Communication Breakdown? Start Writing…

I’ve been thinking that the joke about “people texting each other inside the same house” might not be such a bad idea. Or carrying around a white board. Or sticking notes in lunch bags.  According to a study released last week from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 1 in 5 teens now has at least a slight hearing loss, due possibly to iPod volume.  The study, conducted with almost 5,000 kids, showed slight hearing loss increasing in the past 15 years, with the number classified as “mild or worse” increasing by 70 percent (1 in 20).  (Oh, so when my kids say “Mom, you never reminded me” when I’ve told them something important and then they forget—it might not be a lame excuse?) 

 

Hearing loss or not, written words might just be a great “extra” way to communicate with kids. It would definitely help younger children build their writing and reading skills. And it might be a way for parents to say a lot to teens who think everything over two words is a “lecture”.  (I once read about a mom who wrote letters to her teen daughter and stuck them under her bedroom door once in awhile.  It was a way for her to give advice to a girl who “didn’t want to hear it.”  The mom figured the daughter probably just threw them away, but years later, the daughter showed her she’d opened and read them all and had saved them all, they had meant so much to her!)  I also remember, from my years working at a community college and giving “learning styles tests “, that people understand things best in different ways—there are those who learn best through hearing, those who need to get “hands on” to understand a concept, and those who need visual elements for something to sink into their brain, like pictures, or words.

 

Lately I have noticed a few other positives with the written word as a way to communicate.  My teen is usually a lot more polite in phone texts—I see the words “thanks” a whole lot more than I hear it.  And when she’s not polite, it’s not quite as annoying in print as it is in person.  I mean, reading “WHERE R U?!! U WERE SUPPOSED TO PICK ME UP!!!!” is so much better than having it yelled in my ear.

 

Of course, as I mentioned in a previous post, writing things down is often necessary for us to communicate with our French foreign exchange student.  But sometimes it can be a case of the blind leading the blind, if we don’t spell things right.  (“CYOTE” read one scrap of paper I found, as Andy tried to let her know about the wild animal that has been stalking our neighborhood…I don’t think she found that one in her English-French dictionary! ) It got really confusing when Allison tried to help her understand a science assignment.  Go figure– Cleo’s first week in AP Environmental Science, and the teacher has them read Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” as a parallel to the study of sustainable development and deforestation.  Can you imagine her confusion with the English word combinations, and the “unique” words that Theodor Geisel is famous for creating? Allison tried her best to explain “Grickle-grass”.  And a “Once-ler”, who lives in a “Lerkim”, in clothes made out of “miff-muffered moof”. (Gee, even my MS Word spell check is going crazy…)  It’s hard enough explaining everyday stuff like “homecoming mum” and “armadillo” to her, let alone a Snuvv (that lives in a gruvvulous glove…)

 

“I don’t understand the questions,” Cleo said later, as she tried to fill out a worksheet about the book.

“It’s okay,” I told her.  “Just write your teacher a note.”

 

 

Odd Mom Out: When Your Kids Don’t Resemble You…At All

     
I carried them for nine months and nursed them for at least as long; went through morning sickness, nausea, a C-section, VBAC, migraine headaches, and major sleep loss for them; got carpal tunnel syndrome and had to completely change my wardrobe —you’d think my kids could at least look like me in some way.  Some daily, visual nod to the fact that I AM THEIR MOTHER.  But in my case and that of many other moms, “it just ain’t so”.  I mean, there are adoptive moms I know who resemble their children more than I resemble mine.  Neither one of my kids looks anything like me– not that I would want them to completely, but it would be great if at least one of them had eyes like mine, or maybe the shape of their face…instead, I have to be satisfied with sharing “sort of similar hair color” and “crowded mouth” with Emmie, and “hair thickness” and “excellent teeth enamel quality” with Allison.  Nothing else, at least that I can see.  Allison’s eyes are like Andy’s father’s, her ginger hair color is Andy’s mom’s, ditto for her myriad of freckles, and her face shape is all-Andy.  Emmie’s eyes, nose and face shape are all-Andy, and she has freckles, too. 

 

I just think there’s something nice about family members looking alike, especially when there’s more than one child in a family, with some children favoring the mom, some resembling the dad.  It’s like a “balanced tribe”.  My brother and I look like my mom; my sister looks like my dad.  Andy looks like his mom; his sister looks like his dad. 

As we age and change, sometimes it takes old photos to see the resemblance.  I have a friend who once posted a couple of her and her husband’s elementary school photos on their fridge, next to their two sons’ school photos taken in the same grade.  I’d never thought they looked so much like their kids, but the resemblance was uncanny—hers was almost identical to her oldest son’s photo; her husband’s was identical to the youngest son’s.  Last Sunday, I had the chance to do something similar for a mother-daughter tea hosted by Allison’s drill team.  For a party decoration, they requested that every mom submit childhood photos of themselves and their daughters taken at the same ages.  I found a school photo of me in 4th grade, and paired it with Allison’s 4th grade school photo.  There they were, side by side at the tea, magneted to a giant metal wall.  Nope, not a shred of similarity between the two photos (other than the fact that 70’s fashion was in vogue when both pictures were taken– Allison’s crocheted poncho looks almost as groovy as my plaid vest!! ).  Many other pairs on that wall looked like twins.

 

Yep, I think it’s an exclusive club, we non-look-alike moms. Sometimes it’s especially hard being in it, like for women who have gone through rough divorces—with their kids looking very much like their exes, I’m sure that sometimes it’s a painful reminder.  Or women who are the mothers of all boys who resemble only their father. Talk about feeling like an outsider!

 

Guess I should count my blessings that right now I don’t look like my kids.  At a time in their lives when Mom is uncool and they’re trying to carve out their own identities, maybe looking like me would only make things worse.  And maybe it’s especially good for those days when they misbehave in public, when I hope, hope, hope no one thinks I’m their mother.  I’m certain I’d be pretty believable if I shrugged my shoulders and said, to sympathetic onlookers, “I’m just the chauffeur!”

Table for Five

 

 

I’ve written about surprises before—how parents of teens are often faced with “surprise” dilemmas, constantly having to make judgment calls about things they’ve never experienced before.  The first few days with our 16-year-old foreign exchange student, Cleo, have been filled with surprises, too—only the good kind.  Gifts? Yes, she brought us French chocolates and perfume and all sorts of goodies (our gift basket to her paled in comparison!) but I’m talking about even more good surprises.

 

 


First, there are the kind that make you want to run to a journal and record every new experience, just like with a baby.  Like her first time at our house, first time to eat a bagel, first trip to the grocery store with us…

     Wednesday, Aug. 18- Went grocery shopping with Cleo and Emmie.  Emmie’s been chattering up a storm with her and did so even more in getting ready for our trip to the store, trying to make a list and asking her what she wanted.  (Later I found notes where Emmie had been on Google translator looking up the French words for “oatmeal”, “cinnamon rolls”, and “waffles”.)  So when we got there, I let them take a cart and I took one and we met up later.  I figured Emmie and Cleo would come back with a cart full of food, but there were only a few items in it when I found them.  They were on the magazine aisle, Emmie with a  PopStar magazine in hand, reading Cleo a quiz.  “What after-school snack fits your personality type?” was the burning Quiz Question, the answer only to be determined after answering several more questions. I’m sure Cleo was totally confused, but maybe Emmie’s nonstop chatter is great “English immersion.” Funny to see where certain foods were placed after we returned from the store and Emmie and Cleo unloaded the grocery bags…

 

We get excited when we realize the many more “firsts” coming up that she’s going to get to experience with us—like holidays, football games, meeting the relatives… “Mom, Cleo’s going to get to see the State Fair!” Emmie blurted out the other day, with a huge smile on her face, interrupting herself mid-sentence as she was talking about one of her favorite subjects, roller coasters.

 

Surprises also happen with how you see yourself, your family, and your world, when a total stranger comes to live with you.  Hosting someone who’s never been to the U.S., let alone Texas (a unique “planet” all by itself, you know) means that you’re the ultimate tour guide—so it’s only natural, as Cleo experiences everything, for me to wonder how it might seem to her.  I never realized before how big and gleaming the high school is on the inside, or how they play nonstop rap music in athletic clothing stores, or how badly my refrigerator shelves need cleaning, or how I much I inflect Midwest into my speech, like saying “bolth” for the word “both”… no one said a word to me about any of these things…I’m just noticing stuff differently.

 

And then there are the surprises that make you catch your breath.

In the days leading up to this week, we’d all been looking forward to Cleo’s arrival, but Allison’s enthusiasm was sometimes a little lacking.  She would get annoyed when the preparations cut into “her” time.  Like when Andy and I had to attend an AFS orientation meeting and she had to arrange for someone else to take her to church youth group.  Or when Emmie and I cleaned the house like maniacs the day after we got home from our road trip, and all Allison wanted to do was sleep.  She’d get so annoyed and so vocal about things, I was sad that she wasn’t more “into” our impending family change…so you can imagine how pleased I was when, on the day of Cleo’s arrival, Allison took a great interest in helping to get Cleo’s room ready.  We’d already converted our upstairs game room into a bedroom, thanks to the leftovers from Emmie and Allison’s big bedroom switch this summer, but Allison came up with all sorts of ways to make it more comfortable for Cleo.  She found an unused crystal candy dish tucked away in one of our kitchen cabinets, filled it with Werther’s caramels, and placed it on top of the bookcase.  Next to the candy dish, she put a cute “Fossil” blank notebook that had belonged to her, and a pen.  She added a colorful clock to the bedside table, and a few past issues of “Seventeen” magazine.  She accompanied me on a trip to Target and we had fun coming up with toiletries to fill a bath caddy.  We bought a pack of lime green clothes hangers for the closet pole Andy had installed on one side of the room, a matching closet mirror, a box of pop-up tissues…later in the day when I arrived at the house with Cleo for the “grand entrance”, we saw that Allison had made a welcome sign and put it on our wooden butler’s tray–  and if anyone remembers my post about the antique butler, you’ll know what a big deal that was for Allison to do that.  But what really pleased me was that, looking into the kitchen, I saw she’d scrubbed and cleaned off the kitchen table– as I’d asked her to do, but she’d gone a step further— there were five placemats and five chairs at the table instead of the usual four. 

 

And I don’t know if it was that gesture, or the fact that Cleo voluntarily sets the table before every meal (with knives and forks even when we ate soup and grilled cheese ), but ever since Cleo has arrived, we’re sitting down and eating together more than we used to.  Like at lunch, when in the past we’d usually fix whatever we want and take it to wherever we want (me at the computer, Emmie in the kitchen or in front of the TV, Allison who knows where, if she even chooses to eat lunch)– this week, we’ve eaten lunch together every day.  And on Thursday night, the one night we were all home for dinner and I cooked a great meal (Indian– Chicken Tikka Masala!), I expected Allison wouldn’t join us, since now that she’s a vegetarian and the rest of us aren’t, she usually cooks her own food at dinner, at her own time. She did cook her own food that night, but brought it to the table, alongside the rest of us.  The table for five.  I like the sound of that.

Road Trippin’

Just got back from taking the kids (and the dog) on our annual summer road trip to Grandma’s (a 26-hour round trip) and while there, we decided to rent a movie and teach Grandma how to use her DVD player. It’s hard to find a movie on which an 86-year-old, a 15-year-old, an 11-year-old and two 40-something parents can agree, but at Allison’s suggestion we chose “RV”, a 2006 family road trip movie starring Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenowith, Cheryl Hines, Will Arnett and teen pop star Jo Jo. While it’s not Academy Award-caliber, it was a good choice that all of us enjoyed and has a great opening scene that Andy and I could so relate to…a darling little girl sits on her bed, giggling while her daddy (Robin Williams) entertains her with sock puppets.  After Mom walks by and scolds him for getting the girl riled up at bedtime, the girl tells Daddy she doesn’t ever want to leave home and get married so she can always be with him, and he tells her that no matter where she goes they will always have a special friendship (fade to black).  The next scene shows Robin Williams driving a car, a frown on his face as he angrily talks to his daughter, now 15, who sits behind him, chewing gum, Ipod earplugs in her ears.  She’s mad at him and calls him a name (was it Dork? Loser?) because they’re driving to pick up her friend and he doesn’t know where the friend lives.  Robin Williams looks like he’s going to cry.  “Dad, she just gave you the finger!” pipes up her younger brother, also in the back seat.

By the end of the movie (and their family road trip in an RV), the daughter appears to have changed her attitude about Dad.  Hmmm… even though we don’t rent an RV (yep, that’s my aravan doing all that driving), I do think my own status was raised slightly in Allison’s eyes during this trip because we visited my college alma mater on the way home and ate lunch at a sidewalk cafe near campus, and since it appeared to be freshman check-in day, Allison got to do major people-watching.  We walked and drove around campus and the girls asked me lots of questions.  Allison said it was the highlight of her trip. 

Andy, unfortunately, didn’t fare as well.  Turns out he’d turned off the AC on the second floor of our house just before we’d left town, so teen daughter did not appreciate the sweltering 93 degrees that welcomed her tired body when we drooped into our bedrooms last night at 1 a.m. 

Ah, family road trips…gotta love ’em!

Road Trippin’

Just got back from taking the kids (and the dog) on our annual summer road trip to Grandma’s (a 26-hour round trip) and while there, we decided to rent a movie and teach Grandma how to use her DVD player. It’s hard to find a movie on which an 86-year-old, a 15-year-old, an 11-year-old and two 40-something parents can agree, but at Allison’s suggestion we chose “RV”, a 2006 family road trip movie starring Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenowith, Cheryl Hines, Will Arnett and teen pop star Jo Jo. While it’s not Academy Award-caliber, it was a good choice that all of us enjoyed and has a great opening scene that Andy and I could so relate to…a darling little girl sits on her bed, giggling while her daddy (Robin Williams) entertains her with sock puppets.  After Mom walks by and scolds him for getting the girl riled up at bedtime, the girl tells Daddy she doesn’t ever want to leave home and get married so she can always be with him, and he tells her that no matter where she goes they will always have a special friendship (fade to black).  The next scene shows Robin Williams driving a car, a frown on his face as he angrily talks to his daughter, now 15, who sits behind him, chewing gum, Ipod earplugs in her ears.  She’s mad at him and calls him a name (was it Dork? Loser?) because they’re driving to pick up her friend and he doesn’t know where the friend lives.  Robin Williams looks like he’s going to cry.  “Dad, she just gave you the finger!” pipes up her younger brother, also in the back seat.

By the end of the movie (and their family road trip in an RV), the daughter appears to have changed her attitude about Dad.  Hmmm… even though we don’t rent an RV (yep, that’s my aravan doing all that driving), I do think my own status was raised slightly in Allison’s eyes during this trip because we visited my college alma mater on the way home and ate lunch at a sidewalk cafe near campus, and since it appeared to be freshman check-in day, Allison got to do major people-watching.  We walked and drove around campus and the girls asked me lots of questions.  Allison said it was the highlight of her trip. 

Andy, unfortunately, didn’t fare as well.  Turns out he’d turned off the AC on the second floor of our house just before we’d left town, so teen daughter did not appreciate the sweltering 93 degrees that welcomed her tired body when we drooped into our bedrooms last night at 1 a.m. 

Ah, family road trips…gotta love ’em!

Water: The Great Parent-Child Equalizer

One of my favorite photos: Allison and I in San Diego, 2003

Family therapists, take note: when looking for another way to help families relate, tell them to “go jump”.  In a pool, that is.  Or a swimming hole, or lake.  With lifeguards on duty, of course.  And a shallow end.  Because it’s in the shallow end that magical things can happen between parent and child (well, at least with kids whose heads can clear the surface while standing). I thought about this a couple days ago while in a swimming pool with Emmie, my 11-year-old.  In water, kids can walk around, carrying their parents like a baby (“Mama!” I squealed, throwing my arms around her neck.  “Keep it down, Mom!” said Emmie.)  Parents can hold their kids and carry them around, kids they haven’t been able to carry around on land for years.  (Even teens like mine, who don’t like parents to hug or touch them, can drop their guard in a pool.)  Parents can ride on kids’ backs, and kids can ride on parents’ backs.  (“Giddy-up!” I yelled.  “Mom, don’t embarrass me!” said Emmie.)  Other “kidstuff” we parents can’t do on land anymore, like hand stands, or jumping high, become easy in the water.  I amazed Emmie the gymnast, and completely shocked my body, by doing a front walk-over and a back “dolphin” somersault (I think I still feel a little water in my ears…). Feeling pretty good, I then challenged her to a race from one side of the pool to the other and back, doing the breast stroke (she won by a hand’s length). 

We had a blast, and I realized that even though we’d done all this before, it had been too long.  As kids get older, we parents tend to not get in the water with them as much, if at all, because they don’t need our help anymore.  But really, that’s when the real fun begins.  Because in the water, adults and older kids are equals.  Adults can be kids again, and kids can be as strong as adults, and all this usually equals lots of laughter as the “magic” unfolds. 

So before the summer is over, if you’ve got older kids or grandkids, think about getting in the water with them, if only for a few minutes.   Play “Marco Polo” or “Chicken”, have an “underwater tea party”, see who can make the biggest splash when jumping off the diving board.  You will benefit, and so will your kids!

Complaints and Compliments: Teaching Kids About Consumer Feedback

The story in the news these days of Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater has me thinking—not just about the straight-outta-the-movies way in which he quit his job, but about the onboard incident that preceded it, when a passenger reportedly cursed at him and cut Steven’s head with her suitcase, mad because she was told to sit down until her arriving plane came to a complete stop.  I wondered if that passenger had children watching.  Yes, we’ve all been ticked off at one time or another at clerks, customer service reps, waiters, maybe even flight attendants—but there’s a right way to complain, and a wrong way.  And especially when children are around, you hope people pick the right way.

My mother, who spent much of her life very much as a “my husband makes all the decisions” kind of gal, was always a hero in my eyes whenever she stood up for herself if she was wronged at a restaurant, store, etc.  I definitely have that same spirit in me, usually much to the chagrin of my kids.  But my philosophy (and probably my mom’s) is that as paying consumers, we deserve to get good service, good products, what’s advertised, and good retailers should want to be held accountable.  Yeah, I admit, I’m that person, the one that they have to do a price check for if my 2 for 1 items are both ringing up at full price, while the line waits.  (But I’m also the person who has waited many times in long lines while others do the same!  Payback is hell, huh?!) I spend too much time making a meal plan, a shopping list, cutting coupons, driving to the store, and remembering to bring in my “eco-friendly bags”, to let the store get things wrong. Especially when I could have gone to seven other grocery stores within a 3-mile radius if I’d wanted to.

I try hard, though, not to be rude or accusational, because often the “front line” person isn’t at fault, anyway, if a cash register doesn’t scan an item right, or if a restaurant cook uses sour milk in the macaroni and cheese.  And, because I don’t want to set a bad example for my kids.  I want them to know that people are more likely to listen to your concerns and act on them when you’re polite.  But right now I can’t make a huge difference with this subject, no matter what I say, because my kids think people shouldn’t speak up at all.  Where do they get that idea, anyway? “Mom, don’t say anything, Mom, it’s no big deal”— they get so embarrassed so easily, and worry so much about what other people think, of anything and everything…

I would also like to teach them the value of speaking up when they get good service.  I’ve never involved them in that, at least not that I can remember, but I’ll bet they’d be embarrassed and impatient if we headed to Customer Service to fill out a compliment card, or sat down at our computer to take the survey mentioned on just about every retail receipt.    And if I said something to a clerk in person—oooh, way too embarrassing. Sounds like something I definitely need to do more!   Hopefully, they’ll  at least learn the value of positive feedback once they have jobs of their own, i.e. “the best tippers are usually those who once waited tables”. 

And I hope they never feel so superior, so heartless, that they would ever hurt someone, either physically or verbally, in a fit of “consumer rage”.  That flight attendant ended up being arrested, but the passenger probably should have been arrested, too.

The Annual Teen Summer Sleep-In…Maybe Not So “Natural” After All

I remember it well.  Being at my cousins’ house one summer when I was a kid and staying up until 2 a.m. for the first time, then sleeping until at least 10 the next morning. Amazing! I felt so grown up. I was 9 or 10 and my cousins were both teens.  It was an early taste of what would be a common occurrence when I became a teen—sleeping late in the summer.  Which is why I haven’t nagged (well, not too much) when my own teenager “sleeps in”.

 

I’ve heard that it’s natural and has something to do with a teen’s different body clock…but, as summer drags on, it’s starting to get on my nerves…

 

Since teens are gone a lot in the evenings, doing activities (in her case, theatre) or hanging out with their friends, and away from home other parts of the day at the movies, summer camps, shopping, volunteer work, jobs, etc., and if they also sleep in, that pretty much fills up the day—rendering them useless for cleaning their rooms, doing laundry, etc.  Andy and I always hope we can all get a lot done around the house on Saturday, especially if it’s been a busy week—but on weekends, teen “awakening” seems to be getting later and later…let’s see…today she got up at the bright and sunny time of 12:30 p.m…and yes, I’ve already told her that she’s not going out tonight unless she gets some tasks done.  But gee, think what could be done if she had a whole day vs. just an afternoon…

So, it’s interesting that as I ponder this phenomenon, I came across the following news item on the Internet while doing an unrelated search: “Modern adolescents spend too much time indoors and a lack of natural light, particularly in the morning, knocks their body clocks out of kilter, according to a new study” read the article from the British “Telegraph”.  “The result is they feel less sleepy at night, delay going to bed and are then more tired the next day.”  Ah- hah! And this might make them sleep later in the summer, when they don’t have to be at school.

“As teenagers spend more time indoors, they miss out on essential morning light needed to stimulate the body’s 24-hour biological system, which regulates the sleep/wake cycle,” said Mariana Figueiro, from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Centre, in New York state, who led the study. “These morning-light-deprived teenagers are going to bed later, getting less sleep and possibly underperforming on tests.”

Exposure to light in the morning is crucial to the teenager’s natural body clock, she and her team believe.   The article goes on to say that schools need to be designed to let in more natural light.  That’s great advice for new schools, but I don’t see ours doing an expensive “retrofit”.  And with the Texas heat, humidity, and allergens, outdoor classrooms aren’t a great option, either.  Sounds like this might be another argument in favor of later start times for jr. highs and high schools…

But what to do about the summer?  I’m sure my husband would love to have some morning help in the yard, if he could just get her out of bed.  Or, I could always go in and raise the shades in my teen’s room when the sun comes up…but I think that would be akin to waking a sleeping tiger…

I will definitely get to see if this “morning light theory” works once school starts in a couple weeks.  Because soon after, morning drill team practices begin (the ones last week were in the afternoon), and for the first time this year, some of them will be outdoors!  I feel another science fair experiment coming on…

Updates

Time for an update on previous blog posts, especially in light of the “archived” post just published on Mamapedia:

      Emmie has decided to play an instrument in 6th grade band…and the instrument is…drumroll please (how appropriate)…drums! Well, actually “percussion”.  Which means xylophone, several different kinds of drums, tambourine, castanets, gong, washboards… —anything to fill out that “wall of sound”.  Our exchange student may want to run and hide with all the instruments being played in our house! Actually, the only part of percussion that Emmie has played at home so far is a practice drum, which is like a thick rubber pad on legs, so not too bad on the noise…although it does get on big sister’s nerves sometimes when Emmie chooses to practice right in the center of the house…where the sound carries pretty well!

     Speaking of our pending French exchange student, the AFS home visit went well.  We all imagined that a stuffy older lady with a clipboard (a la Gladys Kravitz from “Bewitched”) was going to be showing up—but it wasn’t like that at all. Our visitor was a very friendly volunteer and fellow mom dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, whose family has hosted many exchange students.  She put us all at ease immediately and was a wealth of information and great suggestions.  I was so glad she asked the entire family to sit down and talk, after she checked out where the student would be sleeping, studying, etc.  Again, another rare opportunity for a family “check-up” and to hear our daughters get in on the Q and A.  The best line of the whole night was when the AFS volunteer was talking to us about how learning U.S. history in school would probably be new to the student, to which Emmie was amazed.  “Well, think about it,” said the volunteer.  “What do you know about French history?” Andy mentioned something about Napoleon, after which Emmie’s face brightened and she blurted out proudly, “I know all about Napoleon! I learned about him in that movie, ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’!” (I was very glad at that moment that Gladys Kravitz was not our volunteer!)

                        b&teanapoleon2.jpg (48371 bytes)               b&teadudesbw.jpg (29654 bytes)
 

Elsewhere in updates:  I didn’t win a spot on Nickelodeon’s Parents Picks national nominations list this year…but it’s no big deal, I barely even voted for myself or did much promotion.  They made it harder for people to vote this time and I didn’t want to push for readers to have to “sign up to become a member” in order to do so (not all my readers are parents), so…I will just have to rest on my 2009 laurels for now!

 

My Betty White Dodge ‘aravan’ is still hanging in there—no AC screeching at present, but since I last wrote, one of its shocks came loose while I was driving Allison to a theatre rehearsal last month and it started dragging on the ground (I think it rivaled the AC screeching in its intensity), so we had to pull into a nearby neighborhood and wait for Captain Car to rescue us. Which Andy did, and I drove Allison to the Granville Arts Centre in his car, while he worked under mine in front of a total stranger’s house. (Luckily it was a neighborhood where lots of people probably work on their own cars, so it was no big deal!   Andy also recently learned, from the Internet, how to fix car ceilings and took the entire ceiling “shell” out, bought new fabric, re-covered it, and replaced it.  So no more billowing fabric.  (Just in time for the start of school…)

 

Which brings me to my last update.  Allison’s high school drill team started practices this week, and she has been on time (and early) for everything so far (Yippee!).  Today is photo day, and she wore the uniform for the first time.  I cried when I saw her in it. It hit me like a ton of bricks, after she’s been watching the team and dreaming about being on it almost her whole life, to see her now as an official member.  I hope I’m not a blathering emotional idiot when they’re out on the football field this fall…maybe I should just take a paper sack to put over my head…I’ll be the “Unknown Mom” then…with a hole cut in the front for my camera, of course!

Weekend Freebie: Free Shipping on Anything in the Uncool Shop, No Minimum

I hope those people who don’t believe in shopping on Sunday will forgive me, but I wanted to let you know about this before the day was over (Happy August, by the way!).  For anyone who’s ever wanted to order something from the Uncool Shop, but don’t like to pay shipping fees, today (August 1)is the last day (for awhile at least) you can get free shipping on anything– any amount, no minimum purchase.  Just type in the code FREEWEEKEND when asked at checkout (for Canadian residents, type in CADFREEWEEKEND— need any T-shirts, Kristi? ) I have added some shirts that do not have the website address on the front, and have also added one that does for less than $9, so with free shipping that’s not a bad way to expand your wardrobe.  Like I always say, you get a lot of laughs and comments with these shirts– you will definitely have fun wearing one. (Facebook Networked Blogs readers, don’t forget you probably have to go outside of Networked Blogs and go directly to www.uncoolmom.com in order to click on “Uncool Shop” on the right-hand sidebar.)