Friday, June 08, 2018

Dear Grandma RE: Preschool Themes

I've decided that I'm going to start recording some of my responses to my grandmother. Ever since my other grandmother died 14 years ago, she writes me every day. She lets me know she's still there and still alive.



May 31, 2018

Hi Heather:
Checking in and all seems okay here. I didn't know you were planning to attend Pima. Tell me more when you have time.

Have a good one.
Love, GB



Yeah, I think I made that decision a couple weeks ago when I decided I didn't want to spend the next 1/5 of my life struggling to work full time and go to school for a bachelors degree to teach. All of my "advisors" (therapists, lawyer, etc) tell me I have a good 30 years left of my working life. Getting a bachelors degree while working full time will take AT LEAST 6 years. So, I said, "FUCK IT" and decided to do something else on my list of possible jobs that were good fits for me. I took 3 tests back in December or so to decide what career would be good for me. Teaching, medical and graphic design were on the list.

All of the medical degrees were competitive and I could end up on a waiting list and I didn't want the extra stress.

So, after thinking about it, I made the decision that I was staying in the school district to work so I can have the same time off as the kids. I'm worried about the kids being alone during extended school breaks. Christmas break was when one of Kat's friends killed himself. My kids are too emotional to be left alone for long periods of time. And besides, I really like working with the kids.

I need at least 30 hours in Amphi and that gets me medical and dental coverage. And they have a GREAT retirement program.

So, I can go to school part time and learn how to design web pages, business cards, etc. I can do that on the side when I feel like it. I can also incorporate my photography and I want to learn how to fix my own computer. I'll still be working with Jay as much as I can and the first thing I'm going to do is fix his stupid web page.

Once Kat graduates, I can either stay at what I'm doing, increase my hours at the school or just find a job doing graphic design and I'll already have experience.

My other idea was to make some new kid friendly books or videos. Having been in preschool this year, I've noticed some strange themes in Children's stories. There is always some old lady eating things she's not supposed to. You know, "I know an old lady that swallowed a fly. I don't know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she'll die. I know an old lady that swallowed a spider. She swallowed the spider to catch the fly...." etc. They're ALWAYS old ladies and there are several stories and her diet changes depending on the time of year.

There is also that damn story, "If you give a mouse a cookie". I'm sure you know that story. Well, that damn mouse has ADHD and can NEVER finish a damn project. They make short movies based on that story and they drive me nuts. I just want to scream, "FINISH YOUR DAMN PROJECT BEFORE YOU MOVE ON TO HELP MR. MOOSE. MR. MOOSE CAN WAIT". And then he never finishes Mr. Moose because some other idiot comes up and needs help and so he leaves Mr. Moose and goes to help someone else and it just keeps going and going until he makes a big ass mess. I can't stand it.

There is also the story about the kid that wants his grandmother to knit him some mittens. When she asks what color, he says, "white". Well of course the grandmother tells him he's going to lose the mittens in the snow but the little shit insists and she makes him white mittens. Well, guess what happens? He loses one of those damn mittens just like he was warned and THEN a bunch of animals find it and start living in it. The story is completely unrealistic because we have a mouse living in there with a bunch of other carnivores.

I say that the story is about the desperation of homelessness but everyone else always says that it's about working together and living in harmony. We had to just agree to disagree on that one.

There is also a few stories where working men fuck everything up and who has to come to their rescue? Their wives. Their wives are the ones that have to fix the big messes that their husbands make. I suppose that is one of the more realistic stories.

There is also an animated movie that the kids love where the characters are in a jungle playing with dangerous animals. It's called Animal Boogie Oogie Woogie or something like that. The characters all have oversized, very wrinkled clothing and they play with animals like cobras, vultures (in fact, the one that plays with a giant oversized vulture is a child in a wheel chair. The way that vulture eyes her is scary because he knows she can't run away) and some sort of tiger or something. Their depiction of the tiger is not even real. It looks more like a saber tooth tiger with it's giant fangs hanging 6 inches out of its mouth.

At the end of the movie, I always have to say, "Never play with wild animals" because I'm afraid the kids are going to come across a snake somewhere and try to ride it like they do in the movie.

So, that's my story. :)

Enjoy your day.

Love,

Heather


Thank you for the long letter telling me about all the decisions you've make lately. For what it's worth, I think you've made some good ones and, obviously, thought it all out well. Your photo ability should not go to waste. Working the same hours as the kids are in school makes sense. Just don't wear yourself out. Get lots of sleep!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Isle of Flightless Birds


I will fly with no hope, no fear
And the ground taunts my wings
Plummet as I sing, plummet as I sing

Thursday, March 01, 2018

The Audience

Every day since the middle of November
The audience sits and watches every move I make
There is nothing I can do about the audience
There is nothing the audience can do about me
It just sits there and judges
Silently
Every Day
Every Night
Helpless

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

minutes

Geez what a DAY!

I got a call from Jay's callbox at 6:30 this morning. Usually when someone calls that early I know it's urgent.

So, I call to listen in to the messages and there are actually 2 messages. The first one is someone that needs some toad training. They called at 4:22 PM yesterday. The 2nd call was the same person and at first I was like, "Geez! Give me a break! I'll call you in a minute!", but they were frantic because now there were toads in their pool and their dog was going insane trying to get to them.

I can't reach Jay (if you know Jay, you know this is normal) and I know he's not going there anytime soon because he's in Pinal today doing Euth evaluations. I don't know if he has any toads yet.

I call these people back and they're telling me that they've called 6 or 7 places and no one will get the toads and they don't know what to do with it and the Sheriff said they couldn't shoot them but gave them Jay's phone number and they really need someone to get the toads now......

They sounded so desperate and I decided that I would go get the toads but warned them it would take me an hour to get there because they live so fucking far away. They were fine with that. They were appreciative and thankful.

So, not even knowing if Jay has toads and not knowing for sure if these are really Colorado River Toads I decide I'm waking the kids up and we're going. It totally screwed up my day but I said to myself, "It's our first summer adventure."

Both kids are asleep in bed. That took a few minutes to get them up and moving. I didn't even have to bribe them with anything. That's how half asleep they were.

Trent grabs the rubber gloves and we're off to Walmart to buy a bucket. Before we leave, I ask Trent to get a screwdriver so we can poke holes in the lid.

20 minutes later, we're standing in the parking lot of Walmart at the trunk of our mini van with a screwdriver stabbing holes in the lid of big, blue bucket.

40 minutes after that, we pull up to our location.

The lady comes out and lets us in the backyard. She tells me they're in the pool skimmer. She's looking a little nervous.

Trent and I don our gloves and I take the lid off the skimmer. I immediately slam it back down in place and look at her and say, "Those are really big!"

and they were!

They took up the entire interior of the skimmer!!!!

Even after I slammed the lid on the skimmer and hearing my reaction, Trent goes in next for the grab. The toad starts making noises and then Trent's hand recoils without a toad and he says, "Oh, they're still together!"

Yes, the toads were mating. And they weren't going to stop just because we were there.

Or because we wanted them out of the skimmer.

Now that we both know what we're dealing with, I tell Trent to get the bucket ready. We gotta look cool in front of this lady. I don't want her to know this is our first time retrieving a toad(s) from a pool skimmer. I think Kat is standing on the other side of the pool, trembling.

Trent puts the bucket next to the skimmer, I reach in and grab the male (obviously because he's smaller and has his arms wrapped around the larger, good looking toad). He immediately starts making his weird noises but he's not letting go.

and this time, I'm not either.

I pick him up, he keeps his firm grip on her and they both go in the bucket.

15 minutes later, I finally reach Jay on the phone. He says he doesn't have any toads and I say, "You do now!".

The last thing Jay says to me is, "Don't let them die. Feed 'em crickets."

17 minutes later, we pull up at Petsmart. Kat can't even go inside because the thought of crickets is making her squeal and her body is contorting in ways I've never seen.

She doesn't like it 5 minutes later when I throw a bag of 25 crickets at her.

No, I didn't really do that but I thought about it.

At home, I get a big rock to put in the bucket for the happy crickets to live on before they are eaten.

We arrange the bucket in the back of my scrapbook room. The lady at Petsmart said that the crickets couldn't live in the bag for long and that I could just put them all in the bucket at once.

So, that's what I did.

I opened the lid and the toads were still mating. Ok. Whatever.

I dump the crickets on their rock island. Some jump onto the toads. Some decide to end their life on their terms and jump off the rock into the water. Some are already dead. 

Good thing I didn't wait long before releasing them. 



Even though Kat is whining about having to go shopping for workout clothes, I have to take Manny to the vet. He needs shots. He's late and I can't wait another day. Kat will have to wait.

Manny won't enter the vet's office. I have to pick him up and carry him in.

Before I can even get to the counter, I feel something hot on my stomach. I look at another customer and ask, "Did he just pee on me?"

"Yes, and he still is",  was her reply.

I know if I leave now, Manny wins. So, I stay.

I go to the bathroom and wipe off as much as I can. However, it's on my shirt, my shorts, rolled down my leg and is in my socks and shoes.

I try and find a seat and I wait.

2 hours later, I'm home and I check on the toads. They're still mating and every single god damn cricket is dead, floating in the water. 



What the hell? I felt like I just threw away $3.50. I was pissed. Kat wants to go shopping NOW!

Will they eat dead crickets? What do I do? I try looking for answers on Google.

I try calling Jay. No answer. Doesn't return texts.

I take a shower and I take Kat to Walmart because she needs new workout clothes TODAY! NOW! THIS VERY SECOND! And if you were paying any attention to this story, you knew in the first five minutes that I am no good at saying, "NO!"

90 minutes later, we're back and I check on the toads. They're STILL MATING.

I'm feeling really sorry for the female toad. I want to pull him off of her and give her a break. I'm feeling suffocated. I'm finding it hard to breathe.

So I try calling Jay again. No answer. I text him. No return text. I try looking for answers on Google.

I ask Trent to get his gloves on because at the very least, we're going to clean the dead crickets out of the bucket and get them fresh water. It can't be good for any living thing to have dead things floating in the same water they're mating in, right?

Ewww, infection.

Outside in the sunshine, I pull the lid off and once again, I gasp in horror.

It's not because the crickets look a little bloated at this point.
It's not because the toads are STILL MATING. (give it up already, will you?)

It's because there are strings and strings of black eggs everywhere.





Now I'm the one that's frantic because I don't know what I'm supposed to do with these baby toads. I don't want to be the one to make this decision.

I can't pour them out into the gravel because I know damn well we'll have a rainstorm and these babies will turn into tadpoles, then toads and terrorize every neighbor dog we have.

I can't throw them away. They're living creatures.

5 minutes later, I've made my decision and I have separated the toads and given the female a 20 second break from her annoying mate. I can see in her eyes that she is relieved and thankful I did this for her. I felt a toad fist pump would have been possible if the whiny male would have just shut up for a second but he didn't.

I put them back in the bucket and gave them fresh water and a clean rock. The male wastes no time wrapping his slimy arms around her. I think I see her shudder in disgust.

I leave to take Kat to her workout.

90 minutes later, we're back and I check on the toads. They're still at it. And there are more eggs.

And now at this point, Jay's phone isn't even ringing. It goes straight to his voice mail. He knows.

..and who shoots toads anyway?


Thursday, May 25, 2017

178 days

Well, here we go again. Each year I do this and it gets tougher and tougher.

I started last night by insisting that the kids find the shirts they wore on the first day of school. For such a simple task, there was a lot of eye rolling, grunts and stomping.

Blaming, too. Lots of blaming.

Eventually, oh, about 20 minutes later, both kids came into the kitchen, each extending an arm with a wrinkled black t-shirt clutched in their fists. These were the shirts they wore on first day of school 178 days ago.

"Are they clean?"

"Clean enough" was the response.

Very good. Be prepared to wear your shirts and get pictures taken. That means, Trent, do not sneak into the shower until I have your photo.

Whatever.

This morning.

Kat is already up.

Trent is still in bed. "TRENT! You have 2 minutes to get your shirt on and outside. You knew this was coming."

More grumbling.
More loud noises.
More "GEEZ!"
More "STUPID!"

Ok! Smile!

"I'm going in."

"No Trent. You're not. We can stay out here forever. Don't care.

More grumbling.
More loud noises.
More "GEEZ!"
More "STUPID!"

I take a few snaps. This is all they'll give me. So, you tell me. Is the first picture from today or 178 days ago?





I'm going in.
Fine, Trent.

More grumbling.
More loud noises.
More "GEEZ!"
More "STUPID!"

Trent in 10, Kat in 7th.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

pants

I'm so tired. It's the day before the last day of school. My daughter is bringing over the grand kids.


Did I mention I was tired?


Sunday, May 21, 2017

1 star = aweome

I must have missed the email from Norton Family that the subscription was up. It expired 3/25.

That means my kids have been alone on the internet for almost 2 months.

I did a quick "random phone check" and luckily I found nothing.

Not being so thrilled with Norton, I started looking around at other products. I didn't want to spend long doing it because I wanted something on the kids' phones immediately.

I wanted something that monitored time, monitored Chrome, Google photos and private messages in social media. I learned the hard way that some apps like Skype and Instagram have private messaging and is NOT monitored by Norton. Google photos seems to be a free for all (but at least at Norton I they tell me what they're searching for) and NOTHING on Chrome is monitored but it does tell me when they get on Chrome.

24 hours later I went back to Norton and renewed my subscription. I couldn't find anything that did all of that and since everyone already had Norton on their phone, I just did renewed.

I was looking at the number of stars on the Norton Family app and noticed that they had way more 1 star reviews than any other. Why? Were other people having the same issues? It only has a 2.8 review!??




I go to read some of the reviews and find this:






It seems that so many of these 1 star reviews are from kids that have it installed.

That means it must work better than I thought.

I signed up for another year.

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