Is Anyone Listening???

ear horn

I’d like to order one of these for every member of my family please.

Can you hear me now? How bout now?  Now?  Hello?  Does anyone hear me?????

Ranty McRanterson is back for a few minutes…

I had a little breakdown the other day and spent part of the morning sitting on the back porch, folding laundry with tears running down my face.  Despite the fact that I’m not allowed in the bathroom by myself, I’m wondering if anyone knows I’m here.This is because no one seems to hear any of the words coming out of my mouth.

For example, I am trying really really really hard to keep my house semi clean.  This as in acceptably clean in case someone comes over, not as clean as an eighteen wheeler.  I realize that part of my duties as a housewife is to clean the house on a regular basis, not just sit around and drink diet pop and play on the internet as many people think I do.  I have two children, a husband, a dog, and a cat.  This can prove difficult.  I don’t have unrealistic expectations, as proven by my children’s rooms that you must have all shots up to date before you enter.   All that I ask is that IF YOU GET SOMETHING OUT PUT IT AWAY.

The Princess enters the room with a container of legos.
I tell her “Be sure that you put those back when you’re done.”
Three minutes later she has an art project spread all over the place.
“I thought I told you to pick up those legos!”
The Princess: “I’m not done playing with them yet.”
“You’re not playing with them if you’re doing art.”
“But I’m making a picture for yooooooou!”
“You need to pick them up when you’re done playing with them.”
By the evening, we’re knee deep in everything she owns.

Me to The Professor:  “What do you want for breakfast?”
Professor:  *Stares at the tv*
I repeat this question multiple times before I finally give up.
The Professor:  “Aren’t you going to get me breakfast?”
I simply get him something for breakfast.
The Professor:  “I didn’t want that.”
Keep in mind that they may or may not actually be something on the screen…

Both kids are extremely distracted when it comes to things like opening a door.  Our dog has escaped more times than I can count this month.  Most of the time this is due to a child opening a door, and then just standing there.  I’m sure he or she is pondering the meaning of life.  “I open the door, therefore I am?”  Repeated reminders to close the door go unheard.  The Professor will even walk in the house after school and be asked sixteen times to please close the door behind him.  This often necessitates me physically going over to him, spinning him around, and asking him what he has forgotten to do.  Even then, it takes a few minutes and me telling him for the seventeenth time to CLOSE THE DOOR.

Not_ListeningEven my husband seems to have fallen victim to this.  I know that he has been around me for going on fifteen years and has perfected the art of ignoring me.  But often he just plain isn’t listening or even hearing me.

Part of it is The Sims.  Have you ever played The Sims?  It’s a video game where you create people and tell them what to do.  He doesn’t get why I don’t play.  Um, because I’ve already created people and am trying to tell them what to do?  Why make myself doubly frustrated by having two sets of people that don’t listen to me?  He likes it, and playing helps him relax and try to get his mind off of working (because he’s always thinking, ALWAYS!).  But I don’t really get it…

When he’s got the headphones in, and his Sims aren’t listening (because often they don’t and do things like running through a sprinkler in the dead of winter), he sure as heck isn’t listening to what I’m saying either.  Or answering questions that I’m asking.  He misses important things like “Are you out of shampoo?” “Supper is ready.” “I’m running off with Elliot Sadler.”

*Disclaimer:  I’ve never actually threatened to run off with Elliot Sadler.  He’s married and so am I.  But today is his birthday and he’s the first good looking famous guy that came to mind…

Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t do it on purpose.  And he still interacts with me, there are some times where I just don’t think he’s listening.

Me:  “I’d love to go insert random activity here!”
Evil Genius:  “Why don’t you put Avengers in the blu-ray player.  I don’t think I have the movie completely memorized.”

Disclaimer:  I’ve never actually heard him say he’s trying to memorize the Avengers.  He has watched it about 400 times, and I’ve watched it right along with him.

People, moms and wives are people too.  We like to be heard, listened to, and occasionally acknowledged.  Do you fall victim to not hearing/not listening/not caring from the little or big people in your house?  Do you run from the house screaming, sit and cry, or go do some retail therapy?  I’m ready for a night out and/or some retail therapy.  Anyone want to treat me?

Disclaimer:  I love my family to pieces.  I wouldn’t trade them for all the chocolate in the world.  I do get frustrated though and therefore vent by joking about it… so nobody take offense, okay?  Yeah, I worry too much…

Before you dash out, run over to Jen Kehl’s blog and check out Twisted Mixtape Tuesday where she finds some great music to stalk people by.  That’s right…

mixtapes

Printer Purgatory

This may very well be taking place in my front yard very soon.

This may very well be taking place in my front yard very soon.

I don’t use consonance for just any reason.  I am really at my wits end these days.  My kingdom for a printer that works right!

I had to get rid of the old Kodak that had a few issues but was fed stuff that it shouldn’t have been fed.  The brilliant work of a toddler.  I don’t remember what exactly was shoved in there but it was certainly akin to putting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a VCR (which is a terrible waste of pb&j if you ask me).  This was the same week that she got a hold of a pen and proceeded to write all over everything in my scrapbooking area.

As it turned out, it was ok timing.  Best Buy had a deal where you could turn in your old printer for credit towards a new one.  So I did, and after hours of painstaking research came home with what I thought was a pretty nifty Kodak ESP 7250.  Wireless, baby.  I could order it to print and have it happen all while laying in my bed.  I’ve never actually done this, by the way.

We coexisted in bliss for awhile before it started having some major problems, and I started going crazy.

Why all the fuss?  Well, for starters, I used to scrapbook like a boss.  I’d churn out pages nightly, all while watching episodes of Bones.  Who knew that David Boreanaz could be so creatively inspiring?  I’m one of those who prints most stuff on my printer, including the pictures.  Partly because of the instant gratification factor, partly because you can’t get all of those different sizes for layouts when you go to Walgreens, and partly because I live nowhere near a place where I can get pictures developed quickly without expending tons of gas.  When my daughter was a wee thing, my husband ordered me to get a Cricut for myself for Christmas, wrap it, and put it under the tree.  My Mom got me the SCAL software the following year, and I was a scrapbooker on crack.

In addition to this, I coupon so we can buy groceries.  You know, stuff to eat besides ketchup sandwiches.  What I can’t find in the newspaper I sometimes am able to find online.  And did I mention that I’m unemployed?  They kind of expect you to have this thing called a resume and cover letter.  Fortunately a lot of this can be done by email, but not everything.  Some places even ask for this on stuff called PAPER!

printer portal

So back to the printer from hell.  If you have a few thousand hours of your life to spare, please buy a Kodak Printer so you can be on the phone with someone whom you can barely understand.  I estimate I’ve spent close to that between the two printers that I have owned.  There’s the online Support as well-a site that rarely has answers that you actually want to hear.  Usually if your printer is having trouble, you’ll spend hours trying to find solutions, only to always come to the same conclusion:

You need a new printhead.

Kodak used to send these out for free.  At least that was worth the thousands of hours trying to print a picture without success.  But now they are going in the toilet, and I just don’t think they care anymore.  So in order to start scrapbooking again without shelling out a ton of dough for ink, I had to pony up the $50 or so for a new printhead.

I pretty much quit scrapbooking about that point.  And this went on for quite some time.   My Mom finally helped me get a new one, but I found the exact printhead I needed on Ebay, about $20 less.  I was excited.  I bought new ink cartridges, I prepared for the arrival of this printhead like some people prepare for the arrival of a new baby.

The day it arrived, it took ten minutes to get it unwrapped, installed, and ready with brand new ink cartridges.  It then took another two hours online lo0king for solutions as to why it didn’t work properly.  It WAS the correct printhead, it just didn’t work any better than the old one.  Then I did an online chat with a support rep.  The end result?  They offered me a new printer.  Oh no, they weren’t going to give it to me.  If I took advantage of this special offer, I could get a brand new one at 30% off.

HOLY COW!  Are you serious????  My old printer isn’t even two years old.  Do they really think I am going to pay over $100 for another one of their printers?  I only paid $50 for the last one, because I am a bargain shopper.  No thank you, I’d rather dropkick the one I have.

Sadly, after trying a few more tricks that I thought I had up my sleeve, I unhooked the printer and laid it to rest.  I saved the ink cartridges, because gosh golly I can at least get Staples rewards points for them.  I felt like I was paying my last respects to an old friend.  One that didn’t treat me all so well.

Then I tried to go on with my life.  I brought in the other printer and hooked it up, my husband’s HP Photosmart that we bought on special when he went back to school.  We did this so I could still scrapbook and he could print papers for school without running me out of ink.  It’s a good printer, but it has an identity crisis.  One of two things typically happens-it either forgets who it is or my computer forgets who it is.

someday my prints will come

Got that?  So now the thousand extra hours that I would be spending dealing with Kodak support is dealing with HP.  I’m either online trying to get the correct software, AGAIN, because you know you have to uninstall and reinstall everything each time it forgets who it is, or I’m standing on a chair putting the wireless password into the printer itself for the zillionth time.  I never thought I’d ever memorize one of those weird passwords, but I know this one by heart.  And it doesn’t take long to run the ink out.  Every year I make calendars for my parents.  This year I was unable to find the blank picture calendars anywhere, so I tried to print the whole calendar pages on the HP.  I ran out of ink halfway through.  Their Christmas present was given to them with this note:  “Get half a year now, get the rest later!”

And of course there was the whole bat cake incident.  Since my computer had forgotten the software, I couldn’t print or copy or do much of anything, including the batman symbol I so desperately needed for my son’s birthday cake.

Enough was enough, I was going to get this all together so I could get my creative life back.  I was going to get that software, make some calendars, and seriously start learning how to use my Adobe Photoshop Elements so I could make some wicked scrapbook pages.  I spent half the day Sunday finding all of the software (again), getting it all ready, even downloading a patch that was supposed to fix all of this nonsense.

Yesterday I tried to print out a recipe.  When I went to print, guess what the program said?  “PRINTER IS OFFLINE”.  The computer knew there was a printer, but the printer did not where it was.

And this, my friends, was when my head exploded.   And it was a mess…

I believe it.

I believe it.

Reality: Coming to Terms With That Sucky Dark Side of Life

The reality of it hit me today.  My son was going on and on and on about the different things he wanted to do when he grew up.  I nodded and gave a little feedback.  He was so excited about everything he was talking about.  And I was there still listening but the inner voice was pretty loud.  How can I encourage my children to be everything they want to be when I don’t believe in myself?

My son is a little odd.  Ok, he’s a lot odd.  He has a lot going on.  The Toddler years were rough.  Preschool started out rough but ended beautifully-he was in a situation where everything just clicked.  Then there was kindergarten.  It was hell, both for him and for me.  It was just like other children were not real to him.  Yes he would sometimes try to relate to them, but a lot of the time he was in trouble for hitting a friend or pushing a friend.  Sometimes it was an accident.  My son is ADD, and he flails his body around a lot.  But other times he said that the other child was “bothering” him.  Supposedly the child was just trying to talk to him.  He simply wanted nothing to do with the rules, would yell at the teacher, roll on the floor, be very disruptive.  It was awful.  He spend a good amount of time in the office that year in trouble.  I’m sure it didn’t help that I was working right across the hall in the other kindergarten room.  I witnessed a lot.  And I am not one of those parents who thinks their child can do no wrong.  There are many instances when he is at fault.

First grade has gone well.  At the end of his kindergarten year they put together an IEP for him.  He had different times of the day where he would meet with his special ed teacher to go over his schedule, etc.  His teacher was very no nonsense and just seemed to get him.  We’ve gotten all the way through first grade and we are now into summer.  I’m worried about 2nd grade because unlike first grade I don’t really know any of the teachers.  Summer has been rough.  I tried to put together a schedule for him every day.  So far it’s not gone very well.  We end up deviating from the original schedule on the refrigerator at lot and he can’t handle it.  He is so quick to anger when things don’t go his way!

The word Asperger’s came up frequently when we were trying to pin down what was going on with my son.  Very intelligent, curious, he speaks very formally, like a miniature adult.  He has great difficulty relating to other children who are around his age.  When other children are at the park playing, he’d rather find an adult and talk to them about some sports thing he had been reading.  Playing outside never happens for very long because he tires of it quickly.  At least we have convinced him to bring his books out.  At least he’ll be out instead of in.

He just doesn’t play.  Some of his little quirks remind me of me, but there is so much that is so different.  I played as a youngster.  MY mother says that I never really was bored because I would use my imagination and basically make things up.  Oh to be young again.  I just don’t see that in my son.  Even when he is given a character to pretend with, he has to find out what the story is and that exact story is what needs to be acted out.  He doesn’t like pretend all that much-he much prefers scientific and nonfiction stuff.

Today I approached him with the idea of having a notebook to turn into a “field guide”-he could write down all of his scientific hypotheses and theories as well as draw some of the critters outside.  He seemed to like that idea.  My husband I have talked about how the only way we are going to get this boy outdoors without the sprinkler being on is somehow making it science.

I am a mean mom.  I make my children go out.  We have a nice big fenced in back yard with a swing set and a tire swing.  We have bikes, riding tools, balls, tennis rackets, a batting tee.  You name it we have it.  BUt they don’t want to play.  I don’t turn the TV on and I have my reasons.  Get outside and experience nature!  Use your imagination!

I remember being around my son’s age and running around the yard in my swimsuit and my towel tied around me like a toga.  We were playing Gods and Goddesses.  Clash of the TItans was REALLY big that year!  And these were things we just thought up and did.  There were no rules.  We made it up as we went along.  We didn’t always GET along, but it was fun!

I don’t see my kids doing much of that.  My 4 year old does ok with some things.  She has parties for her ponies and takes care of the different characters in her room.  But she’s 4.  MY 7 year old really just needs to get out with a couple of boys his age and pretend and run around.  Somehow I don’t see that happening!

So here when he should be playing, my son comes and sits with me on the park bench while his sister is still running around on the climber.  He’s asking me all kinds of questions and then starts in about how he wants to be a firefighter, a professional football player, and a racecar driver when he grows up.,  I want to be supportive.  I also want to throw in the whole “You’ll still need to go to college” Schtick.  But I hesitated.  My kids have had the university here shoved down their throat since their dad went there.  And graduated.  And got a good job.  Now he has to pay the loans back.  Ouch.

Me?  I went to college and I think I’ve made it pretty clear how that’s worked out for me.  I went to school so that I didn’t have to have a job with a nametag.  Yet I just left a job that I had to wear a nametag for.  Sigh…

WHile I am sure that there is something out there that we are all meant to do, right now I think my thing is not there.  When they arranged the whole finding your way thing they didn’t put the answer for me.  Or something.  There are days when I feel like I need a shirt that says “I went to ____ college, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.  And debt,”

Today I was told (in an email of course) that no, there will be no more data entry after this week.  That I will officially be starting over in the unemployment department,  Saddening, and maddening.  Really-I think it’s the whole thing where a guy tells a girl he’ll call and doesn’t.  I’m sorry they were sad I would be leaving, but don’t tell me there’s a job possibility there!  The job where I could continue to do data entry from my home possibly 30 to 40 hours per week it sounded very promising.  It doesn’t exist.  It’s not there and not much I can do about it.

So I’m back in the job hunt.  I have very two cute things to take into consideration too.  My husband has been trying to put together some sort of budget for us now that we have a lot we have to pay out in loans.  Now he says that I HAVE to find something-we had discussed the possibility of me just staying home.  I thought we had agreed that full time wasn’t going to be something I was going to explore.  But the reality of it is that the areas I have looked in the past I would be working to basically pay the childcare that I have to arrange for my kids.  Doesn’t seem quite right.

And I’m not going to work at McDonalds.  There was a summer where I was trying to work just something for the summer so I could have flexibility with it when I had to go back to work at the school in the preschool.  That summer I applied for lots of jobs-Kum and Go, Caseys. Holubs, Lowes, etc. Noone called me or even tried to interview me.  Overqualified.

The thinking here is that I went to college so I wouldn’t have to have a job that I wear a nametag.  Yet I just left a job that I had to wear a nametag (because, I”m assuming, someone might try to be a Red Cross Imposter.  HA HA)

I’m skimming the jobs online after finishing my data entry-some interesting jobs out there.  Some are ones that I could do with no problem but pay nothing.  Some that are interesting but I don’t have the right qualifications for.  I just don’t even know where to start.  I owe it to myself to not go to work at McDonalds. After all I DID go to school. I DO have a bachelor’s degree.

None of this really registers with my husband.  He has been through several job losses with me, on each side, and he doesn’t really know what to do when I get so down on myself.  He feels a job is a job, and I get the impression that he feels that if I don’t find one quick there’s something wrong with me.  We are running headfirst into a money problem with his and my student loans eating up so much of our budget.  What do we do?  He’s set.  He has a fabulous job that he drives far away to every day.  He gets to go to a local gym for free-I just about cried when he told me that.  I just had to give up my membership and my body is paying the price.  I’m not jealous.  I just wish I could get some stuff to get going in the right direction for me.

But if you don’t know what you want to do it makes it difficult.  And SOMEONE has to be here for my kids.  I’m ok with working, but I can’t be in a town an hour away 8-5 every day. I passed on a job with the disorganization doing their scheduling.  Pretty sure you don’t even have to have a degree to do that job.  But too far away.  Am I selling myself short?

I feel like I have no skills to offer.  That makes it hard to present yourself to a potential employer.

Aren’t there still jobs out there that want you to have a 4 year degree but don’t really care what it’s in?  I wish the schools would do that with preschool.  I know that I WANT to teach preschool. I did it for many years at several different centers.  I was very good at it.  But having to go through the trainings to present that paper that says I am fit to teach those kids is pricey and ridiculous since childcare centers pay so low.  Going back to school for an early childhood degree probably isn’t the best idea.  More loans.  More student teaching.

I’ve finally managed to break away from the child care aspect and here I am not even sure what I want to do.  So I look at jobs and analyze them and then try to decide if I’m worthy of even applying for them.  And how am I going to work it if I get an interview?  Is someone going to watch my kids?

Now that I know that I am officially done I guess there are things for me to do.  1) Get unemployment called. Doubt I qualify, but might be able to get something.  2)  Call the student loan people.  Sorry, if I am not employed I don;t have $$ coming in!  3)  And this is the hard one-Call Iowa State, then go in and talk to somebody.  I can conceivably still go this fall if I can just figure it out.

Everyone deserves a chance to feel successful at something.  I don’t ask for much, I just want to be able to do something that makes me happy and brings in enough money to survive.  My lifestyle is not extravagant, and I shouldn’t be made to feel bad if I want to keep shopping for clothes at Goodwill .  I love my children, and I don’t want to be some career woman that never sees them, but I DO need to figure out what my next move is here.  A job, no job, school, a home business.  I don’t know.  Any suggestions are always welcome.