Month: August 2013

My mini-me

Alaina.  My princess who’s about to turn the big 1-0, is, in so many ways, my little mini-me.  Looking back at my life, I can see how all my kids do things like I did at their age, so that either makes them (and me) normal kids, or that just shows how my genes were spread out among all of them.  Anyway, Alaina has such spunk and can be so witty.  She’s a perfect little blend of tom boy and girlie girl.  Although I was mostly a tom boy, I’m sure deep in the recesses of my mind, there are girl moments that i’m trying to bury because I don’t associate with them like that.

Two years ago she got glasses because she inherited my horrible vision.  It was almost as if the glasses provided an instant, extra layer of wit to her already witty and funny personality.  Take those glasses off, and sometimes you wonder where it all went.  I love it!  So lately she’s been without glasses – she broke them and who knows where she discarded the broken pieces.  With school starting soon, we needed to get new spectacles for her.  I decided that she could go in for the eye exam by herself while I was just outside the door.  Ten minutes later she comes out, all smiles, and the doctor says, “Well, Alaina’s doing everything that she’s supposed to be doing.  There was only a slight change in her vision.” Which I was happy about, until the doctor continues and says, “We’ll hold on to the prescription since Alaina says she doesn’t need new glasses.”

……….wait, what?!……….I almost got whiplash when I turned to Alaina, who stood there with a bewildered look on her face that says, “Oh, is THAT what you meant when you asked if I needed new glasses?”  Good grief!

Then there are situations like yesterday that really make me laugh.  We go shopping, get out of the car, i’m holding Daniela’s hand, Dominique’s walking beside her and Alaina’s trying to wrap herself around me – the conversation goes like this:

Me: Alaina! What are you doing? Just hold my hand.
Alaina: I’m just trying to hug you while you walk.
Me: Honey, come on, please just hold my hand, that’s impossible.
Alaina: Mommy, haven’t you ever heard that NOTHING’S impossible?!
(Mind you, she’s still trying to wrap herself around me as we walk towards the store.)
Me: Yes, you’re right, but THIS?! THIS isn’t going to work out and i’m going to fall on you.
(She responds and it’s as if she isn’t really listening to me, go figure.)
Alaina: But I guess the person who started the saying that “nothing’s impossible” (yes, she did the finger quotes) didn’t ever try to slam a revolving door.  Now THAT’S impossible.
Me:  Not for Chuck Norris, it isn’t.
Alaina: Yeah, he can do everything.

This brief conversation ended in such a matter of fact kind of way.  Really, all I could do was smile and shake my head as we now enter TJMaxx and she’s ogling over the designer purses.  Yep, she can be girlie.

It's a small tree, but she's determined to climb it.

It’s a small tree, but she’s determined to climb it.

Alaina's getting her first kiddie pedicure.
Alaina’s getting her first kiddie pedicure.

The Concert Experience

I’m not big on going to concerts every time some band comes to town. I figure I have to REALLY like a band to pay that much to see them live.  For example, I would have paid to see Michael Jackson if I had the money. I love me some Britney Spears so I would pay to see her, too.  I’m sure there may be other exceptions, but none that I can think of right now.

Then there’s Depeche Mode.  I just love them. Always have.  Always will. So it’s a no-brainer that I would go to see them in concert. My 3 Seesters and I always go together and it’s always dubbed ‘the best concert ever.’  We wait in anticipation, year after year, for them to announce their tour dates and hope that they come close to where we live. This year they’re coming to Jiffy Lube Live in September – BUT WAIT, they’re going to be at The Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in August, in Chicago, where my little seester lives!!!??? We gotta go!  It’s a double whammie!  So, we get tickets, plan our trip and wait for the big day to come (which was bittersweet because one of my seesters couldn’t make it).  It was a bummer because things aren’t the same when the 4 of us aren’t together.

In the end, my seester’s husband came with us to ‘fill’ her spot and, thankfully, drove us. The place wasn’t far but it took us eternity to get there because traffic around that area was horribly managed! WE’RE GONNA BE LATE! There were 3 lanes of traffic merging into one and there were line cutters all over the place!  Seriously, why do you really think that YOU getting there sooner, is more important than the mile-long line of cars filled with people you are jumping in front of?? It got to the point where people were getting out of their cars and walking the rest of the way – my seesters and I did it, too. Of course, by the time we got out to speed walk the rest of the way, here comes my brother-in-law catching up to us because traffic is moving a little quicker now, so we jump back in.

Now we are parking and can hear the music – the opening act is still playing – YES!!!  We waste no time getting to our seats. The place is already packed and there are still people waiting to get in – the mood in the place was electrifying! I couldn’t stand to wait much longer. And, as if they knew my thoughts, the lights go down, Dave, Martin and Andy hit the stage, and me along with the rest of the audience leap out of our seats and scream in excitement.

But then something happened which I was none too pleased with. Cell phones went up everywhere!  Not to take pictures but to record it!! Are you serious!!? Even my older seester whipped out her phone for a brief snippet. This rubbed me the wrong way because, (a) now I can’t see the stage! All I see are arms and cell phone screens.  What the ham?! and (b) what do you think you’re going to get from the quality of that phone video? Nothing! You aren’t going to relive the concert that way. You’re only going to hear screaming and static and all you’ll see are lights and blurred people on stage, if that! Are you always this inconsiderate? Sheesh! Put the phone down and enjoy the moment! Enjoy the music. Why do electronics always have to rear their ugly heads into perfect moments? Don’t even get me started!

Thankfully, after the initial shock, I was able to calm down with my tasty beverage, find a good, mostly unobstructed line of sight, and totally scream and sing to my heart’s content as I enjoyed THE BEST CONCERT EVER!!!

.facebook_386912269

The triathlon that touched my heart

Sunday I completed a sprint triathlon – the inaugural Quantico Triathlon, with one of my awesome Seesters, Maribel, which I will most definitely do again next year.  I won’t bore you with my finish time, you can look it up if you want, but I will tell you that I was very pleased with myself because this was my first race post-arthroscopic knee surgery to smooth out my meniscus that I jacked up last year while I was trying to train for the Marine Corps Marathon.

quantico

I started my “race career” by doing 5k’s, specifically the Susan G. Komen Race for The Cure, years and years ago with my mom and the folks at her job.  I use the term “race” loosely seeing as i’m not trying to break any records or even come in the top 10, but I always gave it 100% and I loved it.  Now, all the in between is a tad fuzzy because I started having kids and all, but at some point I decided to take my racing and fundraising a step further and decided to jump into a triathlon – an Olympic distance, at that.  So for a few years I joined other causes like LLS, The American Heart Association, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, the American Diabetes Association, etc. and raised money while preparing to run races, complete triathlons and cycling fun rides, too.  I don’t take credit for getting the family involved, but between my Seesters and I, and even cousins, we’ve all done some kind of endurance event together and it’s a great experience to go through with family.  Talk about bringing everyone together, not only for a good cause, but for our own health and fitness, as well.

As my kids got older, I always wanted them to come see what Mommy did, to see me do what I loved to do.  I wanted them to not only cheer for me (because nothing beats seeing children cheering for their parents), but I wanted them to want to get involved, too – kids are so impressionable like that.  I wanted to make sure that I taught my children to do for others and if the only way to help is to fund raise (since we’re not all scientists finding cures), then pick something you can stand for and do it.

Anyway, I didn’t always have the luxury of having my kids waiting for me at the finish line, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping them informed of what I’m doing and letting them train with me to prepare for the races.  So in recent years, I have been blessed with the chance of having them waiting for me and it’s the best; Sunday was no exception.  I made plans with the Man of the house to bring the kids down to watch but, 4:30 am Sunday morning, the alarm goes off, I go out to rack my bike and it’s raining.  I was reluctant to press forward because the rain and slick ground made me nervous about my knee, which I haven’t fully recovered from, but I couldn’t leave my Seester high and dry, so off I went to pick her up.   We arrived at Quantico Marine Corps Base and, before getting out of the car, I sent a text to the Man to let him know that they didn’t have to come because of the rain – I was going to feel really bad for them to stand out there in that mess.  Though I was sure he received the message, I didn’t wait for a response.  We racked our bikes in transition, got our body markings, and strapped on our timing chips.  I checked the cell one last time before heading to the pool and I see his response about having a raincoat. He’s still coming! I love this man!  🙂

As I anxiously waited for 7:47 to come, my official race start time, I keep looking around the pool at the spectators that made their way in to cheer and watch and I don’t see my brood.  I was hoping I could spot them for that extra bit of encouragement since my Seester had already started 20 minutes before I did.  Oh well, off I went.  14 minutes later, I got out of the pool and my girls were there cheering, “go mommy!” as I entered my first transition – THANK YOU LORD THEY ARE HERE!  As I exited the transition area on my bike, I could see out of the corner of my eye a blue figure running through the grass and for a second I thought, he’s running through the rain taking pics of me! (I later found out that it really was him.)

9 miles later and i’m entering my second transition to prepare for the run and there they are, cheering – my heart swells with happiness!  As I fumble along to take my bike shoes off and put my run shoes on (yes, I put on new, dry socks even though it was soaking wet out there and I was about to put on soaking wet shoes) I hear a couple to my left.  The 50-something year old woman was in transition, soaked like me, curly hair all a frizz, and fumbling around, too, while her husband was on the spectator side of the fence.   They spoke Spanish so, lucky for me, I understand it 99.9% of the time.  She seems slightly frantic so her husband, in such a loving tone, tells her, “Mi amorsita, no te preocupes….no tiene que apresurarse.” which means, “my love, don’t worry…you don’t need to rush.”  Meanwhile, he’s trying to take pictures of her and she’s telling him how ugly the weather is and to please not take pictures of her looking like she does.  It was like she was embarrassed for him to see her not looking her best, it was so cute.  So he says, “Mi corazon, mi reina, te veas tan bella siempre.  Estoy tan orgulloso de ti.” which means, “my heart, my queen, you always look so beautiful.  I am so proud of you.”  I paused and it made me smile because it was so loving.  It wasn’t just the nice words, you could hear it in his voice that he truly supported her.  It made me think about my Man, he supports me in all that I do.  He brought my kids down because he knows it means a lot to me.  He ran through the rain to take pictures of me because he knows i’d want that.  He made sure they were at the finish line because he knows they are who I want to see after an accomplishment like that.  (Sure, it was a sprint triathlon, but I felt like I’ve come a long way and it HAS been a long, depressing year of recovering in the gym.)

I entered this triathlon for no one but myself, to see if I could do it.  After crossing the finish line I realized that it was about more than just completing it, it was about having the support of family there to see that i’m not through yet so that I could believe it, too.  Yep, I still got it in me.  I’m not registering for any more races just yet, but this has certainly encouraged me to keep on keepin on!

Tri

PS: Pardon any grammatical errors in my writing or translating of the Spanish language.  😉

The things I do for work – Part 2

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.  You may or may not be able to tell from my last post that I don’t mind doing little side “jobs” for my boss(es) because at this point in my life at the office, it actually keeps things interesting.  Yesterday was no exception.  

THE OATMEAL INCIDENT:  So, I get a call in the morning from the boss and it goes like this:

Boss: Have you been to the cafeteria yet?
Considering his past requests, this is a new one, so i’m unsure how to respond with anything other than the truth.
Me: Um, yes?
Boss: Oh….I was going to ask if you could get me some oatmeal if you hadn’t gone down yet…..
I’m pretty sure this is still a request to get breakfast for him, so I give in.
Me: I can still get that for you.
Boss: Oh, can you? Great! I can give you some money and then you can take the $1.25 out that I owe you from the soda that you got me yesterday.

I can’t help but smile because, quite frankly, I had already forgotten about the $1.25 and, since there was no additional comment about the soda, that probably means it DIDN’T explode like I thought it would.  So, I mosey into his office, get the money, asked if he wanted a large or small size – he wants small and he adds that he wants a scoop of brown sugar.  Off I go to the cafe.  

As i’m getting his oatmeal a co-worker starts chatting me up.  The conversation wasn’t anything deep, but i’m so ADD that I turn on the autopilot for the oatmeal task and focus on the conversation.  Blah, blah, blah, healthy eating, blah, blah, blah (healthy eating being the topic of lots of conversations in the cafeteria for me, but that’s another post for another day).  In my attempt at multi-tasking, I suddenly realize that I am no longer scooping large spoonfuls of lumpy oatmeal into the small cup.  No, sir, I’ve made it over to the “toppings” section of the cafe where i’m scooping rather large spoonfuls of brown sugar onto the oatmeal.  Once I realized, it was kind of too late.  Conversation – OVER!!  I put down the spoon of brown sugar that I was ready to drop in, and I examined the bowl to decide whether I would toss that one and make a new one or scoop some of the sugar out or just take it to him the way it is.  

To put things in perspective, this is the same man that happened to be making his tea at the same time that I made my coffee and when he saw me put 3 packets of Splenda in my coffee, he about had a heart attack.  “3 packets? WWWWWWOW!  Do you know what that is? Have you heard of the health risks behind using so much of it? How does it make you feel?” and it kind of went on and on as he schooled me on Splenda.  To this day, I only use one packet in my coffee which may or may not have anything to do with the conversation we had and cutting down to one packet didn’t happen overnight.  

Anyway, so to put so much brown sugar in his oatmeal, just made me dread and wonder what kind of lecture I was going to receive.  I didn’t want to waste the oatmeal, so I attempted to scoop some of the brown sugar out before it melted into molasses.  I think I succeeded, somewhat, but this is still definitely way more than he ever uses on a regular basis.  

Image

So, again, i’m troubled with the question, ‘How do I tell him that there might be TOO much sugar in it?’  I hate making mistakes, like anyone else, so it bothered me that I haphazardly made his breakfast.  Oh well.  He’ll either like it or he won’t like it.  I paid for the oatmeal, took out my $1.25 from the change, and made my way upstairs before it got cold.  I told him that I hoped that it wasn’t too much sugar, he thanked me and that was that.  He ended up leaving early because he wasn’t feeling well – hopefully the oversugar’ed oatmeal didn’t have anything to do with that sickening feeling.  *sigh*

And I know what you’re thinking, the answer is no, even if I made it wrong it will not stop him from asking me again in the future.  I’ll just accept my pleasant lecture on how he actually likes it, and make it right the next time.  😉

The things I do for work – PART 1

I totally get that people have all kinds of odd jobs they do for their bosses on a regular basis and i’m not one to compare or say that what I’m doing is any better or worse, or however you want to look at it.  So, I have a boss that has his own funny way of asking me to do/get something for him, which I don’t mind doing, but sometimes they come with some [in]direct accusations, commentary, or quasi-PSA.

THE SODA INCIDENT.  I get a call from the boss yesterday and the conversation goes like this:

Boss: Do you have change for a $5?
Sidebar – I NEVER have change when he asks me and he asks on an almost daily basis, which makes me wonder why he constantly asks at all.
Me: No, i’m sorry, I don’t.
Boss: Oh, hmm……………*this silence felt like forever*…..
Me: (as if talking to a child): Are you thirsty?
Boss: Yeaaaaahhh, I kinda wanted a Coke Zero.
Me: Well, I have $1.25, I can at least get that for you.
Boss:  Great!!

I go to get the soda, and it’s actually a traumatizing experience to have to get his soda on a daily basis because a couple of years ago he actually accused me of shaking his soda before I delivered it.  He didn’t accuse me in a horrible, mean way, he just halfway joked and said, “hey, did you shake that soda?  It exploded when I opened it.”  I was so shocked and embarrassed that he would actually think i’d do that.  ME?!!!  Ever since that day, I have taken so much care in making sure that his soda doesn’t even land when it comes out of the vending machine.  I put my hands in there to “soften” the fall and everything!

Anyway, I go to get the soda and run through my routing of catching the soda as it comes down, but it feels hard – like it’s been shaken and is ready to explode.  NOOOOOOO!!! This can’t be happening!  I actually debate on buying another one and giving him the better of the two, but then again, what am I going to do with the other soda? So now, on my walk back to his office, I pray that he isn’t on the phone so I can tell him that he needs to give it a minute before he opens it…but what if he is on the phone? How am I going to tell him using hand gestures that he needs to wait?  Ugh!  My nightmares are becoming reality!  Okay, not really, but it did worry me for a half second.

Thankfully, he wasn’t on the phone.  I gave him his soda, he thanked me, and I told him to give it a few minutes because it felt solid and ready to blow, to which he responded with an ‘okay’.  It wasn’t a thankful okay, it was kind of like the okay that you get when someone hasn’t heard what you said and they are just agreeing with you.  The problem was, I was already halfway out the door by the time I remembered that he doesn’t hear very well and his hearing aid was on his desk………………..

Oh well, I did my part.  At least if it exploded I could say, with a clear conscience, “You didn’t hear me tell you to give it a minute?!”  🙂

Where’s the ON switch on my teen!?

Dominique, my first born.  After I’ve considered all the ways that i’m blessed to have such a good 17-year-old (ESPECIALLY compared to how I was at her age!) and how much she’s changed my life for the better, there’s almost always that record-scratching-to-a-halt sound that brings me back to reality and reminds me, “this is the same girl that watched me to go work very early this morning, watched me come home rushed from a long commute to take my son to football practice, and waited until I got home at 8 pm(ish) to say, ‘should I have made dinner or something?'”  What the frack?!

Then again, as everyone says, “she’s a teenager, what do you expect?”  What do I expect?  I expect that I raised my child to be more considerate than she lets on sometimes and can actually lend a hand JUST BECAUSE she wants to, instead of when she wants something in return.  (Yes, I live in La-la Land and totally believe that it’s possible for that to happen.)  There’s just something in that pretty little head of hers that doesn’t always switch on.  Another switch I can’t find is the one that makes her want to read instructions on the packages of things like ‘how to make soup’ or ‘how to use cleaning spray’.  Or the switch that turns on when it’s time for her to look for something because, we all know that if it isn’t already in her hand, she can’t find it.  Or how about the switch that reminds her that she’s tired of asking for things that she wants, but doesn’t need, and that she could purchase herself if she went out and got a job.

I can’t be the only one who can’t find these switches on our teens, but what I did [take forever to] realize is that she may actually need more than a mere mention of the idea.  She needs solid instruction.  She needs step-by-step directions.  She almost needs you to push her off that ‘ledge’ to force her to get stuff done.  She’s gone most of her high school life playing some sort of extra-curricular sport which, oddly enough, she will do almost all that she needs to do so that she can be on the team, but I digress.  She’s never had a job because sports and homework take so much time.  Well, not this year!  She’s getting a jay-oh-bee – job!  She’s going to go work for someone who’s not her mom or dad that will let her know that she can’t be lazy and expect to survive in the world.  She might hate it and quit, or not, but hopefully she will have received her dose of reality.

I love her to death and she’s truly a good girl who tries, considering her serious ADHD issues.  (More on that later.)  I’m going to give this one a go and pray that, in this last year of high school, I will have started to ignite the fire in her that I’ve always told her she had.  She can do whatever she wants in this world and I’ll always support her 100% in her mission to get there.

My Mission: Find that ON switch!! (help me!)

179769_10151463668521243_562664615_n

A TV turned into a puppy…

Maximus.  When I first saw my favorite movie Gladiator back in 2000, I knew I wanted my future dog to be named Maximus.  (No, that’s not an odd thing to get out of a movie.)   I went years learning from my brother who had a dog, and a sister who had dogs that she eventually gave to my brother once she started having children, and I knew from what I saw that I didn’t want to get a dog until I was not only financially able to care for a dog, but also be able to maintain the lifestyle of dog ownership – walking, exercise, playing, feeding, less vacationing unless you take the dog with you and spend thousands of dollars to accommodate it, and basically Cesar Millan’ing up my life.  I revisited the idea of getting a dog on and off for a long time.

Fast forward 12 years later; my kids are older and the man of the house has brought up dog ownership on multiple occasions…..BUT, he’s also brought up the idea of having a TV in our bedroom, go figure.  So for his birthday/Christmas I decided i’d get him one – a TV, that is.  I went and did so much research on what kind of TV I should get for the room; from what size to where it would be hung to whether it should be a Smart TV or just the best HDTV on the market.  Not to sound sexist, but TVs seem to be a guy’s thing, so I asked the advice of my male friends, family and even my brother who actually told me that a 50″ TV for the bedroom was what I should get – what the frack?!  So, after researching the best TV, I had to then research which website or store would give me the best possible price for it and which ones I could haggle with to give me the best deal possible.  Then, after DAYS, it was done.  I made the purchase.  I was relieved yet uber excited about giving it to him.  The TV went home with me and I hid it.

A few days passed and he was sitting on the couch with my teen, Dominique, talking about who knows what and, because i’m so excited about the dag-on TV, I decide to make sure i’ve made the right decision by asking him, “hey, what do you want for Christmas?”, as if I hadn’t already purchased his gift – *wink* wink*.  This man turns his head to me, grins from ear to ear, and in an almost child-like tone says to me, “I wanna puppy!”

…………………………*blink* confusion *blink*…………………..

How in the heck do I respond to that?!  It’s a joke.  It must be.  So I ask, “Are you for real?  Ooookay.”  Nope, no joke.  So, at that moment, we read and researched and researched and read and dog-matched and quizzed and everything and finally decided we wanted a Doberman Pinscher.  He grew up with one and I had always wanted one when I was a kid just because I thought they looked awesome.  Then, again, after days and DAYS, it was done.  We visited, we fell in love, we visited again, and he came home with us on New Years Day.

Meet Maximus Ortiz Dominus Rachal

Image

This is the falling in love picture – see my face?  Image

Maximus is still cute here and freshly cropped.

Image

Maximus at 8 months, the big oaf.  We have a love/not-so-loved relationship because he and Daddy are BFFs and, well, i’m just Mommy.  Ok, and he’s still cute.

Oh, and that TV, I took it back to the store and the dialogue went something like this:

Man: “So, can I ask why you’re returning it?  Was there anything wrong or did you find a better deal?”
Me: *sigh* “Nothing wrong.  Just got a puppy instead…….”
Man: “Yeah, we can’t really compete with puppies.”
Me: “No, you can’t.”