Archive for the ‘L~ (aka “Mouse”)’ Category

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Chastised, yet again.

March 1, 2013

After yesterday’s post about what a conscientious parent I tried to be to my young children, I thought it appropriate to show how far I’ve fallen.

  • Yesterday, at the pediatrician’s office for the girls annual check ups, Jules was asked about her diet.  Fruits and veggies? check. Plenty of water?  check.  Milk and Dairy?  “Well, I have cream in my coffee every morning.”  The doctor(nurse practitioner, really) whipped her head around to shoot daggers out of her eyeballs and into my brain.  I – very maturely – returned her look with a smug look, with a bit of a giggle suppressed.  “It’s too early.  You need to stop that!”  I continued with my look, and did not agree to “stop her” from drinking coffee.  As if I didn’t choose to let her drink coffee when she asked after careful thought?  
  • On the way home from the pediatrician’s office, I got pulled over.  Awesome example for my nearly-driving-aged teens, no?  Fortunately, it was not for a moving violation – it was because my inspection sticker had expired.  On January 31st.  Oops.  We knew it was expired.  David and Juliette figured it out while Em and I were traveling last week, but David thought it was the registration.  When I got home I pointed out that, no, it’s just the inspection.  We had been joking for the past 4 days that we shouldn’t drive the car because we might get pulled over.  Then I drove the car, and I got pulled over.  The very nice police man let me off with just a warning, and I went straight to the inspection center and forked over the $29 to get a new sticker.

I’d also like to point out that their doctor appointment was at 2:15.  This required me to leave work at 1 p.m., and I opted not to go back afterward.  This 1/2 day of work gave me not only the time to take the girls to the doctor, but also to get the car inspected AND to write my first blog post in months.

Half days may be the key to the universe.  Too bad they’re also a once-every-six-months treat.  (If you can call being snarked at by a poopy-face nurse practitioner a “treat”).

 

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Hippie mom of preschoolers = chastised mom of teenagers

February 28, 2013

In the last week, I’ve been reprimanded twice for my decisions when the kids were young:

First, on Sunday, Em complained that I didn’t let them watch t.v. when they were young.  “there are so many shows that everybody watched, but we didn’t, or at least we didn’t unless it was on in the summer when we were at dad’s.  Why didn’t you let us watch t.v.”

Oh, I don’t know.  Because I thought you and your brain development would be better served by playing outdoors, reading books and drawing pictures?

“But t.v. is the one thing that connects us to other people.  Even people who don’t have anything in common at all can talk about popular television shows.  And you DEPRIVED us of this connection to our world!”

Never mind that they really did watch plenty of t.v. in the preschool years, although it was limited to PBS and Playhouse Disney — I did get stricter as they got older and the shows got crappier. They were complaining about not watching some show like the Suite Life of those boys – whatever that was.  I don’t know – I never saw it.

Then, today.  “E-Z Bake ovens are so cool, but we could never have one!”  I had to foolishly ask “why not?”  “Oh, because you hated plastic toys.  And because you didn’t want us to have gender-specific toys.  So we couldn’t have doll houses or EZ Bake ovens!”  Em went on to say “I liked my wood blocks and legos, but I wish I could have had an EZ Bake oven!”

Even though we did bake all the time …. and I am pretty proud of my teenage feminists.

 

 

 

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Drama on the Home Front

October 22, 2012

In some ways, I feel like I would have used this as a post title in the past.  I know I’ve used similar.

The nutshell:  In elementary/middle school (my girls were in a K-8 school), my kids were in plays.  And they were successful.  They had lead roles.  Because they enjoyed it and did well, I decided that it would be the way I gave back to the school.  So in my last year of law school, I offered to be a “parent volunteer coordinator.”  By the end of that year, I was a producer.

One of the best experiences of my life.

And I did that, and got to know kids and parents and processes.   I felt like what I learned as a producer informed my experiences as a lawyer.  I learned how to deal with people, how to deal with my own failings, how to rein myself in, how to deal with people, how to convince people to do things they *really* didn’t want to do.

And my girls kept thriving.  They got great roles, they enjoyed the social aspect, they had self-confidence.

Then Emma got to the high school and … well.  They didn’t cast her in any shows.  She did other things, she was resilient.  her sister – still back in the K-8 school – kept getting lead roles.

Then it was Juliette’s turn to go to the high school.  She ended her 8th grade year as the lead in Anything Goes, and she was strong in that role.

I was worried.   It might be bad to admit that I was worried that after Em was rejected for 2 years that Jules would get in to the show, and Em would feel deflated.  Now, Emma has been just — amazing.  She hasn’t been shattered by the decisions not to let her in.  She’s shrugged and said, “I just wasn’t a good fit.”  Last year, she was sad. But she spent the summer doing different acting things, and she has been really strong with crew, and she’s been fine.

But as auditions came up, it was clear that Emma wanted in.  Juliette also wanted in, but after having seen her sister struggle to get in for 2 years, she wasn’t so confident.  She was looking at the Freshman Play as her better chance.

I was really unhappy that auditions took place during my week of travel.  I stayed in touch via phone and text, but I hated being gone.  With auditions on top of sports, the girls were out of the house until 8 and 8:30 p.m., and then got home to eat dinner and do homework.  One one of the audition days, David told me that J was up until 12:30, and E until 2 a.m.

After Freshman Play auditions, J found out pretty quickly that she got a callback.  She was so very excited, and really energized.

A couple days after musical auditions, both girls found out they did NOT get call backs.  Jules wasn’t too surprised, Emma was looking at the bright side (“now I can focus on crew!”).  Emma also said, “well, the policy is that no callback doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a part.”  But I said that to her last year when she didn’t get a call back, and she told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.  (Hmpf.)

Then Jules went to the Freshman play callback, and felt like it went really well.

I got home Friday night, and Jules was a ball of nerves starting then and through the weekend.  “What if I don’t get in?  I really want to do the play! What if I don’t get in?  I might not get in.”

I was encouraging.  Reminded her of her past successes.  Told her I really thought she’d get in.

Monday rolled around.

Mouse didn’t get in.  She texted me, and said she was really sad.  Friends of hers did get in, and she didn’t, and the musical callbacks were the following day, and everyone was a buzz, and she had nothing.

When we were all home that evening, she just dissolved.  She cried (she doesn’t do that so often).  She was very, very sad.  I gave her hugs and let her sit on my lap (which is hard, considering I’m 5’6″ and she’s 5’8.5″).  I wiped her tears, and held my tongue when I thought things like, “it’s good to learn how to do deal with disappointment.” and “well, we still really don’t know about the musical.”  I just let her cry and told her I knew that she was very, very sad.

That was Monday night.

Tuesday a.m., she had the puffiest eyes in the world.  She went to school, still a little glum.

I started to get nervous on Wednesday because she was still glum, even a little snippy.  I didn’t want to see her get into a funk.  We started talking about her doing Volleyball on a private “club” team this winter, since she didn’t have a sport or drama.  She was game, and I thought we’d be okay.

Thursday was my big arbitration, as I mentioned.  I debriefed with colleagues, and made my way to the T station with a friend.  As I was descending the escalator at 6:15, my phone rang.  It was Emma.  She never calls, always texts.  A friend of mine recently told me that HER daughter was crossing the street and got HIT BY A CAR.  So I freaked out.  I answered the phone with “are you okay?!”  First there was nothing on the other end.  Then some yelling.  I got even more nervous, and said again, “are you okay??”  My friend was getting nervous.

“O MY GOD, MOM! THE CAST LIST IS UP AND ALKJKLJHOUWINBEOJN”

“Wait, Emma, what?!?”

“The cast list!  For the musical!  It’s up, and Juliette and I are BOTH ON IT!!!”

I then came back with “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?” and then had to give my friend a thumb’s up, and she was very nervous that my daughter was dying or something.

So I asked Em if she knew if Jules knew, and she said no – Jules was at Volleyball. It was 6:35 then, and we thought Juliette was a volleyball practice, there at the school.  So Emma decided to stay at the school and be there when volleyball ended so she could be the one to tell her sister the news.

I went underground, and chatted with my friend, grinning like mad.  This was such great news for my girls.  It was so great for Em, after years of trying and being told no, and it was great for Jules to be so happy and so rewarded after such a low thinking she hadn’t made either show.

I got back above ground at 6:50, and my phone INSTANTLY rang.

“MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!!!”  It was Jules. But it wasn’t 7, so I didn’t know if Em had gone into the practice and interrupted, or what?

No.  Jules was at an away game.  Poor Emma was sitting there outside the gym waiting and doing her homework on the floor for NO REASON.  Juliette was on the bus, and a friend texted and told her “The cast list is out!  You are on it!”  And she [again] cried with happiness.  Then she called me.

I ended up texting Em to tell her that J found out.  She knew already, but asked, “please don’t tell Davey?”  So I quick texted David and said, “can you please play dumb with Emma?”  Because OF COURSE I told him the moment I found out!  But she was bummed that she missed telling her sister.

So I got home that night to 2 girls that were just exploding with happiness, and me on a huge high after the positive arbitration, and . . . wow.

Such a happy house.

 

 

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Sunday Bullets

July 8, 2012
  • I was knocked down by a wretched virus this week.  David started to get at the end of vacation, and then it peaked for his first and second days of his new job, poor guy.  I started coming down with it on Tuesday, and it peaked on Friday.  I went home after lunch on Thursday, and stayed home on Friday.  I think that’s the first time I’ve done that since I have been working as a lawyer (2007).  I decided to go to the doctor, since I was home anyway.  I feared it was strep, and that I’d still be sick on Monday if I didn’t take care of it. My fever spiked while the doctor was examining me, and I guess I was warm enough to make him go “hmmm,” so he sent me for blood work and chest x-rays.  Everything was negative, and he decided I had “viral laryngitis.”  Today – Sunday – I finally am feeling on the upswing, and my throat is only a little sore.
  • Mouse is away for the long weekend, sharing in part of a friend’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.  I am jealous.  I also kind of miss her.  She stayed home from all things social on Friday to tend to me and keep me from getting lonely.  She made me lunch, brought me water, and generally spent the day hanging out on my bed with me.  We had some good chats about her thoughts and fears about high school (starting in 2 months!), and about this and that.  So now I miss her.  David rolled his eyes at me, asking what I’m going to do at the end of the month when she goes to camp for 4 weeks, and then of course – the inevitable.  
  • Lemon has been fun to be with, too.  Yesterday she was home for most of the day, and we hung out for a good bit watching Twin Peaks.  I decided that finally watching that iconic show that I have never seen (even though I was the perfect age for it when it first came out; hyper-religious parents got in the way of watching such shows) was the perfect healing mechanism for my crappy “cold.”  She’s not home today, though.  She voluntarily woke herself up at 7 a.m. to go to a crew race to cheer her team on.  (She’s not doing crew this summer, but is doing her best to stay in touch with the team, regardless.)  I woke up at 7:30, and was sure that she slept through her alarm.  But no, her bed was empty. 
  • David is annoyed with me.  The shifting is more complex than we were ready for, I guess.  I think as much as we know that we’re sharing in cooking, there is more to figure out as far as shopping, and kitchen-ownership.  Or maybe he’s just sick of me complaining about being sick, and as a result, everything I do annoys him.  Which is possible, considering that I have about a pinky toe’s worth of sympathy for him when he gets sick.  I’ve been working on that, but I’m stained with the irritability of years’ past.  Not sure I can ever recover.  
  • I’ve been pretty consistent with my low-carb eating.  It’s going pretty well.  When I was not feeling well but still had a full-on appetite, I found my mind wandering to convenience foods:  a sandwich, a pizza, a burrito.  But I resisted.  It looks like after about a week, I’m benefitting from the initial weight drop of a few pounds.  Of course, “it’s likely water” blah blah.  It will be fun to see what happens once I’m truly over this bug and I can exercise.  I haven’t been exercising consistently for a few weeks.  I may be focusing on walking, rather than running, and strength, including yoga.  My running partner is out of commission with a knee injury, and between the two of us, injuries have been plentiful.  I’m wondering if running is my “thing,” especially given my wretched feet.  We’ll see.  No reason to write it off just yet.
  • I had a small lull in work this past week.  I chose a good week to go on vacation (the week before the 4th).  Most of the office – if not the profession – took off the week OF the Fourth.  So things were slow in the office and with opposing parties.  Which is why I was able to take it easy with my illness.  But as I was lying in bed, assignments and new projects were coming in fast and furious.  Everything for “Monday.”  Tomorrow’s gonna be a doozy. 
Have a great Sunday!
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Our Final Days on Vacation.

July 1, 2012

Yeah, I missed out posting Days 5 and 6.  I have less photos, because the days were a little less cooperative.

Day 5:  We planned another field trip day, and the weather was hot hot hot.  We had been lucky all week with temps in the low 80s, and on our first field trip day, mid 70s.  But then on Thursday, it shot up into the 90s, and we all wilted.  The hurricane in the atlantic (Debby) had caused some rip currents, so we weren’t too upset about not being on the beach.  The thing Lemon really wanted to do was to go and see the site of the Wright Brothers’ first flight:

“It’s only a model.”

“Da Plane!  Da Plane!”

(As if someone else wouldn’t have come up with it if they didn’t.)

The markers indicate the first 4 successful flights.  The 4th is pretty far out into the sweltering field.  We did not visit the markers.

This was on a hill.  The hill was higher than it looked.  And it was HOT.

Monument, with a Wright Head.

Mouse, however, was miserable.  “This is all the things I hate!  Museums and airplanes!”  I gave her permission to give the Wright brothers (and the first planes) the finger, but she just glared at me. Like this:

Oscar the Mouse.

“Stop taking my picture!  I am miserable! I am sweaty! I am bored! Stop!”

So, we went to Five Guys and gorged ourselves on fries.  Then we went home, and the girls played games while David and I read books.  It was nice.

Our last day at the beach was also a bit lackluster.  It was due to be another scorcher, so we planned to get up & out earlier than usual, by 10 a.m.  (Oh, the torture that represents for a nearly-16 year old!)  But when we got to the beach, very soon after our planned time, we were greeted with a very rough sea, high winds, and pelting sand:

We went in the ocean for a bit, anyway, but it lacked the serenity of days past.  So we tried to take advantage of the wind, and fly some kites:

Lemon had some success, but Mouse’s broke.  So we tried to read for a while, but the sand was pretty sharp.

So we packed up by noon, and went and watched Brave.

Seriously, I started tearing up at the opening scene!  The opening scene!  When the mom was chasing her little girl around to tickle her, and they were so sweet.  I was all, “my girls used to be that little, and we used to chase around to tickle, and they used to giggle like that!”  And then later,  I cried more.  Then, when it ended, I sobbed.

Mouse laughed at me, but Lemon also had some heart-wrenching.  (I can’t say when, because it’s kind of a spoiler.)  But then, in perfect Lemon form, she picked on the premise afterward.  God, cartoon characters are so illogical!

Then we went home and packed, and we ate yummy foods, and we packed some more.  I found myself pretty sad about leaving.  Even though I was also ready to go.  I was sad to go.

I soothed myself by choosing next year’s house in between loads of laundry.

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Speaking of bratty — (or is it neglected?)

June 6, 2012

Next week, Mouse “graduates” from 8th grade.  I know, I know, “that’s not a real graduation” [please, read that phrase with a nasty, nasaly, grouchy, crotchety tone of voice].  But you know what?  Who cares. This has been her school, her class, our community, since she was in 1st grade.  No, she’s not done with school, but we are all closing a huge chapter of our lives.  I’m calling it graduation, and I’m celebrating.

Maybe 6 weeks ago, she and I went shopping with one of her closest friends and her mom, who I’m relatively close with.  Mouse found the requisite two dresses — one for her school “dinner/dance,” and one for the graduation ceremony itself.  Both were way cute.  The dinner/dance dress, however, which is strapless, is a little loose in the bust.  Even though it has some rubberized stuff at the top of it, it still runs the risk of falling right down her pole-thin body and onto the floor.

About 2 weeks ago, she said, “Mom, we have to get this taken in.”  I said, “okay, I will call.  But you have to remind me – I get busy at work and I forget until it’s 5:30 and everywhere is closed.  When you get home, text me or call me, and I’ll take care of it.”

Well, she got busy.  With friends or with homework or with other 8th-grade sorts of things, and I never got a text or a call.

I was talking with a friend today about the graduation plans (because we are organizing decorations and a grade-wide party), and all of a sudden, like a punch in the gut, I remembered that we need to get Mouse’s dress altered.  I thought I also remembered her saying that sure, she can go into the seamstress shop by herself ….

So I was chatting with David while eating lunch and mentioned to him that I texted Mouse with instructions to go by the boutique that we used last time at 3:30.  I explained to him where exactly it was (basically across the street from her school), and things seemed fine.

But then she got home, and upon realizing I was sending there by herself, went into all-out meltdown mode.

I don’t know – when Lemon was her age, she’d do anything and go anywhere by herself.  I had called ahead, she was expected, arrangements were made – what’s the problem?  “I don’t feel comfortable, and I don’t know what to do!” So I’m texting Lemon, and I’m chatting with David, and they’re both in the house with a bit of a tantrum-y Mouse, and everyone is annoyed.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to draft a brief for the Third Circuit … and feeling very frustrated.

It really came down to the fact that Mouse didn’t want to go with anyone but me.  But she wanted her dress altered.  And I couldn’t be there (hello, Third Circuit).  And if we didn’t go today, we couldn’t get a guarantee it would be ready in time for the dance.

So she gnashed her terrible teeth and roared her terrible roar, and then said, “fine.”  (well, the “fine” didn’t come until after I lectured her about her inflexibility, and explaining that I could not come home to go with her, and that I’m taking off tons of time next week for her graduation and all of the surrounding events, and that she had offers from both David AND Lemon to go with her, and she needed to knock it the F off.  Only I didn’t say F or Fuck.  I just said, “you need to be more flexible.”  I also apologized for not having the chance to talk to her about it/ prep her in advance, but that’s just the way it went, and now she needs to Fing Deal.  Only I didn’t say “Fing.”  Or Fucking.  But I was thinking it!!)

And David took her.  He reported that she was a total grouch the entire time, but it was all over with inside of 3 minutes, and they were back home.  When she walked back in the door and found multiple 10th graders in the kitchen eating all our food, she completely forgot about the trauma of Seamstress Without Mom, and got lost in hanging out with the older girls.

 

 

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Fourteen

May 20, 2012

Mouse’s birthday is this Thursday. She will be 14.

And it just happens to be that time of year where everything is happening – meetings, banquets, annual events, etc.

Mouse has her varsity banquet that night; I have a work function.  I don’t have to go, but it’s kind of something I really want to go to, and was bummed that I’d have to miss.  David and I started to talk it through, and he suggested I take Mouse to breakfast that day, instead of dinner.  My event is from 6-8, so I could be home for cake.

I felt funny about it, though, and hadn’t made up my mind.  He said, “It would be fun, you could take her to breakfast, Lemon can take her to lunch, and I will take her to dinner!”  I thought it felt kinda crappy.  But then Lemon came home with her varsity banquet plan, and I realized that no matter what, we weren’t going to be able to have our usual “Actual Birthday” evening.*  Not this time.  So we told Lemon what we’d been thinking about – her taking Mouse out to lunch – and she thought it was a great idea.  We’d let them both leave school early and walk up to Mouse’s favorite Mexican restaurant for her favorite burritos in the world.

I still felt funny about going to an event on her birthday, but they all convinced me that our alternate plan is really fun, and as long as we all have dessert together, there is no problem.

So that’s what we’re doing . . .

And now we just added a little additional plan:  Mouse is going to meet me at work on Wednesday, and we are going to go together to the Claire’s around the corner to get her a cartilage piercing.  Just like her sister did in 8th grade, and as her birthday gift.  Then we will go to DSW and look for graduation shoes.

And then Mouse told me last night that a friend of hers is jealous.  She said, “Not fair, you’re having such a special birthday, and my family isn’t doing ANYTHING for mine!”  (They are a week apart.)  So I guess I should get over my guilt for going to this event, right?

 

*  Where the birthday person gets to choose the dinner – which even though restaurants are on the table, my kids always choose something for David to cook.  I always choose to go out. Then we have dessert and presents.

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Cost-Sharing

April 6, 2012

A dilemma!  I will ask the internets!

When both my girls hit 6th grade, I bought them a laptop.  David and I are laptop people, and we don’t have a central place in the house for a desk top.  It seemed like the right option, and theoretically, I haven’t really regretted that choice.

But being a Mac family, it was no small investment.

Lemon has now had hers since 2007, and Mouse since 2009.

Lemon’s shows some wear.  It’s clunky, it keeps running out of space.  It’s not that much newer than mine, which I just replaced this year.

Mouse’s, however, still seems so new.  It’s a white one, but the smaller, sleeker shape.  It always seemed faster, lighter, smoother.

A couple of months ago, Mouse had some friends over.  They were in her room, hanging out – every now and then you’d hear uproarious laughter – as per usual – no big deal.

But after they went home and she dug into her homework, she called me in — “Moooooommmmmm?  Something’s wrong with my computer.”

In the top right corner of her screen, there was a big smear, and a couple of lines coming out of it, running down to the bottom of the screen.  My first thought – “Did you spill nail polish remover on it??” (she’s addicted to doing her nails)  “No!!!”  I looked again, and couldn’t tell it wasn’t a surface issue, it was something else.  “Did you step on it?”  No.  “Did you drop it?”  No.

“Well, I guess your screen is messed up.  You’ll live.”

Yes, I am a very sympathetic soul.

But over the next few weeks, the computer revealed a few other problems.  The trackpad wasn’t working so well — hers is the kind where the whole trackpad is smooth, and you’re supposed to be able to click anywhere on it.  But she couldn’t.  There was only one spot where she could click that it would work.

Then, it seemed like the screen casing had come apart (on the opposite side of the smear on the screen).  The screen would go white, unless you pinched the screen at a certain spot.

Then, nothing would work unless you pinched the screen – not the trackpad, not the keyboard – nothing.

Then, the trackpad wouldn’t click at all.  This development happened during my first week of the new job, and it was the first time that the computer seemed to have been rendered useless.  My solution at the time, so that the computer was not useless while she was working on a large school project, was to go to the Apple Store and buy a mouse.  We then used the mouse to navigate to the settings, where we made the touchpad tap sensitive, rather than needing to click down on it.  Then we didn’t need the mouse anymore.

My intention was to return the mouse within 14 days for a no-questions-asked refund.  However, it is sitting on the shelf in my living room, laughing at me.  (Through the box.)

Well, this week, the screen-pinching became ineffective.  The computer was again rendered useless.

Throughout these months of the decline of the computer, David and I have been pretty unsympathetic to Mouse’s plight.  We KNOW she dropped or stepped on the computer.  She can swear up and down as much as she wants that she did NOT!  It was safe, she took care of it!  But we don’t believe her.  We’ve had too many computers over too many years to believe that a computer was sitting happily and protectedly on its desk and all of a sudden – BAM!! – a giant BLOT appeared on the screen, and all of the internal parts seemed to stop working AT THE SAME TIME.  No.  The computer was dropped or stepped on.

Her room is a mess.  She has clean and dirty clothes all over her floor.  Even though she has a desk and a beanbag chair, she does everything on her bed.  Her nails, her homework, her internet surfing, and despite the rules, snacking.  So she finishes her homework or her surfing, and she shoves her computer aside.  Her friends come over, they sit with her on the bed, they chatter and do their nails on her bed, and someone shifts to the right, and BOOM – the computer’s on the floor, on the corner, creating a blot.

OR — she puts her computer on the floor, and then takes off a shirt.  She throws the shirt.  It lands on the computer.  She cannot see the computer.  She steps on the shirt — “what’s that cracking noise???”

These behaviors are things that we work all the time to curb.  It’s like talking to a concrete post.  Seriously.  She has to spend at least 30 minutes a day cleaning her room, and I go check on her room, and it looks fine, and then 30 minutes later — the place exploded again.  David likens her room to the Charlie Brown character PigPen.  It’s like a dirt magnet.

Anyway.  David took the computer to the Apple Store.  They took one look at the blot on the screen and said, “Oh, that’s an impact point.  This has been dropped.”

An aside:  They also thought the trackpad issue was related to consistent overheating of the computer, causing “bulging” that pressed against the trackpad and kept it from working.  That annoyed me.  David said, “we need to make sure she doesn’t watch videos on the computer, because it’s overheating it.”  Look, she shouldn’t be watching videos on her computer. It’s not why she has a computer, and when they watch t.v. on their computers, I get VERY ANGRY, because we have t.v. rules in this house, and you don’t just get around them by watching whatever you want whenever you want on your computer.  HOWEVER – she should not avoid watching videos because otherwise her computer will overheat and bulge.  Isn’t that Apple’s problem?  Isn’t that — wrong?  I mean, everybody buys computers these days assuming they can watch videos – whether t.v. shows, movies or youtube videos – on their computers.  What the hell?

Okay – enough of that aside – let’s get back to blaming Jules.

Total estimate?  $530.

$530.

Before David went in, we decided that we would fix the computer if it came in between $300 and $500.  To me, $530 fits into that range.  Which is weird, right?  Why make the range if you’re going to just say “well, close enough.”  But it was how I felt.

But one of the items on the list was to replace her keyboard.  Because she’s picked a few keys off.  I said NO WAY.  We aren’t paying for that.  She PICKED THE KEYS OFF.  She can keep them off.

So, great.  $440 is the new estimate.  (At least now we’re really within our range.)

We left the computer behind, and hope to see it again soon.

But now what do we do?

The child is 13.  She does not have a job.  She does not babysit.  She gets an allowance – when I remember – of $40/month.  She doesn’t spend it well, and never has enough money.  We’ve been working with her on the fact that she wastes her money on candy at CVS (amazing that the child is as ridiculously thin as she is), and then wants to go to the movies with her friends and comes to us with her hand out.  Or they’re all going out to lunch, and she doesn’t have money.  I am a sap.  I will hand over the 4 $1 bills in my wallet.  David is not a sap, and will not.  I am (pre computer) increasingly less of a sap, especially with Ye Olde Pay Cut.  (Goddammit.)  I’ve been a bit more intentional about the allowance situation.

So what do we do about the $440?  If we make her pay it from her allowance, she won’t get allowance again until April of next year.  That isn’t going to work.  If we keep half of her allowance, all of the above issues are just exacerbated.

Do I make her do chores?

What we already did was to set some stricter rules with the computer.  It stays on her desk at all times.  No more using it in the bed.  Desk, plugged in, at all times.  David thinks we should also say her friends can’t touch it, but I disagree.  That’s just an annoying rule with annoying policing requirements put on both her and us.  I think keeping it on the desk will be sufficient.

A friend thinks we should just let this be a wake up call.  Let her know this is her one-time fix, and next time, she’ll need to work something else out.

I find myself wishing we didn’t fix it.  I wish that I took my old macbook from 2006 that was about to explode when I bought my new PowerBook with my severance money, and brought it back to factory settings, and made her use that until the imminent explosion takes place.  But I guess I can hold onto that option in case she breaks it again.

This is what I am thinking about doing:  Telling her that part of why it happened was because of the chaos in her room.  Make her give up this weekend to SERIOUSLY taking care of her room.  I’m talking cleaning out shelves and baskets, cleaning out the closet, going through clothes, shoes, etc.  Making drawers neat and organized.  Getting rid of the crap that this pack-rat child won’t typically get rid of.  And put it on her to keep it that way.  And if she does not, THEN withhold part of her allowance on the weeks that she doesn’t.

This way, we are kind of looking at a solution – forward-looking – giving her an opportunity to earn the repair, but will have set repercussions if she doesn’t do it.

The downside to my plan?

She’ll never do this without me.  I will have to do this project with her.  It will be MY weekend, too.

The upside?

I’ve been planning to do it for months, but just haven’t gotten to it.  Now I can force her to be more engaged in it, and get it really taken care of, and hopefully give her the motivation to keep up with things, through her precious allowance.

David is not going to like it.  He thinks we are spending the $$, she needs to contribute $$.  That she either needs to start babysitting, or cat sitting, or something-sitting to earn money, or she needs to give up at least half of her allowance.  He wouldn’t insist on the entire thing being paid by her, but maybe half.

In the meantime – today is Good Friday, and the kids don’t have school.  I think this is weird.  Even when I went to Liberty Freaking University, I had classes on Good Friday.  I think that the reason is because in my corner of New England, we have a large Jewish population, and we end up with days off from school for a few of the Jewish High Holidays, and to do that and NOT do Good Friday would be … inequitable?  Or maybe it’s because Boston has a large Catholic population, and we just follow their school calendar?  I don’t know.

But the kids have the day off.  Mouse and her friends decided last night to see Titanic 3D.  No one was thinking about the computer (David brought it to the Apple Store on Wednesday) when this plan came up.  I thought to say “Mouse, you don’t have any money, and I don’t have cash on me.”  But then I had the brilliant idea of buying her ticket on line, with her allowance that is due today (payday).  So I did.  David knew about it, said nothing (except, “don’t forget to buy her ticket!”)  They went to the 9:30 show, and David picked them up at 12:30.  When he got home, I’d been asleep for almost 2 hours, and so he emailed me.  I found the email at 5:30 when I got up for my morning run.  “So, wait — she gets to pre spend allowance on a movie — allowance that’s supposed to go toward her computer??”

But but but!!  He didn’t think of it last night!  And we never came up with a PLAN!!

So now we’re working on figuring out a plan.

 

 

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Kids + Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 28, 2012

Mouse’s braces came off today.  One of my favorite things about that was that Lemon was so excited for her.

At dinner, we were talking about Mouse’s arrival at the high school in the fall.  In the context of the girls’ similar appearances, I laughed and said, “Mouse, you should go into the high school as [Mouse] [Suz’s last name], and Lemon, you should stay [Lemon] [Ex’s last name].”  They got a kick of out that.  “Dude!  You look like Lemon!”  “Oh, yeah, we’re good friends, and she even slept over my house FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS!!”  HA HA HA!!  Say the girls.

But then Lemon said, “you know, now that your braces are off, you kinda do look more like me.”  Mouse agreed.

Other funny braces conversations:

Lemon:  “Was it wrong of me to think I looked WORSE when my braces came off?”

Mouse:  “I know!  I thought that, too!”

Me:  “Why?  Like you’re missing jewelry or something?”

[not saying “you know, you do look weird.” because she does.]

Lemon:  “No, it was like my teeth were too big.”

Mouse:  “YES!!! And [a boy] told me to ‘take off those creepy fake teeth’ – and I told him, ‘I got my braces off!'”

Then they were a bit wild, and during the wildness, decided it was the perfect night for a HOMEWORK PARTY!!!!  WOO HOO!!!

These things.  They melt my heart. I want these girls to be friends. And here we are.  It was not always the case.  The middle grade years were hard.  Hatred may not have been an exaggerated term.

But now?  Lemon is having friends over this weekend.  They’re having a Lord of the Rings Marathon.  Lemon and her friends thought, “Hey! It would be fun if Mouse watches with us!”  And they invited her. And she said yes. And they are all excited.

Big sigh.

_______________________

So — Work.

I’ve already made clear that this move from BigFirm to New Firm, which is a “Medium Sized Firm,” has been a great one.  But I just want to talk about it for a minute.  Another minute.  Because I have already talked about it.

In the Big Firms, filing deadlines are stressful events.  You have a senior associate, and a mid level associate, and maybe 3 junior associates.  They are working off a rough outline provided by a partner, or a Partner.  They got maybe 10 minutes of said partner’s time, and hoped against hope they were going in the right direction.  If not — they wouldn’t know until the eve of filing.  Deadlines loom, and still no feedback – but then 12 hours before— feedback!  Rewrite! Not good enough!!  Revise!!

My friends and I would say, over and over “It doesn’t have to be this way . . . ”  we know about deadlines 20-30 days in advance. Why does all the stress happen in the 12-24 hours before said deadline?

But now!  I am at a medium sized firm.  And I have better partner access.  I have more control.

Tomorrow is my second filing.  Last time and this time, I’m home by 6:30 the night before. The brief is DONE.  For real.  I will do a final proof in the morning, before a post-lunch filing goal.

We are golden.  It is remarkably stress-free.

Ahhhh.

 

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Dizzy Spells

March 27, 2012

Last week, Mouse told us at dinner that she’d felt really dizzy during the school day.  “I had to curl up in the fetal position in health class, because I felt like I was going to fall out of my chair.”  Her teacher told her she was likely dehydrated (oddly, even though it was March 20th or something, it was 85 degrees outside). But that evening, the dizziness continued.  In the morning, it was still there, and she was feeling nauseous.

Lemon had some dizziness last summer, and I took her to the doctor.  They took blood, checked her iron, and did an exam.  The result? “Some teenage girls get dizzy.  Eat more salt.”

So I told Mouse to eat some salt, but I was still not comfortable.  Who gets dizzy???

Certainly, she did.  She stayed home from school (very unhappily – she had to miss her first indoor soccer game, and really didn’t want to miss the day).  She slept most of the day, and had a few rounds of dry heaving.  By late afternoon, she started to perk up.  She was fine come the next day.

I told a friend of mine what happened, and she said, “oh, that happened to my daughter last week!  It was 3 days on and off.”

The next day, a friend texted me, asking for details about Mouse’s bug.  I told her about the dizziness and nausea.  My friend said, “I almost just fell over in Whole Foods – I feel horrible, and thought I was having some kind of neurological disorder! So glad to know it’s going around.”

Dizziness is going around?

Yep.  Yesterday, it was Lemon’s turn.  She called David from school (it was after 2, so very near the end of the day), and said she was dizzy and couldn’t focus her eyes and felt nauseous.  He had her go to the nurse, who then called a minute later.  Even though the high school is 3 blocks from our house, he went to pick her up.  She was very upset about missing crew, and he had to help her calm down and take care of telling the appropriate people.  She slept all afternoon.

But was fine by the later evening.  She did her homework, was back asleep by 11 p.m., and is on track to be at school today.

 

Anyone else hear of this?  I think it’s really weird.