Wednesday, December 17, 2008

we interrupt this rant to bring you...

a different rant!

you know how sometimes you have your day all set up & then something stupid happens that causes it to all come crashing down around your ears? well, that was my evening.

middlest had basketball practice tonight. the original plan is for middlest & biggest to walk/ride the bus to practice - thus not forcing me to drive all over God's green earth 4 times a week (we've finally discovered the joys of having children on two different teams in the same sport. with practices on opposite days. but games on the same day. argh.) but today it was raining. and i needed to grocery shop. and hit the library. so basically, if anyone is counting, i needed to be in three places at once...cooking dinner, grocery shopping & taking middlest to the gym. oh, yes, and then later was supposed to be at a basketball meeting

1 volunteered to take middlest to the gym so that i only had to be in two places at once. and that was just fine b/c what mama isn't used to being in two places at one time? and that's when it all came crashing down. it started with this phone call. "uh, you're going to have to cancel or reschedule grocery shopping. (not so easy when there is NO FOOD IN THE HOUSE since we spent the weekend in 1-seoul or 2-traffic) my car overheated & i don't think i should drive it." see, i could take the baby to the grocery store. but i learned a couple of months ago that with a littlest like i have - houdini-esque you could say - you don't take her to the grocery store unless you have back-up. which doesn't work very well, either, as the back-up is very good at asking for everything. which means that i usually end up spending about two times as much on groceries as i normally do. so back-up is really better known as fill-up (the cart, that is). so i don't take littlest to the grocery store if i can help it. so we still have no groceries.

because shortly after the overheating phone call, i got another phone call. and this time 1 & his hot-rod were broken down, of all places, directly in front of the front gate. and he was begging for antifreeze. oh for pete's sake. at least littlest had clothes on. hair wasn't combed but at least she had clothes. race over to post, locate the antifreeze, bite the head off the guy in the gas station who was kind enough to offer to help even after having his head bitten off (yes, i apologized), drove back around post with said antifreeze, car starts. thank goodness. break the traffic rules getting out of the gate to journey down the street so the mechanic who should know us by name & have us on his christmas card list at this point can look at the hot rod & tell us that the water pump has gone out.

so we're back to being a one car family. and i've decided that, but for the exchange rate, the car is, by all rights, totalled by now. as we've spent as much, in won, on it as we spent, in dollars, to purchase it. the next thing that goes out on that bugger, the bugger itself goes. 1 loves his hot rod but, dangit, i refuse to spend anything else on it. forget it. not gonna happen.

so let's recap.
groceries gotten? nope
library trip? nope again
dinner cooked? actually, yes, but then had to be reheated & just wasn't the same
basketball meeting attended? yes, again. by the whole collette/coaxum family. that was ridiculous.

it's christmas time. i don't want to spend money on a gosh-darn car. blah. a radiator, window motor, window regulator, door lock & water pump later, let's pray this is the end of it. if not, i have a sneaking suspicion that hot rod is gonna find himself in the han river. if you see it on the news, forget you know me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

and the rant goes on

You didn't think I'd forget, did you?

Ah, yes, breastfeeding. Nature's first food. Asshole's second target.

Somehow he managed to draw a parallel between homeschool & breastfeeding. I THINK it had something to do with mamas having issues with letting their children go, thus keeping them home for school & also encouraging extended breastfeeding. I think that's where it came from. This was the second part of his monologue so I may have been confused by all the BS the first part held.

I was (quite luckily, I might add) informed of the fact that DOCTORS (oh, very important! i better listen up!) have said that breastfeeding past 4 months is BAD for babies! And does anyone want to know the reason that doctors say this? (looks around to make sure everyone is paying very close attention) It's because of the PAIN involved to the mother due to the fact that at 4 months, most babies are teething. Yes, that's right, folks! You heard it here! Everybody put away that boob right now if your baby is more than 4 months old! Don't you know that the fact that baby MAY at this point in his life be teething &, therefore, could cause a little pain to your boobies at some point is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than the antibodies, health benefits and generalized well-being that nursing imparts? *coughcoughbullshitcoughcough** I took a deep breath. The bar has a new owner & I'm still trying to make friends so I didn't want to make a scene. But if some jackass 40 year old with one child & no boobs thinks he's going to tell me that breastfeeding mothers are doing irreparable damage to their children by feeding them the way God intended and that I would smile & nod & agree with him, he had another think coming. The entire time he was rambling along, I had my eyes on 1. Who was biting his lip & watching me out of the corner of his eye. Possibly waiting for me to explode. He's known me too long.

Here's what my research tells me. Nursing with no other form of supplement or food is recommended until the age of 6 months. Nursing a child provides that child with antibodies from the mother, provides them with the proper amount of calories to help them grow without becoming little fatties, creates a bond between mother & child that, in my opinion, cannot be matched, produces children with fewer (I did not say no) allergies and promotes mental & physical development. One of my mother's favorite sayings is that breastmilk builds brains, not bones. Not to mention the convenience (no stumbling to the kitchen in the middle of the night to groggily mix a bottle), the smaller amount of "stuff" that has to fit in the diaper bag, never having to worry if the milk is at the proper temperature. This list could take over my blog. Once baby food and, eventually, table food is started, supplemental nursing to one year is accepted in most pediatric circles. Should a family take a "no vaccination" or even "selective vaccination" stance, breastfeeding is recommended until the age of 2, due to the additional antibodies & health benefits imparted by mother's milk.

We are a selective vaccination (at least for littlest) family. Had I known as much about vaccines with middlest as I do now, I may well have been even more selective that I was. (middlest is allergic to pertussis vaccine and to this day does not get it). That & if I had had a more parent-supporting pediatrician at the time, that probably would have helped too. But I digress, as usual.

Littlest is still nursing. She will be 21 months 2 days after Christmas. We are down to morning, nap & night. She asks to nurse several times during the day but, for the most part, does not get it. Littlest has a wheat allergy &, as such, her diet is rather limited. Nursing does not take the place of any meals but I do feel that it supplements her nutrition enough that she is not in need of any additional vitamins or medical intervention of any sort. I am seeing signs that our nursing journey is coming to an end but am not forcing it. Apparently I have also become a member of the child-led weaning camp (or is it cult, R? hahaha!), as well. Also there is the fact that littlest has not had an ear infection in her life. Lots of children littlest's age that I know have had quite a few & several already have tubes in their ears. I'm not saying that this can definitely be attributed solely to their mothers' decisions to nurse or not. I understand that genetics play a big part in health. I'm reasonably healthy and, as such, so are my girls. But I do feel that nursing littlest this long has certainly played a big part in keeping her healthy. To date, she has had several colds, a case of the stomach flu (thanks, dad!), one case of undetermined cause of barfing all night and a case of roseola. All normal childhood issues. Nothing out of the ordinary.

R rambled on for awhile about breastfeeding & when 1 could get a word in edgewise, he spoke up. The look on that man's face when he found out that littlest is 20 months & still nursing was close to priceless. To his credit, he didn't backtrack on his views. He just continued to spew out more ridiculousness. We did our best to defend our stance but when you are dealing with an arrogant idiot of this caliber, there is no penetrating his armor. He has girded himself with stupidity for so long that he has finally managed to convince himself that he is right, be all & end all.

Next up - the breastfeeding/homeschooling cult. AKA "why I should move to California".

Oh, and Belynda? I'll fight you for first in line. Bring your easter eggs, traffic cones & forks. (how'd ya like that plug?! )

Sunday, December 7, 2008

caution...rant/tirade ahead

If someone comes up with a miracle drug to rid the world of assholes, please do let me know. I’ll be first in line to purchase.

1 & I went out for a bit Friday night. (Ok, well, I went out for a bit & came home due to mommy guilt. He stayed out for quite a bit & boy did he pay for it the next day & the next. Hungover people can be quite annoying. Nuff said). So we're sitting at the bar & some fella (R) walks in. Apparently 1 knows him. He introduces me & the first thing R says is "homeschooler, huh?" And I’m all "how did you know" which, of course, if 1 knows him, maybe that's how he knows. But I don't know how well 1 knows him so I discount that idea for the moment. The 2nd thing R says is "you've just got that ultra conservative look about you." !!! And he says it with a look on his face like he just bit into something nasty. And then the fun begins.

That man is apparently against EVERYTHING I am "for". Or, as will be revealed, have been "for" at some time in my life. I was treated to an oral dissertation on how homeschooling beyond 6th grade is a grave disservice to children, that breastfeeding beyond 4 months is NOT recommended by doctors, that it is "interesting" that middlest's bio-asshole (see! another one!) is black & that homeschoolers who breastfeed past 4 months are a cult. Oh, yeah, and that I should move to California because I’d fit in well there. There may have been more but by that point, I had decided it was either tune out or get out & it was way too cold to venture back out yet.

This man is 40 years old, has one daughter the same age as middlest & apparently thinks he owns the world & all the information in it. Thus, anyone who disagrees with his narrow-minded &, at times, incorrect & backed up by research incorrect views must be beat about the head with said views until they fall down on the floor & acquiesce to his larger brain, thus assuaging his super ego which was the whole point of the treatise to begin with. I could not believe his audacity.

First he attacked our decision to homeschool. I’ve had to defend it before so that was no big deal. Sometimes I attack our decision to homeschool after a particularly miserable week, or day, or hour. I’m ok with that. Practice makes perfect. He had all kinds of reasons for why homeschool is a poor decision. Let’s see if I can recall...

1-the socialization myth. Good try. Biggest & middlest have all kinds of buddies on post. They don't see them every day (see: miserable day) but do see them at least every weekend, if not more. With basketball season starting up, they'll see them even more. I don't keep my kids isolated in my home. If we were in the states there would be even more of an exposure to other people. Alas, homeschool co-ops here = nonexistent in this area so we make do with what we've got. Neither one of these children is lacking in social skills. Cleaning skills? Listening skills? Acting like a decent human being rather than a teenager skills? Yes! Social skills? No!
2-socialization myth spin-off. Something along the lines of if my children were in public school, they would ALREADY KNOW ALL ABOUT SEX & SEXUALITY & therefore wouldn’t have any curiosity about it. Part of his "research" to substantiate this pig-headed opinion was that a "friend" of his homeschooled & sent her 2 children off to college in other states. One of them came home pregnant 8 months later. (don’t people always have friends of the same race, color, creed or mentality of the people they are currently de-
meaning?) That’s plain out & out stupid. My children don’t NEED to be exposed to garbage to make them “normal”. Again, they are not completely sheltered in our home. Their father & I allow them freedoms based on their age & our estimation of their maturity level. This does not include movies based on gratuitous sexuality, pornography or video games with sexuality or great amounts of profanity. I know that they have both seen & heard & played these things before since, try as I might, I cannot control the world, other people’s children, other children’s parents or bio-idiots. But they don’t get that garbage in my home. They’ll be out there in that big, bad world soon enough. My job is to give them enough of a moral background to stand on to support themselves in all manners - social, moral, intellectual, logical - the list could go on. Should they choose to take a different road than the one I set them on, I can only hope & pray that they find their way home again quickly. I feel that garbage in = garbage out (as they have proven to me in the past). I refuse to feed the landfill.
3-And I can’t forget the blurb where told me something about “if your daughter goes off to college with her virginity intact…blah, blah, blah”. I had tuned out the sex talk at that point. I really wonder what he will do the first time he walks in on his daughter in bed with her boyfriend. Break out the champagne?

I think I’ve pretty much covered the gist of his stance on homeschooling. Are you disgusted yet? I was. I haven’t figured out why I stayed around for my ears to be further abused. I’ll have to plea the BELOW FREEZING weather outside. We hadn’t been there for that long & I really wasn’t ready to brave it yet again. And since this post is threatening to turn into a massive book, I think I’ll continue it further next post. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Globetrotters!

we had the privilege of seeing the Harlem Globetrotters tonight. they came to the next base up so we made the trip, along with 5 kids - 2 of whom aren't even ours but we all know teenagers travel in packs, right? - and 2 cars, and spent 2 1/2 hours watching some hilarious basketball.

excuse the shakiness of some of these videos. i had a 20 month old on my lap who thought that poking the camera was a good past time. and the video quality isn't that great, anyway, as it was my still camera that i was using to shoot.

first up - the beginning warm up. or parts of it, at least.

video

second up - more warm up. or "holy tits, that dude is TALL"

video

third - middlest helping out with the YMCA. what a cool kid. (she's the one in the orange shirt)

video

and last but not least - just more of what those guys do so well!

video

Thursday, November 13, 2008

confused...

if we are NOT supposed to see color, then why is everybody so up in arms about a "black" man being elected to the presidency? (black in quotes on account of the fact that both his parents are not black...but people like to forget that in favor of his father's race as that is much more "attention getting" & "history making" than a "mulatto" man being elected...did i mention how much i hate that word?)

i've read posts about people getting their children up in the middle of the night to watch election returns & "history being made".

i'm sure i'll get a beatdown about this if enough people get ahold of it. yeah, ask me if i care. noncomformity seems to have always been my middle name, in one way or another. i may not please you. and? your point?

shouldn't we be more concerned about what will happen to the government of our country & the BELIEFS of the people running it than what color their skin is? are we supposed to think that because he is black...excuse me, half black...that he will be the be-all & end-all to the country's woes? is his racial background going to ensure that he can straighten out the mess that America is in? will his experiences as a half black man make it any easier to drain the cess pool that American has become?

but we're not supposed to see color. we should see the man who professes "change" for everyone. a man who promises that he will turn the country around for better for everyone. the man who has taken on one hell of a job. a man who needs more support for his job and less for his history making status.

yes, it is something different. yes, just the very fact of a man of color being elected to run America is something we've never, ever seen before. yes, to that end he has caused "change". but until he actually changes the climate of American politics, economy, day-to-day living, i'll have to pass him off as just another man. he'll garner a bit of my respect that is due his position. but if anyone is expecting me to profess him my messiah, to fall down on my face to him BEFORE i see any results? well, the whole messiah thing will never happen. neither will i worship a mere man. but neither will i put him on a pedestal just because he has overcome centuries of anger & hate. don't get me wrong. i'm glad he achieved a milestone. hooray for him. but if he does nothing more for the country than past leaders have done, then does he deserve to go down in history as any more than just another president? or will he always be upheld in front of the masses because he's half black?

it scares the hell out of me that a lot of people voted for the man based on his skin, rather than his values. i can't agree with most of what he stands for. i'll hold true to that-no matter his color.

Friday, November 7, 2008

and the cloud lifts...

i had gotten really close to the bottom. not like rock bottom where the druggies & such hang out but the bottom. feeling so low about lonely and homesick and way too much interaction with adolescents & toddlers and nowhere near enough with adults.

everything was suffering. NOT that i'm the nicest person in the world but whoa was i worse than usual. school wasn't getting the attention it needed-that is so bad for so many reasons. 1 probably wasn't feeling very loved around here. the house probably wasn't feeling very loved around here. i don't think anyone was feeling very loved around here. i just didn't much care about all that because i couldn't see around the black cloud that enveloped me in all ways.

and then i did that naked thing. (i'm not an elephant-see previous post). and had a good meeting with ladies who are of like-mind to me. (where someone prayed & thanked God for me as i have brought encouragement. me? encouraging? well, that's different!) and then went out & found a new restaurant. (is it ironic that i had NEVER had thai or indian food before i came to korea? i mean, wtf? guess when i get out of the box, i get out of the box!) and then had dinner with more lady friends where there was grown up conversation & laughter &, while there were kids in attendance, they weren't my kids so i wasn't the one putting kids back in seats & asking 7300 times about what they wanted to eat & reminding them to chew with their mouth shut & not poke their sister.

and i took a deep breath. and decided that maybe this place isn't so bad after all. and maybe there really is a reason i'm meant to be here. and that sometimes it is ok to let my guard down & put myself out there because not everyone is ugly. and that if sometimes i give it a chance, good things can happen. and it took me a year to become semi-satisfied with my current chapter but i think now i am. and now i can get back to a rhythm of life where everything isn't hopeless & cloudy & gray. and now everyone can have me back-me included. i've been in the hole before but last time it took some assistance to claw myself out. seems this time i've been able to do it on my own. maybe not quite on my own...let's say that i may have finally-after 32 years-discovered the power of prayer. and that i'm not ever truly alone. it took so long to get here...i think i'll stay for awhile.

Monday, November 3, 2008

yet another korean adventure

i went to a spa/sauna last night. except for briefly offending my western sensibilities a few times...oh my gosh it was AWESOME!

when you first walk in, you take your shoes off, pay & they hand you 2 towels & a set of clothes. it's really thin shorts & a top. i guess maybe like what i imagine a gym uniform to be (never had those when i went to school). your shoes go in a locker & you go into another room & get a key for a second locker. and then the fun begins!

you take off ALL your clothes. every single piece. um, yes, that includes your underpants. you can put a towel in front of you but it's about the size of a handtowel so it only covers right above your boobies & then falls right below your other stuff. yeah, that means your butt is NAKED out there for the world to see. then you take your naked self and your itty bitty towel into another room with lots of other naked people. this one had 3 hot tubs & one cold tub. i hear that the idea is you get in the hot tub & boil yourself for awhile & then you go jump in the cold tub & your very open pores squoosh shut & force out all the ick. fantastic visual, huh? we did that a couple of times (except i wasn't jumping-i despise cold water). then we went into the wet sauna rooms. those were nice unless you leaned back against the walls which are all rocks and/or mud. they don't use concrete because toxins leach out of it what with it being exposed to heat/moisture at such high rates all the time. and then you jump in the cold tub again (or ease in so you don't give yourself a heart attack). and then we went & sat in the hot tub again until the massage/scrub lady came to get us.

out of all the people in there, the massage/scrub ladies were the only one with any clothes on & that consisted of a black bra & black panties. possibly so that when they either sat on you or stood on you or leaned on you during the whole process, "parts" wouldn't accidentally be touched. apparently it's not just my western sensibilities affected by that. they lay you down on a table & throw a big old bowl of hot water on you. then they put on these mitten things (you know those round scrubber things that you use on dishes? they are plastic & usually some bright primary color? that's about the best way i can describe those mittens) & they scrub you all over. by all over, i mean all over. i don't think i've ever had my armpits scrubbed before. ok, well, i've never had one of those scrubbings before but i've had massages & stuff & no one ever touched my armpits. wow. yikes. but "yikes-er" was the part where they scrubbed my butt. yeah, the whole thing. they scrubbed everything. have you ever heard an old person say "wash as far as possible & then wash possible" when telling a kid to take a bath? well, they scrubbed as far as possible & probably on the very edges of possible. this wasn't in a private room, either, so the whole time i can hear everybody in the tub room & people keep coming in to "sign up" for a scrub & stuff. i'd have to say i was more exposed in the scrub room that i was while giving birth. at least then i had a hospital gown on the top half of me! after she scrubbed every small bit of dead skin off my body & quite possibly some live skin, too, she rinsed it all off & then i had a massage & a cucumber facial. the massage sure wasn't as terrifying as that last one i had here. it was pretty nice & she washed my hair afterwards to get rid of all the oil. and, like i said, i was stood on, squatted on & leaned on. and a few times i felt like i was gonna slide off the table from all the oil. the only thing holding me on was the hand towel she stuck under my back (kind of like you put a damp dish towel under your cutting board to keep it from running away?) apparently for that very purpose. and then i took a shower & put on my gym suit. and went off on another adventure.

we went to the common area. the spa has a men's side & a women's side & then they have a common area for everyone to go to. and everybody wears their gym suits in the common area so it's cool.

they have a restaurant, a snack bar, a computer area, a sleeping loft & then a big open area that (i think) doubles as a movie theater & has massaging recliners, tvs & some big tree trunks that double as seats. they are all polished & everything so there's no danger of splinters in your butt. oh and there are 3 dry sauna rooms & a freezer room.

we got a drink & checked out the dry sauna room. the rooms are all different temperatures so you can choose your poison depending on how hot you want to get. the floors are covered in woven mats & there are wooden pillows. it's like a 4 x 4 with a notch carved in it for your head. and of course it is sanded so you don't get splinters in your neck. they're really concerned with splinters, i'd say. we sat around in there for awhile & then went into the freezer room. it greatly resembles a walk-in freezer, for those of you familiar with the backs of restaurants or stores. there are wooden slats on the floor so you don't freeze your feet off & benches lining the room for you to sit on. the walls are iced-over elements. so again with not leaning back on there. apparently that follows the same philosophy of open your pores, close your pores, squoosh the stuff out.

we hung out in the common area for a good while, just talking. there were quite a few people there, including kids. you can bring your children to the spa. i was told that women can bring their little boys 5 & under into the ladies area but then they have to go to the men's area. we even saw a little baby! it's quite common to go the the spa & stay all night. if we had sat in the dry sauna room much longer, i would have fallen asleep. but i figured i should probably come home. there were people camped out all over the floor in the common room & in the recliners sleeping. there was a flight of stairs in the ladies spa area that led to a sleeping room with a really low light & some sleeping mats. it was like home away from home but with the added benefit that you didn't have to clean!

we left my house at 6:30, had to go pick someone up, got to the spa at about 7:45 (stupid traffic lights). we didn't get home until 2:30. 1 called when i was on the main road, almost home. "what are you doing?" i told him i was driving home & he was all "i didn't think you'd be there all day!" heck, neither did i! i'm used to a massage appointment taking 1 1/2 hours! we did go get something to eat afterwards b/c by time we were all finished, the restaurant was closed & we were hungry. we had a great time & have tentatively decided to try to do it once a month. it was an awesome girls' night out once we got past the naked part. we might even take all the kids (there are 7 between the 3 families) & make a family day of it. we just have to talk 1 into it. he's not so sure about the naked part.

Monday, October 27, 2008

white rabbit

so we had a field trip last week. it was supposed to happen on thursday but since the forecast called for rain, it got postponed to friday. had to listen to some bent-out-of-shape whining from biggest & middlest who were really looking forward to a day off of school - apparently it hadn't occurred to them that they were still getting a day off, just not the same one - and that meant i had to get up at the ungodly hour of 6am 2 days in a row but i digress. (oh, and for the record, littlest usually has me up that early but for the most part is content to just lie in the bed & nurse so it's not like my brain has to function or anything)

so friday - again up at retard-o-clock, into the shower & then banging on doors to awaken children who, for all their excitement about the field trip, sure weren't moving real fast to get us there on time. remember that statement...ON TIME.

manage to make it out the door 10 minutes before take off with 3 kids, 2 backpacks - one full of diapers & the other full of sandwiches - light jackets & no toys for the bus ride. see, that's what happens when i am made to move before my brain is awake. and, oh yeah, add the phrase "light jackets" to your list of things to remember.

we made it to the pick-up point with a minute to spare. and jumped on the bus. and then we sat & waited. and waited. and waaaaiiiiittttteeeeedddd. because apparently 8am doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. like, to some people it means 8:30. nice. i wasn't really on a time constraint because i didn't have other kids to pick up from school. so it didn't much matter to me that we left 45 minutes late because i didn't have to be back any time special. hell, we could have stayed up there all day. 1 is remarkably self-sufficient when he has to be & weiner was in the bathroom so if a mess had to be made, he was in the right spot! but, alas, we were on their time schedule.

we went to the zoo. and holy hannah was it cold! so those light jackets? not so useful! windy? oh yes. the best part of the trip? the seal & dolphin show because for half an hour, we were inside! out of the wind! and there were cool seal & dolphin tricks! that zoo is so dang big, we barely saw any of it. after the show, we had lunch on a bench while freezing our tails off & the big kids got churros. mmmm, churros. and then it was time to hot foot it back to the bus so that we could make curfew. which was 1pm. and then we waited. and waited and waited some more. mind you, i didn't NEED a curfew. my kids were all with me. but to be nice & respectful of those who did need a curfew, we found our way back to the bus at the predetermined time. but no one else found their way back for another 20 minutes. sigh. good thing for a bus driver prepared for the inevitable kid boredom who found a scooby doo dvd which had all 3 kiddos transfixed for the better part of the ride. well, 2 at least. biggest is too cool for scooby doo so he plugged into his ipod & spent the ride with a jacket on his head. finally the rest of the group made their appearance (yes, the rest...we were the only ones on time! imagine that! the C____s on time! my goodness!)

as soon as we departed seoul, the cell phones made an appearance as arrangements were made for other children to be picked up and/or stashed until we made our (belated) arrival at post. um. perhaps if you had been ON TIME when told to be, you wouldn't be stressed/pressed for time now. i thought the army was supposed to teach things like that. course, these were (i believe) army spouses but you would think those core values would rub off. or something. if i, the most disorganized & scatterbrained person on the planet since gaining another child, can manage to get somewhere on time with everything i need (toys were wants, not needs...get off my back), then what excuse do they have? not to mention that the majority of them live ON POST so, what, a 5 minute walk to the pick-up point? c'mon now. get it together.

course, if people WERE to get it together, i wouldn't have anything to bitch...err...blog about, now would i?

points to anyone who gets the title reference!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ah, yes, everything IS broken.

so. BN & G's wedding has come & gone 2 weeks ago. apparently it was wonderful & beautiful & all those other little "ful's" that a bride hopes her big day will be. hopefully pics will be available for my viewing pleasure eventually.

and anyhow...my synopsis on how, once again, everything is broken.

BN & G registered at a certain department store. they didn't have a huge registry as housekeeping has already been set up for quite sometime now. but i picked something off of it that was kind of a result of a (admittedly bad) joke i made upon the first view of the registry. but, of course, the item was marked "sold out for delivery". grrr. and if we have one of those stores around here, i've yet to find it. not to mention that with all the broken stuff around the world, they would have probably received their gift for their 5th anniversary. so i call my mama. she has one of those stores in her town so i figured that perhaps she could run down & pick one up for me. and then i discovered the option on the website allowing ME to pay for it but my MAMA to pick it up at the store. you know...the store in S_____, USA. where i'm currently not. please keep that fact in mind.

i happily punch in my options & then my info & my mama's info. meanwhile, i'm on the phone to my mama filling her in on what needs to be done on her end. in S_____, USA. after i finish my ordering, it sends me an email that the store is currently closed but that my order will be processed when it opens. which will be sometime my evening, mom's morning.

so that evening i checked my email. and, sure enough, there's an email from the store that tells me that my order has been filled & that when I, BRANDI C____, come to pick up the item from S____, USA, I must bring proper ID. um. brandi c_____ is not in S_____, USA. not in usa, period. @#$^@#%%^*$%E.

i mean, for once could something work the way it is supposed to? i mean really. how difficult is it to do what you say you are going to do? in other words, make your website perform properly? after much gnashing of teeth, pulling of hair & watching the clock to allow my mother enough time to wake up over there around the world in S_____, USA, i call her up to see what she made of the newest ridiculosity (yes, yes, i did just make that word up. wanna make something of it?). and she reminded me that she, in essence, could be "me" at the store as she has a power of attorney in my name! well, duh! how could i forget that small detail? and with that short conversation, my mind was at rest & BN & G had half of their present.

sure would have saved my nerves a little bit had the durn thing just worked the way it was supposed to, ya know? what the heck is the point of advertising a service & then it doesn't work? it seems as if most everything around the world suffers from the outright stupidity. the government, the systems, the PEOPLE. dear Lord, don't get me started on the people. just absolute stupidity., makes me wonder how we have survived for so long without blowing ourselves up. course, rate we're going? that's probably just around the corner.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

just wow.

Friday, September 26, 2008

disillusionment...

and it all began with a field trip.

we spent the day on a cultural tour. it involved a tour of the OB brewery-including free beer for those of us in the family that are 1-of age & 2-like beer. there's only one of us that fit those criteria. then there was lunch. i won't elaborate on that. it wasn't great. and then a visit to the folk village which was nice but, just like last time, way too much dust/dirt for me.

and then we came home & i had a headache. one of those all consuming headaches where you pray that the end of the world will come just so your pain will end. don't know if it was the bus rides or the loud farmer's dance music or the fact that i forgot my allergy medicine or that i have managed to catch 1's nasty cold but my head was throbbing so much that curling up in my bed and not coming out for, like, 3 days sounded like a good idea. alas, it was not to be. tonight starts the friday night bowling league for 1. so off he went & left me with the headache of the century & 3 kids who acted like, for all intents and purposes, they were starving and hadn't been fed in 3 years. (damn, 3 must be my number tonight).

so i decided to brave the wild world of korean delivery. it's been advertised to me as being way much better than delivery in the states. if the mul man is any indication, i can buy that. i found an english menu & called the place. got an english speaker on the line. placed my order, gave my address & answered the questions. hung up & felt pretty good about myself. ran downstairs & opened the door. figured since korean delivery in on such a high plane, leaving the door open for a few minutes wouldn't cause any harm. after 30 minutes & no food, i ran down to check that the door was still open. and discovered, to my dismay, that 2 of the 3 bikes parked in the entryway are gone. fuck. only 1 of those missing bikes belonged to us. fucker. now i've got to go tell someone that their bike is stolen, it's my fault & now i've also got to buy a new one. fuckest.

i rang both the neighbors doorbells but apparently they were being antisocial as no one answered. i headed out to the porch to watch for the (still missing) delivery man. and the upstairs neighbor was on his porch. come to find out that, not only was the bike there on their behalf, but it wasn't even his. they don't have a car & apparently he was borrowing the bike from a friend to get himself to & from work. oh man. things just keep getting better! i'll be visiting the PX tomorrow to purchase a new bike. and probably a new lock b/c i'm sure the lock was on the bike when it took its walk.

biggest & the neighbor are cavassing the neighborhood right now. they've walked all around & are doing it again. thing is, there are so many alleys & little side streets that who knows where to even start? and it's been 2 hours since delivery now & still no food. so i'm thinking we got jacked by the korean delivery guy. man am i pissed.

biggest & neighbor just got back. no such luck. and apparently the food place is playing "no speak engrish". funny, since when i placed my order, i sure was speaking engrish & they sure seemed to understand me. seems someone needs to check their delivery guys scooter boxes. i'm betting they would find some bikes.

apparently this is what happens when i let my guard down. guess i'll need to put those walls back up now. assholes.

Monday, September 22, 2008

coincidence...?

American Heritage Dictionary -
a·bom·i·na·tion (ə-bŏm'ə-nā'shən)
n.
1. Abhorrence; disgust.
2. A cause of abhorrence or disgust.

and then there is this...




...i think not.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

observations...

it's just 3 little ones for now. apparently i'm really getting acclimated so things aren't as NEW! and EXCITING! as they once were. sigh. have we really almost been here a year?

1st off...the definite lack of stop signs. we live on a street corner that is 4 streets meeting with a little bitty dead end thrown off to the side for good measure. so almost like 5 points? there is not one stop sign...stop line...stop light...yield sign...whatever to be seen. i guess everything gets treated kind of like a 4 way stop? unless you're a cab. then it's every man for himself. oh! oh! or a bus! then you better move your ass! going down the little road to family mart, there are several more intersections the exact same way. russian roulette in a vehicle. ahh...korea.

2nd...our address. wtf is up with THAT? it consists of (town name) and then 6 numbers. so...say...smithville (ok, ok. kimville) 123456. oh, yeah, and F2 cause we're on the 2nd floor. no street name, no zip code. but apparently it works b/c that brings me to #3....

i called for water delivery the other day. it's on base so it's english speaking (can i get a whoo hoo?). i called them at 11:29. told them i needed 2 bottles of water, had two empty bottles to turn in & that i am at smithville...i mean...kimville 123456 F2. and the lady said they'd be here at 12:30ish. at 11:43-i kid you not-the phone rang & it was the water lady again. she called to tell me that the water man was at my downstairs door & it was locked? could i please come open it? cause, oh yeah, we have a big door downstairs with an electronic lock on it & then our regular door upstairs with **gasp!** regular keyed locks on it. so biggest ran down to open the door & bring the water up. but mr. mul (water in korean!) man wouldn't let him. so up they both came-biggest empty handed, MMM with both bottles. and off he went. i might could get used to that. i guess maybe it might make up for the lack of traffic signs.


**COMING SOON**
an "everything is broken" post. but it will have to wait for a certain auspicious event taking place in the states that i'm going to have to miss. wouldn't want to spoil the surprise. so sad that i won't get to go...love you guys!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

house pics

these will be new house pics. please excuse the mess as we are still unpacking.
view into the house from the front door:

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view into kitchen from front door:

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view down the hallway from the front door. straight ahead is the bathroom (duh), the doorway is biggest's room & turning left after the doorway but before the bathroom is a short hallway into middlest's room.

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littlest's room:

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middlest's room:

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biggest's room:

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view off the porch:

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ever present rice paddies (in the distance):

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

languages...learned or inherent?

i'm curious about something. i'm sure there is someone out there to ask this but durned if i know who. i'll be putting in an email to an uncle of mine who teaches & is fluent in several different languages. just thought i'd put it out there on the internet & see if there are any other opinions.

i have taken 2 languages in my life-french & spanish. french was in 4th & 5th grades which was i can't count how many years ago. i have never once used it again except for last year when a phrase came spouting out of my mouth from nowhere & i had to call my french buddy to find out what i'd said. imagine my amazement when i found that i had said what i meant to say & said it properly. spanish was in highschool. 9th & 10th? or maybe 10th & 11th? shame that i can't remember. i have had opportunity to use it a bit since then...seems plenty of hispanics like car auctions &, hey!, i worked at that mexican car lot (owned by koreans...foreshadowing much?). but i never got anywhere near fluency & since i'm a control freak, i have a hard time attempting anything in the public eye that i am not 100% at. but i'd like to think that i can grasp a bit of what people are saying to me &, if i'm reading it, i can put some words together & come up with a fairly decent explanation some of the time.

1 took spanish in highschool with me. he wasn't ever much good at it (remember the time the sub caught you cheating?). his mom speaks tagalog & the hopes were that the spanish would assist him in learning her native language. he didn't follow through. he is simply an american with filipino background.

i am having the absolute hardest time with the language over here. i have a few (very few) words & even fewer phrases (that are actually just words over here). we're going to get into korean classes-not sure how much participation i'll be able to have due to littlest & her need for constant MAMA! attention. but we'll give it a shot. and, worst comes to worst, i'll try to suck off of what middlest & biggest learn. i'd really like to be able to communicate. our landlady rattles on at me in korean & i'm so totally lost so i just smile & nod & hope i'm not telling her it is ok to up our rent. 1, on the other hand, actually seems to understand a bit. we were sitting on the porch tonight & he was eavesdropping on a conversation taking place in the road. he was able to pick out some things. me, on the other hand, clueless.

someone on the baby board tonight posted a question about a french school for her son. her post included some french phrases. i didn't verify with her but i feel as if i knew what the phrases meant. somehow french & spanish makes sense to me. maybe it's because i'm a "word" person. i love words. i love finding out what they mean. i love learning new ones. i'll look up a word in a minute so that i can add it to my vocabulary. of course, this may have something to do with my ability to understand, in some part, the "romance" languages. it all goes back to latin roots & they just flow in my head. korean is not latin based. i'm not even sure what the base is but it sure isn't latin.

which leads me, in a roundabout way of course because i'm me, to my question. is language a learned skill or is it in some form inherent to your being? i'm not sure of my ancestry but i come from europe with a little indian (native american) thrown in for good measure. so is there a predilection in my being for some european languages? somewhere deep in my psyche is there a language button that gets pushed when i hear something with latin roots? that causes my brain to function in such a way that i can grasp some of what i hear? or does it all have to do with the fact that i love words, i have taken bits of two seperate languages in my time here on earth & that has allowed my mind the ability to process things that would otherwise seem like nothing more than babble?

is it the same case for 1? the fact that his ancestry is here in asia...does that give him an inherent understanding or at least slight grasp of some of what he hears? his interest was peaked when he first came here & purchased a phrase book, dictionary & children's flash cards. he looks things up on the internet all the time. he has a definite interest in this language of theirs. not to say i don't but his is definitely more in the moment than mine is. i would like to be able to communicate but i am not feeling pressed to learn like i feel i should.

i'm just very curious as to whether there is any sort of precedent for this question of mine. i'm not even sure i agree with the concept of inherent knowledge but i can't put my finger on any other reason for why 1 and i are so different with this subject but we've been in much the same places but for our ancestry.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

done

we're in the new place. and boy different!

for the past year, we've been in the middle of endless rice paddies with the lovely smell of cow poo to put us to sleep at night & wake us up in the morning. and it wasn't bad b/c i'm really a country girl at heart-i grew up in the middle of corn fields with a farm down the road so cow poo is nothing new! but it was kind of isolated, as was the "old" apartment. most of our neighbors were americans so it never did really seem that we were in a foreign country.

that has all changed now! we're at a crossroads that seems to be a shortcut so people & cars are moving day & night. the voices of the kids floating through the windows are in korean, not english. everything is (still, of course) labeled in korean but some have english labels this time around. our dishwasher is the little bittiest thing i've ever seen. and most of the cabinets are accessible without a step stool! (seems the "old" apartment was built for americans. and apparently the builders thought they were some tall americans!) this apartment is definitely korean which is a welcome change since i am definitely not a tall american.

a vast majority of our stuff is still in boxes & we can't figure out where most of it came from! we KNOW we didn't ship this much stuff over here. and i know it wouldn't have fit in 8 suitcases. but the good news is that the movers didn't pack us out (as we learned the day before the move) so we got rid of a big bunch of trash while frantically boxing things up. but frantic also means disorganized so the baby's hair hasn't been combed in 2 days b/c we can't find the comb. at least we found the diapers.

this will be part 2 of the korean adventure. i'm sure this will be even more of an adventure since we're right smack dab in the middle of things (and truly so far out of my comfort zone but you do what you have to do, right?). biggest & middlest have already set out on their first unaccompanied trip to the base & an overnight. we'll see them in the morning. now if i could just reach littlest a word besides "MAMA!!!" (and, yes, that is just how she says it over & over again), i might get some work done.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

what is it with this family?

it's ok if you laugh after you read this. just please don't do it within my earshot as i fear i may be well on my way to a nervous breakdown...similar to what i almost suffered last year ABOUT THIS TIME. yeah, check that emphasis, why don't you?

we're moving again. it will be a good thing in the end. we'll be closer to the base which means the biggest & middlest will be closer to their friends, 1 may get some exercise by walking to bowling & i may get some too by walking around with littlest.

we looked at the place last week with a different realtor than our regular. the landlady apparently liked us even though i allowed littlest to roam with her shoes on (oops) & was allowing the weiner provided he isn't a destructive weiner. which he isn't. bossy, noisy & a general pain in the butt, yes. destructive, no. she apparently declined another deposit on the place in hopes that we would take it. we wrangled the ethics of the whole thing-old realtor vs. new realtor...who to choose? and 1 finally called them both today. we've gone with the new realtor as she is the one who showed us the place. and the negotiations began. just for the heck of it, we asked if she would pay for our move (yes!), a washer & dryer (yes, again!), and when did all this need to happen? (ok, commence laughing now)

the answer? IMMEDIATELY. which makes sense as we are at the end of the month (ok, the beginning) & the lady has held the place for us for a week but c'mon now. why does everything in the past couple of years have to happen so dang fast? we're moving to korea! so sell 3/4 of your life right now! and do it while being a single mom with a clingon! and come on over with 8 suitcases, 3 kids, a weiner & a grandma! ok, so we did that. and i'm sure we'll be able to do this too, especially since someone will be packing us out & moving it all & it is only down the street as opposed to around the world but for pete's sake! give me a minute to get used to the whole idea! speed of light + banni = not compatible.

oh, and in case that wasn't enough for you, we still don't have new orders. which means that come midnight tomorrow night, we no longer have base access for anything. and neither do our cars. which means our access to american food & the library are shut down. the bank? nope! nothing! 1 won't even be able to get to work by himself. someone will have to sign him in in order for him to put in his time. so aggravating to have to rely on someone else just to get basic things done. hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later as we are not available to do that stuff friday since we'll be with the movers. and at the dentist.

dammit, i need a vacation.

Friday, August 29, 2008

permit me to rant for a minute

so biggest & middlest have LOT of science experiments this year. like a ton. like we may be doing 2 in one day sometimes? but it's cool. and we get to use real lab equipment which will be valuable experience down the line. and that's where the trouble starts.

has anyone actually tried to order this stuff? oh, ordering it can be done. no problem. there are millions of websites out there for this kind of stuff. no biggie. the trick is finding one that will ship APO. and ship APO for a reasonable amount of money. no, i don't want to sell my first-born to obtain test tubes, thank-you-very-much. i was happily filling up 3 shopping carts last night...price comparing & all that...when i discovered upon checkout that 2 of the sites didn't ship APO. it would have been very nice to know that before i had a full shopping cart (yes, i scanned the sites for that info. & figured no news was good news). what that meant was that i had to go to the one site that did ship APO & empty the other 2 shopping carts into that one. and believe me when i tell you that it wasn't near as easy as, say, emptying carts into others at e-mart, for example. it was downright frustrating. and then i got tired & went to bed. and then this morning i got up to continue my emptying & refilling & damn if the laptop wasn't dead again. and then when i got onto the big computer to attempt to complete the process since school starts in, like, a WEEK, the internet went down. anyone up for a good conspiracy theory right about now? fiddled with the stupid internet all day to no avail, 1 came home & kissed it AGAIN & up it came. sickening, i tell ya, sickening.

and i finally got to a point tonight where the internet cooperated, the shopping carts were full again and i only had to mortgage the korean apartment (no skin off my nose!) to pay for it & what do you know?

THOSE ASSHOLES WANTED TO CHARGE ME $22.00 TO SHIP $14 WORTH OF STUFF. wtf? i said i DIDN'T want to sell my first-born. weren't you freakin' listening? probably not. probably they were affected by the same bug that affected my kids: http://notthemonster3.livejournal.com/40342.html
and so off i went to transfer carts again. this time to a completely different site. pisses me off that i wasted all that time doing price comparisons to be gutted by shipping in the end. damn it.

i told biggest (as he is the only one available at the moment) that they better enjoy these science experiments, what with all the insanity i'm going through to get the stuff to perform them. and that was just the 1st QUARTER. do the math. i'm gonna have to do this 3 MORE TIMES this year. absolutely ridiculous.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

not the funniest trip log ever...maybe that's a good thing?

this trip was relatively uneventful compared to the last. we started off at the airport...all 19 of us. yes, 19. 2 of dd1's friends showed up & they were being teenage girls & some of the other passengers were staring at them like "dear God, please don't let those children be on our flight. please!" there were no SNAFU's at checkin (unlike last time) probably b/c 1-we didn't have a dog & 2-baby had a paper ticket this time! no SNAFU's at security either although there were a lot of tears. and they didn't have to call our name over the loudspeaker to make us get on the plane. we were on time, hassle-free & paying attention!

trip to atlanta took less than an hour. i think we all fell asleep. i was stuck in the hell between not enough sleep & too much to not affect me sleep. ugh. i usually only get about 2 hours before a trip like this. this time i got about 4 1/2. i learned my lesson. i'll just take a short nap next time.

atlanta was easy. our gate was where it was supposed to be. although we were dismayed to learn that since all our miles went to delta for the 1st trip, we couldn't upgrade on korean air. thanks for telling us! and there were quite a few babies so we couldn't get bassinet seating which meant no bulkhead seating. which meant all 5 of us were confined to a regular row of seats. no sleeping on the floor this flight!

the 1st issue arose 30 minutes into the flight. dh's tv broke. not sure what happened to it-just quit working. dh & dd1 were playing a game & they shut the thing off to takeoff & it wouldn't go back on. they tried to fix it but no such luck. so we traded seats a couple times so he could watch my tv.

2nd issue arose at dinner (lunch? breakfast? no clue what meal that was). apparently someone got confused about our special meal needs & assigned gluten free for all 4 of us. not that big a deal. except when the special meal is FISH. i don't/can't eat fish either. it's not an allergy. it's an issue with getting it down. i'm the queen of food phobias & the smell & taste of fish do me in. i was having issues smelling it while my family was eating it. bluch. so for brunner, i had 3 pieces of honeydew melon, 2 pieces of pineapple & a stale plastic tasting rice cake. yum, yummy, yum. i was quite discouraged. so i ate most of a bag of trail mix i brought along. what a piggy.

along came issue # 3 with the next meal. i pulled off the foil to find...you guessed it...FISH AGAIN! agh! between the 2 meals i ate the ham off a sandwich that was our snack, a package of peanuts & some more trail mix. sheesh. it seemed to be the exact same meal as earlier but maybe the fish was cooked differently? dh very nicely asked the flight attendant if maybe i could trade for a regular meal. we had to wait for them to finish serving all the normal, non-problematic people to see if there were extras. and there was! so i had some rubbery chicken (probably cause it had been heated like 2 hours before since i had to wait until last), corn, rice & peas. oh and potato salad. it was the best food ever. unless you count the hospital food i ate after delivering dd1. yeah, it would be a close competition between the 2.

there was a guy across the aisle from us who drank the whole first half of the flight. he was pounding budweisers left & right. guessing that was his first international flight. it's ok to have a drink or two. but you get so dang dehydrated up there just flying that you don't want to do anything to make it worse. he passed out before the 1st meal-much to the dismay of the korean lady trapped in the window seat. she was already apparently ill from the smell of all the budweiser (i can't stand the smell of beer either) & now she's trapped in the corner of her seat b/c he is passed out halfway into hers. she looked relieved when they woke sleeping beauty up to eat & she got her seat back. and you know when you drink, you have to pee alot. seems like everytime i turned around he was bugging the guy in the aisle seat to get up so he could go. i think i would have just told him to take the aisle seat in hopes that when he passed back out again, he would fall in the floor & quit invading my space! after he ate, he did pass back out again & the poor korean lady was pressed up against the wall again. at least she was a little korean lady so she could scoot away from drunk drooly guy.

the guy behind us was snoring so loud. snoring makes me crazy-ask poor dh. he makes the littlest snore & gets an elbow in the side. example: i went on a disney trip with my family years ago & we stayed in one room. i slept in the bathroom b/c my dad wouldn't stop snoring. it's just occurred to me that i sleep in some strange places. anyway, it was so loud that my headphones weren't helping drown it out. i was contemplating going to the bathroom & "tripping" over his foot so he'd stop. or maybe accidentally pushing me seat back really fast to squish his legs. i controlled myself though. barely. and on second thought, some of the snoring may have been coming from drunk drooly guy. wherever it was coming from-it was making me nuts.

i spent a good portion of the flight walking around with auri. she likes to scream on airplanes, apparently. loudly. and continuously. so up & down & up & down the aisles we went. i talked dh into taking her on a walk one time hoping i could read some of the jenny mccarthy autism book i had bought for the trip. he made one round & was back-i didn't even get to read 2 pages! and i'm a pretty fast reader! sigh. we had a coloring book, a mini magna doodle, a pooh bear, a tv with giraffes on it, a baby doll, assorted vehicles & boobs. they all held her attention for a .2 seconds & it was off to screaming again. she finally fell asleep for the last 3 hours or so. and slept in my lap this time so we didn't have to hunt down a handy patch of floor. i'm glad she wasn't the only screamer on there so i didn't feel too bad. apparently she is used to round eyes now b/c she wouldn't talk to any of the asian flight attendants that kept trying to play with/talk to her. wasn't having it. great. she'll have to get over that pretty soon i'm thinking.

airport was almost a breeze. apparently our visas weirded them out b/c they are set to expire in september & i put that our visit was for 365 days. yippee for language barriers. they finally let us all through after dh explained that auri doesn't have any other form of id b/c she is too little. we found all our luggage in record time & breezed through customs (mainly b/c we weren't bringing in any cows or fire arms). we located the money exchange & bus ticket kiosk. managed to get all 7 bags & 1 car seat & 1 stroller under the bus when it finally arrived. auri & i slept most of the 2 hour trip. our friends came to pick us up at the bus station & home we came. it was nice to walk into a clean house. it was weird b/c it smelled the way i remember it smelling when i got here last year. dh went & picked up the dog. i went to bed somewhere around 11 i think. auri got up & moving at 4:15 this morning & i have been up ever since. she went back down for a nap b/c she had a really bad case of the screamies.

dh has gone off for work. the big kids just got up so i'm going to make a grocery list since i have to buy the whole store since i was gone for a month. great.... today will be a busy one. please send non screamy baby vibes. i don't think i can handle any more of that today.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

profanity warning

FUCK!!! FUCK!!! FUCK!!! FUCK!!!

ok, so i figured out how to hide it but it's still there. my laptop died tonight. dead. like "hi, use me as a doorstop b/c i'm not any good for anything else" dead. and all my stuff has gone with it. 1 is trying to figure out how to rescue it but i'm more than a little worried that it is gone forever. i want to curl up in a fetal position & cry. i want to beat my fists on the floor. i want to hurl the damn thing out the window.

what stuff, you ask? what stuff, exactly, has you so spun up?

1-homeschool downloads...this includes different side lessons, ideas, sources, things like this. most of these were free but one time things. and some of them i paid for. if i dug around in my inbox, i may be able to resurrect the paid things. but where would i resurrect them to since my faithful partner is dead?

2-pictures. that got taken (deleted!) off the camera but never placed on a disk. yeah, yeah, i know. don't tell me.

3-(should be #1 on the list but i think you'll be able to figure that out) a semester's worth of homeschool lesson plans. A SEMESTER. that is roughly 85 lessons...17 weeks...of 7 classes a day.... someone please shoot me now. right now. here, i'll mark a spot on my forehead for you.

1 was trying to tell me what might could be wrong with it. i had to tell him to hush before i threw up. all that work is dead. and we start school in a week. a week full of jet lag, new orders (and all the new ID's, etc. that come with them!), sports registrations, unpacking & organizing, grocery shopping for EVERYTHING since we've been gone for a month. and now i've got to squeeze in a least a week's worth of lesson plans. excuse me while i go throw up. and then lay on the floor & cry.

Friday, August 22, 2008

ahh...america

things i have missed: (some) american tv (the guide channel, ace of cakes), olive garden (oh, yeah, zuppa toscana), chic-fil-a lemonade (yes!), sonic slushies (although it still hasn't been checked off my list!), publix grocery stores (clean! & well stocked!), friends (sniff, sniff...who's up for a move?).

things i haven't missed: american "manners" (ahem...lack there of), american tv commercials (c'mon y'all! i know AFN commercials are terrible but at least those people aren't advertising people. who makes these damn things?), american drivers (WTF! are you TRYING to get into an accident? agh!).

and exactly how have 3 weeks passed already? i told 1 last night that it seemed the 1st week just chugged by soooo slooooowwww & this one is just flying. i'm trying my damnedest not to think about it b/c if i do i might lose it. i think the hardest part is leaving littlest's baby friends. they play so well together & it's so cute to watch them. hopefully by time we make it back they'll still be friends.

baby friends, big girl friends, the foods i'm used too without having to show my ID, family 15 minutes away instead of a 15 hour flight. i'm starting to think this is going to be harder the 2nd time around.

Friday, August 15, 2008

my heart hurts

**posted to both blogs as i couldn't figure out where it belongs**

littlest was born with no fingers on her left hand. she has what they call posts for thumb and pinkie finger. she has some grasping ability and we work with her to improve that. sometimes we notice and sometimes we don't but she is perfect and ours either way. we wouldn't change her for the world.

i belong to a birthday club on a baby board. we are a bunch of women who all were due with babies in march 2007. several ladies are onto their next pregnancies & are due in december. they have notified me that there is a lady on their board who is due with twins. they just found out that they are girls. and at the same time, they were unable to find a left hand on one of the girls. i will most likely never meet this woman but i have read her post. my heart broke for her as i read because it seemed to mirror my first post about littlest's hand. she posts that she is devastated. her dream is broken because of what they saw on that ultrasound. and she is worried about many things in the future. i have provided my contact information for her to use if she wishes. i know her pain. i know that darkness. i wanted to close down, curl up & leave it all behind. but, like her, i have other children. i had to keep pushing through the anger and the questions and the hurt and keep living my life-the whole while dreading what was to come. 1 was there for me when i cried. he pushed his pain aside for me. he told most people our news when i couldn't find it in myself to do so. i dearly hope this lady has someone there with her to help wade through the pain.

i want to tell her that, while it seems so dark now, dawn is coming. that she will notice for the first moment of seeing her brand new daughter. but that that will be the last time it matters. we are both lucky-we knew ahead of time and had time to prepare ourselves. i'm not sure how i would have coped with it to find out in the delivery room for the first time. we made our peace with it before we had to deal with it first hand. i hope she can too. and then that little baby will just amaze and delight her family and everyone else she comes across. that that baby comes with a bit more of a learning curve that most. but they will adjust. her mama and daddy will teach themselves how to tie shoes one handed in preparation for that lesson. they will learn that she can cradle a snack cup with her left arm and use her right hand to pick out her favorite treats. that she will surprise them as she slides off a chair and catches herself on the edge of the table, to dangle for a moment until she is rescued. they will discover that it is easier to walk a one-handed toddler around a store because while the one hand is being held, it is more difficult for the other to snag things off of shelves.

while they are now concentrating on the things that can't be done, they will learn to look for the things that can. she has 5 other fingers just right for wearing rings. there are any number of sports that can be done one handed. musical instruments abound that only require one hand. it takes a little more effort than what anyone expects but it is all so worth it when the little victories occur. some people won't even notice that that baby is different. the inevitable cruelty will occur and they will have to steel themselves for it, as am i. but i seriously believe that it will occur much less than we are expecting. these babies will teach us lessons about our own selves and our expectations and shortcomings. they'll move mountains...and they will do it one-handed. and i want to tell this woman this. to let her know that she is not alone. that i've been there, done that. that i'm wearing her shoes.

who would have known 2 years ago when i found out that maybe, just maybe, i could use that pain to lead someone else, if not out of, at least to the brink of their pain so that they could see the sunlight again and regain their joy and anticipation. everything happens for a reason. this baby has been given to them for a reason. i hope they can realize that. i hope i can help them. i hope they can use this lesson to help someone else. i hope i can learn more about them because i can't wait to see how blessed they are with this gift.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

whatever, dude

sometimes i just have to wonder about people. several people, in fact.

1-we were supposed to go visiting this weekend. but stayed out a huge chunk of the night &, though we made it to church in the morning, that was about all we could accomplish. i have been going & going since we got here & just couldn't go anymore. and, yes, we had made plans to go visiting but my whole self just stopped. and we get asked why we didn't call. but i am quite certain that our phone numbers are saved in several phones so why didn't anyone call us? whatevs.

2-why do some people have to keep intruding on my/our lives? just go away. i'm not interested in craziness. and if you think that i'm going to allow your crazy into my daughter's life? wrong again, pal. please do crawl back under your rock. your friends the worms miss you.

and completely unrelated but i love the olympics. however, tonight it seems that the broadcasting this year is crap. it might help if i tried watching without a computer on my lap. ya think?

Monday, August 11, 2008

end of 1st week & 2nd weekend

i believe i'm the ONLY person on the planet who can some 1/2 way around the world & get a massage & the MASSAGE THERAPIST (emphasis as i was "schooled" on the proper terminology during my session) is from the country i just came from! actually, he was only 1/2 - from his mother - but it was still quite funny. and we talked the whole time as it was quite obvious i wasn't going to relax enough to fall asleep. not sure what the deal is with that.

got left alone thursday afternoon/evening as 1 took all the chillun to his mama's house to fix up the money pit. drank a good portion of a bottle of wine (scuppernong/muscadine variety...dang, that's good. owing to the vast quantity i consumed apparently) while waiting for C to come get me for our girls' night out. it was only the 2 of us as other people have to work or don't have babysitters. we did have fun though. went to the karaoke place so i could hear C sing which is always a treat. had a few more drinks. ugh. guess that's what a vacation is for? maybe?

friday night went to a mexican restaurant with the family, uncle j, jo & alan. it was nice. littlest seems to really like spicy cheese dip. she just kept dipping & licking her chip. yuck-o slimy chip when she was done. she is just as rotten & wouldn't stay in her high chair. but she's forgiven b/c she is pretty dang cute.

saturday afternoon was a get together at mom's house. it was great fun & plenty people came. it's crazy that we all have kids! carrie came with twins bryce & brandon. last time i saw them was when they were little fellas. they will be 4 next month. she looks great & is such a good mama. belynda came with all 3 of hers-amy, cody & eric. they are all huge too & amy just turned 13. somehow we all had kids in august-i was just a year late. and belynda came bearing a gift! a sewing machine! hip hip hooray! i'll bring it in for a check up this week then set about figuring out how to bring it home. yay! Bff & h came with the other princess who just crawled in & out & up & down. she & littlest were sharing cups again. we'll teach that baby how to use a straw cup yet! and matt & bobbie lynne came with their girls who are both just so tall & pretty. the yard was full of kids as neighbors came too & i just know i'm leaving someone out but hopefully i'll be forgiven? C & cliff & li'l cliff were supposed to come but family showed up so they had to miss. can't have it all, i suppose. aunt n came in from columbia & unca j showed up with his friend cori. the tree swing claimed cori as its daily victim...hopefully her ankle will be ok.

saturday night we left littlest with grandma & grandpa, much to her dismay. middlest & biggest stayed over at matt & bobbie lynne's house. went out with aunt n, uncle j, bff & h & another couple. got called home on littlest's account but while enroute were called again & told to go back as littlest had finally crashed out after crying for 1 1/2 hours. we had a great time out & about, much alcohol was consumed (is this a theme?) & even hit the "awful waffle" where i was threatened numerous times with a ketchup bottle for "throwing c's" at bff's h. i know that makes no sense but it was hilarious at the time. still is, although i'm sure they don't think so. it's almost over, guys!

today managed to make it to early church with everyone intact. went to brunch with the inlaws this afternoon & came home to say goodbye to aunt n. 1 took off with biggest & littlest, middlest stayed home & i took a nap! tomorrow is health department (again), tv guy, stove guy & i'm not sure who or what else. i shouldn't have taken that long ass nap since it is now 1am & i'm not anywhere near ready for bed. good to be back on schedule. snort.

oh for...

first off...my truck was making crazy noises when i got into it for the first time since being back. it has been driven while we've been gone. my mom drives it & a few people have borrowed it-most recently a friend of mine while her car was in the shop. so, i made it an appointment & took it up to the shop. they did about $1000 worth of work on it-most of it covered by warranty (the one time we bought an extended warranty-pshew!) & i got it back yesterday. and i only had to pay $50 deductible. and when i was driving it last night, the check engine light came on! agh!

well, littlest had a shot appointment this morning. 45 minutes from where my mom lives. so i drove my check engine light truck all the way out there. and the lady says "oh, i tried to call you! the nurse is out sick!" and it really isn't her fault as the only # she has for me is the IP phone which did come with us but is still packed. so i made the trip for nothing with $4/gallon gas. agh.

drove back into mom's town & took my truck to the shop again. had bff come pick me up. the service lady was all "it's probably just a code that needs to be cleared. we'll put it on the machine". somehow i didn't think so but whatever, we waited. lady comes back & tells me it is an O2 sensor which is covered under warranty but i will have to pay another $50 deductible. i tried to argue that but it didn't work. 6 hours later, i have my truck back & i'm light another $50. on the way home from church, the light flickered again. agh.

1 is trying to get the house wrapped up for renters. it needs painted inside (lots of light colored dirty walls), the carpets need cleaned & we need to hire a lawn service. yes, i have a money tree in korea, let me just get that wired for you. he was a real butthead about it earlier. he gets tunnel vision & if something/one gets in his way, he can get ugly. i got in his way. he got ugly. i'm not happy with him. there is a "for rent" sign in the yard. the market is crap so we're stuck with this for now. agh.

upside? everyone is doing great here; middlest got her hair semi straightened & loves it; littlest is having fun with baby friends, we went to little gym as a guest & they are giving us a mini package for while we are here which is fun; i think i'm going out tomorrow night, maybe friday night (with butthead) & possible saturday night (with butthead & friends) - we haven't had a date or kid free time in a long time so that is awesome; my bff who works for an airline might fly down friday & go back saturday just to see ME; and i have a massage appoitment tomorrow! yippee yahoo!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

first 3 days

cause friday doesn't really count as a day since it lasted 47 1/2 hours & only ended just after we finally reached charleston. so i can't count it.

saturday we woke up bright and early since littlest decided she was done sleeping & needed to go stomping all over granny & papa's house. how someone so little can make that much noise is beyond me. it was useless to get her to stop. and we really did try. 1 went to the house to...well, i'm not sure what he intended to do but i think it involved a good bit of bs'ing around with buddies. i left middlest & biggest with their granny & took off for some stores with littlest, bff & the other princess. she is huge! and so awful cute. when i left, she was brand new, barely cleaned off in a polka-dot sleeper and fit just right into my arms. not so much anymore. and littlest went to bff's h like it was nothing. crazy kid. guess she knows good people when she sees them-so long as they aren't related to her, she's good! cause she won't have anything to do with granny, papa, grandma or grandpa. just won't. unless it is by force & then it is barely tolerated. hopefully that will get better. i'm sure it will...just in time for us to leave.

saturday night we had a get-together at granny & papa's. lots of people came & littlest had the other princess & li'l cliff to play with. funny how she is the oldest but the littlest. apparently she & li'l cliff were on the outs as she pushed his chunky self right down on the floor. 2 hands, 1 step & plunk, down he went! i missed the sight. my girl knows how to take care of herself! but he was up & at em not 2 seconds later so no worries. the other princess cruised all around in her (what else?) princess walker until it came time for night night & down she went on a bedroom floor with some blankets. and slept until time to go home! why don't i have a baby like that?
sunday morning was supposed to be early church. ahem. not so much when you wake up 10 minutes before it should start. whoops. we did make it to late church & then lunch with grandma & grandpa & uncle j (not to be confused with unca). then 1 & uncle j disappeared to the house again (more bs'ing) while all 3 of the younguns & i headed for old navy. maybe it's the weekend but i don't know...old navy seemed a little empty. weird. we did manage to get a few things for next year when it turns cold. and then back to granny & papa's for dinner before packing our stuff again to head for grandma & grandpa's.

today littlest & i slept in-since we were up all freakin night, why not? grandma was up with the big kids & 1 went to the house again. grandma, biggest & middlest went to the old gym & jump place this afternoon & i did laundry (whoo hoo!). after dinner, littlest & i went to the house to go through more stuff (didn't i do this 10 months ago?) & there was another baby party. li'l cliff's neighbor showed up with her parents & a bottle of wine. that girl knows how to travel! and K brought her baby down. he's so cute! today was the first time i got to meet him. they leave in less than a week for family & then in the new year off to italy. middlest will go spend the night tomorrow. i'll go visit the other neighbor-A- when i drop her off.

big tragedies so far-my truck is acting up. so it is at the dealership awaiting a "look at" in the morning. hopefully warranty covers it. cross your fingers. didn't plan to spend my vacation money on a truck. grandma & grandpa do not have a working television & olympics start this week! whatever will i do? tv does have a warranty so hopefully that will be resolved as well.

and littlest still won't sleep. sigh. one of these days i'll get rest again. i should be asleep right now during the 5 minutes that her eyes are closed. but then when would i get to internet? sacrifices, sacrifices....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

good morning USA!

so it's 6:19am here which means that it is 7:20pm my brain's time & me, littlest & 1 are up. which is about normal for us if it was 6:19am our brain's time. so, anybody ready for a story? cause i might have one!

the korea to US flight wasn't horrible. it wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible. i will tell you, however, if we were running a contest between airlines, delta would NOT win the prize for best service between US & korea. i'm very happy that we are flying Korean Air back home in 3 1/2 weeks. i've only had 2 experiences with the overseas flight & i know everyone can have an off day but just based on those experiences, i know which one i would pick.

since we were the the airport 47 hours early we got all checked in & then went to find our gate & stuff & have some food. we forgot airport food = expensive. yikes. but we sucked it up & then got on the plane. we got to get on first b/c of littlest. and we had bulkhead seats for the bassinet so more leg room...yay!

the flight attendants weren't as friendly as on last year's flight. and...let's face it...some of them were kind of dumb...and rude. we requested that they bring the bassinet after the dinner service. and then had to request it several more times before it showed up. but before it showed up, the flight attendant was all "i have to go find it...every plane is different". um, ok. so if God forbid something happens, are you going to be able to deploy escape slides since they might be different from the last plane you flew? ugh. excuses. and then she brings the darn bassinet & tells 1 "you'll have to help me do this-i don't know how!" what! you big dummy! whose job is this? argh! they get the thing stuck to the wall only to find out that littlest is not having anything to do with it. sigh. all that for nothing. and then when we wanted them to come take it back (after I took it off the wall), they wouldn't. even though littlest pushed the call button 1874 times. maybe that's why they seemed to not like us?

oh and i forgot to talk about dinner. i ordered gluten free meals for me (littlest didn't have her own seat so she didn't get one...we shared). it's just easier to order gluten free than to try to explain wheat allergy. well, apparently saltine crackers are gluten free now? i really don't think so but if so, i'm mad that someone didn't tell me b/c i love saltine crackers! anyway, they brought the food thing around & we tell them that i ordered a gluten free meal. :um, we already gave out all the special meals. you weren't tagged." um. the lady at the desk confirmed it for me. so...where's my food? they scrounge around & find my meal (apparently all airplanes are different?) & it wasn't horrible except for the whole saltine cracker thing which kind of makes me worry about what other gluten/wheat product was in there. we'll have to watch littlest's face. greaaaaaat.
and littlest. oh, littlest. littlest didn't want to sleep in the bassinet & couldn't sleep on me or 1. poor little thing kept waking up every 2 minutes b/c she wasn't comfortable. so if you were on the korea/atlanta flight yesterday & walked past the bulkhead seat & saw some crazy woman lying on the floor? that was me. i felt like an idiot but at the least the baby got some sleep. b/c we all know that a sleepy baby is a screamy baby & that is not so good on an airplane.

finally got into atlanta at about 7pm last night. i swear, it was like the friday that wouldn't end. we woke up at 7 our friday morning (after me only sleeping 3 hours-think i was excited?), finished packing & cleaning, ran a few last minute errands, hopped a bus for 2 hours, sat in the airport for 4 hours, got on a plane for 14 hours & it was STILL friday when we landed! agh! had to navigate atlanta airport to go through passport control & find our baggage. all. 5. bags. ugh. and a carseat. but the carseat never showed up! and time is ticking down to "oh, crap, we're gonna miss our connection" time. i finally asked the baggage handler guy & he points way across the baggage claim area & tells me the stupid carseat is over there. why? why would the carseat be way over there? i mean, it's pretty much in the next county! wtf? & if you must put my carseat way the heck over there, where is the sign telling me where it is? agh! this was after i had to wait 20 minutes to get my gate checked stroller. b/c apparently they put all the (7) gate checked strollers way in the back of the plane. b/c that makes sense-to put stuff people need in the back behind all the other stuff so they have to wait for all the other stuff to be pulled out before they can get their stroller. and there was this poor lady with a 3 month old all by herself waiting for her carseat (gate checked) & stroller (gate checked) & carseat base (baggage checked so, you got it, in the next county with no sign!) & 2 big bags. so we (i) was trying to help her out by pushing her buggy through customs & all b/c i felt bad for her & after all that, they didn't give her a boarding pass in korea so she had to go get that before anything else. she probably missed her flight, poor thing. finally pass through customs & no one can tell us where to dump our bags so they will get on our next flight. finally get that sorted out & then RUN through security. and did i mention that we have 2 laptops in carry ons that have to be taken out of bags to go through the scanner? and 3 other carry ons? and 3 kids? and a stroller? AND IT'S STILL FREAKIN FRIDAY! and here, let me draw you a diagram...

T.....A.....B.....C.....D.....E

that's how the concourses line up in atlanta. and, in case you didn't know, E is where the international flights come in. and we had to go to B. in like 20 minutes after the biggest landing/baggage/customs debacle that ever was. and that is 20 minutes til takeoff. and you know, they close the doors way before then! biggest kept saying it was like home alone when they are hauling butt through the airport. so we huff & we puff & we race all around & get to our gate that says the flight is going somewhere other than charleston. oh crap. we missed it. but, oh, no, we didn't miss it! says the nice fella at the gate! the flight has been moved! to T concourse! and we have 35 minutes to get there! does no one make announcements in airports anymore? to tell us where to go? and, yes, we could have looked at a monitor thing but who has time for that when their carseat is being held hostage? !%&*(%^$^@. and off we went again. and we made it. and finally took off & finally landed (yes, still on friday!) in teeny tiny charleston airport to see 3 friends, one granny & 2 grandpas (my mom is at a conference & won't be home until tonight) & 5 bags & 1 carseat. and we came to a house that has air conditioning! and granny cooked up a bunch of food & then littlest was sleepy (about 12:30 at this point...finally, saturday!) & so i laid down with her to put her to bed & woke up at about 3 when 1 came in. oops. didn't mean to be antisocial.

and i'm home! (but 1 says we aren't home, we are visiting as home is now in korea) & i'm so excited to see everybody & do stuff & EXTREMELY HAPPY that the friday that wouldn't end finally is over. but that also means we are 1 day closer to going back. and that part is sad.