Apr 27, 2012

She cut them all off with a carving knive

I fried baby fresh spinach in butter and garlic tonight.  It really shrinks up when you do that, so I made handfulls of it. Ella said she liked it but seeing one particularly long stem, she lamented "Mom, I can't eat their tails."

Apr 23, 2012

Possible Snozberries

Those little cutey clementines are wonderful for the kids and I keep them in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator so that Jack can get them out whenever he needs.  He just peeled one all by himself and brought it over to feed me slices of it.  It was so sour I realized I hadn't had one for a long time, then I wondered if I was in danger of getting scurvy then I let Jack feed me another slice and remembered he'd been picking the dogs nose just before he peeled that cutey. Yay for parenting.

Apr 18, 2012

Chevron Says it's Not Their Problem

After THIS POST  about Chevron marketing porn and drug magazines to little kids, I emailed them a second time and said "I didn't get a response, what's up with that? " Chevron sent me a letter that essentially says 'We are sorry, but it's not our problem, we handed you off to someone else, there's nothing we can do even though our name is on the door':

Station Name & ID#:       Merchant Group Inc  -  207269
Facility Address:                   8301 Eldridge & West Rd Houston, TX 77084
Operator:                              SUSSER PETROLEUM CO LLC

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chevron regarding your visit to your local Chevron-Texaco service station located at 8301 Eldridge & West Rd Houston, TX 77084.

Please be informed that majority of our Retail Operations are independently owned and operated & these operators/retailers are the one in-charge in maintaining their facility; manning their Station Operation, hiring-training of station personnel and also in the implementation of policies. Kindly direct your concern to the station operators/owners of the facility involved for any point of clarification that you may have. As much as we would like to assist you with this one, this department cannot gain access to the station’s database nor interfere with the owners’ business operation.

We sent your comments to the Station Retailer who owns and operates this station to make him aware of the incident so that he can take corrective action. We know that as a business owner who values customer goodwill, he will counsel his station management to ensure that this does not happen again. 

Chevron is committed to providing excellent products and services to our customers, and when this does not happen we are very disappointed. It is very difficult to be knowledgeable of all events at all stations, however, customers such as you enable us to take corrective action when we are able.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We apologize for the inconvenience that it caused. 

Contrary to the incident that you described, we sincerely value you as a customer and hope this incident will not keep you from patronizing stations in our retail network in the future.

Thank you.

Willy John Avilla
Consumer Connection Specialist
Consumer Connection Center Chevron Products Company 

Apr 11, 2012

Home Shopping

I'm calling around for houses to rent and inquiring on some through Craig's list.  At least 50% of the Craig's List ads are some asshat claiming to be a missionary from South Africa who's a good Christian and can't so me the house on account of they're in South Africa and all but they assure me the house is sheer perfection and I should fill out the credit report and send them a deposit so they can send me the keys.  This scam must work some of the time because they are still running it.

The other scam is the company that says "Give me $250.00 and I'll set it up so you can buy this dream house that is in fore closure with no down payment or credit check, you just take over the payments and move in."  I read about it and what they actually do is take your $250.00 and give you a list of places in foreclosure and you do the rest of the negotiating with the homeowner who is so crabby about his house being foreclosed on he doesn't want to deal with you and won't call the company to tell them no, so you can get your money back guarantee.

I've talked to a few homeowners/landlords who seem serious and have said they can't get a renter who can pass a background check or a credit check which tips me off about what sort of neighborhood I may be looking at... or no longer looking at.  They can't pass a back ground check? ug.

So if you know of a cute little three bedroom bungalow with hardwood floors, a basement, a garage, front porch, and a fenced in yard in a good neighborhood, tell me about it.  White picket fence and lilacs seal the deal.

Apr 9, 2012

What's New and What Will Be

I'm not actually going to write much about the ending of my marriage.  It's just all so typical and embarrassing and boring and maddening.  It's juicy gossip but not a very original story.  The bigger story is, string of tragic events and life changes, meets midlife crisis and it all falls down. The end.

I am looking forward to quite a few things now. The first thing being a new house where we can settle in and stay.  This will be the 5th time we've moved in 3 years and I'm aiming for it to be the last time we move for a very long time.  Like the end of The Professional, we are going to plant green things where we are going. I'd like lilacs. We're looking forward to an end to the bugs.  My babies look like they have chicken pox between the ants and the mosquitoes and the other day I read a facebook post from someone who caught a scorpion in their house.  A Scorpion!... A...Scorpion!    F*^% that!

We are planning Jack's second birthday party already. It's in July and we want to invite all the friends and family we have in the Midwest and have water balloons and balloon balloons and helium balloons.  Jack loves a balloon, they make him laugh. We'll make a giant cake and cook out and reconnect with people we've missed outside somewhere where there are no scorpions.

We are excited about the water slide park, children's museum, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, t-ball or ballet - maybe both, and a possible hamster.  The hamster is agreed to only after an extensive one page report on how to take care of hamsters is turned in. We are excited about boating and the fourth of July and music festivals and apple donuts and cheese curds, pasta and pizza and autumn camp fires and sledding equipment for Christmas.

I have lots of things on my list, mostly boring things.  The two that are important to me and I feel like I want to say out loud are this; art & bed.  I am going to make a go as a serious money making artist.  The last time I did it I was in my early twenties and all bushy tailed and dumb like all doe eyed twenty year olds.  This time I have life and experience and desire behind me.  While I was mildly successful the first time, I intend to be wildly successful this time.  I'm going to go about it a little differently.  I'm sure you will read more about it later.  I'm going to do all that while sleeping in a beautiful new bed. I think it's called for. That is all.

If you are here in Texas reading this, we're leaving at the end of May.  If you are in the Midwest, we are coming home at the beginning of June.  Yes, I need help moving, yes there will be beer, no I don't really want to talk much about what happened, and yes the kids would love a play date.

Apr 8, 2012

Smut With Your Candy?

I stopped at my local Chevron station (8301 North Eldridge Parkway Houston, TX 7041) yesterday to grab an Orange Crush and stood in line behind a nice lady getting milk and this little girl getting candy. It took long enough that I naturally started reading the magazine covers at the stand. To my surprise the ones at eye level for the kiddos were all tits, ass and drugs.  I patiently waited my turn.  When I got to the checkout I asked the man pictured below if he was the owner, he said he was the manager.  I told him the magazines that were at eye level for little kids up front were not appropriate, and in fact most of them should be in a brown bag.  He shrugged his shoulders and said that was how "they" set it up. I told him he should move them, it wasn't right.  He told me again that was just how it was set up.  I squinched my eyes up tight and pointed at him and said "It's not right" before leaving.  Thankfully I didn't have my kids with me.  I'm dropping Chevron a note to see what they say.  I'll let ya'll know if I get a response.

Little girl buying candy from the open smut peddler who claims he can do nothing about it.
Go ahead and click to enlarge the image.

Apr 6, 2012


I have art HERE go see it!

Apr 3, 2012

Stellar Advice from a Boss

"Fall small, know when to call it off.  Life lessons from the track"
-Shawshank, Houston Roller Derby & Boss

"and every once in a while you should pass the star!"
- BabyFace Assassin, Texas Rollergirls & former Boss

Apr 2, 2012

Late Onset Group B Streptococcus Infection

I am a person that has to put distance between a terrible event before I can comfortably talk about it.  When Jack got sick, he wouldn't eat all afternoon.  This from a baby who never missed a time to nurse.  He was crying and crying a terrible little cry that was weak and moany.  It was Friday afternoon and the doctor's office was going to try to fit us in at 3:05.  I called twice to see if they had anything sooner, his little sounds were so torturous and two hours was too long to wait.  His fever worsened and by the time we got to the doctor I was scared.  I was glad I called the doctor instead of trying to wait out the fever. At 103° the pediatrician insisted we go straight to the emergency room.  She said the odd cry was because he was struggling to breath.  I rushed Ella into the car and drove as fast as I could three blocks and found a parking place.  Inside the triage nurse just asked us our names and ran us into the back where doctors swarmed and poked and scratched their heads.  Jack's neck started to swell up as he was going septic.  He was six weeks old.

This video is what it sounds like when a sick infant is having a hard time breathing. This was just before we left for the doctors office.  

I tested negative for Group B Strep (GBS) at the end of my pregnancy so antibiotics were never given.  In fact I've had occasion to be tested again and I'm still negative.  It's a bacterium a good amount of people carry on their skin, it's something you can get from a grocery cart, a handshake, a library book, a baby present.  Most people never know they carry it, because it's a wimpy bacteria killed by penicillin.  For babies it can be deadly.  That is what Jack had.  Babies usually get it when they are born, it's very unusual for a six week old to get it, but it happens.  Late onset Group B Strep can lead to meningitis, brain damage, hearing loss, life long handicaps or even death.  Jack escaped all of those things.  He's scrappy like that.  I stayed in the NICU with him for 13 days while he received intravenous sterile antibiotics. He responded well to them in the first few days and so doctors were optimistic.  I lived in dread of his IV falling out again.  His veins were so small and hard to find to get it back in was a delicate catastrophe of blowing out vein after vein, searching under the skin with a needle and holding him down.

Leading up to the day Jack wouldn't eat, he had a rash.  It looked like a heat rash all over his face, I called ask-a-nurse and she suggested if that was the only symptom he had that is was likely baby acne and I should just keep a close eye on it.  It was hard to tell if he was sleeping out of the ordinary, or acting differently, we just met and I wasn't sure what the usual Jack behavior was yet.  Once he was in the hospital and on the antibiotics the rash went away, almost immediately.  It wasn't baby acne, heat rash, 'stork bites' or sensitive skin, it was infection running all over his whole body.  By the time Jack got a fever, the strep bacteria was winning, his white blood cell count was in the hundreds.

This was Jack's rash

I still wonder how his stay at the hospital effected him, how it may or may not have shaped his personality or pain tolerance or zest for life. He is so much like my littlest brother who was born with a club foot and endured similar poking a prodding and even surgeries.  He's spirited and particular, funny and bright, he figures a thing out quickly and is awesomely coordinated - both Jack and my brother. 

This is strong, scrappy Jack now.

July is Group B Streptococcus Infection Awareness month, the same month Jack was born.  I'm posting this now though because it's important and I was finally ready to say it.  One in four pregnant women carry it.  All doctors here in the U.S. test for it.  It's not something most people need to worry about, just something you should be aware of.  It's far scarier and more dangerous to put our baby in the car and drive everyday.  I have only this advice, wash your hands often, if your baby is under six months old and has a fever - see a doctor right away and if you feel something is "off" or "wrong" follow your intuition, it's hardly ever wrong.