August 18, 2010

Flood, Fire and Fleas

If you follow my Facebook updates, you may remember my post earlier this summer about The Great Chicago Flood in my basement. For those that don't recall, we had a a series of terrible storms and a blown fuse (unbeknown to us) and dead batteries to our sump pump. The result was a pain in the you-know-what evening of moving everything out of harm's way. The good news, though, was that we were able to salvage all but a storage box (but thankfully, the contents were spared).

Apparently, though, this was only the first disaster in store for my family in 2010...

The Great Chicago Fire (Part 2, I guess... if you count the real one) was a result of mom's superb grilling skills during a backyard barbecue, during which flames threatened to engulf our entire deck. After assessing the situation, I quickly realized that the fire was beyond our control, which led to a slight moment of panic because we, apparently, don't believe in fire extinguishers.

This would probably be a good time to tell you that while I may not outwardly appear to be an anxious person, I am plagued by many anxious (and often far-fetched) thoughts. If dad isn't home from work when I'm getting ready for bed and we haven't from him all night, my inner thoughts have me convinced it's because he's been in a fatal car accident. Certainly, a logical person could conclude that he may be in a meeting (he's in insurance sales), but I never claimed to be completely logical.

So, my mind is immediately convinced that the deck is going to be swallowed in flames and the house will certainly be burnt to the ground. I make a mental list of all the items I need to rescue and accurately assess that while my plasma screen TV can be replaced, I have years of teaching resources that I would be devastated to lose. And then I remember that they are paper... and paper burns! And then I remember that we have neighbors, so I run next door where the more responsible residents loan me their extinguisher, which promptly smothers the flames.

The great news is that not only did we extinguish the fire before my teaching resources could be swallowed by flames, but we didn't even ruin the grill. In fact, after a thorough cleaning and round 2 at the grocery store, we grilled again that same night (sans fire, this time), which was perfect because I really worked up an appetite after all that commotion.

Oh, and I should mention that we are now well-equipped with our very own fire extinguisher, which we purchased when we had to replace the one we used from next door. And we learned a very valuable grilling lesson: just because the meat fits on the grill, it doesn't mean you should cook it all at once!

The Great Flea Infestation was confirmed yesterday when I took Gizmo to the vet after a week of endless scratching. Now, to be fair (and so mom doesn't kill me), it probably isn't the most accurate choice of words to say we had an "infestation," but if I told you this was The-Time-We-Found-One-Flea-On-The-Dog, it wouldn't have the same dramatic effect, right?

So, both dogs have been guarded with their Frontline Plus, and I doubt anything could have survived the eradication that was mom's cleaning spree last night. Bonus: the whole upstairs smells like fresh laundry!

They say bad things happen in threes... so let it be known that we've hit our limit!

August 11, 2010

How Badly Do You Want It?

This morning, I was watching a rerun of The View about fertility issues. Why am I watching this, you ask? Because I still have no job lined up for the fall and therefore have nothing better to do with my time at 10:00 AM.

Anyway, on this episode, Giuliana and Bill Rancic joined the cast to discuss their pregnancy woes, which apparently are featured on their reality show (which I don't watch because I think she's extremely annoying). While discussing their trials and tribulations, Giuliana, age 35, admits that her doctor told her she needed to gain some weight because she wasn't ovulating regularly.

Sounds pretty reasonable, right? You say you want a child but your body isn't healthy enough to carry said child (hello... look at her photo, for crying out loud. She looks like a lollipop with her giant head and stick body), so you doc prescribes a weight gain of 5-10 lbs. Giuliana explained that she's "too insecure" to gain the weight because she won't fit into the clothes her stylist brings her on set every day.

I honestly wanted to jump through the television (and apparently back in time because it's a rerun) and bitch slap her for being so stupid. I'm sorry but if you refuse to gain 5-10 pounds (which Barbara joked she could gain in one meal) for the sake of conceiving a child, you don't deserve to be a parent! Where are your priorities? I don't care if you're a television star.

[Side Note: After a bit of online research, I learned that Giuliana did, in fact, follow her doctor's orders and gained 7 pounds but was immediately upset with him when she didn't get pregnant. She promptly went on a 2 week cleanse and lost her I-wanna-have-a-baby weight (which only makes me hate her even more) and is now looking to try IVF.]

Management Style

As a teacher, classroom management is something I think we're always trying to perfect. Management styles can very drastically from one teacher to the next, just as they can from one parent to the next, but I am always "taking notes" (on both teaching and parenting styles) to help me learn what works best for me.

Some teachers, for example, cannot tolerate noise, and they are very strict about any side conversations in their classroom. Others, feel overwhelmed when students are out of their seats and therefore, require students to ask permission to sharpen a pencil or go to the bathroom. To create a comparison for you, I would say that these teachers are the Kate Gosselins of the education world. Kate may yell lot, but her kids definitely know what's expected of them and usually comply.

On the opposite side, I've seen teachers who seem to be able to tolerate a lot more noise and distractions. I've been in classrooms that make my head spin because there is so much noise and movement. The Masche family, stars of their own reality show, Raising Sextuplets, often reminds me of these types of classrooms. Mom, Jenny, admits she's not one for keeping a routine, and it's very clear from the chaos in their home. She makes Kate look like a drill sergeant.

Today, I came across this video of the Masche family on The Today Show, which clearly shows the result when one's management style is too laid-back. Not that taking six children on a television appearance would ever be easy, but yikes!!! This was bad!

I'm curious, would you say your parenting style leans more Gosselin or Masche?

August 7, 2010

Out of Touch

One of my dad's many jobs is to provide security for Chicago area events. Today, he was walking out the door for one of said events, and this is the conversation that followed:

Me: Where are you going, Daddy?

Dad: I'm doing security for Lollapalooza today.

Me: Oh, fun! Who's playing tonight?

Dad: I have no idea. Last night it was Lady Gaga... whoever that is.

Seriously? I know he's old and all... but last I heard Lady Gaga has more Facebook friends than President Obama. Has he been living under a rock????

May I never be so out of touch with the world!

August 5, 2010

Ann Taylor Glitch

Huffington Post released this story yesterday that I couldn't resist sharing:

Some sort of tech error on Ann Taylor's website mistakenly revealed how the brand's photos look before retouching. Jezebel first noticed the pics on Tuesday afternoon explaining:

"As the page loads, you'll get to see what the Chiffon Trim tank looks like on a real woman for a few seconds. Then she shrinks into an awkward creature barely able to support the weight of her torso with her tiny child hips."

By Tuesday night, the glitch, involving thumbnails and other terms beyond us, had been fixed. But we were able to take some screen grabs before Ann Taylor cleaned it up. Check out the before and after photos of the "Chiffon Trim Tank," and item from a set of photoshopped pictures we've previously written about.

To be fair, at the time, Ann Taylor did apologize saying, "We want to support and celebrate the natural beauty of women, and we apologize if in the process of retouching that was lost." Now, we just know exactly what was lost: a few inches off of the model's waist and thighs.

Am I the only one that thinks she looks better in the un-retouched photo? She was already skin and bones... why did the feel it necessary to make her even smaller???

August 4, 2010

Daddy Must Be So Proud

Paris Hilton has one.

So does Pamela Anderson.

And let's not forget Kim Kardashian's.

It's pretty amazing to think that we have a society that rewards people with fame and fortune for exposing themselves (literally) on camera. Who needs talent to become a celebrity these days? Just spread your legs and smile pretty for the camera, right?

That's the plan for Montana Fishburne, daughter of the talented Lawrence Fishburne, who is tired of auditioning and trying to "make it" in the biz the old-fashioned way. Apparently, it's not even enough that she can sail on the coattails of daddy's success. She wants a one-way ticket to Hollywood, and her plan is to skyrocket her way to celebrity status by releasing her own sex tape... now there's a talent I'd want to be known for!

I'm amazed at the attention she's already gotten just from announcing her plan to the media. She's already on every celebrity website and has even been discussed on The View during hot topics. She may gain all the celebrity status she's ever wanted without even releasing the tape... hey, now there's a plan!

August 3, 2010

Our Schizophrenic Economy

Sacrifice - [sak-ruh-fahys] noun, verb

  1. the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as hiving a higher or more pressing claim.
  2. to surrender or give up... for the sake of something else

This is a concept that I don't think we've quite mastered in our society. I read a Bloomberg report this week that analyzed how Americans are behaving during this recession. What they found was that our society is one that cuts back on brand name toothpaste and shampoo but still buys $3 lattes from Starbucks and the latest Apple gadget each quarter.

It got me thinking. Every day, we are inundated with stories of families struggling to make ends meet. And while it's certainly true that the number of unemployed and underemployed in our country is insane, I wonder how much people are really cutting back on their spending.

Sure, we all want to have nice things and be able to enjoy the luxuries of life (whether that be an overpriced cup of coffee or an oversized ipod), but at what cost? I think it's a bit hypocritical for people to their mortgages when they have homes filled with state of the art technology and closets full of the latest fashions. I think that some of us (no... I'm not talking about anyone in particular) need to get our priorities straight. The article points out blatant hypocrisy when interviewing shoppers about the recession. Time and again, people whine about how times are so tough during this recession, but then they turn around and admit to their own luxury purchases. Am I missing something here?

All of this thinking about spending got me thinking about status and image, and how the things we buy and the things we do, say something about who we are. Do we buy things to make ourselves feel better about ourselves? Maybe we have a hard time sacrificing some of life's luxuries because we (subconsciously) enjoy the status that come with having those things.

And the media certainly don't make it any easier on us. They want us to believe that we deserve that day at the spa, new gaming console, vacation, luxury car, or whatever you spend your money on... and maybe we do. But just because we want it, doesn't mean we should have it. I mean, the article talked about a man who celebrated his home going into foreclosure by taking his family to Disneyland. What's wrong with this picture?!

Do I think people should stop living because times are tough? No. But I do think we, as a society,could benefit from learning how to really sacrifice. When times are tough, I think it's time to reprioritize and be diligent about being responsible consumers.