Sunday, October 27, 2013

Back to Camp Spooky.

Told you we would be busy, so busy that we realized today was the last day for SS to visit Camp Spooky. P worships Halloween and Snoopy, thus not going wasn't an option. SS and I are nursing nasty colds. Thank Goddess SS does not take after her Mama and can take a cold like a champ. Not me, it just floors me.  P wondered if it was a good idea to go, but his love of Halloween won and against his best judgment we headed to Knott's.

Such a Baba's girl, SS is wearing one of our gifts for P's birthday, one of his Breaking Bad Pins.  SS chose the coolest, Heisenberg.
Am I tall enough to whine about getting into rides I have no business riding, then freak out and blame it on your parenting?

SS's second Camp Spooky Scavenger Hunt.

SS's first picture with Schroeder. 

Today was a good day because Peppermint Patty stopped to say hi to SS. She was on her way to the side entrance to get a rest, but stopped for a quick pic.

We were seating under the shade when Snoopy made an appearance barely five feet from us. SS put on her mask and gloves in record time to capture this moment.

P is sad about missing this year's Halloween Haunt, but next year we are on.

The cowboys couldn't help getting in on a pic when they realized Iron Man was a cute little girl (SS had her mask off when they met).

Last year we had to usher SS up to the stage when the costume parade started. Today she flew off the bench before we asked if she wanted to join them. SS hugged Woodstock.

SS also got a hug from The Beagle himself.

Proud parents of Iron Man.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Yesterday was the last day of this session of archery, and the tournament. The coaches played tournament music and even opened by displaying the flag and playing the National anthem (overkill, but what do we know). They do go out of their way to make the kids feel good about being part of the sport. SS had some less than stellar shots, and with one arrow left she nailed it. SS wants to return for the next session, the first week of either November or December. We are proud of SS, and there's nothing better than looking at that cute face filled with pride. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

And to think we used to be so close.

Last Saturday as we were driving home from P's work SS was talking non stop about the treasure maps she made for us. She asked me about six times before we left if I had my map. Asked me again as we were in the van, and then another time on the short drive home.  Just as we are about to turn onto our street SS said, "Mama, you want to know something about your map?" Sure SS... "Your map has the wrong information Mama." I asked why would she draw me a map with wrong information. SS replied "Because I want Baba to find the treasure, not you, so I had to make you get lost." OUCH, and to think I thought we were close, I guess that went out the window when I abandoned SS to go to work.

OK, so it stings a little, but I am getting glimpses of what P endured since SS came home. And I have to hand it to the man, he handled it very well. Because we are human (except for my lack of a heart) and can't help to feel slighted. It really has been great watching this new chapter in our lives develop. Initially P was going to handle dropping off at camp then school only until I was stationed at my permanent office. I really dislike driving the sedan, and was looking forward to getting my van back.  But given SS' early departure to catch the B&G bus it just made sense for P to handle both drop off and pick up times.

P also gets more face time at school. Just this morning it hit me how few times I have been on campus this school year.  Months ago it was my Monday through Friday routine.  I really cherish the two Fridays a month that I get to be there for SS. This morning I remembered that last year the school Halloween Parade was the Friday before Halloween. And since it was held first thing in the morning I panicked. I didn't want SS to be the only child there without a costume.  P had not come across any flyers or heard anything.  I texted one of the moms and found the parade will be held next Thursday. Makes sense to have it on Halloween, but today would have been so convenient for me.  And my supervisor totally gets it and will sign off on me coming in a couple of hours later. But I'm so new that I really want to be judicious with my requests.  I much rather save the good will points for P's or SS's illness. It's just how it works here, we are an island of three.

And as expected P came to the rescue, he will take some personal time off to be there to cheer for whatever super hero our daughter will morph into for the parade.  They have a strict costumes off rule immediately after the parade (to avoid upsetting parents who believe Halloween is devil worship), so SS will need help.  I made it last year, now it's P's turn to enjoy the madness, and I will wait patiently for pictures, just like he did last year.  Here's a prediction, P will conveniently forget that masks are not allowed. Maybe we can rotate daytime special school moments starting next year. 

SS had a cough for a few days that we kept under control with OTC medication. I woke up this morning with a sore throat and very unhappy. P told me to thank my daughter for passing it on. The girl is all about sharing, especially her precious germs.  But SS also woke up with a sore throat and phlegm coughing. We are both going to have to go to bed early, nicely medicated because we have full days tomorrow.  I'm going to do another six hour stint at work (loving Health Care Reform) and SS is going to work with Baba.  That makes 14.5 down and 25.5 to go. And I'm sure SS will once again go out of her way to slight me in favor of her Baba.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

She makes us laugh, and she makes us teary eyed.

This happened Sunday as P was combing SS's hair...

SS: Baba, what is a hobbit?
P: A person of short stature.
Me: Cringed because I know better.
SS: HEY! I'm only a kid!

About two weeks ago SS had a mishap at school and I received a voice mail from the school nurse. I had neglected to inform the school that I was no longer the parent to call first.  That honor is now P's because he has the flexibility to do what he did, rush over to the school. I found it odd that the school nurse, who is very well acquainted with SS, was using her first name.  Not only that, but she was pronouncing it properly. It was even weirder when she said SS was sitting next to her and SS did not correct her.  Everyone calls SS by her nickname, her K teacher had no idea it was not her given name until she looked at her file.  I was more worried about my baby's well being and forgot to inquire with SS later.

I got my answer a few days later. P told me that Mrs. S (SS's teacher) came up to him after school and told him that SS wants to be addressed by her first name.  She was confused because everyone uses her nickname and asked P if we use her first name at home.  Nope, this was news to us.  SS looked up from what she was doing and said "I love my real name." And that is the teary eyed part. Not that she is embracing her first name, but that she is letting people know how it is pronounced. SS knows that she is named after her maternal great grandmother, and how much Mami meant to me. So yeah, it made me teary eyed to hear SS say that she loves her name. And then I laughed because I realized that SS must have set the school nurse straight, taking in consideration how carefully she pronounced SS's name.

OMG she looks so feminine, you can't tell she has a Y chromosome.The best thing about this picture is that P got her ready for school.  He was home and we never wake our beautiful beast before we need to if we are home. I volunteered to awaken our bear to get her ready for picture day but P reassured me that he was perfectly capable of getting his own child ready. He did a great job, and we were looking forward to a toothless smile, but you can't really tell she's missing teeth. To those who usually get a picture, we should get them out in the mail by the time SS starts third grade.   

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy birthday to the sexiest hubby and Baba ever.

Having Thai for dinner to celebrate the man who single handedly brought sexy back.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our working girl busted her hump to earn her keep.

Back in the day when I was a productive member of society, as in pre SS, I worked a lot of overtime hours.  As much as we dislike the County Without Milk, it was there that we were able to save enough to bring SS home, then for me to stay home with out child.  I learned early in my training that my new position has no such frill benefits. In my job classification over time is not permitted until I pass probation, and that is 18 months.  While one of the lower paid positions (only clerical makes less than my job) it is incredibly complex. That is why the union agreed to such a long probation period, the learning curve is steep, and you start master the tasks at around the 12 month mark. So I resigned myself to have to wait until November of next year to start building comp time.

Like P I was very stingy with my vacation time, and tried to build as much comp time as possible.  But alas, that was not going to happen. Except that with health care reform counties are under the gun to get applicants on the rolls ASAP.  Our county had a program that was completely manual. I have processed a few of those cases and they are a pain to get done.  Everything is done outside the nifty computer system we use for all other cases. Then once we generate those forms we scan them into the system. Right now the County must transfer all those files into the system to be ready for January first.  This is where the over time (OT) rule took a hit. A worker in classification II has a caseload of between 500-700 cases. It is brutal work and due to the volume they are perennially behind.  When they come in for OT it is to catch up on their work.  At least one Saturday a month our office has an OT party. The IIs and supervisors come in to work without phone interruptions, or clients in the lobby asking for a face to face.

As a I, my caseload is reduced, and I should get only 30 new cases a month, although I have ended up with almost 40 a month. That sounds cushy, but those are intake cases. In an unusual move, they are also assigning us re-evaluation cases, and cases from three other programs. It's never been done before, and after realizing what a mistake it was they won't do it with new hires.  But those of us unfortunate enough to be their test monkeys are stuck with the cluster f*ck of a caseload.  Hey, not really complaining, because having 700 cases is an actual problem.

So much to our green I status surprise, we have been asked if we want to help with the conversion process. Makes sense, it's simply data entry, and cleaning up cases. It's easy because the mistakes made are so glaring, like someone receiving benefits without an ID or birth certificate on file. We enter the information in the system, send out a request for the person to provide the verifications needed, and flag the case worker to review the case in three days. For the past month a lot of Is (the people I went to class with) have been doing OT in the evenings, only 2.5 hours. Since we work 9 hour days, it is quite a stretch. I did not volunteer because I was having difficulties getting used to the different programs and their requirements. Believe me, I was paid so well for doing something that takes no skill, removing a child from their home. OK, the court report writing was supposed to be difficult, but it was the easiest part of the job for me. This so called "non-skilled" position I am in now takes a toll on the mind and on your confidence. Also, I was hesitant to take time away from SS. I'm struggling with doing what millions of women do, working. A one income household is a thing of the past, yet I miss my baby.

But I would have to be crazy to pass up the opportunity to build comp time. I have to accumulate 40 hours before I am paid for OT.  I realized that I should start now because you never know what crisis is brewing. I stayed last week Thursday for my first 2.5 hour stint. That was a calculated move because I was off Friday, I was going to be able to give SS cuddle, and one on one time. Another bonus was that I was assigned to work on processing cases for a program that I was having a hard time understanding.  Nothing like processing 25 continuous cases in the same program to finally have the routine settle in your brain. Hey 2.5 down, 37.5 to go, and I finally figured out one piece of the puzzle.

On Wednesday our supervisor emailed seeking volunteers to work yesterday, a Saturday. I thought it was the monthly OT party, but no, he needed anyone who wanted to spend 6 hours working on conversions. Damn, the down side to P working Saturdays. I told my sup I'd love to but it's just me and the Baba taking care of SS, so I had to decline the offer. When I mentioned this to P he said "I can take the girl to work." SS spent a lot of time at P's previous job, but it was a lab with under 50 employees, family owned and operated. This is different and I thought he was kidding. No, he was dead serious, there are no supervisors at the plant on Saturdays, SS is thankfully very well behaved, and his coworkers did not mind. A plus of all the time SS has spent in a lab is that she is very well aware of not touching, what she can be close to, and what she must avoid. P understood that I had been worried about waiting so long to build my comp time reserve, and really did not want me to pass up this opportunity.

Yesterday morning we were all up bright and early, no pajama and movie viewing party for SS and Mama. Since P starts at seven and I did not start until eight, I allowed SS an extra half hour of sleep. SS donned her Dr. white coat, to match P's lab coat, and I dropped her off at the plant on my way to work. This was also very easy since we work a whole mile from each other, probably less. 

SS packed Legos, and drawing supplies for her day at work. Doesn't she look so adorable and professional? Yesterday the district's water was safer than ever, Dr. SS was on the job. Waste water plant protocol was carefully followed and all testing perfectly processed.

Chickens, they have chickens at the plant for vector control. In English, the chickens eat the mosquitoes.
SS brought home these eggs, since she is on a scrambled egg kick lately.

SS had a blast from her past, her friends made an appearance.  When P texted me this picture I wondered if it was safe for them to be there. P is not sure is good for them, but who is going to stop them.  On our drive home SS told me that she misses the ducks we used to visit at our former home.  SS was a big fan of the ducks and geese under the sun dial bridge. SS said "Mama, Baba got ducks for me to see." I had no idea my husband had such power to be able to summon animals for his daughter's viewing pleasure. She's a Baba's girl alright.

This picture was a hit with my coworkers and I was able to feel less yucky about dumping my kid to work on a Saturday. Most kids do not get to set foot in a lab until middle school, and my daughter has been around microscopes since she was a toddler. Not a bad way to spend six hours.

Another positive aspect of SS's work day is that she was able to see what her father does.  My work is as boring as it gets, although SS is very curious about where I spend so much time now days. Unfortunately SS is not allowed in my work area due to confidentiality.  She would have had a better chance if I was still a CPS social worker. Both jobs are big on confidentiality, but husbands and kids were the exception at my former job.  Where I work now they are rabid about confidentiality. During the summer one of my co worker's daughter was doing an internship downstairs. She was technically an employee and was working with the same information we handle upstairs.  But she was not allowed to come into our area.  My coworker had to go downstairs and have her breaks and lunch there to see her daughter.  So no, I doubt SS's cuteness is going to get her in the door.

This morning I noticed a band aid on SS's wrist and asked her what happened. With all the seriousness of a six year old she replied, "It happened at work." Ha! SS really cracks me up. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

B&G Club open house.

Wow, it's been a while, but I won't bore anyone with tales of the first mother ever to return to work and how difficult it is. We have been busy, but we are healthy and happy and that is what counts. If it was easy it would not be that meaningful. The complexities of my job are finally starting to make sense (scary thought) and I am finally caught up, and have been given more independence.  P has been doing an amazing job with the nightmare that is getting SS to do homework.  Last year the onus was on me and I am enjoying the break. Last Friday I left the house when I took SS to school and returned around 3:30 p.m. Errands, nothing fun to do, plus we were getting ready for a weekend getaway.  Once I got home I had forty five minutes to take a break, then off to archery at 4:15 p.m. It was then that it dawned on me that there is no such thing as a day off when SS goes to school. That Friday "off" is simply an errand running, catching up with house chores day. Not a big deal.

But I felt bad for P because Mondays and Tuesdays are not really days off for him. There's still driving SS to and from school, homework, and getting dinner ready. P only has one day off a week and that really sucks big time, because he also works nine hour days. At least I have Saturday and Sundays. Next time I feel like a martyr for running a few errands I need to be mindful that compared to P I have it easy. And SS has turned our Saturdays into pajama party, movie viewing, cuddling days. It does feel like I'm wasting time, but SS misses our cuddles and I just can't deny her that every other Saturday.

On our way to our little trip we received great news. Not ready to share yet but we are going to be consumed with coordinating and preparing for the next month. Even happy events can be stressful, and our very limited time is going to be about making it happen. Like Grandpa said when he called upon me texting him, "you will all be happier now." And no, we are not going to China to bring a son home. That pipe dream went down the drain a while back. However, we will be in a happier place around this time next month.

Last night the B&G Club held an open house to share the kids' projects and inform the parents about the activities that are available.  They are now remodeling the entire building and are operating out of the computer lab. The kids spend their time outdoors, so we hope that can have the remodel done by the time it gets cold.  SS had two works of art on display and she was happy to show us her masterpieces.  It's so nice to see our girl excited and in show off mode. SS was still wearing her uniform because she had guitar class until six, we then went to dinner, and returned to the clubhouse at seven for the open house. Recently SS announced that she wants a piano for her birthday and piano classes. We are going to enlarge her passport poster size and place it over her bed. SS, your last name is not Jolie-Pitt. 

SS has been drawing Batman a lot lately, she goes from one super hero obsession to another. We think it looks pretty good.

This one was a group effort between SS and two of her boy buddies.

OK, one more look at her Batman.