Looking Back...And Ranting

Back in February, I made birthday resolutions...let's check in on those, since my next birthday is looming large in front of me...
I picked 5 things I wanted to do in the next year:

1. Volunteer more.
2. Blah blah, exercise more.
3. Eat more fruit.
4. Go on vacation.
5. Get more child support.

Hmm...I know someone is keeping track somewhere, so let's see how I did:
This will be easy...
#1 - nope
#2 - nope
#3 - YES
#4 - nope
#5 - YES!!!!


2 out of 5!!! That's almost 50%. Not so great---but let's look closer....

#1: I actually had a bit of a GI issue come to light in late February and from May - September, I was on ultra-super-light duty. I was told my surgery success rate is currently 50% and one of the ways they suspect it will be successful is to have very little physical activity. Most of my volunteering events are not very physically active anyway, but um, 50% success rate? I will do ANYTHING to make it a success. So I cancelled my planned events for 4.5 months.

#2: See #1.

#3: YES - I did eat more fruit, which wasn't actually hard considering I barely ate any to start with...but GI issues LOVE fruit. Nuff said.

#4: See #1. Surgery is expensive. 4.5 months of very little activity means no vacationing allowed even if I had money. Nuff said.

#5: WOOHOO!!! Anyone ever try to raise a teen on $400? You can't. You just can not. My ex-husbands share of the support for the kid has been at $200 since we got divorced. That is supposed to cover half the monthly cost of raising the child. Ha, are you laughing? Me too. $200 is NOTHING.

If someone doesn't quite get the big deal on child support, let me enlighten you:
When you have a child, you are pretty much required to have a larger living space. If my son lived with his dad (heaven forbid), I would live in a 1-bedroom apartment or condo. OR I could share a home with someone. It's not very practical to share an apartment with someone when you have a child. Possible, YES, of course---but not ideal.

When you have a child, you can't just go on vacation wherever/whenever you want. You have to buy TWO tickets out of your own pocket, and expect to pay for a gazillion things you normally would not have needed to.

When you have a child, they will have friends. Their friends might want to spend the night. They might need to eat dinner/breakfast/snack while at your house. Little costs like that add up. They will want to go to the movies when their friends go. Movies are what-$32 a ticket now. They will want to join sports - the registration fees are $100, the uniform is $60, the mandatory snacks are $30, the trophy and coaches gift is $40, and that doesn't include the gas it takes to drive them to practice 3X a week AND games 1-2X a week. AND ugh, if they are really good--you might have to drive far away for some championship games.

When you have a child, your electric bill goes up by 24 billion. They leave lights on, they take super-long showers, they let the water run a LOT, they open both the fridge and freezer at the same time and it's almost mandatory they stand in front of both and think for a very long period of time (until frostbite kicks in on their fingers). The laundry baskets are always full so you're doing laundry non-stop. The heat has to be up higher because they won't feel the same about just adding layers if you're cold.

When you have a child, you can't just go out. You have to pay for the babysitter. Back in the day (WAY back) when this was an issue for me- babysitters were running about $3.50/hour. Sometimes I would find some random teen and pay them $2.00/hour (sorry Danell!).

And did you know that public schools aren't free? Well, no, they are not. You have to pay extra for special class fees, band-ugh, we bought a trumpet and a uniform and had to pay some special fees-and entered some competitions which were not free either. After-school activities of any kind have a fee. Oh-and school supplies??

Medical insurance, wow, don't even get me started on this one...I know the pain of not being able to afford insurance for your child. I know how it is to struggle with this debate and believe me, this is the worst!

Recently, since the teenage years have come about, the food bill in itself is about $200 extra. Seriously, how can you eat 6 meals a day? How do you grow out of your entire new wardrobe within 4 months? It's absurd.

The point being....YES I know a lot of this is optional. YES I know that it is very possible to do without a lot of the above (and believe me, I did for many years). YES I know that I chose to have a baby, blahblah.

HOWEVER - the point is that paying $200 in child support is NOT really supporting your child. It's helping...but it's not supporting.

And no, his father wasn't wealthy and living large (though I know there are stories out there like that) - however---he was fortunate enough to have an attorney when we got divorced and somewhat screwed me over way back then. He was fortunate enough to travel yearly, including 3 wks to travel through Europe last year, and 2 in Japan the year before. He is fortunate enough to be able to afford a small house on the beach. He's never purchased anything for his son on the side, he often sends nothing for holidays or celebrations.

I'm not saying he should suffer...but c'mon....SUPPORT YOUR CHILD a little? Thanks, that would be great.

And thanks to a chunk of change which I would have preferred not to spend, a wonderful attorney has helped me kick my support amount up a bit for the next 2.5 years. AND the biggest plus is that I finally get the tax exemption (which I should have had from the start). Fair is fair, that's all I'm saying.

**and for the record: if his father made ANY attempt to be a father and was a kind-hearted, compassionate human being by ANY definition of the word --- I would not have hired the attorney. I would do anything to help that man step up and be a father, but it has been a decade of him being selfish and manipulative and making no effort. I'm done with him. So excuse me...I need to go shopping. For my son, of course!!!

Welcome Back Amy

I chatted with my friend Amy last night - AMY!!!

She was my very best friend in elementary school - like a twin but without the biological DNA to back it up.
(okay this is not really us, but it COULD have been cause we were just this cute!)

We were two peas in a pod.

We were Todd and Copper.
We were soul sistahs, before soul sistahs were cool.
Amy and I were the leaders (and original co-founders) of the very official Wells Elementary School Cat and Mouse Club from 1984-1985.
It was a very elite club, only the best runners were allowed in the club. I think there was some serious testing involved before you were allowed to be called a Cat or Mouse. I can't remember the exact details, but I'm pretty sure it's too elaborate to go into right now.

I grew up with Amy - if you finish growing when you are in 6th grade.

We spent countless hours in the pool in her backyard (she was definitely the better swimmer).
We took trips to visit her mom (she lived with her dad) in a neighboring state and made cookies and giggled all night at her grandmothers house.
We made up songs that contain the word Pig in them -as her mom had a sincere pig collection....great classics like Little Pig Houses (instead of Little pink houses for you and me....by Mellencamp).
We played hours and hours of games of every sort.
We built card houses on the pool table in my basement.
We avoided my mean older sisters.
We played fetch with her blind/deaf pug (you must hit the ground VERY near him or directly bounce it off his back).
We chased the mean furball of a cat around her house.
We pestered her dad to let us play on his computer - which in 1984 was a HUGE luxury.
We watched Mtv back when you had to fill out a 20-page application and give blood to have it included in your cable.

We were GREAT friends.
And we were going to be the best of friends FOREVER!!!!

And then my parents decided to move to Minnesota, six hours from my beloved best friend.
And they made me move with them.
And, as it happens, we lost touch......

BUT
wait...it's a happy story....

After 19 years (or thereabout) ---- Amy and I are back in touch!!

Thank you FaceBook.
First communion...perhaps the last time we were both super-sweet and super-innocent?

Only a real friend would love you when you are wearing purple checkered socks.

Mr. Brown - fifth grade...he rocked.

That's me on top...Amy is to the right with the blue shorts that seem to be tucked in under her armpits, looking bedazzled at my human pyramid skills.

Family Stuff

Anybody remember this pic?
Not pictured: grandpa, carla, richie, jenny, cora, jerry, my mom (who prob took the photo)

I am missing this memory...but I am fairly certain this is Aunt Jean's house (she's the third lady from the left). I slightly remember her son did not want to be in the photo (he's the one sticking out his tongue). It looks like Uncle Dick isn't thrilled to be in this photo - didn't he ride his motorcycle to the house this day? I'm pretty sure my dad (far right) was just about to say "oh for god's sake Kathy!" (or something similar) and walk off irritated. And Susan and I (teens on the right) look happy...I want to say that we actually were this day....

And look at my sweet grandmother!! (2nd from the left)
I don't remember her ever being mad or irritated or showing unhappiness. I've seen her T-I-R-E-D and still working away at making dinner or cookies or juice or something, she was ALWAYS busy wasn't she? But I don't remember ever seeing her upset! I'm sure she must have been mad/unhappy/disappointed many many times--she had seven kids...right. SEVEN kids. And my grandpa was a guh-rumpy and fairly-demanding man...I am sure she was not always happy with him either.

But, from a grandchild's point of view (granted I have a bad memory), I don't remember her ever being upset.

Her house always smelled like baked goods.
She always had the biggest smile and hug for us.
She always spoke softly and kindly.
She was full of love for her family.
I wish I could have known her better....I wish she could have known me as an adult.

We (my sisters and I) didn't always want to go to our grandparents house - we thought it was boring....to be fair, as teenagers-everything is boring. It's sad that there is no way to let kids know that sometimes the boring times with relatives are some of the best memories as an adult. We just don't appreciate life until life is passing us by.


Arctic Blast 2008 Takes Over... The WORLD

Nothing but news on tv, with around the clock news coverage of....

Arctic Blast 2008


There are very few planes leaving the area.
Tri-Met is having trouble.
State of emergency in a neighboring town.
15 inches and still coming down.
Slippery roads.
Fine---now let's get back to Regis and Kelly!!

Here's my pics (not that they are original in anyway-just to give you an idea of what I am living with right now.








Day 2 vs. Day 7:









My car - love the fog lights poking out! I drove two days ago, so my car isn't too buried.













not a happy cat!

Driving is not recommended.




This is the scary hill leading into the apartment complex. It was the worst part of my drive the last week and Saturday when I went out, there were cars parked all along this street after failing to make it up the hill.

(yes, I made it up--and stopped at the top to applaud my superior driving skills)

Take Your Snowman To Work Day!

Earlier this week, we were struck with an Arctic Blast - the newsmen warned us to never leave our house again. Ever.




Having lived in the mid-west though, I was born with the necessary driving skills to drive in snowy weather....so I set off to work.




But Wait...




What's this...




Some sweet little children in my apartment complex have been kind enough to build me a Snowblob!!




ON MY CAR!!




I have never come across this situation before, and after determining that there was no safety concern, I decided to just take the Snowblob to work with me!




Can't really tell - but these two trucks are spinning their tires trying to get up the offramp, and there is one more big truck behind them spinning away...don't be scared Snowblob!!






Hold on Snowblob...time to venture onto the freeway...







Snowblobs can't drive 55!!!



Snowblob was happy to be off the freeway and in the work parking lot!








Snowblob waited patiently for me while I worked for a few hours (with about 12 brave souls who made it through the weather).









Aw, the feel of the warm sun on our faces....nothing more beautiful than a car-snowblob as the sun sets in the background.

Wait....what's that Snowblob? You don't like the sun??







Sad and lonely. Snowblob has gone the way of all snowmen....



To Be Fair...

Puppies are cute too.


Snowstorms and Fluffy Kittens


We are in the midst of the biggest snowstorm in the whole wide world (if you listen to the newscasts). If you listen very closely you can hear the weathermen in the Pacific Northwest wetting their pants with excitement. It was icy, it's cold, it's snowy, the roads are a mess, people are stocking up on food/water, we are all updating our disaster plans. The weather is out of control.
I drove to work with a snowman on my car Monday (seriously) - I'll upload those pics tomorrow.

Complete the Sentence Game!!

via I Am Not My Hair:

(play along-that's what the comments section is for, yo)

Today I: sorted through the last two decades of photos that are in storage containers and not photo albums--I threw away *gasp* a LOT of photos that were not ever going to be enjoyed by anyone ever. It felt good.

Tomorrow I will: drive through snowy weather to get to work and test how high my blood pressure will go. Oh-and hopefully go pick up my new phone!!!

I'm looking forward to: having three (paid) days off for Presents Day!

I could pass on: interrupting my teenager making out with his girlfriend again.

Newest song I like: Oh-easy---there's this one really bouncy song, it's like "boo doo do bo do do would you want to come closer here...and nibble my eaaaaaaaar....shoo boo doo doo do do do...wooooohooooo oh oh ohhhhhhhhoooooh.... (are you singing along? It's a great song!)

Last show I saw: 60 Minutes

Something aggravating: trying to lose weight

One thing you may not know about me: I typically only get about 6.5 hours sleep during the week, sometimes it gets down to 5.5 hrs if I have a good book to read. I also have to either work on a sudoku puzzle before bed or read - so if I stay up really late and then go to bed--I am not really going to sleep... On the weekend, I'll sleep about 8 hours and I wake up EXHAUSTED, as if I have been in a coma.

I can still: beat anyone at Boggle!

Gift I'd want if money was no object: since peace on earth is not a monetary gift, I think it's not a valid response, so...a 3-bedroom condo on the beach in Mexico.

Another Missed Trip to Mecca

All Aboard!!!
Is there anything that occurs in our world where 3 million people all have the exact same activity planned for three full days and have NO incidents or news-worthy drama happen (other than the newsworthiness of the actual event itself)? Three days where EVERYONE has the same plan?? Cuh-razy!!!!!!!!!

Sorry I Haven't Replied

If you only have a yahoo mail address for me, please don't take it personal that I don't reply:

It's so cluttered and unorganized, I don't think there's a way to come back from it. I've had the same email address since 2002 (the address is kaylenm2002 so that helps me remember) and I like consistency...but Gmail really is the way to go.

GO GMAIL!!

Since getting Gmail three years ago, maybe four?, I have had approximately SIX spam emails in my inbox. In my Yahoo inbox, out of the 1246, I would guess that 1046 are spam. The other 200 are:
  • an old friend from high school who has me on her mailing list and has never responded when I asked her to change to my gmail
  • powells books weekly book review
  • a weight watchers recipe email group (that I obviously am not part of)
  • weekly federal job openings subscription

So what are the other 1046 emails??? Why does Yahoo not recognize that I am not really the lost relative of an African king who is due a very large inheritance if I would just send a few thousand dollars to the attorney holding the paperwork in trust for me? And I most definitely would not buy prescriptions for Viagra via a mass email message.

Sorry Yahoo - we are not friends.

My French Thoughts of the Day


J’ai demandé à la lune
Si tu voulais encore de moi.
Elle m’a dit "j’ai pas l’habitude
De m’occuper des cas comme ça".
Et toi et moi
On était tellement sûrs
Et on se disait quelquefois
Que c’était juste une aventure
Et que ça ne durerait pas...

Verizon SUCKS

I'm soooo furious at Verizon.

And cell phones with "curved" touch screens.

And sales people who don't know the most important saying: The customer is always right.

And most especially the pudgy bald salesman with a goatee at the Verizon Wireless store in Lake Oswego, Oregon - I'll find out his name and dedicate a special post just for him later this weekend. Cause he definitely deserves his own post for being such a GREAT salesman and totally schmoozing us over in selling us a phone that was NOT as he said it was. After spending almost an ENTIRE hour with him, asking him question after question and question and hearing just the *right* answers to make me purchase the new, wonderful phone for my son's 16th birthday....only to find out that he is a big fat meanie jerk girl-hater scammer liar-yes--LIAR.

And now that the phone that he assured us was VERY durable has broken after just 34 days---we find that not only is it not returnable/exchangeable/valuable in any way---but ALSO that they see this exact same type of breakage on this exact same type of phone MANY times.
The salesgirl who helped us tonight actually described what the phone looked like as soon as we told her it had broken so easily and then admitted that yes, they see this because people put their phone in their pocket.

What?

IN THEIR POCKET???

Really...people are putting their compact cell phone IN THEIR POCKET and that is a problem???

CUH-RAZZZZZZZZZY, right?

And usually I am able to get my way *a little bit better* with salespeople and managers (helloooo-the customer is ALWAYS RIGHT)..this time, there is no out. The cell phone is dead. They will not help us. We are stuck with it.

BUT I did convince them that we had asked for insurance on it and it was the meanie jerk girl-hater scammer liar-yes--LIAR's mistake for not actually submitting it correctly.

So they backdated our insurance policy and very happily and while twisting the knife in my back--sold me a new phone-the same model that breaks when you do something crazy like store it IN YOUR POCKET---for a very reasonable $50.00 and by agreeing to pay $5.00 a month for insurance. How kind of them.

Oh, and did I mention the price has dropped $50 in the last 34 days? Yes, it has. But she can't help me with that because the phone is BROKEN.

I later called the customer service line and got them to reimburse me the $50.00 difference, which means they paid for me to get the replacement phone, but um, I'm now stuck with a phone that you can't put IN YOUR POCKET. EVER. How convenient.


LG Voyager
LG Voyager
LG Voyager
why do you suck?
LG Voyager
LG Voyager
Seriously....why LG Voyager???

Why are you advertised as being so wonderfully compact, but it's not meant to be placed in a pocket?? (and for the record---the damage that happened, could have happened by being in my purse as well, as any force that causes pressure on one side of the phone-in either direction - will cause the phone's touch screen to split. You need to wear the phone on your hip (dork) or have a special phone bag you carry this in.

VERY unhappy with Verizon Wireless tonight.
VERY unhappy with LG tonight.

It's That Time of Year...

...when I get sick.


Luckily, I have home-care watching over me:

A New Way to Restrain Your Baby


It's been a long time since I've had a baby, but one never forgets the hassle and trouble of trying to use the restroom when you're out in public (or even not) and you have no one to watch your little pumpkin-head.


But luckily, times have changed and now....introducing: The Babykeeper!!!! Genius. Pure genius.





I don't know that I would have bought it - it's $39.99 plus shipping, but it would have been fun for someone to give as a gift. If you're someone who is out and about a lot-this would be handy.
I wish they had one to use for teens. Like a harness to keep him tethered to something so he's never able to step one foot into the kitchen.

I Am Not A Geek!

I have had this blog for over two years now and it is definitely in need of a makeover. I try to make a new template myself every 9 months or so and it just never appears right. I know a bit of html, I can do basics, but things never appear right. And then I look at it on my 22-inch monitor at home and things are fine, but I open it up on a 17-inch monitor and everything is on top of itself.

Grrr...frustrating.

And this is why I deny it when people call me a geek.

I can research anything and everything with the best of them. I can edit photos. I can find the best and most unique gifts online. I can find the best bargains available on the net. I can use html. I understand how (a lot of) electronics work. I enjoy talking about nerdy computer stuff. I don't own a phonebook and would never think of dialing information. I know 75 websites off the top of my head that can make life easier in a variety of ways. I am very geek like. But I'm not a geek.

A true geek would know how to make a blog template.

Photo Challenge - Just Say Cheese!!!

I saw this idea on a website some time ago, but can no longer remember where I saw it. I take no points for originality in the idea.


The Challenge: See how long it takes someone to realize that you are recording a video when they think you are taking a quick photo.

The Subjects: My niece and my son (pre-haircut!) - but I told them I wouldn't post it so don't tell them!

Time Lasted: ONE full minute!!!


video

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