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Rage against the Mother Club

So I took the advice of friends and family seriously when it came to meeting others and trying to fit a group of friends here in our new town.  Most people told me to join a “mommy” group.  I was a little hesitant because in Huntsville, my friends were my friends because of our similarities.  Some had kids – some didn’t.  It didn’t matter either way though.  BUT- I’m up for joining groups if it helps me to meet people quicker.  For a few weeks, I was really put off that none of the groups would email me back.  Being a little prideful, I didn’t want to contact the same group twice – because come on – I don’t want to be begging for friends or anything.  The group that ended up contacting me back is called M@CC (I’m going to try and “code” the name because I don’t want someone looking for this group and landing in my blog) – Mothering as a C@reer Club.  A CAREER.  I….I just have so  many issues with this title.  First off – motherhood is not a career nor is it a hobby.  It’s not anything I was educated on, trained for, or am being paid at.  Therefore – NOT a career.  I think it’s more of a lifestyle choice if it deems such a title.  Joel didn’t really see why I was all up in arms about the  name of this group until our realtor asked if I found any groups to hang out with yet.  I said that I went to a playdate with the M@CC group.  She looked a little confused and I confessed that it was the “Mothering as a…*mumbled something incoherently*” She jumped in with “as a CAREER club – YES. Well.  I didn’t join that because I always had a career.”  And even though she did NOT mean this to  be mean or condescending, Joel immediately saw that why this title was so offensive to me.

I say all this to say that I have joined this group – except I haven’t done it officially because I haven’t paid my dues yet ($20/year) but I intend on joining.  They always send out an active monthly calendar that has multiple events every week so it offers a lot of freedom as to what events match up with Lila’s schedule.

I’m also saying all of this because last night I was pissed at this group.

There was a Mom’s Night Out scheduled for last night.  Even though I am an extrovert, I still am a little nervous about just showing up some place and being like HEY! Let’s hang out!  You know, because that’s weird. We finished dinner last night, I got all cute with HEELS and MAKEUP and HAIR.  I drove over to the restaurant where we were supposed to be having karaoke night (which I would not be participating in because I only karaoke once I REALLY know you.  That’s not first date material.) and hopefully having a few drinks.  I pull in the parking lot and was a little surprised by how empty the parking lot was.  Actually, it wasn’t empty but it was lacking a good number of SUVs and minivans.  So I walk in about 15 minutes late because I can’t be the new girl AND one of the first ones there but I don’t see any tables of women hanging out.  Except one.  It’s a booth with 4 women sitting at it.  I frantically called Joel and was like “Um, what do I do?!?” So I hung up and went over there and asked the first lady who  made eye contact with me if they were from the M@CC group.  She responded no and I frantically apologized and jetted back to the safety of my car.  I checked my email again for the 15th time that night but there was no response to my RSVP or any notice they had cancelled.

I called Joel and told him that I was on my way home but I was going to be stopping to get a milkshake and some onion rings first.

Emotions varied from annoyance to anger to sadness to bitter.  An actual thought I had – “Screw you b*#$^%@! I’ve got a milkshake and an episode of Dateline murder mysteries on my DVR – I DON’T NEED YOU.”  What is so frustrating is that because I haven’t paid my dues BECAUSE THEY KEEP CANCELLING THE EVENTS I GO TO (this is the second event cancelled that I was not notified about but thankfully didn’t go to the other one since it was a 45 min drive from my house) I don’t have any way of contacting anyone except for an email address to one girl who I like a lot but this is NOT OK.

She wrote me an email at about 1am that stated the event was cancelled (what?! no way!) and that she hoped I stayed home (nope!) since she didn’t email me back.  I’m just frustrated.  Frustrated with the lack of everything with this group.  This cannot be normal for mom groups, right??

How 14 cents cost me 95 dollars

Having your mail forwarded from your old address can sometimes make bills late or close to the deadline.  Not a big deal for us because we  pay everything online and our bank account has a monthly reminder function so it notifies us with “ahem, your mortgage is about to come up”  or whatever so that we know to be looking either for the paper bill to come in the mail (for things that fluctuate like utilities).  We got a notice from Huntsville Utilities which was very close to the due date thanks to the mail forwarding service.  In BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS it yelled at us and told us that this was our FINAL NOTICE to pay our monthly bill and how they were going to cut off our service because we didn’t pay the month before.  Well, Joel did pay the bill the month before but apparently when typing it into the bank account, he was 14 cents short of the entire bill.  I thought all of this was odd considering this was actually our first notice, but whatever.  I’m not one to get in a tizzy about how many bills they think they’ve sent. Plus, it’s FOURTEEN cents.  I promise I’m good for 14 cents (plus the additional $.01 in late charges for a total of $0.15).

Joel paid it within a few days and all was settled.  Or so I thought.

About a week or so later (I can’t actually remember how long it had been just that it hadn’t been long), we get a notice from our alarm company (which is run by my parents) that we had a power outage.  I looked up the power outages in Huntsville and didn’t see anything in our area, but assumed they were working in the area or maybe a tree fell.  No biggie.  But then the power didn’t come back on.  So I told Joel and he called Huntsville Utilities and the lady was so apologetic about how it’s an automated system with the angry lettering and threats BUT it’s also an automatic system to cut your power off.  Once again, no big deal.  The lady was so nice and said the power would be back on in the morning.

Fast forward a month and we received a bill for this past month.  I’ve been looking for the bill because I’m curious how low our bill can go with no one living there.  As I examined it, I noticed a $95 miscellaneous fee.  Pretty sure there shouldn’t be any miscellaneous fees on my utilities bill.  Turns out it costs NINETY-FIVE FREAKIN DOLLARS to turn your power back on.  Joel and I were both livid – hell, I’m still livid.  But they wouldn’t budge on the fee.  I’m sure it cost Huntsville Utilities $95 to push a button and get my power back on.

Moral of the story?  Never be $.14 short of your bills.

The Truth About Our New Home

I have been told that I am not a negative person, and I believe that.  For the most part, I try to stay positive and always find some benefit or good out of any situation.  I have to keep reminding myself to do that now that I’m in a new city in a new state and in a place that I do not like.  I’m struggling with saying I “hate” it here, because hate is a strong word and I don’t know if I’ve given this place enough time to really form that impression yet.  We’ve lived here about a month and I’m struggling to find the positives.  It’s been so gray, overcast, and cold.  On days that it is sunny, I can’t take the baby out because the wind is too strong for any sort of walk to be pleasant.  The dogs are going crazy being cooped up inside all the time.  I have to keep them in a bathroom because if I leave them in the laundry room, they instantly crap and pee all over the floor.  There are only so many times I can clean it up before I want to strangle them.  So in an effort to save my sanity, I keep them locked up.  They want to go outside but it’s too cold even for them with their coats on.

And then there are the little things I need and miss.  During the week, Lila and I would frequently go on errands.  Costco, Target, and Publix were visited almost every week in an effort to replace necessities (milk) and for sanity (OMG GET ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE).  I have none of those stores now.  Sure we have other places here (Walmart – sigh.  Y’all, I’m trying to make see it in a more positive light but I just can’t.) but it’s not the same.   And this seems SO DUMB for me to be bitching about stores that we don’t have.  But when you’re at home all day long, I need some sort of incentive to get out of the house.  Walmart is not an incentive.

On the bright side, the TJ Maxx is waaaaay nicer and more organized than any of their other stores I’ve ever seen.  Even the clearance racks at Kohl’s were still organized according to size.  The Chili’s here is a testing site for future stores and it might be one of the nicest chain restaurants I’ve been to.  One benefit to living here versus any other place in the South, is the farming community.  The farmers here are extremely active in pushing their produce and meat to the average consumer.  In their local chain of grocery stores (kinda reminds me of Huntsville’s Star Market), they carry local produce, dairy, meat, and other products like breads and popcorn.  THIS I LOVE.  The farmer’s market is only one day a month throughout the winter but even going to that, it was better than the farmer’s markets I went to in Huntsville.  I’m hoping for good things to come out of the weekly summer market.

Probably the most frustrating part of living here is that I’m already planning on moving back to the South.  I want to be closer to our family – end of story.  Instead, we moved much farther away and are on the way to no one.  Joel and I have both talked about how we probably won’t live here for more than 5 years, mainly because we want our families to be a big part of Lila’s life.  Joel didn’t grow up around family and I did.  I think that’s one thing he definitely missed out on growing up overseas.  So with that in mind, I KNOW I can live anywhere for 5 years.  I know I can.  But it was so much easier when we moved to Huntsville because I started graduate school and was automatically thrown into social situations with opportunities to make friends.  Now?  I am home-bound with an infant and two whiny dogs.  I have to keep reminding myself that I didn’t like Huntsville when I first moved there, and I grew to LOVE it.  But….I just don’t see that happening here.

I keep telling myself that THIS is why we moved.

joel lila

Can’t you hear the squeals of laughter?

 

 

 

So this little girl gets to see her dad when he’s not completely stressed out.  So that he wants to give her a bath every night and read her stories.  So that he can help his wife clean the kitchen after the baby is in bed.

 

 

I just have to keep reminding myself of this.

 

Thanksgiving Redo

For the first time in years, my husband’s family was all in the same country for Thanksgiving which means that (naturally) we spent the holiday with them.  They are living at our undergrad alma mater so we trekked up to Jackson, TN to have Thanksgiving up there.  Let me just say that Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday of the year.  It’s the time where it doesn’t matter what gifts were bought, or how things are decorated, as long as you eat and are just hanging out with family/those you love.

With all that being said, Thanksgiving was a huge let down.

I got up that morning at 7 am and got ready to spend the day in the kitchen.  Because we are staying in some guest apartments at Union University, we toted our Pyrex dishes over to the commons, which is where we were actually eating that day.  There was one double oven there, plus the oven upstairs in the commons, plus the one at my in-law’s apartment that were full all day.  We planned to eat at 2, which was going to work perfectly with Lila’s eating schedule.  But of course, as the day went on, we realized that many casseroles wouldn’t be ready by then.  We finally gathered round to eat about 3, and I excused myself to go feed Lila.  Just as she was finishing eating, I started seeing my in-laws walking the halls and trying to come into the lounge area.  I handed off the baby to my mother-in-law and walked back to the dining area and almost cried.  Everyone was gone.  Joel was the only person sitting there, waiting on me to come eat.  I WAS GONE FOR 20 MINUTES.

Y’all – my favorite part of Thanksgiving is sitting around and talking with family during and after the meal.  At some point, Joel’s family started this new thing where as soon as someone finishes eating – they just get up and leave.  I was so disappointed.  Plus, the food was cold at this point (let’s be honest, most of those casseroles weren’t ever really HOT because there were multiple ones in each oven and I don’t think they ever actually got cooked all the way), which was just icing on the really terrible cake.  Also, I think there are a lot of negatives about having SO many dishes to choose from.  Fewer dishes mean that there are fewer things people can choose from, which means you aren’t going to be eating leftovers for the rest of the weekend.  This way you don’t have a ton of waste either.

I realize that my family is a lot different from his.  We sit around and just hang out and talk.  There’s no rush to disperse.  I don’t understand because Joel’s family really likes each other and likes hanging out but they didn’t.  It was like all the work from 8-3 was just OVER within 20 minutes and I didn’t even get to reap the benefits.  UGH.  I demand a Thanksgiving do-over.

So as unfortunate as actual Thanksgiving was, we went to Memphis Friday and Saturday and hung out with my family.  We did a little bit of Black Friday shopping at a few stores (Eddie Bauer and Children’s Place – only because it was right next door) and then played everything really low key.  We ended up coming back to Huntsville Sunday morning and frantically cleaned the house so the realtors could come take photos this week.

You know what the good thing is?  Having disappointing holidays only reinforces that Joel and I need to have our own traditions, separate from our families.  For instance, Christmas morning is becoming a sacred private time for just us.  My parents are invited to come over that night, but we don’t want anyone here that morning.  I have a feeling Thanksgiving will start to change.  And if we ever have our say, no one will leave the table until everyone is done with their seconds.

Recap of 2011

I completely stole this from my friend Sarah.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? I got pregnant.  Yes, I’m counting that.   I mean, we had never tried to have a baby before but it was nice that it happened.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No.  One of my resolutions was to go take Joel to Europe and run a half marathon (but settle for a 10K).  I didn’t do either of those.  I did, however, run a 5K without training.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Oh my!  Yes!  There were three babies born just in the past few months.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit? Nada

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? Constant peace about life decisions and confidence that whatever choice I AM making is the correct one.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April – the disastrous tornadoes that wrecked our state.  I remember Joel still trying to study for his board examination by candlelight.  The end of the school year – I had this feeling of 100% accomplishment and survival.  I was so proud that I was also one of the few non-tenured employees asked to come back and teach at my school.  June- Joel passed his board examinations.  This has been quite the process for both of us over the past 5 years.  But thankfully, being the genius he is, he passed, which means I don’t have to lose my husband for months at a time every other year.  Late July – seeing a positive pregnancy test and taking another one because I totally didn’t believe it.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Having over 50% of my kids pass the AP Exam.  I was/am so proud of them and how well I feel like I got the information across to them.  It helped that I had an extremely smart group of kids too.

9. What was your biggest failure? This fall – I tried to switch things up a bit in my AP class and I don’t know that I’m doing as great as I did last year.  But the kids are still performing at the right level (compared to last year) so I’m going to just keep doing what I’m doing.  Although I’ll switch things back next time.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Thankfully, I stayed pretty healthy besides the sinus infection from hell when I first got pregnant.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I bought Joel the nicest leather bag from Fossil for when he passed his board examination.  Other than that, I guess the coat I bought at Anthropologie that I blogged about would be my favorite thing.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? One of Joel’s younger brothers graduated from college and came back to live with us for a month or so while he waited to move into grad school at Auburn.  He lived with Joel when he first moved to America before college and throughout the years, he has grown into such an amazing person.  He is so helpful and fun to have in my house that I seriously wouldn’t mind if he didn’t go to grad school and just lived with us instead.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I’ve constantly been surprised by people and their terrible behaviors.  I don’t know WHY because it’s not like these people kept their selfishness/bad habits a secret.  I think I’m learning to just automatically quit believing that people are (as Anne Frank said) “good at heart.”  Add in the disappointing feeling of having the cleaning lady steal my engagement ring and diamond necklace.

14. Where did most of your money go? Mortgage and Joel’s student loans. We took every penny I made for almost a year and put it solely towards his student loans.  In June, we paid off his student loans and completely celebrated with a fancy dinner.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My best friend got engaged!  I was so excited because I knew it was coming and I was in on the ring and everything.  And I LOVE her fiance.  He’s fantastic.  I’m super excited that their wedding is in a week!

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? Coldplay’s “Paradise”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter? (I’m pregnant so I don’t know if this counts)
c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?  Relaxed.  I so often get tense and panic about stupid things but I just need to relax and not worry about things out of my control.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Stressed.

20. How did you spend Christmas? All of Joel’s siblings came into town – which was great until all the guys (Joel, 3 brothers, and his brother in law) began puking Sunday  night and all day Monday.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011? Why yes, I did.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I still love The Closer and I’m really bummed that it’s ending next year.  I love the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills along with Top Chef.  But as for new shows – Up All Night has to be one of the best new shows on TV.

23. This question has been deleted because it’s SOOO teenage emo Xanga shit. This was Sarah’s answer and I like it.

24. What was the best book you read? Divergent, hands down. —Also Sarah’s answer and a VERY good one at that.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Coldplay is a pretty good band.  YES, I’m like 5 years too late for this revelation but better late than never.

26. What did you want and get?  Pregnant.

27. What did you want and not get? An embroidery machine.  But I’m saving and still researching so I’m slowly getting there.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Harry Potter finale, Bridesmaids, and Crazy, Stupid, Love

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 27 on the 27th and we had a low-key day filled with lunch with great friends, a baking demonstration, and an amazing homemade dinner the night before.  It was great.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not letting other people’s issues fill my happy space.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? I love cardigans.

32. What kept you sane? Joel

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I am finding Ryan Gossling to be quite the wonderboy now that he’s grown up.  I wasn’t a big fan of him in The Notebook, but now…yowzas.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Most of the bullcrap associated with education and how people in Washington believe they know what is best for my kids in my classroom in a small town in Alabama.

35. Who did you miss? I miss my friends from college. There were some who had great hours of need and I physically could not be there for them (due to distance and other factors) and it broke my heart.

36. Who was the best new person you met? I have become great friends with some co-workers who I love dearly.  They have become some of my closest friends and I adore them.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Relax.  There’s nothing you can do about it.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” – Wicked

The “Curse” of Children

A few months ago, some disturbing comments were said to me and my husband and I have yet to forget them.  Joel and I, being the childless couple that we are, enjoy our nights out (which usually involve dinner and a movie – nothing crazy) but we really enjoy sleeping in on the few days we are able to do this.  A few times a month, Joel has to work Saturday morning and every Sunday, we both volunteer in the 3 yr old room at our church.  Considering we both work full time jobs, the few Saturdays we get to sleep in and until 7:00 am on Sunday mornings – well, we consider this to be sacred sleeping time.

That being said, Joel gets a text message one Sunday morning at 6:00 am.  As expected, Joel didn’t wake up from his phone going on alert – but I DID.  After it chirped twice, I pushed him and told him in my annoyed sleepy voice, that he had a text message and to SILENCE HIS PHONE.  Having done by job, I roll over in attempts to go to sleep.

And yet, I lay there.  FOR THE LAST HOUR OF SLEEP.

By the time the alarm went off, I’m furious – for every min that passed I believe I exponentially got more aggravated at whoever text him.  And considering someone text him that early in the morning I thought – wow, this will be the STUPIDEST message ever because if it was a true emergency, then a phone call would have followed.  It was Father’s Day and the text message said “DON’T FORGET TO CALL DAD!!!”

I. WAS. LIVID. Especially because it was sent from a member of my husband’s family who REPEATEDLY texts us before 7 am.  Even though we have mentioned that we are on Central Time Zone and we would really appreciate it if she would be respectful enough to allow us to sleep and keep her (useless) texts until after a decent time.  Joel text her and told her that texting us at 6:00 is NOT ok  (I was so thankful he said something to her).  I also text her and told her “seriously, stop texting in the morning. PLEASE.”

Her response?  Not a – oh I’m sorry I woke you, or oops, my bad or yeah, I’m so dumb that I forget you are on a different time zone.

Her response was along the lines of Oh just wait until you have children.  I can’t wait.  Then you won’t even know what it’s like to sleep anymore.  You’ll constantly be up in the morning hearing people whine about wanting food or juice. You just wait – then you’ll get yours.

Joel (as the mature person in this situation) responded with – Look, we all have our own problems and I don’t need you throwing yours on me.

Eventually she calmed down (I think she thought she was being funny) and apologized for texting us.  But later on Facebook, she asked if any of her friends ever wish children on people like they were a curse? Like “HA! That’ll show them!”  I was more and more shocked as her friends all said YES, and that they wish children on people as if it were a curse.

WHATTHEHELL?

I feel like the equivalent of this would be me wishing her kids to grow up to be druggies and in jail.  But I don’t.  As someone who doesn’t have kids, I wish good futures for them.  I want them to succeed and have wonderful, happy lives.  Why does she feel the need to wish AWFUL things on me?

ICKKKK.  Just thinking of all of this makes my stomach hurt again.  But the root of this issue remains. I haven’t been able to stop thinking of what all she meant by that.  I also wonder how happy or fulfilled she is in her own life to wish sleepless nights and crying babies on someone.

Because, you know, as someone without kids – well….I thought kids were supposed to be a blessing.

Dear Apple…

I put up with a ton of crap to keep your product.

I went to the Verizon store last week.  You remember last week?  The time where Verizon quit allowing people to sign up for unlimited data plans?  We’ve been wanting to switch over from AT&T for awhile now, but after hearing this, we impulsively (YES this is impulsive for us) went and switched over.

We spent over an hour waiting for someone to even say hello to us.

Sure, the store was busy. Yes, we started out as number 16 on the waiting list.  But as we slowly climbed the wait list, I began to get excited.  And then Verizon DELETED OUR NAME.  My blood began to boil.  Did I mention that we were standing right next to the customer service counter?  I assure they did NOT call out our name.

FINALLY, as the store begins to empty out, we are greeted by one of the most precocious personalities I have ever encountered in customer service.  This woman sassed us and attempted humor.  Word to the wise – When I’ve been waiting for over an HOUR to sign up for a family plan of 4 lines, the last thing I would do is SASS.

Long story short – no, seriously, I have to shorten this story because a week later it still makes my blood boil.  We were in the Verizon store (in South Huntsville – locals beware!) for over 3 hours.  They closed the store 2 hours prior to our finishing.  Throughout this entire time, they claimed to have problems ringing up and activating the iPhone.  REALLY???  One of the most popular phones in the world and at this very moment, they are having problems with it???  Somehow I have reason to believe the error was due to incompetent user issues.  Also – there was NEVER ONCE an apology for the “system” issues.  In fact, our sales girl went out of her way to sass about how this was “not her fault.”  NO KIDDING.  SHE SAID THAT.

So, Apple, I am a devotee.  I waded through the crap and endured incompetent fools in order to have this product.  Only to come home and realize that my new iPhone 4 wouldn’t hook up to my Macbook because apparently I am running a system older than Moses.  How was I supposed to know?  The computer works fine so it’s never been an issue.  So I race to the Apple store (on the day that we are leaving town – PERFECT timing), and find out that I need to order a new OS in order to update iTunes so that I can hook up my iPhone 4.  I have having panic issues thinking of “OMG, I won’t be able to vent or talk to outsiders about my in-laws!” (which – happily enough – I didn’t need to have any of those major moments).

When did I become one of those people who is controlled by the little white apple??

Disclaimer – I think Windows products are just as great as Mac.  My work computer runs Windows 7 and I truly love it.  I also stuck with the iPhone because I think it’s one of the most well-rounded phones out there.  ALSO, I plan on using this computer until it dies, which (knocking on wood!!) it will continue on running even though it is over 5 years old, which seems like a long time these days.