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Friday, September 30, 2011

Dear So and So...Peeves

Dear World,

I thought maybe today I would just tell you about a few of the things that peeve me. They aren't major annoyances, just things that make 1) me get a tick in the corner of my eye 2) me want to shout at the person who does it.

Fair warning, it hasn't been a good week so these may end up being more than little niggling problems. I may just burst out into a full on rant. These things happen.

Consider Yourself Warned, Kat

Dear People Who Swerve around Speed Bumps,

I probably should just laugh this off but I can't. See the whole logic behind your idea is flawed. You see, when you swerve around a speed bump that goes across the entirety of the road (and only leaves a foot on either side before the curb) it makes no sense at all; you're still going to get bumped. The only difference is that only one set of tires won't get bumped. In fact the only set of tires that is going to get bumped is ones on the driver's side. So because one side is level with the road and the other set is going higher, you're actually probably getting bumped worse than if you had continued to drive straight. I guess what really annoys me is that you are slowing down more to swerve that if you had just gone over the bump like a normal person. It really just makes me want to roll down my window and shout that your car isn't as nice as you think it is. It isn't so special that a little bump is going to make it fall apart. If it is that flimsy then maybe it shouldn't be on the road.

Keep This In Mind, Kat

Dear People Who Don't Look Before Entering Roundabouts,

There is this one roundabout near my house that I have to make a u-turn on regularly (because to get onto the military base you can't turn right, you have to go down to the roundabout and turn around so that you can make a left hand turn)(yes this was piss poor planning on both the military and the Department of Transport's part) and I have nearly gotten side swiped as I have made this turn on several occasions. Let's be clear, if a person still has their indicator/blinker on it means that they are still turning. I am not the only person who makes a u-turn at this roundabout, it is done by hundreds of people each day. Let's at least have a glimpse at who is in the roundabout before you barrel through it like a bat out of hell. This might be a worse problem where I am because of the high population of Americans (that haven't been in this country for very long) who are not used to roundabouts, which I am just guessing close their eyes as they go into the roundabouts and pray they aren't hit. Just sayin'.

Look THEN Go, Kat

Dear Taxi Driver Who Picks Up My Kids In The Morning,

I know that you see hundreds of people a week and talking to them all can be tiresome. However I have seen you for the past 5 days and you still haven't even told me your name. Now, I appreciate that it is early and the morning and I probably look a little like death warmed over with my hair a mess and in my track bottoms and hoodie, but common sense would say that because you will be transporting my kids to school for the foreseeable future, you might want to at least say something other than "I will be here at 8.40 to pick the children up" a "Hi, I am so and so" would be nice. I am not all that picky; I just want to know your name.

Thanks For That, Kat

Dear WiFi Fairies,

I know my router is a bit damaged. It got dropped off the window ledge and the front is falling off a bit, but it still works! Please quit making it drop my wireless signal! It usually does it when I am in the middle of something important and tedious like paying bills or playing Pioneerville. Don't judge me. Now quit making my wireless signal drop!!

I mean it!, Kat

Dear People Who Chew Gum Loudly,

You are not a cow. I don't want to hear you chewing. I don't want to see you chewing. Actually, if you have this problem, could you just not chew gum at all? I know I picked up this pet peeve from my Aunt A who used to yell at my brother for doing it, and now it is all in my head. I really just want to smack you on the back of the head when I hear you smacking your gum. It's THAT annoying.

Fair Warning, Kat

Dear Readers,

I hope you have had a better week than me! Have a wonderful and safe weekend. If you are going to London for the MADs, please remember to misbehave for me.

Love, Kat

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spark Energy UK Has Terrible Customer Service and Apparently Billing Issues

I generally look at energy companies as a necessary evil. Especially here in the UK. They charge you exorbitant rates so you can have things such as lights, tv, heat, Internet, and phone; whist sitting there rubbing their grubby little hands together and just waiting until they can hike your rates yet again. Generally, I keep my mouth shut about this because, well, I enjoy not living in the 18th century and love having the Internet.

However, my former energy company has decided to take the mick. See when I moved out of my first house here in the UK two years ago I did everything right. I called and gave them the last meter reading. I have them a forwarding address. I paid my last bill. At my new address I just started using the company that was already in charge of the address rather than going through the rigamaroll of trying to switch companies. So far, no complaints with them.

I went on living my life. Then about a year ago I received a notice from my old energy company Spark Energy UK that because I had paid estimated rates for the year I had lived in the old house, that we were due a refund of £151.25 (I have the letter.) because we had overpaid. I was over the moon. It isn't very often that you ever get a refund I thought. I guess technically I was right because even after I had spoken to a representative and had it confirmed with her supervisor, I never received the refund. I didn't pursue it though because things happened such as: my husband going to Germany, my husband going to Italy and my husband going to Korea. You know, life. I just figured I would get around to calling them sooner or later and getting my refund.

(Click to make it big. See where it says CREDIT? It is dated December 15th 2010. Address and account number obviously obscured.)

Well, last week, I received another correspondence from Spark telling me that I OWED them £154.86. This is TWO YEARS after I have moved out of the old address. I called Spark. I talked to a representative who mysteriously couldn't get into the billing system, but promised to call me back. She never called. Then yesterday when I was about to call them back to sort the problem out I received an automated call from them telling me that my account was delinquent and that I needed to pay. I tried to hang up so that I could call directly to customer service, but the call wouldn't let me. So, I sat there and listened to all the options pressed a few buttons and finally got through to a real live human. I explained the situation to her. To her credit she at least tried to sound surprised at the situation. I told her about the credit I was due and how I had now received a bill. She then told me that I did owe that much money because apparently they had switched over to a new computer system and that it had magically found that I owed money. Ah yes, those magical computer system switches. But don't worry I am told, I can be put on a payment plan. Oh, and don't worry we will send you another bill to make sure everything is clear. Whatever, lady.

I don't want to be put on a payment plan, in fact I would like my bloody refund.

Then today I get an email telling me I am delinquent. Then they follow that up with another automated message. You know, they have been "missing" this money for two years and now they want me to pay it on their time frame. Well, I just don't have £154.86 just laying around to give to them. As far as I am concerned they can just wait.

(Click to make big. How do I all of a sudden owe money?)

Are Experts Winging It?

I know there are parenting books that cover every subject from A-Z. There is a whole book called "The Strong-Willed Child", and believe me I consider buying it every single time I am buying books online. There are though some situations that I believe would stump even the most seasoned of parenting "experts".

For example, on Monday night LaLa used air quotes when talking to my husband. She wasn't being overly rude or disrespectful, but she did use them in context. It has me a bit concerned. You know this is going to bite me in the rear end one day when she is in her teenaged years and she whips out the air quotes. Also, people who air quote annoy me. On the other hand I am so proud that she is starting to get the concept of sarcasm. You would not believe the number of times when I have said something and she has taken me literally and then I have had to explain the real meaning of what I was trying to say. On the other hand I don't want her to over use sarcasm. It is the lowest form of wit. What would Dr. Spock think about all this?

Another example would be that KiKi has taken to being quite the assertive and independent child in social situations, but is timid in an educational setting. It is puzzling. Her bus driver jokes that I am going to have my hands full because she is so bossy, but her teacher has said that he has a hard time getting her to speak at circle time. What would the experts tell me to do about this?

These kind of things make me wonder if a parenting book would actually do me any good. I mean, I have the basics down. I discipline the girls fairly well. They generally are well behaved. I am just wondering if parenting "experts" had the tools to cope with off the wall problems like this when they were raising their own children or if they just were winging it like me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dear So and So...A Break

Dear Everyone,

Just taking a break today. Things have been a bit crazy around here and I have a whole list of things that need to get done today. I am sure you can manage your complaints without me, right?

Love, Kat

Ok One Letter...

Dear Hubby,

You aren't dying really. You have just had surgery. Yes, that swelling and bruising is normal. Yes, I am following the doctors orders. No, you didn't hear some of them correctly because you were under the influence of NARCOTICS. You were in fact sitting there snoring and letting your eyes roll back into your head when we were discussing your after care.

Love, Your Wife Kat

Now I feel better.

Have fun my little letter writers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Highlights From Monday

Highlights from yesterday. The man had his hernia surgery.

5:15 AM- LaLa peed in *MY* bed. Thankfully, I was asleep in KiKi's bed. However, I still had to get up, clean the mess up and start a load of laundry. By this point I was awake and couldn't go back to sleep.

6:00 AM- The time I was supposed to be up.

6:00AM-7:00AM- Coax kids out of bed, get them dressed, make sure they are fed, pack lunches, and water bottles filled. ALSO. Make sure everything is ready for husbands surgery, do a load of dishes (by hand because I don't have a dishwasher) and switch that load of laundry from 5:15 AM to the dryer.

7:30 Drop husband off at the hospital for hernia surgery. Get pager to let me know when it is finished. (That was a handy idea).

8:20ish or so- Bus picks up kids. Go inside and grab the telephone just in case and take a nap.

10 AM- Alarm goes off as simultaneously the phone rings. "Hi, this is the school. KiKi has been sick" Hang up phone and swear. Go pick up KiKi from school.

11 AM- KiKi swears she feels better requests lunch. Against better judgement fix her lunch.

12 Noon- Head to hospital even though the pager hasn't gone off. As I approach the hospital KiKi says she is going to be sick. Find the nearest bathroom and let her be sick. REALLY sick. Poor kid. Find waiting room and return pager.

12:15- Get called back to see hubby. Try to talk to hubby as his eyes roll back into his head. Oh to be on drugs right now.....

2PM leave hospital w/ hubby.

3PM- Dose hubby with pain pills.

5PM- Cook dinner. Make hubby separate dinner. Make a thousand trips into bedroom to help hubby.

9PM- After 50 million trips back to bedroom and just as many cries of "Kaaaaaat" from the bedroom give The Man a bicycle bell to summon me.

Yesterday was awesome. Yes, I am being completely sarcastic. KiKi can't go back to school until Thursday. The Man is coping. He's in pain, but he'll live.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dear So and So....Already?

Dear Week,

Man oh man you flew by quickly. Not that I am complaining. I really like it when the week flies by instead of dragging along. I guess staying busy all week really helps with the time perception. Let's keep this trend going.

Kindly, Kat

Dear Doctors,

Why do you have to schedule pre-op for surgeries so early? I only like to hear that I have to be somewhere at 6.30 in the morning if it is to Heathrow for a transatlantic flight. Other than that it is considered an ungodly time. On top of that I now have to figure out how I am going to get my children to school on Monday. A little bit of notice on this would have been nice instead of telling us today.

Thanks For Nothing, Kat

Dear Holiday Eating Patterns,

I should have know you would be hard to break again. I know I should have just stuck to not eating junk, but you tempted me with your high fat, high sugar, loveliness. You know I can't pass up a good cheeseburger. But last week when I put on 5lbs I knew I had to stop you. I can't go backwards anymore. I have to make more sensible decisions. So, I am banishing you.

Sod Off, Kat

Dear Bus Driver,

Could you please put your foot down and try to have my kids home before quarter past 4. It is really getting annoying. School let's out at 3.30 for goodness sake. There is no reason it should take your 45 minutes to get my children home. I know this is your first week properly on the route, but sort it out, man.

Thanks, That American Woman On The Route

Little Deer In The Field Behind My House,

I seeeeeeee you.

TeeHee, Kat

Dear Readers,

Have a lovely weekend. Don't forget to link up if you have your own letters!!

Love, Kat

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Problem of Writers Block

It's happened. I have nothing to share with you today. I mean, I could talk about how the bus doesn't arrive at my house until ten past 4 in the afternoon, which really irritates me. It irritates me mostly because KiKi by this time is completely wiped out from her day at school and whines incessantly until dinner time. It is almost impossible to even feed her a snack because nothing in the house is good enough for her. I won't write about that though, because it is utterly boring. I could also write about how I am excited to be starting a new Bible study at church based on the book of Esther. Once again though, I don't talk about religion on my blog generally. There is the fact that my house is a complete mess right now. The house elves are on strike again, apparently. Once again, boring.

I guess the problem of writers block for me is finding a topic. Usually I can pluck something random out of thin air and let the words just flow off my finger tips onto the computer screen easily. This morning however, I am stuck. I'm not worried about it. This has happened a few times. After blogging for over three years, you expect to run low on blog worthy material. So then you wait for a moment. You don't actually just sit there and wait, mind you. You go out, live life, and see what material it produces. After all, a blog is just our written views of life. So, maybe writers block isn't a problem after all. It is just a way to know that it is time to do a little more living.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Difference Between Brits and Americans

Since I have lived her for three years now, I have noticed that the British and Americans react to situations very differently from each other. Of course these are all generalizations and yes, I am taking the mick out of both my country of residence and my country of birth.

Situation #1- A Hurricane Coming

USA- Freak out. Have 24/7 news coverage of the hurricane. Newscasters must have a backdrop of a closed beach flag behind them waving and an the headline of "DEADLY STORM APPROACHES". Must gather every single weather expert on the east coast to weigh in on the storm.

Brits- Ignore it. Only a couple of mentions of the inconvenient weather in the news. One story in the Daily Mail, which means the whole thing is blown out of proportion anyway. Moan about the wind and rain when it comes ashore.

Situation #2- Person of Fame/Politician Gets Caught Cheating by the Tabloids

USA- Make a big deal of it. Lambast him/her in the news. Call them dirty names. Forget about it in 3 days.

UK- Make a big deal of it. Lambast him/her in the news. Call them dirty names. Hound the person for the next year, have paparazzi follow them constantly, call them more dirty names, launch an inquiry, interview all their mates and ex-lovers, get sued.

Situation #3- A Person Jumps Ahead of You In A Line/Queue

USA- Either ignore it or if you are brave say "Excuse me there were people ahead of you"

UK- Make audible tutting noises. Roll eyes. Assume that they are foreign or dumb. If you are brave say "Pardon, there is a queue"

Situation #4- There Is A Sport You Don't Understand on TV

USA (usually watching cricket)- Flip the channel. If you do watch it try as quickly as possible to learn the rules so you can enjoy the game. If you can't figure out the rules of cricket, say it isn't a real mans sport. Call it boring.

UK (usually watching American Football)- Try for 5 minutes to understand the rules. Give up. Try to compare to rugby. Start taking the mick out of the football players and their protective gear. Real men don't need padding! OR call it a vile violent sport.

Situation #5- Racy Things on TV

USA- No matter what time of day call in a complaint to the FCC have the network fined. Sit upon your moral high horse.

UK- If before the watershed (9pm) call Ofcom make a complaint. Sit upon your moral high horse. OR ignore it and moan about why people are making such a big deal of it. If after the watershed, ignore it. Call those who complain about it repressed.

Situation #6- Enjoying A Bar of Chocolate

USA- Hershey's is the BEST! Nom nom nom.

UK- Hershey's is completely disgusting. Please find me some decent chocolate; Dairy Milk or Galaxy at least. (I am firmly in this camp now).

Can you think of any more?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Goodbye Old Friend

When I was 16 years old I brought home a puppy. My mom was not thrilled with the idea and told me to find him a new home while she and my dad went to the mall for dinner. I found him a home while they were out, but my Dad worked his magic on my mom and I got to go retrieve him back from the friend who said they would take him and keep him. I named him Otis, but he was never called that. His real name was Puppy.

You see, Puppy, was half Jack Russell terrier and half Poodle. He was a mixture of hyperactivity and intelligence. He would drive you completely insane with his energy level, but was smart enough to know exactly what he was doing. He would growl when you said the word "bath", he would look out the window if you said "squirrel", he loved tennis balls like they were some form of dog class A narcotics, and he could run like a gazelle. He was an awesome dog.

When I left home, it was decided that he was too used to being in my mother's house and that he should just stay with her. I don't think the military life would have suited him at all. He would still be my dog, but my mom would have custody. I always loved coming back to my parents house, sitting down on the sofa and having to restrain my Puppy from licking me to death because he was so excited to see me.

This past year he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. It was kept in check with medicines and he continued for the most part to be his happy, bouncy, sometimes crotchety old self. I saw him over the summer and had made a few more memories with him.

Yesterday my mother called and said that Puppy was not doing well and was going to be taken to the vet. She didn't have much hope that he would recover and had a feeling that she would probably have to put him to sleep in order to prevent him from suffering. The vet however suggested a change to his medicines and said he was resting comfortably and that she could pick him back up around 5:30pm. About 15 minutes before she was due to pick him up from the vet's office, his little heart gave out on him.

I am sad of course, but I know that he did not suffer. He lived 14 wonderful years. He had a great home. He had a family that loved him. He was one lucky dog.

Rest well you little hellion. We're going to miss you.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dear So and So...On The Fly

Dear 7:15 AM,

So we meet again old enemy.... you know my feelings about you. I hate how you taunt me with the ringing of my alarm and the way my eyes won't quite open properly at that time. Can't you just let me sleep just a bit longer?

Groggy, Kat

Dear School,

Could we start the day at a more reasonable hour. Let's say 10 AM? That way I don't have to get out of bed until 9am. That sounds a lot more sensible. Kids get more sleep. Parents get more sleep. It sounds like a win win situation to me.

Just Sayin', Kat

Dear Children of Mine,

"Time to get up" isn't a suggestion.

I Really Mean It, Mom

Dear Rain,

Hold off until after tomorrow say 4ish. I need to mow the lawn... yet again.

I'm Begging You A Little Here, Kat

Dear Grass,

Could you quit growing now? I know all this rain has fueled your growth to ridiculous levels, but have some mercy! I am only one person.

Pleading With You, Kat

Dear Readers,

I hope you have a lovely weekend full of fun. Don't forget to link up if you have letters of your own.

Love, Kat

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mommy Neurosis

It's not very often that my neurotic mommy side completely takes hold and I have a complete panic attack about things. However, this morning it did. Today, KiKi was on the bus for the very first time. My baby is getting on the bus! Of course when I realized all this I had a complete melt down. Is the bus driver just going to throw her on the playground and hope that she makes it to her class? Will she remember to line up with her class? Will she forget her things on the playground? Will she cry? Will she wonder where I am? Gah!!!!

So of course I did what any logical parent who is having a massive crisis of convictions does, I called my best friend who's child is also on the bus and made her ask her daughter to look out for my daughter. Then I made LaLa promise that she wouldn't abandon her sister on the playground and look out for her. Then I talked to KiKi and explained that I wouldn't be there and that she was a big girl and that she needed to find her teacher on the playground.

I am still sitting here panicking a bit. I am sure she will be fine. I am still panicking though. She's gonna be OK, right?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What I Plan On Doing The First Day of School

My kids start school tomorrow. They need to go to school. They want to go to school. I am tremendously excited for them and for me. I am already planning for my first day of freedom in 6 weeks their first day of school.

8:45- Take kids to school
9:15- Arrive home
9:16- Check email and Facebook
9:16:05-Send tweet about my kids being at school.
9:30- Watch a movie. Probably tweet while watching the movie.
11:30- Contemplate lunch.
11:35- Make lunch and eat without interruption.
12:00- Consider a nap
12:05- Take nap.
2:00- Wake up. Watch more TV.
3:00- Remember that I have to get the kids from school.
3:15- Go get kids.

Basically, I am doing all the things that I couldn't do while they were on their summer break. I don't normally have a day like this, but I think I will make an exception for tomorrow. An entire day of laziness without having to hear this:

Did I mention that they totally want to go back to school? Happy days!

Monday, September 5, 2011

What The Hell Is Wrong With The Mummyblogging Community Lately??

*This post is a bit sweary. If you don't like it, sorry.

I have seen so much discourse on Facebook and Twitter lately between mummybloggers in the UK. Epic proportions of sniping, bitching, going behind backs, and outright mean spirited remarks have been happening. It is happening between well established bloggers and newbie bloggers a like. I can feel an under current of meanness now that I have never before felt in this community. People playing fast and loose with the hurtful words. Enough of the bullshit. Be nice to each other. We're all bloggers. We're all mums. All this infighting? It gets us nowhere. In fact, when it happens out in public forums such as Twitter, it can has serious consequences for your online reputation. I know this is not a utopia and not everyone is going to get along, but for goodness sake send an email and not a tweet.

I have seen the effects of personal attacks on bloggers in the past. It isn't nice. There have been some bloggers who have stopped blogging because they have been basically run out of town by a lynch mob. Some bloggers who are attacked keep blogging, but sometimes they are afraid to state their real feelings; afraid of being attacked once again. Your blog, your voice. Where is the fun of blogging if you can't even express yourself? Other bloggers have in the past turned off comments because they didn't want their comments sections to be hijacked by nasty comments. Some can let it roll off their back like water on a duck. Just keep in mind, there are real people behind your computer screen. Feelings get hurt.

For goodness sake help each other out. No blogger has all the answers. If we did we would all be making money from PR companies and brands hand over fist. OK, well maybe Dooce over in the US had all the answers; she seems to be doing alright with this lark. If you have a question ask it? I am personally saying, that if you have a question, email me. I will do my best to answer it. If I can't answer it*, I will ask someone who I think could answer your question. If someone asks you a question, try to help out. I know quite a few bloggers who help out quite a lot and I think that is awesome. Be a nice person. Remember there is enough room in the blogging community for everyone. Also, try not to take direct comments (just direct, not mean) comments too personally. Sometimes the computer does not inflect the tone of the author.

Just a little bit of advise from little old me. Of course, you have the right to disagree with me, but that is your prerogative.

*I am really bad at stats and SEO for the record, but Nickie over at Typecast is really good at it.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dear So and So...Just A Few Things

Dear LaLa and KiKi,

You may as well sit down, this is gonna be a long one. I know that you guys see me as some sort of domestic slave, but I'm not. I am also not a short order cook. When I wake up in the morning I would like at least five minutes to get myself together before you start hounding me about things. I mean really, I just need a cup of coffee before you start coming at me like baby birds with your mouthes open. It would also be a big help if you didn't want me to make complicated things in the morning for breakfast. In other words I really don't want to have to turn on the stove (hob). I mean I will, but I won't be happy about it. I will also probably gripe really loudly if I do have to turn it on.

The other part of this letter is about the state of this house. I know you are on your school holidays and I know you just want to play play play but my house is not a trash heap, climbing frame, race track or clothes bin. So here is how we are going to sort this out. You can quit changing clothes every five minutes and throwing the clean clothes that you only wore for 5 minutes on the floor; put them back up. Stop climbing all over my furniture and racing around the house (who knew having two doors through the living room would make this house into a perfect circle to run in). For the love of peet please start putting your trash into the bin! There are multiple bins all over the house. You are never more than 15 feet from a bin. Use them. Please.

I know if you follow these very simple guidelines that we can enjoy the rest of the summer holidays. We can do this. We only have to make it until Wednesday, then you can get back into the routine of the school year. Of course that also means you will have to get up earlier, but I guess we can only tackle so many issues at once.

Love, Mom

Dear KiKi,

Yes, I saved a letter especially for you! You remember how last year you mastered wiping your own bottom, well guess what? Just because you are on holiday from school doesn't mean that you get to take a holiday from wiping your own bottom. Sort it out.

Love, Mom

Dear American Lady in the Supermarket,

I couldn't help but over hear and your friend discussing school choices as we were standing in line waiting for our sandwiches to be made; you were talking very loudly after all. I know you have the right to your opinion and I respect your choice to have your child in the DoD (American schools on the base) instead of what I have chosen for my children by having them in the British schools. That is fair enough. When you however call *my* child's school "stuffy and old fashioned" (your source of knowledge in this being your child was in the school for all of 2 weeks), I do get my hackles raised. Maybe what you really meant is that they have good discipline and enforce rules? I am only saying that because your child was running around the supermarket like a crazy person and was acting like he had never heard the word "no" in his life. Maybe you should look at your son's behavior before you start bad mouthing a really good school. Just sayin'.

That Woman Tutting Behind You, Kat

Dear Readers,

If you have your own letters please add them onto the linky! Have a safe weekend.

Love ya, Kat