You Never Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression

April 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

For those of you who have been following my blog (or my life for that matter!) you know that I’ve been waiting for my TSA background check to go through. Well, no good news today either. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. After calling to check yet again, and having the wonderfully polite automated voice tell me that the background check was still in process and to please try again later, I did a little research. What I found was not comforting.

When the TSA is operating normally, it can take THREE WEEKS for your background check to clear. With them telling me there was a freeze and they couldn’t tell me when it would be lifted, I have NO IDEA when I’m going to be able to start this job. Yet the bills don’t stop coming.

And just to ice that cake, T has had no luck either. Even at the day labor temp place, if you’ve been there before, you get the jobs, and if not, well…sorry.

T’s main problem is that he can’t get someone to just give him a CHANCE. He spent 3 years as a stay-at-home dad, because it was cheaper than him working a minimum wage job and us paying for daycare. (And where we were at, there weren’t many jobs that were more than minimum wage, and none that you could get without experience.) Yes, that was our choice, but it was the only choice that made sense for our family. Before that, he did odd jobs here and there, a lot of things online (graphics, basic web site stuff), but nothing you can really put on a job application or resume. He didn’t really “need” a full-time job, because I had a good job, and things were taken care of.

So it looks on paper like he’s never had any real work history. And to top it off, the one “real” job that he had fired him for ridiculous reasons.

Can you tell any of this to a potential employer? Nope. Not even a staffing company or fast-food joint will listen.

Here we have an able-bodied, hard working father looking to at least HELP support his family, and NO ONE will give him a chance. He wants to work. Like yesterday. He wants to start a career. He wouldn’t mind getting a degree, but right now, with our financial situation, that’s not an option. Our bills were due like yesterday, too.

So I thought I’d put it out there.

If any of you are in the Portland/Vancouver area, and are or know somebody willing to give a hard-working husband and father a chance to be the man he wants to be, comment here or shoot me a message on Facebook.

He has ridiculously good computer skills. He has general labor skills. He’s done warehouse and production work.  He can pass a drug test and background check. He has a vehicle. He’s smart (and pretty funny, if I do say so myself), and can learn anything quickly and easily. And right now, he’s willing to do ANYTHING. If only somebody would give him the chance.

He’ll even shave off his beard if you want him to. And that’s saying a LOT.

They say a large percentage of getting a job right now is who you know. Well, we don’t know a lot of people down here yet, but through the wonderful world of the internet, I know you. And you know people. And they know people…

So shoot me a message. Hell, if this works, I may start a blog for others looking to do the same thing. Everybody needs a little help sometimes, and I’m all about returning the favor!

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Awesome Things You Can Blow Your Paycheck On (If You Didn’t Blow It At The Bar Last Night) Part 2

April 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

It’s that time again, folks! Time for me to introduce you to some super awesome (or weird?!?) stuff you can buy RIGHT NOW online!! So, if you didn’t blow your wad at the bar last night, here we go!!!

 

Grow Your Own Coffee Kit

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm too damn lazy to want to do this myself. But if someone wants to grow coffee FOR me.......?!?

First up, CAFFEINE!!! (I’m sensing a trend here…) With all the talk of Fair Trade, not supporting terrorism, going green, and eating organic, why not just grow your OWN coffee?!? Think Geek has a Grow Your Own Coffee kit…and the best part? It costs just about as much as a 3lb can of coffee! Of course, if you’re going to grow your own coffee, then you have to roast your own beans…..

 

The Home Coffee Bean Roaster

OK, this process is getting waaaaaay too involved for me...

Which is OK! Because Hammacher Schlemmer offers The Home Coffee Bean Roaster! Only 20 minutes in your own kitchen to freshly roasted coffee beans! (Although I’m not sure I could get through the first 20 minutes of the day waiting for these things to roast….)

 

Caffeinated Cookies and Brownies

Like the greatest marriage ever. Baked goods and caffeine. These may be buried with me in my coffin.

If DIY is not so much your style, how about some sweets? Check out these Highly Caffeinated Brownies And Cookies at Think Geek! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a total cookie and brownie JUNKIE…add Caffeine to that?!? YES SIR!!!

 

Bacon Soap

For that "just rubbed bacon grease all over my sexy body" smell...

Since my bacon segment went over so well last week, I found a couple more things for you bacon fans out there…. To go with our caffeinated soap from last week, how about some Bacon Soap!! If you want that “just cooked bacon” smell to last all day, Think Geek has got this one for you! Now maybe we can get them to make caffeinated bacon soap?!? Hmmmm…..

 

Tac Bac - Tactical Canned Bacon

I don't think I would be able to make this bacon last 10 years. It would be gone immediately, and I'd still be screwed for Doomsday...

And for you Doomsday Preppers out there – never fear!!! YOU WILL HAVE YOUR BACON!!! Introducing Think Geek’s Tac Bac – Tactical Canned Bacon! With a 10-year shelf life, this bacon will get you through December 21st, the Zombie Apocalypse, or any other made up natural or unnatural disaster! You will be the envy of all your survivalist friends if you have this in your stockpile!!!

 

Twitch - The Roadkill Raccoon

Nothing says "cuddle me" like roadkill....

Thought I’d add in a couple things for the kiddos this week. I’m always looking for oddball stuff to get the girlies, so how about something like Twitch – The Roadkill Raccoon?  Roadkill Toys offers up this cute, cuddly, and squashed flat by a semi truck doing 80 on the interstate raccoon for your children’s enjoyment. Don’t like raccoons? That’s OK. They’ve got a plethora of just-as-flat animals to choose from. Good opportunity to talk about death with your kiddos. Or maybe teach them the names of all the internal organs….

 

I Am Why We Can't Have Nice Things Toddler T-Shirt

Yes, yes you are. But Mommy loves you anyway.

Another thing my children NEED is this I Am Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Toddler T-Shirt from Think Geek. Why? Because it’s ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

 

In my “For the Home” section this week, I found a couple of great pieces from h220430, a Japanese design firm that sells their pieces through the somewheretokyo.com gallery. These pieces are both “ask for more information/price”, which means they are probably well out of my price range, but still pretty stinking cool. (If you want to view these items on their own web page, you’ll have to click the item link on the left. Their website is kinda wonky…)

 

Balloon Bench

I wonder if I sat on this and put my feet on the scale, if it would FINALLY tell the correct weight....

First up, who would not want to sit on this  Balloon Bench? This is quite possibly the coolest thing you could ever put your butt on. It hangs from the ceiling with the hardware hidden in the balloons! And you never have to worry about it floating away with you! (Though that might be a cool option…I can think of a few people I wouldn’t mind floating away…)

 

Silhouette Chair

Whoa.....even when I'm not sitting here...it looks like I'm still sitting here....

And second, to go with our shadow chair from last week, an even COOLER  Silhouette Chair!!! Now you can trick your guests into thinking there’s a GHOST sitting in their seat!!! Bet I could scare off a couple of unwanted guests with that one!

 

Banquete Chair With Pandas - Limited Edition

$85,000 for pandas to poke me in the butt? Anyone who has children does NOT need one of these!!!

Also, if you’re looking for something completely unusual for your home decor, try out the limited edition Banquete Chair With Pandas from Moss!  The most expensive item in the mix this week, I’m still not sure how they came up with the price for this one. I could go to any local thrift store and purchase enough plushies to make this chair 100 times over for less than $20… And wouldn’t it be semi-uncomfortable having a panda nose poke you in the butt every time you sat down?!?

 

Now, since it’s (almost) officially SUMMERTIME, a few things to kick-start your summer fun!

 

Weed Whacking Golf Driver

With this tool, "I" might even be able to get into golf!!

Do you know someone who (or are YOU that person?) that LOVES golf, but HATES yardwork? Why not combine them and make yardwork FUN? Hammacher Schlemmer offers The Weed Whacking Golf Driver for just the occasion. I’m totally thinking this would be a FANTASTIC Father’s Day gift…even for the dads who don’t like to golf, but would still like to beat the hell out of the grass.

 

Juice To Alcohol Kit

Create your own drunk in just 48 hours!!

Are you sick of having to buy alcohol every single time you want to go hang out at the river with your buddies? Why not buy this DIY Juice To Alcohol Kit from Think Geek? Now, the people at the store will never say to themselves “Oh, brother. Here YOU come again! Dont’cha think you should slow it down?!?” Instead, they’ll think “Gosh, you must be really health conscious to drink that much juice!” Only 48 hours to your own yummy alcoholic beverage. Perfect.

 

Boomcase

Portable, stylish, high-class...probably waaaay out of my price range. And social class.

And while you’re at the river, wouldn’t your music sound SOOOOO cool coming out of a BoomCase? Practical AND stylish, these Boomcases from Mr. Simo will tell all your friends “I have more taste and more money than you do.” And who doesn’t want to tell their friends that?

 

Ten Person Water Totter

Too much fun to share with the kiddos. Plus, my kids can't swim yet.

And friends, I saved the best for last. No trip to the water in the summer could EVER be complete without the Ten Person Water Totter from Hammacher Schlememer!!!  With enough room for ten of your closest (drunkest?) friends, this teeter totter for adults might just be the perfect way to spend a hot summer afternoon. It might require blowing more than ONE paycheck, but in my opinion, it would be WELL worth it to see half of your drunk friends fall in the water! And who can put a price on drunk and disorderly conduct?!?

 

Well, that’s all I have for this sunny Saturday. Here’s hoping you still have some money left after payday yesterday, and that you use it to have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

I Challenge You To A Duel!! (Well, Not A Duel Exactly, But Challenge Accepted!)

April 27, 2012 § 3 Comments

A challenge has been issued. By You Know It Happens At Your House Too, and again by The Brady Bunch On Crack (I love you ladies!!!).  The challenge is to find 10 things you are grateful for, and share them (if you are so inclined).   With all the chaos and downturns in my life lately, I needed this challenge to remind me to look on the bright side of things and be thankful that my life is what it is, because Lord knows it could be so much worse. So here goes…

1.) I am grateful for my life. I am so thankful that I get to wake up every day (Even if it’s too early sometimes! Stinking internal alarm clock!!) and take a deep breath into my lungs. I am thankful that my blood continues to pump through my veins, and my heart continues to beat. I am thankful to just BE. ALIVE.

2.) I am grateful that I have been blessed with two amazing, beautiful, ridiculously smart, hilarious daughters. And I am thankful that they know that they are my LIFE and that I love them with every breath that I take. I tell them each a million times a day that I love them (so much that PT1 sometimes just says “I KNOW mom!!!)  and suffocate (not literally, folks) them with kisses and hugs every single chance I get. I am thankful that I get to know the indescribable joy of being their mother.

3.) I am grateful that we have a healthy family. Aside from the colds here or there, or an occasional migraine or toothache, we have no major illnesses or medical problems, and usually the only time the girlies have to see the doctor is for shots (EEK!) or check-ups. I am thankful that we stay healthy, especially having no medical insurance right now. That is a huge blessing.

4.) I am grateful that I can put food on the table for my children. I am thankful that my children never have to say “I’m Hungry” and actually mean it. (They’re kids, folks, they’re ALWAYS hungry. But they’re not starving!) No matter where the food comes from, I’m thankful that we have it, and that my children are able to eat. Sadly, not all children have that luxury.

5.) I am grateful that we have a roof over our heads. I am thankful for clean running water, indoor plumbing, and heat. These are things that a lot of people take for granted. It took a lot of work to get us here, but we have a HOME. A safe, healthy home that is large enough for my girlies to be able to run and chase each other and scream without disturbing the neighbors. A home that shields us from the elements and provides us with a security that some families don’t have.

6.) I am grateful that between T and I, we have an A-MA-ZING family. Even if most of them are far away, we know that they are always there for us in whatever way they can be, and are supportive of us, and that is a tremendous gift. All it would take is a phone call, and we could literally have an Army here if someone did us wrong, and THAT is awesome.

7.) I am grateful to have some of the most spectacular friends on the planet (old and new!). I have a lot of friends, and though not all of them are the ones I would call at 3am if I needed to cry, I know that they all care about me. Care about US. And the ones I WOULD call at 3am if I needed to cry? I would not give them up for anything, ever. They keep me strong when I am feeling weak. They make me laugh when I make that 3am call. They call me out when I’m acting crazy, or join me, whichever is more appropriate. I LOVE these ladies like my sisters. You know who you are. ❤

8.) I am grateful for Facebook. I know, it’s a ridiculous thing to be thankful for. But before Facebook, I had lost touch with so many friends from my past. Now, we can talk (type) on a daily basis, and they may be halfway across the country, but they’re still so close. I am thankful for the new friends I have made through the blog’s Facebook page. And for the Facebook blogging community. People that can give me insight and make me laugh, even though we’ve never met. It’s a pretty powerful thing!

9.) I am grateful that I was able to find a job. Even if I can’t start it yet, just getting a job in this economy is a huge accomplishment. And finding a job that I LOVE (Well, will love…) is even better…

10.) I am grateful for every. single. minute. of my past. All the trials and tribulations, successes and failures that I have been through. The people that I have lost who meant so much to me (I miss you Gram!!). The paths that I started down and never completed. The doors that I desperately wanted to open that didn’t. The mistakes I have made, and that others have made involving me. If my life had taken a different turn anywhere along the way, I would not be where I am today. I wouldn’t be with the people that love me the most. (I wouldn’t be crazy shaking to Team Umizoomi right now!!) And I wouldn’t change where I am right this moment for anything else you could offer me. Because for all the things that have gone wrong lately, I love where I have landed. I love my life. And I couldn’t have gotten here any other way.

So now it’s your turn. I challenge you to take some time, and come up with 10 things you are grateful for today. Share them here if you want, or just think about them and jot them down for yourself. It’s a chance to look at your life in a different way. Change your attitude. No one else can do it but you!

Sunshine...on my shoulder...makes me happy!

11.) I am grateful that the sun is shining today.

 

My Kids Have Pen Tattoos And Are Jumping On The Bed…And I’m OK With That.

April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

So, after reading Yoga Mom’s blog “Five Reasons Others Think I Am A Bad Mom” this morning, I realized a few things. About myself. About my girlies. About life. And I wanted to share them with you. (Keep in mind, I mediate all comments. If I don’t like ’em, I’ll delete ’em. It’s my life, my family, and my blog. LOL)

Not Supermom

Um...No thanks.

 I am not, nor do I ever WISH to be, Supermom.

I’m not the mom that strives to get every little thing done every single day because everything has to be spotless and perfect. If you come to my house, 9 days out of 10, you will find it a disaster area. Not filthy, but usually crumb-y (I have dark “wood” laminate floors, and everything causes visible crumbs)  and covered in toys and books and…well…whatever PT1 and PT2 have decided to get into that day. And maybe for the few days before that. My dishes may or may not be done. Depends on the day. And I don’t care. If I have something better, or more important for my family, to do than the housework, that’s what I’m going to do. If PT1 wants to have a tea party, you’re damn right I’m going to sit down and have a tea party.

No Schedules Here

If I couldn't remember to take a birth control pill every day, how am I going to remember all this stuff?!?

 I’m not that mom that has a strict schedule for every minute of the day and is constantly moving and if she everslowsdownthingswillfallapartandshewilljustDIE!!!!

I am a very relaxed, laid back parent who tries extremely hard NOT to schedule anything. If my kids want to sleep until 10, they can sleep until 10. If they want to stay up until 11 or midnight, they can stay up, as long as they’re not pitching a fit. There’s no set time for breakfast or lunch or dinner. When we’re hungry, we eat. Naptime is not federally mandated. We do try to have a period of quiet time during the day, and usually PT2 takes a nap ALL BY HERSELF, with NO FIGHTING. If I want to sit and veg out on the couch for an hour or five, I do. I interact with my kids. I give them 1 on 1 time. (More often than not, it’s 2 on 1 time, but still…) I don’t want to be the mom that my kids don’t think they can “interrupt” because “mommy’s always busy.” If I have something important that I’m doing, then yes. Mommy is busy, go see Daddy. But for all intents and purposes, mommy is available. I don’t want them to have a life so structured that they never have any time to just BE.

My children do NOT look like this...always...

He might be dirty, but he's HAPPY!

 Some days the kids have a shower. Some days they don’t.

Some days they’re covered in “pen tattoos”. Some days they’re wearing nothing but a diaper (or panties). (Actually, that’s most days.)   Fighting over getting them clean and clothed is not a battle I need to pick with them. Since we don’t have a bathtub (ugh!!), and they HATE the shower, I refuse to get in a knock down drag out brawl over it on a daily basis.  They’re never filthy, they always have clean clothes (even if they don’t feel like wearing them), and my kiddos actually ASK ME to brush their teeth instead of complaining that I’m MAKING them. I don’t feel like this is a “mom fail”. We’re one of the only countries in the world where people bathe daily, and they’re still small enough that they don’t have BO yet. When they get older, we’ll discuss the need to be socially acceptable and un-smelly. Right now, it’s just not a big deal.

YUM!

Yes, I feed this to my children.
But they also eat "REAL" food...

 My kids eat junk food.

Not exclusively, but we’re not health nuts around here. If they want a few chips with lunch or for a snack, I let them have chips. If they want a couple drinks of soda, they get a couple drinks of soda. If they want M&Ms, they get some M&Ms. And you know what? It’s not killing them. They’ve never once been at risk of being overweight, even though it runs in our family. And if they ask for snacks, it’s rarely EVER junk! Even with the junk food around, if they have their way, they’ll eat cheese or yogurt over anything else. And to drink? I have never ONCE been asked for soda unless another adult around is drinking one. Their drinks of choice? MILK, APPLE JUICE, and WATER.

One of the house favorites.

Little Einsteins, Dora the Explorer, Doc McStuffins...all favorites at our house. And I know ALL the theme songs.

 The TV is on at our house. ALWAYS on.

I don’t ever limit their TV time. But I do make sure that what is on the TV (unless it’s adult TV time) is educational. My girls have learned more from Sprout, Nick Junior, and Disney Junior (with a little help from mom and dad) than I ever would have known how to teach them on my own. PT1 was counting to 10 before she was 18 months old. She could write her name correctly at 2 1/2. She can READ certain words (much more than she lets on, we have found) and SPELL, and is doing MATH, and she just turned 4. PT2 has been able to speak in full sentences and count to 5 in Spanish for almost 3 months, and she just turned 2.  Both of their vocabularies are off the charts, and everyone that meets them, including their doctors, comments on how advanced they are for their ages. I’ll admit, I have worked with them a little, but it’s mostly to elaborate things they have already seen ON THE TV!

PFFFFFFFFFFFFFT!

Neener, neener, neener.
I don't care!!!

 And you know what? I don’t care if people don’t agree with my parenting tactics!

First of all, these are MY children, not THEIRS. And second, I am a DAMN GOOD MOMMY! I keep my children safe, fed, educated, and most of all, LOVED.  Which is sadly more than I can say for some children out there. And the best part of all?!? My kids are H-A-P-P-Y! They know I love them for what they are. And what they are is KIDS. They should get to act like it as much as humanly possible. If all those crazy strict moms knew how many times a day my girlies came up and randomly hugged me and said “I yuv yew mama” or “You’re the BESTEST mom in the WHOLE WORLD”, maybe they would realize that it’s not their housekeeping skills or deadlines that make them good parents. It’s actually BEING a good parent…

Bouncy Bouncy!

Bouncy, Trouncy,
Flouncy, Pouncy,
Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun!

  And now, taking a tip from one of Yoga Mom’s commenters, I think I’m going to go try to find a mattress for our living room. Indoor trampoline? I think ABSOLUTELY YES!!

Awesome Things You Can Blow Your Paycheck On (If You Didn’t Blow It At The Bar Last Night) Part 1

April 21, 2012 § 1 Comment

FEATURE TIME!!!!

As you have probably heard, I am addicted to VSauce on YouTube. He covers some amazing science type stuff among many, many other things. One of those amazing things is LÜT (loot)! Awesome stuff you can actually buy online. Or sometimes not so awesome..corny, creepy, weird…whatever you want to call it, it is available for purchase.

So, since most of you probably don’t have time to watch a million videos of cool stuff you can buy, or spend HOURS looking for it yourself, I’m going to post some of my favorite things from LÜT as well as other places on the interwebz right here every Saturday. To remind some of you what you COULD have bought if you hadn’t blown your Friday paycheck on booze. That’ll teach YOU a lesson!!

Awake AND Clean? Yes, please!

Let’s start with stuff to wake you up. How about Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap?!? Available on Amazon, who wouldn’t want an extra dose of caffeine in the shower? Would save you the calories of that extra cup of coffee with cream every morning! And if you’re not awake enough, just GET MORE CLEAN! How is that a bad thing?!?

 

Now, all you ever need for breakfast is toast.

Breakfast time!!! Who wouldn’t want Bacon Jam?!? Foodzie offers these Original and Fennel Black Pepper varieties of bacon jam. They recommend them for cooking, etc., but I cannot fathom that this would not be good simply slathered on toast.

100 times better than beef jerky...

And for those of you that like your bacon a little less…gelatinous…Bacon Jerky!! To me, this is slightly reminiscent of Beggin Strips dog treats, but for humans. But I betcha it would be a hundred times more tasty than standard beef jerky! Rural King offers 2.75 ounces of this tasty snack for only $4.

UPDATE 4/25/2012:  My real-life friend found some of this at a Convenience Store (!) His verdict? “I think they smoke the bacon with CRACK, because I CAN’T STOP EATING IT!!!!!!!!” -So now we know…and I must have it.

Moldy sammich, anyone?

Lunchtime!!! Keep lunch thieves away with your Anti-Theft Lunch Bags! No more going to the work fridge to take out your delicious, healthy, home-packed lunch and finding it stolen! And at Thinkofthe.com, they also offer the paper outer bags, complete with mold as well.

Ooohhh, I don't know if I should sit on that. It looks like it might just tip over!

Onto our “For the Home” section! Do you not necessarily want your guests to sit and stay awhile? Check out the Shadow Chair! From Duffy London, this illusion chair is sure to put any guest ill-at-ease while in your home. I’m pretty sure if I saw one of these somewhere and didn’t know about it beforehand, I’d pass up the seat. But you DO know about it now. You’re welcome.

So you can know they're coming before you get abducted!

And who’s home would be complete without a UFO Detector? Amazon sells these in two different styles (maybe more, I just couldn’t believe there were even two!). It supposedly detects magnetic and electromagnetic disturbances. So, basically, if you have a microwave that you actually USE, this renders itself as a $150 paperweight… But still, cool conversation piece!

Need some round pills to go with those round bubbles?

 Now for the stuff that’s just for fun! (YAY for pointless FUN!!!) Got a rave to go to tonight? Then you’ll need some Tekno Bubbles to take along!  Amazon (what did we ever do without them?!?) carries these blacklight sensitive bubbles. For the kid in you. On drugs.

Now, you can knock out yourself AND someone else while getting drunk!

Think you’ll have a need to protect yourself at your rave? Then why don’t you build some Canchucks?  Canchucks.com will give you an instant download of their DIY video so you too can make these bad boys! And everything you need is available at your friendly local hardware store. Probably including the beer.

So much cooler than Sock'em Boppers!

Or if you really just want to punch someone in the face, but don’t want to seriously mangle them, try these Inflatable Boxing Gloves!  Amazon (again!) has these in a million different sizes and colors. I imagine they would be equally as good to use if you want to wake up a sleeping spouse while laughing maniacally.

Oh, this book would be SOOOO full!

And after you’ve successfully punched someone in the face, you can mark off your accomplishment in your little black book of People I Want to Punch in the Face! I’m sure we could all fill up one or two of these beauties. Also, it would be great fun to pull out and write in when someone KNOWS they’ve pissed you off…

Mmmmmm, you smell like PIG!

Are you tired of everyone else’s man smelling better than yours (or better than YOU)? Forget the body sprays – just get some Que Cologne! Instantly transform any man from sweaty, smelly gym socks into genuine barbecued BEEF!  And who doesn’t love a big ol’ chunk of BBQ beef?!?

It both is, and is not, alive...

And last but not least, for all of you who are as addicted to The Big Bang Theory as I am (gosh, it sounds like I get addicted waaaaaay too easily!), you should have no problem realizing why I love this so much. I now present a Schrodinger’s Cat T-Shirt! Pretty self explanatory, but for those who have not seen the show, WHAT IN THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!? I guess you could also look the theory up online, but where’s the fun in that?

OK, boys and girls, that’s all my Awesome Stuff You Can Blow Your Paycheck On (If You Didn’t Blow It At The Bar Last Night) for this week. I’ll keep scouring the web for cool stuff and bring you some more next week. If you have something awesome you want to blow YOUR paycheck on, send a link my way. Don’t keep that stuff to yourself!! If I feature it, I’ll mention you (if you want).  If you don’t want to be mentioned, that’s cool too. I have no problem taking credit that isn’t mine. 🙂

See? I told you you’d like the feature 🙂

Disclaimer: I have not actually tried ANY of these products, as I am beyond poor. I am also not endorsing any of them, or getting paid by any of their manufacturers or resellers (though I would NOT be opposed to kick-backs…). If you buy these products, do so at your own risk, and don’t go blaming me if they’re not what you expected. Thanks. 🙂

How I Aced the “Food Handler’s Test for the Illiterate” (And Other Stories for Fail Friday)

April 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Well, ladies and gents, it’s been a FAIL FRIDAY here. Went to what was supposed to be my security screening today only to find out that the TSA has put a freeze on processing background checks. What does that mean for me? Well, that means that I’ve already passed a background check for my employer. That means that I’ve paid for parking THREE (more to come on that…) times at the Airport because I can’t get my security badge that will allow me to park in the employee parking lot until after the TSA lifts the freeze. That means I’ve spent gas money THREE times to get TO the airport to do things for a job that I already GOT, but have no idea when I’ll be able to START. That means I’ll have to pay for parking and gas at least one more time before I actually start making any money from this job. This ALSO means that I have NO CHANCE of getting paid before my house payment and every other bill is overdue. This, in short, means the government has screwed me AGAIN.

Truth be told, it was my own fault I had to pay for gas and parking three times instead of just twice. My fault because I didn’t realize until we moved down here that I never had the name changed back on my Social Security card after I got divorced. (Stupid ex screwed me again too, and we’ve been divorced for 8 years!!!!!) But when I told my employer that, they said it would be fine to go through the Port screening…they were WRONG. So I had to drive ALL THE WAY back home to get my birth certificate so that we could even start the TSA background check process… Fingerprinting is pretty cool, by the way. Since I’m a good girl (hahahahaha!!) and have never been arrested, it was a new thing for me. That whole computerized system they have going on is pretty fancy.

But I did get a giggle yesterday. Because I unknowingly made myself illiterate. Ohhhhh, good times 🙂

I went to get my Food Handler’s Permit. Having never got one in Oregon, I figured it would be safer to just go in and do it in person, because I didn’t know if there would be problems doing it online with an out of state ID. That was the first greatest thing I did yesterday.

See, in the little town I came from, we do things a little differently. I’m not used to all these new-fangled, big-city ways of doing things. In my hometown, you get ONE food handler’s class per week, with about 30 students in it, you watch a video and talk a bit, and take a test. Easy peasy, you’ve got a card. (They did just implement the online test in Washington as well, but I had never taken it that way there. Haven’t had a card in five years…)

So I go in to the testing office, and sign in. Individualized testing, not a class (YAY!!). The clerk asks me if I’m ready to take the test…and I haven’t prepared for it AT ALL. (I know it can’t be that different from Washington, but can’t afford to fail the test because I didn’t at least skim the material!) So I mention that I saw online that there was a video I could watch, and she hands me the video to go sit and watch at my leisure. (SECOND greatest thing I did yesterday!!)

This video was AMAZINGLY dumbed down and CHEEEEEEZY! I literally had to stop myself from laughing out loud numerous times. (What the hell do the actors in those things get paid? I could totally act ridiculous and nod my head with a cheesy smile for an hour if they were paying me!!) Let me just say that they started with the scariest (hahaha) part of the video first: “YOUR FOOD HANDLER’S TRAINING REQUIRES THAT YOU RECOGNIZE THE SYMPTOMS OF CHOKING AND KNOW HOW TO REACT!!!” booms the voice – promptly followed by a cheesy couple eating apples, and she’s SMILING as she puts her hands on her neck in the universal choking motion!! After this shocking beginning, the narrator repeated everything a MILLION times. Like there was NO WAY you could come out of this video not knowing that veggies and milk go on the upper shelf in the fridge, and MEATS GO ON THE BOTTOM.

So I finish the excruciatingly cheesy video, and take it up to get my test paper. They had switched clerks on me while I was watching the video. The new clerk looks at me, and goes to hand me my test paper, and then stops. This is what she says, and I wish I could convey the tone of voice here. *looking at the video tape* “Oooohhhhhhh, there’s actually a DIFFERENT test I need to give you if you watched the video. It’s an AUDIO test.”

Audio test? Ummmm…. I look at the hispanic woman and the truck driver looking guy behind me with their regular test papers, pining over three sentence long questions. I turn back to the clerk and shrug. “OK…?”

She hands me the test and the CD and points me to the boomboxes against the wall. I sit down at the desk, look at the test, and about choke myself trying  to hold in my laughter. There, printed on the paper, are 36 response spaces, each numbered. BUT, along with a number, they each have a PICTURE that goes with the number… One is an airplane. Two is a bomb. Three is an apple. So on, so forth. But that is not the best part. On this test paper, there is nowhere to write in a response. Nowhere to circle true or false, or choose a multiple choice answer. On this paper, after EACH number/picture, there is only a circle with a happy face in it, and a circle with a sad face in it. As I look up at the instructions on the wall (mark an X through the happy face if the statement is true, mark an X through the sad face if the statement is false – with MORE PICTURES), it dawns on me. The video and corresponding test are meant for those that can’t read. THESE CLERKS THINK I’M ILLITERATE!!!!!

Oh. My. Gawd. I am completely embarrassed and rolling laughing on the inside all at the same time. So I sit. And I take the test. I giggle every time the monotone lady on the CD says the symbol after the number. And she repeats every single statement three times. SLOWLY. This true/false test that would have taken me five minutes tops in printed format took me THIRTY FOUR MINUTES.

Finally, it was over.  I give my test to the clerk, and she puts her laminated answer key over the top of it. She says, in a rather surprised voice, “WOW!! You got ALL of them correct!” and I realize she is genuinely surprised. Oh, lawd. In my head, I say “OF COURSE I DID, YOU DUMMY! IT’S A FOOD HANDLER’S TEST, NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!!!” but out loud, I say “Oh, really? That’s GREAT!”

She prints my card, and I shuffle out of the office head down. I get out to the car, and honestly think about going back in to take the written test because I really feel like I cheated. On the FOOD HANDLER’S TEST. Geez… What have I become?!? But I don’t go back in. Because then I would just look like an ungrateful human being. I just drive off in my car and thank the heavens that ONE thing – out of a million – went easy. Please don’t think less of me….

They looked just like this. JUST. LIKE. THIS.

OH! Also, I’m going to start a feature on Saturdays. I really think you’ll like it. And if you don’t, that’s OK, because I’ll like it. But I’m sure you will, too. Just tune in tomorrow, then you’ll know for sure. 😉

Everyone Poops! (Except My Daughter…)

April 18, 2012 § 4 Comments

Not my daughter. She does not poop.

 

Welcome to my first ever blog post about POOP! I feel like such a big girl now!!

Yes, we own the book. What parent doesn’t own “Everyone Poops”? (We also own “The Gas We Pass” – equally as titillating…) But you know who doesn’t poop? MY KID. Well, it’s not exactly that she doesn’t poop. It’s more of a refusal thing. PT1 refuses to poop.

If you’ve stood near my back door at night (First of all, my back door leads into the bathroom – and yes, I know that’s weird. Second of all, what the hell were you doing by my back door at night?!?), you’ve probably heard PT1 screaming her head off like someone was beating the living daylights out of her. And as calm and level-headed as I try to be about the situation, you’ve probably heard me lose it a few times as well. And what is all the commotion about? POOP! Yep, nightly poop fights in the trailer park. Ain’t we just classy?

I should probably preface with a bit of toilet training history for PT1. We started when she was about 18 months old, and she did number 1 and number 2 a couple times each with no problems. Then, mommy (read:  ME) messed all that up for her. I emptied her potty chair after she went, and she decided she wanted to sit on it again, and I let her (thinking YAY!! She STILL wants to sit on the potty!!) without checking that I had the seat all the way back on. Long story short, her chubby little leg got pinched between the seat and the base, and potty training life as we knew it was over.

After the pinching incident, she was so scared of the potty chair, she would walk around it as far as possible whenever she was in the bathroom. Sometimes refuse to come in the bathroom entirely. In fact, she NEVER went on that potty chair again until after she was already sitting on the big toilet to pee. And the only reason she did it then was that someone was already occupying the throne, and nature was calling loud and clear.

So it took us until she was 3 1/2 until she would actually pee on the toilet. It was AGONIZING. And even after she started peeing in the toilet, she still wouldn’t poop in the toilet.

Right before she was completely toilet trained (for number 1), she got constipated. We took her to the doctor and they gave us the stool softener and the whole 9 yards. After taking it for three weeks under doctor supervision, I knew she had to go, but couldn’t. She felt yucky, wouldn’t eat, nothing. So before I had to take her to the hospital for a complete blockage, I tried the one thing I NEVER wanted to put my child through…an enema.

I cannot describe in words the pain T and I felt for her, laying on the bathroom floor, crying, shaking uncontrollably, scared and wondering why her (up until now) loving parents would put her through this torture. There were tears in our eyes as we looked searchingly at each other to figure out if this was going to scar her view of us permanently. And then it happened. My small framed 3 1/2 year old pooped. But not just any old regular poop. SOFTBALL sized poop. TWO of them. I still, to this day, wonder how they came out of her and didn’t cause permanent physical damage. Seriously, they were almost as big as her head. No child should EVER have to go through that. EVER.

So since then, she has been so scared to poop that she will hold it until it is physically pushing itself out of her body (and soiling all of her underwear – don’t get me started). She’ll hold it in for up to a week at a time if she can. And yet, every time she does poop, she gets immense amounts of poop-praise and says it doesn’t hurt. But the stigma is still there. It could hurt. It might hurt. And she’s scared.

And I get it, I do. But I get frustrated. I get tired of cleaning poop stains out of her underwear. I get tired of her smelling like poop when it’s trying to bust out of her. And I have no idea how to make her un-scared of pooping. So I make her sit on the toilet until she poops when I know she has to go. Not hours, or days, but I tell you, that fifteen to twenty minutes, you would think we were killing her.

She screams at the top of her lungs. She kicks. She hits. She cries. She acts like she is possessed. I am not joking in the slightest.  Those fifteen to twenty minutes every few days are the WORST mommy moments ever. And I don’t have any clue how to get them to stop.

We’ve had discussions (she is a VERY intelligent four year old), we’ve read books (Everyone Poops!), we’ve given her copious amounts of poop-praise and prizes, we’ve gotten in screaming matches because I don’t know how else to handle it. I’ve explained that she cannot go to preschool (which she wants to do with every ounce of her being) until she can poop on the potty when she needs to go. I’ve explained that if she doesn’t poop, she will end up in the hospital with a very mean doctor having to cut her tummy open and take out the poop that way. But still, every time she feels it coming, she runs and hides and crosses her legs and holds it in for dear life.

ONE YEAR. That is how much of my life I have lost to poop fights. TO POOP FIGHTS!!!  So what can I do? A little help out there, internet world? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am desperate. Shoot me comments. Ask your friends and shoot me their comments. So there it is. I’m begging for help from complete strangers. That’s what I’ve got for now. Now, I must go get PT1 another pair of underwear……..

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