Thursday, April 30, 2009

Your shrink is right: it is your mother's fault

I have come to a conclusion about weddings and the difficulties that brides usually run into in planning them.

Like most psychiatrists generally diagnose: it is all the Mother's fault.

I had an email conversation with a fellow blogger about the number of people that her mother was strongly suggesting she invite to her wedding. In the end, she (the bride) decided that it was simply not a battle worth fighting, and gave in to her mother's request. She had similar issues over showers, as well.

And this is very much a recurring to any girl who was recently or soon will be married, and she will tell you that she did things that she didn't want to because her mother "made her". Mothers of the Groom are no picnic, either...but that is not the point of this post (and mine is a total dream helper:-)).

Now, think about the girls you know who had super low-stress wedding processes...and I can almost guarantee that their mothers were pretty uninvolved in the process. Or, in the case of several of my favorite girls (and me) they didn't have a Mother. My intention is obviously not to gloat about the virtues of losing your parents...but I am becoming convinced that the Mother of the Bride is a very common source for a large part of the stress of planning a wedding.

Example: it is very commonly suggested that "You have to invite entire groups of people. You can't invite just some of your have to invite all of them or none of them." This is, in my most humble opinion, absolutely inane. dumb is that? Someone is entitled to be invited to your wedding because you happen to really like someone else who is related to you in the same way? And yes, I completely understand the rationale behind it and the social custom...but when a lot of weddings can cost a couple hundred bucks a person, it is an awful lot to foist on someone in the name of social graces [caveat: if the mother of the bride is paying the bill...well, then this is all moot, she can do whatever she wants:-P]

I had a friend who invited five people that she had never met before because she wanted to invite several or her second cousins that she knew quite well, and was told that she had to observe this rule. Well I have a new rule: if I don't know you, I am not inviting you. I don't want to meet anyone at my wedding for the first time (unless, of course, they are the guest of someone I did which case, I still didn't invite them: someone else did:-P).

But who enforces these kinds of rules? Usually, I am guessing that it is the Bride's mother. Somehow, there is a feeling that someone might be offended if someone else is invited in favor of them. Call me callous, but "someone" can blow it out of his or her ass...that is a pretty selfish thing to get offended over. I don't have a lot of use for people who can't understand that space and cost concerns, as well as personal preference, might mean that I can't invite them to my wedding even though I may want to.

Anyway, I am off track from my basic point: the stress in planning a wedding is largely a function of the involvement of the Bride's Mother.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Money Lesson Follow-Up

Well, Munchkin is in much better spirits, which makes me very happy. She is also fully committed to going there to visit in August, which I guess means that we are on for a trip to France (at least for now). More on that as it develops...although her "budget" for the summer includes saving for that.

I guess I never followed up on the money discussion from a couple of weeks back. I brought some stuff with me on the plane to Chicago two weeks ago, and we had two excellent talks about how she will handle the money she makes this summer and beyond. I showed her how to make a budget...and we put together a little spreadsheet to handle that. I also very much appreciate the input that I got here, which helped a lot in figuring this out.

First of all, between her two jobs, I think she could very well end up earning around $2,500 after taxes. I told her that she will contribute $250 towards each of soccer camp and the trip to France if she wants to go. I also reserved the right to up her contribution to the trip based on how much she really ends up earning...

Of the remainder, she can keep 25% to do whatever she wants with...clothes, food, etc. $500 is plenty of money for her to learn exactly how fast you can blow through money when you aren't paying attention;-). The rest of it will be split two ways...half will go into her savings account, and half she will give to Papa Bear, Big Sis and Smoking Hot Roommate because they pay her school tuition (if she really does earn $2,500, then that would be $750 to savings and $750 for school).

Now, I am not even going to try and get them to actually keep the money, since they have all told me already that they won't...but they have at least agreed to take the money from her and then put it into the account that was set up for her a couple of years ago when she finally got her Dad's life insurance leftovers (if you never read it, this explains why I don't speak to some of my family...and includes me dropping the C-bomb and calling my family members "skunks"...that makes me giggle). That will at least give her the experience of contributing...and will add quite a bit to what is becoming a sizable college fund.

I decided against making her donate to charity, but I think that I will encourage her to think about some volunteering during next school year. I just feel like her time would be more valuable than whatever little money she could give, and the experience of getting involved would be good for her. We can talk about that later on, though.

She seemed to be totally OK with all of this, and definitely took in what I was telling her about budgeting. Hopefully, as she starts to earn and save it, we can have a follow-up lesson later this year about saving and investing and the different places to save. Since she already has an investment account, it would be useful to explain to her what is in it, and why.

You know, so that she can save her money for when she sneaks off to Paris in the middle of the night to chase after this boy when she turns 18;-)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why are those soccer players carrying sticks?

Munchkin is doing better today, but she was still a little bit down in the dumps...and I think having everyone in school tell her how much they liked Frenchie sort of exacerbated the issue. I get the feeling that she would have much rather moped quietly for a little bit and moved on. Talking about it was not helping her feel any better.

I got a text from her at about 3:30 that said "Are you coming to my game tonight?" which is the sort of thing she does if she is feeling a little down and maybe a bit lonely. (Confession...I kinda forgot that it is lacrosse season...I was certain that I was going to a soccer game until I showed up...oops!). It wasn't a really busy day at work, so I skipped out at about 4:15 to head over and watch. I tried to pry The Boy away from work, but he apparently has more responsibility than me, and can't just up and leave early some days:-P

I don't really get lacrosse...but more on that some other day;-)

We stopped for dinner on the way home (I had kind of been craving a chicken parm sub...) and had a nice talk, which I hope helped. Short version...I told her that it was totally OK to be sad for a bit, but that she would feel better in a day or two and be really glad that they got to see each other for a couple of days. I was careful to avoid "You are only 14," or "Other boys will interest you," because, while very true, I didn't think it would help.

She had a lengthy email from him when she got home, which I think said a lot of the same things she is feeling...that he was really happy that he got to see her, but really bummed that it has to be so rare. I actually think that made her feel better too; I guess it is easier if there is someone else that knows what you are feeling. So, for now I think things will be kind of back to how they were...they had a great visit and will continue to enjoy each other's friendship from afar.

One final note...we didn't get home until about 8:30, and I was worried that she still had to get her homework done. So, I asked her if she had a lot to do..."No, I already did it. I knew I wouldn't want to do anything when I got home, so I asked Mr. [Asst. Principal] if I could skip an assembly to do it." Yea, that's right...she skipped out on an activity intended to be strictly for fun (It was like a science-experiment show and tell kinda thing) so that she could do her homework because she had already thought ahead to how much she probably didn't want to do it later.

Maybe I don't give her enough credit, she is much older than 19.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Teen Romance

Okie dokie...very much to cover, and not a ton of time to blog today. Short version...I am a little over my head in Motherhood, but I am not sure anyone else would have any answers either.

In addition to being just about the nicest weekend you could possibly imagine, we had our very special French visitors for the weekend. They arrived right on schedule on Friday, managed to avoid getting swine flu, and left Sunday morning.

First of all...he is adorable:-). Just a really good-looking kid, with a fantastic accent, too...I can see why she is drawn to him! And a super, super kid, as well. He is very polite, and very engaging (again, all in his second language) and seemed really easy-going...and totally and completely enamored with Munchkin to boot;-). He was definitely a big hit with her friends, including the boys who may have been a little bit pre-disposed to dislike him. And he passed all of his difficult judgements, as well...even Big Sis had to admit that she really does like him, even though he has a girl's name:-P.

Second, the two of them are actually very similar. Both are just a little bit more serious than you would expect from a 14-year old...without losing the spirit of being that age. I don't think he comes across as being quite as grown-up as she does, but I feel like he seems older than his age (maybe you would think he was 17, while you'd think she was 19).

The things that really surprised me is just how well they know each other. They met for about a week four months ago, and other than that have only corresponded by phone and email...but they really seem like long-time friends. They have inside jokes, they tease each other good-naturedly, and they have zero awkwardness around each other. They laugh at the same stuff, find the same things interesting, and basically they just get along really well.

I found myself just feeling very happy for her. Happy that she found a boy that she can have real, substantive interactions with...that she can really enjoy being around for more reason than just the raging hormones that draw most teenagers towards each other. Happy because she is clearly smitten with an incurable case of puppy love, and it is with a charming, handsome boy who is similarly afflicted. I just like to see her glow like that:-)

Now, the hard part...after they had left on Sunday morning, it became very acutely (and painfully) obvious to her that really, really liking each other is not going to be easy. Her advanced stage of maturity includes the requisite realism, and she knows exactly how unrealistic it is for her to have a "boyfriend" who lives an ocean away. And that led to some crying...actually kind of a lot (she doesn't cry much at all...less than I do;-))

She knows that she feels differently about him than she has about any other boy that she knows....she has certainly had plenty of crushes, and several boyfriends, but she recognized that she feels very differently about this one than anyone else. She also knows that they will see each other, if they are lucky, maybe once a year. And while she may not be thinking specifically about how much people change at that age, and how unlikely it is that two kids who live in different countries and totally different cultures will still like each other as much at 15 or 16 or 17 as they do now...she definitely knows that 14 year-olds don't have the sorts of relationships that can be carried on overseas.

Which kind of leaves her confused about where it goes from here. How, exactly, do you continue to get to know someone when you can only talk once a week, email and maybe see each other annually? What is the point of being boyfriend and girlfriend? Wouldn't they be better off just acknowledging that they may be great friends and trying to keep in touch? Does that work with kids that age? I doubt it. She is a very thoughtful kid, and I feel like she is thinking about where this may go, and very few of the results are particularly appealing. I can't really just shrug my shoulders and say "Eh, in two years you will have had five new boyfriends and you will think this was all really fun."

So, I spent most of Sunday with her...we did some retail therapy (she actually needed a lot of new clothes), and we walked up and down Newbury Street for most of the afternoon and met Smoking Hot Roommate and Big Sis for lunch outside. We tried to cheer her up as best we can, and helped her talk through her thoughts on the is a very complex set of emotions for a girl her age to deal with.

Although, she managed to wrap the whole thing up pretty nicely: "Right now, I just feel like this all really sucks."

Thursday, April 23, 2009


What is with this work nonsense?!?!? Don't they know that I am quitting in four months, and would like to coast comfortably to the finish line? This labor stuff is total BS!!! Just pay me and let me look cute, already!

I actually think that I am going to be busy all day tomorrow, too, and since I didn't want to wait until Monday to blog, I better do it now. I was out of the office all morning with one of the VP's working on something that just came up, and is actually sort of interesting. It is going to keep me pretty busy for the next week at least, although probably in the office most of the time...hopefully it will not impede my blogging.

Question...why did none of you find it as incredibly adorable as I do that Munchkin went to work with The Boy today for "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day"? She has come with me the last couple of years, but they both thought it would be fun for her to go to his office this afternoon. She didn't take the whole day, though...she went to her classes this morning and then skipped soccer practice this afternoon to go over to his office. I am gonna meet them to go straight to chicken fingers afterwards:-)

But seriously...why does no one else find this nearly as endearing as I do?!?!?

Moving on...tomorrow is officially the beginning of "French Invasion 2009". Froggy and his father land at about 4:00, which gives them plenty of time to get to their hotel, get settled in and then meet us for dinner. Big Sis, Smoking Hot Roommate and Papa Bear have all expressed a desire to come to dinner, although I don't know how I feel about that...I want to get a chance to meet them, and it might be kind of overwhelming all at once (you think one set of parents is bad? Try four!) So, I may just limit it to me and The Boy and the rest of them can meet him later on.

I am going to do something with just the two of them on Saturday...not entirely sure what yet. The weather is supposed to be GORGEOUS, so it will likely be something outside. Maybe a duck tour? It is silly and cheesy, I know, but it is a really good way to see the city:-) And there will almost certainly be ice cream involved! She wants to take him over to hang out with a couple of friends in the afternoon, and then I think we will probably have dinner with his father again (maybe that will be a better time to have the whole crew together).

Munchkin has a party to go to Saturday night, and is oh-so-excited to bring him to show off to the rest of her friends. She may also be excited because that is likely to be as "alone" as she gets this Not that I don't trust her or feel the need to supervise her, but it is a really compressed time frame, and I want to be able to meet him, as do a bunch of other people. That, unfortunately, means that she won't really get a ton of time that is just the two of them.

And no, that does not bother me one bit:-). I am completely comfortable with her managing her own relationships and setting her own boundaries...heck, I have seen her kiss boys before, and am aware that she already kissed this one. But that doesn't mean that I am not secretly glad that they won't have that much of a chance to be doing that this weekend:-D.

Anyway, that is about it for the weekend plans. They are leaving Sunday morning, and I imagine we will drive them to the airport so that they kids can have a tearful good-bye (unless they hate each other by then;-)). Then, just enjoy the fact that it will be almost 90 here on Sunday!!!

OK...have a great weekend, and wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This is what you get on a busy day

Busy, busy, busy today, so very little time to write. And not a whole lot to say, either (other than some comment about how on Earth I always thought Julia Child was actually French, only to find out that she was from California...shattered illusions!!!)

So you get three bullets:

  • I'd like to remind everyone that tomorrow is "Bring your daughter to work Day". It's fun, and you should think about doing it if you can. Munchkin is actually going to work with The Boy tomorrow (well, tomorrow afternoon), which is hilarious and adorable.
  • Idol? Ugh...I don't love any of them. And I can't stand Adam's screechiness. Have I mentioned yet that I feel like he is trying out to be the lead singer of The Darkness?
  • Two days until our French visitors. I find myself just a little bit nervous...

And...That's all, folks:-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My new In-home Chef

Munchkin is very close to turning into Julia Child...without the espionage skills or French accent. She got home from the Red Sox game yesterday and texted me that she was making dinner. Obviously, her cooking is good news for me, since it means I don't have to:-). Her cooking skills are basically limited to pasta, so my expectations were for either that or maybe cheeseburgers or something of the like.

And what did she bust out? How about grilled chicken Caesar lettuce wraps. OK, so she didn't quite get them exactly as Rachel Rae had mapped out in said recipe...but that is more the fault of our cupboard than it is her cooking skills. She had to make due with what was in the house...basically she grilled the chicken and cut it up, and then we ate it with Caesar dressing, Parmesan cheese and croutons. It was kinda awesome;-).

So, I called my aunt last night...the one from yesterday's post...and had a very civil, nice-enough discussion. She re-stated a lot of what was in her note, and I thanked her for reaching out and for her kind words, and apologized for whatever role I had in our tense relationship. I am not always the most understanding person when I am at odds with someone (especially family) and I can definitely exacerbate situations like I felt like I should at least acknowledge that.

Anyway, not sure what the great takeaway is, but it was nice to have an adult conversation with her. I should recognize that a lot of the tension that I have with my Mom's family (and my step-family) comes from their genuine concern for Munchkin. I did, after all, pick her up and move her an awful long way away from her family at an impressionable time, and I suppose it is understandable that they would be concerned for her. It would make sense that, as things have settled down and Munchkin's overall awesomeness hasn't suffered;-), that they would view it differently.

I also, apparantly, have underestimated the effect that my relocating her had on the relationships within my Mom's family. They didn't all agree on what they felt was best for her, and I guess that there is still a lot of unresolved tension between all of them. I get the impression that I am not fully up to speed on all of it. I think, for now, I will just focus on them all loving her enough to care (and, obviously, keeping mental track of who was always on my side:-P).


In other news...who has been following this story? Glad they seem to have caught him, but it is a really freaky story. That is not remotely the kind of seedy, scary hotel that you would identify with fact, I am in and out of that place kind of regularly (for non-prostitution purposes:-P). My guess is that many of you that have visited Boston have either stayed in that Marriott, or in the Westin or Sheraton that are basically all connected in the Prudential Center complex.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fake Holidays and Non-Showers

Today is the "Made-Up-Massachusetts Holiday Day"...officially known as Patriot's Day but really known as Marathon Monday.

Today, we commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord, fought on April 19, 1775 and triggering the dawn of our great nation. It is a solemn occasion to observe the sacrifices of the brave Patriots who rose against the World's mightiest empire in the name of freedom, liberty and a classless meritocracy. Great readings of history and discussions on the state of American ideals are held all across the state, and the cause of Democracy is forwarded greatly.

Or, if that isn't what you want to do, you can start drinking Bloody Mary's at 8:00 am so you are good and lit for the Red Sox first pitch at 10:00am, and completely hammered by the time the runners get to the finish line just after 2:00pm:-D. Most people go with that plan...

This is actually one of two made-up holidays that we have in Massachusetts. The other is Evacuation, which celebrates the evacuation of British troops after the siege of Boston in the beginning of the war. This day, coincidentally, is observed on St. Patrick's Day...isn't that convenient?!

Unfortunately, I do not get today off, so I have never partaken in the festivities. If it were warmer, I would be more tempted, but it is way too cold to sit outside all day drinking. Munchkin is going to the Red Sox game, though, and I am maybe a little jealous of that.

So, my non-shower went really well...I had a great time and it was good to see everyone in a little different environment (no kids, no husbands, etc.) They all did a good job of observing my "No gifts" rule, as well. Like I said...I am a very good communicator;-) It was just fun to see them all looking a little fancier than usual, and to see them let loose a little bit more than they usually do.

My mother's of the ones that didn't come because we do not have a real good relationship...sent a card with a really nice note in it. Basically just saying that she is also aware that we don't have a great relationship, and that she is sorry about whatever role she has played in that. It was actually quite lengthy and included a lot about Munchkin and applying some hindsight to the decisions I made that she disagreed with in the first place.

I always feel like it takes a lot for people to reach out like that, and I very much appreciate her doing so. I am sure that she feels like I have been in the wrong at least as much as I feel like she has been in the wrong, and it would be unfair of me not to recognize that she took the first step in improving that dynamic.

That doesn't mean that I suddenly like her or forgive her, but it does mean that my level of respect for her has risen. And I think I at least owe her a phone call to tell her I will call her tonight if I have a minute. Other than a couple of people that I really have no use for, I would like to have better relations with some of my relatives that I am not so great with. were really easy on both ends, no delays and no complications. Munchkin and I had our budget talk, and she seemed to take it all in with interest...maybe more on that later.

Until then, Happy Patriot's Day!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Sorry about my kinda cryptic post yesterday...chalk it up to me just being a little frustrated. Usually I use this as an outlet if I am feeling weird about something, but can't really do that at the moment, and it was wearing on me. But I am feeling better today...chicken fingers will do that for you!

Speaking of which, based on a g-chat conversation of this week, the subject of college came up during dinner. As of now, Munchkin wholly plans on going to college within three miles of our condo (at the same place I am going to graduate school if you are keeping score). Obviously, you say a lot of things when you are 14, and I totally expect that her interests and intentions will change several times in the next five years before this matters, so we shouldn't pretend that this is really a serious conversation.

I joke with her that "You would have to stay local...there is no way on Earth that Big Sis would let you go away! She would kill you if you tried to move!" And Munchkin responded with "Oh, I could never go would we have chicken fingers every Thursday?" Which, um...not gonna lie...could be my single biggest concern if she really did move away;-). Glad we are on the same page with that

Anyway, now that "stupid story hour" is over...hee hee...

It is supposed to get up to almost 70 degrees today, which is just about the best news I have had all year. Never mind that it will probably be 40 and raining by next weekend...for now we can pretend that we are done with the bad weather. It is going to be even warmer in Chicago, which just makes me all giddy inside.

Munchkin and I are already packed so that we can leave right when we get home. That should give us plenty of time to get to the airport and grab something to eat (nothing is better travel food than McDonald's, says me). I am actually planning on using the flight for the budgeting and saving lessons that I talked about last will be a good, uninterrupted hour and a half at least to talk with her.

Also, I am a dork who has prepared some spreadsheets:-). Because that's how I roll...

I am missing the Beer Summit by being gone this weekend (any of my Boston readers going?), but if I remember back to two years ago, maybe it is better this way.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Happy Easter to my Greek readers:-) (KT?)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Blog Block

I'm in a blogging funk lately...I feel like I have very little useful to write (please, hold off on the obvious "You once had something useful to write?" comments, smartass...) Not real sure what the issue is, as I feel like there are things that happen throughout the day that would make good material, but then when it comes times to actually sit down and write something, nothing seems worthwhile.

Maybe the daily writing is too much? Shouldn't be...I watch the news everyday, and I always have opinions on that. Have I just become that boring? I don't think so...I am not any more or less boring than I have been at any time in the last two and a half years. Well, maybe a little:-)

I am actually wondering if maybe my blog-secrets are getting too difficult to work around. I have never had a problem keeping this blog about 90% informed of what goes on in my life, but the truth is that you never have quite gotten the complete story. The other 10% is not really of huge importance to what I do write about (and plenty of you know pretty much all of it, I just don't write it down here), but is just not stuff that I care to share with absolutely everyone.

Recently, though, I think that I feel like that 10% is growing. Hopefully, this is a temporary circumstance and I can get back to my regular ways soon. I have no intention of quitting blogging, but I would like it to be easier than it has been lately.

Um...that's all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Seems like no one liked my wisdom of yesterday...perhaps the tongue-in-cheekness of it didn't come across. I still maintain that it is true...but that is neither here nor there.

Anyway, on to newer topics. Chicago this weekend for my non-shower and to visit. Munchkin is coming with me (she hasn't seen her niece in forever!) but The Boy is staying home. The big reason is that his brother is coming to visit this weekend, but I am not sure he would have come with me anyway.

I am told that we are expecting pretty much all of my female relatives, save for two aunts and a cousin that are definitely not invited;-), plus a couple of friends. I think the total will be around about 25 people...which should be a good size. And I am getting my wish: a couple hours of cocktails and light appetizers with no presents;-). And cake:-D.

[The invitations included a note that said something to the effect of "AM has requested that there be no gifts, and is likely to throw a tantrum if you try and give her one. So please, don't".]

It will be a little on the early side, which will allow the people that want to get home early to do that...and will act as a nice warm-up to those of us that want to go out afterwards. I am actually not real sure what the plan is, but I think there may be a dozen or so people that want to go out to dinner afterwards...I am not sure, since I am not in charge:-).

It won't be a long trip...leaving after work Friday and coming back Sunday afternoon. I am staying with the BFF's, and Munchkin is staying with her brother. I have a breakfast date with Tinkerbelle on Saturday, as well, which I am most definitely looking forward to:-).

And that is about it, I least until our French visitors show up the following weekend...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

AM's Book of Wisdom: Chapter 1

At least 90% of humanity can be explained by two simple facts:

1) All men are pigs
2) All women are crazy


(There is no specific reason I write this today, but I am out all day and it seemed a worthy discussion topic)

Monday, April 13, 2009

On Parental Relationships

Kind feels like it was a long weekend, even though it most certainly wasn't. It was for some people who took Good Friday off, though, so maybe that feeling is just rubbing off on those of us who don't get the day off.

With the exception of the weather, I had a superb weekend. Seriously, Saturday was 45, windy, and very rainy. Sunday was 35 and sunny, but still really windy. The calendar says April, but I am seriously questioning this. Today is supposed to warm up a little bit.

As I mentioned on Friday, The Boy's older sister was visiting us this weekend. Really nice visit...she is really easy company and a complete joy to have around. And definitely a treat to get a couple days with her and not have the distractions of other family members and kids around all the time.

I do, however, have an observation;-)

I am fascinated by the different relationships that parents have with their different children. Obviously, my mother had a really different relationship with me than she had with Munchkin, but that is kind of for obvious reasons. The more I see it, though, the more it is clear that it is really a pretty common dynamic.

Sometimes there are clear reasons...Papa Bear has totally different relationships with Smoking Hot Roommate and Big Sis, which I have always attributed to their age difference and the all-encompassing nature of their mother's illness when SHR was little but Big Sis was a teenager. And The Boy and Twin Sister have different relationships with their parents that are pretty obviously related to being a boy and a girl.

However, what is less obvious are the reasons for the hugely different relationship that The Boy's Older Sister has with their mother than his Twin Sister does. Both have very good relationships with their mother (I would call them "enviable", but I an envious of anyone who can speak with her mother for five minutes without getting into a fight;-)), but they are really completely different.

And Twin Sister and Older Sister are not really that different. They have similar personalities, the same sense of humor and the same basic manner about them. I also think that they have pretty similar relationships with their fathers. And they look like sisters;-). But each, in her own healthy way, interacts with their mother in a completely different way. And their mother interacts with each of them in the same way.

Like, if she saw a dress she loved and wanted a second opinion, I can tell you which one she would call. If she saw something interesting on TV, I can tell you who she would call...she would call one of them if it was a news story, and another if it were like a documentary. I think she might call me if it was American Idol;-). If she were scared or sick, I can tell you who she would call then, too.

I suppose there could be some reasons...there are age and geography differences. But I am not sure that explains it. The Boy and his Older Brother have the same age and geography differences but don't have the kind of divergent relationships that their sisters and mother do.

So, I guess I am just going to call it 'inexplicable'. Although, I am pretty sure that the same kind of dynamic exists in a lot of families with a lot of children.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some Random Friday notes

Chicken fingers last night...and it was a really nice night!

So, Munchkin and I got home after school/work, and changed for dinner. She came out looking utterly adorable, but wearing a shirt that I hadn't seen before. It was a kinda bright blue shirt with a white collar and "Samsung" written across the front. On the back, it says "Essien" and has a big number "5" on it. Actually, it looks like this.

That's addition to having a favorite soccer team, she has a favorite player on that soccer team, and has somehow acquired a replica jersey. (I should add that she matched it totally perfectly with some hip, flare-leg twill pants...but that is really neither here nor there). This has Smoking Hot Roommate written all over it!!!

Great conversation starter, though, she had three people at the bar ask her about it...including one nice gentleman from Liverpool who had a lengthy story as to why he should be offended but wasn't (I didn't follow, but I am sure SHR did).

Anyway...we have a visitor this weekend! The Boy's older sister is in town, and she is going to stay with us. She is coming to see a friend in the hospital, so no husband or kids, and she wanted to stay close by...we live a couple blocks away. It will be nice to get to spend some down time with her without the hustle and bustle of the occasions that we usually see her. She will be busy, I am sure, but we will still get to visit with her.

And we are having Easter at Big Sis's on Sunday afternoon...pretend family and in-laws all in one place. Nothing super fancy...just getting together to eat and hang out. Should be nice!

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy Weekend for those who have no religious doings just yet;-)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Money Lessons

Interesting blog-phenomenon...everyone who commented basically agreed with my hatred of bridal showers. However, I got at least three emails in defense of bridal showers, and two more that were at least defending the relatives who want to throw one. Maybe people feel better disagreeing in private? I dunno...I certainly never mind people telling me that they think I am full of it, publicly or privately. Anyway...

So, Munchkin now has at least two jobs for the summer. Not only does she have her aforementioned ice cream scooping gig (combined with the golf and tennis lessons, she is gonna have forearms like Popeye!), but she has also been enlisted by a friend of the pretend family to babysit a couple days a week.

Actually, it is more "mother's helper" than babysitter, since the Mom will usually be around. The family has kids that are 8, 6 and newborn, so I imagine that she will do a lot of hanging out with the older ones. I also imagine that she will be recruited to babysit for a lot of people...and she is going to have to learn how to say "No";-)

This gets me to another parenting issue: it is time for some lessons about money. I don't think that we do a very good job teaching kids about money, either in school or at home, and now that she will be earning her own paycheck I want to get her started on the right track. She is gonna learn about taxes very quickly...hee hee...but I would like to teach her some basics about budgeting and saving. We can probably leave the intricacies of limited partnership investing until at least next year;-)

So, let's call this kind of an open topic... Have any of you gone through this with you kids and have any advice? Should I force her to save a certain amount of money? Or am I better off letting her waste some of it to learn how unfulfilling that can be? How much should I make her save and let her spend? How about making her give a portion away? How about making her give some of it to Papa Bear, Big Sis and Smoking Hot Roommate as a contribution to her tuition (yes, dears, I know you won't take it...just shut up and let me make my point!)? Or making her pay for some part of either her soccer camp or the (pending) trip to France?

Mostly, I want her to learn about budgeting and setting priorities and having to go without things sometimes. To be honest, she kinda gets whatever she wants, so she doesn't have a whole lot of recent experience with "no". She doesn't really ask for that much, and no one who meets her would ever call her spoiled or unappreciative, but it might be good to push some of this on her to make her think about it in a little different way.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Bridal showers

Is there anything worse than bridal showers? I don't know anyone under the age of 50 who enjoys them at all. They are invariably scheduled at the most inconvenient times (Saturday afternoons in the spring and summer) and they are, in a word, BORING. Who, throughout the course of history, decided that it would be a really good time to watch someone open presents?

And, of all of the asinine "traditions" of a wedding, would you like to know what could easily be the asinine-est? How about making a fake bouquet out of ribbons from presents to use during the rehearsal. Are we kidding? What one earth does that accomplish, and how did it become a normal practice? First of all, you can probably get through the rehearsal without a stand-in for the bouquet. And second of all, that stuff is trash...throw it out, already! Or, save the environment and do without the ribbons in the first place.

Anyway, bridal showers suck. So, you can see my conundrum when my aunts in Chicago insisted on having one for me. I don't want to be a totally negative party pooper, and it seems really ungrateful to put off people that want to have a party for me. Just because I don't like bridal showers doesn't mean that I have to be the bitch who won't let others do something that they want to on my behalf.

So, I think I have reached a happy medium. First, I don't think it is unfair to ask that my mother's sisters and my father's sisters coordinate so that there is only one. There won't be that many people even if they are all together. They don't really know each other (and therefore don't hate each other yet;-)), so it will also be a nice chance for them to meet.

Second, absolutely no presents. Beyond not being registered, the present opening is my least favorite part of a shower, and is honestly something that I have always found kind of tacky. If there are any presents, I am leaving!!!

So, basically, I would like to have a ladies cocktail hour. If I had my druthers, I would like them all to get fancied up and meet at a snooty downtown bar for drastically overpriced drinks. That is something that my aunts would never do on their own, and I think it would be fun. Provided, of course, that the bar has room for two children:-)

Maybe the invitation should read "In lieu of gifts, the bride has requested that you buy yourself at least one $14 martini".

I am most interested to see who exactly shows up. As I have documented, there are some members of my mother's family that I am not on real good terms with. There are a couple that I don't really speak with, and there is at least one that I wouldn't be around for any reason. So, I imagine that they would stay away, but you never know. Same for my step-family...there are a few that I would love to have there, some that I wouldn't care either way, and one or two that I would be really surprised if they came.

Anyway, am I being a total bitch by nixing a bridal shower?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I am feeling really weirdly edgy I can sense that something bad is about to happen. Or that a whole bunch of things that I have been putting off are suddenly closing in and all going to crash on me all at once.

I don't get it...everything is pretty well in order these days.

Work is going well. I have school figured out. Munchkin is doing awesome. The Boy and I have as seamless a relationship as I know of.

Still, I can't shake the anxiousness.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Working girl

In case no one noticed, I was out of the office on Charlotte for the day for work. Not a bad trip, but I was out the door at 5-something o'clock and didn't get home until about 8:00, so it was a very long day. Fortunately, The Boy wasn't feeling terribly social, either, so we stayed in, ate sushi and watched TV.

That means that I never got to post about Munchkin turning 14:-). Her birthday was Friday...her friends had a little surprise party for her on Friday night, which she was tickled about.

I had a busy weekend, although nothing of it was really noteworthy. Munchkin needed spring and summer clothes (seriously...stop growing!!!) so we got up pretty early Saturday, went out for breakfast and then spent the next five hours or so shopping. I am poorer than I was on Friday...(we actually didn't spend that much money, I am just complaining).

Then I had some more errands to do before The Boy and I went out with some friends on Saturday night. Dinner at PF Changs (kinda overrated, but never bad and not too expensive) and then some drinks afterwards and home at a reasonable hour. Munchkin was going to sleep at a friends house, but was feeling a little under the weather (I have the same cold...kind of annoying) so she came home to sleep in her own bed.

Sunday was busy, too...I was out of the house pretty much all day. It was sort of a stressful day, and sort of emotionally draining, so I was pretty tired by the end of it. The Boy was hanging with his Dad and Sister for dinner, so Munchkin and I decided to make pizza and cupcakes...maybe not the most traditional combination, but really darn good! And a little sisterly-role reversal...she did the listening and I did the talking. She is growing up fast...

Speaking know how unemployment is 8%? And how it is like 11% for non-college graduates? You wanna know how long it took Munchkin to find a summer job? Oh...maybe 12 minutes... She called the place she wanted to work (an ice cream store of some repute), asked for the owner, told him that she was a great student and a responsible hard worker and that she wanted to work there this summer. Hired. At the healthy wage of $8.50/hr, plus some small tips as well.

Now, let's see what she has to say about these things we call "taxes"...hee hee

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Forever Plans

First of all, an update on yesterday's post...of the two things I really wanted to comment on, one blogger absolutely knew that his/her blog was one of them! It was about a post that had been written recently but quickly removed...basically because the author thought the same things about it that I did. And since we are all entitled to take things back now and again, I find it totally unnecessary to beat up on someone for saying something that he/she wishes had remained internal:-)

And thank you for the many kind wishes on school. I am proud of myself:-)

OK...announcement #3 in my week of announcements, and kind of a tricky one to make because I can't give you the whole story.

The Boy and I have postponed our wedding. It was supposed to be July 25th, but that is no longer going to work out like we want it to. The new date is TBD, but likely 6-8 weeks later (Maybe September 12?).

I have been asked not to broadcast the reason, although I have told several of you privately. It is not "relationship-related" at fact there was a brief discussion a while back to skip a wedding entirely and have a very small ceremony around here with just family. Basically, there is something going on, and neither of us wants to have a wedding while it is going on. If, as the Summer progresses, it is still going on and looks to continue through the Fall, then we will likely scrap the whole idea and just get married without a big wedding.

Anyway, the moving of the wedding is far from a tragedy. I am looking forward to getting all the people that matter to me together to celebrate, and I think I will have a great time, but there are some things that are more important than a party. Neither of us would really enjoy the day as much if we went ahead with it we will postpone and see what happens.

I hope the caterer doesn't get mad:-)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Fall Plans

OK...announcement number two is that I am going back to school in the fall. I was a little up in the air, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this really is something that I want to do.

It means quitting my job (well, taking a two year break) and borrowing a grotesquely large sum of money. And it will also mean a year of real misery (the first year is notoriously hard, the second much easier). Likely, a lot less blogging:-(

When I am done, however, I will have substantially more earning power...but mostly I will just feel really proud of myself. Little ghetto welfare girls who grow up in public housing don't get to go to schools like that. They don't really go to business school at a high rate, either.

The Boy is totally on board with this, and has encouraged me to go back pretty much from the beginning. Since he knows exactly what I am in for, and knows exactly how much time and effort it will take, it means a lot to have him as excited about this as he is. Munchkin has been hoping for years that I went back when it was time for her to go to college so we could share a dorm room...

So, I sent back my acceptance and my deposit yesterday. I am officially a member of the class of 2011 at Famous Fancy Business School:-)


Total other you ever really wish that you could comment on some blogs by telling people exactly what you really think? There are two things that have happened in the blogosphere recently that I am just dying to call people out on...but I find that I just can't bring myself to offend anyone that directly. Funny, even under the cloak of anonymity, I am feeling shy...