Travel Lesson Learned

We send my 17 year old to CT to visit her best friend every summer for a couple of weeks.  Money has been tight this year, and we were unable to send her.  Her best friend’s family surprised us by pooling together the money for Sara’s round trip plane tickets.

These girls have been besties since the 1st grade.  We all consider them “sisters”.  We try to get the two of them together at least once or twice a year.  So Sara went up to CT for 2 weeks.  She had lots of fun and got to drive Poppies BMW convertible that no one else is allowed to drive.

Then came the trip home.  She checked in, paid for her checked bag, and printed her ticket the night before her flight home.  She gets to the airport and goes to the counter to check her bag.  They asked her for her ID and she realizes that her wallet with her ID is sitting on the desk at her friend’s house 45 minutes away from the airport.

I  happened to check her cell phone’s GPS to see if she was at the airport on time and saw that she wasn’t.  I texted her and asked what time her flight was and due to land.  She called me back in tears.  She explained what happened.  I was furious!  I advised her that she was not going to make it back to the airport on time as it was now rush hour traffic which doubles the travel time in that area.  She grew more upset.

I called my husband who was going to pick her up when he got out of work in the morning.  He was just as mad as I was.  We now had to figure out how we were going to get her home as she was definitely not going to make it back to the airport in time to catch her flight.  That only happens in the movies.

I had Sara text me her flight information.  While I was waiting for her response I called my boss and explained why I wouldn’t be at work that day.  That’s always a fun phone call.

My next call was to the airline.  The representative I spoke with was very nice and helpful.  She also grew up in CT and know exactly what I was talking about with why my daughter wasn’t going to make it back in time.  We were able to get Sara on the next flight out to a different airport in FL.

This flight was due to land in the early afternoon.  Then the first delay of 30 minutes came.  Okay, no big deal.  That turned into an hour delay.  Then 2 hours.  Her fight finally came in around dinner time.

We had her pay us back the fee for having to switch flights.  Hopefully lesson was learned.  The important thing is that she made it home safe.

The Middle Sister

Anyone who has younger siblings things it’s hard to be the oldest.   They feel that their younger siblings get away with everything and get whatever they want.  It’s also not fair that they have to babysit them as well.

Anyone who is the youngest feels they have it the hardest.  They never get to do what their older siblings get to do.  It’s just not fair.  I too am the youngest.  I have five older siblings.  I felt that if they could do it then I should be able to as well.

Even though I am the youngest child, I now know better.  After having my own children I have come to learn the truth.  It sucks being the middle child.

Being the middle child, you tend to hear things like, “your older sister never behaved this way,” and “Why can’t you be more like your older sister?”  The older child gets to do everything first.  The middle child wants to do everything the oldest child does but can’t.  Having a tantrum about it is simply not acceptable, because that is a bad influence on their younger sibling.  The younger children are always watching and learning from the older kids.  The younger sibling is more likely to get away with have a tantrum.

My 14 year old has been the middle child for eight years now.  She has always wanted to be just liker her big sister.  Sara took dance lessons and Kalli had to take the same lessons or “it’s just not fair.”  Sara plays an instrument and Kalli had to as well.  Kalli plays the flute.

Kalli feels like her eight year old sister gets away with everything.  They shared a room for the past seven years.  Kalli did not like having the responsibility of being the older sister and helping clean up her younger sisters mess.  It wasn’t fair that they had to share a bedroom.  The two rarely get along.  We acknowledge it when they do, because we like and think it’s important to recognize the good behavior that we expect them to have.

Kalli has always tried to get good grades in school just liker her older sister.  Kalli has struggled all throughout school.  Being the middle child is almost like being stuck in the shadows.

Kalli finally found something she is excellent at doing.  Something that is all hers that she does better than anyone else in our house.  She is an excellent photographer.  She is not a professional yet, but for a 14 year old who just a little of a year ago started taking pictures with her cell phone, she is excellent.  So much so that we spent extra on a much better camera for her last Christmas.

I have attached a few of her pictures below.  She also has an instagram @photos.by.kallista .

If you are or have a middle child, mom & dad don’t love you any less.  We know it’s not easy.  Like the old childhood rhyme goes, “2nd is the best.”

Junior Year was a Blur

My oldest teen just finished her junior year of high school.  It feels like she just started last week.  My straight A, smarty pants teenage daughter did not disappoint this year.  She was taking a mix between honors and IB classes.

I give her a lot of credit getting straight A’s and a 4.0 GPA.  On top of her studies, she also babysits her siblings and starts or makes dinner depending on what time I get out of work during the week.  With her siblings, it can be very stressful at times.

As if the end of the year studying for finals isn’t stressful enough.  Her chemistry teacher was arrested 2-3 weeks before school ended for having inappropriate relationships with 2 male students.  One of every parent’s worst fears.

Sara did really well this school year.  I am super proud of my teenage daughter.

SURPRISE!!!

You know that moment when you think that you are done having kids.  You say no more, we are all done.  And then one day you wake up and SURPRISE! there is another baby on the way.  Yeah, that was my husband and me last August.

We kept our little surprise quiet for quite some time, due to m history of complicated pregnancies.  I was considered high risk right away, and had to be followed by a team of doctors.  We waited to tell our families until just before Christmas, when I was cleared by the specialists that everything with this pregnancy was good.

I continued to wok until I was five months pregnant.  Not long after I put in for my early maternity leave at work, my husband received a transfer letter from his job.  We had two weeks to pack up our house, get the kids school and medical records, and find new doctors in Florida.  None of which is easy when you are in your third trimester.  We sold one of our cars, and some of our other bulky furniture.  We gave our parts car to a friend of ours.  My car is sitting in our friends back yard until we have the money to tow or ship it down to Florida, and all of our other belongings are in a storage unit, that I have no clue as to where anything is or how its packed because I couldn’t help pack it.  We loaded up our minivan and m husbands car with clothes, the kids school things, a few toys, and the dogs things.  My nephew took vacation time to drive the minivan down while my husband drove his own car.

We get to Florida and get the girls all set up in their new schools.  The transition was hard for my oldest daughter, her gpa dropped some.  She mad a few friends and seems well adjusted now.  My next daughter who is also now a teen adjusted well.  She is getting lazy with her schooling though.  My seven year old adjusted the best.

Our little surprise was due April 14th.  Due to m previous complications, I was scheduled for a c-section at 37 weeks.   Our baby had other plans.  She came at 36 weeks.  We got to see her for a quick minute before the nurses whisked her away to the NICU.  Our beautiful Melanie Grace spent ten days in the NICU.  When she was a day old, she ran into more complications.  Her lung collapsed, causing her to have to have a chest tube placed, and there was talks about sending her to Miami.  Thank god they didn’t have to.  She was able to stay where she was, and quickly recovered.  She was able to come home on Easter Sunday.

So here I am, not just a mom of three girls, but now four.  It loos like I will be Mom of a Teenage Girl for a long time.

 

Concert; Teen Knows Best

My first concert was Oz Fest.  I was definitely not mentally prepared for I saw at that concert.

My teen is going to her first, we’ll say grown up concert.”  She’s been to concerts like Selena Gomez, but that’s a kiddie, preteen concert, and absolutely nothing like the Wiz Khalifa / Fall Out Boy concert that she will be attending today.

I tried to prepare her for what she will see, and of course because she is a teen everything I say goes in one ear and right out the other, because she knows all about how concerts really are.  I tried telling her that she will see people doing and selling drugs at this concert.  She says no mom this is not that kind of concert.  I tried telling her that people will probably sneak in weapons either knives or guns or both, and once again I was told no mom it’s not that kind of concert.  I tried informing her that there will be the occasional person walking around half naked with body paint on, and she will most likely see people making out or having sex on the field, but once again teen knows best.

It will be interesting to see what she has to say after the concert.

What was your first concert experience?  Did you let your teen attend any concerts yet, if so what was his/her experience?

Grades

As a parent, I expect my kids to do well in school.  My teen has always been a straight A student, so for her I expect nothing less than a B.  I don’t except anything less because I know that she can do it.  However, my tween is another story.

My tween has a learning disability.  We kept her back a year so that she wouldn’t be 1.5 yrs behind in school.  She has caught up quite nicely since keeping her back.  Now we expect nothing less than a C from her.

When we go her report card for the third term of this school year we were surprised.  Not in a good way either.  Her spelling grade is a 52.  Absolutely not acceptable.  We were furious!  I grounded her from all electronics and social life for the entire 4th term.  No computer, no tablet, no cell phone (except to call her dad and myself all other apps and numbers were blocked).

I was going to be nice and take a week off of her punishment if she found out what she had gotten on the last 2 spelling tests if the grades were really, really good.  That got thrown right out the window when she lied to us about a math packet she had to do.  She told me the other night that she had 1.5 pages left to do in a 14 page packet that she was given for homework.  It was the night of her band concert so I wrote a letter to her teacher asking to keep her in for recess to complete the packet.  I get a phone call from the teacher telling me that she had a week to complete it between homework and class time that was given.  She failed the packet after all that and had a lunch detention that day for antics about when the packet was given and completed.

She says she knows how important school is and getting good grades is.  I’m having a lot of trouble seeing that right now.  I would love to see her get her act together before she falls behind again.  She’s going to have a rude awakening when she gets into the middle school next school year.

When Life Gets In The Way Of Life

We take so many things for granted in our daily lives.  We don’t appreciate things until they are gone.  Simple things like electricity, heat, even our vehicles.

After last year, when everything that could go wrong, was going wrong.  It was one bad thing after another, after another.  We have really had enough.  So begins the tale of the past 15 months.

November 2013, our landlord informed us that our rent would be increased by $200 on January 1, 2014.  We knew we could not afford that high of an increase in the rent so we chose to move.  We found a ½ double home in a small town that we heard was not a bad area to live in.  The rent would be $300 less than what we were currently paying.  Great, we thought because then we could catch up on some things, pay off others and have some spending money.  So we were supposed to move in the weekend after Christmas.

Wrong!  The new landlord informed us that we could not move in until January 3, 2014.  My husband picked up the moving truck in a snow storm.  We loaded the truck in the snow storm.  The people that said they would help us never showed up and were not answering our calls.  The moving truck gets loaded and we were making good time.  We start my SUV and the moving truck.  We got all the kids into the SUV and my husband calls my cell phone to inform me that the moving trucks emergency brake is frozen and will not turn off.  We get all the kids back into the house, and call the moving companies roadside assistance.  We had to wait 4 hours for them to come and fix the truck.  That night was also the night that the “polar vortex” that we kept getting all winter long began.  We get to the new place and unload the truck in temperatures that were below 0.

The new landlord calls my husband to inform him that the furnace guy would be coming to explain some things about the new furnace.  What a joke that was.  The furnace was never properly installed.  The automatic water feeder was never put on, so my husband had to manually fill it with water every other day.   Also the washer machine drainage was not up to code and that he installed a drain on the opposite side of the basement as the water hook ups, but would be back in at the beginning of the next week to installed new water hook ups by the new drain.  Neither the automatic water feed nor the water hookups were ever installed, and the landlord did not want to hear anything about it, because this guy was a family friend of hers.

Also in January, we get a letter from the department of motor vehicles stating that we had no car insurance on our SUV and that the license plate was being suspended.  That was news to us.  We were never informed by the insurance company that they stopped covering the SUV and no explanation of why.  My husband’s hours at work were being cut back, and the cost of home heating oil between January and March.  After the temperatures warmed up we noticed that the railing on the back porch was not even attached, it was just frozen on there all winter long.

Now we are in March.  My husband job was cut along with everyone else in his department, just before our teen’s and preteen’s birthdays.  So now were are just living off of my salary which is not a lot.  Unemployment took over a month to start paying him.  So I tried taking a higher paying job back in our home state of CT.  Friends and family were letting me stay with them for the first few weeks, while I was actively looking for a place to move us to.  The last place I was staying was with my in-laws who decided after 3 days to tell me I could not stay with them any longer.  I had to resort to sleeping in my SUV & once or twice a week staying at motels witch was costly.  My husband was offered a job back in PA at an Amazon.com warehouse that he had to accept or he would lose his unemployment.  As soon as he accepted the position the last week in April, I put in for a transfer to a nursing home back in PA that the company I worked for owned.  I did not hear anything from them.

Between the costs of oil during the winter, me working over 300 miles away and staying in my truck or hotels, and paying all the bills and rent for our place in PA, we did not have the money for my car payment and they came and took the SUV.  We knew that was happening and tried to come up with the money to keep it by selling things, it just didn’t work out for us like the first 5 months of the year.  I had to quit my job in CT.  Two weeks later the company recruiter in PA contacted me about the position I had put in over a month before to transfer to.  It was too late.  I was denied unemployment as well.

I applied to numerous places every day.  On July 2, 2014 I get a call from Amazon.com saying that my husband was being taking to the hospital because he had a heart attack.  Yes, you can have a heart attack at any age.  I had to call around to get a ride to the hospital that he was being taken to.  The hospital let him come home with me and we scheduled testing for him.  After his testing he was allowed back to work, he was out of work for 2 weeks.  The week he returned, he gets hurt because Amazon.com does not allow its employees to use forklifts, they have to use manual pallet jacks to move pallets from one end of the warehouse to the other.  Most of the time these pallets weigh in at 100lbs.  Again he is out of work.  They refused his workers compensation claim.  We are now flat broke.

I obtained a position at a nursing home not far from where we lived.  My husband also obtained an executive chef position at a local hotel.   He started 2 days before me.  Now we have the dilemma of only having 1 vehicle still and we both worked day shift.  I was stuck finding rides to work and he would pick me up.  We moved my oldest daughter in with my nephew in another school district because over the summer she informed us that the kids at school were severely terrorizing her.  She started shaking and crying when she saw one of the kids at the grocery store.

We finally found a car for me in September.  It needed just a little bit of work, but would get me back and forth to work and to the grocery store.  Until I got pulled over by a cop who did not believe that I just purchased the car and still was within my time frame for getting it inspected, and he told me that my license was suspended and that he was taking my car, even though I said I can have my roadside assistance company come an tow it.  Now my car is impounded and I have to pay to get it back along with a huge ticket.  Now that that is all taken care of.  My husband obtained a 2nd full time job to try to get us out of the horrible rut we have been in for the past 9 months.

October is my youngest daughter’s birthday, and she get sick the week before with a high fever, so one of use needed to call off of work for the week to care for her.  We both do not have any pto time because we were both still within our first 90 days on the job.  We were able to give her a nice birthday weekend though.  We got her a new Nabi tablet to replace the one she broke in March, and did some family fun things.  Also, our horrible landlord took us to court trying to say we were not paying the rent.  We decided enough was enough in that town and that we were moving.

November, we found a great place in the same town that we used to live in that is also in the same school district that our teen was going to.  I started packing immediately, and we moved Thanksgiving weekend.  We had some help this time which was great.

Everything was going great the first two weeks of December.  Then my husband’s car breaks down.  We took it to the repair specialist who says that everything looks good.  I pay for the repair and tell him that we will pick up the vehicle after I pick up my husband from work at 10:00 pm.  I took my daughter on a date to a safe movie theater 30 minutes away.  Her sisters and I went to window shop at some stores.  When I went to pick up my teen and her date, I noticed my battery light was on.  I made it to my husband’s work, where my car died.  Now his car is still at the repair shop and now we have no vehicle.  My nephew brought my kids and myself home and my husband’s coworker took him to pick up his car.  My car would not start after work a few days later and no one would jump start my car even though I had jumper cables, finally after I started to cry someone came to my rescue.  My husband fixed my car the next day.

The following week, my sister in law informed us we were no longer welcome for Christmas, to just stay home.  We made arrangements with my family instead, and then she changes her mind.  We went to my families.  We had the trouble with ordering the tablet for my preteen from Wal*mart.  Then 3 days before Christmas, my husband calls me at work to inform me that on his way to his 2nd job his oil pump went and his engine was done for.  Christmas was good.

January 2015: My husband found a car that was cheap that we decided to purchase and then in a month or two would trade in for a new car.  We purchased the vehicle and were bringing it home when it dies on the highway.  Of course a cop is going to show up out of nowhere.  He tries telling my husband that the car is stolen because we don’t have a bill of sale.  The state we live in does not use a bill of sale for a car purchase.  My husband got a ticket which we are going to fight.  This was at 1:00 am.  The car did not get towed to our house until 5:30 am even though the tow truck picked it up off the highway at 3:00 am.

Needless to say, we still are using 1 vehicle.  My husband is extremely close to losing his 2nd job, because the people that give him rides from his first job to the second are not reliable and continuously make him late.  I get up an hour early for work to take him to work and then I go to work.  He is supposed to be at his second job before I get out of work and I cannot leave to bring him.  I also do this on my days off, except on my days off I drive back up to his first job and bring him to the other.

We are both exhausted and cannot take any more of this bad luck streak that we have been on.   We don’t know what to do anymore.  Life keeps getting in the way of life.  I know there are people out there that have it worse than us.  I am grateful for the things that we have I do not know what we are going to do anymore.

Dress Shopping

I never thought I would be at this point with my daughter this soon.  I thought I would not be at this point until she was about to go to her junior prom, not her freshman homecoming dance.

She told me this week that she wants to go dress shopping with her friends, not me this time.  I was a little taken back by that.  Okay a lot taken back.  They have no school this Friday, and her friends mother is going to be taking them.  I can’t go because I have to work that day.  To be honest, I’m a little hurt by this.  She’s not to girly and is always doing “guy” things with my husband (working on the car, riding mountain bikes).  The only thing I feel I get with her is dress shopping for dances.

I know i have two more girls that are following her.  I guess dress shopping for me will have to wait.