Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Practice What You Preach!

Ok, I admit it, I have all kinds of great advice for my little cousin, but apparently I don't always follow my own advice.

So, Cousin Courtney has been staying with us for a couple months while he decides if Virginia is really the place for him, before he signs a long-term lease somewhere. This comes with an added side benefit of being able to save some money for move-in costs for him and some readily accessible and trustworthy babysitting for us. Courtney has been looking at places to rent, some far more expensive than I feel are prudent (like I'm his Mom or something-not).

So, I keep telling him to base his decisions on the money he has now, not on what he thinks it will be in the future. Turns out, I am apparently guilty of this same thinking.

When we bid on our upcoming post, we chose it because: the school had a great reputation; Tak could continue on with hockey there; I could have a break from worrying about Malaria and Dengue Fever; and, lets just be frank, MONEY.

You see the post offered a 20% pay increase becuase of its hardship status and therefore also qualified for student loan reimbursement. Well, guess what, they just lowered the hardship to 10% and, so now, post no longer qualifies for the student loan repayment either. Talk about counting my chickens, guess I'm guilty as the next guy. Oh well, it's certainly not the end of the world, but certainly a blow to our day. There's always our next post.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Who Knew?" and other inane observations

At the mall the other day with T, we noticed the Easter Bunny waving to us as s/he walked along. T was so excited to see her/him. And then, aforementioned Easter Bunny heads right to the bathrooms. Of course, Easter Bunnies need to use the bathroom too, but we've just never been confronted with the reality of it. Must've been some mighty big pellets. ;)

Reading an article today, I found that "snafu" is actually an acronymn for "Situation Normal: All F'ed Up." Who knew? Probably everyone out there but me.

K is transitioning from bike helmets to hats. Now, he still likes the helmet from time-to-time, but has decided that hats are the best thing since sliced bread. Please, however, if you see him out-and-about without his helmet, do not ask "where's your helmet?" ;)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I am so STEAMED right now!!!

So, we got some mail for our former tenants. I keep putting "return to sender," but it doesn't seem to help. So, I thought I would try to look up their current address and see if I could include that on the envelope in addition to "return to sender." Big Mistake. I found our former tenants' myspace page. Now, mind you, "no pets allowed" was part of their lease agreement.

This is from their blip about themselves.

"My house was like a zoo. We had pet cats and rats and mice and cats and dogs and a snake and, at different brief times, we had a rabbit w/ one eye named scar face, but he was sick and died pretty quick; a snapping turtle, 2 mean as hell Ferrets anmed Hannibal cauz he bit everyone hard as hell, and stinky;a tarantula named harry who was cool as hell, and that's all my burnt out mind can think of. . ."

Now nothing specifies when they had all of these pets, but with the damage this house had, I'm sure at least some of those were here. How could our property management company, who was supposed to come and check on the house once/quarter not have seen, smelled, or noticed any of this. Oh my goodness, I will NEVER EVER AGAIN use Professional Property Management of Northern Virginia. Now, I know they've had good reviews from co-workers that live closer to their office, but apparently if you live too far away, your home is too much of a bother. I will be doing some serious interviewing of property managers near us this time around. And, thank goodness, with Seiji being on the housing board we now have a core group of fellow neighbors who will be watching what's happening at our place.

Forget "return to sender," from now on their mail is going straight to my shredder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Where's my six year old?

T is a classical music fan. It started in Kindergarten when his teacher would put on classical music during rest time and he just LOVED it! Then we shared the John Williams Star Wars CD with him. He even asked us to put that CD and the Henry Mancini Pink Panther CD on his MP3. Now, everytime we get in the car, he asks me to tune it to Classical WETA. Of course, how could you ever turn down that request? He will then tell me the story of the music we are hearing, from horses galloping, to ships sailing, to a sword fight. He imagines a story for each song.

The only problem with WETA is that sometimes some rather grim news stories come across the airwaves in between classical pieces. Last night, as we were driving home from piano lessons, I turned off the station as they started discussing death tolls in Chile. Of course, he's heard much about the earthquake in Haiti and we've discussed what we've done as a family and what his school is doing to help. So, he said, "mom, please don't turn that off, I want to listen." Is he really only six? I let him listen.

The radio discussed how Haiti had a more devastating experience than Chile even though the earthquake in Chile was much stronger. And, we talked about it for awhile as he didn't understand why that would be. How much to explain???? I tried to say that the people in Haiti are very poor (like in Timor), their buildings were built as cheaply as possible, that their government just doesn't work for the people very well, and that we need to do more than just send money, we need to help them build a functioning government and help make sure the money to properly rebuild their buildings and schools goes where it needs to go. I went on to say how difficult this is to do without them feeling like we are treating them like babies (trying to figure out the best way to put it) as nobody likes to be treated like a baby. He then proceeds to tell me all about the "Slave One" ship he is building with Legos and how he wants to find the Lego mini-figures that go with the ship. Ah, the world of Star Wars Legos. There's my six year old.