Link

Ukranian kid street gymnastics.

 

^^^ Click on these words to see the video. ^^^

I thought this would be Russian when I saw it – the buildings and such. It’s a street gymnastics tournament in the Ukraine. I am always amazed at what kids learn to do when they have few toys. (and video games and tv) My husband and his friends grew up with far fewer toys than we have here in the US and they can all do things like juggle, play ping pong, play soccer, gymnastics, using weapons, blow things up, etc. This is an extreme, but amazing example as well.

You NEED to go see this. Then remind yourself that kids with less “stuff” have more real world experiences. And probably break more bones and set more fires. But that’s a different story.

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Door to Door Sales

I had a door to door salesperson today. She was selling “Advanage Wonder Cleaner” – tbadvanagesales.com.

It isn’t the “wonder” cleaner they said, though her demonstration was quite impressive. She was a typical sales person – pushed her way into my home to clean a stain on my carpet, pushed her way into my bathroom to show me how it works on lime scale and calcium deposits… etc

I bought the stuff. I usually don’t buy anything from anyone. And it was way over priced. But I felt bad for her being out in the heat and smoke (smoke from our wildfires this summer). And I have some inside knowlege many people don’t.

I have known 4 people who have worked for these types of companies trying to save money in the summer for college. They are promised big bucks if only they will work hard. It isn’t that easy. Sales is hard. Really it is. My dad and husband are both in sales. Door to door sales is the hardest.

The people I knew that worked for these types of companies told me the salespeople are treated poorly in general – they are driven to some neighborhood in the heat of the summer, dropped off with their backpack of supplies, and left there all day. Someone comes to pick them up later after 12 hours of work. They don’t always have money, water, or food. I had one relative try to sell books one summer. She had to get a bus ticket home part way through the summer – her treatment was so bad. I had 2 other relatives work at selling extermination contracts for a company – in Arizona (the hottest weather I have ever experienced). They were working for an honest person and someone who knew our family. This person had made very good money several summers in a row. Their treatment was ok, but they made no money in this new market. I mean none. It was still hard work – getting dropped off and walking door to door for 12 hours in the 110 degree heat.I have heard horror stories about people who weren’t allowed to eat that night if they didn’t make their quota. I have heard about people who had to sleep on a hotel floor because they didn’t make enough (some of these companies drive these youth all over the country, packing them into hotels, all summer – and they don’t get paid until the end of the summer, so they don’t have money to eat or anything.)

So, this funny, smart girl comes to my house and makes some cute jokes and does a little demonstration – and I know a lot of the sales person tricks. For example, did you know they are supposed to try and get in the house anyway they can – like asking to use your table to write on, asking for a drink of water, etc. But she came in being so cute – really working her butt off – and obviously so tired and hot – so I bought some overpriced and honestly not impressive cleaner. My husband will probably kill me.

The thing is, then she only had one bottle left and “had to sell them in pairs” which I didn’t believe either. And she called her boss and said she needed one more delivered. From my phone.

The boss calls 10 minutes later, says he knows she said he’d be there in 10 minutes, but he got held up, make it 30. I said sure. So 2 hours later I put a note over the bell: “Dudes selling Amazing Cleaner Stuff: I waited 4 times longer than you told me it would take. I understand stuff comes up. But I gots shit ta do. Please put the cleaner in the milk box. Thanx.” Apparently they liked that – they took the note. I hope I see it on “wins.failblog.org”.

So in the mean time I had looked up reviews on the internet (because I was afraid they weren’t coming back) and found a few that were actually complaining about the product. But more that were complaining about the sales people. Now here is my problem with that. Sales people sell. That’s what they do. We don’t all like it. We don’t. But that’s their job. And they are going to do what it takes to sell to you. Hopefully they don’t outright lie. Because I’ve seen those types. My husband and dad are honest sales people. They wouldn’t lie to make money.

But they would make sure they look nice, and are nicely groomed. They would be outgoing and handsome and funny and use all the little salesmen tricks. Hint – if you are a sales person, don’t ever tell a sales person that’s what you do. My husband’s boss (who is a great salesman) once told a real estate agent that if he didn’t buy a higher priced car he wouldn’t sell as much. Because he knows that the real estate agent knows it’s true. Salesmen know what sells. Looking successful sells. Also being handsome and funny like my hubby sells.

So, to all you who complained about the salesmen, here is my advice: don’t open the door to them. In fact, put up a sign that says you will call the police on solicitors – because it’s illegal in many neighborhoods. And they will leave you alone. If you have to buy a car or insurance – well, I don’t know how to tell you to avoid those salesmen. I’m sure there are ways.

Just remember – they are people too, trying to put food on their family’s table. Sometimes it’s the job they do best, and sometimes it’s the best they can do. But at least they are doing it and trying. Give em a break.

Sleep Study

So, I thought I’d fill y’all in on what a sleep study is like.

I was sent to do a sleep study. I’m not sure why my doctor got it in her head to do this. I went in complaining of fatigue, bone aches, etc. All my bloods were fine, but my symptoms keep on. She asked me if I snore and decided to do a sleep study. I’m wondering if she has a contract with the people who sell the CPAP machines….

Anyway. I set up my sleep study and headed over there. First of all, I should have asked to do it at their clinic in the nicer hospital. I’m sure the surroundings would have been much more luxurious. On the phone they tell me the clinic is like a hotel. Maybe if you are staying in a super 8. Twenty years ago. In a little town in Wyoming….

I have to check in at 9:30 at night. I get to the building which is in one of the worse neighborhoods near us. I have to enter a code at the door and they buzz me up. I meet this very nice older lady who will be my technician for the night. Claudia takes me to my room and tells me to go to the restroom and get some water and then get changed into my pajamas.

The room is about the size of a large walk in closet. Just big enough to hold a dresser – on top of which is a tv from the 1980’s, a bedside table which has machines on it, and a double sized bed. It does have a headboard. The sheets are scratchy, the blankets smell a little, and there is no comforter. I have to ask for a few more blankets throughout the night. The carpeting is a lot like a hotel’s. Ugly and dirty looking. The mattress is no sleep number bed, and I am glad I brought my own pillow.

I do my stuff, fill out some forms, and Claudia comes in to hook me up to 27 wires. She uses sticky stuff and paper tape. She sticks EKG electrodes to my body – my face in 7 places, my neck, the back of my head in 6 places, my legs, my shoulders, behind my ears. She puts 3 belts around my middle section which she puts little boxes on. She measures my neck. She asks a few questions. She puts a blood oxygen meter on my finger. Then she puts me in bed. I am laying on a bunch of wires draped down my back, and some of them come around the the front too. THEN she puts a breathing monitor on my face – it’s like an oxygen cannula but worse. She also lets me try a few of the CPAP masks to see which one I like in case she has to put one on at 2am. I hate them all.

She turns off the light and goes in the other room. She turns on a video camera and a microphone/recording system. She asks me to do things like blink, flex my feet, breathe deeply, etc. Then I am supposed to go to sleep, on my back, which is NOT how I sleep. She comes in several times between 11 and 12 because one or a few of my leads keeps coming undone. I don’t sleep much – and after 2 when I wake up and realize they don’t have enough data to put a mask on me, I roll onto my side to sleep. Which is when all the “activity” happens.

When I have to go to the bathroom, I just have to call her name and she comes immediately to help. When I get cold she brings me a blanket. Claudia is awesome. It’s just the rest of it I hate.

In the morning (5 am) I can’t sleep anymore and she comes in to take off all the leads. I have a bunch of gel in my hair like “There’s Something about Mary” and the tape pulls off my skin. I get dressed, drive home, shower, get my kid to camp, and after a couple hours try to sleep. It doesn’t work well.

Now I have tape marks all over my face and neck and have to go somewhere. I am also exhausted, so I guess I’ll sleep well tonight. In my own bed. In my own home.

I will probably have to go back to sleep with the mask on. I will wait to see the report before I decide. This time I will request the other office and see if it’s nicer. LOL

Angry days.

We all have them. I used to have them a lot – days where I was so angry I wanted to smash things – sometimes I did. I used to have days where in the still of the night when I couldn’t sleep I imagined fist fights and breaking big things. I don’t have the physical strength for that anymore and honestly, I think I have changed some – softened maybe.

I still have those days once in a while. Days where I pick fights with my husband about nothing. Where I growl at my son over things I don’t normally. Where I stomp around throwing people dirty looks and lecture people via social media. (I know, right?)

Last night I spent the night at a sleep lab. I had a sleep study done. I didn’t sleep much – I did take a nap late this morning – but I woke up in the same mean angry mood.

My head feels like a Pink video mated with a Joan Jett song. 

It makes me want to hurt things. It makes me want to start a fight. 

I am going to do something with myself so that I can get out of this head-space before my family comes home. Everyone suffers when mama feels like this.

Just show up.

Some days are hard.

I have been waking early and in pain a lot lately. I am trying to figure out what all this pain is, but have yet to pin point it. Going to several specialists in the next week or two. This morning I woke up at 5 and I was hurting from my head to my fingers on the right side, and both legs. I try to meditate when I wake up early like that, but I often have a restless body and brain.

I don’t like to write posts like this. I want to be funny and fun and smiling and bright. I hate to admit I am those things much less than I want to be. Much less, even, then I try to be. I hate to admit I hurt all the time. I hate to admit that I complain about my little ailments when there are plenty of people out there who would be happy to have mine instead of theirs.

I decided to write this post today because life isn’t about always feeling good. Or always being happy. Life hurts. Life hurts not just physically, but in other ways too. It hurts everyone and some times it hurts a lot. Sometimes life is about just showing up. Just getting out of bed and doing what you have to do. Or just waking up and doing what you have to do – if you can’t get out of bed. I know there are people out there who can’t.

It took me a long time to learn this lesson.

I had it easy in school. I got easy A’s and skipped school a lot. Told my parents I was sick and lay in bed reading. When I went to college I didn’t know how to do “show up every day, study every day” type of work. When I quit college and tried to move into the real world, I couldn’t hold down a job. I called in sick all the time. When my depression was bad, when I hadn’t been able to sleep, if I was feeling badly… which was all the time. I called in sick. And I lost job after job. Some of them I really liked.

Eventually, and with help from a friend, I figured it out. I figured out that sometimes you have to live hour to hour. You can do anything for an hour if you have to. So you get up and you go to work and you work for an hour. By that time it’s silly to go home, so you finish your shift.

All you really have to do is show up.

Some days that’s all you CAN do. So you do it, and day by day you get through it.

My son seems to have this same default setting – and I am trying to break that. Just this morning (after he got up) he told me he couldn’t go to camp because he hadn’t slept well because I won’t sleep with him at night anymore. I told him the fun things he was going to do and that it’s one of his last days, so he needs to go and have fun with his friends. He dragged himself (literally, dragging himself across the floor with his arms) through getting ready and we went. When we got there the kids were outside and when they saw him they all yelled his name and were jumping up and down to play. He smiled a huge smile and when we got in ran to play. Sometimes if I just get him to show up, it all turns out great.

Don’t get me wrong. We have wonderful days thrown in there too. We have terrific and lovely days where even if I do hurt, we have fun and we see lovely things, or just spend lovely time together.

But… some days are hard. And I just show up. And that’s ok too.

 

 

 

*Edit – AND sometimes “just show up” backfires too. Like when your mom makes you go to camp when you say you are too tired and the camp calls her 20 minutes later to say you have been puking everywhere. Poor little guy. I SWEAR he didn’t say he was sick, or even look bad when I took him. By the time I picked him up he was green.

EWWWWWW!

We have a refrigerator in our garage. It was used and someone was getting a new one, so we took it and put it in the garage. It is a nice sized side by side and we mostly use it for storage. Actually, we mostly use it as a freezer, because a year or so ago the fridge side started icing over vegetables, etc. So now it just holds big jars of pickled cabbage, beer, condiments, cakes etc.

Last week ‘ol Bessy died. It kept tripping the circuit and loosing it’s electricity. We tried other outlets and an extension cord. I guess it was just her time to go.

For the last few days the garage has really been stinky. I mean, really. I made my husband look for a dead mouse. I have had the fridge doors open, so I knew it wasn’t that. I made my husband sniff everywhere – and we couldn’t figure it out. This morning it was too much, so I decided to take the pile of ice packs we left in there out and have them take the fridge outside of the garage – maybe hose it out or something.

In the MIDDLE of about 7 ice-packs I found a 4 pack of seasoned pork chops. Which had been sitting IN the non working, open freezer for a week. In 103 degree temps. In a garage. Apparently the ice packs kept it cold for a while because the smell didn’t start right away. I will not disgust you by describing the condition of the pork chops to you. I will simply say “EWWWWWW!”

 

Yes. This is my glamorous life.

 

Fun Kiddo Activities

I decided to write a post about some of the fun stuff we do at home. My son has sensory processing disorder, so we do a lot of sensory activities. They call this a “sensory diet” and it is good for any child – particularly elementary age and younger. We do things like digging through a big bin of dried beans and rice for toy dinosaurs. Jumping on the trampoline, using a hopper ball, playing in the sand at the local swimming beach (at a lake), etc. But we also try to do some things that are fun and different now and then. I will occasionally post them – but here are a few ideas to get started. I get many of my ideas on the internet and at the end I will post some of my favorite websites as well.

1. Glow stick baths! I thought I had an awesome picture for this, but apparently I don’t. It’s easy, and cheap. We just go to “the dollar store”, buy several packets of glow sticks, and keep them around – I don’t think they ever go bad, but if they do we usually use them up pretty quick. My son prefers to have several sizes (fat, skinny, long, short) and some that come with little pieces to link together and make necklaces or bracelets. We do this once a week – throw them in the bath and turn off the lights. If you have a window, cover it with a towel or something. I even shut the door for him. He makes it into a sort of sensory deprivation chamber – mostly dark, no other toys, door shut so there isn’t much noise, lays down to cover his ears with water and plays with the sticks.

Image (not my photo)

2. Water beads. We did these for the first time last week – though I have been reading about them for some time. They are originally for decorating in vases or bowls. They are dehydrated beads – when you add them to water they become slimy and squishy. We bought them at the local craft store. I believe places like Walmart usually have them too. There are several brands and they all look different. I got the cheapest ones that start out the size of seed beads. We put them in the water and 4 hours later – puffed up and fun. I did drain the excess water. One good thing about them – it doesn’t take a lot, and they last a long time. My son has played with them for about 5 days in a row now. He is now calling them his eggs and checking on them daily. The boy has a problem with getting his hands dirty – he hates food on them, won’t eat food that is “slimy” or gritty because he can’t stand to touch it. He will play with things like putty or playdough, but not things like GAK, etc – so I am attempting to find things that will desensitize him to those textures … These worked great. We did several things with them, but his favorite was putting them down a tube into another bowl, then swirling that bowl around (we went outside for the swirling part). He has also enjoyed just sticking his hands in with various things like shovels, cups, etc.

Image

3. Colored water spray bottles. THIS is our favorite winter activity. By far. We have been doing it for 3 years. Simply buy some cheap spray bottles at your favorite discount store. I usually get colored ones so he can see the color easily – but any kind would work. We have a good dozen of them now. I fill them with water and add a drop or two of food coloring. Then we make art in the snow. It also works in the summer on an old white sheet – hang it up and let the art begin! I haven’t tried it, but I bet it would work in sand too – light sand.ImageGreat for grip and learning colors and just having fun!

4. Last one for today. We love to do science experiments – we get many of our ideas from Steve Spangler – he has several books out and a terrific website. My son is fascinated with science so we try to do lots of fun “experiments”. One we have particularly loved is the diet soda/mentos fountain. I will post the link to it, but here is a picture (the fountain is on the left).

Image

http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiments

http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/content/experiment/mentos-geyser-science-project

http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com/ (tons and tons of sensory stuff here)

http://wellthatmakessenses.blogspot.com/

http://pre-schoolplay.blogspot.com/

http://www.activity-mom.com/

Advice

Have you ever known anyone who was really really full of advice. Whether you wanted it or not?

Welcome to my world.

I can’t figure out if it’s a Russian thing, or if it’s an Armenian thing, but the people in my husband’s social circle are constantly handing out advice I didn’t ask for.

It was really bad when my son was a baby. I couldn’t take it – they were constantly telling me to keep him warmer, what to feed him, what to do with his skin or hair or teeth, what to do at bedtime, what to do at lunch time, on and on.  Since their parenting “styles” are very different then mine it felt almost pushy or offensive. I learned to just smile and nod and not think about it later unless they had a good idea I wanted to try. 

Now they don’t give me as much child advice – except my mother in law – now they give me random advice I don’t need.

For example: yesterday a friend of my husband’s came over. My husband and his friend had taken our boys swimming. When they were done they came over for lunch and to jump on the trampoline. *Apparently* my husband and his friend had been talking about buying houses. We are hoping and planning to buy a house next spring when our lease is up. Our friend starts telling me all about how we need to buy now and not next spring because of the market. Seriously – on and on. I know he means well and just wants to “help.” Even after I said that we can’t afford it yet and are saving for the down payment, he still kept telling me we need to buy now. 

I have found that this is how they all are. My husband says they just want to help and I should just ignore what I don’t want and use what I do. I agree. For the most part. I just don’t understand WHY they feel this overwhelming need to share their advice with me when I don’t ask for it. Again, my husband says they think they are helping.

Yesterday I asked my husband why he isn’t like that – he never gives advice unless someone asks for it. Even then he rarely does. He said “I just don’t care that much.” LOL – well… I guess that’s a good thing for me anyway.

When life hands you lemons…

You all know the rest – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I always hated this line. You know what? I didn’t want lemons, I don’t want lemonade, and I’d appreciate you keeping your lemons, life.

So, I came up with my own saying.

“When life hands you lemons throw them on the ground, stomp on them, and say “I ordered a damned margarita, bitch!”” 

Down South

I want to live down south. Florida, Georgia… I want to move there. I have always wanted to move to Florida – since I was about 10 and we went there for a vacation. I loved the ocean. I loved the hospitality. When I got older I loved the food. I have been to various parts of Florida and to Savannah, GA as an adult. Let me just say, the south is beautiful. It is beautiful to the eyes and the heart.

I loved the way people said “hey, y’all!” “Hiya suga!” every where we went. I loved the shops and the shop keepers who would visit with us. I loved the people on the street and the moss in the trees and the Magnolia trees. I loved the accents and the sunsets and the food. OH the food. I loved the culture – the little girls in big dresses, the dancing, the music that seemed to be everywhere. I loved the warmth in the winter (though after my thyroid has been taken out, I don’t know if I can handle the heat in the summer…) I loved the humidity and the parks and the beaches. I loved the loveliness of it all – the yes ma’ams and the no sirs and the politeness. And the willingness to talk to people.

Do I think we will move there? No. Probably not. My family is up north here – and my husband has a large family/friend base in the city where we live. And honestly, we like it here too. But every once in a while I get a hankering for rocking chairs on front porches, and mint juleps, and cornbread, and big hats, and women saying “heya suga!” Truly, I do.

 

**(oh yeah – and the gardening – the flowers and the vegetables, etc – I would LOVE that gardening season)**