Total Pageviews

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I know, I know. My blogging negligence – my blogligence, if you will – has been totally out of hand, inappropriate, and quite frankly, offensive. I apologize. I have no real good excuse either. Busy, busy, but not really any busier than usual. I think I was just in the market for a bit of a writing vacation.

I can’t believe that October has come and nearly gone. It doesn’t seem just that time passes by so quickly. As soon as I feel mentally prepared to finally start the fall/Halloween season, it’s nearly over!

One biggish thing that’s occurred in the last couple of weeks is that Mike has been accused of a crime that he’s not guilty of committing. (Actually he’s not guilty of committing any crimes…as far as I know). We received a notice about it in the mail a while ago and proceeded to ignore it. We assumed that it was an identity confusion issue. See, Mike’s been getting calls from collection agencies claiming that he owes about $1800 on unpaid rent from one of the apartments in “downtown” Newcastle – an apartment we’ve never even set foot in. We call the collection agency people back and tell them it’s not us, you have the wrong Michael Martin, etc. but it doesn’t seem to help. (We have checked all of our credit info, etc. and do know that it’s not identity theft – just identity confusion).

So, we ignored this first notice in the mail but then got another one of those “call us back phone messages.” I call back and find out that Mike is being accused of being guilty of committing a hit and run/rear-ending incident and that he owes money, there was even a police report filed against him. They had our phone number, address, vehicle type and license plate tag.

Collection Dude asks, “Is this you?” I tell the dude, “Um, yes, that’s all of our information, but it’s not us. Neither one of us has ever rear ended anyone or hit and run…from anyone.” He SO obviously did not believe me. So Collection Dude says, “Well, this woman has even filed a police report with the Tacoma Police.” I ask Dude, “How do we prove that we didn’t do this? And when and where did this supposed accident take place?” Dude looks up info and says, “On January 24th, 2008, your husband hit a white Lexus at the Radiation Center in Tacoma, Washington.”

After telling him again, that it’s not us, we’ve never even been to “Radiation Center,” and that Mike rarely even drives our CRV, I look up the date – January 24th, 2008 on my calendar. Now, it wouldn’t be rare for there not to be anything written on our calendar. We do, believe it or not, have days where we don’t do anything worthy of writing on the calendar; however, thankfully, we DID do something that day. I can PROVE that Mike is innocent! On our calendar it says, “Play at Amy’s.” We had a play date that day, in Seattle. AND to make things even better, a few days after that play date, I wrote a blog on what went down that day right afterward our play date. When I told a couple people what I was actually doing that day, they didn’t think that my BLOG would really support our innocence…or at least my sanity. So, should we need to stand trial, my BLOG could act as evidence, but if that’s no good, I’m in the market for some character witnesses. Anyone interested?

Here it is, a description of what I did on January 24th, 2008:

January 29th, 2008

Apparently I was gaining too much of a healthy self-confidence, maybe even an ego. So, God planted this little moment just to remind me what a nerd I really am.

Last week, I met the sister-in-law of a really good friend. I won’t go into details as it’s a long and confusing story of how I connected with this woman. Anyway, I had just gotten the boys strapped into their car seats and I thought, I should go introduce myself. So, I went up to her and explained who I was and that Mike and I are good friends with Kate and Kevin.

“Oh!” she says. “From that thing?”

“Engaged Encounter! Yep.” I supply the “thing” that she is looking for.

“They’ve met some really cool people through that,” she informs me.

Then somehow my brain quits functioning and I get stuck. All I can do is grin from ear-to-ear and say, “Yep, we’re really cool peeps.”

She laughs and kind of jokingly mocks what I say, “You’re like yeah! That’s us!”

And then for some unknown reason all I can do is repeat the exact same mind-blowing line again, “Yep, we’re REALLY cool peeps.”

We say our awkward goodbyes after a terribly awkward conversation, and I get in my car. I drive up the narrow street, turn around in the intersection and head back down in order to depart the neighborhood. She’s still standing outside, so we wave (Oh wow. There go the really cool peeps again! She must be thinking). I feel like she looked at me kind of strangely as we drive by but think nothing of it because I am SO cool. Two seconds later I hear a weird sound on my car – coming from the roof. A moment later, my travel coffee mug goes rolling down the windshield, down the street and rests underneath a parked car. This is why you don’t put things on top of the car. (For the record, I don’t usually do this, but my hands were so full I didn’t have a choice).

I park my car in the middle of the road, hop out and get down on my hands and knees in search of Travel Mug. I can’t seem to find it anywhere and decide that lying on the ground in the road with my children sitting in the car in the middle of the street is probably not the best plan. So, much to Matthew’s distress, I decide to forego the coffee mug search and continue home.

At the first stop light, I decide – for whatever reason – to get a piece of gum. Before chewing it, however, I’m going to be really cool for the cars around me and check myself out in the visor mirror. Right. Two BIG BLACK poppyseeds stuck on either side of my top row of teeth. Of course I have big black objects in my teeth. As if I wasn’t making a great first impression all ready! Now I know that my “We’re really cool peeps” comment was thoroughly supported by my appearance…followed by the coffee mug rolling down my car. Reality check: we’re not cool peeps. We’re not even really cool. And I really shouldn’t be saying peeps.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

[Adventure in Atanta…and then Wichita continued]. We eventually get to our hotel in Atlanta…in the hood. Maybe it was the three inches of protective glass for the cashier at the mini-mart (where we bought contact solution for Mike) or just the general mood, but the neighborhood just didn’t feel like the safest of places. We walked to a McDonald’s for dinner where we did get to catch the end of the VP debate. (Who knew that a McD’s in the hood would have such a nice flat screen mounted in the corner…and that it would be tuned into CNN?! Excellent!). After our excellent dining experience, we headed back to our hotel, where a dude approached us and said to Mike, “Hey man, do you know where I can find the liquor store?”

Knowing that we’d be up at the Seattle equivalent of 3am, we hit the hay early. I woke up at Atlanta 2am to Mike asking me what I was doing. Hmmm. I was in the hotel room bathroom attempting to make coffee…at 2am…we didn’t need to be up until 6am. I was just so very confused!! At any rate, we successfully managed to get ourselves up at 6 (our 3), caught our shuttle back to the airport, used our $14 food vouchers to buy gourmet croissanwiches at Burger King – ooh la la!, and then finally, finally got our plane to Wichita.

Once we had, at long last, arrived at the Hyatt in Wichita, we were tired and stinky and SO ready to party with our EE pEEps at the Convention. We had an amazing time – as always – with this group of people. The Convention was fantastic but made even more so by the quality time we got to spend with our friends there.

Saturday night at the EE Conventions is the time you get to let your hair down and party. After a day full of (very worthwhile) keynote speakers and workshops, everyone is ready for some fun. Thus, enters my new, ginormous laptop bag; now, known to many as the booze bag. A few people decided that spending $9-11/glass of wine just wasn’t going to cut it, so they had made the trek to a liquor store stocking up on behalf of the greater good. The question then became how we would smuggle these bottles of wine down to the Convention banquet. I casually mentioned that I had a quite-good-sized laptop bag. It was as if she had been created for the soul purpose of carrying contraband liquor. With three different zippered sections New Bag easily fit quite a few, good-sized bottles within her good-sized compartments.

Everything went splendidly until we’d left one of our bottles sitting on the table during dinner. It happened to be right in front of Mike who happened to be the one person at our table not partaking in the wine. Hotel Guy comes up and says, “Excuse me, sir. You can’t have that wine here.” Mike just sits there for a second and then says, “Oh, well, it’s not mine.” Great. He throws us under the bus! Then everyone is looking at me, so I say, “Oh! Do you need us to take it back up to our room?” (I’m thinking if I’m super nice, I won’t get in too much trouble). Hotel Guy says, “That’d be great, but you know, we can just put it over on the bar for now.” Um, OK. Bob, at our table wonders if we can go help ourselves to our wine then. Yeah, doubtful.

So, instead Bob starts a bootlegged, contraband liquor business under the table, out of my pretty New Bag. All sorts of jokes were made about the filled glasses of wine that emerged from, essentially, between his legs. You can imagine – things like: the fruit of his loins, etc. While I did enjoy the fruits of his labor, all I could say was, “You guys better not get me busted! I was never even sent to the principal’s office!”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I am SO glad that I went with the bigger bag. After all of the laptop bag drama, I finally caved and bought a freakishly large bag for Kara. Looks, it’s not her fault that she’s the laptop equivalent of being bigger-boned. So, my new laptop bag, while beautiful in its’ own way, looks a wee bit like a black diaper bag on steroids and also a little like Mary Poppin’s carpet bag.

The bag was perfect for a carry-on for our trip to Wichita, KS last weekend. Yes, I can say, “we went to Kansas for the weekend.” It’s not often you get to say that. AND I can also say, we went to Wichita, Kansas via Atlanta, Georgia. Look, I’m pretty up on the geography, but when you really look at it on the map, it’s crazy talk. We had to fly to the Midwest via the East Coast. SO stupid. But this was what Delta dictated we do.

We arrived in Atlanta on Thursday night with only about 45 minutes to make our connecting flight back to Kansas. (Why they didn’t just open the door and let us parachute out above the Midwest is beyond me). Turns out that Atlanta has the title of being the Busiest Airport IN THE World. It’s true. Who knew?! So, we arrive with a smallish window to make our connection, but we arrived right on time. BUT THEN, they make our big jet drive around to THREE different gates because of a traffic jam before they finally allow us to disembark. Then, Mike and I have to take the train-dealy to the opposite end of the airport. We RUN through the airport (my big laptop bag and Pretty Purse whacking me on the leg with every step), and arrive at our gate, shove our tickets at the Gate Guy. He calmly puts them into the computer and calmly says, “Oh that flight left two minutes ago.” Then Gate Guy calmly tells us to go to Gate Blah-Blah-Blah to find out about another flight to Wichita, KS. We go to Gate Blah-Blah-Blah where Gate Girl calmly tells us that that was actually the last flight of the night to Wichita, KS and we get to go stay in a hotel, get $14 in the morning for breakfast and will be up at the Seattle equivalent of 3am to catch our new flight to Wichita, KS. Ever so calmly. [To be continued...]

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I look forward to the day when green, ooey-gooey slime is not constantly cascading out of Bret’s nose. Bret is one of my music class students. He is three-years-old. Today was the fourth class – that’s FOUR weeks where every time I see the child I wish I was wearing a haz-mat suit…or at least a gas mask. How a child can even have that much body fluid-mucous to leak is beyond me. When will he ever run dry?

Bret adds a lot to class (not just snot and not necessarily all good). He’s the kid who, once he knows every word, (or even if he doesn’t), sings every single song as loudly and as monotonely as possible. He’s also the one that at least twice a class I have to tell, “OK, Bret, move away from ___ because obviously you can’t sit next to ___ without constantly caressing/slash/fondling/slahs/harassing ___.” Ahh, Bret. He’s one of those. [And, no worries, I don't have a visual aid for this one either].

Then, in my second class, there’s Raven (a girl…named after a bird). She’s got the attitude of a “tween” and knows how to use it. Last week, the little lady just could not keep her shoes and socks on. If I asked her to pick them up (as they were in the middle of the path for our marching in a circle), she gave me an unbelievable amount of ‘tude. I’m surprised it wasn’t accompanied with a snap, zig-zag head and “No, you di’nt.”

Also in my second class are: Daria, Anastasia, Ayla, Amana, Ella, Ela, and Sophia. I’m not kidding. Try keeping those straight. Ayla and Amana are sisters. Ayla just had her birthday last week and turned five. Amana is 4 but much taller than her older sister. When I pointed that out to them (as I was trying to get them straight – “OK, so Ayla, you’re older, but Amana, you’re taller”), they looked at me ever so seriously.

Ayla (the heightedly-challenged, elder sister) said, “Yes, Amana is taller because she eats chicken.”

To which Amana added, “Yes, Ayla doesn’t like chicken. That’s why she’s shorter than me.”
Right. I can see clearly that the parents want both daughters to eat their poultry. And these girls really have the equation down: Eat Chicken = Be Tall. (No wonder I find myself having more of it lately).

Finally, there’s Sam. Sam has a special place in my heart. Sam happens to be the son of Kari who happens to be a music teacher and is the daughter of Susan who is a teacher at the school where I am now teaching. (Did you follow that?) All sorts of broo-ha-ha and drama went down because I ‘swooped in’ and got the job that Susan felt was meant for Kari. I won’t get into it…but needless-to-say, I went into my first class knowing that there was a teacher there who was furious with my presence and would be watching and analyzing my every move. I was the woman that stole her daughter’s job. But then, the plot thickened, when I saw that Kari had not only signed her son, Sam, up for my class, but for both sessions – a full twelve weeks of Little Ditties Music Academy tutelage. This woman can’t be that mad about my presence if she’s paying me $120 to teach music to her son.

Anyway, back to Sam. Poor, sweet Sam. Sam has the most horrifyingly cruel bowl – should have been outlawed in the ‘80’s – hair cut that I have ever seen. It’s as if they cut it with a rusty machete…while drunk. Sam makes up for his rough ‘do’ in his sweetness. Unlike the other 4-5 year old boys, he doesn’t suddenly start whacking himself on the head in the middle of class and thinking it’s the funniest thing in the whole wide world. (Matthew would fit in perfectly with these boys. Ahhh, slapstick, body humor – nothing else makes a 5 year old boy laugh quite like it).

After class, last week, I was alarmed to see that Sam was the only child still on the rug (all others had left with parental units) AND that he was crying. I was about to approach him when Ms. Susan (his grandma) and Kari (his music teaching Mama) come flying out of no where. (Great, I thought, it looks like I’m just sitting over here picking my nose while her son/grandson sobs his little heart out).

Ms. Susan came over to me after comforting Sam and leaving the rest of the comforting to Kari. She smiled and said, “Sam’s very upset that class is over.”

Sweet Perfection. I rule. Rave reviews. There is no compliment greater than a kid breaking down after class because he’s devastated it’s over. I love it when I make kids cry…in a good way.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Last Saturday, we had a long (and great) Engaged Encounter meeting. The event took all day, so we were all pretty wiped at bed time. Mike and I, with all sorts of positive thought, looked forward to getting to sleep in on Sunday morning.
At 6:45, I awoke to the most unpleasant wake-up call there is: “MOMMMM!” Matthew called, “You can come wipe my bum now I’m done going poo.” I rolled over and groaned. Just what everyone wants to hear first thing in the morning. “MOMMMMMMMMMMMMM! Come wipe my bum now!!!! I’m done pooping!”
OK, who poops at 6:45 in the morning?!....when they haven’t even had coffee yet?!!

(be glad I DON'T have a visual aid/picture to accompany this entry).