Monday, July 27, 2009

Me & The Boys

Well, Friday was not fun and sun as originally planned in my last entry…

No, Friday was spent snuggling on the bed all day watching Sponge Bob with my little guy. Nicholas apparently caught a cold from his older brother Andrew. Andrew has been fighting a cold too, and his friends he has hanging out with all summer (whom I refer to as The Lost Boys) are all coming down with the same symptoms. They had a small fever, but now that it gone. They still have that cough and stuffiness however. They are getting better…just not 100% yet.

Andrew has been spending most of his summer at his grandma’s house. Well, may be I should refer to my mom’s house as, “Anna’s Hotel”. You see, Andrew doesn’t really spend all of his summer at his grandmother’s house—but rather with his friends from his old school. They like to hang out downtown, and go to the beach, and work on their music. That is totally fine with me, I mean he should enjoy his summer, but he just gets home to my mom’s house a little too late for my liking, with a friend or two in tow with him. My mom enjoys her grandson’s company, but lately, I think she if feeling more like an owner of a bed and breakfast. Andrew’s friends just adore my mom. For some of them, I think it’s the only time they actually get a hot breakfast in the morning. I’m sorry, but some of my son’s friends come across as orphans to me-they are all pretty much good kids, but “lost”. Call me over-bearing, but some of the parents of these kids come across really flakey to me. I have met a few of them, and they just seem to laugh off my concerns, with “typical teenager” comments. Perhaps I’m over-reacting, or may be its because I work where I do and know of things that go on, or may be I was raised in a very protective environment (my parents never let us out at night—nights were spent watching The Love Boat and Fantasy Island with cookies and milk-unless we were in the Azores when we could stay up till 2 a.m. because it was “safe” there.) but I don’t like my son walking downtown after dark, and I insist on him being at home by a certain hour. I’ve been voicing my concerns to Andrew, and I have told him that his friends remind me of the Lost Boys from Peter Pan. Of course Andrew thinks it’s hilarious.

Andrew has been home for the last two days, and it has been so nice to have my “Lost Boy” at home, having him sit next to me on the couch, without me worrying where he is with the rest of his crew. No calls from my mom asking where he is because it’s almost 9 pm, and not getting calls from lost boy explaining:

“But mom, it’s not really dark yet outside!”

True, you got to love these summer evenings when it’s not really dark until 9:30, but still. School starts on August 17th for him. I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t looking forward to it.

Lots of things to look forward to this summer however! In a few weeks we’ll be going to pay a visit to my husband’s cool step-sister, Janet-aka: Aunt Janet in Venice, California, and they off to Disneyland for a few days. Then, school starts, and Matt starts college. It will be strange not having a 6’3 “man boy” around the house. I wonder how long it will take for him to miss us. (He doesn’t think he will, but I beg to differ).

Looking further ahead, Lizzy is going to be turning 21 the first week of September. Instead of going to bars, she wants to stay home and have a barbecue and watch movies in the backyard. Sounds good to me! I wouldn’t be surprised if she asked for a jump house again to tell you the truth.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Work Furlough Day

Tomorrow is Friday, and because I am a county employee, I don’t go to work tomorrow. Tomorrow is a “work furlough day” which means, we have an unpaid work “holiday” in order to save money = jobs. I’m already volunteered to work a 30 hour week, but I still have to take all furlough days like everyone else. Counties got off lucky---they only have one day a month—state agencies have to take two days off each month—that’s 10% of their salary.

So, I’m sitting here thinking of ways I can spend this furlough day. Here are some ideas that I have entertained:

I could sleep in and stay in pajamas all day.

Okay that is not realistic at all. It would be a complete waste of a day…my kids would prevent this from happening somehow.

I could go to the grocery store.

Good idea. I need to stock up on juice. I buy a gallon of juice—it’s gone by the end of the day. I’m not kidding. Juice does not last long in my house…nor does toilet paper, and paper towels.

I could go Avon pushing.

Yes, I could grab my chili pepper bag and go door to door pushing Avon to the neighbors in the neighborhood. Who am I kidding? I’d rather just throw a brochure on their welcome mat instead-I’m not a in your face Avon lady---not a top seller by any means, but I could put on my Curves pants and burn off some poundage. By the way, there are a lot of big summer deals at Avon. If you want free shipping---inquire within.

I could clean the house.

I could clean the house any day…why do it on my day off? Nah..scratch this one off!

I could go to the beach.

I like this one. I haven’t been to the beach for what seems forever, and when I finally do it’s already the end of summer, and I want to kick myself for not doing it sooner or more often. I bought some new sand toys for Nicholas, and the weather has been great.

Beach it is.

P.S. I took my son to his swimming lesson this afternoon. The Drama Mama lady was not there. This is a good thing.. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Drama At The Pool

It’s Wednesday!

So far it’s been kind of a busy summer! Nicholas is now out of summer school, so now I actually can enjoy a whole hour lunch without rushing around back and forth. Now I can take a breather until school starts again next month. It’s kind of sad that school starts so soon already. Andrew starts back up on August 17th, and Nick starts again on the 26th. Why can’t school start AFTER Labor Day like when I was a kid? Of course, when I was a kid, we didn’t have mini days every week, or teacher work days where the kids don’t have school like they have now.

Nicholas still has his swimming lessons twice a week and is really enjoying it. It’s fun to watch him floating around, getting all excited about blowing bubbles, but lately there has been quite a bit of drama at the pool.

In front of the pool there is a “splash pad” where the kids can go and run through the sprinklers and stuff after their lessons are before their lessons. It’s now closed. Okay, I’m a little more pleased than my son is about it mainly because it was always such a pain in the butt to get him out of there to go home. But, there is one person in particular that I know of that complained about it—and I think she made a point of complaining on her cell phone in front of ME.

The reason why I think she was directing her complaint towards me was because a few days previous, Nicholas was not listening to me, and made a big fuss to not leave when I asked him to leave. It was the day when I actually had to go to the splash pad and run after him to get his little butt in the car to go home.

Well anyway, I’m sitting there on the bench watching Nicholas playing in the splash pad after his lesson with other kids, and here is this mother with her designer sunglasses sitting right next to me. I was a little surprised that she sat so close. If you saw us you would think she was a relative or a close friend who stopped to chat with me. She sat a little too close for comfort---if you know what I mean. Well anyway, she gets on her cell phone and talks away to her what I’m guessing was her significant other complaining and whining. Her major complaint was:

“Oh and there are kids playing in the splash pad right now. They have been in there for over 10 minutes! When Sara finishes her lesson she is only allowed to be in there for like, 30 seconds! It’s just not fair!”


“Oh, and I don’t know if I’m going to continue with lessons here because they won’t even let the parents sit near to watch, and we have to sit by this splash pad, and it’s too noisy, and the kids are so disruptive!”

Then she gets off the phone, and calls the swimming school directly and leaves a message to have them call her back because she has a complaint.

Of course everyone can hear her talk away complaining and whining, and suddenly we mothers who have been watching our “disruptive children” get up as if in unison with out towels telling the kids to get out. Luckily, Nicholas got out without argument.

At the next lesson, the splash pad was turned off. Nicholas asked again why the splash pad was turned off, and he got the same explanation about some of the parents complaining about it.

Yesterday, the splash pool was still turned off, and I noticed the whining complaining woman who had complained on her cell phone about it being “so disruptive and so unfair” had just walked in. I thought she would be pleased to see it turned off, but apparently, that wasn’t the case. She actually let her daughter go in and turn in on. I guess she felt her daughter wouldn’t be disruptive. Then hell broke loose.

One of the teachers called out to her daughter that she couldn’t play there, and it was closed. Of course the girl’s mother took offense and told the teacher to: “Do not yell at my daughter!”

Oh brother!

The teacher did not yell---she merely said it loud enough so the little girl could hear her from the pool, and she certainly wasn’t rude at all.

Well I and Nicholas quickly left the scene—it was getting tense. I had to laugh. I’m sorry. This lady was full of bull crap. First she complains about it being on, and then she wants it on for HER DAUGHTER. Right!! I hope she saw me laugh too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My name is Julie, and my carpets are just fine!

This afternoon, I get a call at home from an automated solicitation call:

"Isn't it time you cleaned your carpets?"

No hello, or how are you--just an automated operator telling me that my carpets are dirty. I immediately told the automated operator to "F you!" as I hung up the phone.

Yes, I'm having one of those weeks. I usually don't say the F word, nor do I usually talk back to automated operators.

Yes, it's been one of those weeks: Nicholas is testing his boundaries again! He is in that mode: "How long will it take for mommy to chase me around the playground, if I run in circles and hide behind a tree." He apparently was playing the same game with his grandmother this afternoon. My mother was not pleased--especially when he threw her shopping list she had written over the fence in the neighbor's backyard! "Now my neighbors are going to know what I need at the store!" Sure they could care less, I'm sure---even if they could read my mother's writing--(another story). So, I left a hour early from work and raced over to my mother's house, where I immediately met Nicholas in the front yard, wearing a devilish grin. After chasing him around the house, into the house, upstairs, and onto the deck, and dragged him into the van--finally strapping him in. I was ready to go home and try to relax.

Nicholas finally fell asleep in the van, and joyfully he continued to take a nice long nap at home...when the phone rings, and this automated operator tells me that my carpet is not clean.

I HATE solicitation calls---especially from automated operators!! I get these calls at work for refinance, insurance for my credit cards..etc..etc... I even get calls from President Obama telling me to go back to school! I PRESS THE 2 button like they tell me to STOP getting these calls - to be taken off the phone list, but does it work?! No--it doesn't!!

Okay, and now lets talk about the solicitation calls with REAL people. What a joy they are. I cannot tell you how many times people call me and ask for "Maureen". That is not my name. That is my husband's ex-wifes name. I tell them, and try and correct them, but it never works--they don't care. I was once sent a whole kit to distribute in the neighborhood for a charitible cause, but they still sent it to Maureen. I sent it back. They called, and asked me why--I told them they had the wrong person. My name is Julie. I not only get calls for her, I also get mail for her. Why in the hell do I get her mail? She has never lived at this address! Not only do I get calls and mail, I also get free samples. Today I got free samples of Kotex Maxi Pads with wings, and panty liners! Okay..I'll keep those, but what I want to know is WHY I get mail for her MOTHER-IN-LAW?! Not my husband's mother, but her new spouse's mother! WHY??!!

Okay.. Perhaps the real reason I'm feeling angry is because I REALLY think my carpets need a good cleaning. Now I got a call confirming what I already know. Lovely. You know how hard it is to keep a carpet clean with teenagers and a 5 year old and a husband, and an art student?! Time to get my steamer out this weekend...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hello, Sunday!

Otilia - my sister-in-law and friend.

The above picture was sent to me my ex-husband's niece. It was one of the last pictures she took before she passed away. Now that she is gone, I am getting emails from my nieces in the Azores more often. Technically, they are my ex-nieces, but I prefer to just call them nieces. They don't refer me to Ex-Aunt Julie---always, Tia Julie. Sounds kind of weird. Tia Julia--that sounds better, huh? Oh well, I'm grateful I'm still referred to as an aunt of theirs, and I'm thrilled that my daughter is in contact with her cousins. One of them is getting married next summer, so with this wedding, and my cousin Tania's wedding, we may be able to see both! Only one catch---my ex-husband will probably be there.

How awkward is that? Where do I sit at church? In the back, or in the front? You see, I don't talk to my ex-husband. He lives in New Jersey, so there really isn't a need to. I never run into him at the store, or see him driving down the street. The only time I do talk to him, is when I need to relay an important message, and when I do, I hope voicemal picks it up instead of him. We won't even talk about his wife--no I don't talk to her either. Do I sit in the church pew with them?! Do I bring my husband with me? Oh gosh..I don't know why I'm thinking about this NOW--it is a year away for God's sake. Perhaps, I'll just show up for the wedding, give the happy couple my wishes, and not go to the reception. Then I can worry all night whether or not their dad drank too much, and wait until the wee hours of the morning for the safe return of my two children. In the Azores cafes don't close until 3 am, so maybe I just hang out there all night with a cousin of mine. Sigh.. It was awkward enough sitting through my step-son's graduation with my husband's ex sitting on the other side of him. I was pretty much viewed as invisible.

Sometimes I think it's easier to be "invisible".

Well, it's Sunday morning, and I'm reflecting over the last week.. It was a good week. It started at the Portuguese parade, church service, and the Portuguese Hall. My cousin Tom and his wife and two kids were there--always nice to see them. You know, I had my camera with me, but I did not take any pictures for some reason. Tuesday was my mother's birthday, so I took the afternoon off and took her out to lunch with the boys-Andrew, his friend Cyrus and Nicholas. Then later I took her to Nicholas' swimming lesson so she could see him swim.

Friday night, Andrew had another performance at the hip hop dance downtown, so Rich and I made a date night out of it and had a nice dinner near the wharf. We are were seated at the corner patio over looking the mouth of the wharf, and watched all the sailboats and motor boats all dock one by one.. It was very pretty. I wish I had my camera that night. Seated next to us, in their Gucci sunglasses, gold jewlery and low-cut "booty call" tight blouses, were the "Housewives of Santa Cruz County." There were six, very blonde, big bosom women sitting there celebrating a divorce--(I've been to one of those gatherings a few times). It was pretty interesting. The more they ordered drinks, the louder they got, and we all got to hear about the divorce, and the rotten husbands and various men of their past, and the runs with the police being called to their homes..etc.. Then the most vocal of them all, started talking about the Bible, and how she disapproved of one of their mutual friends of how she allowed her husband to cheat...etc..etc.. It was interesting to say the least. My husband's back was facing their table, and from where I was sitting I could see various men seated at the restaurant glancing, and staring towards the "Blonde Table" every now and then. I also saw some looks for some disapproving wives...ha ha.. I asked Rich if he was listening to any parts of the conversation behind him, and he said yes. He expects that they would eventually drink a little too much and end up calling up their ex-husbands by the end of the night.

We later saw a movie, The Purposal. It was a cute movie, but it reminded me of that other movie Sandra Bullock did---While You Were Sleeping. I kept on expecting to see Bill Pullman show up. It was a funny, cute movie though---a must see if you are a fan of Betty White and the guy from The Office - you got to see it to believe it!

We got home so late Friday night, Saturday as just spent cleaning and working in the attic. I was able to take another brisk walk around the neighborhood later yesterday with my new IPOD. My God...I love my little Apple Shuffle IPOD! I was prancing around the neighborhood listening to ABBA Gold the whole time, and I was strutting to the music in my Curves trimming pants! There is nothing more liberating strutting to Gimme Gimme Gimme A Man After Midnight down the neighborhood. I hope no one saw me dance!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!!

The last two days Rich and I have been doing some home improvements, and I am happy to say that the new stairway to our attic has been installed! It's not completely done, but hopefully by next weekend we will have cleaned out the garage, throw away all the crap we really don't need anymore, and stuff the stuff we want in the attic so we can fit both of our cars in the garage! Yay! While he was sweating away in the attic, I was sweating away in the kitchen cleaning my oven. Sure, it's a self-cleaning oven, but it doesn't clean every place.. Eww.. Then, of course I had to mop the floor in the kitchen. I'm happy to say my kitchen smells like Pine Sol.

Today, we are having a low key 4th of July. I'm going to have a barbecue, and let Nicholas run through the sprinklers. We'll have watermelon, and Rich has promised to make strawberry daquiries! Yum..yum.. Lizzy is working today, Andrew at his friend's house out of town to see fireworks, and Matt is hybernating in his room until dinner. Rich plans to watch Nascar tonight...

Tomorrow, like every 1st Sunday of July--since I can remember, we are going down to Santa Cruz, pick up Andrew and my mom, and go to the Holy Ghost Portuguese festival. My hometown only holds TWO parades downtown: The Gay & Lesbian Pride parade, and the Portuguese Holy Ghost Parade. After the parade, we are going to church, and eat sopas e carne.

Here are some pictures from Andrew's birthday that I have not had the time to post yet:

Have a great 4th of July!!

I woke up with a whitehead on the tip of my nose...

Isn't that annoying? You wake up after a restful night's sleep, go into the bathroom, look in the mirror, and behold...a little whitehead on the tip of your nose! How did that get there?! Damn. You would think that once you start getting grey hair, pimples cease to appear, but apparently not. I popped it, it's gone... My husband is thinking of getting a buzz cut, thinking that possibly his hair will grow in thicker, and possibly grow in darker. I am totally against a buzz! What ifhis hair doesn't grow back!? I suggested he should color his hair, but he is totally against that. He doesn't do hair color or sandals. According to him, real men go grey, and don't show off their toes.

I am so behind in posting and reading blog entries..

We got back from the desert on Sunday, and it took me a few days to "recover". It was nice to get away for awile, but the desert is just too hot for us. We were in Laughlin, Nevada-about 45 minutes from Las Vegas. It's a cute little casino town, right next to the Colorado River, but the Casinos are not connected, and it was around 110 outside. We stayed at a nicer hotel, but the pool was much too small, and it was too crowded with kids, and younger adults drinking alcoholic beverages... Friday, the pool was fine, but by Saturday-t was not a pleasant experience. I took Nicholas in the pool, and within 15 minutes, he threw up his chocolate ice cream cone. Eww.. Okay, we cleared the pool for a few minutes, and we left the area, but it didn't keep the people away. There were mounds of people that didn't mind jumping in and swimming again. Nicholas was not amused. I convinced him that the pool was too dirty of vomit and pee pee, so he forgot about it quickly.

Taken from the "River Walk", Laughlin Nevada, overlooking the Colorado River. A lot of jet skiing, and motor boats--look at the rock formations..

We did do some shopping at the outlet mall across the street, and it was nice to see Rich's parents again and his uncle and aunt, and his step-sister Janet and a few other people, but we weren't able to spend too much time with them-they were mostly off gambling and my in-laws were hosting, so we couldn't really stay with them with the kids. The boys were content in staying in their air-conditioned room, and Liz and I went shopping. She almost bought a pair of red pants in honor of MJ, but bought a pair of blue ones instead. Her boyfriend has offered to drive up to L.A. with her on Tuesday to go to his funeral by the way...

Breakfast with the Wagner Family Reunion

No tax in Nevada by the way... While we were ringing up a purchase, the young cashier noticed that we were from the bay area, and said, "Wow, I used to live in the North Bay!" I asked him how survived this kind of weather. He responded that he was very hard. He had to completely buy a whole new wardrobe for "desert living".

Nicholas after a walk to the mall...

Nicholas having fun with Aunt Janet at the arcade...

We escaped the heat for awhile and went to see UP at the movie theatre. It was a cute, funny but bittersweet kind of movie. If you are a dog lover, you definitely have to see it!

Okay, I have another entry to work on...this is what I get for not blogging like I should!