Category Archives: All In A Day's Work

Jane On Jury Duty. Three Days Of Our Tax Dollars At Work.

So, what did you do last week? Work? School? Housework and blog work? Same old, same old?

Me?

I had jury duty.

Juror-button

Every American dreads it. You get the summons in the mailbox and your heart sinks. You struggle to find a way out of it. But once you get there, once you are chosen for a jury, you come to appreciate the awesome privilege and responsibility that it is.

Unless you get the case that I had.

…..

Seconds ago, I wrote a detailed account of the trial. A frivolous lawsuit. Two young college kids. A fight over a girl. Punches pulled with minor injuries (a bloody nose and a black eye.) But I erased it. I feel for those two kids. One who let his temper get the best of him and the other who came off looking like a greedy, vengeful crybaby. I felt awkward sharing the intimate details of their mistake. The details aren’t important.

“They had a trial over THAT?” my 9-year-old asked.

Yep. Three days of my life. Three days of our taxes to finance THAT.

We all make mistakes. Violence is never the answer. The puncher realized that, said as much on the stand. Showed remorse and regret and wanted a chance to do it over. But he knew he couldn’t. So instead, he owned what he had done.

The punchee sat on the stand, looking pitiful, recalling the events that happened 18 months ago and tried to convince us that the bloody nose and black eye had scarred him for life.

…..

We are a litigious society. We have a need to point the finger. And when we’ve been wronged we want someone to pay.

What Mr. Puncher did was wrong. Throwing a punch because you’re angry with someone is against the law. And he paid for that with repercussions at school and at least a night in jail. (And I only know that because of  a comment from one of the witnesses. Neither lawyer pursued her comment. Nothing else was entered into evidence.)

But what Mr. Punchee did was wrong, too. Beyond medical bills, he deserves nothing else.  All of the x-rays revealed he had a simple bloody nose and a black eye. No broken bones.This never should have gone to trial. And no one should expect pain and suffering for a scrap in a dorm room.

Re-reading what I’ve written, I’m afraid I sound cold. Unsympathetic to a boy who felt wronged. One of my fellow jurors would be thrilled to never see me again. She wanted to throw the book at Mr. Puncher. I wanted to shake my finger at Mr. Punchee and tell him to grow up.

We, as jurors, had so  many questions. Did the university take action? How long was Mr. Puncher in jail? Because this was a civil trial, was there any other legal action taken before this trial? Did either side try to settle this out of court?

“I’ll bet Mr. Puncher refused to pay the medical bills,” said Juror #47, “That’s why we’re here.”

“I’ll bet Mr. Puncher agreed to pay the medical bills but Mr. Punchee demanded more,” said Juror Jane, “In closing arguments his lawyer pleaded with us to consider his pain and suffering. That’s what we were charged to determine. His lawyer already admitted to being good friends with Mr. Punchee’s father. An opportunity to cash in. Plain and simple. THAT’S why we’re here.”

In the end, we compromised with medical bills and a little compensation for the attorney’s fees and filing costs. I can live with that. Mr. Puncher needs to pay for the medical costs he created and a little more because this all wouldn’t have happened if he had kept his temper. Mr. Punchee can have a little of his honor restored by saying he “won” in court.

But pain and suffering? The only pain and suffering was endured by the tax payers, having to sit and listen to this frivolous suit.

And the bulk of Mr. Punchee’s  attorney’s fees, to the tune of $11,500?

Let his dad and his buddy work that one out.

5 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work

The First Week Of School Has Kicked My Butt. And It Hasn’t Even Gotten Crazy Yet.

The first week of school has kicked my butt and it hasn’t even gotten crazy around here yet. Next week is when we add swim practice, baseball and Cub Scouts to the schedule. This week it’s just been school.

Just four days of school.

That’s it.

As much as I enjoyed our summer (and we had a fabulous summer!) I craved the routine that makes the school year. The week before school began I could barely contain my glee. Oh sure, I’d miss my kids but our wake-up times, leave times, come home times, dinner times and bed times would finally be in sync.

Bliss.

Or not.

First day: no homework (yay!) but #1son’s backpack and the required 2-inch binder broke. Back to Target.

Second day: Homework. Not too taxing. Everyone was happy with their results but it took longer than expected and dinner was late. Oh, and #2son has decided that school lunches are gross. So now, it’s back to making lunches in the morning. For one child. Other child calls school lunches “gourmet.” And the recent-school-lunch-hater’s Buzz Lightyear lunchbox from 3 years ago simply will not do. Back to Target. And Publix for lunch meat.

Third day: More homework. This time a research project. Over the summer we brilliantly put in place a net-nanny system on the computer upstairs that requires me to punch in a password for every new website they visit. Every. Single. One. Who’s brilliant idea was this? Oh yeah. Darling husband who isn’t home during the day when the boys use the computer. Project (finally) finished but need a clear folder to place it in. Back to Target.

Fourth day: I’ve been in a daze. I can’t think. I can’t focus. Pulled in different directions, I can’t seem to finish a project. I can’t sit still because I keep thinking I’m forgetting something.

target

Guess I’ll go back to Target.

Because Target hasn’t failed me yet.

5 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work

The Invasion Of The Privacy Snatchers

It has happened again.

invasion

The invasion of the privacy snatchers.

We looked at our calendar and realized we have house guests for four weekends in a row, with two sets spilling into the work week.

What did we do?

A friend of mine once said, while I was lamenting a similar situation over the holiday season, “You must be an amazing hostess for people to w ant to come so often and stay for so long!”

I’d like to think so. But I am also a person that finds it hard to say “No” if I don’t have an obvious, socially acceptable excuse. So when most of June and part of July turned into Jane’s Bed and Breakfast, it kind of snuck up on us.   (Or sneaked if you’re a master grammarian.) 

Sneaked or snuck, we didn’t see it coming.

And now we’re stuck.

Today is one of my few days, with the house to myself (and two little gremlin sons) because the onslaught begins again tomorrow.

I love a home full of noise and love and laughter but I also love a silent home, a calm home and a clean home. As I’m scrubbing and washing and folding, I’m thinking “What’s the point?”

It’s all going to fall apart in about 28 hours.

So, I sat down to check in with all of you. Thanks for the distraction. I’d much rather be here anyway.

5 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work

Old News But News To Me. And It’s Feel-Good-Friday!

Apparently, this is old news. Three months old, to be exact.

But it’s news to me. So I’m sharing.

The Allegheny Window Cleaning company, in Pennsylvania, surprised a client (a local children’s hospital) with this:

superherowindow

 

Not to be outdone (honestly, I don’t know who went first…it just fit my internet surfing timeline) the window washers at La Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennesee did this:

spi

 

And this great idea is now a movement. If you Google “superhero window washers” you’ll find similar stories popping up all over America. From Pittsburgh to Memphis to St. Petersburg, Florida and beyond.

Bringing joy to these children’s faces, allowing them to forget about their illness for even just a moment is such a precious and amazing thing.

Now, that’s my definition of a Superhero.

 

6 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, Be-Causes, RAOK, The !!!

The Greatest Lie Ever Told (And I’m 99.9% Sure You Are Guilty)

“I have read the terms and conditions…..”

Check. Or click.

Whatever.

That’s about as far as I get. I read those first seven words and I click away. Without ever reading said terms and conditions. I just cross my fingers and hope for the best.

Every once in a great while it won’t let you click the handy terms and conditions box unless you at least scroll through said terms and conditions.

So I do.

“The legal agreements set out below….blah, blah, blah,……Neither issuer nor BlahCorp. is responsible for….blah, blah, blah,……Your use of the Services includes the ability to….blah, blah, blah….”

But does anyone really ever get that far? Don’t you just scroll as quickly as you can and then click?

I admit it. I do.

Don’t they all say basically the same thing?

“We (BlahBlah Corp.) own your finger clicking if you use our service. And you (the user) are responsible for all the clicks you click on our site. We (BlahBlah Corp.) have our butts covered and you (the user) are on your own.”

(Oh. I feel so used.)

They spell it all out. Everything they will and will not provide. There is nothing left to chance or good faith or sound moral character.

And we blindly click. Annoyed with the legal jargon and irrelevant circumstances and idiot proofing.

Why can’t there be an easy to read, concise and precise terms and conditions agreement?

Something like this:

“We, BlahBlah Corp., own every finger click on this site. If you don’t trust our site, don’t click here.”

End of story.

Simple. Concise. And true.

In our litigious society, putting blind faith and trust into a company or website is dangerous. And unfortunately, the companies can’t trust us, either. So we are stuck with a silly step where we click a box saying we’ve read something when we haven’t.

Admit it.

When was the last time you read, completely and fully, a terms and conditions document?

I know.

Me either.

At least we are all lying together.

But not in bed.

Because I’m married.

And that bed would get pretty crowded.

 

4 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, How We Roll, Observations

The Story Of My Life

11 Comments

Filed under Adult Children, All In A Day's Work

There’s No Crying In Housework

Cast of Characters

Jane (aka Mom, Taskmaster, Evil Queen of the Jane Household)

#1son (helpful 9 year old, loves baseball, the Military Channel and picking on his younger brother)

#2son (cheerful, goofy youngest of the family who will do anything to get out of chores. Anything.)

Act 1, Scene 1

(A messy home. A very, very messy home.)

JANE

First, we need to pick up the clutter. Then, you can choose something from the Job Jar and get paid OR you can do what I tell you to do and not get paid. It’s your choice.

#1SON

O.K, Mom.

(#1son happily trots off to clean playroom, bedroom, family room, garage – wherever cleaning needs to be done, he cheerfully goes. God, I love this kid! #2son continues playing with Legos.)

JANE

#2son, you need to pick up your toys now.

(#2son ignores Jane)

I mean it. You need to clean up. And you can pick a chore or I can pick a chore. But if I pick it, you’re not getting paid.

(Ad lib arguing, pleading, bargaining, hiding, going to the bathroom, needing to put on a band-aid, looking for a lost Lego, hiding again, etc.)

I mean it, #2son. I’m not fooling around. You need to help. NOW!

#2SON

But I don’t want to! I want to play with my LEGOOOOOOOOOS!

JANE

Well, you have to. Are you a member of this family? Yes. Then you have to do your part.

#2SON

Well, I don’t want to be a member of this family. I’m going to run away!

JANE

That’s fine. But before you go you’re going to have to do some chores. You owe us for dinner last night, that comfy bed you slept in and breakfast this morning. Oh, and you still haven’t worked off what you owe for your swim team fees.

(#2son’s chin starts to quiver. Eyes begin welling up.)

Oh no, mister. That’s not going to work with me.

(Tears start flowing now and he falls to a heap on the floor, face down.)

Crying? Seriously? You’re crying over a little housework? I can’t believe this! All I need for you to do is pick up your toys and pick a couple chores from the job jar. It’ll take you 15 minutes. Tops. And you’re crying about it! I do this every day. Pick up after you all. Clean toilets. Scrub floors. Vacuum. Dust. Laundry. Do you see me crying about it?

THERE’S NO CRYING IN HOUSEWORK!

(And then, realizing what she said, Jane starts laughing hysterically.)

Nope. Not one of my better moments. But I still crack myself up.

12 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, funny, Motherhood

The Best Age To Explain The Birds And The Bees? It Doesn’t Matter.

(The following post was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Christine at Naptime Writing. Read on to make yourself feel better about any successes or failures you may have with “the sex talk.”)

My mother was  a nurse. And she had me in the 60′s. My dad wore a peace sign necklace and fashioned a dove with an olive branch out of coat hanger, wrapped lights around it and hung it in our living room window for the entire length of the Vietnam War.

I saw my parents naked. They didn’t parade around the home but when I slammed into that bathroom, pleading for more sunflower seeds and yogurt, they never covered up. They just told me, “No. You’ll spoil your dinner.”

They were very open about sex. And what it was/is. We never called our vaginas our hoo-hoos. A penis was a penis. My mother proudly  tells the story about the time the babysitter got an earful from her (prodigy) 6 year old daughter of all the proper body parts and what sex really is. (I was nothing, if not a bit precocious.) 

I’ve followed my parents open, free-minded example. I’ve done the same with all of my children. When the ultra-sound technician pointed out my son’s “winkie” on the screen my 10 year old daughter could not fight back the giggles. I was bouncing so much  on the table trying to hold back the laughter, the tech had to stop the exam.

“What?” she asked. No one said a word. My husband and daughter just shrugged.

But in the car, all the way home? “Winkie?!? Doesn’t she know it’s a  PENIS?!? What’s a winkie?!?” my daughter said over and over, cracking herself up every time.

My boys know a penis from a winkie. And they’re not afraid to let me know, either. “Mom? There’s something wrong with my penis!”, “Mom! My penis stands up by itself! Watch!” and “Mom. Did you know that sometimes my penis does stuff that I didn’t even tell it to do?”

But like the story my mother also likes to tell, I’m realizing that truly understanding sex and the significance of our private body parts is wholly dependent on brain development. And maturity. And  5th grade.

“Mom? Is this what sex REALLY is?” I proceed to explain, in fairly graphic detail, the sex act. My mother is surprised.

“Yes, that’s what sex is,” she responds, “We’ve talked to you about this before. And there’s that book we looked at together that explains everything (well, not everything) that we’ve looked through a number of times. Do you want to read it again together?”

“But you and Dad don’t do that, right?” I’m incredulous. I’m completely weirded out. And I remember this moment like it were yesterday.

“Well, when two people love each other…”

Her voice trails off. Because by now, I’ve screamed “Gross!” and run out of the room and slammed my bedroom door.

I couldn’t look my parents in the eye for a week. (My mom always cracks up at this part of the story.)

Just the other day, my youngest son (He’s 8 but so is his brother…for another few weeks, anyway. They’re 10 months apart in age. But that’s another biology lesson. Actually, it involves adoption but it was  a fun tie-in, so work with me here.)….my youngest son is in the bathroom, about to hop in the shower. I set the water temp for him and insist that he hurry up and take off his clothes. We’re wasting water. He slaps his hands over his penis and says, “But you can see my penis. I need my privacy.”

Yes. This is the kid that grabs constantly so that we have to have a code word in public. (“Scratch” and then he’s supposed to bring his hands to his head and scratch behind his ear in order to move his hands away) This is the kid who discovers new things about his penis and has to share them with me, his dad, his brother. Not his sister, though. She put a stop to that early. This is the kid who bounds into the bathroom like clockwork after I have stepped into the shower to ask for: snacks, permission to play xBox or watch TV. Suddenly, HE needs his privacy.

You see? It’s all relative. It all depends on where your child is in his development. You can talk about it from the time they are wee-little ones, on and on. You can wait until they’re 10 and try to explain it then.

And their reaction, when they finally “get” what sex really is, will be the same.

Delayed.

Complete and total shock.

And when you least expect it.


4 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, children, Hey! That Reminds Me!

If Only We Could Wrap Their Hearts In Bubble Wrap

We attempt to protect our children from the weather, illness, accidents and the boogie man. Most of the time we are successful. Sometimes, we are not.

There is one thing that proves to be a fruitless fight.

Meanness.

“Mommy? I had a horrible day today,” #2son says to me over cantaloupe and crackers after school. I settle in for his tale of woe.

It contained the usual. Dropping his jacket in a puddle. He didn’t get to sit in his favorite seat on the bus with his favorite friend. They ran out of pizza at lunch and he had to have chicken drumsticks. Which he loves. But still.

The worst thing that happened? It was during the fire drill. They were all filing outside and a younger kid, a kid in the 1st grade, was walking ahead of #2son. They were to wait under the tree and Mr. 1stgrade moved a branch aside and looked like he was holding it for #2son to pass. But just as #2son got close, as he was smiling and starting to say thank-you, Mr. 1stgrade smiled and let the branch go. Hard. Smacking #2son in the face. And then, Mr. 1stgrade laughed.

“Why would he do that?” my son said with tears starting to fall, “That was so mean.”

The look of innocence in his eyes broke my heart. And he wasn’t crying because of the sting on his face. He was remembering the offense. He was tearing up because of the sting in his heart.

“Why was he smiling? And why did he laugh? It wasn’t funny. Nobody else laughed,” my son implored, trying to make sense of such meanness. “And he was younger than me. I was about to thank him. He doesn’t even know me. Why would he do that?” he asked again.

I had no answer. I hugged him. And said something about sad, angry people and how they lash out at others because they want people to hurt as much as they do. But it was no consolation.

And my son’s innocence was shattered.

How do we protect our children from mean people? And if we could, should we? When our oldest daughter was dealing with some mean-girl shenanigans years ago my husband said, “Better she experience this now, when we can help guide her rather than protect her and then have her experience it when she moves out, when we’re not around to help.” I suppose he’s right. Reluctantly, I agreed with him. But why do we have to experience meanness at all?

I can make him wear his seat belt or his bike helmet. I can feed him Flintstone vitamins and make sure he drinks his milk. I put him to bed at a reasonable hour. I know his friends. I read to him and he reads to me. I do everything I can to make sure he is safe and loved.

But I can’t wrap his heart in bubble wrap.

But oh, how I wish I could.

12 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, children, parenting

My House Is Never Cleaner Than When One Of My Kids Is Sick

“Mommy! You need to take me to the doctor,” #1son moaned from the side of the toilet.

I hate this kind of sickness. Oh, who am I kidding? I hate it any time my kids are sick.

“Why do we need to go to the doctor?” I ask, stroking his back.

“So we can find out why my guts keep coming out of my body.”

Yep. It’s that kind. The throw-up-vomit-barf kind.  And on a side note, this is my kid who spikes a 104+ fever (106.1 and a race to the ER is our record) every time he is sick.

“Pumpkin,” I tried to sound calm, “You just have a flu. A really bad flu. You need rest, liquids and more rest. You’ll be better before you know it.”

“I don’t think so,” came the feeble reply.

For five hours straight, I ran from bedroom to laundry room to cleaning cabinet to couch to bathroom to basement (to find another bucket) to laundry room to garden hose (to hose down the couch cushions) to bathroom and to laundry room. Again. We went through 3 sets of sheets, 4 sets of PJ’s, one stuffed doggy and two blankets. I could barely keep up.

In between the clean-up-sterilizing-laundry runs, I read to him, I held him, and we attempted a board game.

He finally fell asleep. I spent those precious hours cleaning, cloroxing and lysoling everything in sight. As soon as he woke up, I tackled all the noisy chores: emptying dishwasher, vacuuming and putting stuff away in his room. I started a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup (which he hasn’t touched but the rest of the family loved) and made lime jello, his favorite.

My house is never cleaner than when someone is sick. First of all, I’m stuck in the house. Not able to sit still for long, I clean. Second, someone is sick. Out come the Clorox wipes and Lysol spray. Switchplates, doorknobs, phones, keyboards and remote controls are wiped down every hour. Third? My house better be clean before the real SHTF. Because no one else is going to do it while I’m laid up.

I woke up this morning and the laundry is caught up. Every room is vacuumed and dusted. Sinks and toilets are sparkling. You could eat off my kitchen floor. (Although, I don’t recommend it.)

My idle hands itched for something to do so I washed combs and brushes. Straightened kitchen cabinets and took a box of winter clothes to the basement. With those tasks completed I realized I was a bit beat.  I decided to sit down and catch up with all of you.

That’s when it hit me.

“Sweetie,” I called out to #1son who was reading a book in bed, “how did your flu start?”

“My head,” was the reply, “It hurt really bad. All over.”

Uh-oh.

If you don’t hear from me for the next few days, you know what hit me.

At least the house is clean.

For now.

14 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work