Is It Just Me?

If you have Thanksgiving at a relative’s or friend’s home, do you ever cook your own turkey the next day?

I remember a few years ago when I was volunteering in one of my son’s classes before Thanksgiving. The teacher was talking about all the wonderful smells as the Thanksgiving meal is being prepared. We had always gone to a relative’s house for Thanksgiving. So, I started to feel sad and a bit guilty that my sons hadn’t ever experienced all those wonderful smells at our house. I decided I would cook a turkey dinner the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t remember too much of it, but I did cook the meal and it came out well and was delicious.

I’ve done this at least one more time since then. The problem is that no one remembers it. The boys don’t even remember me ever cooking a Thanksgiving meal and my husband and me have a vague recollection of it. So, the main reason for doing this, so the boys would have fond memories of all the wonderful aromas, has completely eluded us. I thought about preparing this meal again this year and talked to my husband about it, but we just laughed, as we realized it probably wouldn’t be remembered, either.

Whew! Thank God It’s Monday!

Start Winding Down

On Friday afternoon my two sons each have a friend over. For 2 ½ hours, there are four boys between the ages of seven and ten running up and down the stairs, fighting over who gets to use the computer, fighting over who gets to use the Wii and which game to play, looking for Star Wars Clone Wars guns, running outside and back inside numerous times while forgetting to take off their shoes and tracking in slurry seal all over our newly cleaned off-white carpets.

When the friends’ mothers mercifully come to pick up their sons, I remind Zach that he has to change into his basketball uniform. When it’s 15 minutes until his game starts and after copious amounts of yelling and taking privileges away, he saunters down the stairs and informs me he’s hungry.

After watching the game (104 vs. 6), I decide which fast-food joint to drive through while consoling my son about the fact that the other team was a team of giants and the ref really wasn’t making fair calls anyway. After the boys load up on cheeseburgers, fries, apple dippers and shakes and my husband and I microwave leftovers from three days ago, the boys argue over which show to watch on TV and I plop a bowl of popcorn in front of them. Then I grab a glass of wine and a magazine and sit on the sofa. I wake up at midnight to find my husband sprawled on the other sofa and the boys still watching TV and asking for more popcorn.

Ready, Set, Go

Saturday morning, I wake up to beep, beep, beeping as I realize I automatically set the alarm last night. It’s now 6:30 in the morning. I put my head back on the pillow as I realize I have another hour to sleep. My husband hasn’t stirred. As I lay awake during the whole hour, I think about the things to do this weekend, what I need to buy at the grocery store today, what meals I will make all week, I need to remember to make a doctor’s appointment for Alex, I still haven’t bought the gift for the birthday party Alex will go to tomorrow, I forgot the clothes in the washer last night, the credit card bill is due in two days – if I drive to the post office to mail it today, will it get there in time?

When I get up, I remember that Alex’s soccer uniform hasn’t been washed and is all rumpled at the bottom of the laundry basket. As I throw the clothes from the washer into the dryer and throw the uniform into the washer, I calculate I will have just enough time for the uniform to dry before we run out the door to his game. I wake the boys up, I wake my husband up and the rush is on to get everyone fed, dressed and teeth brushed while keeping the boys from becoming comatose in front of the TV. As Alex is putting his soccer socks on he says “mom, why do my socks feel wet?” “Don’t worry hon, they’ll dry out before the game” (I hope).

While we watch Alex’s game, I remember that I’m supposed to bring the snack for Zach’s game, which starts in an hour. I rush to the store to pick up chips, fruit roll-ups and juice and make it back to Alex’s game to find out I just missed the first goal he’s ever made. “Mom, where were you?” – ouch!

After Zach’s game, I go grocery shopping, stop at the dry cleaners, drop off bills at the post office, stop at the pharmacy, get gas and deposit money at the bank’s ATM to cover the bills I just mailed. It’s dinner time by the time I get home and Alex has a basketball game in an hour. I make the boys hot dogs, have some cereal, then throw in another load of laundry before we head out the door.

When we get back from the game, the boys argue over which show to watch on TV. I’m too tired to make popcorn so they each eat a bag of chips. I get myself a glass of wine and a magazine and sit on the sofa. At midnight I wake up to see the boys eating another bag of chips, while there are four empty chip bags surrounding them, and my husband is sprawled on the other sofa.

A Relaxing Sunday

Ahh, Sunday at last! I finally get to sleep in. The cat comes in our room at 5:50 and jumps on the bed, then jumps on the windowsill, then starts scratching the side of our bed “Zoey, cut it out!”, then goes into the bathroom and finds an errant marble on the floor and starts chasing it around, bouncing it off the walls.

After about ½ an hour, I decide to just get up. My husband hasn’t stirred. I go out to get the newspaper and start going through it. Once I get comfortable, the boys wake up and start yelling that they’re hungry. I make them pancakes from scratch and try to make a clever shape out of them. “What is that?” “I know – it’s a cat’s head.” “No, you guys, it’s a birthday present with ribbon – Alex’s birthday is coming up – can’t you see?” “Uh yeah, mom, whatever.”

Then I remember that I still haven’t gotten the gift for the birthday party Alex will be going to in an hour. I get dressed and rush to Target to find Bakugan, or Gormiti, or whatever was popular with boys his age at the time. When I get home, I realize I forgot to get a card so I put a green piece of paper in front of Alex and tell him to make one – “it’s more special that way – really.”

When Alex and I get to Boomers, a family entertainment center that’s a very popular place for birthday parties, we’re searching for anyone we can recognize in a sea of screaming, hyped-up, sugarloaded, token-wielding children. After a day of miniature golf, laser tag, bumper boats, race cars and the kiddy-casino – I mean the arcade – I’m looking forward to a relaxing Sunday evening.

When I get home, Zach informs me that he has a report due tomorrow on Chumash Indians and he can’t get all his information on the internet. When we get to the library 15 minutes before it closes, a sympathetic librarian leads us to a book on Californian Indians. We gratefully rush home. After three hours of finding out as much as we can about the Chumash and me lecturing Zach that he needs to write the report himself because it’s his report, not mine, I argue with the boys about taking showers, brushing teeth and going to bed.

When I hit the pillow, I’m out. Then I wake up at 3:07 and hear a drip, drip, dripping. I remember that I need to call the plumber about the leak in the shower faucet that keeps getting worse, I need to collect money and get a gift for Zach’s coach, I need to buy party favors for Alex’s upcoming birthday party, I need to bake cookies for the PTA bake sale on Tuesday, I’ve got to buy baseball cleats before the season starts, I need to start working on our taxes, I need to fill out and turn in a field trip permission slip and I forgot about another load of laundry in the washer. I drift off to sleep somewhere around 6 (I stop looking at the clock at 5:37). The alarm goes off at 6:30. My husband hasn’t stirred. Another ordinary weekend.

Privacy?

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My husband and I spent a good part of our Saturday afternoon at our local hospital’s ER. One of the forms my husband had to sign was a Privacy Statement, detailing the hospital’s protocol on how they would protect my husband’s privacy. My husband was signing this while we were sitting in a room with a curtain partially closed, shielding us from the hallway outside and another curtain used as a partition from where another patient was sitting a few feet from us.

A physician’s assistant came to ask my husband why he came to the ER and other detailed questions about his medical history. Of course, the patient a few feet away could hear just about every word my husband was saying, if he chose to do so, including my husband’s first and last name, address, personal info, etc. I also couldn’t help noticing that ER workers were helping an elderly man on a gurney in the hallway. I could see most of what was happening through a gap in the curtain and could hear most of what they were talking about. I tried not to listen but I knew full well that they were giving him an EKG and that he had been feeling weird for most of the day and they were getting a room ready for him.

When the physician’s assistant was finished asking my husband questions, she went over to the patient on the other side of the curtain. We heard all about the fact that he had a herniated disk, some type of abscess on his back and was limping because of all this. We even heard that he did some type of construction work and was on Medical.

My husband eventually had X-rays and was informed of his condition, for anyone nearby to hear. I was just thankful that we hadn’t come in with something embarrassing or highly personal.

As we left the ER that afternoon, I was shaking my head to myself thinking, they make such a big deal out of patients signing their privacy policy when you don’t have any real privacy once they’re taking care of you. They’re trying to utilize as much space as possible by separating sitting areas by curtains and putting patients in the hallways, but they don’t seem very concerned that they’re asking you personal, medical information within earshot of other patients and the family members or friends who are with them. Privacy? I think not!

First Post: How to Start?

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Well I was sitting in front of the computer trying to decide what to write for my first post. Maybe I should talk about Spring Break – that’s topical. Families have kids either on Spring Break right now or they just had it.

Then one of my teenage sons came downstairs. “Mom, I need you to look at something.” He looked nervous and worried. He showed me a message that was locked on his iPhone after he downloaded a video off Google. It was a frightening message alluding to him having committed a crime and that he needed to buy something called a OneVanilla prepaid card and load it with $500 or all the stored material on his phone would be wiped clean in 24 hours.

What?!! My son had just become a victim of not only malware, but ransom ware!

Well now, this was something new! My husband and I looked up some information on the web and determined that this was spam ransom ware that had happened to others. One site advised victims to alert the authorities. We called our local police department and they let us know that the spammers probably couldn’t really do anything to our son’s phone and to call Apple to figure out how to unlock it. After being on hold for over 15 minutes, a very friendly Apple rep was able to walk us through the process of unlocking the phone.

This was a scary lesson. We used it to talk to both our sons, once again, about the danger of going onto dubious websites or downloading info from an unknown source. We also discussed the fact that ANYTHING you do digitally is out there and there is no way to completely get rid of it. You can delete things, you can clear your history on your device, but that information can still be brought up and found by someone.

Has anyone had a similar experience or any words of advice regarding keeping your digital devices safe?