Reasons to Stop Blogging… even though I never really will

Where in the world have I been?

It’s been way too long since a blog post, I realize.  And I was contemplating just giving it up altogether.

My reasons?

Well, for some reason, this blog puts pressure on me.  I can’t explain it.  But when I write something I’m putting myself “out there” and if no one comments, then I think I suck.  Or if it’s really good and I get a lot of comments, I feel like “how am I going to top that?”

And then there’s the whole idea of strangers reading my blog.  And honestly, complete strangers don’t bother me.  The mommies from other states or whatever.  That’s fine.  It’s the people who I kinda know that might find me through facebook or mutual friends and then they’re reading my blog and watching me live my life and not leaving comments, so I don’t really know they are there, but they are.  Like a stalker.  That I kinda know.  Okay I’m talking about ex-boyfriends.  It freaks me out that ex-boyfriends might be reading my blog!  We cut ties, people!  I don’t want contact.  Especially if they aren’t owning up to their stalking ways.  I don’t even know if they really are stalking me, but just the thought that they might be, freaks me out!  I mean, honestly, I’m totally stalkable material, right?  Right?

I sound crazy, right? But that’s not news.  Really.  Ya’ll knew I was crazy.

Then there’s the thought that strangers (not ex-boyfriends or mommies from other states, but weirdos) are really reading about my kids.  It’s just kinda weird.  And Oprah has gotten me all paranoid that there’s a child molester around every corner.  Which according to the Megan’s Law website, there kinda IS!  What if there’s someone reading my blog that IS a child molester and they’re printing out pictures of my kids like that one guy on Desperate Housewives who had that kid shrine in his basement.  *shiver me timbers*  Or the guy from Silence of the Lambs.  What if there’s a freak like the guy from Silence of the Lambs reading my blog?!?!  Then what?  Huh?  Then what?

I’m not the type of mommy blogger that is all discreet and only shows pictures of the back of my kids heads or makes up names for my kids like “Peter Pan” and “Simba,” because frankly there just aren’t enough cute male Disney characters, unless I start naming them after mice and ducks.  But if you sit and think about this stuff for too long, it’s just a wee bit freaky, right?

The world is a scary, scary place.

Alright, maybe not that scary, but still…

And finally, my kids are getting older.  I mean, my oldest is in kindergarten, but I have thought about how he’s going to feel one day if he reads my blog.  Is he going to be embarrassed about some of the stuff I’ve shared?  Or will he think it’s funny, as we all think it is, right?  Will he feel like we’re laughing with him, or at him?   It’s one thing to talk about my almost-5-year-old who still defiantly wets his pants on facebook to my 337 close and personal friends (haha) but putting it out in the blogosphere… kinda embarrassing… but maybe that’ll teach him to stop peeing in his pants, for heaven’s sake!

So, anywho, that’s what I’ve been thinking about and that’s why I’ve been gone for so long.

But it’s nice that some of you have facebooked me and said you’ve missed me, and the others that have “liked” that comment… that’s nice.  Those little blue “thumbs up” really make me feel special.

So, I’ll be back.  Me, Peter Pan, Simba, Nemo, and Sulley have a lot of updates to tell you all about.

I think I’ll adopt the name Mrs. Incredible for myself… for obvious reasons.

Helicopter Parents

I am the first to admit when my kids are out of control.  Really.  I am.  I’ll usually roll my eyes, let out a deep sigh or an “Oh my word!” and quickly remove myself and my kids from the situation… after I’ve threatened them with their lives, that is.

Sunday, however, was not one of those days.

I had met my bestie at the mall and between the two of us we had six boys under 7.  (She had traded in her daughter for her nephew.) Anyway, the boys wanted to play on the playground, even though it was near 100 degrees out, but we allowed it as we sat in the shade and chatted. Soon enough, they came over all red-cheeked and we let them take their shirts off… because they’re boys and they can. That led to playing in the small fountain by the playground, which we also allowed, because like I said it was hellish hot.  I’ve seen plenty of kids play there and I knew it wasn’t against mall policy. We set boundaries; no standing on the fountain and no getting people wet that don’t want to be wet.

They had a blast! They were getting soaked and giggling and yelling with glee and running around chasing each other. Pure childlike fun.  Typical kid stuff, right?

Apparently not.

Apparently, their behavior was disrespectful. Well, according to another mom on the playground, they were completely disrespectful. And I know this not because she confronted either me or my BFF, but because she muttered it as she was walking past us removing her child from being around our little hooligans. She even went so far as to call security to come over. Lame. The security guy came (on his stand-mobile-thing-a-ma-jig) and told us that our kids would probably have more fun at the bigger fountain. He was right, but part of me wanted to stay just to bug this other mother, but we didn’t.

There’s a few names I have for this other mother. One I will not publish on my blog. Another is coward because she couldn’t just come up and tell us her concern. And the last is a helicopter parent.

What is a helicopter parent, you ask?  One that hovers.  One that never lets their child out of their sight.  Which is easily accomplished as a helicopter parent because they never actually let their child further than five feet from their person.  Their kids never take risks because they aren’t allowed… they have boundaries for goodness sakes!  Their kids never make mistakes, because their heli-parent is always there to protect them from failing.  Their kids miss out on a lot of natural kid activity; things like drinking out of the hose, riding their bikes in the street, or digging in the dirt… because God forbid they should eat a little of it… shudder!

One of the biggest problems with helicopter parents is that they are extremely judgy.  Case in point, heli-mommy at the park.  Because she has practically closed the lid on the teeny tiny box that she keeps her kids in, anyone that has slightly wider boundaries for their own children is wrong.  Their kids are misbehaved and unruly, she says.  If heli-parent isn’t a coward, they will probably actually step in and try to parent your kids for you, because Lord knows you aren’t doing a very good job on your own.

Calling them down from the top of a play structure, lest they fall.  Barking at them to slow down as they run through the park, not the mall, the park… a place for running.  Stepping in during disagreements when the children would have actually benefitted from using their own problem solving skills.  These are all things you can catch heli-parent doing as she tries to parent your kids.

What she fails to see is that these other kids, these unruly, disrespectful kids, they are actually normal.  They are exhibiting completely normal childlike behavior.  What she fails to see is that children are not mini-adults that need to be confined and restricted into behaving in a mature way all the time.  They can actually be free to be youthful, and childish, because they are children.      

The biggest problem with helicopter parents are their children that will one say become adults.  They are raising them in such a way that I believe they only have a choice of becoming two types of adults.

One, they will become spoiled brats.  They will think the world revolves around them, they never have anything go wrong, and mistakes are not an option.  The sad part is that things do go wrong, and mistakes will happen, and unfortunately these adults won’t have the tools to handle it.

Secondly, these kids will grow up to become very fearful adults.  Mostly because their parents instilled fear in them by never allowing them to take risks, never allowing them to step outside of their box, and once again never being allowed to feel failure or mistakes.

So, yes, that mom on the playground bugged the be-Jesus out of me and made my blood boil with her judgy attitude and her tattle-telling ways.  I guess I have to walk away thankful that my children will actually experience a real childhood, mudpies for dinner, and all.

Have you ever met a helicopter parent?  What do you think?  Maybe you are a helicopter parent… defend yourself!

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Deep Breath In…

I hate it that I’m sounding like such a complainer, but that’s what blogs are for, right?Because if all I did in real life was complain, I would have zero friends. Because who really wants to hang out with a complainer?  And who really wants to hang out with someone who starts sentences with “because” and “and” all the time?  Not me.

So, Blog, I know it’s not fair, but I unload on you.  And I use a lot of bad grammar when I do it.  Don’t take it personally.

Yesterday was rough.  I started out at the park having a really good playdate with one of my really good friends.  Elijah stayed at home with Daddy, so all I had to do was sit on a bench, chat, and occasionally yell, “You’re being nice, right?”

We came home and Geric left for work and I started thinking, “Hey, when do I go back to work?  I haven’t heard anything.”  I have worked at an Adult School for the last four years, and at the end of the last couple of years the budget has been so bad that we always leave for the summer not really sure of what our schedule will be the following year.  I have moved around to different positions, different locations, and have had my hours cut.  It’s always, oh so exciting.

Anyway, I decided to call my friend who’s the counselor and ask her what’s up… because honestly, my principal just makes me feel a little awkward.  He’s a perfectly nice man, and if he ever read this I would want him to know he’s a perfectly nice man.  Focus in on that, you’re a perfectly nice man, Mr. Principal that shall remain nameless.  But socially, he’s slightly on the awkward side.

So, I called my friend and she said that I wasn’t on the schedule this year.  What?!?!  Honestly, my first thought was, “I jumped through all those hoops to get that STUPID TB test and I didn’t even have to???”  But then I got off the phone and I thought about it some more.  Why didn’t I even get a phone call letting me know that?  Or even an email?  School starts next week.  They’ve obviously known for awhile that I wasn’t going to be coming back, and no one (especially the principal) had the cajones to pick up the phone and let me know?  When I told my mom she said that that would just be common courtesy.  I said, no it’s less than that.  It’s just decent.

So, I got off the phone and went to get the mail.

First envelope I opened was from Kaiser.  It said that even though I don’t have TB and my chest x-ray came back clear I may need to take some antibiotics, so they made me an appointment.  Thanks.  But no thanks.

Next envelope.  From the toll roads.  Geric got another ticket because he hasn’t registered his car on our account and I keep the box in the van.  Any year now that he’d like to get around to doing that would be awesome.

Next envelope.  From IndyMac.  Basically said that since we are in foreclosure we have a personal agent to keep in contact with so they can assist us to the best of their abilities.  I like to think of him as my personal foreclosure buddy.  Like when the man comes to hang the big giant white “Sign of Shame” on my window I’ll run to my foreclosure buddy and buddy up, holding his hand real tight.  Because that’s probably all they can do to the best of their ability.  The letter went on to say that we have options.  We could always APPLY FOR A LOAN MODIFICATION!!!!  Are you freaking kidding me?  These people seriously are like the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.  Pure unadulterated incompetence at it’s finest, over there at IndyMac.

The next thing I saw was this magazine from Loma Linda.

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And you know what?  At this point I was so pissed that I felt like these three women were just taunting me.  The blonde in the middle, she’s the worst.  Her giant toothy laugh is just too much.  It’s almost like she smelled something stanky.  It’s like she’s looking at me and saying, “You got yours, Erin.  Oh yes, you got yours.”  Then throwing her head back in an ugly cackle.  I want to punch her right in the nose.  I want her to take her magazine and shove it.  Her magazine about women’s health that includes an article on bad hair care.  That’s not even a women’s health issue, genius.  She pisses me off.

It was right about then that I realized I had lost it.

So, I loaded the boys in the van and went to the grocery store.

And I bought two gallons of ice cream.

Deep breath in…

In Which Geric Can Never Leave Again

I took the boys to go see Winnie the Pooh the other day and I noticed that all the Winnie the Pooh stories start with “In Which.”  I like it.  Enjoy.

Geric left on Tuesday night for a missions trip to Detroit with our church.  I was really okay with it.  I really, really was.  He loves doing ministry.  God was going to show up and he would get to be a part of it.  Awesome.

But due to series of mishaps, I have decided he can’t leave again for a very, very long time.

Here’s what happened:

1.  Notice of foreclosure:  If you missed it, you can read my rant here. And, actually, the notices came the day before he left, but I was left here with the thought of being in foreclosure and that thought got to fester and annoy me all week, without him here to hug me and say, “We’re going to be okay.”  I got to obsess looking at Craig’s List and the MLS for a new place to live in case the sheriff came and put the “sign of shame” on our door while Geric was gone.  My mind never stops, people!  

2.  Positive TB Test:  Yes, you read that right.  I have TB!!!  Okay, not really.  Well, sort of.  I don’t know.  I have to get a TB test every so often because I’m a teacher.  The district sent me to this tiny clinic where the front desk girl was the “nurse” that gave me the test.  Not sketchy at all.    When I came back two days later, it was positive!!!  The nurse practitioner said I have to go to Kaiser now for a chest x-ray and then I have to meet with a doctor after that.  It really just means that I’ve been exposed to the infection, cause I’m not coughing up blood or anything.  That would be really scary.  But, honestly, it’s annoying that I’m doing all of this just so I can keep my job that has cut my hours to two hours a week.  Lame.  I’m spending more time at the doctors that I will be working my first month back to school.  And my three kids get to accompany me every step of the medical journey.  Yay.  They were so noisy in the doctor’s office the other day that the NP actually yelled at them.  That’s so not embarrassing in case you were wondering.  So.  Not.  Embarrassing.

3.  My Kids are Out of Control:  Honestly, this is nothing new.  My boys are not the most behaved kids in the world.  I love them with all my heart.  I truly, truly do.  But I know that if we’re at the park or church or Chick-fil-a and I see another kid crying, it’s probably because one of my boys did something to them.  I don’t know why they’re like that.  Maybe is my awesome parenting skills?  I don’t know.  Sometimes they’re little angels, like when they’re sleeping.  But this week, they have been extra, extra obnoxious.  For example, see #2 above.  And without Geric here to give me a break it has felt non-stop.

4.  Elijah Doesn’t Sleep:  My baby is great napper.  He’s like clockwork when it comes to napping.  Nap Champ, that’s what I call him.  But nighttime is a completely different story.  He still wakes up two or three times every night.  It doesn’t help that he’s still in our room, but since we live in this dinky little two bedroom house (that is in foreclosure!!!) there’s no where else to put the poor guy.  So, I hear every peep and roll-over and what have you.  Which equals one exhasuted mommy.  Which is probably why my parenting skills are less than stellar.  Which is probably why my kids are out of control.  Which is probably why I have TB.  Just kidding.  On the last one.  Just to give Elijah a little credit, he did sleep well last night, but it didn’t matter because…

5.  Throw up:  Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, I think we all ate some bad spaghetti sauce.  I started feeling nauseous yesterday afternoon.  (Sidenote: why does everyone jump to “are you pregnant?” if you feel nauseous?  Is it just me?)  So I took the big boys to my mom and dads, where I threw up.  Always a good time.  I could never be bulimic.  Never.  I took Elijah home with me (where he slept well) but I was up all night sick.  My mom called this morning and the first thing out of her mouth was, “How many times can a little boy throw up in the middle of the night?”  I know it sucks for my mom and dad, but THANK GOD they were there and not with sick ol’ me.  Today we’re feeling a little peaked, but better.

Geric is due to arrive home tonight at midnight.

If we make it through today it’ll be a miracle.

And he’s never leaving again.

The Ridiculousness of Loan Modification

This may be too much info about me, but since I already mentioned in a previous post that I put my pregnant self and newborn baby on medi-cal I figure you all know that we aren’t the riches folks in the world, right?  We aren’t the poorest by any means, but we aren’t the richest either.

So, back when Geric started his own business (over two years ago now) we contacted our mortgage lender in order to start the loan modification process. Obama said we could.  We were practically “Joe the plumber.”  My parents had been helping us out with our mortgage and Geric didn’t feel right about that anymore, but since there was also a significant decrease in our income we thought we were a shoe in.  Wrong.

Did I mention that was over 2 years ago?  Because it was.

Since then we have filled out three separate applications (each about 20 pages long), turned in income tax records (for both years), pay stubs every month from me, profit and loss statements in several different formats that weren’t acceptable to “the review team”… even the one from our accountant wasn’t acceptable, contribution letters, quick claim deeds, a couple of other affidavits, and guess what?  We are in the same place we were in two years ago.  That would be in a house that is worth far less than what we paid for it, making less than what we made when we bought it, and no hope in sight… even though the program we’re applying for has the catchy title “Hope for Homeowners.”  Love it.

I guess this post is just a rant.  Because, honestly, there’s nothing funny about it.

A couple of days ago, the day before Geric left for a missions trip for a week, the mailman came to my door with 40 pieces of certified mail.  40 pieces!  Practically a fourth of the rainforest.  Geric, my mom, my dad, and I all received 10 envelopes and within those envelopes there were two different letters (each repeated 5 times.)  I suppose they didn’t want us to use the excuse that “we never got that letter.”  Don’t worry, we won’t.  Each letter said two things.  The first one said that we owed a debt.  Thanks, Captain Obvious!  The second said that we were in foreclosure.  Cue the piano to drop on my head.  I mean, I knew it was a definite possibility.  Actually, I knew it was more than a possibility, but when it really happened, it was just shocking.

The problem is that we really wanted to try and short sell our house, but we can’t even apply for that until we’ve been rejected for a loan modification.  So we called the bank the day we received our “fan mail” to see if any progress was bring made in the way of a loan modification, and guess what?  They need another contribution letter (slightly re-worded), the quick claim deed to be faxed (for the third time), and last months profit and loss statement from Geric.  Really?  Really?

I feel like I’m being played with.  I feel like they’re just stringing us along.  I feel like we are getting royally screwed, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it but keep answering they’re requests, hope for the best, and hope that a sheriff doesn’t come knocking at my door and tell me I have 30 days to get out of my house.

It sucks even more knowing that we actually started off doing the right thing.  We bought our house putting 20% down and we got a 30-year-fixed-loan.  And, honestly, they didn’t even start taking out requests seriously (as if they’re serious now) until we stopped paying our mortgage, which we had faithfully been doing for a year and half of this ridiculous process.  It’s almost as if we are being punished because we did things right and everyone else that bought a house with nothing down or with a government arm loan is being told, “Oh, bad move.  Here let me help you.”  No offense if you did that, but those people went into it knowing there was a risk that their mortgage would go up significantly.  So why are they being soothed and we are being ignored?  It just seems backwards.

I know, in the end we’ll be okay.  We won’t be homeless, ever.

But It’s the injustice of it all that’s killing me.  It feels like nobody cares.  Like all they care about is their money.  And I don’t expect Obama to care about me individually, but where’s the hope and change, Big Man?  (Sorry, was that out of line?  The “big man” reference I mean.)  I kinda want to call up Michael Moore and have him make a documentary about the injustices of the housing market, but it seems like he’s simmered down since democrats have taken over, doesn’t it?

I don’t know.  It’s all enough to make me want to throw up, really.  The unknown is a killer.  And being completely out of control is even worse.

So, anyone been through this before?  Can you relate?