Monday, March 22, 2010

Ask Freakmom, She'll Know

It would seem I have become the Heloise of my office. Remember Heloise, from the Hints from Heloise newspaper column in the 70s? She was the one you turned to if you spilled red wine on the carpet or needed to get onion stink out of your dish towel. On Saturday I was working in the office and one of the interns suggested one of the other young guys that he ask me something, that I'd know the answer. Was it work related? A complex HIPAA issue maybe? Or some obscure Medicare regulation? No, he needed help getting the tea stains out of his mug. Fill it with Coke (not Pepsi or another cola drink) and leave it overnight.

So which is worse?

1. That I knew the answer.

2. That they thought to ask me and not anyone else.

3. That the 25 year old didn't know to use Coke to get stains out. (Seriously, did he sleep through middle school science class?)

4. That none of them would have a clue who I meant by "Heloise".

I am a good 15 years older (yikes, more actually) than the vast majority of the other cubicle dwellers. Mr. Incredible said I've become the mom of the office. Sigh.

Tonight was Violet's new swim class. You'll never guess who was in it! One of the other homeschool Juliettes! I knew their family took lessons there. But last time we talked about it she had a different instructor, so I never thought she might be in this class. Turns out it was her second week in this level. She must be the one they created the class for, since it was at our old time slot and it didn't exist when Violet was promoted. (I'm a bit miffed that they didn't create the class at that time, but at least they have it now). Her little brother is in Violet's old class!

Violet liked the new instructor. Liked having her friend in the class. Didn't care much when both her instructor and the swim instructor supervisor both trying to correct her somersaults in the middle of the pool during her lesson (they need to learn them for flip turns). She got embarrassed and more than a bit flustered, there were tears involved. But I am proud to say by the end of the lesson she was turning straight and no longer flopping on her side each time!

Hopefully next week class will be smooth all the way through.

And if you need to know some weird housekeeping tip, just ask. I'll be the one trying to look professional while wearing an apron and pearls over in my cube. Snort.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rolling Along

Sorry I'm so AWOL. I think I start every post like that. I have a lot of post ideas, but by the end of the day, I'm just tired of being in front of my computer. I've been working a jigsaw puzzle. I really enjoy sitting there instead of here. But I miss you all. Wish you could all be at my puzzle with me.

Let's see, what's new.

I did go with Writing Strands. Thank you to both Ami and Gail for your other writing program recommendations. I've actually bookmarked them. I don't think Violet is quite ready for either of them. She started Writing Strands on Monday. We'll see what happens with it. I think the basic instruction and guidelines are what she needs now. But I'm far from a stickler with curriculum. If she wants to skip parts, that's fine. If she wants to do something different, that's fine. I use curriculum, it doesn't use me. After she gets some basic practice, I'll have her look at the two books your daughters recommended (recommendations from other homeschool kids is a big plus in her book) and see if she wants to try them. (And if Writing Strands turns out to be a miserable failure, it won't be the first curriculum failure we've had and moved on from).

We also got Word Roots from Critical Thinking. Violet is really liking that. She's been studying Latin, little by little, for a while and is enjoying it.

On the work front, I had a bit of a break this week and took full advantage of it. I did our taxes (we owe Federal but get a little more than we owe back from the state). I slept. I did the aforementioned jigsaw puzzle. I'm dreading Saturday. There's a big deadline looming and I'm afraid that if I'm in the office I'll be dragged into work I'd rather not do. I'd prefer to clean the bathrooms. Or clean out poison ivy from the trails. Or scrub the hallways with a toothbrush. But on the plus side, there's snow and icy mix in our forecast. I'm hoping for bad weather. Then I'll have an excuse to wig out and not go in. Hard to get as excited about work when they've dashed your hopes and dreams. I know. Welcome to the real world. Work sucks.

On Mr. Incredible's work front, he sent off his resume this morning for his dream job. He says he is underqualified for it. But it would be a perfect fit. So if you have it in a you to say a prayer, send a good vibe, rub your lucky rabbit's foot, or just lift a pint of Guinness and say a hearty, "Good luck, Man!" we'd appreciate it. It would involve moving out of state, but he would be so good at it and would really love it.

But, back to me. Did I tell you all I sent off my resume too? I applied for an instructor position at an online university. I was underqualified as well, but what they hey. Can't hurt.

More good news. I got Violet into a different swim class. She isn't completely sold on the idea. She did like her old class. But the date and time were in conflict with other activities and was stressing me out. This one is back to our old day and time, but with a new instructor. Violet has loved all the swim instructors she's had, so I'm sure she'll like this girl too. But if she doesn't, we'll move her back.

We have had beautiful weather the last few days (yes, I did say snow and ice predicted in two days, but warm and in the 60s today, welcome to the midwest in March). Violet and I went for walks yesterday and today. Then this afternoon she took Mr. I. out for a walk. She wanted to show him these weird mounds that are out along the edges of the pond near us. They look a little like beaver dams, but it is a pond not a river, and I don't think we get many beaver here. We do get raccoons and possums, but I don't think they build lodges like these. They are probably something man made to stop erosion or something. If I call the parks department and ask (they are on their property) it'll turn out they are composting Christmas trees or something and I'll look silly.

As always, I promise to be better about keeping up with my blogging buddies. For now, I'm off to my puzzle. Grab a glass of wine and meet there if you want!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Writing Strands

Does anyone have an opinion about Writing Strands they'd care to share? (Ha, homeschool moms not wanting to share an opinion, that'd be the hard thing to find!) I'm strongly considering getting book 3 for Violet for the fall. She'll be going into 6th grade. She's previously been very reluctant to write, but lately has shown an interest. She's very creative, but often needs a kick start. I think if I just give her writing assignments she'll roll her eyes at me and never do them. But she seems to like the idea of a book to guide her through it. I showed her the samples from their website today and she was interested.

Anyway, the price looks right. But I'd still like to know how others enjoyed it or didn't care for it. How you used it. That sort of thing. Thanks!

We're almost through our busiest of busy weeks. Mr. Furnace Guy said we also need a new igniter. $208 dollars for a little part, held in by one screw. And no, he couldn't just do it today and include it in the labor from today's work, although Mr. I. is certain he had the part out in his truck. Mr. I. searched online, found a place called the Igniter Store, that only sells igniters and gives a free "wine opener" which each purchase! What a deal. (I don't know how a "wine opener" differs from a corkscrew, but you know me and my merlot - I'm game to find out!) He hadn't researched to find out which igniter we needed but he said they range from $20 to $50 dollars. He's sure he can change one screw to install it himself.

When I write the blog entry entitled, "Today our house blew up," you'll know why.

We haven't completely decided yet, I think he's going to get some advice from either his dad or mine, both pretty skilled fellas when it comes to home repair and mechanical things. But $50 versus $208. He's thinking hard about that and doing more research.

Our snow is melting, it was sunny and our temperatures hit 40 today! You just can't help but feel better with weather like that.

Oh, and the dentist thinks Violet will be ready for phase 2 of braces soon. We'll have another orthodontist visit in a month or two to find out for sure. I hope her last two baby teeth take their own sweet time coming out. I don't know how we'll swing phase two right now. We had dental insurance and two jobs for phase one. Mr. I. is likely to vote not to do the phase, but her teeth are so improved, I'd hate to not have them just right. I think if we don't it will lead to more problems down the road. My mom got braces at 60. She might lend us the money if we need to.

Drat, I lost that "good weather" good feeling thinking about this. I'd better get out a wine opener and open me some shiraz.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Busy week

Every week is busy around here at the Freak house, but this week is worse than usual. Violet had her normal swim lesson, plus a dentist appointment. We went to the Festival of the Sugar Maples to learn about the production of maple syrup. (Our county has a big population of sugar maple trees, we are one of the southern-most areas that can produce maple syrup). And we have seats for the school performance of Max & Ruby (not sure if it is a musical or play or what).

If that isn't enough I had a Girl Scout leader meeting tonight. And Mr. I. had the furnace guy out on Tuesday. We found out our furnace model is likely to leak carbon monoxide. We had it tested, and you guessed it. It leaks it. So he's coming back tomorrow to exchange a part of some sort. Because it is a flaw in the furnace, the part is free. We just pay for labor. That's bad enough, but better than death by carbon monoxide poisoning.

It was Girl Scout cookie week and we've been delivering cookies. I pick them up for the other homeschool Girl Scouts and they pick them up from here. It works out really well for us all. We've got most of Violet's orders delivered and paid for, there are a few more to go this weekend. And a few coworkers to catch up with on Saturday for payment.

Despite all this we are making good progress with school. Violet really enjoys having my full attention in the afternoons and is happy to study during it. We aren't doing any work that is too terribly taxing either, which helps.

It really helps having less pressure at work. I still have a lot to do. But I'm not going nuts over it all. Plus I'm not going to bust my butt to get something done, when they are just going to sit on it for a week anyway. I've been asking "when will you look at this" rather than "when do you want this by." Turns out the answers aren't always the same. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure things out.