Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I love rules; they help to define me, though at times, they confine me as well and I often fantasize about those who can break the rules and never give the consequences another thought.  I am currently dealing with such a person through an eBay transaction and while she is frustrating me to no end, I am intrigued on some level by her boldness (I wanted to write something else there but I am trying to keep this PC).  I have a 'no return' policy when I sell but this buyer decided that she did not like the item she had just bought so she emailed me that she was returning it anyway.  Despite re-stating my policy to her via email, she sent me another email last night with a tracking number apparently having sent the item back already.  Now, breaking this rule was foolhardy for quite a few reasons none the least of which was that she had voided her buyer protection from eBay by not having contacted me or them for approval for the return first.  The greater issue, however, is that I now have not only the item back but her payment as well.  Seems like the problem is all hers, right?  She broke the rule and now she is going to pay for it twice, no?  Ah, there's the rub, the part where my great upbringing comes into play, the part where not only do I know it would be unethical to keep both the money and the item, there is no way I ever would--even when the rep that I called from eBay told me in other words that that is exactly what I should do under the circumstances. Remember, I was taught by nuns so this was a no brainer for me.

I resent being put in this position because not only do I really need the money I will be refunding, the bottom line is that I hate knowing that she 'won' by breaking the rules.  Yes, I do know that I am being the 'bigger person' and doing the right thing, but that does not stop it from annoying the heck out of me as this woman blatantly did what she wanted and got away with it.  I suppose she is pretty lucky that she pulled this stunt with me as the next time she might not be met with an ethical seller and she may lose both her money and her purchase. It would serve her right!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Stress Kills

After much soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion that my husband and I committed an egregious parenting mistake when we embarked on this wonderful journey called parenthood.  Actually, it is a classic newbie error precipitated by our childhoods being marked by parents who always made decisions for us and whose households were anything but democratic.  Our parents said it and we did it--or else.  Personally, though I absolutely adore my mom and love her madly, I knew that there were a few things about her parenting style that I would tweak when I became a parent.  So, we decided to encourage our children to speak their mind (respectfully) and we offered choices so that they would feel empowered and capable from a young age. Likewise, we wanted them to always feel comfortable to question our decision about something if they could effectively substantiate the reason why they might want us to reconsider said decision. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!  Want to know why?  I say this because now we cannot find the 'mute' switch some days.  I swear they have opinions about everything now and they are more than happy, thrilled in fact, to share those opinions what seems like 24/7.  Next to 'mom,' 'I think' are the most often used words in our family.  Despite knowing better, it is so easy to get caught up in the maelstrom some days I find that I am substantiating my reasoning instead of reprimanding them for being so oppositional.  For Mother's Day, I either want a referee shirt/whistle or 'four children who listen' (which is what I tell them I want every year).

Please don't get me wrong, for the most part, knowing that my children can not only articulate a point but back it up logically with examples, often quite compelling ones at that, makes me feel that we did something right.  However, while I would not like to return to my childhood where 'children should be seen but not heard'--though I do fantasize about it on days like today-- I would like a lot more calm some days and a lot less attitude. I bet that my children will have an opinion about this blog, too!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Absent Spring

Everyone I know is absolutely sick and tired of winter here. Oh, we did turn the calendar page on winter last month but it simply will not leave us alone. Today, we not only have unseasonably cold temperatures but we have also had more snow, hail, freezing rain, still more snow, more hail and now freezing rain again and it is only 3:30pm. Lest we grow excited about this finally ending the longest winter ever, meteorologists are alleging we are in for more snow later this week.  I fear for the forecasters as I am sure there is plenty of 'blame the messenger' sentiment around here and, trust me, I have a lot of pent up frustration stemming from not having seen dry pavement in I cannot remember how many months. There is not enough vitamin D around to change my mood and uplift my spirits as I stare out at all the snow and ice on the ground in mid-April!

There is also another terrible offshoot to this weather that surpasses even my crappy mood...my unbridled desire to eat myself out of house and home. This is not your average person's hunger fueled by boredom, no, this is all out savagery brought on by being cooped up in my house, my children jumping from one thing to another in order to stay occupied because they cannot go outside, and my desire to put myself into a food -induced coma so that the next storm will not reduce me to tears. While others crave exercise to raise their spirits, I crave baked goods. You will not find a little sticker on the back of my car proudly telling the world the number of miles I have run as I have yet to see one with a zero on it.  Let me know if you ever find one as it has my name written all over it.

Well, the hail is hitting the windows again. Time to bake some cookies!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Weather" or Not

I am certain you have all seen TV shows that bear a warning before airing such as 'violence' or 'mild nudity'--as if there is such a thing as 'severe nudity.' What the heck is mild about nudity?  Anyway, I digress. I just want you all to know that before you read any further, this post is presented with such a warning.  No, I am not writing in the nude and then posting pictures of myself, but I want all my Midwest-loving readers to know this post may not sit well with them as I am on a tear about the weather here and I am having trouble understanding why so many people just take this weather in stride.  Yes, I certainly understand that if you were born and raised her and it is all you know then you must be more accepting, but I am finding this crappy weather one gigantic bitter pill to swallow.  I don't want to blindly accept that this is my new normal.  Instead, I am choosing to have a tantrum today, so here goes. 

Okay, it is April.  Hail?  Seriously?  The worst part is that this is just the beginning as the forecasters are predicting 4-6 inches of snow later this week. S.N.O.W. in April!  Please don't tell me that it is 'spring snow and it will gone so quickly' as my feeling is that it should not even be here at all...in April, which means spring to the rest of the country.  You know, maybe you have read about it? Daffodils, warmer temps, perhaps some grass turning green.  I took my reflector sticks out of the ground this past weekend but I think I should put them back in so that the plow does not take out our basketball hoop as it did last year if the predictions are accurate.  

My boys play the spring--emphasis here--sport of lacrosse.  They are on the practice fields wearing layers of clothing akin to football players (winter sport!) and have had their opening games cancelled due to inclement weather...in April!  As I sit here today ruminating about how much I want to move back home, I am anticipating a phone from one of my best friends telling me that today's forecast is 78 and sunny. Of course,  I already know as I still listen to an east coast radio station which is proving to be both a blessing and a curse.  My friend loves to rub it in about the weather and she seems to have so very many chances to do so with us living here.  So, a word to the wise today, if you see me milling about please don't ask how I am doing because I may just have to tell you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bullet Train

My house is eerily quiet today as the children have returned to school after a two week and one day spring break.  Although the first week was not the best marked not only by impossibly rotten weather but also doctor appointments and illness, the second week was considerably better and a whole lot more fun.  The weather cooperated beautifully and we actually started to believe that spring was not merely a concept but, in fact, it just might be a reality for us, too.  Mother Nature must have been annoyed at our excitement, however, as her need to show us who is boss brought single digit temperatures yesterday and though sunny today, we still have a real feel of only 25 right now.  Still, we have tasted spring and know it is on the way.

I have never been a fan of returning from spring break as it seems to place us on the fact track to the end of school, unable to catch our breath until we are thrust out of the craziness and into summer break the first week of June.  As if the daily lacrosse practices are not enough, we still have riding, games, concerts, a Transition Dinner, two birthdays and lest we not forget, more homework, tests, projects and for those older children, the dreaded end of year finals.  I must admit that if those things are not enough to bring tears to my eyes, the fact that my oldest will be a rising senior come June is enough to throw me over the edge.  My children think it is hilarious that the mere mention of this fact or anything related to it turns me into a crying fool.  My daughter, who seems to share the same 'quick to tear up' gene that I do, is constantly watching my face when college talk starts to see how long I can hold it together before I break down.  Sadly, she does not have to wait long as the water works are almost instantaneous.

Friends and family tell me all the time that I need to let go and understand that this is the next phase in his life and a wonderful new beginning for him and for us.  Poppycock!  Of course I understand that intellectually and I would never do anything to stand in the way of this new journey for him, but I never thought I could miss someone so much before he has even walked out the door.  To think that he will no longer be part of our daily lives bugging me in the morning about what I might be making for dinner, sending me funny emails or checking out houses with me during Parade of Homes is an almost impossible concept for me to manage.

So, on this first day back after the long break during which my children and I enjoyed our time together, I am feeling terribly melancholic as I sit here alone (after having run hither and yon picking up last minute sports items for said children) and think about the end of school.  I would love to say that I just need to get through this and then it will start to get better, but with a rising freshman come June, I get to re-live this feeling all over again all soon...and then again...and then one more time. Think about it, if I am this out of control for my first child, can you image how I will be for my last? I think I should start interviewing therapists right about now.