Thursday, October 29, 2009

cause I'm feelin like a criminal

About a month ago, I sat up in the middle of the night. A thought had flashed through my mind – a thought about my teaching license that was about to expire. My Colorado license was set to expire on October 12th and I’ve never gotten my Oklahoma license. I’m don’t even know what it entails to re-apply for a license that has expired but I’m pretty sure it requires things that I don’t want to have to do – like a three day long test to make sure I know the capitol of Las Vegas and the square root of infinity.

The next morning I got up on a mission. I printed all the materials that made up the application and gathered all the necessary items: transcripts, copy of Colorado license, and checks for ridiculous amounts of money. The only thing missing was my fingerprints. Oh, my fingerprints, my fingerprints.

I actually started the process of applying for my Oklahoma license back in 2005, while I still lived in Colorado. I submitted all the materials and waited. I finally got something in the mail but it wasn’t the certificate I expected, it was a sheet that said my fingerprints had been denied and needed to be redone. So I repeated the process and got the same result AGAIN. I gave up. I didn’t live in OK so I didn’t really need the license, it was just a precaution at the time and I still had four years left on my CO license. That was, like, forever away.

But now I was forced to get my fingerprints again. I drove to the Elk City police station and decided to try my luck for a third time. I was paired up with an officer who seemed a little less than interested in taking some lady’s fingerprints. He took my fingerprints with minimal conversation and a whole lot of indifference. When he finished, I looked at the fingerprints. They were messy and blurred, even I could tell that. I could have saved myself the drive to the police station and taken my own fingerprints at home with a magic marker. I could only hope that this officer was a “good ole boy” and that somehow the fingerprint place would finally accept my submission. Third time’s a charm. I hoped.

More than a month had passed since the day I sent them off. I took that as a good sign. Then yesterday, I got another big envelope from the OK Department of Education. This was it – I was finally licensed and could teach in Oklahoma (even though at this point I would rather pull every hair out of my head one by one than teach.) I ripped open the envelope and….guess what?!? It was yet another sheet telling me that my fingerprints had been denied and needed to be redone.

This makes me think that instead of teaching, maybe I am destined to pursue a life of crime. I mean, the Oklahoma FBI can’t even read my fingerprints! So that would make me a perfect criminal, right? I wouldn’t even need to waste money on wearing gloves since I apparently HAVE NO FINGERPRINTS. And it probably pays way better than teaching, anyway.

I guess I’d better forget about the prints and go shopping for ski masks.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

snow in October

I’ve told you all before that one of my least favorite household chores is laundry. It is truly the chore that never ends. Because even if you were to wash every piece of laundry in the house, you would only be “caught up” for about half a day – and then your whole family would want to take off their clothes and put pajamas on, leaving you with another pile of laundry. Those turds!

In my case, it is a little more fun to do laundry than it used to be. A few months ago, I was trying to dry a load of clothes and when I pressed “start” absolutely nothing happened. After investigating the situation, Bryan and I realized that our dryer had been overworked by a washer that wasn’t doing its job. Meaning we had a broken washer and dryer. At first I was really upset – if I don’t do laundry every day, we are buried under a mountain of it very quickly. Or worse, Bryan has to go to school wearing swim trunks and a coconut bra. So we didn’t waste any time getting to Sears to find a solution.

I like to shop, that’s no secret. Now, shopping for major appliances isn’t my favorite, but I had been salivating over my friend’s front-loading washer and dryer for months and I knew that was what I had to have. And a week later they were in my house, washing my clothes. The boys and I sat and watched the clothes and the little soap bubbles go around and around through the window for a long time. It was love. I probably would’ve slept in the laundry room those first nights if I could have. This was WAY better than a new crock pot!

So yesterday I was washing some clothes of the boys. Before any kids came, I put in a load while it was still dark, careful to not wake up the boys. I had stuffed the washer full to try and fit in everything. If you want to try this at home, fill your washer as full as you can. Then put in four more things. Then three more things.

As soon as the usual daycare chaos settled into a dull roar, I ran into the laundry room to change the clothes from the washer to the dryer. I pulled open the door and out spilled some laundry. But this laundry looked like it was covered in slushy snow. Wyatt picked up a chunk of the slush and ate it before I could even stop him. I knew what had happened – I had accidentally washed a diaper. Not the cloth kind, the disposable kind. And it didn’t take me long to guess who might have put a diaper in the laundry basket. I put my head down on the edge of the washer and tried to keep myself from crying. Not only was all my laundry covered in some mysterious polymer, but it had spilled out all over the floor, my son was trying to eat it, and five other kids were standing at the edge of the laundry room using tinker toys as drumsticks and “drumming” wildly on the door. The dull roar was over.

Thank the good Lord for dustbusters. And Tylenol. And cookies in the kitchen for everyone while Miss Laura cleans the laundry room.

Friday, October 16, 2009

like an episode of Beverly Hillbillies

It’s been raining here in western Oklahoma for about a week. We’ve been stuck inside and I’m starting to understand why Jack Nicholson went crazy in “The Shining.” Yesterday the boys and I took a driving tour of scenic Elk City, OK just because we needed to get out of the house.

When we pulled back into the driveway something caught my eye as I took the boys out of the car. At first I thought it was the neighbor’s dog, coming to “visit” my bale of hay with pumpkins on it. Then I realized that this was much bigger than the neighbor’s dog. And it wasn’t visiting our hay, it was eating it. It was a giant goat!

People, we do not live in the middle of nowhere. We live within the “city” limits. Granted, our community is very far from anything else, but to come home and find a goat standing in your front yard, eating your Fall décor is still a little shocking.

Wesley was terrified. He is afraid of everything with four legs from a teacup poodle to a brontosaurus, including apparently, goats. I walked over to the hay bale and wondered what the protocol is for the situation. Do I call animal control or try to milk it? Just then a little old woman and a little old man came hobbling over to our yard. The woman had some kind of goat treats and the man had a little rope. They lured the goat back across the street and into their front door without saying anything to Wesley or me as we stared in silence.

Now if our lawnmower ever breaks down, we can just borrow the neighbor’s goat. Perfect.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

that's what I'm talkin' about

I was looking back and realized my last posts were very loooong. Sorry for taking up so much of your time (I mean, if you actually read to the end of each of the posts, and if you didn't, you stink.) Here's a shorty post for you to enjoy.

Who says life in the suburbs can’t be dangerous???,2933,564945,00.html

Monday, October 12, 2009

no TV for us!

Have you ever been so desperate for someone to play with you that you were willing to do practically anything? I remember once when I was little (maybe seven years old??) my parents tried to make me eat liver. It started out as a big slab of liver, at least it seemed like a big slab to me, in reality it was probably no bigger than a deck of playing cards. But it didn’t matter what size it was, it was not going in my mouth. The funny part is, I didn’t even know what liver was – I just knew it must be disgusting by the way my parents were so insistent that I eat it and wouldn’t be getting up from the table until I did. And unfortunately for them, I am stubborn. At age seven, I had the stubbornness to wear down the patience of Mother Theresa. So I sat at the table during the meal, then while everyone else cleared the table (except for my plate of liver, of course), and while they went about their days without me. I was prepared to sit there until the second coming of Jesus, if need be.

My mother must have known what I was thinking, because eventually she cut the liver into pieces and fed them all to the dog except for four pieces. And she insisted that I eat those last four little pieces. God bless her for trying, but there was still no way I was eating that liver. Hours passed and I was still sitting there at the kitchen table, not eating the liver. My parents were wearing down. They had a little conference and came to me with the decision: they would give the dog three pieces of liver, I would eat the remaining piece. To them, it was a great solution. To me, it was never going to happen.

Since the rest of the family left the table, my younger brother who was probably four at the time, was in the living room waiting for me to play. He kept peeking around the corner, telling me to just eat the liver so we could play. Finally when no one was around, he ran into the kitchen, came over to my plate, and without saying anything, he ate my piece of liver. I was free and there was nothing my parents could do because the dog had eaten all the rest! My brother had turned from bratty little brother to coolest kid on the planet in ten seconds!

So this weekend, I wanted Bryan to hang out with me and watch TV or a movie. But he couldn’t because he had forty-five reports to grade. They were reports by seventh graders and they were on the differences and similarities of plant and animal cells. Blah blah blah. I could see the night ticking away while he read the reports with the speed of a sloth on benedryl. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I took some of the reports and started reading them myself. I am, after all, certified to teach kindergarten through eighth grade. I didn’t technically grade anything but I read each report and handed it to Bryan with a synopsis of which parts had been included or left out. My purpose was to speed things up a little so that we could watch some TV.

Unfortunately for those seventh graders, I actually read their reports. I doubt they were counting on anyone actually reading something as dry as Plant Cells vs. Animal Cells. But I did. And after reading a handful, several of them started sounding familiar. In fact, a little too familiar. I thumbed back through the pile and found two that matched pretty much exactly. I pointed it out to Bryan. He groaned, as this isn’t a fun thing to deal with for a teacher. I left him with those matching papers and kept reading. My plan was backfiring in a big way. The more I read, the more I realized I was reading a lot of the exact same thing over and over again. In the end, there were 13 papers that were the exact same, except for the names at the top. This didn’t lead to Bryan and I relaxing and watching TV as I had planned. It led to Bryan in despair at the kitchen table until late that night, trying to figure out what to do with them all on Monday. We did figure out that they had all used the same website and just “copied and pasted” from the website to their reports. Ugh.

So much for my plan to help and get things done faster so Bryan could play. I should have learned from my little brother all those years ago. I shouldn’t have read those dumb reports – I should have EATEN them.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

alms for the poor

Bryan and I have been attending the Dave Ramsey class “Financial Peace University” at our church on Sunday nights. Anyone familiar with that? We’ve heard about it so many times and heard so many people say how good it is. (This is sounding like an advertisement and it is NOT. Unless Dave Ramsey would like to throw a little cash my way…) So when our church decided to offer it, we signed up. After almost five years of marriage and two kids, we decided it was time to have more of a plan about what to do with our money than, “Um, let’s spend it.”

So we went the first week, not knowing what to expect. I went with a bad attitude because I figured no matter what, this class was probably going to mean a bit of a financial diet for our family. A little tightening of the financial belt, if you will. And I was right. Old Dave Ramsey gave me a couple of hard punches in the stomach – how dare he suggest we eat at home more?!? Doesn’t he know that just means more grocery shopping and dishes to clean and more hard labor in the kitchen? And he suggests that we start saving so we won’t have to sell one of the kids if the car breaks down. I mean, it’s not so much that we don’t have a budget - I’ve made a budget for our family lots of times. It’s that we’ve never actually followedItalic one. It’s hard to stick to a budget as we all know. My personal weakness is the internet - there are just so many shiny and exciting things to buy on the internet. Things that I need. Like a couple of Sham-Wows and a blanket with arms and some thing that helps me hear what people are saying about me from across the street and…things that will change my life!

I’m sure when it’s all said and done, I will want to thank Dave Ramsey for all his expert advice. But right now, as I’m doing extra dishes from our eating at home more, and cutting out scads of coupons, and sewing a hole in Bryan’s pants instead of just throwing them away, I want to give Dave Ramsey a knuckle sandwich.

A knuckle sandwich made with bread bought at a discount from the day old bakery outlet store, of course.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

say cheese

I have some aspirations to do photography. Not like sweet little fawns drinking water by a babbling brook, that doesn’t appeal to me at all. I didn’t cry at Bambi. More like pictures of kids (it always has to involve kids, doesn’t it?) or graduating seniors or family pictures. Heck, I’d probably take pictures of your Uncle Tom’s gangrenous foot if you paid me.

Here are the problems I’ve encountered so far:
I don’t have a professional grade camera. And I have a feeling that people wouldn’t have much confidence in me if I showed up to photograph their wedding and pulled out my Barbie Snapshotz camera. I really need to get a good one but it turns out they aren’t cheap. So I’ve been trying to make money. This is tough as most of my time is already eaten up by my current job – child care professional/maid/short order cook/ninja. The only thing I could come up with that I can do from home and in my scant free time is sell my own personal belongings on ebay. And that is exactly what I have been doing. I’ve come to the conclusion that I could be 82 years old before I sell enough of my belongings to buy a camera. But I’m working on it. That just means I might have to “borrow” some of Bryan’s belongings to sell, too.
I don’t have a website. At least not a photography website. And I don’t know how to create one. Don’t even know where to start. I am quite computer impaired and this might be a difficult one for me.
I don’t have a whole lot of free time to take pictures to build a “portfolio,” with my Barbie camera.
I don’t really have a #4 but aren’t the first three enough? I’ve got to get moving on this goal before it becomes like all my other goals – learn to play guitar, become fluent in Spanish, sail my yacht around the world, grow a third arm out of my back…

Anybody need pictures of anything? And I DO mean anything…