Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Most Unfavorite Time of the Day

         I generally drop Jenna off at school a half hour before she needs to be there.  I also arrive on the lot before all other cars so as to not fight school traffic.  Jenna has always taken her time walking to school or across the field.  When I am the driver who is picking her up, I welcome her dawdling.  In first grade we were always the last car to leave the parking lot. I HATE school traffic.
         Kayla was looking for a sitter for her two and as Jenna’s school is the same distance from their house as it is from my own,  I figured I could watch them at Kayla’s house and then pick up Jenna.  I should have left her house the minute that Kayla came home. 

        It’s been four years since I had lived in that same neighborhood and wasn’t taking into account that the school in that area lets out a half hour earlier than Vantana.  Before I went out to my car (which was parked on the street) I saw the yellow bus pulled up by Kayla’s house.  I wasn’t aware that there was a bus stop on that street.

         The stop sign was out and lights were flashing.  It was behind me and I didn’t know if I had to wait for it or not.  I waited for just a bit until I realized that I wouldn’t be getting the attention of the bus driver really soon (as she was visiting with a parent) and as I was not passing the bus, I pulled forward through a maze of cars and dumpsters (that must have been really great fun for the bus driver)

         I have never liked the main street which is closest to street where Bill and Kayla live – nor the cross street at the second intersection.  Lights were blinking red indicating that traffic wouldn’t be moving at a rapid rate.  Ahead of that were the spaces of red X’s and green arrows and three lanes of broken yellow lines that always make me feel like I’m driving inside of a video game.  Perhaps it’s popular in bigger cities, but that is the only street I know of with that set up.

         What’s ironic is the street seemed desolate for decades.  I remember when my mom had driven out to her uncle’s house sometimes when her mom was in town.  The drive seemed sooo sooo long.  Now it’s congested and makes me tense. 

         Bus STOP sign, dumpsters, children, traffic lights and merging . . . What’s normally a ten minute drive took me eighteen minutes.  Fortunately I had given myself twenty.  But alas, I wasn’t the first one to arrive in the parking lot.  I was too late just to park in the shade.  But I didn’t have a long wait like I did when Jenna was in first grade.  Actually she’s been getting out to the car rather quickly.   Must be the seven habits.

Mixed Cereal and Mutant Corn

            When the boys were younger and left cereal boxes on the table, I would say to them, “If you don’t put the cereal away, I will.”

            That actually sounded great to them until they realized that I would not be returning all of the cereal boxes to the cupboard.  If there was less than a forth of a box (or bag) left, I wouldn’t allow for it to have it’s own space.  I would combine the cereals into one container.   And I would not purchase more cereal until what ALL of the cereal was gone

            The boys came to a fast realization that mixing TRIX, Raisin Bran and Sugar Puffs together was NOT cool.  (There was generally three to five flavors of combined cereals)  They learned rather quickly to put cereal away on their own.

            And then there’s Jenna who thinks having Froot Loops mixed in with Lucky Charms is quite delightful.  It’s what she had for breakfast this morning (well, knock offs of those brands anyway) Gross. 

            We took some rather lush looking corn from the community garden.  Ours was still in the mutant stage.  But our 12 kernels actually tasted better than the kernels that covered the community corn.  Ours were sweet.  The community’s looked a lot better than they tasted.

            We also brought a cantaloupe home.  I’d never seen cantaloupe with the exterior that it had.  It looked more like a squash.

            It was juicy though.  Possibly the juiciest melon I’ve had – though I’m still not convinced that it didn’t contain squash seeds as it grew.  It wasn’t sweet at all.  It tasted like a squash and melon combined.  Not impressed.  I’m NOT a gardener.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Where's My Purse?

My mom once told me that the first purse that she ever owned was red and had a picture of a cow.  She was five.

I don't know if that's actually when she became obsessed with having a purse with her at all times.  But they seemed to be a part of her when I was growing up.  Back then she had several purses – assorted shapes and colors.  I don’t know how often she changed them.  I know she went through many.

As a child, I don’t think I paid attention to the weight of mom’s purse, but as an adult, I realized she was often toting around the equivalence of a bowling ball – I kid you not.  And some of the heaviest purses were also the smallest ones that she owned.

Okay, maybe as a mom it does seem necessary to lug around an extra case of bandages, a pocket knife, a sewing kit, a comb, 40 pens (only two of them worked) , a fork, and even a hot dog – because you just never know.  Much of the weight was due to the pound and a half of keys that she carried, not to mention the twenty dollars worth of tips usually all in quarters and pennies.


A heavy purse that constantly gained weight – at a rather rapid rate.  Many purses became garbage due to the overloaded abuse of items.  And then she would go through her closet to retrieve one she hadn’t used in a while – do a thorough cleaning as she transferred over and gradually add weight to it all over again.

There are a few posts on my blog in which I refer to mom and Alice, the only two residents that always have her purse in hand.  I would think that mom could give it up by now.  But it’s a part of her.  But she might as well just tote around a bowling bag – seriously.  Why in the world would it need to be that heavy at assisted living?  She doesn’t have/need keys or change anymore.  This afternoon I learned that my mom is a kleptomaniac (one of the stages of her dementia)
As she was asleep at the hospital, I decided it would be a good time to clean out her purse. I found a large set of keys.  I knew they weren't hers.  There was a door stop and one of Harold’s picks (which the aide on duty says he never uses anyway – well, yeah – if it’s in mom’s purse I don’t imagine he does have opportunity to use it) a DVD of Fiddler on the Roof (amazingly not broken or scratched) 4 tubes of lipstick, an unused tube of toothpaste (still in the box) four latex gloves, monthly newsletters, the pictures that she had removed when she moved in (three of them bent) one toy maraca, I think a whistle, three coin purses, two pairs of glasses, three plastic spoons (one was wrapped) 4 packages of tissue – not to mention all the many wadded up tissues that were in each compartment, two scarves (one was a long one for winter), the cell phone we had disconnected before she went into assisted living and several barrettes, 


It turns out the keys belonged to one of the sisters who comes to helps out with the Relief Society activity that is offered to the residence once a month.  I remember she had the cell phone that belonged to maintenance for abut three days.  I turned that in too.  Oh, mom!

Labor Day Weekend Roller Coaster

We had planned on attending the Walden Family Reunion on Labor Day weekend.  Or at least I was.  Soon it was narrowed down to only Biff, Jenna and I as Roland said he would be working and although Randy had made arrangements to get time off from his previous job, he recently started another job which he would be working sometime during Labor Day weekend (though I think he could have gone to part of the reunion but chose not to I guess)

So Friday Jenna gets in the car with this years fundraiser for the school.  $30 for a coupon book – or the idea of a coupon book with an actual card that you will use instead of the coupons?  It looks like a catalog of jumbled ideas thrown together and is actually harder to go through than sorting out the thoughts in my head (and that is saying A LOT!) 

Jenna gets upset about every fundraiser – not for the same reasons that I get upset – never mind that no one we know has any money and that every other school is having a fundraiser as well.  No one should feel a sense of pressure – though Jenna seems to more with every passing year. 

I don’t even know what the incentive is for “selling” the merchandise – usually something not that great – though there was the drawing for an IPod that one year – and she was the winner.  I told her that it is highly doubtful that she will win every year.

And I don’t try to discourage her from going out and selling if that’s truly what she wants to do.  But she needs to take daddy who is a salesman by nature and who can help her understand the rejection.  Our neighborhood is definitely NOT the area to promote fund raisers.  Half the people I know are either on welfare or barely scraping by.  The other half don’t have time to look through a cluttered catalog to see if a $30 investment is really worth the gamble – not to mention just cannot afford each charity associated with the 8-12 schools that the neighborhood children attend.

So then Jenna starts feeling bad because “nobody will buy” even though I have been upfront with her about why they don’t.  But a fund raiser shouldn’t make anyone feel put out, or ornery or guilty or any of that.  A child should not have to feel the frustration or pain of rejection or look at the fund raiser as a serious assignment.  Life is not a contest of earning points for causes that, even though you might believe in them, make the individual who is really trying, feel worthless because he or she doesn’t feel like they’ve been given a fair shake at getting the prizes (wow.  That sounds like an analogy for obedience to commandments and having to stay on the outside of the temple instead of getting to see your loved ones marry due to choices made even at the Lord’s will or age – something that can’t be controlled.  Ah – but let’s save that for another post.  Perhaps Corey may read this and run with it.  I hope so.  I love reading his blog for the most part.  His posts are so eloquently written)

The bishop had gone out of town the two weeks prior, giving Roland the opportunity of playing bishop for the last two Sundays.  He received three phone calls about three different deaths – two would hold funerals in our ward building.

On Friday night Roland and I went to the temple and Parker’s mom and dad watched Jenna.  Turns out Roland did not work on the last day of August as he had anticipated. He conducted the second of the two funerals and I watched Parker and Jenna – apparently not with a close enough eye.

On Saturday morning we met Parker and his dad at the garden. That evening I packed up the two kids and went over to the trailer park to meet some friends for their monthly game of “Bingo”.  Roland went with us once.  For the most part he doesn’t seem to enjoy it.  And he has been quite tired for the most part.  Work and work and no play.  No happy balance.

 Parker’s dad picked him up before we had even started the first game.  Oh, too bad. He was perturbed that he wouldn’t have more time with Jenna.  Gee, I’m sorry Parker.  Usually nine hours is too long between friends of your age group.

There’s always a lot of laughs and fun with the neighbors on Bingo night.  Jenna was the first one to win a prize – a velvet art project for a 3-D castle.  Neither Roger nor Gloria wanted their prizes and pawned them off on me. Jenna and I always have to leave before the sun goes down so that I can see to drive home at night.

Sunday morning I turned my phone on – which is unusual.  I normally don’t have it on during the weekend.  Immediately after I received the signal to let me know that the phone was on and battery ready, Sunny called to see if I had heard about mom.  She’s back in the hospital.  It was on a Sunday at the beginning of this year. 

It was my week to give the lesson is Sunday School but felt inspired to call a substitute at the last minute (and I do last minute – like when Relief Society ended) and took Jenna out of primary and went to the hospital where Patrick was seated in a chair and mom was in bed looking bewildered.  As with the first time in January, she had no idea why she was there or how she arrived.

Jenna and I had been there for almost three hours.  We left after Patrick and Nate gave her a blessing.  Roland had just barely beaten us home. 
We were home for only a couple of hours before we left the house and headed toward where Randy and Carrie live.  They had invited us for dinner.  We were in charge of dessert.  We remembered to take the dessert, but we forgot to eat it.  
Carrie gave us some peach jam.  We forgot to take it home. 

Jenna and I will return to the hospital this morning.  She wants to give mom the velvet castle she made.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thank you Debbie – I Feel a Great Kinship for You

            I AM THE PRIMARY CARRIER ON THE PHONE PLAN – ALWAYS HAVE BEEN.  SO WHY DOES T-MOBILE AND CONSUMER CELLULAR INSIST ON CALLING ROLAND’S PHONE?   Roland always seems to be passing the buck because “they won’t talk to me.”

            “Why won’t they talk to him?  He’s on the plan.”  I don’t know how many times I told T-Mobile that Roland “Does Have Authorization” I am so tired of being a third party between Roland and the company or Roland and the neighbor or worse – having him try to communicate with my brother-in-law through me and Kayla.  Give me a break!

            At least Consumer Cellular is human.  Even T-Mobiles “caller” is a machine that tells you to press this button and that one.  HEY – you called me.  I don’t have to accept – especially for a machine.

            Roland and I have been married almost twelve years now, and he still hasn’t seemed to figure out that I REALLY DON’T LIKE THE PHONE.  Just because he and my boys seem to be surgically implanted to their cell phones does not mean I even want to use mine.  I purchased it in case of an emergency.  Calling the cell phone provider (especially the former never-will-use-again provider) does not quality as an emergency.

            I’d much rather do things in person or through the Internet than over the phone.  The rep at costumer service said the same thing.  I didn’t get her full name, but I would gladly accept a friendship request from her were she to offer.  But I don’t know that I provided my maiden name with consumer cellular.  My married name is way too common.  She’d need them both to find me - provided she’d even be interested in having me as a friend.

            I asked her why she would be answering phones for a living if she truly loathes the phone as much as I do.  Some people, unfortunately, have to settle just to make ends meet.  Perhaps she took the job out of desperation.  She does at least get to type along with answering the phones. 

            Debbie made a marvelous impression.  She was very helpful and kind.  I really enjoyed talking with her and wish we could have had a more personal conversation.  I really would like to get to know her better.  I’ve really got nothing to go on accept for the name of the company for which she’s employed.  That doesn’t narrow it down.  I have no idea what state she’s in.

            Often when I try contacting Roland in Salt Lake City, I get connected to the Phoenix location.  Talk about frustrating.  Normally I just text his cell phone or e-mail him messages (I really don’t like to text either – having a full size keyboard makes it so much easier.)

           How great it would be if we didn't need phones anymore!