Thursday, December 18, 2008

wednesday weigh in

Yesterday when we took the children to have their Christmas photos taken with Santa Claus, I purchased two separate packages totaling $50.00 that contained a variety of different sized pictures. I did not, however, purchase the $25.00 CD because I figured, why would I need the CD if I have a scanner that could just as easily get my photos uploaded to my computer?

Today when I went to pick up the 120 pictures that I had printed out at Costco for $0.13 a photo that I had planned to include in the 120 Christmas cards that I wanted to send out tomorrow, I was asked if I had a copy of the CD that relinquished the photocopy right to me for the 120 pictures of my children that were sitting right there, just a few inches away.

And of course I said, "Huh?"

So it turns out that what I should have done is purchase the $25.00 CD and not the photo sheets for $50.00 because legally, I am not authorized to reproduce any of the photos without the copyright relinquishing code, that comes on the CD. Considering I've done it this exact way for the past three years, I had no idea that I was breaking the law.

Did I mention that we spent more than four hours yesterday getting those pictures taken?

Did I mention that we drove to hell and back through Southern California traffic IN THE RAIN because we were too ignorant to drive five minutes down the street to the new mall and Santa that is just as "photogenic" as the Santa(s) the mall an hour north always hires and that we've visited for the past three years?

Although I am extremely sensitive to issues of copyright infringement, instead of driving an hour north to pay the $25.00 for the CD so that I can "legally" print out pictures of my children, I instead, uploaded the photo on to my scan disk - took it to a local photography shop and tomorrow at noon, will hopefully pick up the 120 photos that I need for our Christmas cards.

And if they ask if it is a professional photograph, so help me I will LIE and tell them that NO, it's a photograph that was taken by a friend from a neighborhood Christmas party.

Go ahead, judge me. Tell me how lame I am. Tell me that even though I gave the photography company $50.00 when I could have only given them $25.00, I will burn for eternity.

Regardless of whether or not I am successful in the illegal reproduction of pictures of our family, I'm feeling the burning fires of Hell on my feet. It seems that on the way home from Costco this afternoon, I flipped out on the kids.

It was raining. It was pouring.

Henry was strapped in my baby carrier on my back. The triplets all want to carry our one umbrella. They are running away from me in the parking lot. Not intentionally, probably - but because they were so distracted by the gargantuan black umbrella that they were carrying that they couldn't pay attention to me. They couldn't see me. They are walking behind cars, staggering about like a bunch of small drunk people, until I finally take the umbrella away and listen to their cries of protest the rest of the way across the parking lot.

I load them in to the car, quickly, quickly I plead. The baby is getting wet and I am getting drenched. They are so slow. I've seen snails move faster. They climb in to the car and promptly begin fighting over which seats they are going to sit in. Someone is in the driver seat. Someone is trying to climb in to the trunk where they spot several of the Christmas presents that I had bought for them while I was at the neighborhood mall earlier in the day (Which is also where I spotted the awesome looking Santa Clause. Five minutes from our house. You can probably guess where I'm going next year.)

The baby starts wailing. I'm already agitated because I have to figure out a Plan B for getting my 120 pictures without spending three hours driving back and forth to the mall north and buying a CD. Or, printing all of them out at home which would take no less than fifteen hours and $200.00 in print supplies.

But now, as they are in the trunk and picking up presents and saying "WOW! LOOK AT THIS!!" I'm furious. I start yelling at the kids and people walking by are undoubtedly thinking, "Damn, what's HER problem? Relax lady!"

We drive 15 minutes home and three of the four children are asleep in their seats. I bring Carolyn in to the house (who had received the brunt of my anger in the car - quite possibly a manifestation of the frustration that had been building when I discovered that she was trying to flush a poopy diaper down the toilet this morning) and I notice that UPS has dropped off a package by our front door.

I pick it up and see that it is from the Catholic Supply Store.

How gloriously timely!

The nativity set that I had bought for the children for Christmas has arrived. I decide that instead of waiting until Christmas morning to present the gift - I will give it to Carolyn, now. She will have some quiet, undisturbed time to play and I will have a chance to play with her while repenting my sins of motherhood to the small Holy wooden figurines.

Less than five minutes have passed and the children in the car all wake up crying. I bring them in to the house and they immediately rip things apart.

Bed spreads are being pulled out of rooms and dragged across floors, drawers are being emptied of clothes. They are running around bouncing off the walls. I do my best to restore order and then remember that the reason my mother use to threaten us with the BLOOD spatula is because hitting us with her bare hand hurt too bad.

For the first time in my life, I find myself threatening my children with a BLOOD spatula.

My mother calls and I tell her that I'm losing my mind. How am I supposed to home school our kids? Maybe if I was medicated, I could handle it. Or maybe if I had a lobotomy. Could I call DSS and ask for help??

Mom tells me that my Aunt Barbara did that once. She actually drove to DSS and told them that she couldn't handle her children any more. Could they please take them.

I'm in awe.

Really?? That's an OPTION??

Charlie comes home. Instead of staying for the pathetic looking turkey dinner I had started earlier in the day, I tell him that I need to run off to the store and see if I can get pictures printed.

I knew that if I didn't get out of the house, I'd lock myself in the broom closet and start sobbing.

I am sick. Again.

Our children's last day of school is on Friday.

We have no backup plans for child care if our homeschool strategy tanks.

I am being forced to return to work full-time in a few months. If I keep my job and bring in full-time help, I will miss out on the "joy" of raising our children that I waited so long and worked so hard for.

But to give up my job would be to give up 75% of our income; benefits; pension. But if I stay home with the children, maybe I'll have more patience. Maybe I'll be a better mother if I'm not torn between family life and work life. Especially if I do have a lobotomy and am medicated.

I reflect on the heated conversations I've been having with my various siblings over the past week.

My father has been divorced for less than two years and has now settled in to a relationship with a woman who is living with him. As my father's health continues to fail, she takes care of him, completely. She dresses him, washes him, shops and cooks for him.

Over the past few months as his relationship with his friend has continued to evolve, my father no longer wants my sister - who has been his closest ally for the past 30 years - to be his health care proxy or power of attorney. He wants for my sister to return all of his checkbooks, credit cards and financial statements. Not only is this a kick in the teeth to my sister that has been there through everything for my father and handled his recent divorce completely, there is concern that my father might not have the mental capacity to know what is happening in his life.

My sister, who holds the titles of chemist, pharmacist and attorney is questioning his competency and in my opinion, rightly so.

As much as I appreciate that my father has a companion in his life - is it really wise for him to assume complete control of his financial matters when his health is clearly slipping?

I want to support my father and have him live the best life he can. But I also feel that it is important that he be protected. And what if. WHAT IF. What if Dad is led not once but twice in to a relationship with someone who is after him only for money?

It certainly appears that way from the outside.

Dad is in denial about the whole thing. He just wants for everyone to support him without question.
But why haven't any of his assets been tied up in a trust yet?? Why does Dad keep stalling?! He just lost 40% of his estate. The rest may be gone soon if he isn't careful and it really doesn't seem like he cares. But we do. Is that wrong??

To care about Dad's finances makes us appear like we are money grubbers.

Honestly, if Dad spent every last dime on a life that made HIM happy, great. But to potentially funnel everything to a woman who he just met seems irresponsible and well ... stupid.

Meanwhile, there is a battle brewing between my father, my sister, and my brother - who has been called in by my father to serve as his "advocate".

The whole thing is a nightmare.

I come home from ordering the pictures where they will charge me $0.27 per print (more than twice the cost from Costco) and the house is even more upside down then when I left. I start cleaning up and am requesting our children to help. I spot that parts of the nativity scene are scattered in different rooms and although I shouldn't be bothered, I am.

I mean, it's just a toy.

But it seems like sacrilege.

I find Mary and Joseph underneath the changing table.

The donkey, lamb and ox are under the couch.

I find the three wise men in the bathroom sink.

The angel of the Lord and the shepard are on top of the trash can.

I can't find baby Jesus.

I'm looking and looking. Then I start yelling, "WHERE IS JESUS?! WHERE THE HECK IS JESUS? WHO LOST JESUS?! FIND HIM!! I NEED HIM NOW!!"

Please Jesus. Where are you?


So. Let's see. What was the purpose of this post?

Oh yes. How are you doing with your goals?


  1. Oh, Sweetie...deep breath. You sound like you're drowning. I just said a prayer for you that when you wake up in the morning, you will feel renewed and refreshed and that some of the tough things will have a bit more clarity.

    This. Too. Will. Pass. I promise.

  2. Okay. The Christmas card I just sent w/the message of joy...nevermind. ;-)

    Glad your heading to the Catholics for your supplies now head to the saints if you'd like to find Baby Jesus. "Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony please come around; something is lost and can not be found". (it works) ;-)

    Think I will go for a quick run on my treadmill; after reading your post I'm exhausted! (hope things get better w/the family) and um... Merry Christmas. ;-)

    Love, Marg.

  3. The part of your post where you wrote about yelling at the kids, being so frustrated? I could have written that myself. And I'm not sure what to do about it. Why do the little things set us off so easily sometimes? I find myself letting the kids watch a movie just so I can get away from them for just a few minutes. I shouldn't feel like running away! I hate that feeling! Here's hoping that both of us find some peace this Christmas.

  4. I love you. No, really, I love you!


  5. LOL! Jen, I love you for how real you are. Thank you for shedding some perspective, joy, and humor into my day.

  6. I paid 15 cents at Walgreens. Uploaded, edited them (cute holiday border) myself, picked them up an hour later. Paid online, too. No questions asked. Do they have one near you? Sorry about the family mess. Wow. that's hard to deal with. And Catholic Supply?? That's right by my house! I didn't realize they were that well known...We always go our uniforms, there. My twins go the Little People nativity. The one that's not so creepy. No Inn and innkeeper, Wise Men tents, etc. What's next, Fisher Price? Herod?

  7. Jen, You are so blessed enen with the all the trouble you still shine. The spatular with the holes???Is Mom taking credit for that one too?? I have a great one, it works until they are about five, unless you have a George that is. Don't worry about your Dad, he NEVER NEVER willingly gives money away.

  8. I just got back from a 4-day vacation in CA (during which I did not run EVEN ONCE! I thought it would be so easy w/o the kids around). Everyone told me that I would be so much better for a break from the kids, that I would come back refreshed and ready to parent. WRONG! While I was hanging out with all my (childless, unmarried) best friends from highschool, I remembered that I used to have fun, and do mostly whatever I wanted to all day. That made it kind of hard to come home. My almost 4 year old is sitting in the tub wailing at the top of her lungs, where she has been hollering for the last 30 minutes, just to make sure that I know that she's not happy with me.

    The running is going down the tubes quickly. The streets are covered with ice and the predicted high for the day is 25. I also found out that I'm not going to be increasing my workouts anytime soon, since we're pregnant!

  9. Don't you just get sick and tired of screaming at kids all day? I know I do. So sick I just want to throw up sometimes. But they JUST DON'T LISTEN. I can't even contemplate how you would want to home school them? I can't wait until mine start school and am holding out hope that they will learn how to behave like proper children and not monkeys (that bite each other and poop everywhere). For me, going back to work was the best thing I could have done. Once I was working again I realized that my kids were sucking the life out of me. I appreciate them so much more when I come home. And now I can buy them things they need, like shoes, instead of relying on hand me downs and thrift stores.

    Sorry, this wasn't at all about exercise, though I have been doing some of that lately.

  10. A little bird told me you might be a little overwhelmed. I am thinking that I might fly out to Ca. and bring the girls back with me to Florida for a month. How do you feel about that? Or do you want me to keep them until they are 18? Hang in there it gets much better. There are Three--count em ---3 of them all the same age. Relax a little and don't sweat the small stuff---and remember it is all small stuff.

  11. Advice from the peanut gallery: Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS go with the CD. I am so glad our mall-Santa operation finally started selling the CD only, because they used to strong-arm us into buying at least two 5x7s if we wanted the disc.

    Since having to get in the picture with our son when he was 1 year old, we have gotten a Family-with-Mall-Santa picture every year, which we then use for our Christmas card ... and, before ordering the Christmas cards (online, via Kodak's site, after uploading the photo) I have done things in Photoshop to our family picture that boggle the mind. It's almost fraudulent ... especially this year's. I'm planning on posting the finished results soon, and I'm trying to convince myself to abandon vanity and show the before-after so people can see how by how many years I seemingly reduced my age with some clever "airbrushing" techniques.

    It makes me realize just how true it is that the images we see of models and celebrities are so totally bogus, and a complete misrepresentation of reality.

    So I figured it was time for some of the common plebes to start doing the same.

  12. Jen. I am worried for your father. I think she sound like a Black Widow. If she was truly doing everything she is doing for him out of the sheer love and joy that she has found with him, she wouldn't even WANT power of attorney and she wouldn't WANT control of his finances. The fact she is WILLINGLY wanting to take control of this means there is an alternative to what she is doing. Your sister should watch her back. Greg's best friend is going through the same thing now. Your sister is an attorney. Have her go to court now and make sure that this woman does not get control of his estate. Does she deserve some money for the work she's doing? Absolutely. But she doesn't deserve all of it. The fact you are his children means if anyone is going to get the money, it should be you and the grandchildren, not some woman whose been in his life for 5 minutes. I would be very upset about it. Don't let your sister back down. You're fighting Irish, aren't you?

    As far as the pictures, I can't believe you didn't think to just say you took them at your multiple's party. I would have came out with that lie so fast, I wouldn't have had anything to blog about. See? You just make things too complicated. :)

  13. You know, All Things BD and I always talk about how the "Train has left the station!" when it comes to our tempers and the world falling apart around us. You feel like you have reached the end of the rope, and your emotions are so charged that everything comes flooding out that you've been keeping in for so long.

    Well, good for you for getting it all out! I know that when I am able to see what has been bothering me I'm usually able to tackle the issues a bit at a time.

    The issue with your Dad is a tricky one. If you think he isn't competent, then you could hold a hearing about his assets, but if he's sane then you may just have to let him make the choices he wants to make. Best of luck with this one.

  14. Snapfish does not check copyrights. If I need to get a picture that is copyrighted I just upload it there.

    As for loosing your mind... I can't help you there. I love my son but I am in NO way cut out to be a SAHM. He loves daycare, I love my adult time. We are both happier when we see eachother after doing our respective things for the day.

  15. Sorry things are getting so hectic for you. I hope things calm down at some point! Sounds like you need a break. Besides that, though, I just wanted to tell you about how much I hated life until I quit my job. We thought I needed to work in order to make ends meet, but there is always another way... At least that's what we learned. So take a deep breath, you'll be okay. They can't be four forever! I know you probably hear that all the time... but it will get better! ;o)

    My husband just graduated from school (yea!) so he's running with me now! It is so nice to have a running buddy. I'm hoping that I get an iPod shuffle (that's the only thing I asked hubby for this year for Christmas) so when I jog on my own I'll have some fun tunes to listen to!

  16. Susan in Missouri12/21/08, 11:22 AM

    Christmas is always a challenge around my house. I am a single mom and it seems like every year, I wind up dragging my kids with me to shop for!
    I know, I's SUNDAY and I'm just now posting. I have been down with pneumonia ALL WEEK! I missed everyday of work last week except Monday. I spent 3 nights in the hospital and am finally home to enjoy Christmas with my is NOT done but that is okay because as long as I get to be here with them on Christmas morning...that's the biggest and best gift I could get or give! I have Lupus, so anything any normal person gets, I get usually 100 times worse. I am still doing good with my goals...although, I have passed the 20 lb. mark being in the hospital and being too sick to really be hungry enough to eat anything, so I actually have lost 28 lbs! I'm excited...just wish I didn't have to get pneumonia and be hospitalized to lose more. If I don't post again before Christmas, I hope that you and Charlie and those beautiful babies have a beautiful and blessed Christmas. Take Care!