Archive | March, 2011

Living with Boys, #948

Life with boys is something that I 1) never knew I’d love and 2) am constantly surprised by.

For instance, did you know that bodily emissions of a gaseous state are ALWAYS funny?  Doesn’t matter your age.  One of the boys (who shall remain nameless because he IS SO GUILTY) had what we refer to as the Antibiotic Tummy this week, and the same night decided to try pepperocinis (despite my MULTIPLE suggestions that he not because these in particular were very hot), and MAN OH MAN, the emissions.  My husband, who is rapidly approaching forty years old, giggled and tittered like a schoolgirl ALL NIGHT.  ALL FREAKING NIGHT.  Of course, it was like walking into a brick wall with the stench, so laughing was a preferred reaction instead of, say, gagging and holding one’s throat as they passed out.

Also, bodily functions are also cool.  We are happily over the potty-training hurdle, including the dreaded #2 (which, why is that such a thing? Can I just say that #2 is the ONLY ALONE TIME I get during the day and I cherish it? Live it up, kid!).  #2, which some lovely nymph at his school has referred to as “chocolate poo-poo” and now we are graced with THAT label at least once a day, is now like cloud-watching to my son.  “Momma, it’s a castle!” and “Momma, it’s a rocket ship!” and “Momma, that one was REALLY LOUD!”.  Why spend money on toys?  WE HAVE THIS ENTERTAINMENT IN OUR OWN BATHROOMS!

People falling are ALWAYS hysterical. (.. I can’t really argue with this logic.) The two older boys are, obviously, longtime fans of any images of people dramatically falling, but now the three year old continuously requests Splash in the Water, which many of you know as ABC’s Wipeout.  Oddly enough, Jack called a similar show Jump in the Water when he was the same age.  They will all happily sit in front of the same damn episode for HOURS at a time.  Also, Tony is consistently trying to perfect his pratfalls.  HE IS THREE AND IS WORKING ON HIS STAGE FALLS.  I just have to imagine girls don’t do this.

Don’t even get me started on bed-head.  I thought girls had it rough.  Inevitably, both of the boys will roll out of bed in the morning looking like they lost a battle with a weedwacker.

And although danger lurks in every corner when you have all boys — there is dirt and mud and worms and gas and boogers and a myriad of things to be terrified of — it’s worth every minute.

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Some Thoughts for Your Day

I’ve been really lucky in my line of work in that I get to often sit in a room with really smart, really talented businessmen.  (Not all of them, mind you, are smart and/or talented.  But there’s about a 2 in 5 ratio happening.)  I love these opportunities because the really great ones are also almost lyrical when they speak.  They often relay little idioms that I use later.  I want to share them with you today.  Mostly because I need them, and it’s Wednesday, so maybe you do too.

“We all juggle many things at once.  It’s what we do.  If you don’t have too many things in the air, you’re not doing your job right.  And you’re going to drop a few.  You’re human; it’s expected.  The key is to make sure that you let the balls drop and catch the eggs.”

“We’re not in the Olympics here; we’re not tied to a specific event.  We can decide what we want to be a high-jump and what we want to be a long-jump.  A high jump is just getting over the bar.  A long jump is where you show your skill.  Pick your jumps.  Not every jump has to be a long jump.”

“You’ll never look back and think You remember that one day I missed work?  You will, however, always remember the family you missed to be at work.  Family first.  Always, always family first.”

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Why My Children Will Work in FoodService

We don’t eat out often, mostly because of schedule, but also because of cost.  When we do eat out, we tend to frequent the same places, so we get to know the waitstaff.. if not by name, at least by look and by attentiveness.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has looked at my resume and realized that, before coming to work at Big Global Corporation, I was a waitress for a LOOOOOONG time.  And I’ve openly been told that serving food doesn’t qualify me for anything other than .. serving more food.  Perhaps managing the service of food.  I laughed at them because, um, dude — food service, when done right, gives you TONS of life skills.

Attention to detail.  Simply put, you HAVE to notice things.  Your tip hangs in the balance of noticing whether or not they added tomatoes to the order of the diner who is deathly allergic.  You learn to quickly double-check everything for correctness, because any additional trip back to the kitchen lessens your tip by half.

Learn to be proactive.  The table with two small children needs to be attended to quickly, and the kids’ meals need to be put in the queue first.  The regulars that you see walking through the door love to have their usual drinks waiting on them.  Thinking ahead will save you time and score you big points at your table.

Empathy and compassion.  There are a million things that are within your control when you are in food service, but twice as many that aren’t.  When you notice your coworker in the weeds, it takes very little to help them resurface.  Not only that, but you want them on your side the next time you’re stuck.  Playing together nicely helps build a well-oiled machine. (Not to mention that you can always tell when you’re serving a former server – they understand and usually tip well.)

Look for efficiency opportunities.  Certain dishes require certain utensils.  Bussing your own table means it clears faster, allowing for a new seating.  Finding little ways to anticipate and be proactive slims your efforts and doubles your profits.  And any server worth his salt looks for them and makes them habitual.

Spread the wealth.  Not all facilities provide tip-sharing among the staff — and really, as a server, you’re totally okay with that — but making sure that your support team is well-recognized keeps them supporting you to the best of your ability.  On more than one occassion, I passed a tip on to the chef if he went above and beyond .. and I rarely had to wait on an order from that point on.

So, sure, you can look at my resume and think I spent years “flingin’ wings” as I called it, but in reality, it has made me into the prized asset that I am today.  Almost every single skill — aside from my IT prowess — has had some basis in my wearing an apron and carrying a notepad.  As such, I plan to encourage my boys to take some early jobs in the restaurant industry and gain these valuable skills as well.

What “unskilled” labor did you gain the most life skills from?

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Mrs. Jekyll & Miss Hyde

This is a hard thing to write, which all but guarantees it will be even more difficult to read.  But bear with me.  Sometimes, just sometimes, this blogging thing is for me to talk with my fingers.

I often feel guilt where there should be none.  It can often be overwhelming and stifling and irritating and a million things.  It’s most often (and most heavily) Mommy Guilt, but even that’s not it entirely.

I feel like there are different versions of me.  Like, distinctly different versions of me.  Different faces I wear when I’m doing different things.  And I feel the need to admit that, like it’s uncovering a wound or a soft spot or something, like maybe I’m faking it somehow.

I’ll be honest.  I work in a male-dominated industry.  In the last six months, I have often sat as the only woman in a room full of highly paid male engineers.  As such, I carry myself differently at work.  That’s Work Sarah.  Work Sarah is organized, business-minded, and efficient.  She’s charming and she’s quick-witted and she works very, very hard.  Work Sarah wants to be the best at what she does and will put in whatever’s necessary to get there.

Mommy Sarah is doting.  She struggles against being a helicopter parent, but she often fails.  She worries all the time, nonstop, about things that are mostly out of her control.  She’s afraid and cautious and she loves.  My God, she loves.  Deeply and unabashedly.  Mommy Sarah never thinks of herself; she hasn’t eaten a hot meal in almost three years.

Stepmom Sarah is reticent.  She is cautious, guarded.  She walks this careful line of loving too much and loving not enough.  A tightrope walker of almost seven years now, Stepmom Sarah knows that she doesn’t have a dog in that fight, so becoming too involved will not turn out well.  Stepmom Sarah is often sad because of this.

Single Sarah makes fleeting appearances.  She likes her curves and she knows the attention they muster.  She enjoys spontaneity and dinners at fancy restaurants.  And MARTINIS.  My God, Single Sarah loves martinis and fru-fru bar drinks.  She gets her nails done and her hair styled and she wears new clothes.   She stays up late and she sleeps in till mid-morning.  Single Sarah takes bubble baths.

Wifey Sarah feels the most guilt.  All of these other Sarahs get her full attention between them; Wifey Sarah comes dead last.  Wifey Sarah hates her body.  Hates it, doesn’t want anyone to look at it ever.  She is resentful that all the other Sarahs come first, and then takes it out on herself.  Wifey Sarah is loved more than any other wife on the planet and she knows it, but she very often (always) feels like she doesn’t return half of it.  She wants to, but there’s just not enough time, not enough hours, not enough Sarah.  There is just no room.

I’m not alone here, right? (And yes, obviously, I’m NOT alone, as I’m suffocated by Sarahs.) But I mean, we all do this, right?  I can’t be the only one who feels like this.  Am I?

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The Shock of Spring

I hesitate to even bring this up because I know some of you are reading this from the inside of your house as you look out your windows on to FRESH SNOW THAT HAS JUST FALLEN, but here in the south, we have enjoyed a week of temperatures in the 80s.  With plentiful sunshine.  It’s been pretty glorious.  In truth, it’s almost been TOO HOT.

(We’re grinning and bearing it, though.)

I hate having to put seasonal wardrobes away, because the mere unveiling of the Space Bags signals something in the cosmos to suddenly stop whatever is happening in the weather and then the minute the Space Bags are packed and put away, the temperatures end up 180 degrees from what they were.  So I knew that the minute I started folding up my sweaters, I’d wake up the next morning with my spring skirts to a morning of ice-covered sidewalks.  Guarantee.

However, after the second day of 80 degree weather with long-sleeves and wool pants, I was willing to take this risk.

I lugged out my overstuffed Space Bags (I keep mentioning these by name, but I’d like to state that I actually hate them and they DO NOT WORK and mine are actually broken and don’t even sufficiently zip closed any longer) and emptied out my spring/summer wardrobe and rejoiced.  I love my spring wardrobe: last year was the first year that I didn’t wear maternity clothes during the spring/summer season.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is ridiculousness.  However, it is also factual.

So I was excited to see these clothes, which are still very much “new” in my mind.  I laid them out (re: threw them in a pile in the corner of our bedroom, causing Bryan to grumble about a million times a day) and yesterday decided to throw on a pair of my capri slacks for work.

And, um.

Yeah.

They were tight.

In a way, I expected this.  I knew that an autumn and winter stuck in a proposal center was not kind to my hips or my stomach, but it still came as a slap to the face.  I knew I hadn’t been eating well, but STILL.  DAMN, BODY.  And I knew that last year, when I bought these clothes, I was either doing Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp for Women OR I was doing manual labor as a self-owned cleaning company.  BUT STILL.

I don’t really use the scale that often because I don’t believe it to be a credible factor in the area of health and weight loss, so I felt REALLY blindsided by trying on these slacks.  I felt betrayed, really.  I felt like someone had changed my coffee to Taster’s Choice and I was REALLY FREAKIN’ UPSET ABOUT IT.

(Where was THAT commercial, btw?)

My ultimate goal still stands of losing 30 lbs by August.  My current proposal is submitted mid-April, so I’ll still have time to focus once this is off my plate.  But now?  My more immediate goal is, um, FIT IN MY CLOTHES.

So if you see me, walking around in 85 degree weather with a cowlneck sweater and wool pants on?

Now you know why.

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