So far...$275 for gas station gift cards...$260 at JC Penney for teens' clothing...$130 at Bath and Body Works for gift cards...and $3095 at WalMart for everything from socks and underwear to Fairytopia Barbies and Little Tonkas to microwaves and coffee pots. And don't forget diapers and Christmas trees. The receipt above was for the second run through WalMart. You can only fit so much into a cart at a time, you know.
It figures that I post about being a 'dangerous driver,' and then the next day I get a ticket. In all fairness, I would like to report that any images captured while driving are always at a stoplight. You know, when the car's not moving. But anyway. Last night TCO and I went to the movie theatre to see a movie that we didn't get to watch because it was sold out. So, Mr. Movie Buff TCO was all aggravated by that, then there we are, minding our business, driving home. In the snow. And ice. The ice that's been coating the ground since Monday/Tuesday, and melting, freezing, and re-freezing ever since. And the snow, some of which had been there before the ice encased it Tuesday early in the morning. It started snowing around 8pm. Big, fluffy, flakes, the kind that make very pretty glittery snow and further disguise the ice. We went to a movie that started at 9:45, so it was pretty late by the time we got out. Snow blowing everywhere. Driving slowly, both for purposes of limited visibility and possible slick spots lurking beneath the surface, I approached an intersection cautiously. I noticed two police cruisers, and stopped until it was safe to cross the road. We get to the other side, and one of the police cars whips around in a parking lot and starts following me. Ummmm. Okay. Keep driving. Three blocks (and stop signs) later, he turns on his lights and aims his spotlight at me.
I got a ticket for failing to obey a traffic device. Apparently at that first intersection I mentioned, there was a sign that said "right turn only." Okay, fine.
I have two bones to pick with this. One, visibility was very poor. It's not like I totally ignored convention. I came to a complete, slow, stop, drove carefully, etc. Two, IF I had seen the sign, I assure you that I wouldn't have disobeyed it in front of TWO police cruisers. Come on. Isn't this a prime opportunity for a warning?
No, I still don't have a lawyer, but I need one.
Basically, all I've determined is that I am legally the custodial parent, but since no formal visitation has been set, I'd have to go to court to get Mira back if Voldemort decided to be a [insert foul swear word here]. I need a lawyer to get anything done. I'm also poor as hell. I may have a professional-sounding job title, and the work I do could be construed as higher-level, but the truth is that I make poverty wages and have zero benefits. I am loathe to trust the over-worked, under-funded prowess of legal aid but I have little choice at this point.
Voldemort actually revealed this evening that he has looked into trying to get full custody of Mira. You know, since I'm a sex-craving, STD-spreading, child-abusing prostitute.
He and his brother (who, coincidentally, is friendly as pie towards me) borrowed Mira this afternoon. When Voldemort brought her home, he noted that my house smelled like pot (marijuana). Then he asked me, "so was your boyfriend smoking pot?" and promptly left.
Uh, no, dipshit. You're the pot smoker. Actually it's been quite lovely having a boyfriend who doesn't smoke. I don't know if he still smokes it, but I know that he was at least through the summer of 2007, and had off and on throughout the five years which I've now known him for. It's been an an ongoing battle between he and his psycho-depressive self, and it's been a means of self-medication. When we went to Chicago in June/July to meet up with a bunch of my Internet Mom Friends? (that's the true IMF, I tell you, far more valuable than the International Monetary Fund). Yeah, one of the times when he left the house he went to find a frisbee golf course and he got high with some guys he met there.
So, in true adolescent form I send him a text a few minutes later which said, "You'd know the smell of pot better than me anyway!" Yeah, I shouldn't have sent it. It just pisses me off how he will totally ignore me when I try to talk to him (about MIRA, mind you, when he's picking her up or dropping her off). Then, when he does talk, it's to wedge in a sneaky jab. As soon as he left (which coincided with his pot comment), Torrin asked, "How come he always asks dumb questions, mom?" Good question, Torrin, good question, but not one I can answer quickly or concisely, beyond "because he's a sad, sad man." Or "mentally-ill," take your pick.
He responds by completely ignoring the marijuana conversation (probably a moot point anyway) and asking, "New TV?" See, there's a cardboard box on the porch by my recycling bins. An empty cardboard box that once housed a nice decent-sized flat LCD TV. It's not mine and it's not in my house. But Voldemort needed to obsess about WHOSE television it is...um...who cares?
Why, oh why, was it Torrin's dad who moved away, and not Mira's?
With public schools cancelled, work starting late, Mira's daycare closing early and a sheet of ice covering everything it just didn't make sense to go through the production of getting everyone presentable. I didn't even go out and get the mail. I did salt the sidewalks and take the recycling to the curb prior to 7am, however. I also cooked breakfast for lunch (scrambled eggs and sausage) and made my first ever pot of chili. An onion, a green pepper, tomatoes, kidney beans, chili seasoning, cumin, red pepper, and oh yeah, hamburger. I don't know that I've ever cooked two kinds of red meat in one day. That's highly atypical in this household.
Anyway, all of that hiding-insideithe-house business meant that the Thawing of the Ice Cube that was once My Car was left for this morning. Bright and early. An entire hour from start to finish. I mentioned I missed my garage? Yeah, you could say it's more like mourning sometimes.
But it was a good day. No, a great day. I was voted onto a board. I am now a member of the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Partners. Several families showed up to receive their free Operation Santa Claus gifts. And I got a call from one of our funders. They're giving me (I mean, my program) 7 or 8 grand, in addition to what they've already given. My task? Pick ten needy families and give them a wonderful Christmas.
That's an order I'm glad to take.
I must say that I am continually disappointed by the winter weather photographing opportunities immediately available around my house. Our yard is pretty small in back (and nothing's in it, it's unfenced) and in front it's essentially non-existent. Then the added problem of it being too dark to focus well this morning but flash, as always, washing out detail. The second, somewhat eery facelike image is Torrin's bike covered in snowy ice with some shadows projected by the porch railing.
But, the "good" news is that's there's no school today. That's "good" as opposed to actually good because it means I can't go to work. It wouldn't be so bad to have Torrin tag along with me to work, but it appears that the drive to Mira's daycare and my place of employment would be.
And Happy Birthday to our Auntie Joyce.
Fully underway at the Indian Center! The National Guard delivered presents this morning, so now it's up to me to disseminate them to their proper owners. A few families' gifts did not arrive. A few other families have been or will be adopted by more financially sound ones. And I get to orchestrate the whole thing...
Sumiko is my lesser-liked cat. Actually, The Chosen One hates him. TCO doesn't care for cats, and Sumiko is somewhat passive agressive and a bit socially avoidant. Nothing extreme. He is still a good kitty, very tolerant, and causes little trouble. He is also the prettier of my kitties, with his snowy white fur with beige splotches and icy blue eyes. He's got a bit of that Siamese-almost-cross-eyed-ness going on. He's just the one that you're more likely to trip over when you're in my house.
Heh. The next picture is here 'cuz I think it's funny. As has been mentioned previously, Mira looooooves Hey-dee Paw-der. Not quite as much as Monsters Inc., but pretty close nonetheless. And c'mon, who doesn't love a bit o' baby bum?
I also love how long her hair is getting. It's not as long in front as the back...I did trim her bangs twice when she was a wee one and I was still afraid of styling her hair. That 'n, you know, gravity, shape of the human head, etc. :D
Oh, and we have pneumonia. Me and Mira, anyway. Torrin appears to be fine as of yet. Go figure.
Having to scrape frost and/or ice off of my windshield every morning. For people like me who are always running late, this is a highly unwelcome addition to the agenda. I had a garage once, when Torrin was a baby. Winter is when I miss it the most.
This picture was taken from the inside of the car looking out the front windshield. Sunshine hitting the left side made a nice glare and melted the frost enough to see the tree outside (but not enough to melt beyond the need of the loathsome ice scraper).
That's the sound of me deflating. A sad, limp, empty balloon.
Yeah. So. Anyway. The Boy Who Lived showed up just a bit ago. Started making some food, and I was doing something in the kitchen. Shuffling stuff around but not really getting much cleaning done, the usual.
"So," he says, in a get-down-to-business tone. Then proceeded to ask me if I really wanted to go to Las Vegas with him later this month (it's his birthday). Well, duh, of course I want to. I've never been to Vegas, and I've never really traveled anywhere with non-family sorts before, except for a couple quick jaunts to Kansas City. I'd love to go to Vegas, especially with him, especially to celebrate his birthday...but he pressed on. Wanted to know if I could guarantee that Voldemort wouldn't cause any problems while we were gone.
That's when my heart sank through the heels of my feet and landed somewhere in my downstairs pot-smoking wannabe-rapper neighbor's apartment.
The Chosen One says he's been looking forward to this for so long, doesn't want to worry about Tom Riddle screwing things up. Point taken. I can understand that. But I can't control Voldemort. He may as well have just asked me to stay home.
Anyway, today's picture illustrates what is easily my favorite part of being a mother to two children...seeing them laugh and play together. The kiddos featured above are having a blast playing in my bed, four-and-a-half years' age difference, opposite-gendered, and all. In spite of my ill will towards the Santa Season, I think that these little things are among those contributing to what should be the larger theme of the holidays--family.
This action set Mira off like a car alarm, wailing. "Please, smile for Mama," I pleaded with her, to no avail. Santa called out, "Just snap the picture!" We got the printout, and Mira wanted to see it. "LOOK!" she cried, excitedly, "Mira no smile mama!"
Yeah, I know. I know you didn't smile for Mama, Mira. Thanks for noticing.