EVPHO

Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Archive for the month “August, 2014”

Run In With The Law

So picture me driving home from a busy morning of activities and errands, completely spaced out thinking about my to-do list of emails to answer, doctor appointments to make, moving logistics to plan, what will be a quick and easy lunch for the kids and praying Associate A doesn’t fall asleep for the last 5 minutes of the drive home.   Transitioning a sleeping toddler to their bed is a complete fantasy that only happens to magical mommies and their fairy children. The rest of us end up with upset little dragons who did not want to be woken up.

Anyway, when I finally do look in the review mirror I see beautiful twinkle lights in the car behind me.  As I pull over to the side of the road, I am still in mommy la-la-land that I tell my associates “oh look guys, a police car is coming” assuming the officer was going to pass me and speed off to help some poor soul with real problems.

traffic stop

Nope.

He pulls over right behind and I begin to realize that I am getting pulled over. I shift it into park, and fire a quick warning to my Associates “A police officer is coming to talk to mommy, please be quiet.” That was Mistake #1.  Associate P then begins to get excited and spirals into a serious of questions that make my head spin.

While P is still babbling on in the back the officer approaches my window and asks if I know why he pulled me over.  I have no idea. It could be anything. Much of the last 5 minutes of my drive is a blur as I was thinking about everything but driving.  I couldn’t even remember if I’d checked my phone while driving… is that illegal in FL yet?

When he tells me it is an expired tag, I stare blankly at him.

Sure. Why not. If you say so. On my list of things to worry about, I promise you the little yellow sticker on the back of my car has not been ranked a in a long while.  The tag expired 3 weeks ago he informs me.  He takes my info and heads back to his car.

Associate P is still firing off questions, interrogating me from the backseat.  After the 65th “Why did he want to talk to you mommy?” I responded, “Because mommy messed up.”

“Oh no. Oh no. Mommy why did you do it? Was it an accident? You should apologize. Will you get a time out? Why would you do it mommy, why?”

At this point I am still calm. 3 weeks expired is nothing right? He’ll check my record and see I’m a great driver and give me a warning. Nope. Mr. Officer DoGood writes me a ticket – $119 – and strongly suggests I go get it taken care of ASAP because I can, and probably will be pulled over again by our overzealous beachside cops with nothing better to do.

At this point my lip is quivering and I am holding back tears.  He tries telling me a quick visit to DMV can have it solved today. I look back at the now sound asleep Associate A and Associate P, who is so excited he is almost busting out of his 5 point harness trying to press his face against the glass and look at the police man right outside his window.

Still composed, but feeling the frustration beginning to well up, I ask if I can be cited again for this if I can’t get to it for a few days.  “Oh yes, absolutely.”  Then I lose it. The quiet tears start to run down my cheeks.  This was mistake #2. I waited entirely too long to pull out the water works.

The guy melted like a smores in a camp fire.  I could see his composure change and he was no longer Officer DoGood, he was Officer I-Hate-these-Stupid-Quotas-I’m-Sorry-I-Had-To-Do-This-To-You.  He apologized for not giving me a warning.  “If it was only a week, I could have let you go with a warning. Please just get it fixed as soon as you can.”

As we parted, I was now angry at myself for letting the darn tag expire AND for not crying sooner.  Silly me to think he would let a little mistake slide.  The Man was imposing his authority on me because he had to, not because he wanted to.  Had I shown a little emotion a little sooner he would have backed off and let me slide.  I had it all figured out, I know how to beat The Man next time, I’ll just start crying and get away with whatever stupid little thing I did that was against the rules….

Wait a minute… that thought process sounds an awful lot like the antics my Associates pull 10 times a day.  Only I am The Man imposing the silly rules… hold a railing on the stairs, take turns with your brother, you MUST put pants on… and they are the ones who whip out the tears and all too often get me to let them slide on their bad behavior.

Well, well well.  This was an interesting little insight to the psychological warfare the Associates and I battle daily.  The odds of me getting pulled over anytime soon is slim to none (I did make the effort to get to the DMV and get a new tag), but the odds of my Associates trying to weaken my will is a sure bet.  So the question is, will I now be more motivated to remain firm and hold the line, or will I cave to the pungent guilt their alligator tears emit.

Only time will tell 😉

Break from Reality

This weekend I got to escape for a three day roadtrip with some girlfriends. We packed up pillows, M&Ms and our country music playlist to drive to the Florida Alabama state line for Kenny Chesney’s one and only concert of the year. We joined about 40,000 of Kenny’s biggest fans for a 8 hour beach party. FloraBamaJama

flora bama jamma 1

It was insane. Everyone had a drink in their hand at all times. People of every shape and size were half naked in their swim suits, frying like bacon in the unrelenting sun. The heat was so intense you couldn’t tell if people were wet from jumping in the Gulf for a swim (or bathroom break!) or from sweat.

But spirits were high and everyone was as friendly as a dunk hillbilly at a country music concert… Probably because that is exactly what they were. There was free water – both to drink and from the fire hoses that doused us every 30-40 minutes. And God bless the event organizes who ordered plenty of Corona and rum.

At numerous points in the day, I looked around and thought “How crazy is this! I can’t believe I’m here!! Am I sticking out like a sore thumb?! Do these people know I’m a boring SAHM? Can they tell I haven’t shaken my groove thang in a loooong time?”

Then Kenny played a song that put me right at ease… 

I looked around and realized that i wasn’t surrounded by a bunch of drunk hillbillies. Ok maybe there were a few. But there were also other parents, teachers, doctors, editors, programers, paper pushers and workers from all collar color careers. There were college kids and retired folks. There were even a few young children, but I’ll save my commentary on that for a future post “you might be a bad parent if…”

Everyone needs a break from reality sometimes and what better way than a good-time gathering, huge crowd and loud music on a gorgeous beach. As his song says,

We need a rock and roll show in the summer
To let the music take us away
Take our minds to a better place

Where we feel that sense of freedom
Leave our worries behind, we don’t need ’em
All we need is a sunny day and an old tailgate
And we’ll escape

 It was an awesome experience and I’ll never forget it.

I love my life. The good Lord has blessed me with a loving husband, beautiful home, healthy children and an amazing support network of family and friends. There is nothing I would change about my reality. I love it and am grateful for it everyday.

But the reality is I am in the midst of some of the hardest times of parenting.  I spend all day with two little associates who need me for everything – to feed, clothe and bathe them.  To transport, entertain, discipline and teach them.  They need me to be loving and patient 24/7… and sometimes that is really, really hard.

 It was so nice to take  break from that reality and ride in the back seat of a car for 8 hours reading a novel, listening to anything but Raffi, and laughing with friends. Taking my time eating and not helping someone else eat. It was a joy to go to the bathroom by myself – especially in the nasty rest stops on the highway, I was extremely grateful not to have to corral a toddler into a dirty stall. Getting dressed and make up on is so much more fun when sharing a bathroom with two other women, helping you decide what to wear and fixing each others hair, rather than two toddlers ruining what you wanted to wear and pulling out my hair.  And laying on the beach, with a cold drink in my hand I was grateful for the break from reality.  

The CEO and I are believers that absence does make the heart grow fonder.  Spending a little time away from the people and things you love make you that much more appreciative of them when you snap back into reality.  

Bye Bye Mommy

You’ve heard me lament the difficulties of raising a clingy child.  Let us now look at the polar opposite problem: the child who actively tries to escape.  Associate A is an extrovert.  We can politely call him a free spirit, adventurous, or curious, but the reality is he is a wild-man.  A thrill-seeking toddler with no fear.  He runs wild so much, Associate P’s favorite game is playing “chase that baby!”

It is one thing to recognize you have an independent child.  It is another to know you have a child who is a flight risk.  This weekend, that reality hit me hard.  We had taken the boys on an overnight stay in a huge hotel in the heart of The Happiest Place on Earth.

–  Every time the elevator door opened, Associate A ran out.  Whether it was our floor or not.  One of us would have to scoop him up before the doors closed again.

– When in the elevator, he would try to push buttons. But not just any button. He’d discovered the emergency button that set off a loud ringing in the elevator and did it every time.  Maybe he really was trying to call for help…. hmm.

– In the very crowded swimming pools, Associate A was annoyed at my efforts to keep him above water and alive, and thought it was fun to swim away from me saying “Bye Bye Mommy!”   Clearly thought the drunk birthday girl wearing a tiara in the pool and her string bikini entourage looked like more fun than us.

–  Then in a final defiant act, he woke up in the middle of the night and left.  Yup. You read that right. He got up opened the huge, heavy hotel door and went for a walk.  In retrospect, he was probably looking for aforementioned birthday girl.  It all makes sense now of course.

But that night it didn’t.  I woke up about 12:30 and thought I heard a knock.  As I got up and stumbled around the room I noticed there was only one child sleeping in the bed, where previous I had put two to sleep.  Huh. Completely freaked out, I yelled at the CEO to wake up.  “A is gone!”

The CEO got out of bed and confirmed my observation that yes, in fact, our baby was gone.  He opened the door, looked down the hall and saw a Hotel staffer about to knock on a door.

“Have you seen a baby?!?” the CEO shouted.  The staffer pointed in the other direction.  The CEO ran out and saw a couple holding on to Associate A.   They turned around and met the CEO in the hall who grabbed A and squeezed him.  I still stood frozen in my spot in the hotel room.

The lady was clearly annoyed and judging us for letting a toddler wander the halls alone in the middle of the night.  She sounded as if she was ready to lecture us about proper parenting.   I stepped out of the room and she must have seen my shocked, worried expression and quickly changed her tone. “Don’t worry, he’s ok… he’s ok.”

What followed was a blur of a conversation.  They found him wandering the hallway and called for help.  They and the hotel staff were knocking on doors looking for the mystery baby’s parents.

The CEO and I apologized profusely and thanked them over and over as we hugged our little man. Associate A looked exhausted, but was completely calm.  It was kind of creepy.  Like a criminal who just plead guilty standing in the courtroom.  He knew he’d been caught, but by now he was so tired and over it, he didn’t even care.

 

As we stepped back into the room and closed the door, we triple checked the door lock and built a barricade of furniture in front of it. Then climbed into our king bed with Associate A nestled between us.  The CEO and I exchanged a few words of thanks and praise to God for his safety, then had a whispered debate about how long he could have possibly been out there.  How did he open the door and it slam shut, the way hotel doors do, and we didn’t hear him? And thank God that kind couple found him and not that trashy birthday girl and her drunk friends stumbling back to their room.

Needless to say I spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling contemplating all the ‘what ifs’.  What if he’d gotten on the elevator and rode to another floor? What if we’d slept all night and woke in the morning to find him gone.  “Hello front desk, I’d like to report a child missing!”  I never thought I was the type of parent who would have to explain herself to child protective services.

Associate A’s midnight escapade helped me realize that he is going to be so extroverted and adventurous we are probably going to have to give him a whistle, so when he runs off… as we know he eventually will…. he can blow his whistle and we can come find him.

That is what my Mother in Law says she did for the CEO.  Until this happened I kind of thought her cute stories of little CEO running off so much he needed a whistle were BS.  Nope. When we got back home, the CEO went to his box of childhood memorabilia to produce said whistle that he did in fact wear around his neck for the better part of his childhood.

Oh Dear Lord, please help me.  This one is going to keep me on my toes!

Associate A Singing in the Rain

Associate A Singing in the Rain

 

 

 

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