Monthly Archives: January 2016

Endorsing New Parenthood, Sarah Palin style

Here is an endorsement of becoming a new parent, Sarah Palin style.

Greetings to all my mamas and my almost-mamas, the happy preggos and the baby bumpers, the ladies in the pudding club and to those who just like pudding.

I’m here to lend my support to new parenthood because you all have gone through the wringer, or maybe not yet but you will. And these days it’s plop plop! Fizz fizz! All the time. It isn’t alka seltzer, it’s bodily fluids. Can I get a hallelujah!! Your little tootsie is going to simmer in his own juices like a crockpot stew. And guess what, you’re gonna wear those juices like a drugstore body wash. And you say, “Son of a biscuit, but I’ll just shower,” but these days, you gotta fight for your right to potty. You wana use the restroom, well cry me a river sister.

And little old ladies love, just love. Enjoy the Ooohs and Aaahs…because soon it’ll be side-eye and advice. Love the doting while you’ve got it. And also don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.

And when you care enough to send the very best…but really you don’t care at all, you aren’t sending anything. You’ve forgotten everyone’s birthday and that anyone else was alive and when you dressed as a zombie for Halloween, everyone thought that was really you! Snap! Crackle! Pop! That’s the sound of your old relationships.

So this is all funny haha, well not funny haha, more funny like I AM NOT GOING TO TELL YOU AGAIN TO TURN OFF THE FOOTBALL GAME AND LEND ME A HAND, YOU ARE NOT LISTENING.

Bon Voyage! To all the single ladies on the party boat! Save me a seat, I’ll still be awake. Knick-knack, paddy whack! Right on the head because I haven’t slept in six weeks.

And I’m sick of it…! I’m doggone mad about it! They cry and they weep, they burp and they sleep. This one has a little star. This one has a little car. Say, what a lot of fish there are. Wait…where was I?

Oh and they’re so great. They grow so fast. Before you know it, they’re a little bit older and then you’re sane again. And you look back and say that time was so great. I could do it all over again.

Because love, love, love, love, crazy love. And that is why I endorse new parenthood. God bless all of the new mamas and the papas singing the California Dreamin’ that makes the world go round.  And God bless America.

five stages of being blizzarded in with your lovely family

denial–“Hey, hon. Newspaper says all weather models agree that we’re getting eleventy million inches of snow starting tomorrow with a possible sprinkle of locusts. You don’t think they’ll close school, right? I mean, those guys are wrong ALL the time!”

anger–“Oh my GAWD, if you make your three year old brother scream ONE more time you will lose all screen time until college. It’s not even 9am yet! It’s too early for mommy’s ears to bleed.

bargaining–“Listen. If you guys can keep the decibel level less than 90 and get along with each other, and not smear the baby with peanut butter [I don’t care whether he likes it, not relevant] for ten consecutive minutes I will give you guys EACH 10 dollars! maybe 20 dollars! ..and a car! even the 3 year old! Please?!

depression–“…sure, you can send your kids over. sure, even the one hopped up on sour patch kids and mountain dew. at this point, what’s another kid or two? if you need me I’ll be in the bedroom with the door shut and locked, sucking down some Maury reruns.”

acceptance–“hey! we made it! the whole day! no one died! GoooooOOOO us!!! [no way school will be closed again tomorrow, right? ohmahgaaaad]”

Murphy’s Law of Traveling Husbands

The hubs has to take a business trip and will be gone for 7 days.  “No problem!” you say — perhaps a bit too readily, in a voice that’s maybe a bit too chirpy.  And why hesitate?  The grass is green, the sun is shining and the kids are all getting along.

The problem, fellow Moms, is that you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security.  This is the calm before the storm, the moment in the movie where the husband waves good-bye and heads into his taxicab.  Next thing you know, the light has darkened, the score changes from lilting staccato to one baritone chord on the piano, and you have to fight the urge to yell at the protagonist, “RUN!”

But the Mom — yes, that’s you — can’t run.  The mom must go back inside the house and face Murphy’s Law of Traveling Husbands.  Here is everything that will go wrong when your husband is traveling:

  1. One or more kids will get sick.  That little mosquito bite on his leg before your husband left?  Turns out it’s a raging case of poison ivy and you’ll need to visit the doctor to get Benedryl.  That little cough your four year old had?  While you were peacefully sleeping at one a.m., you’ll learn that it was croup and you’ll have to aggressively comb through your Rolodex of neighbors and parents who haven’t figured out the Do not Disturb feature on their iPhones to get babysitting coverage for your older kids while you take the little one to the ER.
  2. Your house will break.  This happened to me when my husband recently left for a trip in early January and our furnace decided to throw in the towel. (see angry, bitter Jan 5 post about dealing with Home Warranty Companies)
  3. Your child will get an incredibly huge science project — due the day before your husband returns.  Yes, little Johnny will prance home from school in the afternoon, hugging a paper that reads:  Your child will be participating in the Annual Science Fair.  Please assist him or her in building his own photobioreactor, or denaturing proteins, or creating a magnetic linear accelerator.  Projects will be due in three days.
  4. The weather will turn.  While it may have been 60 degrees and sunny when your husband was home, now it’s 8 degrees, cloudy with a wintry mix, and there are several sheets of ice on the road — enough to make you fear driving on the slick surface.  Unfortunately the school board will agree with you and cancel school for the duration of your husband’s trip.
  5. You will forget something major.  This happened to me when my pre-schooler casually mentioned that I had forgotten to put something in his backpack for Show-and-Tell day.  “It’s okay,” he said forgivingly. “I just talked to the class.”

The good news is that eventually your wandering husband will return home, and you can greet him with a laundry list of all the things that went wrong in his absence.  He will feel loved and appreciated, and most of all, he can be left with the broken house, sick kids and icy weather while you plan a girls trip to Mexico.

Dealing with Home Warranty Companies: The Forgotten Plague

In the Old Testament, when the Egyptians were dealing with the wrath of the Lord, when they were facing lice and darkness, boils, wild animals, hail and fire… the good Lord should have looked upon them and said, “None of my previous punishments have worked thus far. I shall now subject you to DEALING WITH A HOME INSURANCE COMPANY! And HSA in particular! Good luck.”

And this is the predicament I found myself in Monday morning, shortly after the holiday season, when temperatures hovered around the 30 degree-Fahrenheit mark, and my dear furnace decided that it just couldn’t fight the good fight anymore. At around 8 am, with a clanging and a wheeze, my upstairs furnace kicked the dust.

Monday morning, I called HSA and sat on hold for 45 minutes. With my kids prancing and scampering about, I listened to the instrumental version of O Come All Ye Faithful about 500 times, all the while shushing my children to be quiet because I would be speaking to a real live person soon – really any moment now. Interspersed with the holiday music were robotic prompts promising that my call was very important to them, someone would be with me shortly, and that I always had the option to deal with my warranty claim on-line.

Optimistically, I figured I would stay on the call. After all, the robot had said my call would be answered in the order it had been received, and with 30 minutes of instrumental Christmas-carol listening and child-shushing under my belt, I didn’t want to lose my place in line. But sadly, at the end of my 45-minute wait, the system hung up on me. I’m sure this is just a systems error, I figured, still hopeful that HSA was an actual company with actual workers who were going to help fix my actual problem.

So then I did as the prompt suggested and went online to myhomewarranty.com. This is where I confess that all my years of formal schooling have failed me…because while I can debate Descartes’ Ontological Argument until the cows come home, I could not tell you whether my furnace is central combustor or resistance unit – whether it’s forced air or non-duct heating. Is there a heat pump involved? A fan? I have absolutely no idea. Basically I press an arrow on the thermostat and the heat comes on…and before yesterday, I never thought too much about it. I eventually selected “wall unit” because, after all, my furnace is located in the wall. But I would learn later that no, this was not the right selection.

The system dispatched a local company we’ll call Sequoia Enterprises to come out and fix the problem. Wow, I thought, that was easy, blissfully unaware of my own brazen naivety. All was good until Sequoia called me and mentioned that they don’t fix wall furnaces. (And in fact, they rarely ever get calls to fix wall furnaces, being that they are not the usual type of furnace in most homes in our area.)

So I had made the wrong choice and I was now back to square one with HSA. My options were to play another round of Russian Roulette with the online system or sit on hold if I made a phone call. I chose the latter, and sat on hold for thirty minutes, with the same robotic prompts and Christmas muzak as earlier in the day. Eventually a real live person did come on. She assured me that I did not have a wall unit, that Sequoia would be able to help me, and that my issue would be re-dispatched and coded as an emergency (since after all, temps were hovering around 25 degrees).

I was told I’d hear from someone at Sequoia within the next thirty minutes. When I didn’t, I called them and learned that they closed at 4pm. So much for my emergency. We spent the night huddled beneath blankets, turned our basement furnace up and hoped the heat would rise. It didn’t – and my kids woke up cold a few times.

The next morning, I was freezing and sleep-deprived. I called Sequoia and spoke to someone who claimed they had received no such emergency dispatch from HSA and my only recourse was to speak with the warranty company directly. So I called HSA and sat on hold for over an hour. Same Christmas muzak, same robotic prompts promising that my call was very important to them. No one ever picked up. By this time it had been 24 hours and I was still at square one! This is when my doubts started formulating as to whether HSA is a real company. Perhaps it exists somewhere over the rainbow, staffed by gnomes and elves. Or maybe it’s a psychological experiment, meant to test the emotional resolve of homeowners. Either way, it certainly doesn’t seem like a home warranty company with any interest or ability to help its customers.

In a fit of emotion and anger, I called Sequoia back for the third time, and with their help, I was able to get through to HSA. This is when I learned that my issue was not actually an emergency, since my house has two furnaces. I explained through clenched teeth that I don’t care whether it’s treated as an emergency. I just want it to be treated as something that involves a technician who can come to my home and fix the problem. Something that isn’t nothing is basically where I’ve set the bar.

So Sequoia is going to come out tomorrow morning and hopefully fix the furnace. We face one more night of cold and sleeplessness and then hopefully the problem will be fixed, HSA will hopefully pay for their share less the deductible, and I can rest assured that all is well and good…until the next thing breaks.