Friday, September 26, 2008

Rock Obama

Aaron came home from kindergarten today reporting that they voted in school today. Apparently they talked a little (very little) about the candidates, were brought into voting booths, closed the curtains and got to press a button with their teacher.

His teacher told them that whoever became President would be a great President. Hmmm.

We asked him who he voted for. He told us, "Rock Obama." We asked why. He said, "Because I like his name better than, um, um, the guy with the J."

If only it were that easy.....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nanny Dearest...

For a bunch of years after I had my kids, I worked full time and had a huge commute from LI into NYC. My hours were ridiculous, job was demanding, and the means of daycare that worked for my family was to employ a live in nanny from Monday through Friday. In the past almost 6 years, we've gone through 3 long term nannies (3 years, 2 years and our current nanny has been with us for almost 6 months and is grat) and a few shorter term nannies for whatever reasons. There's alot of talk in the nannies in the news, of course these are bad nannies. What news wants to report a story of a good nanny? Many of our friends have live-in nannies and I've heard some stories, some good and some not so good. Sometimes a not so good story though is pretty funny, because the not so good parts aren't dangerous, just comical. Sort of like the time I had a huge fight with a nanny and told her not to come back, and she looked at my husband and asked if I was kidding..anyway, that's a story for another day. As I was saying, sometimes the not so good stories lean a little towards the comical, like the following e-mail I received today from a friend about a new nanny they had hired and how and why she lasted only a few days. (Note that names are deleted at her request, but she did give permission to reprint the story).

I threw her into the fire to fend for herself on Monday while I went to work (no choice). My mom helped her out a little bit and got her aquainted with the kids and the house, showed her around town, etc. I figured that if she can manage the first week, it can only get better. I'm the first one to admit that we're a very undesirable nanny family - 3 kids, one on the way, a giant dog, plus housecleaning and cooking. Not exactly a job that everyone is vying for.

So we hired a nanny, a great European woman. On Thursday I had tried calling my house from work and called almost every 5 minutes from 4:30 until 9 pm and she never answered the phone. Husband was at work and open school night. By the time I got home at 9pm, I was kind of panicky wondering what was happening, although understanding that some of this panic was undeniably caused by pregnancy hormones. I walk in the door and calmly asked her why she hasn't been answering the phone. She points her finger in my face and yells "there's no phone." At that point, I had had a long day, was very worried, just commuted home over an hour and a half in the pouring rain and just lost it, pointing out how we have phones all over the house (like 8 of them), and she continues to scream that there are no phones, not listening to a word that I am saying. We are standing in the hallway outside the kids' rooms screaming at each other (they were asleep with their doors open). It really does take a lot to make me angry and it happens very rarely, but once I'm there, watch out. So then she tells me to "shhh." I proceed to scream even louder that it's totally unacceptable to not be able to reach her for that period of time, don't tell me to "shh" etc., and she turns around and says in a very evil voice "goodnight" and storms away from me to her room! I would have packed her up right then and there if husband had been home.

That night I learned through my spying neighbor and caller ID that my former nanny had called our house that afternoon and this new nanny put both older kids on the phone with her! Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but she really had no clue the circumstances of the prior nanny leaving, who she was, the relationship with my kids, and basically allowed my kids to talk on the phone to someone who she didn't know. The next morning I asked what she had spoken to her about and she told me that the former nanny called the house hysterical crying that my daughter is HER baby, she wanted to talk to her, she raised her, etc. I never would have known any of this had my neighbor not seen my kids talking on the phone outside in the middle of the afternoon. All in all, a pretty disturbing situation all around.

Up until this point, she had been there 3 days. We had hidden a voice-activated recorder in the kitchen just in case and on this night we decided to listen to the tape. What did we hear? Nothing. Silence. Which is pretty odd considering we have 3 kids and a huge dog and there's never any silence when I'm home! In between the silence we would hear her screaming things like "I IN CHARGE" (no joke, several times) and the fact that she ignored the kids when they spoke to her. It was just horrible and we opted to cut our losses and let her go. But before I could say anything to her, she told me that she can't handle kids. Duh.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Things They Say...

Aaron is very into movies. Very, very into. Like he knows everything about every movie there is. He knows the release dates for movies coming to the theaters as well as movies that are coming to DVD. It's amazing how much knowledge about movies his 5 and a half year old brain holds. So what he said today didn't surprise me at all.

One of my friends was a parent volunteer during picture day today at Aaron's school, so while she was there she took a picture of him with her phone and sent it to me. There were other kids in the picture so I asked him who they were.

Aaron - "That's Melissa."
Me - "Is she in your class?"
A - "Yes."
M - "What's her last name?"
A - "Myers. Her name is Melissa Myers. But her dad is not Mike Meyers."
M - "Oh, really?"
A - "Ya, her dad is not Mike Meyers from Shrek, her dad is Adam. He's not from anything."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This will one day be a blackmail picture.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


9/11. Up until 7 years ago, it was just another day. Today, 7 years have passed and today, so many people remember where they were during the worst terror attack on American soil.

On the morning of 9/11/01, I was going to work in NYC, thinking about how Craig & I were going to celebrate our first wedding anniversary the following week. My commute was nothing other than normal and I ran into a coworker on my two block walk up 18th street from 7th Avenue to 5th Avenue. I remember that there was alot of construction going on on 18th street, complete with jackhammers and alot of noise, which my coworker and I complained about to each other. We went into the building and made our way to our respective offices. Once I reached my office, I heard from a few people that a plane or a helicopter had crashed into the World Trade Center. I called my dad and asked if he had spoken to my brother who was working in the World Financial Center. They had spoken and my brother didn't know what it was, but word was that it was a private plane and he was going downstairs with some colleagues to check it out. Minutes later, we learned that it was a terrorist attack and were trying to put together information about what was going on.

Many employees from my company congregated in the main conference room, next to floor to ceiling windows that stared down 5th avenue right at the skyline, right at the World Trade Center. While we were able to watch the news reports on television, we were also able to watch right out our window. As another plane hit the second tower at 903am, I distrinctly remember a colleague muttering, "Are we living the movie Independence Day?"

As we were watching the towers that would soon fall, word came of another plane hitting the Pentagon. And another crashing in Pennsylvania. I remember questioning when all of these things were just going to stop.

I remember thinking about my brother and wondering where he was. Thinking about my cousin, an employee of Carr Futures, and wondering where he was. Thinking about my 90 year old grandmother sitting at her doctor's office in Florida wondering where we all were. Thinking about how I was soon going to realize how many people I knew who were in the towers who were hurt.

And then the towers fell. Landmarks of NYC that we had always taken for granted just tumbled. Watching them from the window - seeing them there one minute and then gone the next. At the time, I don't even think I realized how many people were also there one minute and then gone the next.

I remember thinking about how all of the doctors in NYC were rushing to the hospitals to help. And I remember seeing the newscasts of all of these medical personnel just waiting at the hospitals. Because the people that they rushed there to help, the hurt an injured, truly didn't exist. There was no one to help because almost all of those people had died.

As the day went on, my colleagues left the office and tried to get home. Craig walked up from his office downtown and we walked to Penn Station, catching the last train home. The train was eerily quiet, no one was talking. No one wanted to say anything about what had just happened, about what they had just witnessed. I remember a man sitting in a seat, covered in ash. Someone gave him a towel but no one could talk.

Once we got home, it was hard to watch the news but it was hard also not to watch the news. Our newscasters and radio personalities were reporting what was happening for their audiences. No jokes, nothing other than the facts. And the fact was that we had just experienced the worst terrorist attacks ever. In our city.

Being from NY and being in NYC over 9/11 was extremely difficult. Entire companies were wiped out in seconds. People were out canvassing the city for their loved ones. It was like watching a movie, only it was 100% for real.

Today, 7 years later, people remember. And people want to talk about it. They want to remember where they were, remember those they loved and remember those they lost, and make sure that no one ever forgets.

Today the New York Post and the New York Times did not have anything on their covers about remembering 9/11. The message that sent? Move on. Of course people will continue with their lives but that doesn't mean we need to forget. We can't ever forget that this happened. We can't ever forget the people whose lives were lost. People who just got up that day to go to work like it was any other day, people who rushed to help the injured, people on the planes that acted like heroes, trying to save themselves and others.

I heard this morning that the state of Missouri had sent a gift to the FDNY after September 11 with a note talking about the 343 firefighters that we lost that day and how in the history of the entire state of Missouri to date they had not lost 343 firefighters in the line of duty. We lost those men in one day.

We'll never forget 9/11 or the people we lost. To all of our members of the FDNY and NYPD, families of those in the WTC, the Pentagon and on the airplanes, we will never forget.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Piles and Piles of Paper

My oldest is in kindergarten - he just started last week. I have recently decided that when you look up kindergarten in the dictionary, there should be a new definition - the land of piles and piles of paper. I never knew that kindergarteners bring home so much paper. And it's not worksheet he completed in school or projects that he made, that would really be okay - I actually have a folder all set up just waiting to house the school work for this year. What he's bringing home is notes and letters. And reminders and forms. ALOT of reminders and even more forms, which translates to the fact that these papers are for me. I think I get enough paper between the junk mail and the bills and the catalogs that come in the mail. But now my kindergartener is hand delivering to me more paper on a daily basis.

Before school started, a packet arrived in the mail. Inside, there were alot of papers, of course. Information, handbooks and forms to fill out. Forms to order lunch, order milk, join the PTA, volunteer for the lunch program, order a mini district calendar, order a mini student directory. Every order form needed a separate check to be sent in with it. Oh, and there was also a permission slip to sign that your child can be injected with something (I forgot what) in case of a nuclear attack. Yes, I am serious on that one, which truth be told, totally baffled me. Understand that I'm pretty smart (college degree, CPA certification and I own my own business), but I had to get my neighbor, a PTA mom, to come over and help me wade through the papers in this packet. At that point, school hadn't even started yet!

The first day of school, a letter came home from the teacher requesting each parent to fill out four questions about their child. Great, I thought, this was a great way to get some information about my son directly to the teacher without being a giant pain in her ass. You know, the information like he knows how to read and sometimes has to go to the bathroom alot. Normal kindergarten parent to teacher stuff. As I read the questions, I was reminded of the essays on my college applications. These were not just plain, tell me something about your child questions. These were serious essay questions which had me up doing my homework until about 1030pm. On the first night of school, nonetheless. (Note that the essays took me about an hour to complete).

The first week of school was short and I think the teacher was easing the parents the kids in to the new routine. Last night when I checked his folder, surprise! More papers. An order form for books from Scholastic. An order form for a Subway lunch fundraiser being organized for the 5th graders. Volunteer form to be class mom. Information on the first PTA meeting. Reminder to pay your dues for the PTA if you haven't already. I'm sure there was more, I just can't remember them all right now. Oh yes, the 3 page letter from the teacher letting us know that because she reminds the kids of their homework a bunch of times throughout the day, she will not be sending home instructions on what the homework is on a daily basis.

Forget the Year of the Rat, this is going to be the Year of Paper. And alot of it. I wish the school would go green and send everything over e-mail. Or make a rule that only 2 sheets of paper were allowed to be sent home each day. Otherwise you might find me buried under mounds of paper this year. Let's see what they hand out at the PTA meeting tomorrow night...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

One Lousy Day

Today was one lousy day. Nothing catastrophic, but nothing great. Here's a forewarning. If you are a person who is easily irritated by others' complaints and whines, skip this post. I can be 100% honest in telling you that this post is going to be chock full o' complaints and whines of almost every variety. And so we begin....

Around 4am, an itch woke me up. Not just any itch, but the itch of 15 mosquito bites on my feet. Although I am known to be a little bit of an exaggerator, I am being serious when I say 15. These bites have been itching my feet, waking me up in the middle of the night and not responding to any type of itch spray or cream for about 4 days and last night was not any different. And not only did they wake me up, but they kept me up for an hour. I finally fell back to sleep at 5am, only to wake up to the blaring sound of our alarm 620am, telling hubby it's time to get up for work. Today was to be the first day back to work after an almost 2 week vacation for both of us, so clearly neither wanted to move from our comfy bed. Hubby made that amazingly clear when I had to tell him every 5 minutes until 645am to get into the shower. I didn't need to physically get up until 7am and was almost back to sleep for a quick catnap, when I woke up to my 5 year old explaining why he went to sleep with a bandaid on his foot and woke up with it not on his foot. Although it seems pretty self explanatory, a 5 year old can turn that into a 10 minute long epic.

The fact that I was going back to work after an almost 2 week vacation, in itself, is enough to make this one lousy day. While getting ready for work, my 5 year old starts carrying on about his stomach hurting. That sounds callous, but if you know our history with him with constipation, you'd understand. It's very a very frustrating ailment and 5 year olds are generally not into changing their diets to add more fiber. Anyway, when the stomach ache speak begins, it usually takes awhile to stop. This morning, no different. Although he was okay enough to let me go to work.

I get to work early and start checking e-mail before anyone gets in. Getting to work early, for me, means that I can leave early, so that was a bonus today. Within my first hour at work, my 5 year old called me to tell me he pooped, he pooped again and that he made a new rule - he was going to call me every time he pooped. That was three separate phone calls, Then the stomach ache went away, so all was good at home.

I had scheduled a "lease return inspection" for my car which is due back to the dealership this week, and the appointment was scheduled for "anytime between 8am and 5pm." Guy shows up at 1pm, he clearly hates his job, and proceeds to tell me that although this is usually a 5 minute process, his computer broke and it is going to take about a half hour. Yes, I needed to sit with him while he inspected my car. After about 15 minutes he let me go back to my office, just to call me pretty much as soon as I got upstairs to come back down. Good news, no damage that needs to be paid for. Wahoo!

End of day comes, pretty slowly. I realize that I am missing some stuff for 5 year old's first day of kindergarten tomorrow - an ice pack for his lunch box and antibacterial wipes requested by the teacher. Four containers of them. I was happy that I had reached almost home at 5pm and planned to put together a dinner that isn't take out and hang out with the kids for awhile. Four stores and an hour and a half later, I had enough of supermarket cashiers and their "ice packs? summer's over" routines. I did get my ice packs and wipes and got home at 7pm.

Here we are, at 830pm, both kids are sleeping and we have to go drop off hubby's car. Then me and my whine are going to curl up in bed watching the new 90210, commercial free, courtesy of my trusty DVR. And yes, absolutely, with some wine.
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