wasn't really impacting our environment all that much, as evidenced by the laps they took over and over and over and around and around and around.........

But I digress. The most obvious sign of how smart some folks are in the northern regions of Idaho was the giant sign taped to the front door of the market:

"We DO NOT accept photocopy IDs. We are sorry for the inconvenience."
They are sorry? Who the hell makes a photo copy of their ID and then brings it to the store? Furthermore, if you can make a copy, doesn't that mean you are in possession of it? The most stunning revelation I had was that someone actually thought a photocopy driver's license would be passable, second only to the fact that it was clear that MANY people tried this tactic. If it was just one person, you'd think that you wouldn't need to post a sign, but if SEVERAL people tried, then I guess you'd throw one up there.
Sadly, however, my feeling is if you are dumb enough to try using a photocopy ID you probably can't read the sign anyway. But hopefully it helps defray attempts at that location. I cant imagine the inconvenience of walking into the store, picking up your 12 pack of Lucky Lager, chewing tobacco and Slim Jims, dragging it to the counter, only to THEN be told that your "picture ID" wasn't gonna fly.