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November 2006
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January 2007


    I need more hours in a day right now.  We leave tomorrow morning for the States, and I still need to finish laundry, pack, make cookies for daughter's Christmas party at school and attend same, go to the bank, blah blah blah.  All of which is slightly complicated by the fact that I tripped going up the stairs on Saturday and severely jammed my left pinky finger.  It's usable (barely) but it hurts, which makes doing things like washing dishes rather uncomfortable.  I'm surprised by how inconvenient it is to try and do things without my pinky finger.  I mean, jeez, it's a pinky!  It's not like it's an important finger, right?  But apparently there's more going on there than meets the eye (or hand, or whatever....leave me alone, I'm stressed). 

    Naturally tomorrow is going to be awesome - hey, I'm going home! - but I anticipate a certain degree of stress there as well.  First of all, we have to get up, load the van and drive to Frankfurt, which is approximately two hours away on a good day.  Unfortunately you never know what you'll find on the autobahn at any given time.  We've taken trips before when we spent hours moving at a measly 20 kilometers per hour.  So we're really hoping we don't have that to deal with.  Also, what with it being the holiday season and all, we're a wee bit fearful that the airport will be a seething mass of irritated "let me on my plane NOW" humanity, and we'll wind up losing a kid or some luggage or something, which would not be good.  Not to mention our last few brain cells, which we are anxiously hoarding against future events like trigonometry classes or requests for car keys.  (We'll need 'em bad at times like those.)  And finally, the flight itself.  It's long, cramped and boring.  Airline food (at least in coach) is uniformly sucky.  The seatbelt sign always comes on just when I decide that I can NOT hold it any longer and absolutely must go to the bathroom.  And last but not least, my youngest son Never. Shuts. Up.  That kid can come up with more questions than a roomfull of Democrat reporters grilling a Republican president.  On our last flight, we were scattered out - husband in one row, two older kids in another, and the young 'un and I towards the back.  I swear to you that I wanted to blow out my eardrums somewhere over the Atlantic.  He's not a bad kid - actually very sweet - but he never stops.  I have prayed for God to install a mute button somewhere on his chunky little body, just to help preserve my sanity, but so far no luck.  However, this time hubby has been warned:  HE gets to sit with the young 'un.  Mommy has had enough, now it's time to share the joy.  We've actually contemplated targeting the most inexperienced-looking flight attendant and feeding him/her some involved story about how our kid wants to be an FA, and could he please just sort of follow them around and learn what it's all about, really, he's a good kid, can he just hang out with you for a few hours?
I like it, hubby's not convinced we can pull it off.  We'll see.

    Well, the lousy house-elves are apparently on strike again, because there's nothing in the suitcases.  Guess that means I'm the responsible party (darn it).  Tick-tock!

I hate to be wrong, too

    Well, we went to this meeting, and lo and behold, I survived.  It was actually even productive.  The school likes the kids, wants to help them, didn't even call me a loser or ask to see my license to parent.  So I am forced to concede that in this one instance, my extreme negativity prior to the actual experience was, in fact, unnecessary.  You have no idea how I loathe having to admit that, but there it is.  Now I'm moving on.
    Since I am no longer in fear of being kicked out of the country because my kids aren't up to snuff in German literature, I've decided to cut loose a bit.  We're going home for Christmas (YAYAYAYAYAY) and I want to mess with my mom's and sister's heads a little.  See,the big trend here in Germany is blatantly artificial hair color - I mean REALLY fake, like blues and purples and shades of red that God never put on anyone's head at birth.  Soooooo, today I'm going to the hair salon and getting a haircut and some funky coloring.  Haven't decided what yet - I'll see what they suggest - but I'm definitely going to walk on the wild side.  I'm sure I'll get lots of stares when I walk through the Detroit Metro airport with crayon-colored hair (I am 41, after all) but the looks on Mom and Melinda's faces will be worth it all.  Hey, a gal's got to have some fun!  I just consider it indulging my "inner child" at Christmastime. 

I hate meetings

    We have three kids, and in the States we homeschooled them, because both my boys are dyslexic and it was just easier to keep the girl home too.  Well, apparently I did an even worse job of it than I thought (and that's bad) because the school here is saying that they're all SOOOOOO far behind, blah blah blah.  Of course, they're forgetting that they are evaluating the kids in GERMAN, which my kids have been learning for - oh, golly - four months now?   How can they possibly not be fluent in that amount of time?  We must be real losers, eh?  GRRRRRRRR!!!
    So today we have a meeting with the school to discuss this issue, amongst other things.  I am not looking forward to this.  I hate meetings in general because they so often wind up being a waste of time, primarily because the people involved don't really listen to each other.  I am hoping and praying that we'll make some progress with this one.  We need to convince the school that we really will work with them to help the kids.  However, we also need to make them understand (somehow!) what dyslexia really is, that the fact that a kid is homesick doesn't mean they hate learning, and that taking away a child's food because he's not crazy about the texture isn't a smart thing to do.  Especially when that child is pathetically scrawny anyway.   And yes, we need to hear what they have to say about the kids' academic status, as ouchy as that may be.  So this is gonna be a doozy, and like I said, I am NOT looking forward to it.  Thank God they do have really good chocolate here....I suppose I can always come home and self-medicate.  :-)   Sigh.   Being a hermit is becoming a more attractive idea every day. 

Where's the snow?

    So here I am, living in Europe, in the Black Forest, right on the toes of the Alps, and the snow is - not here!  How can this be?  I live on the side of a mountain that has at least two different skiing places, and there is no snow.  I am grouchy.  Doggone it, it's December 5th and there ought to be snow!  Of course, as I write this, I've been reading all the stories from the States about massive snowfall and cars getting stuck and people losing power, etc. etc. etc., so you'd think I'd be a little less aggressive in my demands for the white stuff.  But I'm not.  When it comes to snow in the winter - especially around Christmas - I'm prone to irrational and downright childish attitudes.  I wants what I wants, and I wants it now!  I find it deeply disturbing to drive along in December and still see roses in gardens.  That's just wrong.  Christmas trees, fine.  Holly and ivy?  Great, very festive.  But ROSES?!?  Come on!  Unless you can find a way to string lights and tinsel on those babies, they should be outta there!  And there should be snow instead.  Do you see a pattern here?  I WANT SNOW!!! 
    Now, lest I appear to be a complete lunatic, let me remind you that I'm from the midwestern United States.  Snow in winter is a fact of life there.  There's no such thing as a home without a snow shovel, and all kids come wired for sledding and cocoa.  It's all I've ever known.  So sitting here in Germany, surrounded by all this unnatural greenness - well, let's just say that some snow would be a lovely touch of home.  And pardon me for being a little grouchy in my pursuit thereof.   On the bright side, I have heard rumors of flurries being forecast for the weekend....would you excuse me?  I need to go find a sled.

Not today

Surprisingly, today I'm not grouchy.  I have a headache, and there are dust bunnies breeding in almost every corner of the house, and I have no idea when or how I'm going to complete my Christmas shopping, but I'm not grouchy.  Know why?  Because it's December, and that means Christmas is coming, and that means I get to go home to the USA for 16 glorious days!!!  WOOOHOOOO!!  Mind you, I'm sure the process of getting ready for Christmas and an intercontinental trip for a family of five  will produce plenty of grouchiness between now and the time we leave, but for today, I'm feelin' pretty darn good.  Now if I could just figure out how to pack for all of us so we have room for everything we need to take, and still have space for all the extra stuff that I know will be coming back with least I married an engineer.  Just 23 shopping days till Christmas!!