It's a lot of work to cancel everything going on in your life for five days.  And if you have to do it, you're really not in any shape to deal with it either.

Last night I came down with something and it hit me like a freight train.  From completely fine to sweats, chills, headache, cough, etc, etc.  And the best part? The kids had it too.  Come morning, I decided we'd go to Urgent Care, that way they could get some drugs in us and then we'd be ok to leave tomorrow for our Girl Scout campout.  After all, after 24hrs, you're no longer contagious, right?


Stella tested positive for influenza.  I tested negative, but they felt I do have it too just the rapid test didn't catch it yet.  Sandis, well, the jury is out.  She's headachy and coughing a bit, but nothing like her sister and I.  The verdict - all of us on Tamiflu and we're contagious until we're done taking all the doses.  The doses end Monday evening.

Do you know how bad you feel when your daughter is nearly in tears because she's going to miss her long-awaited Girl Scout lodge campout? It sucks.

And did you know how many things I had to cancel? How many calls and emails? How bad I feel about canceling on all these people? Here's some of what my addled and aching brain remembers me doing:
  • took a friend up on her offer to do my work for me today
  • called to coordinate with 2 people regarding my portion of the campout this weekend that I'm missing
  • called to inform another scout that since we can't go, we can't take her (she's still going, yeah!)
  • called and rescheduled therapy appts
  • emailed soccer coaches about practice/games we'll be missing
  • emailed quasi-school to tell them we won't be there Monday
  • called husband to inform him of our plague and get him to cancel dog sitter

That's a damn lot of talking on the phone for someone who doesn't even have a voice anymore!

Then I had to run back to the pharmacy because they forgot to mix the girls' medicine.  It was just powder in a bottle.  For my trouble, they are waiving the co-pay on those. (Totally worth it for $60!)  Oh, and I have to go back to the pharmacy again because they didn't have enough of the kid Tamiflu so we only got enough for 3 days, not the full five.  The girls wanted capsules like me, but they don't make the correct dosage for kids in capsules so the girls are stuck with the nasty, chalky stuff.  Lucky them.

Now that everything is done, all the calls have been made, all the people informed, I get to sit home for four more days in quarantine. Did you know that Sandis could watch bad tv all day? And that I can't lie down to nap because I cough so much? And that Stella still doesn't slow down even when she's insanely sick? Yeah, it's gonna be fun!

Spring is here, #$%^&


It has become abundantly apparent that spring has officially sprung in our neck of the woods.  Though we have yet to see rain drops, we have bulbs and trees blooming everywhere, birds of all kinds flitting about and singing, a few trees beginning to leaf out.  Days are nearly always warm and my Keens and capris are out of hibernation.

While all that is well and good, this does mean that:
- allergy season is here with its itchy eyes, sneezing and the rest
- days that are currently warm will soon be HOT.  I hate hot, I loathe hot, I want to tear my skin off when it's hot.
- it's windy.  Not a gentle breeze, a rip-your-face-off wind at least once a week.
- sunblock season is right around the corner and I have a red-haired, white skinned child with a sunscreen allergy bad enough that she resembles Violet Beuregarde when the wrong sort is applied.
- did I mention it's going to get hot? Because I hate that.

Ah well, the seasons will do what they will whether I like it or not.  I guess I'll hope to win the lottery without buying tickets so that I can install central air.

Wisdom from the husband

I'm pretty sure the answer to, "why are their little chunks of dirt all over my keyboard?" is "because you have children, " which is what my husband always says when I ask things like that.
On Thursday the girls took a class at Gulley Greenhouse where they planted grass in their baskets for Easter/Spring/Ostara.  They had a lot of fun and want to do more Gulley classes.
There's a bit of Stella and my new purse, photo complements of Gulley's

This lead to much talk of what the Easter Bunny could put in their basket seeing has how now it is full of dirt.  Wrapped candy? A separate bowl? Or as their dad suggested, worms?

The grass is well over 1" after only 4 days!

This lead to them digging for worms to add to their baskets.

Nice that she highlights that dirt with pretty blue toenails!

This lead to the creation of the game Wormopoly.


On a completely unrelated note, the UU Cake Auction was Sunday and I made two entries.  Proceeds go to fund the 9th grade trip to the Navajo/Hopi lands (which I would so like to go on myself!) and it's lots of fun to decorate cakes.  Even with the children's help ;)

Easter basket cake

Sliders made of pound cake buns and brownie burgers


In other news, my new computer is here! It's a netbook so small and less expensive, but also small! It will be portable and without the fun features of the current machine which overheats, shuts off randomly, has its cord fall out so the battery dies, BSODs, etc.  And did I mention it's small?!

The box it came in - best box ever!


And even more news, I just received the call that my car is done.  YYYYEEEESSSSSS! Not sure exactly what the damage will be to my bank account (though I have a reasonable idea) but I will be so glad to be back in the mommy car.


Now, off to do 8 million things this week.  We have soccer, therapy group, girl scouts, work, therapy in Denver, more soccer and a girl scout campout this weekend to prepare for.  Oh, and some school work.  Today I made them do dichotomous keys - we keyed out mammals.  It was fun.  Stella requested one for insects. :)



This is what my children are watching today.

You're welcome.

Dissecting Daffodils


Science lesson for today, botany.  We did daffodil dissecting, a lesson we could do in our front yard with what we already had on hand.  The girls were super excited about it, they had to wait DAYS for the daffodils to be fully open.  It was an excruciating wait, but somehow they made it through.  The highlight for them was getting to use a knife to cut open the flower.  Even though they didn't need to use a knife, scissors would have done fine, maybe even better, they were using knives, outside, in a parent-sanctioned activity.  Amazing the things that make their day, isn't it?


Wisdom from the youngest


Today did NOT go well.

I had to do houses today and my car is still not done.  Forgot to tell Brian I was doing houses so I was stuck with the pickup.  So there's no room for my stuff, for the girls to spread out, too keep them away from all the dials & knobs.  Not only that but the wheel for measuring houses was in Brian's trunk.  You guessed it, ALL the houses needed to be diagrammed, and several were due today so no putting it off.  Brian wasn't answering his work phone, cell phone or pages at work so I gave up and emailed him that we'd come and get the wheel - an hour round trip. Then I decided to skip that amusing little trip and just buy a 2nd cheap wheel and get started. 

Well, the fun didn't end there.  After only 2 houses, the girls decide they need to pee so we had to make a side trip.  Of course we stop at the insane Walgreens that makes you find an employee to put a code into the lock in the restroom door before you can enter said restroom.  Finally back on the road.  The next house is no where to be found.  A few houses later, again no where to be found.  Called the agent and was told the address I had was wrong.  Oh, and it's one of those fun split streets so I have to drive several miles back across town to find it.  Arrrgh!

What else? Oh yeah, camera battery dies because I forgot that Stella used it at the zoo (and left it on basically the whole day, not simply while she was snapping pics.)  Back home to get Brian's camera battery so I can go back out to finish the last 3 houses.  Couldn't leave them for tomorrow either because 2 of them are due today.  Yes, of the 4 houses on the list due today, two are in those last three that need doing.  Good grief.

Did I mention that Sandis is insane today? She is goofy and crazy and irritating her sister at every turn.  She thinks she's sooooo amusing too.  Bleah!

As we're heading to the last couple houses, I'm noticeably agitated.  Stella asks what's wrong and I list out our lovely day.  She says, "Well, at least there's nothing physically wrong - no one has gotten hurt today, we're all doing good."

Yep, she's right.  There's really nothing wrong.  Our day was complicated and made longer by misadventures, but we are all healthy and happy and together.  Perspective is a beautiful thing.



I'm not sure who decided that murder by hanging was a good basis of a game for children.  "Yes dear, draw the gallows then every time you guess wrong, you get a little closer to death by strangulation.  It's fun!"  And yet, despite that, we still play it when we are somewhere waiting and tire of endless games of tic-tac-toe.

One night Brian was playing with Stella while Sandis and I played across the table.  Stella is a challenging foe in Hangman.  First, she spells phonetically.  Second, she forgets what she's picked for the word.  Third, she forgets what letters are in the continually changing word.  At one point I heard Brian say, "I picked a, e, i, o and u and none of them are in your word?" Finally, she chooses words she makes up.  The secret word in that game?  Foop.  She said, "it's like poof only backwards."  Of course, I don't know how he didn't figure it out!

My game was easy in comparison.  I only had to spell giraffe without an 'i'.

Invisible Illness


I ran to the store tonight because we were out of sauce and needed it for the half made pizza, but that's not important.  The important part was that as I was driving up, I had to wait for a couple to cross the parking lot's version of a street.  The people were my age-ish, not particularly old, but walking at an insanely slow pace.  It took them probably a good minute to walk the distance of that narrow street - maybe 25 feet. 

It hit me and hit me hard.

I was that person.  I flashed back to being at that same store.  I thought I felt good.  I walked at a normal pace through the store and destroyed myself for two days.  Out of breath, lying on the couch, unable to do anything for two days because I walked through a store at a normal person's walking pace.

I remembered when I couldn't make it across a street in the time of a walk signal. 

I remembered desperately wanting to be able to do things but having to pick and choose what to do.  Something as simple as watching the Tuba Christmas, which meant walking from the car to the event, standing for 30min and walking back, well, that was a weekend's worth of energy expenditure right there. 

I teared up thinking about what it was like for me and what it is maybe like for one of that couple.  I felt for them, and for the former me.  No one sees anything wrong with you and yet there is something so very wrong that no doctor or research or diet plan or supplement can figure it out.  Very few understand, very few want to or care to understand.  Thankfully, those that do are the ones who matter.

And today? Am I all cured?

I'm not sure. 

I still have troubles, though nothing like they were.  I can do anything.  I volunteer, I work, I run around town like a chicken with my head cut off.  Except I do get tired.  I can sleep 9hrs a night (my normal) and still need a nap in the afternoon, for several hours.  It's crazy how much sleep I need.

I can't do hikes that involve any uphill.  My husband is sure that I just need to push through it or something.  He is always saying how it isn't so bad, or it's just a little way, but it makes me want to sit down and rest.  I feel like I did back then, like I can't possibly go any further.  I don't experience that when I take walks that are on fairly level ground, but the uphill kills (and downhill kills my knees, but that's a different issue entirely.)

And weight? I can't lose it.  I've tried Weight Watchers.  I've tried writing everything down.  I've even tried hcg.  I cannot lose weight.  Even with eating 500 calories a day on the hcg thing, I still only lost 5lbs in 2wks.  Really, that's it.  I'm not cheating when I do these healthy eating trials, I mean seriously, who would I be cheating? Me! I measure, I weigh, I log.  It does no good whatsoever which depresses me and makes me fall off the bandwagon.  It's hardly worth all that effort for no results.  I don't look better.  I don't feel better.  What's the point.

Still I am much, much, MUCH better than I was in those flashbacks I experienced tonight.  It was a sad and dark time for those years.  2003-2009 were so lost to me.  I am glad to be back in the land of the living, even if it is as an overweight, sleepy woman who can't climb hills ;)

Science Fair 2012

My wonderful friend Amanda runs a science fair for NCHA every year.  She is incredibly organized and does a super job with it.  The kids absolutely love it and look forward to it.  And not just for the medals either.  It could be because they get to do fun and/or messy things with parental approval.  Or in Amanda's boys case, play with electricity, fire and shooting :)

My girls chose to do projects with dogs and water.  I'll let you guess who did which project.  Sandis' project involved seeing how dogs react in different situations.  These situations involved treats, so the dogs were thrilled to be experimental subjects.  Stella froze ice in different shaped containers to measure buoyancy.  So yes, playing in water.  You guessed right on who did which project, didn't you? ;)

Public Service Announcement

Ok, so I still have trouble with affect/effect, but well, I DON'T USE THEM if I'm not sure.

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more copywriting tips from Copyblogger.

Never mind, the car still sucks


Yes, I drove it around yesterday.  I drove it around today and then, the check engine light came back on and the heat started going up.  You know the little thermometer symbol on the heat gauge? It never went above that because I was fast and observant (paranoid and hysterical, more like.)  Still, it was climbing.  I had 2 houses left when this happened.  I turned the car off and the girls and I sat for ~10min.  Then we went to house #1, a few blocks away.  No problem.  Left house #1 and after a few blocks, the heat started creeping up.  Pulled over and waited again.  Lady and her children arrived home during our wait and were slightly confused as to why there was a family sitting in front of her house.  Didn't feel like getting out and explaining and she didn't asks so she'll never know what was up with the weirdo and her pink & green haired children. 

After waiting, started off again, had about 4.5 miles to get home.  Last house was on the way (honestly, it was 3.5 blocks off the direct route home) and the car was behaving so I stopped and snagged it.  Car was off for ~5min while I did the house.  Started driving, all was well.  Then about 1 mile from home, the heat started creeping up again.  I coasted and it went back down.  Started accelerating again, all was fine and I drove the rest of the way home with no problems.

So, WTF is wrong with my car? And why in the name of all the gods can't someone figure out what is wrong? I have only had my car for 3 days out of the last 10, and 2 of those days it has misbehaved! I really don't think it's a head gasket because the darn problem is so intermittent.  But what else is there left that could be wrong? I just don't know what is wrong but I DO know that it is seriously stressing me out.

The prodigal car has returned


My car is back with us, in the land of the living.  It seems to be in working order.  I've driven it several places without overheating.  The check engine light which had been on for probably a year, is finally off. I'm still nervous, but am hoping for the best.

This time they replaced the radiator which was cracked.  The cracked radiator is probably the reason for the check engine light having been on, the loss of pressure in the engine.  It also could be why the water pump went out, because the radiator went dry, but without the suction of a closed system, it couldn't suck the overflow back into the radiator.  Also, Subarus don't like having bubbles of air in their coolant system - makes them overheat.  Hmm, that could have been the original problem?

Why didn't they notice this the first time? No idea.  They are acting like nervous doctors now.  They kept the car overnight for a morning test drive.  They've called to check up on it.  They've admonished me to call if anything goes wrong.

Now I must stop blogging and go back my life because Stella is exceedingly whiny.  She can't find her toy that she took out to the trampoline (which, apparently, I should find for her.) She can't do the dishes she was supposed to have done hours ago because, you guessed it, she lost the toy that she needs to have by her side while she does the dishes.  Never mind that she couldn't have lost said toy if she had, let's see, DONE THE DISHES LIKE SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO instead of jumping on the trampoline.  And, the root of the problem, she hasn't taken her meds. And she can't seem to understand that while 40mg of prosac makes her stomach hurt, 30mg of prosac plus 10mg of strattera is not the same as 40mg of prosac.  It all adds to 40 so she can't take any of it.  Foiled by math.  Usually math solves things rather than making them more difficult! How about this, "take the damn medicine so you aren't so insane, child!"  Might work, but logic is better for this child.  Intelligence is a double-edged sword sometimes.

Feeling a bit frantic

Today went like this:

10-11am       Therapy appt
11am-12pm  Quick trip to Girl Scout store and short park visit during which Stella gets her nose out of joint
                      over a who-gets-which-swing issue.
12-1pm         Whole Foods Tour w/Girl Scouts where Stella spends half the time being a pill
                     due to the aforementioned swing incident.
1pm-2pm      Run home to get f@#king camera card that wasn't in the camera even though I double
2-4pm           Out doing houses.  So much easier without kids.  Today they closed the trunk when I left it
                     open.  Opened it as I was getting in the car so I had to go back and close it.  Had to pee
                     when we're no where near a bathroom.  And when we stop at Target for a bathroom -
                     they're cleaning it. 
4-5pm           Enter houses.  Computer doesn't crash.  All diagrams save.  It's a miracle.
5-6pm           Take kids to group therapy, try and get car only to find out it is STILL not ready.  They've
                      now put in a new radiator because it had cracks.  They think it's fixed but wanted to keep it
                      over night.  Like in the hospital? For observation? Might have it back tomorrow morning.  I
                      am not meant to be in a one car household.  Especially since my job involves, well,
                      driving around.  Hoping it's not going to end up being a head gasket issue.  If it is, I may
                      cry.  A lot.  I can't see how it can be without anyone noticing up until now.  Still, the luck of
                      the Irish isn't good luck, you know.
6-6:30pm       Break at the coffee shop - in between things and no place to go.  Got to update my schedule
                      and read a few pages.
6:30-8:30pm  OWL meeting to talk about next year.  I'm teaching 8th grade again and doing some
                      communications help for the RE Director.  Nothing new, I had volunteered for this prior to

I'm at a place where my body is kind of humming from the stimulation of today.  I don't know how to describe it - kind of like electricity is in all my muscles like a constant state of electric shock. But not so that it hurts, just running through me.  Like the adrenaline after playing hockey.  You have to come down from that "high" before you can start to relax again.  It generally took me hours to come down again, not a plus when games start at 11pm and you have to work the next morning at 8am.  Have I mentioned my year of insomnia? Yeah, it was when I was playing a lot of hockey. 

Anyway, I get that adrenaline, or whatever it is, happening when I am too busy, too rushed, have too much to do.  I have it now.  I can't go to sleep, even if I wanted to.  I'll be up until at least 1am.

Fortunately, I don't have to get up early tomorrow.  Unfortunately, tomorrow is just as busy as today.  It will be car, science fair projects, entering houses, play date for kids, Girl Scouts, more science fair projects.  Did I mention Sandis is supposed to write a 1-2pg research paper by next Monday? Yeah, I just found out 1/2 an hour ago.  Really? She's never written 1-2pgs.  I have no time to do this with her this week?! I guess we'll fit that in somewhere as well.  Somewhere around science fair and work and life.

I don't know why I'm frantic?

What I WANT to do is plan out the kids' school and Girl Scouts for the rest of this year.  I want to shop for their science fair boards and get their photos printed.  I want to take them to Target for new swimming toys and take them to the pool.  I want to have my car back and have it work.  I want an afternoon nap every day for the rest of the week.  I want a million dollars and a pile of chocolate.

Figgy car

Note: In order to understand my use of the word "figgy," you will need to read this post from the Shit My Students Write blog. Really, you should read all of it, it's awesome, but for the figgy reference, this one post will do:

In “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” they don’t like pudding because they say it is “figgy,” which is what they said for the F word a long time ago.

Right, so I took my car in to get it fixed.  Got it back at the 11th hour on Wednesday night.  Seriously, they closed at 6pm and we pulled up at 5:58pm.  Paid them all of my money (yes, $1240.08 is pretty much all my money and it means that the heat bill isn't getting paid until next week.)  Drove it home where it sat until this afternoon when we went to a friend's house.

The heat in the car wouldn't work.  That is not good.  On the way home, the thing starts overheating.  THAT IS WHY I TOOK IT TO GET FIXED! Now I have to take it back tonight or early tomorrow (and by early, I mean Brian is meeting his running friends at 7am, so probably what, 6am?) They will try and look at it tomorrow but it may be Monday.  Doesn't really matter though, I can't drive the thing anywhere.  I've gotten 33 miles out of my $1200+ repair job.  Lovely.

I expect that all subsequent repairs related to the same issue will come with free labor charge.  Of course, they wouldn't come with free parts. And they may well shatter my illusions on the free labor as well.  Still, they won't be getting any money from me until at least Wednesday because, as I've said, they have it all!