What's on the Menu.....

Blog space Collections space Etsy space Ravelry space Facebook space TweetTweet space Get In Touch

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It was a very Thomas Christmas in our house, and at Grandpa's too. Alex got a huge train set with a motorized Thomas, and despite my best efforts he ended up with two Percy's but he doesn't care one bit. Dante got an authentic Rip Stick along with his bean bag chair, and some pads for his wrists, elbows, and knees. There are a bunch of movies and more books. I got 7 more Horror films to add to my collection, including the original version of The Fog, The Pit and the Pendulum, and Drag Me to Hell.

We got over to my FIL's on time, and spent a little time with them and then got back home to try to find a place for all the new stuff. My gifts were well received, and Dante loves his socks. He put them right on, and said that he likes them "better than [his] regular socks." I told him "now you know why I knit socks". He hasn't taken them off all day. What's better than that? How about when I asked the boys in the car, on the way to my FIL's, if they liked what they got and Alex said "yeah. Thanks Santa for Thomas!"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve from hell (that's right, I said it!)

This is the blocked sweater for Little Miss Alves. My husband asked me if it was going to be a problem that the sweater is blue...and the baby is a girl. I informed him that I have a blue sweater made from this exact yarn, and he informed me that I was not a baby. I didn't hurt him, but it was hard not to after the day I've had. (The sweater is all seamed up now.)

Today Alex woke up very early, and in a foul mood. I had to discipline him 6 times today...wait, make that 7. That's 7 times too many for Christmas Eve.

My car was fixed today, to the tune of $550.00, so basically all of my savings went to the car and now I've got zero cushion again. Plus I have an estimate for something or other that keeps tension on the belt and that'll be another $215 unless Jim can fix that. I wrote out the check, wished the man a merry Christmas, walked outside, and burst into tears.

Earlier today (before the car broke my will), I checked my account and saw that I have 7 unauthorized charges from the Willet Ave Extra Mart (one of them for $67.00 and another hitting yesterday for $37.00. You may remember that I was stranded in front of the Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club yesterday). I had to call the bank and file a dispute which involves paperwork, 10 business days, and investigation into exactly how my PIN and card were used when both were in my possession, and a canceled card. Thankfully I ordered one for my other account back in October (for Rhinebeck) so I moved all my money over, except for the $58.00 that I had to leave in there to cover a hold from AAA after they told us yesterday that my card was rejected twice and my MIL had to pay that money to put my on the account. If that doesn't drop off, I have to call AAA to have it refunded.

I went into the laundry mat to see how much money I had on the laundry card, only to be snapped at by the lesbian couple from across the walk way about whether or not I planned to remove the clothes from the washer that they wanted...only they weren't my clothes. After I told them as much, and that I was only checking the balance on my card, all they could muster up to say was "oh". This set of ladies have been hostile to us before and I can't help but think that they're overly sensitive and aggressive towards all heterosexual couples because of past issues. They have some type of preemptive hostility for possible future slights or discrimination. I could walk around like that too if I wanted, being both an African American woman and a Mormon, but it's just not worth the time. Anyway, no laundry was done today because I didn't feel like dealing with them again.
I didn't get to go with my husband and Dante to his Aunt's house for dinner because they got a late start and Alex was so bad (see above) that I couldn't take the stress. I stayed home and washed dishes, listened to the Twilight/New Moon Soundtrack, put the gifts under the tree, hung the stockings, and started cookies for Santa. After about 2 hours, I finally felt better. Then I got an email from a woman who I only know from Ravelry, checking in on me based on my post to the discussion board. It was really sweet and it touched me. Then my husband came home with not one, but two containers of food that had been made special, just for me by his cousin Stacy and my MIL. Two containers of broccoli and cheese rigatoni/bow tie pasta, and a container of marshmallow peep snowmen. It really made me feel special and that small gesture by my loving and generous Italian family-in-law helped bring my Holiday spirit back. So now I'm going to drink some eggnog, and finish the cookies, and look forward to seeing the kids react to their gifts and bringing my gifts to my FIL's house.
Have a Merry Christmas! I'm going to try to do the same.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No good deed...

Today should have been joyous and festive. I've been looking forward to it for the last month. I took Dante, gathered all the donations and drove out to my Family's apartment to deliver. Aaron warned me that my battery light came on when he took my car out the other night and we made sure that my phone had a full charge. I drove most of the way with no heat in the car just to make sure things would be okay, and for the most part they were. The light turned off and we got out there to play Santa. So when we pulled in, their little boy was talking home in tears because he'd missed the bus to go to the Boys and Girls Club for the swim party. I tossed him in the car and drove him home to bring the loot. We got there and his mom was out (she ran to the store) and their dad was there with another child that I've never seen. Suddenly this wasn't working out at all like I envisioned it. Dante and I brought everything inside, and were on the way out to take the little boy to the Boys & Girls Club when I see Mom coming up the sidewalk. I suddenly remembered the gift card and cash in my back pocket for her, and went out to give her a big hug and let her know that there was a ton of stuff in the apartment for her. (I was glad to see that their dad brought gifts for them, so they had things under their little tree.) She was really happy, and that's the important thing. Now if I could end my story here I'd be all set, but that's no where the end.

I drive over and drop Little Man off, and no sooner does he get out of the car than the car sputtered and died. Right there directly in front of the doors to the Boys and Girls Club. Right smack in the middle of the "No Parking Ever" zone. I called Aaron, and chewed him out for never getting around to putting me on his AAA card as an authorized user. He calls them to try to do so, and they say it's going to be $58 (!!!!) and that the card is rejecting. He tells them that we have plenty of money and to run it again. She runs it again and it rejects again. Now he's getting Alex dressed again to come out and meet us, and call them again, when his mom calls. He tells her the issue and she calls them and pays to add me to the card. I'm talking to him when I get a call on the other line from the AAA dispatcher, who tells me that due to the fact that the car died while it was running, it would have to be towed and the wait would be 90 minutes...(!!!!) This is at 4:45pm. Dante and I are bundled up to the max but eventually it gets cold in the car and we're freezing out there. I call Aaron and let him know that he has to meet me at the Pawtucket B&G Club only to have him tell me that his mom is coming instead. Meanwhile, there is some sort of emergency at the Club that requires an ambulance and the nice gentleman from The Club asks me to move my car, at which point I let him know that the reason the hazard lights are on is because the car is dead...and I can't move it. This makes me feel like a major jerk, especially when they have to go the long way to take the kid on the stretcher to the ambulance through the cold. Now that there was an issue where the ambulance was blocked (my car being broke down), they proceeded to set up road blocks, and put a man out there in the cold to direct traffic. He's none to happy about it and he lets everyone who dares to pull up and park know about it. (He bit off a little more than he could chew when he barked at my MIL though, cause she gave it right back to him and he backed right down. More of me feeling like a jerk.)

Speak of the devil...she just came through like a hurricane with her arms full of Christmas gifts for me to shove in my kitchen closet till tomorrow night. Anyway, back to the narrative.

So I send Dante over to get in her car and tell her where to park before she gets hauled away in cuffs for attacking a parking attendant, and then they come over and I let them know that I still had 30 minutes before the AAA truck would be getting there. I was freezing to death so Jim (bless his Wisconsin heart!) sent me and Linda back to her warm car and he stayed with mine. (Dante tells me that Jim goes out in the snow in bare feet!) When the truck got there, the driver wasn't sure how many miles away the Goodyear in East Providence was from our location, but said that he'd mark it down as only 3 miles so that we didn't have to pay anything for the tow. What a great early Christmas gift that was, considering that we're likely going to have to replace my alternator. So we left, and he dropped my Taurus off at Goodyear like a gift for their mechanics. I have to call them tomorrow to have them take a look at it, and then I have to make arrangements to visit my FIL on Christmas day. It's going to be a lot like joint custody for the boys and I...Aaron will drive us up, and his dad will drop us back home.

And then there's tomorrow. We're supposed to be at Aaron's cousin's for "Night of the seven fishes" (of which I won't be eating any). The problem is Alex's sleep issues. He's just got to be in bed by 6pm or Christmas will be full of tears and tantrums. People always try to weigh in with their "helpful" insights on what we're doing wrong and how he'll just have to "get used to it" and how he "knows he can get away with it". I've already (mostly) raised one child and I know what I'm doing so I don't need the unsolicited advice. He goes to bed just fine. He falls asleep just fine. He does not stay asleep and when he wakes up he can't get back to sleep. He's so tired that he has issues with impulse control, behavior, mood...all behaviors that look a lot like ADHD but his aren't because they all disappear when he's somehow finally dropped from exhaustion and gets some sleep. We have an appointment for next week to have him screened for a sleep disorder, which after doing a few hours of research last night, I have discovered is not very uncommon in children. It's called pediatric insomnia and recent articles show that it's hard to nail down the exact cause sometimes, and that many pediatricians learned most of what they know on the subject through experience with patients than they did in med school. So I'll have to go armed with stats and knowledge, and push my pediatrician to take the next step to see what's going on with Alex. Because all of the other "things to do" we're already doing, and it's not enough.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

'Tas three nights before Christmas...

Actually, this photo was from last week but it's super cute. Eddie was sniffing Aaron's glasses and all he could see was cat whiskers and nose. He's daddy's boy.

So anyway, three nights before Christmas. Lets see. Snowballs are baked. Tree is up. Stockings are out (but not hung yet). Gifts are bought (but not wrapped, except for the gifts for my adopt-a-family...I got those done tonight. Oh! and Aaron's iPod). Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation have been watched, (along with any other cheesy Netflix instant view Christmas themed movie I could get my hands on...I do not recommend Black Christmas [the original]...lame). Snow has fallen and has been cleaned out of my parking spot. Chocolate bark with candied orange peels and pistachios (pumpkin seeds for us) is in progress. Alex is misbehaving (typical of any toddler around Christmas). Christmas knitting is done. Why do I feel like I've forgotten something?

In knitting news, I've stuck with this baby sweater and believe it or not, I'm almost done. I finished the front and started the first of the sleeves while watching The Ghost and Mr. Chicken on Netflix. I love that movie!! And Alex liked it too (so much in fact that as soon as it was over he asked to watch the "Monster piano movie again". I started the second sleeve but I had to put it down about the time that my Zyrtec kicked in (monster allergy attack this morning) and I passed out in my chair. I'll finish it tonight and then pick up the color and hopefully it'll be ready for a Christmas delivery to Aaron's friend Joe and his wife, along with a blue cotton pair of socks. I wanted to avoid the standard pink for these baby girls so Little Miss Alves is getting blue, and Little Miss Nielson got a pretty green/yellow for her socks. I can't promise that I won't go nuts with the pink for her sweater though, or blanket (which ever I end up making) because I know that she'll eventually be blond and blue eyed and look like a little elf so what could be cuter than pink against that ivory complexion? Maybe lavender. Or butter yellow? Shoot. Here we go. Good thing I'll be working at a yarn shop. I'm so gonna use that employee discount! Now...does anyone know what I can do with the leftover sugar syrup I'm simmering my orange peels in? It just seems like a waste to toss it out.

Monday, December 21, 2009

"Tell me where he is, and I'll break down the door."

The Snidely mustache is complete. I had to knit that with Cascade 220 held double, and as such it is twice as warm as normal. Today we went out and spent two hours digging out my car, (and the neighbors per Dante's suggestion), and Alex was just fine while he played in the snow but Dante complained of being too hot. I guess I'll have to pick up some alpaca after the first of the year (lets hear it for the employee discount) and knit it again. I'll recycle this lovely green yarn for something awesome for myself.

After digging out the cars and the parking spaces, we headed out to Sam's club for Aaron's iPod which was sold out! Girrr! So back into the car we went, and over to Wal-Mart where I lucked out and got one of the last two in stock, and only for $1 more. I bought he and I noise canceling headphones to go with our iPods, only to realize that the new shuffle has the controls on the ear buds...so he won't be able to use the pair I got him. Luckily I can use the ones I bought and although they aren't top quality, they do stop the outside noise and give me some base which is really what I was after. And they're more comfortable than my first pair (which crapped out after about 6 weeks!). Then it was back home for lunch and some Netflix instant holiday movies. Aaron introduced Alex to The Muppets Take Manhattan which was interesting to watch again now that I'm an adult. If I remember correctly, my mom hated that movie, lol. After stuffing the boys with PB&J (extra peanut butter), Cheetos, and hot cocoa, I just about passed out on the couch.

In terms of knitting, I've started and stopped three different baby sweaters in the last few days but I think I finally have one. It's been tough for me to work from my stash because the only yarns that might work are earmarked for a pullover for myself (although I have no specific patterns in mind, but I don't want to break up the set for fear that I'll run out and wish I had that ball back). The other yarns that would work aren't machine washable and it's just too much to ask parents with new babies to hand wash a sweater for a newborn. And then I had to search to find a pattern in worsted weight because I didn't want to be spending weeks knitting a sweater that the baby will only wear for the same amount of time that it took for me to knit it! I did find one in my Natural Knits for Babies and Moms book, and I started it a little bit ago. I've already knit the same amount of inches as I did in the DK weight after 2 days.

So what am I doing right now instead of working on the baby sweater? Well, besides writing this post, I'm listening to my Christmas mix on iTunes, and baking butterballs per my husband's request. I found the recipe a few years ago next to the chocolate morsels and I made them. My husband loves them and has asked for them every year after. So it's butterball season and I've got them going right now. Butter and yarn don't go well together so I'll be staying away from the knitting until I'm done for the night. In the mean time, I started to read Breaking Dawn again. I've re-read all of the other books from the Twilight Saga and I started this one last night. I love the love story in Twilight, but I love the actual plot of New Moon the best.

On Thursday (Christmas Eve), I'll be taking my family with me to deliver all of the things that I've received for my adopt-a-family. I've got some cash (which I'll be converting into gift cards), some donated holiday treats, and some toys for the kids. Yesterday my MIL and her boyfriend came over with gifts for them and about 5 boxes of kids cereal, lol. If you've never been poor, then you have no idea the power of sugary kids cereal! I remember how much it sucked to have to get Kix all the time because that's what WIC covered. I just wanted some Captain Crunch. And now these kids will have about six different varieties of sugary love for the mornings. I have more stuff than I have room for right now and it's scattered over my dining room, my kitchen closet, and behind my couch. I better get wrapping! And I want to thank everyone who helped me do this, because I remember being a single mother on welfare and worrying about what I was going to be able to afford for Dante for Christmas. I hated that feeling of helplessness, and I've tried every year sense then to help someone who's in a worse situation than I am. And this year, I couldn't have done that without all of you, so thank you for giving me what I wanted for Christmas.

PS- the quote in the title is from "The Emperor's New Grove". Ezma is trying to get them to tell her where Pacha is, and the kids called her on her error. "shouldn't it be 'tell me there he is or I'll break down the door'?" Hilarious