Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Amazon FAIL!

I do not enjoy bitching about Amazon. Their service is so important to my family. Christmas shopping, curriculum purchasing, product reviews, redirecting to other sellers... I don't know what I'd do without Amazon.

They used to be great. I've had school books arrive literally overnight with free super saver shipping. Now that they've introduced their fancy shmancy "prime" membership, it seems non-prime shoppers don't matter.

I made the mistake of ordering a book that takes "2-3 weeks to ship", and combining it with an in-stock book. Since I have no immediate plans for them, I figured the wait wasn't a big deal. Well, on the last day of the shipping window, I got a notice that the first book still wasn't in stock. I was given the option to cancel or keep the order open. No matter which option I chose, the in-stock book was moved to "shipping soon".

Soon? It was supposed to ship by March 31st. Now it's bumped to "April 2-April 4"! I ordered the in-stock book on March 7th!!!

Stupid morons.

And it gets better. My $1.50 number chart arrived. Via UPS, not USPS like 2 others. Get a load of this:

A 22x18x11.5 box this time.
Filled with plastic, so as not to break my poster.
With a very familiar 19x13x4 box inside.
Also filled with plastic.
For my very fragile piece of $1.50 paper.

I need to find a new way to shop!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Two posts in one day

When Lorrie asks to have her stuff stolen, I have to comply. I mean, what if she asks to have her pottery stolen one day, and I haven't been an obedient servant before then? I would feel unworthy of stealing her loot after previously ignoring her.

So I have stolen her meme.

1. Three items you would take to a desert island and why. Don't be a loser and say "a boat" either, ok?
A solar powered laptop. So somebody better come up with one of those, quick.
My Keurig, with a limitless supply of K-cups.
Sunblock. Sometimes you just have to be reasonable.

2. If you could only save three people from zombies who they would be?
The husband. But mostly out of spite. He already has a thing for slutty lady zombies.
Ellen Degeneres. The world just wouldn't be right with Zombie Ellen.
My grandma. She doesn't handle change in routine very well.

And yes, I left off my kids on purpose. None of that Sophie's Choice crap. I'm not picking favorites.

3. If you had to smell like a food, which three foods would you prefer?
Malibu Rum. I don't care that it's not really a food.
Thin Mints.

4. Three books you wish you'd never read?
No such thing.
Although I *did start to think there was a rabid dog in my closet when I read Cujo. I could have done without that.

5. Three biggest lies your parents told you?
There must have been something, but I'm drawing a blank.

6. Three favorite band names
Wait- the names of my 3 favorite bands, or my favorite names that bands are called? I'm guessing names that bands are called, since that's more amusing.

Barenaked Ladies, Save Ferris, Smashing Pumpkins

7. Three things that make you go "ew"?
Cats drinking out of the toilet bowl.
Toddlers eating out of the garbage can.
The need to feed pets and children.

8. What are your three biggest addictions?
Buying books

9. Chicken and waffles are ever so tasty; three food combos so wrong they're right?
Tuna salad and Tostidos
Liverwurst and provolone on potato rolls
Cheerios and peanut butter

10. Three bloggers you would make out with?
The husband, because it's the law
Lorrie, because she makes cool mugs
The Pioneer Woman. Not because I think she's all that, but because I'd like her to stop by and cook something for me.

I must be color blind

I was all excited when Amazon announced its decision to "go green". I like "green". The husband drives a Prius. I use phosphate-free laundry detergent. I don't go anywhere without reusable grocery bags. My sad looking gardens are always organic (not because they're organic- because I lack a green thumb).

Unfortunately, I think Amazon has failed to read any of the books on conservation that it lists on its site.

I order books pretty often. It's cheaper than library fines, and the nearest book store is a 30 mile drive each way. Plus, Susan Wise Bauer keeps telling me I should write in my books.

Apparently, Amazon's idea of "green" is to take several books and shrink wrap them in plastic.

Sure, one could argue that this is a good idea in case a package is left on someone's doorstep in a downpour, but I'm not buying it. I've yet to meet a mail carrier who doesn't carry plastic bags for bad weather. Growing up, my mailman used to put our packages in our grill. :-) And there are always those handy dandy orange notices.

But the shrink wrap is small (non) peanuts compared to my latest order.

M is still struggling with number and letter reversals, so I ordered cute wall charts to put up. For $1.99 each, it was a great way to earn free shipping on the meat of my order (Laurie Carlson's Green Thumbs: A Kid's Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening, and School Specialty Publishing's The Complete Book of Time and Money). Plus, they were buy 3 get 1 free, so I picked out 4.

First, I get notification that the coins chart will ship separately. My $1.99 purchase ($1.50 after the B3G1 deal) will get its own box, its own shipping fee (on Amazon's tab), and a solo journey to my home.

Then I get notice that the manuscript chart will ship separately.

2 hours later, I get another notice that the months of the year chart will be shipped separately, as well.

And the next day, the 4th goes out the same.

$6, 4 boxes, 4 trips.
Not to mention the plastic-wrapped books still waiting to be shipped!
But it gets better.

I don't have home mail delivery. Our development has group boxes. They also have jumbo boxes, where fairly large packages can be left. Today, I open my mailbox and find a key to one of the big mailboxes. And this is what I find.

A 19x13x14 box...

For a single $1.99 kiddie poster.

But that's not all I found.
It appears that one of the other identically sized posters had to be shipped in a tube that can't fit into the mailbox that fit the 19x13x4 box with plenty of room to spare.

Since there is no "missing you" at a group mailbox, this means I will have to drive 8 miles each way to pick up the damn poster.

But first, I'm waiting to see what comes tomorrow. No sense making 3 trips to the PO if the rest happen to be in ginormous mail tubes!

It's not easy being green.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm a Taurus

When someone tells me I can't do something, I say "Says you," and redouble my efforts.

This is probably why I have 4 kids, 2 big dogs, 2 cats, live in the boonies, use cloth diapers, own a Prius, clip coupons, know a ton about the autism spectrum and mummies, sowed my own front lawn, bought a Wet Jet, put my "laundry room" in a closet, and refuse to wear a coat unless it's below 25 degrees (and even then, reluctantly). Don't tell me I can't do something, because I will have to prove you wrong, and it isn't always fun.

What's even worse is when I don't want to do something and people tell me I have to.

My mother used to tell me I had to eat broccoli. I would stuff it under the tablecloth. When that didn't work, I'd swallow it and then throw up. I didn't have to eat broccoli.

I didn't give in when I was 7, so why should I give in at 31?
Because if I don't do this thing, a whole bunch of people are going to hate me.

Which is dumb, because it's really none of a whole bunch of peoples' problem. But they will think that I am a mean, selfish, cold-hearted bitch. And that's pretty big, considering these people have known me forever and haven't completely written me off yet.

So really, it's a matter of deciding whether to suck it up in order to let these people keep pretending I give a hoot, or doing right by myself and my immediate family, and then having everyone else tell me how wrong I am and thinking nasty things about me forever.

There are very few things I have to do. Apparently, one of those things is making this decision.

People suck.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What were you born to do?

My Facebook quiz tells me I was born to teach. When I was little, I did dream of being a teacher. Then I realized I hated school. And, eventually, I became a homeschool parent. So, Facebook was right. I think a lot rested on my answer to the questions about being in control, but whatever.

H was probably not born to go into contract law.
Today, she managed to get her sister to write and sign the following statement:

"I wil nevr liy.

This, apparently, is supposed to bring peace and harmony to their shared bedroom. I'm betting it's going to lead to a long, drawn out trial, where M will get off on a technicality.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why I won't be having 16 children

I get a real kick out of my kids. Sometimes I figure if I multiplied the kids, I'd multiply the fun. And then the husband and I convince ourselves to do something fun for the kids, and I'm quickly brought back to reality.

Kid-fun is hard. Especially when you're outnumbered. And you live in the middle of nowhere.

My sister gave us tickets to the Ringling Bros. circus for Christmas. J's been to several circuses, and H has been to one, but was too young to remember. So, not only did it count as a big first for most of the kids, but it was also the first time the husband and I have taken all 4 to any sort of arena activity.

Yesterday's 2-hour show was a 9-hour event for our family. And that's if you don't count getting everyone (and everything) ready to go. 3 baths, 3 showers, 1 french braid, 2 ponytails (on one head), 1 diaper bag with 2 changes of clothes, diapers and wipes, and a lunch/snack bag of sandwiches, granola bars, yogurt drinks, water bottles, sippy cup, bananas and grapes take a little time.

In order to get to the Meadowlands Arena/Brendan Byrne Arena/Continental Airline Arena/Izod Center (located behind Giants Stadium, which is located... behind Giants Stadium) in time for 2:00 bathroom trips and the 3:00 show, we left the house at 11:30 (ish).

The kids thought parking garage was so cool, I wasn't sure the circus could top it. Seriously, they were so excited it was embarrassing. I'm truly considering going out of my way to give them more experience with parking options. Maybe we'll go play with parking meters this week.

After the long drive, I discovered that C has grown way too tall for a front seat diaper change. When I write my parenting book (ha!) I will list that as one of the first signs it's time to start potty training.
There will also be a chapter on searching your children before leaving the house. There is no need for a dozen Littlest Pet Shop Pets at the circus.

Getting into the arena was interesting. 2 parents have 4 hands, so it should be easy. But when you factor in hip shifts, pants hikes, finger repositioning, sweaty palms, and hundreds of other little people milling about, I did find myself repeatedly looking down to make sure I grabbed the correct little person's hand. Forget losing one of my own. All I could think was that I'd be on the news, accused of trying to abduct someone else's fidgety little kid. Or worse, some parent would knowingly exchange a brattier kid for one of mine.

We had 2nd level seats. It never occurred to me to find out if any of my kids might be afraid of heights. I guess it's best that I didn't know I would need to carry my 5yo up and down the stairs in advance. Or that she would need 3 bathroom trips (and H would need 2).

Never mind that C would soak through his jeans within 30 minutes of his awkward diaper change.

Watching the kids watching the show was awesome. C loved the "Dumbos" and the clowns jumping through "kuckles, kares and kangles" (circles, squares and triangles). M now wants to ride elephants for a living and H may be headed for clown college. J loved the chance to clap in time with thousands of other people. He hasn't been able to pick a favorite part yet.

Demanding courteous behavior from children while everyone around them is being rude is exhausting. The fact that the grown woman behind you keeps putting her feet on the top of your seat does not make it okay for you keep poking the woman in front of you with the tip of your wizard hat. The fact that there's a 4yo climbing his large mother, screaming in your mother's ear does not make it okay to stare and loudly ask "What's the matter with him?"

I'm beginning to understand why so many people think I'm a hard ass. They don't believe in respecting other people (or at least pretending to respect other people, which is actually enough for me.)

Also, it is not okay to leave your cotton candy bag, empty cups, or popcorn box on the floor, no matter how many other people do. Just because we spent a good chunk of your college savings on circus food does not mean we purchased the right to be slobs.

Children, this does not mean that Mommy was a bad person when she dumped the leftover sno cones in the grass on the way to the car. Ice melts and colored high-fructose corn syrup can't do any damage to the dead bird I did a great job of keeping you from seeing even after you noticed all of the loose feathers lying around. On the other hand, it could have been a hazard to your health if it had melted into my minivan seats.

All of Ringling Bros. souvenirs (and food) are outrageously priced. That said, I would have paid a pretty penny for one of those whips that the tiger trainer had, just to assist in herding my cats to the car. 2 parents leaving the circus with 4 children no longer have 4 free hands! I'm sure I looked like Mother of the Year, literally using my feet on the behinds of my highly distracted brood in order to keep them in relatively close proximity to each other. I swear, I wasn't kicking them so much as guiding them, but still.

Oh, and for all you people who think going out with a cloth diapered child must be such a pita- at least I'm never tempted to leave a dirty diaper under my car in a parking garage. Talk about gross! Do people not realize they don't just magically disappear under there?

Once everyone was buckled in the car, the husband and I looked at each other and laughed. Like always, we somehow managed to survive taking the kids outside of our little bubble. Little did we know we'd have to stop twice on the way home for even more bathroom breaks, or that we'd work so hard to cool drive-thru food for C, only to have him stuff it all in his carseat, or that H would laugh uncontrollably for most of the ride, or that we'd make the stupid decision to let the children eat sushi in the back seat so I will be left forever sniffing the car for any signs of rotting fish. But we did survive.

And I bet we could do it with 16 children. But I would never want to.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The US Army will protect us from zombies

The husband and I are in our early 30's.

Some of our peers were probably out drinking in dive bars last night.
Some surely spent their evening hob knobbing with CEOs and politicians.

The husband was busy playing with zombies at the Best Buy in Stroudsburg.

After 9 years together, I think I'm finally realizing that we will never be a "normal" family.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Differences between children

Somehow, I managed to get C down for a nap with very little struggle today. It helped that the big kids were outside, pretending to do some spring clean up.

My children are, of course, all exceptional. But it never stops surprising me how different they are from one another.

J (10) and M (5) walk in and notice that C's stuffed Spongebob is lying on the floor.
J- "Aw, looks like Bob didn't make it down for a nap."
M- "Nobody likes a cranky sponge."

H (6) walks in a moment later and exclaims "Hey look! Spongebob passed out on the floor!"