Friday, October 03, 2014

Like Cooking, but with Kids!

There are a ridiculous number of people in the world who believe that children should help in with the cooking.

Seriously, I remember being a kid and making Christmas cookies with my mom. I remember it well because there was this really odd shape of cookie cutter and I had no idea what it was, kind of a lumpy thing, and I liked using it to cut shapes out of the dough, and then I would eat the dough. My mother flipped out a bit, then chased us all from the kitchen so she could actually put some cookies in the oven, and so we would die from eating raw eggs. (by the way, the cookie cutter was a camel. I never understood what a camel had to do with Christmas, but that's because I was a heathen and camels didn't pull the sleigh.)

I've tried to get my kids interested in cooking. The books say you can... the many many cookbooks for children, most with large sections that say "GET MOMMY TO HELP YOU CUT THE CARROTS!" Made for children who are dumb enough to eat radishes just because they are peeled and placed on a plate in the shape of someone's hair. My kids are too smart for that, people. Put fruit on a pancake and guess what? It's still fruit. Only now it's ruined the pancake.

Anyway, I have my moments where I try to let the kids help. "You can get a four year old to tear the lettuce!" it says, larger-than-life smile implied in the tone of the font.

So a couple of years ago, in some strange moment of weakness, I purchased a monster cook book. It has things like mummy meatloaf and potato skins disguised as yeti claws. But it also has a few gross desserts. I let the boys each pick an item to make. Andy chose something called "Trifle With Death."

Before pouring in the lime jello, the vanilla pudding, or the marshmallows, the first step is to tear up a sponge cake. I figured if I four year old could tear lettuce, my three kids could tear up a sponge cake.

"Is this piece big enough?" Nick asked, holding up a crumb the size of a raisin.
"It says one inch pieces," I said.
blank looks.
"A little bigger, like this," I said, holding up a piece about the size of a large grape.
"Is this big enough?" Nick asked, holding up a crumb the size of a raisin.
"No," I said.
"Like this? Like this? IS this good?" as all three boys needed me to approve every single pinched morsel of squashed sponge cake that went into the dish.

It was slightly insane.

The boys ate half the marshmallows. They were really impressed with the jello. And the pudding, which was stirred for about three seconds before the boys gave up.

The concoction is now in the fridge until tomorrow, when we get to sprinkle the top with crushed oreos and gummy worms. And gummy eyeballs, if we can find them before then. I'm afraid, and already feeling slightly ill.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Dark

Maybe it's because it's been raining the last couple of days, but it's been dark.

Yes, overcast and rainy, but not just that.

When my alarm goes off in the morning, it looks like the middle of the night. It's still dark out.

When I leave work, before 5pm, the sky is already darker, the sun already going down.

Day are shorter.

Nights are longer.

I'm just commenting: It's hard to get out of bed. Harder. Than before.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How To See Your Doctor

The other day I had an issue come up. A medical issue. A "lady" issue. Something of a sensitive nature. And without going into details, I decided that I should probably make an appointment to see my OB/GYN.

So Friday morning I picked up the phone and called. This wasn't an easy decision to make because I'm not 100% sure where I stand on health insurance, and also any time I take off from work I don't get paid for. Also, I'm trying to do a great job at work so they will hire me, and that doesn't happen when you're in a doctor's waiting room.

When I was a kid, my mom would pick up the phone and dial for the doctor's office, and the doctor would get on the phone. "Hi Fred!" she'd say. "It's Jean. Another one of the kids is complaining of a sore throat." Then our doctor would say, "Probably caught the strep. I'll call in a prescription for that one, and may as well do the other two, also. They'll probably get it sooner or later."

I got the scheduling lady who listened to my brief description and made me an appointment. "With Dr. B. at ten fifty in Derry," she said. "I'm sorry," I said. "Did you say ten fifty? As in ten five zero? In Derry?" And she said,"Yes, ten five zero, ten fifty, in Derry."

And ten I left for work, happy that my issue would be taken care of.

At ten thirty I left work and drove tot he office. I walked in and gave my name. "Oh, Kathleen," a pretty blonde nurse said. "You're actually scheduled to see Dr. B. at 10:50 in the Bedford office."

Now I've been here before. I can't remember if I blogged about it, but this spring I actually went to the Derry office to see my General Practitioner and it turned out I was supposed to be in a different office. But since then I've been careful. Very careful.

"No," I said. "The lady said Derry. I know she said Derry."

I don't know what I expected. Maybe some sort of acknowledgement that I was not the one at fault, and since they messed up, to just let me have a 10:50 appointment?

"Would you like me to see what the rest of the day looks like in Bedford?" the pretty blonde nurse asked.

"I can't go to Bedford," I said. "I have to get back to work."

"You can wait here and see if we can fit you in later?" she said.

I stood there looking at her. I was actually struggling not to cry, because I was embarrassed, mostly because all the office people and the other people in the waiting room were obviously so embarrassed for me.

"Do you know how long?" I asked.

"We don't," she said.

I opened my eyes wider. "Time frame?" I asked. "Twenty minutes? An hour? Three hours?"

I waited for an hour and then walked out, heading back to work. Before I left I let the pretty blonde nurse know I was leaving and would try again on Monday, three days later. "She really did say Derry," I said as I walked out, holding back tears. Because I could hear them talking about me as I sat in the waiting room, feeling sorry for me, or laughing, or rolling their eyes because I was one of THOSE people who couldn't keep office locations straight.

When I got home there was a message on my home machine from the scheduling lady, apparently left five minutes after I hung up the phone and dashed off to work. "Your appointment will be with Dr. B in Bedford, so she'll see you at 10:50 in Bedford," she said by way of correction. Too bad I work until five.

This morning I got an email from the office.

The last time I'd been in for a regular visit, I had signed up for some online system the office had adopted. But I'd never used it. This one was telling me I had a message.

I was curious to see if it would be something personal. Maybe someone saying they were sorry for the confusion.

I was at karate, on my phone, but I didn't have anything else to do, so I clicked the link in the email to try and sign myself in.

I did a quick search of my email and found the one from the same service that provided me with my user ID.

Then I tried clicking the link. The link opened up a webpage asking me how I wanted to sign in. Google? Yahoo? Facebook? (why would anyone use Facebook for medical records?)

I tried Google. Because I have a google account.

But Google did not want to let me in, because Google had no idea who I was, even though I used the correct password.

I got an email. It was from Google. "We think your account was being hacked! Someone tried to log in! If it wasn't you, please change your password!"

Only it was me, and the email didn't say what to do if it WAS me and they still wouldn't let me in.

I gave up and waited until I got home.

At home I was finally able to find a way in without google.

I found that I had an unpaid bill. I found an email saying congratulations for signing up. I found that they'd downloaded all of my visits onto this system. And I found that they said I had two cancelled appointments from Friday. As though I'd simply just cancelled them. One from 11:10 in the office I had been sitting in, until 11:30.

I still have my medical issue, by the way. And I have to go back on Monday. I hate them.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I Would Like Some Wine

I don't really think that title needs any further elaboration, do you?

It's self explanatory.

But I shall not, because I have self control. And because I need to get up in the morning. And because I'm too darn tired to drag myself out to whatever store one goes to and purchase said wine.

Of course, I also want ice cream.

Ice cream is also full of calories. If I had ice cream, I would also feel guilty, same as the wine. I wouldn't get drunk, though. Which is a plus. Or a drawback, depending on how you look at it. Still, Ice cream is tasty and wonderful and maybe I could talk myself into going to the store for that.

Then again, as long as I'm going out anyway, and as long as I'm at the store... well, the wine is Right There. I could pick up a bottle, as I'm out anyway. A bottle of something dry, to pair with the ice cream.

So now I've gone from being strong and healthy and all denying the bad stuff and eating cucumber slices to having wine and ice cream.

But I don't care because at least I'm happy. And slightly drunk.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Now is the time...

This has happened to me several times over the past few weeks.

I makes plans to meet someone. Could be anyone. An old friend, a friend from church, a date, just a person. Usually a person.

As the meeting time approaches I might get a wee bit... not excited, exactly. Lifted? What you feel when you're looking forward to something, but it's not Christmas. What is that word? Anticipation? Buoyant? You get the idea. The point is I don't get out much, and these meetings are a welcome break.

And then, the day before, or the morning of, or an hour or two before, the other person will cancel.

The other person isn't being mean or malicious. Something else has come up, something that makes meeting with me inconvenient, or uncomfortable, or downright impossible. "I'm so sorry!" the person will say. "When can we reschedule? When's the next time I can see you?"

And this is why they are selling calendars for 2015 already. For people like me.

"What are you doing six weeks from now?" I ask.

I know, I'm booking so far ahead. I must have such a social life.


Wait, no.

No, I don't.

The truth is my free time is so, so limited and rare that it runs out quickly. I mean, I have a weekend free every 2 weeks. That's 2 nights every 2 weeks that I am able to spend as I wish. Yes, I get a floating night during the week, and that night is usually Wednesdays. But Wednesdays is choir night, and nobody dares take that away from me.

So 2 nights every 2 weeks.

"Why don't you get a sitter?" some people might ask.

Well, in some cases I have, and I've shelled out the $40 it takes to go right from work to dinner and then drive home. But seriously, sitters are expensive. And my kids need pants.

The sad part is, I find myself home alone on these nights more often than not, and during vast portions of the day. I end up feeling lonely and depressed. "I should have made plans," I tell myself. And then I remember - I did!

The stupid part is, I spend a lot of time feeling guilty for being so difficult to make plans with. "I'm so sorry!" I say. "I know, I'm so difficult!" But hell, I'm not going to Yoga all week long. I'm not hard to meet with because I'm going to the gym, or getting my nails done. I've got my kids, for crying out loud! I shouldn't be feeling guilty! I'm not the one changing plans last minute!

The thing is, a lot of the time I don't try to make plans with people because I feel like I've already got them. And then the person cancels and I'm alone eating cereal out of the box and watching reruns of The Mindy Project.

What I should be doing is making tons and tons of plans. I should make plans with everybody! And then, an hour or two beforehand, I won't care if someone cancels. "I was going to have to back out, anyway," I can say. "I have all these other things planned." And  then I'll take a look at all the remaining possibilities and make my choice, and cancel on everyone else.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014