Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I haven't posted about this yet because I haven't want to jinx things but I am getting pretty excited so here goes...

I am going for my US Citizenship interview very soon! Wow, it has been a long time coming. We've lived in the States since '93 but under various visas and a green card. And five years ago today my green card was issued so I am officially eligible to be interviewed for American Citizenship.

I get so nervous when I think about the interview and I don't know why. I guess because this is something that I really want and I am worried that I might get denied. For no other reason other than that it is something that I can worry about, if you know what I mean.

I have been studying for the Civics test that I need to take (I am certain I will pass the English part!). There are a couple of questions where I seem to have a complete mental block. There is a pool of 100 questions and the Immigration Officer will ask me 10 of them and I have to pass 6. And while some of the questions are tripping me up, others seem "duh" to me - like how do people NOT know that (What is the name of the current President of the United States? and How many stars are on the flag?). I am sure I will not get any of the easy ones!

Watching the Olympics this past week and half has made me realize too that this will be the last time I watch as a Canadian. That is a little emotional for me. I mean I will have dual citizenship but once I am an American, I will cheer for my "home" country which is the U.S. of A. Canada, of course, will always be in my heart though.

And if I become, or maybe I need to be more positive and say, when I become an American Citizen, I am looking forward to being able to vote in an election. As the daughter of a politician, it has just KILLED me that I have not voted in an election since I left Canada. Unlike the USA, a Canadian citizen cannot vote in a federal election if they are abroad (unless they maintain a primary residence in Canada or something like that). I like that American Citizens can vote no matter where they live. That, to me, is a great right.

America has been very good to us and I hope, should I pass the interview, to be a proud American. I love my American children, my American friends and my American home.
Our new vehicle was to be available today, however, we have asked to wait until after March 1st to see if Toyota has any new incentives. After watching and listening to the Congressional hearings about Toyota, I am not so thrilled with getting a new one. I still love the vehicle and am happy that it is in the colour that we want and with the options that we want but I have several concerns.

First, while I assume that the car will be safe, given that they accelerator pedal part will be fixed before we get it, I still wonder if the sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) is not caused by some electronic problem. It seems that it has not been totally ruled out. And really, the number of problems of SUA, based on the actual number of cars with those parts, is small (but a potentially deadly problem). Also, the top Toyota brass said that most recalled cars will have a brake override system installed in it by the end of 2010 and they are retro-fitting some current cars. Ours will not have the override when it is delivered but it was the second or third model listed (Tacoma was first) in those to be retro-fitted. So how soon we will get it?

Second, we do keep our cars for a long time (my minivan = 8.5 years, Stephen's lemon = 10 years, my Toyota Corolla = 8 years) but I wonder what the resale value will be on the new one when the time comes. Or what if we move to say, Canada, where gas is about twice the price that it is here (do I really want to take a SUV with me there?) will I be able to unload the SUV at a fair price?

And finally, it is this...who in their right mind would buy a Toyota right now?!? I keep thinking that we might be better off with a GM or even (I cannot believe I am saying this) a Ford. I am not the least bit excited about the idea of this new car. Getting the car has been a hassle from the beginning. One road block after another. We did not give up on it because, quite frankly, we both really like the car (ok, I say car but know I mean SUV). We were excited to find a broker who helped us get it in the colour that we wanted after the dealers all said they could not get us a blue one. And we were happy too that she was able to get it in the configuration that we wanted (no middle row captain chairs, please). The car has tons of cool features, it feels good to drive, it is comfortable and it will suit our family well. is a Toyota.

To me, Toyota means (or meant) quality. I had my Corolla for 8 years and besides regular oil changes, a set of new tires and a new exhaust system (we did live in Toronto and Minneapolis so lots of snow and salt = RUST on the exhaust), I only ever had one problem with the car (oil pressure gauge). That is fantastic, IMO. My first car, a 1984 Hyundai Pony that I purchased in 1988 was a rust bucket piece of crap that literally fell apart. I got $150 for it when I traded it in for my brand new sparkly marine blue mica 1990 Toyota Corolla SR5 coupe. Anyway, after that horrible experience where I $pent so much money on repair$, I swore I would never, ever, ever buy a Hyundai because to me it equals JUNK. I guess in the years since, Hyundai's quality has vastly improved (much like Honda did after their initial introduction to the North American market - they have one of the highest re-sale values these days) but my first experience has clouded my image of them). Are people going to start thinking that about Toyotas?!

Anyway, we get the car in about a week. I guess I have a week to get keyed up about it. Toy-o-ta!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cars' foot is much better. He is still limping a bit but not too much. He was able to play hockey on Thursday and again today.

I am a little concerned about Jax. He has been very quiet in the past few days and when I speak to him, his affect is very flat. I worry a bit that he might be suffering from depression. Geez, that is hard to say. I am going to see how his mood is over the next month and then decide what to do next. I know if I mention it to Stephen he will brush it off. :(

He also did not win the school "lottery" for the Choice junior high that he applied to. That school focuses on "Art and Reasoning". It is just as well that he did not get accepted because none of the kids he is closest too who applied won the lottery either. Jax is #30 on the wait list (for a 32 slots in the school) so he is not even close to get in. Too bad. I think the smaller school would suit him.

We are trying to get a date for our rescheduled trip to Great Wolf Lodge. We are definitely going to take the kids out of school for it. I just need to reschedule a few things and we should be able to go within the next month.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cars sprained his foot and his hobbling around like Quasimodo. He hurt it after he jumped on Dex then fell off. He was trying to wrestle Dex's video camera away from him because Dex took video of Cars "without permission!". *sigh*

He was pretty cute telling the doctor what happened (properly chagrined!). An x-ray revealed no broken bones, just lots of swelling. So no PE for Cars this week. Maybe no hockey tomorrow either since his foot is still so swollen.

Of course this all ensued while I had a friend over with her dear, sweet little 2 year old son who was happy to be playing quietly with a Hot Wheels car. I think she might be glad she has just one child.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I went for a physical the other day and asked the doctor (ok, nurse practitioner - I don't think I've seen my actual doctor in like 4 years!) about my poor ravaged face. She diagnosed me with rosecea and gave me a prescription for some gel to use on my face twice each day. No improvement yet (in fact, things might be a little worse today).

So, at book club on Thursday, we were talking about teenage years and the subject of zits came up. I mentioned that I had been diagnosed with rosecea which is one of the reasons why my face looks like it does (red and sore!) and the hostess pipes up "Alcoholics get rosecea". I am not quite sure or not if she was saying I was an alcoholic.

Of course, she is the same woman who said that if you have a positive attitude then you will beat cancer and in the next breathe, "Hey, didn't your dad die of cancer?"". WTF?!

And, this woman rarely comes to book club yet she always seems to have something to say about how we run it (like commenting how she's noticed that not everyone reads the book and if affects our discussions - how would she know when she only comes to 2 or 3 each year?!).

I wonder if we can impeach a member? ;)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We were supposed to go to Great Wolf Lodge today but Dex was sick (barf-o-rama) so we postponed our trip and will reschedule for sometime before May 18th (at which time GWL told us that our reservation would expire). Anyway, Dex barfed all over my sheepskin boots. Wah! Good thing they are just the Co$tco Kirkland brand and not Uggs! My niece told me to take the boots to the dry cleaners to be cleaned but I wonder if that would just cost as much as new boots ($40).

Dex seems to be feeling better and was able to keep down two bowls of cereal at 8pm tonight. At first I thought he was just sick from eating too much junk food and candy at the Valentine's Day party in his class yesterday but then after he vomited (outside of Jack-in-the-Box and all over my boots), I found out from Spy that her son had been sick as well and then another mom told me that another boy in their class was out for a stomach bug I realized it was something that was going around. And I was a little less irritated with Dex for smearing frosting 1" thick on his cookie in class and then piling it up with sweethearts, sprinkles, white chocolate chips and some kind of red gummy candy. It is not always good to volunteer in your child's class.

So, we just all hung out at home today but Stephen will go to work tomorrow and save the scheduled vacation day for another time. I think I might take the kids to see a movie.

And thankfully no hockey this weekend because I would freeze since I cannot wear my vomit-stained boots around. Ugg...I mean Ugh!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I am so happy that this week is over. Ok, yes I know it is only Wednesday but there is no more school for the week (mid-winter break). Because Valentine's Day is on Sunday and there is no school between now and Tuesday, all of the Valentine's Day parties were today. So there were Valentines and candies and donuts to buy as well as heart-shaped cookies to bake. Oh and a Valentine's Day box to create and and and...

Now I can breathe a bit.

Except that haloscan, the site that hosts my blog comments is going away on Saturday so now I need to find a way to save my blog comments and then set up a new commenting system. They have arranged for an easy transfer to echo but it is paid site. Is having a comment section worth $12/year?? Hmmm...

Edited to add that I have echo free for 30 days. At least my haloscan comments will be saved for at least that long.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

I awoke this morning with a migraine. Ugh. It is 15 hours late and most of the pain is gone but I still have some pressure. Sucks to be me.

I spent most of today in bed but got up at 2pm to shower in time to go to Spy's SuperBowl Party. She and JBJ really know how to throw a great shindig. Tons'o'great food - yum!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Stephen and the boys are downstairs playing "Kraken" which is when all of the boys jump on Stephen and he throws them off. It was a really cute game when they were all ages 6 and under. Not so cute now when someone always gets hurt. Usually Stephen these days. Jax keeps running up to ask me if his head will be ok. I had to take him to the doctor today because he was so sure that he had a concussion after hitting his head on the bus. No concussion - just a headache and an look of understanding from the doctor when she realized the visit was more for anxiety than owie.

Initially, I was concerned because Jax told me that he was a little dizzy and had trouble concentrating on what people were saying to him. I realize now that he was probably just obsessing over the possibility of a concussion and I wonder if maybe he had a little anxiety attack. Poor boy. No doubt he will be on anti-anxiety meds in a few years.

His current concussion obsession started with the beginning of hockey. A new law went into effect in our state in July:

•Annually require all players and the parent(s)/guardian(s) of those players to sign and return an informed consent form relating to the nature and risk of concussion or head injury. This information sheet shall include the signs and symptoms of concussion/brain injury and can be found below.

•Ensuring that all coaches are educated in the nature and risk of concussion or head injury prior to the first practice/competition. This education shall include signs and symptoms of concussion/brain injury

This law was passed after a Jr. High boy in our state suffered a life-threatening concussion when he returned to play football after a concussion. Since we went over the information with him, Jax has been asking things like "How will I know if I have a concussion?" and "Do you think I could have had a concussion after that big hit?" and "Do I have a concussion?".

We were laughing it off at first but it definitely is becoming a bit of a problem. It might be time for him to return to his therapist who deals with OCD and anxiety. I'll think about this a little bit then perhaps have a chat with the pediatrician.

And now Cars is crying because his hurt his arm. Thank goodness it wasn't his head or Jax would be worried about him too.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Write Stuff?

Cars' teachers emailed me today to tell me that they are concerned with the way he grips his pencil because, to them, it looks so painful. They suggested that I work with him at home to correct his grip and I should send in soft pencil grips for him to use at school.

Now, just to say, Cars has very nice handwriting. He does hold the pencil with his thumb, three fingers and resting on his baby finger (as opposed to holding it with thumb, forefinger and resting on middle finger). Both Dex and Jax hold it with two fingers and rest on their ring finger. I have tried to correct them but they say it is not comfortable. Now both Jax and Cars have nice handwriting while Dex's is horrible. Dex is also a lefty (which contributes slightly to his bad writing but mostly it is probably just genetic as Stephen has atrocious handwriting).

So, I will buy Cars some pencil grips for school and for home and will encourage him to fix his grip. I almost don't want to even bother because, as I said, his penmanship is good for his age (IMO) and he doesn't want to change. I am not going to battle him over it. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The crawlspace guys came back to finish up the job. They stripped the insulation from the duct work in the crawlspace, re-sealed the ducts and then re-insulated it.

Whey they showed up, I swear I smelt pot on them. I was shocked at first and then I thought that perhaps if I spent my days in crawlspaces, I might do it too! Ok, just kidding but really, it has got to be a horrible job. Last week, my kids and I were watching Dirty Jobs and Mike was crawling around in a crawlspace that has waaaay less room than ours. And it had dead skunks in it. P.U. Yes, a horrible job.

And tomorrow Puget Sound Energy is coming to check out the crawlspace company's work because they subsidized some of the work and offered rebates on the insulation used to insulate the crawlspace so they want to make sure it was installed correctly. I guess they check out 1/10 installations so it will be nice to be assured that the work is done because there is no way I am going down there to check it out.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Just a Hard Day

Tonight was a hard homework day. Jax seems to have a mental block about calculating percentage (personally, I think it has just gotten easier for him to ask me for help then to figure it out on his own).

Cars came home with a big project due at the end of the month that he wanted to start on immediately ("Mom, I need a big box and I need to make some penguins out of clay"!). When I suggested that he work on researching some of the questions on his project (where do they live? what do they eat? what eats them?) he suddenly decided that he could not read.

Dex did his usual chicken scratch on his homework and gave an exasperated sigh when I asked him to re-write a few things with a sharp pencil.

And I have PMS and my face has broken out. Gah!

At least everyone ate dinner for once (baked ziti - yum).