Tuesday, September 28, 2010

my baby! he's 8!

The youngest ninja turned 8 (my baby! he's 8!) last week. It's his year for a "friend party." In previous years we've done a few outsourced parties--no, they weren't hosted by an Indian man supposedly named "Greg" but rather a sullen college student in a matted mouse suit performing for a writhing mass of red-cheeked 4 year olds. Our financial situation since the Great American Financial Implosion has, ahem, changed tremendously, so this year it was a "friend party" on a budget. Luckily this particular ninja had no grand dreams of a Batman jump house or some such so we went with a secret agent theme, easily accomplished with office supplies I had on hand.

Here's the invitation, which I put inside a small envelope made from a large manila envelope. The font is Old Typewriter, found here.

When the kids arrived, they filled out an ID badge:

The square was for their thumbprint, or you could put a photo there if you are fancy.

Games included a treasure hunt and hot potato with a "grenade" (easter egg covered in duct tape). Here's the cake, a total non-sequitor (gumball machine) but that's what the ninja wanted:

I finally figured out this mysterious Viva paper towel method of making the cake look like it's frosted with fondant without having to actually eat fondant. After cake and presents and another impromptu treasure hunt, we sent the kids to the basement, threw Cody Banks 2: Destination London up on the projector, and sat down for a tiny rest. After 15 minutes, I heard this: "They said we were going to have popcorn and it's been like 2 hours and WHERE IS THE POPCORN?" That was my cue to get up and pop the promised corn.

On the way out each agent got some Pixi sticks, a secret agent badge (dollar store) and magnifying glass (ditto) wrapped up in some old engineering plans from dh's office. I think we all had fun. And I was grateful for the shop-vac when I saw the basement.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the big fake

It's 1:00 pm and by now I've usually had one or more medium-sized twinges of regret about how the morning went. As in, Why did I yell at the kids so much this morning?

I've tried many strategies to combat the morning stress. Charts, preparing more the night before, NOT yelling (not reminding or hounding anyone until it's time to get in the car--letting Natural Consequences occur), etc. And yet most days I have to nag and remind and then, eventually, yell a bit. I mostly know that this is how it is probably going to be until the boys are much older. I'm going to have to prod them in some way or another to get out the door on time. If I wasn't such an unreasonable stickler for things like clean clothes or brushed teeth we wouldn't have this problem.

My new strategy, very recently formulated, is entitled "Fake It Till You Make It (and you might not ever actually make it.)" (Of course it has a parenthetical caveat there because I am the world champion user of parentheses.) My plan is to deliver every nagging reminder in a sweety-sweet or jokey sort of voice. (I have tried this before with limited success: one time my voice got so high and so sweet it turned into some sort of hysterical tweeting sound, causing the boys to freeze, mid-quarrel, and stare at me. Which was a victory of sorts.) The plan is loosely based on a friend who is able to keep a calm tone of voice in nearly any situation with her kids. I admire this very much.

So tomorrow Fake It Till Make It will commence. Here's hoping we make it out the door on time, shoes on feet, smiles on faces, and familial relationships intact. We shall see.

Friday, September 10, 2010

hire me!

No, that's not me in the picture there. (Although once in college someone asked if the girl in the Henri Cartier-Besson photo on my wall was me. Which I thought was funny.) Anyway, no I don't wear an owl in my hair but I do drink tea and read quite a lot. And I DO send out dozens of resumes lately. Here is a partial list of jobs I have at least considered applying for in the last week:

* librarian (of course)
* researcher (independent contractor for possibly shady character)
* Borders person at the info desk who resembles a librarian
* "kids' activities director" at a gym (aka daycare--they want you to be "working toward" a high school diploma or GRE)
*Target cashier

Do you notice a downward trend there in the list? I also considered the following position (culled from craigslist):

Our organization is looking for young individuals who are self suffisent, able to multi task and have great time management skills.
We are looking for two assistants who will assist our CEO and VP with daily tasks and schedule management.

degree is a plus.

I think I could probably pass the preliminary spelling assessment.

Job hunting is always excruciating for me. Cover letters by necessity must be full of boasts and cliches "organized, motivated, and meticulous in my work"... "deadline-driven"..."self-starter"....

How does a person successfully explain large gaps and weird less-than-part-time jobs without alluding to the dreaded "mommy track"?

Is it ok to delete a whole degree and past experience to meet the requirements of a job clearly aimed at teenagers? (Is it worth it to do so?)

And lastly, am I freaking out already? I haven't actually applied for very many jobs. As my good friend Denise would say, "You need to chillax."