I Did It!

Holy Cow, I did it! They are done! It only took a few hours, and was NOT worth the weeks of procrastination. I think they might even be done correctly! I do have one rant, and one rave about TaxCut, the program I used.

The Rave: When I downloaded the new program, it automatically plugged in all our information from last year, making it a breeze to fill everything out. I just had to check over everything and make sure it was right, then input the numbers for this year. Super cool, and super easy.

The Rant: I downloaded the program today, paid my money and got it done, but when I ran the final check on it, there were things flagged as errors. EVERY error it checked was a flag in the program that simply required downloading the same patch. Now why, when I purchased the program today, were the patches not part of the initial download? AND when I tried to download the patches so I could e-file, my firewall anti-virus thingy stopped the patches from being loaded. SO now I have to contact Symantec and get the patch for the patch. GRRRRrrrr. Have I mentioned how much I hate computers??

So, our taxes are done, and correct as far as I can tell. But they’re not yet filed, because I have to figure out how to patch the patch patch. Can I really say I’m done? You betcha- hello, refund!

Avoidance Tactics

I’m really tired of avoiding my office because Turbo Tax is sitting on the floor, mocking me. So today, while Jeffrey is at school and Eric is napping, I am going to attempt to begin our taxes. Yuck. Eeewww. Gag. I hate doing taxes- my brain is just not wired for it. But I can’t put it off much longer- April 15 looming and all the way it does. In an effort to force myself do this, I won’t be posting anything until I am done with the suckers. Here goes nothin’.

Whoo-hoo!

The cavalry has arrived! For the next five Wednesdays, a different friend is picking the boys up and taking them out for some fun. I am so relieved. The hands-down hardest part, worse than the nausea and barfing, has been seeing my kids trapped in the house with sick-mama. I am so happy for them.

Last week I got all pigheaded and decided I could go to the grocery store myself. How hard could it be, right? I hate asking people for help over small things (well, really, over all things- prideful mule) All I wanted were some strawberries and some popsicles. Both boys were with me, of course, but I figured I would only be on my feet for about 15 minutes- long enough to waddle through the produce section, down the freezer aisle, then out the door. This particular market has clerks to take your groceries to the car, so I knew I could get someone to help me put the kids back in their seats- so I figured we were in good shape.

Yeah. So much for my will overpowering my biology. It isn’t always mind over matter- before I even got Eric to crawl in the cart (I did not pick him up) I was having contractions. They were not bombers, but enough that I was uncomfortable for a minute or two. Every minute or two. Heck, I was half way to my popsicles and like I said, I’m a mule, so I plowed on. Jeffrey pushed the cart, and I held the front to keep him from turning the produce section into a demolition derby.

I must have looked like crap, because the produce lady took one look at me and rushed over and asked me if I was in labor. Uh, no. But I’m working on it. Got my strawberries, chatted with produce lady about the joys of contractions, and waddled off towards the popsicles, stopping to catch my breath every few minutes.

Popsicles in hand, boys banging the cart down the aisle, heading towards the checkout. It was like Moses parting the Red Sea- people got out of my way. It was kinda cool. No less than five people asked me if I was in labor and if they could call someone!

The little clerk who loaded my bags and my kids in the car looked really nervous, like I was going to drop the kid right there. I thanked her for her help and reassured her I was ok

As soon as I sat down at home, the contractions eased up and slowed. And I had my lemon popsicles. Yummmm. It was worth it. But I won’t do it again. Probably.

Kindergarten

Well, Jeffrey is all registered for Kindergarten. I can’t believe it’s time for that already. Kindergarten parents’ orientation was tonight, and since I’m totally useless except as an incubator, the job fell to DFM, and boy oh boy, was he happy about it. PTA and parents-with-a-genius-complex about their kids is, er, not his thing, but like a good dad, he went anyway.

What’s with all the parents who think their kids are smarter than everyone else’s? I noticed it when I went to the registration workshop back in the fall- every parent there was asking about what special things the teacher could do to accommodate their child’s “brightness” and “really quick mind”. Ugh… The teacher finally looked at me, and said “Do you have any questions?” Uh, no. The teacher seemed nice, the kids in the class looked happy and busy, the classroom was neat and clean and there was cool kid-made art on the walls- I’m sure my child will do fine.

Don’t get me wrong- My kids are smart, and I think they are special, but I don’t expect the teacher to treat them as prima-donas and coddle them- Kindergarten is about social skills and learning that others are as important as you are, and playing nice. When did Kindergarten turn into college-prep? Good grief, go paint a picture, eat some play-doh, sing some silly songs!

You can bet if I see anything that troubles me, I’d be down there in a heartbeat, but I’m also pretty confident that we chose a good school (we looked at several), and things will be fine. I’m not blase about it, but I’m not going to lay awake wondering if my kindergartener is getting the intellectual stimulation that will spur him to an Ivy League school. I just don’t get it.

My kindergarten experience was wonderful, and was the groundwork for my loving school all the way through. And for me kindergarten was about fun- a loving teacher, lots of art and music, the magic of learning to read, creating things with my hands, and making friends. I’ll consider Kindergarten a smashing success if he is a happy child, and wants to go to school each morning. If he makes a few nice friends and likes his teacher, even better. If I get some really cool artwork for the ‘fridge, and if he picks up some new things he is curious about, awesome.

So am I just missing the boat on this whole school thing?

Bennedryl are NOT Pez, and Other Things Your Two-Year-Old Does Not Know

Ok, mommies, write this number in big, red, permanent marker somewhere near your kitchen telephone: 1-800-222-1222. That is the national toll-free number for The Poison Control Center- 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you can call them. Free.

Due to my mom drilling it into my head, I have always had this number somewhere close, even before I had kids, but tonite I actually used it. I cannot say enough good things about the nurse on the other end of the line, and how much they helped us.

My mom called a little after 5 this afternoon, and Eric ran to get the phone out of my purse, but it wasn’t there. It was on the table, and Jeffrey grabbed it first. It took me all of about 30 seconds to realize Eric was still in the kitchen fumbling in my purse- and I handed the phone to Jeffrey so I could go get Eric. In the kitchen, he had pulled a plastic container of Bennedryl I had in my purse, gotten it open, it was lying on the floor, and he was rubbing his tongue, saying “Yucky, mama”. Honestly, less than a minute. As soon as I saw him, I opened his mouth, swept it with my finger, and told him to spit it out- there was nothing- but I had absolutely no way of telling if he had eaten one or more of them- he just kept saying “yucky, mama”.

Immediately I grabbed the phone and called the 800 number I had only used once before- and immediately, a calm, cool and very well-connected nurse was on the line. She took all the information from me, Eric’s age, weight, the dosage and make of the pills, and immediately had information for me. There was no waiting for a doctor to call me back- she gave me the very specific guidelines for children and Bennedryl, told me exactly what to do, and told me she would call back in 45 minutes. And she did, right on time.

I won’t give the specifics of what I was told to do- I’m not a doctor and never will be- and if you ever have to call them, your situation will be different. Suffice it to say, Eric is fine, I will never put medication in my purse again, and my lesson is learned. Big time. Very scary event. What I will tell you is: Have a bottle of Ipecac syrup in your house- if you don’t go buy one today. If you do, check the date on it. It is cheap, and if you have little curious kids, vital to your medicine chest.

I am so grateful this source of immediate, free, reliable, nationwide help is available. 1-800-222-1222.

p.s. The “once before”? Plain saline solution (for contacts) will not hurt your kid, only give a mild case of diarrhea, and only then if he drinks the whole bottle. I’m a good mother, honestly!

Pearl


Some of the earliest memories I have are tinged with the Blues drenched voice of Janis Joplin. My mom loved her, and I was introduced to her music very early- early enough that I didn’t know what I was hearing, or how incredible it actually was.

Just take a listen to her rendition of Gershwin and Porter’s Summertime, and tell me if your skin doesn’t look like a plucked chicken when the song is finished. She will raise goosebumps today, 35+ years after she died, as good as she did when she sang live.

A few years back, I was in the car with my cousin, and a country-pop station was on the radio. A song came on and he reached over and turned it up, saying how much he liked that particular new song, when the opening notes hit my ears. It was unmistakable- it was Janis- or at least the melody was a popped up version- and then the horror hit my ears.

It’s a miracle I didn’t crash into a telephone pole. It was years ago, and I still feel the sting and stun as this chick began to sing a peppy, cheerleader-y, saccharine happy version of “Piece of my Heart“. My jaw dropped, and I gagged at him “What is this abominable crap!!?” I proceeded to read him the riot act- ranting and raving about this, this, horrific travesty to music- all while trying to drive my car without crashing. I was on a serious RANT- and if I remember correctly, I turned around and went home and sat him down and made him listen to the real version of the song.

I don’t know that he really appreciated the passion with which I bombarded him, and I don’t know that he really liked Janis all that much more than the chick singer- as a matter of fact, I know he didn’t. But he did appreciate the force with which I tried to make my point. And he listened, and humored me, per normal.

To this day, I have not forgiven Faith Hill for recording the devil’s abomination version of a masterpiece. My skin still crawls when I think of it- and I have probably missed out on some ok music by Mrs. McGraw, but I just can’t get over the heinousness of her recording. All I think of when I see her is Pearl.