Friday, November 22, 2013

significantly distressing senior moment

Is when you cannot remember which toothbrush is your own.

Note:  All three toothbrushes are mine.  I can't remember my currently using toothbrush.  My currently using toothbrush isn't new, either.  Been using it a month, maybe two.  The other two, older toothbrushes?  One I've been using to clean my jewelry, in particular my anniversary ring, to keep the teeny diamonds shiny.  The other, I'm not even sure why it's there.  I'm guessing I've used it to clean something else or the other.  Something bathroom-ish.

So I picked the one I thought most likely candidate.  As I brushed my teeth I started gagging at the thought of gunky jewelry debris in my mouth.

Next purchase?  A new toothbrush brain.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

when keeping austin weird gets weird

Like so many who are drawn to the area, we like to do our share to Keep Austin Weird, as the city motto goes.  And that means spending what few entertainment dollars our budget allows at locally owned businesses.  Not that this is such a sacrifice.  There aren't too many big chains we like very much anyway.  

Still, it was with high hopes that my husband and I, along with our three teenagers, ventured to a new, locally owned restaurant.  Close to our house, cool atmosphere, beer garden-esque, and serving Tex-Mex and hamburgers, our two most favorite palate pleasers, what could go wrong?

Not much at first.  The burgers were tasty, the fries were our favorite kind (battered and crunchy) and, bonus, a live band was playing some authentic Austin blues. Greatness of life, we thought.  We've found our new Friday night hangout. Minutes after declaring just that, a shocking encounter with the manager left us declaring we would absolutely never go back.

After nearly finishing our meal, the server approached our table, You know there is a $2 cover, per person, for the band.  

Uhh, no? No  cover charge posted anywhere. Server replied that a notice about cover charge was on the menu.  Asked to see the not terribly congenial manager.  You want to see me?  He reeked of irritation.   

Long story short, and more irritable words from the manager, he insisted we pay. No apology. We calmly but uncomfortably informed him we liked the music very much but we planned to put $5 in the tip jar, and sorry, curmudgeonly manager, that was our final offer.  

Truthfully, if we had known about a cover charge, we wouldn't have gone in.  Not with our kids in tow.  They didn't have any interest in the music (old-geazer band) and I would have preferred engaging with our kids. If it were just Sam and I, we would have complained but paid the cover. In any event, has anyone been to a restaurant where kids are charged a cover?  Or am I out of touch?

But back to the story:  Curmudgeonly Manager said he would send someone to collect the $5 tip. Uh no, we will put the $5 in the tip jar ourselves , thank-you-very-much.   CM:  So you're saying the band is not worth $2 !!   

We asked to see the menu to verify cover charge notice. After huffing away, CM never produced it. 

In the end, we left a decent tip for the unfriendly server and left the band its tip.  And left feeling disappointed as could be. 

Were we out of line balking?  Do we give the place a second chance?  I mean, I liked the food, location, outdoor setting with cooling fans and a subtle air mist system. Liked that it's locally owned.  Liked everything but the unposted cover and the unyielding, insulting CM.  

I feel the need to add that this is the first time I've ever had a bad encounter with restaurant management. I rarely complain, often eating mistakes rather than cause a scene.  Sam and I are easy that way.  

So what say ye, readers?  Would you go back? In cognito or otherwise? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

weighing in on the mommy wars

This post comes straight from a comment box.  As in, I meant to write a short comment and instead ended up writing an entire post.  My thoughts are in response to a post about "the mommy wars" that I read on Momastery.
I'm 50+ years old, have three teenagers, have stayed at home and have (mostly) worked three-quarters time, which gives me a taste of both worlds.   I have long been in the company of feminists, both working moms and SAHMs.  I've got lots of mommy friends and in my job as a shrink I hear the complaints of plenty of moms.

I have never heard, emphasis on never, women who argue that all stay home mothers damage women’s liberation, as the warring sentiments of working moms, as indicated on the Momastery post. 

However, frequently my tongue bleeds because I've heard far too many times phrases such as, 

I'm not going to let someone else raise my children.  

I'm not going to dump my kids off at some daycare.  

I want my children to be bonded to me, not to some daycare worker.  

Etc, etc, etc.  Usually said with harsh voice tone.  Unmistakably critical.  The implication, "I'm better mommy."    

From what place do these competitive and hostile remarks spring?  And why do I hear them so damned often?  Perhaps these kinds of disparaging comments arise from the frustration?  boredom?  anxiety? resentment?  associated with being a full time, stay at home parent?  I know I have felt envious of and anxiety about the slower paced lifestyle, the lack of need to "get dressed for work," (not to mention the extra laundry associated with), and the freedom from worry that my child isn't getting quality attention (though when I stayed at home I hardly felt that my children received the best quality attention) among many other things.  But I don't feel the need to condemn their choice.  In fact, I celebrate the choice women now have.  And men, too.  Twenty years ago it was extremely rare to find men willing to forgo their careers in favor of full time daddy.  Hooray for the kids of our generation whose dads are more involved in their lives!

My concern about SAHM isn't about what's best for children because I truly believe it's more about the individual parent than it is about the working mom / SAHM distinction.  What my concern IS about: the vulnerability many SAHMs face in the harsh reality of post-divorce.  I know many moms who SAH and don't regret it (only the occasional mom admittting to regret) despite getting royally screwed in the divorce settlement.  Despite intense fear bordering on panic at the prospect of re-entering the job market.  

I want to see family court prioritize and monetize a woman's SAH contribution when it comes to settlement.  I want to see pre-nups and post-nups where the working parent agrees, that should we divorce, the SAH parent will be entitled to a generous settlement.  The parent who stays at home is not only tending to the children, s/he is tending to the working spouse's career while his/her own career is wasting away.  Which means of course, earning potential that decreases, or at best, stagnates.  We need fairness in the family legal system before I'll encourage someone to quit their job and stay home with the kids.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

nesting, of sorts

For the first time in many years we saw only two kids off to their first day of school.

My oldest is living twenty minutes away from home and due to start his first day of college this week.

For the first time in his life he'll have no send off, no posing for mom's camera.

It's a safe bet he's thrilled about that.

So one way for a mom to cope with an emptying nest, apparently, is to build a pretty, new one out of landscape clippings.  I don't know if the landscape is improved -- I probably looked like Rambo stalking unaware victims in a Thailand jungle, only with pastel garden gloves and garden clippers -- or what I'll attract to my nest but I think I feel a little better.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

chasing windmills

I'm still here.  Living, breathing, eating, sleeping, and (sigh) tending to three teens which lately has meant working more hours so that I can raise them in the style to which they've become accustomed.

I've been traveling:

To NYC and the Met Museum for the first time, all by myself (with the help of my good friend, D, who gave me public transportation pointers).

View fromWashington Square, NYC 
Edith Wharton's fictional families occupied these homes.

To Washington D.C. to walk in the Chris for Life 5K raising money for colon cancer.

To NJ for a funeral.  Unfortunately my very longtime friend with colon cancer died a few short weeks after garnering the energy to walk the 5K in his moccasins.

And to NJ to play video games with my niece while I recover from a back injury caused by doing the unthinkable:  riding in a car while reaching for a bag of Salt and Vinegar potato chips.

Teach me.    

To Dallas for a wedding.

To the Texas coast for five days on the beach with nothing to do but talk with my man and catch up on some sorely neglected reading.

What else?  When I'm not driving two teen girls to separate concerts (or arguing about whether they can attend one),

my daughter and friend with Fall Out Boy

I'm teaching them to drive.  I didn't think my heart would keep ticking after teaching my oldest to drive so I'm seriously worried about surviving two at once.

I've been attending ....

prom festivities,

graduation for one smart, hardworking, handsome, and overall awesome boy,

t.u. bound
(which is aggie speak for the univ of texas)

political rallies,
Stand Up for Texas Women!!
(I'm under the tree on the left)

zoning meetings that threaten to cover with condos the cherished meadows just beyond my backyard,

and downtown firework displays.

hours of planning, parking and long walks to the river's edge 
for 12 minutes of fireworks

And most recently, apartment hunting.  Which morphed into condo hunting because I can't bear the thought of writing $800/month rent checks for my awesome boy to live in my same city. Just recently Austin was rated the most expensive city to raise a family.  I'm soon to find it's the most expensive city to house a college student.

So we're signing contracts, lining up funding, and soon enough attending a closing and outfitting an apartment, and moving my son from the only home he's known, away from a mom crying buckets of tears when nobody is looking because she's having a hard time accepting that the tiny newborn with the tiniest of feet now has large man feet that he's using to walk out into his own independent life.  Which I know is a happy ending to a happy life but it's hard to remember as I lie in bed mopping up tears.

And so you see, I'm doing all kinds of things.  Everything, it seems, but blogging.  I miss blogging and keeping up with the lives of my blogging buddies.  I've got every intention of resuming when life settles down.  But for now?

I'll be chasing windmills.
 wind farms near Taft, Texas

Monday, May 13, 2013

late night dentist flash mob

Last night I was moderating comments when I noticed a trend:

Dentists, collectively, love my blog.  In the wee hours of the morning SEVEN dentists left the following praise:

Reading health related articles is my hobby.       -Fountain Valley Dentist

I have never ever seen such a kind of outclass informal blog.     -Orange County Implant Dentist

I have too many questions for my health care but this has solved them all.    -Tucson Dentist

Wow! Super kind of stuff you have provided us to read.   -Vero Beach Dentist

woooo! Awesome dude!   -Las Vegas Dentist

You can't even imagine that how much it has helped me in securing my health.    -Beverly Hills Cosmetic Dentist

And one last, particularly warm and personal comment:

You know my grand father used to told me about health care.  It is the same as you have told me.    -Cincinatti Dentist

Who knew the topic of INFIDELITY could be so awe-inspiring to such a broad swath of American  dentists at three o'clock in the morning?

Reminds me of a song by an Austin singer-songwriter.  Seven Dentists on an Infidelity Post (loose translation).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

a grief observed

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross tells us there are five stages of grief:


According to Kubler-Ross, we progress through these five stages during the many months, even years, of the grieving process, usually in a back-and-forth fashion.

Sometimes we get stuck in one phase for a longer period of time than the others and sometimes we skip stages altogether.  The following video demonstrates a young woman who gets stuck in denial for what seems an eternity and then jumps quickly into acceptance.

To save time, skip to 45 seconds into the video.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

overheard in a kitchen

where have these days gone?
Overheard in a kitchen 
on a friday afternoon 
as a mother reminds her teenager 
she is grounded:

But mom! I have plans tonight! 

And with a perfectly straight face, 

 I don't have anything to do tomorrow! 
Why can't I be grounded tomorrow night?!

Monday, January 07, 2013

another drawback of my brilliant idea

Another potential drawback with my whole watering-down the whole milk idea (what is this, a third world country?) The potential (surety?) for loss of the fortified Vit D.  But don't tell my dream killer husband that.  Actually he's not the nutrition Nazi in this house.  Of the two of us, I am.

Meanwhile, the good news.  None of the kids have commented and they absolutely would if they noticed the slightest distaste, disgruntled at everything I put in front of them besides sugary cereal teenagers that they are.  So I think I'll figure out other ways to get Vit D and keep moving forward with this plan.  Stay tuned.  Or not (yawn).

Sunday, January 06, 2013

new year, new financial challenges

So this year will be, universe and adolescent brain willing, our first year of paying college tuition.  We're right smack in the middle of getting a jump start on our income tax prep, first time in, like, evah, thanks to the FAFSA. (For those of you who have been down the FAFSA road you know how anxiety provoking hitting that final calculation button can be. GULP!  For those of you who aren't there yet, I don't recommend googling this acronym. It's not good for your mental health.)

Anyhow, this morning afternoon as I went about some routine morning chores, I came up with a great idea to save money AND refrigerator space.  Here's how it came about:

My neighbor left town for the holiday break and brought over a gallon of whole milk that her family didn't have time to drink.  Mine is a skim milk family so that gallon has sat in the fridge untouched all week.  My kids think whole milk tastes terrible (not me... I think of it as guiltless liquid vanilla ice cream).

Late last night I decided to take deceptive measures.  With the last gallon skim nearly empty, I added whole milk plus water, shook it up, and voila, a gallon of skim milk is born.

None the wiser, my kids ate their cereal this morning without notice.  So as I refreshed the gallon container once again with the milk/water mix, I thought, why not do this all year long?  Buy only two gallons of whole milk per grocery store trip instead of the usual four to five gallons.  Saves room in the fridge and money.  Woo hoo !!

And why didn't I think of this sooner?  As in, sixteen-years-ago sooner?  According to a reader's suggestion on the Money Saving Mom, this method could save me somewhere in the range of $300-$400/year. Times sixteen years?  Plus interest?   I'm not an accounting major, but I think we'd have enough saved for one semester of tuition, anyway.

Ok, so now my smarty-pants dream-killer husband just walked in and informed me this plan has a kink.  Because whole milk has fat in it, we'll never get it down to the 0% fat of skim milk.  True.  While not a chemist or nutritionist, either, I'm sure we can get it down to a nominal, tolerable amount of fat, can't we?  Make up for it by doing jumping jacks every time we pour ourselves a glass of milk?

Has anyone done this already?  Any other penny pinching tips for this soon-to-be in-the-poorhouse mom?