Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dear Winter

Dearest Winter,

I am writing to officially inform you that you only have two days left to deliver your goods. You see, March is the official start of the season called Spring. And although the calendar likes to get picky with details of a specific date (March 20), we here on the planet Earth in the Northern Hemisphere associate all of March with Spring. Thus comes the issue that February is almost over, and your reign of cold and icy terror shall come to an end. Immediately.

Now, I do realize that Northern New York borders the sub-arctic climate, but I will remind you of what our good friend Punxsutawney Phil had to say. When he peeked out from his little hole on February 2 he, in fact, did *not* see his shadow. That means winter will be shortened this year, for everyone! I believe by way of the Superstitions and Imaginary Beliefs Act of A.D. 99, you Mr. Winter are contractually binded to terminate yourself "early" in this year of our Lord, 2011. Enough is enough, as far as most of the United States of America is concerned.

Yours truly (but not *too* truly),
The Chaos Mommy

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Locked Out!

If someone had told me when I woke up this morning that I'd spend two hours wandering around outside because I was locked out.... well I probably would have stuck a key in my pocket. But that's what I did. Not the key in my pocket part, the locking myself out part. I went out the front door to walk the boys to the bus stop and in my haste (because the bus was driving by *as* we were walking out the door), I must have closed the self-locking door behind me. Either that or Holly (the dog) jumped up on the door after I walked out and shut it on me. After I realized the door was closed, and locked, I ran around to the back of the house. Every morning Louisa takes the dog outside because she's the first one up. She goes out the back door, and 99.9% of the time she doesn't lock the back door again when she comes in. Except this morning. Back. Door. Locked. Thanks, Louisa. *Now* you listen to me when I repeatedly ask you to lock the back door again.

Now what?

I checked both doors again.... you know.... just in case it was a fluke. Just in case one door can be opened if I push hard enough. Just in case one door would open if I pounded on it hard enough. Just in case the dog grew thumbs and was able to open a door for me! Nope.

I have a neighbor who does shift work. He's almost always home in the mornings, tinkering around outside or snow blowing the driveway. Of course he wasn't home this morning. I walked to a few neighbor's houses, but no one was home. The sidewalks are pure ice right now because it's been 35 degrees during the day, and 15 degrees at night. All the snow that's melting during the day, is freezing at night. I was wearing my non-skid "kitchen" shoes that I wear in the kitchen at school. They have no traction on them and walking on all those icy sidewalks was getting treacherous. Oh, and did I mention I had school this morning? My baking class starts at 9:05 am. By this point I had no clue what time it was, but I was sure I was late for school.

I thought maybe I could break in, so I checked to see if any windows were unlocked (no, thanks to my detail oriented husband), and tried to jimmy the deadbolt on the backdoor with a piece of wire I found in the garage. No surprise that I didn't get anywhere with that! I was near-tears and had to figure something out. Instead of crying I decided to pray. Crying would get me no where, and then I'd end up running in to someone who could help me with a tear stained face.

After standing in the garage and praying for a little bit, I felt like my head was clearer. I'm not good in stressful situations. I don't think well on my feet, or make split second decisions. Prayer is the best way I know how to handle these types of situations. I feel a calm come over me, I can think a little more rationally and less emotionally.

I decided to walk to the YMCA I work at to see if there was someone there who could give me a ride to Louisa's middle school because she has a house key. I slipped and slided the whole way there. The YMCA is so small that usually only one person is on staff at a time. He couldn't do much more than let me use a phone! I have one friend here in town (sad, yes, I know). I had to look her number up on my Yahoo contact list since I didn't have my cell phone with me. Thankfully she was home, and the biggest inconvenience was making her get dressed to come pick me up!

I went in to the middle school and asked the secretary to page my daughter because I'd locked myself out and I needed her key. She didn't even skip a beat as she called down to Louisa's classroom and asked to have Louisa come to the office with her house key! When Louisa came down the hall the first thing she said was, "Did you lock yourself out?!" Gee. How'd she guess? I got a hug from my sweet baby girl, and the key, and all was right with the world again. Two long hours after being locked out, I was back in.

When I finally got to school, my teacher had a good chuckle over my ordeal. She finds all my "chaos mommy" moments amusing. I'm glad my stress can tickle people's funny bones.

New rule... House key goes in my coat pocket before I take boys to the bus stop.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

St. Valentine's Day

Yesterday, Valentine's Day. Not really sure what to do with it. It's not a religious holiday unless you celebrate the Feast Day of Patron Saint Valentine (of which there were several), nor is it anti-religious like Halloween. It's just... sorta... there. Not as insignificant as President's Day, but not as important as Easter. Many people call it a "Hallmark Holiday". I tend to agree. Husband and I don't do much for the big V-day. We say "Happy Valentine's Day" to eachother, and I call him "my Valentine". Sometimes I get some chocolates, or maybe a card, though most years it's not in the monthly budget so I don't worry about it. Since my birthday is also in February, I'd much rather him spend our "fun money" on my birthday! :-)

This is how I spent my Valentine's Day... and coincidentally the same exact way I spent my birthday this year. (With the exception of the rice crispie treat fiasco.)

~Woke up extra early to make rice crispie treats for one of the boys' classroom parties. I had made one batch Sunday night, and wanted to make another batch so both boys could take treats to school. I used the pink strawberry flavored marshmallows. Drew has a girl in his class with several food allergies, so he is very concious about taking treats she can eat. She's allergic to egg and peanut and that makes a lot of treats out of the question.
I mixed up the melted marshmallows and rice crispies, then molded them in to a mini-muffin pan so I could have individual bite sized servings. (Learning about equal, individual servings in baking class.) I kept coming across these big lumps of hard white stuff. I had no clue what it was, but it was frustrating me. I used pink marshmallows, so it's not like it was unmelted marshmallow. I finished putting the mixture in the muffin pan and had some leftover that I was going to put in a small pan for the kids to eat after school. That's when I noticed my spatula! It was completely melted away! The hot marshmallow melted my spatula! That's what the big white chunks were. And I had eaten some of it. yuck. I threw everything away and went to wake the boys. I told them what happened, but I had a solution. I had bought a bag of conversation hearts for my gymnastics students, so I let the boys choose who took the candy and who took the rice crispies for their parties. Luckily there was no issue as Hunter was excited to take the candy instead.

~Baking class went very well. I made a cinnamon swirl raisin bread. It was tiring, though. Being in a cooking/baking class for 5 hours three days a week, then going to work afterwards is tiring. But it's no more than full-time working moms do.
There was an incident where a girl stormed out of class because she found something she's not naturally good at. I'm not good at a LOT of things. I'm lucky that I found a talent in baking, and a love for it. I hope I get to do it for a living some day. However, I'd like to think that if I wasn't good at it, I wouldn't storm out in tears every time something didn't go right for me.

~After class I had to go shopping. I had 45 minutes to get it done, get out of there, and get home. I got home at the very last possible minute. Just enough time to change and get to work. I felt bad because the boys had their Valentine's out and were waiting to show me what they got. I would have loved nothing more than to sit and look at their cards, make them dinner, play with them, and spend a nice Valentine's evening at home. But... that's not where I am at this point in my life. So off to work I went!

~I have four gymnastics classes on Monday nights. I'm the only teacher at my gym because it's a small YMCA and there isn't need for a large gymnastics program. I had Valentine candy for my students, and several of my kids had brought me boxes of chocolates. I love this job! Sometimes it's frustrating, but the kids make it so rewarding. I feel blessed that I get to do nothing but work with children. I was, however, very happy when no one showed up for my 7:00 class! (It was "icing" out, so not very drivable weather.) I got to go home a little early to see my munchkins.
Louisa had made the boys dinner for me. I finally taught her how to use the oven, or rather she had a crash course in it because she was babysitting one day (for other kids) and their mom had left a frozen pizza for Louisa to make them. She didn't want to tell the mom she didn't know how, so she called me! At the store I found DiGiorno Pizza & Cookies! So cool! Louisa was excited to make it.

~When I got home I was greeted with, "MOM!! Come here! I have a surprise for you!" Drew made me a scavenger hunt. I had to read each note and follow the clues to find the next note. At the end of the scavenger hunt I found a card. The card says:
Dear Mom, I am writing you a poem
I hope that we are both always in a nice warm home

I wish you a very, very happy Valentine's Day
I don't just love you on your Birthday.

Now *that* is just what I needed to end a long day.

Wait.... one more thing! Did I mention that my "Valentine" wasn't home? He's on a trip out of state. So the last thing I really needed? To finally sit and talk with him on the phone.
Ahh..... now that I've done that, I have everything I needed to end my long day.