Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Way Of Life That Hasn't Changed For Years? Why Should It? Species That Don't Change Die

August is always a fun month for me. I like to think of August as a sort of New Year, but in reverse. For my New Year resolutions I like to make goals so I can improve and expand. In August I like to make a goal giving up something. I have a record of permanently giving something up in August.

Seven years ago, in August, I gave up meat. Seven years ago I sat in Sizzler, eating a steak and I thought to myself "This will be the last meat I ever eat." And it was.

Five years ago I gave up a another habit that I will not detail. Five years! That's a long time!

Last year I gave up Shampoo. My hair has not touched shampoo or conditioner for an entire year. I use baking soda for shampoo and apple cider vinegar, honey and vanilla for conditioner. It works great, I don't have to deal with all those chemicals, I know my products aren't tested on animals and I've saved an estimated $51.49, and that's only if I bought the $0.99 stuff. Last July I was spending $24 for a small bottle of shampoo and conditioner.

This year I think I will give up High Fructose Corn Syrup and Red Dye 40. Both these things will kill you. In the process of making these chemicals...well, bad things happen. Red Dye 40 is a form of petroleum which we need to stop using and HFCS comes from number two corn, which is a MAJOR problem for everyone; the farmers who grow it, the environment, and our health. Not to mention Red Dye 40 is already banned in Europe because is causes major temporary and permanent behavioral problems in children. I'm giving them up with hopes that everyone gives them up and they stop making them. Thus, saving the world.

Most my goals stem from saving the world. If everyone gave up meat, slaughterhouses would cease to exist and the world would be saved (from toxic waste, animal cruelty, antibiotic-resistant germs, carbon emissions and wasting out food on stock instead of ending world hunger) If everyone gave up shampoo, well, the world would be slightly improved (by stopping animal testing, the production of lots of little plastic bottles and keeping those toxic chemicals out of our water system). Mostly I did it to save my hair and a lot of money.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wherever We Want To Go, We'll Go...What a Ship Is...What the Black Pearl Really Is...Is Freedom

I am not an impulsive spender. I hate spending money. If it's junk and free, I will take it in a second, but if it has value and costs money, I'll think about it, research it, decide if I can live without it, and then, more often than not, save my money.

As you can imagine, this is a great way to miss good sales. If I ever decide it is worth the money and I can't live without it, the sale is over. Alas, by this time I've done so much research that I've decided I REALLY NEED this product, so I end up paying the higher price. I hate when that happens. That happened with high chairs just last week. I ended up paying $18 instead of $9.99. Nothing gets under my skin like that.

Anyway, a few days ago I became aware of Jet Blue's second ever "All You Can Jet" special, which meant for $500 you could buy a golden ticket to fly anywhere, anytime, on a Jet Blue jet in the month of September.

As soon as I heard about this, it dominated my thoughts. Every few seconds I would think about it again, asking myself: "Can I do this? Is it worth the money? Do I have the time? Is it worth the effort?"

I talked to Drek; he told me to go for it. My goodness, I love that man. But just because he likes to spoil me, doesn't mean we could afford it, we are trying to save up for a house, after all. So I thought about it some more. After much consideration, I talked to a friend, who told me is probably wasn't worth taking a one-year-old on an airplane over and over again. I thought about this, and decided that actually, Ash loved the airplane, and everyone on the airplane loved her. We would be traveling a lot, but with her on my lap, with me giving her all my attention. Actually, I thought, this would be a great experience for both of us.

I decided to do it. I got online, got to the part where I have to pay for it and called my mother to tell her to cancel her trip out here because I was coming to her.

She brought up a good point; if I came to her, Drek wouldn't be there for Ash's first birthday. Oh. Right. Huh.

So I logged off, slept on it, and thought about it all day the next day. I decided that I would just be home for that week, which would take a week out of traveling. Was it worth it then? I called Krisling and told her if she did it, I would do it, hoping she would say yes and in a burst of impulsiveness we would both take the risk and just spend the money. Alas, she gave the appropriate grown-up responsible answer; "I want to, but I have to make sure I can."

So I waited, wondering once again, if I could. And then, I decided: YES! I CAN! I WILL! I found my credit card, logged on and...

They are sold out. Three days after the sale stared, they are all gone.

Curse me and my stupid, overly-cautious, frugal self. Even if they have the sale next year, Ash will be too old to get on the plane for free. I have missed out on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Lesson learned; Be more impulsive.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

He Represents Everything I Hate In LIfe. I Hate Him, I Always Have Hated Him, I Always Will Hate Him. I Hate Happy The Clam

In preparation for the second ever Laundry party, I looked up a recipe I posted on my blog a while ago for Thai kabobs. In searching, I discovered a few things;

1) Google's Search-Website program does not work
2) I need to organize my blog a lot better. I created it before tags and once tags were available I didn't use them because I never had used them, but something needs to change.
3) My blog used to be about crazy adventures, parties, and wild antics. Now it's about laundry parties.

This last part really hit me. My life is so boring. What do I have to look forward to? Nothing. What do I have to write about? Also nothing. What is this post about? Nothing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Let's Just Go Straight to Exhibit F - the Kidnapper's Vehicle Was Seen Fleeing in This Direction. Hey, How do you Spell F-B-I?

Drek on and I got out our new driver's licences in the mail yesterday. I have to admit, I really didn't think they would ever arrive. I was sure there would be another computer failure. Seriously, three trips to the DMV to get a driver's licence? And every time we went a different computer system was down statewide? That has to be some sort of record. Still no car title, though. I am less than hopeful on that front.

Yesterday we decided to celebrate our new driver's licences by driving up to the the big city. Drek's parents had flown in to attend a few classes and were leaving today, so we drove the two hours up there to have dinner with them. Actually, it wasn't to celebrate the driver's licences. It was to to give them Jo so they could take him back to Hometown so he could see his parents. After having him for two months and two days, I was sent a mass email last week that in a single sentence announced Drek's parent's would pick him up and take him back to hometown. That was it. I have no idea when, if ever, we'll get him back. And that was that. I am not happy about giving him up. There was serious thought given to driving to Mexico instead, where we could buy a house and live happily ever after as fugitive kidnappers. Drek said no.

Drek's parent's got us a hotel for the night. The two babies and Drek and I stayed up until midnight, watching TV and cuddling. The babies slept great that night. We had a delicious breakfast in the morning and then Drek's parents took Jo to the airport. I bought chocolate to drown my sorrows. It's not working.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If You Don't Like Something, Change It. If You Can't Change It, Change Your Attitude

I tried doing laundry in my bathtub. As predicted, the washing went well but the drying did not go so well. Everything I drip-dried had a sour smell, like old rags. Blec. After two weeks of only doing laundry in the tub I decided to try a new approach.

And that new approach is: Laundry party!

In our apartment complex, the laundry room is right next to the pool area. The pool area has a pool, a hot-tub, tables, chairs, counters, and two gas barbecues. Once a week we will have a laundry party, which means that once Drek gets home from work we will all go do laundry and while we are waiting for it to finish we will go to the pool area and cook dinner on the gas barbecues, eat dinner on the tables, and then swim and lounge. Not only will this get the laundry done effectively, but it will give us a chance to use the pool, get out of the house to enjoy this awesome weather, and to have one meal a week that is completely barbecued! Sounds good to me!

Of course, we still have to pay for laundry, which really irks me, but it's better than any alternative I can concoct. Besides, doing laundry in a laundry room has three advantages;
One, you can do all your laundry at once: You plop your basket down and sort the clothes right into the machines; this machine is for whites, this machine is for towels...and all the washing is done in thirty minutes. It's great.
Two, I'm not paying for the water.
Three, you get to meet a lot of other people, who so far have all been really nice.

We had our very first laundry party yesterday. it went great. We had grilled pineapple, grilled corn-on-the-cob, and little mini pizzas that were made out of sourdough English muffins, and do-it-yourself toppings, grilled on the top rack of the barbecue. It was delicious! Especially the pineapple, I could have grilled pineapple everyday.

I think next week we will have grilled pineapple and kabobs. Hooray!

Friday, August 06, 2010

I Could No Sooner Choose a Favorite Star in the Heavens

Libraries, oh how I love you.

So, I admit, I cheated, just a little. When we moved to SunLand I couldn't send myself a postcard because we had no address since we didn't know where we were going to live. For that same reason, we forwarded our mail to Drek's work address. When we finally found an apartment and got an address, it was in the city next to the city where Drek works.

I wanted to go to the library, but I didn't have any mail with my name on it addressed to our apartment. I did have mail with my name on it addressed to Drek's work. So I went to that city's library and got a library card. Right away, I was VERY impressed with that library: The children's section was huge, they had hundreds of Spanish books, hundreds of books on CD, and the librarians were all really helpful and oohed and awed over my two babies.

A few days ago I FINALLY got mail with my name on it addressed to our apartment, so I went in to our city's library and got a card. Right away I was very un-impressed. It was small, the catalog was very messed up (The book The Help was too difficult for it to find because it had the word "the" in it. Sad) and the librarians were very grumpy. So grumpy, I would dare to call them mean.

When I got home, I looked up our city's online website and found a few reviews. Every single review mentions how not un-helpful, snappy, or rude the librarians are. Wow. Talk about a customer service problem.

But then I looked up the other Library and found that it has a wonderful catalog. I input my "to-read" list and out of twenty nine books, this library has all but two. That is amazing. I am in love with this library. And since it's only a few blocks away from Drek's work, I think I will visit it often. In fact, I think I will go there today, since four of the books I put on hold are already available for me to pick up.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

How Was It Possible That Men Did Not See Whither They Were Going, and Went On, in Blindness and Cowardice, to Their Fate

Day One
We wake early, wake the babies and hurriedly get dressed. We made sure all our papers are in order before setting off on our journey. We find the building and arrive ten minutes before it openes. To our astonishment, dozens of others are already waiting. Others like us, with dreams and a very short amount of time to make those dream come true. The line of people is so long it wraps around the building. We sigh and take the babies out of the car to stand in line; still tired from a restless night cut too short. After ten minutes the line slowly begins to move: the building has opened! We smile and make a few jokes. The line stops moving, then moves, then stops. Fifteen minutes later we are still outside in the gray morning air; we haven't even turned the first corner. A uniform comes out and demands attention: The building's computer are down. The problem is statewide. We all have to leave. A few people leave, most wait around, waiting for more news. There is no more news to give. After a short discussion we turn our backs on our dreams and pack the babies back in the car. Our dreams will have to wait until tomorrow.

Day Two
The next morning our alarm blares even earlier than the day before. Drearily we wake the babies and pack into the car. There isn't time to eat anything; we want to make it to the building before the line forms. We arrive thirty minutes before the building opens, but we are not the only ones came so early; the line is shorter than the day before, but not by much, and more people arrive every minute. We stand in line again, trying not to fall asleep, wishing that a breakfast shop would open up next door to feed all the hungry people. The babies are angry; they want to get down and play, but there is no playground, no grass, only cold, hard cement and a few clumps of dirt mixed with cigarette butts. I stake my place in line then leave to follow the people to the front of the building. Uniforms are pushing a cart filled with papers and pens. They ask the people in line to fill out the forms so once the building opens the process can speed along. I go back to my place in line and wait. Thirty minutes later the building opens. Once again I leave my place to make sure the computers are working. The uniform I ask tells me that so far the computers are up, and they have not crashed...yet. We wait in line. We wait and wait and wait. Finally we are inside the building. Aghast we look around; the line inside is just as long as the line outside. It curves and winds around ropes. Still, we are inside. The line is moving. We are hopeful enough to give each other weak smiles, afraid that anything more will somehow cause the computers to crash and out dreams to tumble down on our heads.
After a long time we make it to the front of the line. We explain that we want identification cards and papers for our vehicle. The uniform frowns and gives us a form to fill out. She tells us we can get the papers for our vehicle, but the computers for identification papers are down statewide and we'll have to come back a different day. We try to protest but she glares at us and points to another line. It's then we realize that the desk at the front of the line, the desk we waited over an hour to reach, the desk we are located, is simply the replacement of the cart; it gives you the form to fill out and tells you which line you need to stand in next. Wearily, we stand in the next line and wait.
Finally it's our turn. We show the proper papers, sign the proper forms and pay the proper amount. We wait in line to have our vehicle inspected, then wait in line to show that our vehicle is inspected. At long last it seems we are done. Our vehicle papers will arrive in the mail in a few weeks. We ask the clerk about papers for us, and she points us to another line, where we can make an appointment. We wait in line and miraculously, make an appointment to come back in a week to get our identification papers.

Day Three
A letter arrives in the mail. It does not contain our new vehicle papers, but a notice, saying there was a clerical error and we must pay an extra fee to get out vehicle papers. In order to pay the fee we must mail the form back along with the money. We do as we are instructed.

Day Four
It's the of day our appointment. Our appointment is in the afternoon. It interrupts nap schedules and work days, but we attend anyway. As we approach the building we see a sign on the front steps with a handwritten message proclaiming that the monetary machines are down statewide and only cash will be accepted. With heavy hearts we share sorrowful glances; we didn't bring enough cash. Still, we've come to far to be deterred. The line still overflows from the front doors and winds down the side of the building, but having an appointment means we skip the first line and go straight to the first desk, where we fill out a form and are told which line to wait in next. Instead of waiting, I leave the babies with him and run back outside, hop in the vehicle and drive to nearest store where I buy a candy bar and withdraw cash. I take the currency back to the building and discover that there is no room for my vehicle. I drive around for several minutes until I follow a person exiting the building back to their vehicle and occupy the same spot they vacate.
I rush inside and find that my number was called just minutes before. The forms are all filled out so I simply hand them to the uniform. We show the proper papers, sign the proper forms and pay the proper amount. We are directed to another line. We wait to get our picture taken, or signature scanned and out thumbprint immortalized in their network. We are then handed a test. It's no simple feat to juggle two babies while trying to concentrate on a test, but we manage somehow and stand in line to have our tests graded.
His process is simple; he passed the test and would have his identification papers mailed to him. I am not so lucky; I passed the test but long ago I lost my identification paper, thus why I wanted new ones so very much, but without them they could only treat me as a teenager. I need to make an appointment to take a driving test, pay a large fine and come back later. I refuse. I've come too far to leave now and I didn't withdraw enough cash to cover the large fine. The uniform gives me a number to call and tells me to step out of line. I do as I am told. I call, but the uniform on the other end of line is much worse than any uniform in the building; no faxing, no mailing, to emailing. I was instructed to obtain a form, fill it out, have it notorized, and mail it along with a substantial fee to another building and then wait for several months. This, too, is not an option. Defeated only for a moment, we walk back out to our vehicle. I look through my bags and search the vehicle until I find it; a copy of my very first identification paper. I return inside, wait in the line and present my find at the desk. The uniform nods; it will work. I sign more papers and the uniform informs me my identification papers will be mailed to me.

We will see.