Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Backyard safari: The hunt for BBs...

Today the kids were restless. Fighting with each other. Nagging me about everything. Whining over the littlest issue. I sent them outside.I didn't ever think my kids would have to be encouraged to go outside, especially on a nice sunny day, but apparently they do. I thought the fact that we live in Iowa, where winters can be just one long string of sub-zero days and cloudy skies, they would appreciate any opportunity they had to be outside without a coat. They whined about having to go outside. They complained about having nothing to do. They wandered aimlessly around the yard with mopey faces on to prove how torturous my cruel punishment was.

On my way out to chastize them for being such technology-addicted robots, I noticed the container of BBs we recently bought for the BB gun were outside, and knocked over on the ground. I picked some up, and found a few that had strayed about a foot from the point of spillage. Gathering those, I found some more about a foot further than that. And some more. And some more. At that point I decided I was too lazy to pick them all up and that would be an excellent thing for my nothing-to-do children to take over.

Half an hour later, I found Chad constructing a sifting system. He had noticed the container for the BBs was full of dirt and grass (that probably ended up in there while they were picking up the spilled BBs), and he was cleaning it all out. The top of his contraption was a beach sifter, which allowed the dirt to fall through while catching larger things like the BBs and grass. The next level was a plastic lid from the recycle bin with holes punched just large enough for the BBs to fall through, but catch the grass.

And my grandmother thinks kids have to go to public school to learn how to "think properly." At least they found something to do.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Very crazy week...

I have been so busy this week! Monday was shots for Cadence and copies of immunization records for the district office. We ate lunch at my mother-in-law's house (she called it spaghetti, which it only slightly resembled and tasted drastically different). We visited my grandmother since we were in town.

Tuesday the legal paperwork was due to the district office for Chad and Cadence. Form A (two pages this year), Plan of Instruction, testing option notification, and dual-enrollment form. Two copies to the district, one for me, and one for my portfolio reviewer. I was a copying fool for about two hours. I also had to pick up the books from the school, organize everything and create a lesson plan for the rest of this week. I was up until 1am. Ugh. This wouldn't be such an issue if the school could manage to get the books ready for me sometime sooner than the day before the first day of school.

Yesterday was our first actual homeschooling day this year. We've been doing stuff all summer, but most of it has been whatever the kids wanted to learn about or observe. Unschooling, in a sense. I got the pleasure of babysitting for my cousin, which I already told her I wasn't going to do but it was, "just this one time." She planned to be gone an hour, but it was closer to two. Thankfully, Chad was all done with his school work by the time she got here, so there was no further disruption from my conversation with her until she left an hour later. Cadence's school time went more smoothly since there were no toddler arguments going on in the background by then. Ugh again. We also had a barbecue to go to and didn't get home until after 9pm, an hour after Riley's bedtime. We spent 45 minutes trying to get my poor over-tired children to wind down and go to sleep.

I expected today to run a bit more smoothly, but apparently all three of my kids are suffering te effects of not quite enough sleep. Riley has been whining and bawling about absolutely everthing today, and the other two have spent the whole morning fighting with each other.

Coming up for the remainder of the week: 20 job applications, a birthday party I'd rather not go to, and dental checkups for my older two children. I did half our applications (ten for me and ten for Vic) online last night, since half our job contacts can be emailed. That leaves another 10 applications each that have to be collected, filled out and returned by tomorrow morning, when the job log is due. Let's not even get into the inconveniences caused by Vic working, my errands/appointments, and only one vehicle with current tags. Ugh, ugh, and ugh.

Next week should be a lot easier on everyone. The kids will be more accustomed to daily work We won't have any appointments leaving more time for collecting and returning applications. I won't be looking after any children that don't belong to me. That will be a lot easier, right? Right?

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I'm here. I'm still alive. I wonder how many people still check this blog, if anyone. I would not be surprised if the few people who were reading my sorry little blog have long abandoned me. I would have, if I were them. I just have no patience for slow posters.

For anyone who may still be periodically checking, or for those who may be new to my little miserable corner of the internet, I will update our situation.

We qualified for FIP, aka welfare money, a crappy $540/month. This will pay my utilities, but nothing else. We are getting $520/month food stamps, which is a tremendous help. I was concerned about losing my car, since the monthly alottment doesn't cover my car payment. It also doesn't cover my property taxes, due next month, or my internet access (can you believe that?!? They expect me to live without internet!). Fortunately, Vic found some work with a local remodelling guy for cash. Off the books. Illegal? Absulutely. Serious abuse of the system? Damn straight. But we can keep our car, which makes it possible for Vic to get a real, on the books job - or a job of any kind for that matter - once our dental work is all done. I don't lose my house because of a tax sale, and may even be able to pay the back taxes by the time we're done with this nightmare.

We had our first dental appointment on Wednesday. The dentist says dentures are a silly idea as long as we keep our 6 month checkups, and plans to fill or cap all our bad teeth. We're planning a root canal on my front tooth, which I'm sure isn't that bad, but I've never had one before so I'm a bit nervous. I wonder how silly the idea of dentures would be if I told the dentist the reality - that we may not be able to make our regular checkups unless we have some drastic change in income / insurance by then. Either way, by the middle of September, I should be all fixed up, Vic can start looking for a real job, and we can move on with our lives.

I can elaborate more on these subjects, as well as everything else that's been going on around here, in the next few days. I feel so much better now that things are starting to go more smoothly around here. I can't even tell you how relieved I am that Vic is working instead of rumbling around the house driving me crazy!