Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Got an A in Muppets Mom

What is going on with our education system?  My daughter is watching 80's videos as an assignment for her history class.  Huh?  What?  Yeah.  Watching videos for homework.  This particular teacher just doesn't understand the meaning of the word HISTORY.  Granted, technically history is anything in the past.  But you'd think for high school students that would mean wars and presidents and dates, but no.  This teacher thinks Recent US History is the same as Pop Culture.  I think pop culture has its place - maybe as a class in say, college.  But high school kids should be learning the fundamentals of history.  My daughter can't tell me who the president was before Ronald Reagan but she knows all about one hit wonders of the 80's.  They have had quizzes with questions like "Who is the founder of the muppets?" instead of questions about the Vietnam War or Desert Storm.  One assignment had them watching YouTube videos of 1970's Saturday Night Live Skits.  It was a huge challenge for Hubby and I to even find some that were appropriate for her to take to school.  Let alone help her to relate the skits to things happening in the 70's.  In the 70"s was birth through 7 years old for me.  I don't remember much from that time period.  I was busy with Barbies and Playdoh.  The point here is this - they say you should learn history so that you don't repeat it.  At this point, my daughter may be too dependent on foreign oil, involve herself in disputes outside the US and vote people into positions of power who don't have a clue what they're doing, but she will never wear neon colors, listen to Devo, or see cheezy 80's movies - other than the one she had to do the report on.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Its Sunday afternoon and I am sad.  Hubby has to leave tomorrow for a business trip.  He will be gone till Wednesday night.  Not a long trip this time but time away from us nonetheless.  I like to think of myself as a strong, independent woman but in reality, I'm not.  I have to admit - I hate it when he has to go away.  I hate sleeping alone.  I hate having nobody to call during the day.  I hate not having him here period.  My depression doesn't help the situation.  I am a spoiled girl.  I like to get what I want when I want it.  I like to have control over all aspects of my life.  But on this front, I don't.  I hate the actual traveling part.  I worry about him on those planes.  I once heard that flying was basically a building on its side thrown from place to place.  I don't like to think of it that way but its really the truth.  Not much reassurance when you think about it.  I especially hate when he travels to a location that is on a different time schedule than us here in Suburbia.  Its hard to connect and talk on the phone when there is a time difference.  I can't sleep without him here.  I toss and turn.  I watch television and just lie there but I don't sleep.  Makes facing the next day even harder.  The evenings won't be too bad.  Our daughter does not have practice this week so she will keep me company in the second half of the day.  I work on Tuesday so that will help a little.  I just feel a little lost without him here.  I know that its corny but I feel like a part of me is missing.  But I will be, as we say in my family, a big brave dog.  I will deal and cope with what I cannot change.  I will miss him until he returns.  Then I will be happy again.  And one Pandora bead richer.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A New Twist on Technology

I don't know what your idea of happiness is but mine happened today.  Today, on facebook, I received a friend request from - drum roll please - our Front Runner!  I checked my facebook quickly before dinner and there it was.  A friend request of the greatest kind.  I was thrilled.  I was scared.  I was so very, very nervous.  Of course, I accepted right away.  But what to post on her wall?  What do you say?  You want the first words you say to your potential new daughter to be profound and meaningful.  So I went with "Hello".  I thanked her for the friend request and told her I couldn't wait to learn more about her and get to know each other.  I also told her to feel free to ask me anything.  Not very profound but heartfelt and, I hope, meaningful.  I'm still nervous.  What if she doesn't like us?  What if she turned us down but is just curious about us?  I am still a nervous wreck.  With each step we take in this adoption, I think "This is the hardest step" only to get to the next step and think "What was I thinking?  This is the hardest step."  I don't know if it will get any easier but I know that what we are doing is what we are supposed to be doing.  I don't know how I know, I just do.  With each step I hope to get less nervous and scared.  But with each step, I end up more nervous and scared.  I feel like I'm in junior high again wanting the popular kids to like me.  All I want is for her to like me, like us.  Once I know that maybe I will be less scared and nervous and all that will be overcome with just happiness.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What? Its not a baby?

We are adopting an older child, a 13 year old child to be exact, and what I want to know is - why is this an issue.  The main issue I have is that there is a total lack of support for this type of adoption.  Take announcements for example.  When you have a baby or even adopt a baby , there are numerous places where you can get birth or adoption announcements.  I was excited when I heard this thinking I would be able to get some for when we finalize our adoption.  Wrong.  I checked into numerous websites that advertised adoption announcements.  What they should have advertised was adoption announcements for children under the age of 5.  I'm not sure how my new daughter would feel about adoption announcements with duckies or booties or a stroller on them but that's what they've got.  I guess I'm on my own to figure out how to share our big news when the finalization date comes.  Even some friends and family are a little lacking in their enthusiasm.  I don't know if they are worried we will be getting "damaged merchandise" or what but it would be nice to feel the warm fuzzies I know I would feel if it were a baby we were having or adopting.  Another example would be the shower factor.  While I understand a baby comes with a need for many specialized things, teenagers don't exactly come with their own set of everything they need.  We will need sheets, blankets, etc. to provide a nice place for our new teen to live.  Everything we already have is basically in sets of three.  We will have to get more bath towels, more pillows, and even things the child may be lacking like more clothes.  Seeing as she will be coming from a different state, she will most likely need some climate appropriate clothes.  And I'm not just looking for someone else to foot the bill.  We have purchased a new bed and a new dresser and numerous other things already.  Just the idea of a party to introduce the new child to the family/community would be a welcome idea.  I don't know maybe I'm overthinking this but when you have a baby or adopt a baby there are a dozen people waiting to throw you a shower.  Nobody says a peep about throwing a shower for an older child.  Nobody is chomping at the bit to throw a welcome party.  We will be having a party but it will be us having the party.  But as usual, we will find a way.  We will find a way to make this family addition as celebratory as possible.  But we will most likely be doing it on our own.  Why am I surprised?  This just falls in line with so many other things in life for me.  I just have to take the bull by the horns and as Tim Gunn would say "make it work."

Friday, March 11, 2011

2 Legs + 30,000 Feet = Discrimination

Today, I spent the day going back and forth on whether to fly or drive for our trip to Faraway.  I listed the pros and cons.  Researched travel routes.  Priced flights.  But the one thing that kept sticking in my head was "What if I fly and someone carries on a cat or dog?"  My allergies and asthma would go haywire!  It could be deadly for me.  So I hit the internet trying to find my answer.  There was a lot of information about what to do if I wanted to take my pet on a flight but nothing about pet free flights.  I knew it was a long shot but they have peanut free flights now where they don't serve peanuts.  Of course that doesn't mean Joe Ignorant can't open a pack of peanut M&Ms he carried on but at least they are making the effort.  So with renewed inspiration, I dialed the airline 1-800 number.  After pushing a million buttons, which if you remember is one of my favorite things, I got a representative and told her my dilemma.  She said that I had a very good question and that if I would hold for a minute she would find out the answer for me.  Great!  She sounded kind of optimistic.  Maybe they had pet-free flights.  She returned to tell me that they do not have flights that are guaranteed to be pet-free.  The process I would have to follow is to book my flight and then call back periodically to check and see if a pet was registered on the flight and if they were, the airline would make the best effort to help me reschedule.  Um, ok.  So I can fly on your airline but not if Fido chooses the same flight.  I mean, its not even first serve.  Dogs and cats take priority over guests with a disability.  They do limit the number of pets on a flight so maybe if I reserve a pet spot and pay the extra fee then NOT take on a pet I could manipulate the system.  The airline we flew on for our transatlanic flights years ago could guarantee there would be no pets.  And that was years ago.  You'd think on a shorter, within the country flight in a more modern time that things would have developed a little.  Apparently only if you have four legs.  Nice.  I guess we will be driving the two full days in one direction to get to Faraway.  I just wish I had the same options as Fluffy and Spot.  Look out, I feel an angry letter coming on . . .

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Success ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! And Now the Scary Part . . .

I am officially a mom-to-be again!  No, I'm not preggers so don't even ask.  Yesterday, we had The Big Meeting about our Front Runner.  It went wonderfully.  Everyone was in agreement that it sounds as if our family and Front Runner are a great match!  Woo hoo!  The search is finally over!  No more hunting for potential new daughters.  No submitting our homestudy just to be told no.  This is it!  We even finished the video we had to make of ourselves.  Imagine someone telling you to make a video of yourself and giving you basically no guidelines but you know that this will be the most important video you ever make in your life.  It was tough.  What do you say?  It turned out to be ok I guess.  It is reflective of who we are and hopefully it won't scare Front Runner away.  (fingers crossed)  Today after wrestling with our scrapbook to get it to fit into a box, I mailed off our personal information to be shown to Front Runner next week.  I have never been so nervous in my life!  What if she doesn't like us?  What if she doesn't want to come live with us?  What if she thinks we are just a family of big old goobers?  While I am happy that the homestudy-getting-rejected part of the process is over, I have now realized that the biggest most important rejection could possibly happen.  I am scared.  All she has to judge us by is a scrapbook and a twenty minute video.  How is she supposed to decide based on that?  But I guess we decided on her without ever meeting her.  We didn't see a video.  We didn't get a scrapbook.  Yet we know she is the right one for us.  Hopefully she will get that same feeling.  It's strange to think that I have two daughters.  One is just a couple of states and a technicality away.  Wow!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Grow Up Already

I hate bullies.  You'd think that I mean the type of bully who pushes other kids down on the playground.  While I do indeed hate that type of bully too, I'm talking about adult bullies.  When you're growing up and you encounter bullies you can't wait to be an adult but what you don't realize is that there are bullies in the adult world too.  They are much more manipulative than the sort of physical abuse that young bullies resort to.  Instead they will use their words and their passive aggressive tactics to reign supreme over others.  I encountered one of these such bullies today.  I had sent her an email telling her that she couldn't have what she wanted and within ten minutes my phone rang.  She was overbearing and aggressive.  I tried to stand my ground while she tried to get information she wasn't entitled to.  I hung up the phone wondering what just happened.  I was now following her instructions instead of those I was hired to follow.  She wanted me doing things that were not my job and I was miffed.  After calling my boss and venting for a few minutes, I found a way to turn the situation around so she would be following our rules.  The thing is how many people would have just gone and done everything she asked for to avoid further conflict.  That shouldn't happen.  It's the adult equivalent of being pushed down on the playground.  If you work or play with an adult bully, don't take their crap.  Stand up for yourself no matter how hard it may be.  If they are making your life miserable, who knows how many other people feel the same way.  Adult bullies need to be stopped as well.  The first step is recognizing them.  Once you recognize them, it will be much easier to remind them that you too have a life, you too have responsibilities, and you too are worth something.  You are not just there for their ribbing and exploitation.  If you are doing the work and not getting the credit, speak up.  If you feel pushed around and unheard, speak up.  Don't let the bullies get the best of you.  Be a good example to the youth of today.  Don't be a bully.  The sad thing is my bully today is an official in an organization shaping the youth of today into the leaders of tomorrow. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Just Call Me Dorothy

I am petrified of storms.  Its really sort of a love/hate relationship.  I love to hear the thunder and rain.  The lightening doesn't even bother me.  For me, its all in the wind.  I hate storms because they come with wind and, sometimes, tornadoes.  I've always been this way.  Its part of who I am.  When I was a little girl and the wind would pick up or it looked like a storm was coming, I would run all over our backyard pulling anything that wasn't tied down into the house.  Toys, decorations, lawn furniture.  It all had to come in.  And I didn't even live in tornado alley.  We're talking mid-atlantic states here.  Not exactly known for their tornadoes.  I mean, this is a place where what would normally be tornado sirens are used instead to call volunteer firefighters to the fire station.  We did have a tornado once.  It came through near to our house while we were away.  I remember being so scared that when we got home all my stuff would be gone.  (And to someone with OCD, even undiagnosed at the time, "stuff" is very, very important.)  Hubby and I survived some non-descending funnel clouds while living along the gulf coast.  I remember hearing the tornado sirens in the middle of the night thinking "wow, that must be one big fire".  Little did we know.  I think back to the two years that Hubby and I DID live in tornado alley and I don't know how I functioned like a human being.  I think I just chose to ignore the threat as a coping mechanism of some sort.  I remember the green skies, the wall clouds, the sideways rain and the tornado sirens but I never remember being scared.  Now, I live here in Suburbia, basically the midwest, where the threat is higher than you'd think it would be.  I live the months of March, April, May, June, July and August in fear of the wicked winds.  I force my family, birds and all, into the basement every now and then where we sit with our bike helmets on waiting for the warnings to be over.  I have, through much therapy, come to realization that I am as safe as I can be in my home, but my car is a completely different story.  The thing that fears me most about storms now is traveling in them.  One night, on the way home from a wedding, we were driving down the interstate when the radio went off with tornado warnings for all the local counties.  Having just passed the last exit before a vast stretch of farmland, I insisted that Hubby drive backwards down the interstate on ramp shoulder so that we could take refuge in a Hampton Inn lobby while the cyclonic cones of death made their way through the area.  Today, we laugh about that night, but I would do it again in a heartbeat if I had to.  The reason I'm writing all of this today is that tomorrow we are taking a trip to Hometown to see our new little niece.  We are making the trip in one day which means we will be coming back to Suburbia in the dark, driving straight into a cold front.  They are not calling for any severe weather but with their tendency to do nowcasting and not forecasting, I am nervous.  But I will go.  When the thunder rumbles, I will white knuckle my atlas.  When the lightening flashes, I will scan the horizon for potential funnels.  When we start the trip home, I will medicate . . . heavily.  Meteorlogical scars run deep in my mind but I will live through this.  If not, I'll see you in Oz.