Too busy to blog

I've been slammed at work for the past few weeks, so that is my lame excuse for being neglectful here. I had to travel for work last week (all of last week, got back yesterday afternoon after leaving the previous Monday), and didn't have regular internet access during that time. Now I'm faced with another looming work deadline, so I need to make myself scarce again. I'll try to pop in when I can, but I don't expect to post anything of substance until next week...and I have another deadline next week.


We've hit the potty jackpot

For my long time readers you may remember that we had a bit of trouble potty training The Boy. Eventually it worked, but there was much frustration on my part before it did. The Girl is just 2 years and 3 months old and she is already basically potty trained. I credit daycare for this feat, because we certainly didn't initiate the process. The Boy was over 3.5 before training did anything, so I just assumed we had another year of diapers ahead of us. I even recently purchased a mega pack of Kirkland diapers from Costco, but I'm not sure we will need them all. The Girl has been in her new underwear all weekend, and has remained accident free.

Way to go honey, and thanks for taking it upon yourself to potty train, your parents are too lazy to help you in that department. I think that perhaps you are trying to make up for being so ornery your first 4 months of life, and your parents greatly appreciate it!


Hello treadmill my old friend

Forgive this post, but as I was running on the treadmill this fine morning I started composing a sad and lame little version of the awesome Simon and Garfunkel tune The Sound of Silence. The background is that I was running on my incredibly loud treadmill early in the morning, and my children woke up in the middle of my run. If you can finish it with treadmill running appropriate lyrics for the last two verses of the song I will bow down to you. I started watching the local news after I got these three verses down:

Hello treadmill, my old friend,
I’ve come to run on you again,
Because my husband who is trav-ling,
Left our kids while they were sleeping,
And the addiction that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of loudness.

In restless dreams I ran alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
neath the halo of a closet light,
I turned my shoes to the hard and fake
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A red L-E-D
That split the dawn
And touched the sound of loudness.

And in the dim light I saw
Two other people, maybe more.
Children waking without screaming,
Children whining without listening,
Children disturbing runs that mommies couldn’t share
And they both dared
Disturb the sound of loudness.


The Telephone Game

Here’s a fun little link-sharing Meme, courtesy of Fracas, that could devolve rather quickly into something a little less than wholesome:

Remember when we were kids and at every opportunity, some adult would have us play that silly Telephone game? You know… the one where the lead person comes up with a sentence or statement, whispers it into the ear of the next person in line, and the sentence is passed from person to person until it reaches the end of the line. The last person then repeats the sentence out loud, the first person announces what it actually was, and everyone gets to laugh about how goofy it got by being passed from ear to ear and being altered because of mispronunciations and hearing ability.

Of course I realize that the game was simply a means for adults to keep us in line while we were waiting for something or killing time. Haven’t we even now as adults, tried to use it on our own kids?

Being the silly kind of fracas that I am, I’ve decided to create an internet version of the game, and use it as an opportunity for link-getting. Everyone wants links, and yet lots of people I know, prefer to get their links in a non-obvious kind of way. We’ve all done the “copy this list and create a post and you’ll get links” type of tag…at least once, but most of us don’t want to fill our blogs with those posts. It may get links, but eventually will chase readers away.

This is a fun way to give your readers something entertaining to read and get a few links too.

If you’ve been tagged, check the last entry on the list. Copy this entire post, add your name and link to the end of the list, copy the sentence in the previous person’s entry and change ONE word in it to try and change the meaning of the sentence for your entry. Name and link only ONE person to tag and then post the whole thing as a new entry in your own blog. Please make sure to transfer all the links to your post otherwise you aren’t providing fair linkage to the people before you. Although this will take longer to get around, by tagging only one person you will avoid making mass enemies by having to tag many people, and it will also guarantee only one true version of the game is circulating out there. Fracas, the creator, will attempt to keep tabs on the game and periodically report on it.
Please try not to tag someone you see is already on the list. If you’re on the list, have been tagged again by someone who didn’t pay attention to the instructions and you don’t want to do another turn, please leave a comment at this post over at Fracas, and Fracas will take your turn for you in order to keep the list going.

1. Fracas - http://fracas.wordpress.com/
writes:Never continue dating anyone who is rude to the waiter.

2. Mark @ Blogitude - http://www.blogitude.com/
writes:Never continue dating anyone who is nude to the waiter.

3. Wiggy - @ http://damewigginsoflee.wordpress.com/
Forever continue dating anyone who is nude to the waiter.

4. Froggy @ The Road Less Traveled - http://froglette79.wordpress.com/
Forever continue dating anyone who is nude under the waiter.

5. InTheFastLane@ That's Life - http://thatslifev2.blogspot.com/
Forever continue dating anyone who is nude under the water.

6. Treadmillista @ Just Treadmilling Around - http://treadmillinginplace.blogspot.com/
Forever continue dating everyone who is nude under the water

I Tag...Christine @ Watch me! no, watch me! - http://watchmenowatchme.blogspot.com/


And modesty has left the building

The other Moms of kids old enough to open doorknobs can likely relate to this...I hope. It has been at least 3 years since I have been able to pee in privacy. Oh sure at first I made the cursory attempt to shut the bathroom door while I peed, but after hundreds of screams of MOMMY I NEEEEED you with pounding on the door and me having to get off of the toilet to open the door, I stopped shutting the door much less locking it. Occasionally I shut the door now, only to have a toddler or preschooler burst in on me aghast that I would shut them out of the room I'm in. It used to bother me, but now peeing with the door open has become my new normal. It is so extreme now that even when the kids are in bed I leave the door open while peeing.

T walked in on me peeing a few weeks ago (after the kids were in bed), and gave me a load of crap about it. Not only is it not his new normal, but he has never given in to the whole peeing with the door open idea. He still very much shuts doors when he uses the bathroom, a commendable trait I suppose. I have noticed that the kids don't pound on the door when he is in the bathroom, there is no DAAAADY I NEEED YOU. They give him his space, his privacy, they leave him alone. I know there have been knocks on the door when he is using the bathroom, but he mostly ignores them until he is done. Perhaps I need to try his approach, because the whole peeing with the door open isn't exactly my cup of tea. Any bets as to how this little experiment will turn out?


How much to pay a babysitter

I stumbled upon a babysitting rate calculator a while back. Mostly out of curiosity I entered the information which fits our household and our normal babysitter. I was given the rate of $5.75 per hour, which is in the ballpark of what we've paid in the past. I usually feel like an idiot when it comes time to pay our babysitter, because we have never really discussed her rate. Why is it that I trust this girl to watch my kids, but yet feel uncomfortable asking her how much she expects to be paid? Of course as someone who babysat plenty as a teen, I don't think I ever gave parents a set rate, just accepted whatever they gave me. I was likely underpaid then, when I made $2.00 an hour for watching FOUR kids, the youngest of whom was in diapers.

Anyway, I am posting this mainly because I'm curious to see how accurate the calculator is for other areas. Is it in the ballpark for you?


How the podcast ruined my run

A few weeks back I discovered that I could download free podcasts from Itunes. It didn't seem all that exciting at first, but when I realized that I could replace the old tired music on my little Ipod Shuffle with podcasts for my runs I got a little thrill. So this morning I set out for my 10 miler armed with a water bottle, my cell phone, a baseball cap, and my magenta Shuffle filled with podcasts. The first mile was filled with music, but then I found a podcast and got engrossed. I made it through mile 6 or so on that first podcast (Manic Mommies if you are interested), and then Wait Wait Don't Tell Me came on. Ahhh, what a great show that is! I was so engrossed in listening to the shows that I forgot to worry about all of the aches and pains that can sometimes accompany a run. I also forgot to pay attention to my pace. My first mile was done in a respectable 9:15, but the rest of the run was downhill from there. I had only one other sub 10:00 minute mile today because I was running like I wasn't even trying. Oh well, I think I usually run my long runs too fast, so perhaps this was good for me. If nothing else it felt like the fastest 10 miler I've ever done...even if it was more than 10 minutes slower than I would have liked.

If you have any good podcasts to pass along please do so, my weekend long runs will be ever so grateful for new things to divert my attention from the fact that my feet are continually pounding against the pavement for miles on end.


Remodel: DONE!

I’ve been a little lazy about posting the final before and after pictures, but without further ado here they are (click on the images to see them full size):

The kitchen
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The dining room and entry way
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The living room
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The office
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And the bathroom (I never took a before picture, for reference there was carpet, ghastly wallpaper, and lots of open space for a former half bathroom)
Click for larger image

We are very happy with the outcome, and we were happy with our contractor. The project moved along quickly, we were well informed along the way, and when there was a big snag at the end they came through and made everything right. Looking at the before and after pictures really allows us to see just how different our house is now. We love our house now, and we would never have said that before. Now to buy some furniture, hang things on the walls, and just get comfortable in the space again.


Mashed potato tacos

I'm not quite sure what this says about me, but I found a link to this recipe on one of the message boards I frequent and I cannot stop thinking about making it. Not only have I decided that it is perfectly acceptable for T and the kids to eat omelets for dinner while I eat a vat of guacamole with chips (I added some lettuce and some tomatoes so I feel like it was actually a fairly healthy meal for me), but now I am dreaming of eating mashed potato tacos. No, I am not pregnant. Mashed potatoes, cheese, sour cream, french fried onions, taco shells, what more could you ask for? Of course I was thinking that perhaps it might taste even better with cream cheese instead of sour cream. I might end up declaring myself too lazy and just eating the entire can of french fried onions though, so I should resist the urge to buy the ingredients.


It could have been me

Yesterday started out as any Wednesday does in my world, nothing out of the ordinary occurred. I went through my day, going to work, picking up the kids from daycare, having dinner, etc, and then I got a phone call from T. He had taken The Girl to the hardware store with him, The Boy and I were home putzing around in the yard when the phone rang. T asked me if I was watching TV, if I had heard the news, what news I said. The bridge on 35W over the river collapsed. What? It collapsed? I instantly forgot about the lawn watering we were attempting and took The Boy inside. Turned on the TV and then sat there horrified by what I was seeing. When T had said the bridge over the river, I had thought immediately of the bridge over the Minnesota River which is much closer to our house, but no it was the bridge over the Mississippi. How could this happen? Just 10-15 miles from our house this huge tragedy took place, and was unfolding before our eyes.

Now I can’t stop myself from watching/reading/listening to any coverage I can find. Seeing Matt Lauer covering the story in Minneapolis live this morning struck a chord with me. This National story feels so personal to me. That bridge hasn’t been part of my daily commute for many years, but as a born and bred Minnesotan, someone who attended the University of Minnesota, and lived so very near to that bridge at one point in my life, it just feels like my world has been violated. I can’t even count how many times I have driven over that bridge, it was part of my daily commute for many years, but in the recent years I’ve only traveled over it a few times per month. I am so thankful that none of my friends or family members were on the bridge yesterday evening, but that isn’t allowing me to move on.

I am angry that there was prior evidence of fatigue stress on the bridge structure that wasn’t addressed. As a mechanical engineer I can’t help but go back to my statics and dynamics courses where I learned exactly what fatigue stress can do. I’m not ready to blame yet though, we don’t know enough. Nobody wanted this to happen, and I have to believe that if the bridge inspectors and engineers really felt it was a safety hazard it would have been fixed immediately regardless of budget constraints.

Mostly I just can’t get this image of me in my car, with my two kids strapped into their car seats behind me, as we plunge into the water out of my head. I know I have to stop thinking this way for my mental health, but there it is right now. What would I have done? Could I have saved both of my children? This immense feeling of dread has taken over my head today, and my thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one on the bridge, or is waiting for news about a missing family member or friend. I feel guilty for going about my normal routines today, guilty that my life hasn’t been directly affected, but also happy that it wasn’t us…and some more guilt for being so happy about that.

Edited to add a link to a pretty good editorial on the subject: Nick Coleman: Public anger will follow our Sorrow


Can I have one?

Last night just before bedtime The Boy emerged from our bedroom holding something in his hand. He held it up to T and asked, “Can I have one?” T looked at it and said “no, you should really try to avoid touching those for the rest of your life.” The Boy was confused, I piped in to tell him that it was mine, and that it wasn’t candy. I walked away as T was telling him that it was a feminine hygiene product, I’m guessing there were more follow-up questions.