Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bathroom, Revisted

After the initial sticker shock at the labor bid for the bathroom (labor, alone, was going to be more than our whole kitchen remodel was!), we decided we'll have Home Depot do the cabinets for sure... Possibly also the shower construction (we want to go with WEDI products, but local distributors only sell to licensed contractors). We went in to talk to our new designer (Julie took a new job outside the company), Gwen. We chose the same cabinets we have in the kitchen -- Cherry, Bordeaux stain, Savannah style doors. We ordered: two stacked cabinets, slightly different sizes, to fit into the linen closet spacing (same as the pantry space in the kitchen), with all six shelves changed to pull outs on rollers. We chose a vanity cabinet a little deeper & taller than the current (12yo) one, bigger drawers but less of them. We also chose a "valet cabinet" for over the toilet. This one is also bigger than the current one. All doors & drawers will have soft-close. This is now standard; when we did the kitchen, it was extra (and yes, we got them; totally worth it). Once we added it all up, it came to almost $3000, but then they were running a deal. If you spent between $2500-$2999, you get $400 off. Woot!
After all that, we put the bathroom on the backburner so we could focus on Princess' graduation ceremony & trip to Australia, Squeaks' last days at school & a visit (plus, she wants to buy the truck, so we had to get some stuff done to it), as well as my own work space's remodel. Ace (with some help from Princess & I) built me a custom polish rack (my design, his hard work), and helped me put some of the bigger pieces together/up. Details of that job will be posted on my other blog, here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The "New" DMV

The last time I got a new driver's license was the day I took my nail tech exam. I remember clearly, because, since my new certificate from the school didn't match my current (at the time) DL, I had to go get a new one. That was 8yrs, 2mnths ago... Two months ago, I got my renewal notice in the mail. The list of required documents is kinda ridiculous, but it was to be expected, as all states are cracking down on illegal immigrants getting legal IDs. In reading the laundry list, I discovered that instead of my certified birth certificate, social security card, first marriage license, divorce decree, second marriage license (you know, 'cuz I've changed names each time) -- you only need your passport (since the passport issuing offices already got that information). So, all I needed was current DL, passport, and the renewal notice itself (which served as my proof of address). Then, I discovered that the "quicky" (Renewal) office close to me shut down last month; permanently. Argh. So, I look up the address of the next closest one. Oh... not too much farther! Here's where DMV gets "mad propz" from me: You walk in, grab whatever paperwork you think you need, use the counter space to fill out your forms, and stand in the first line. First line took 10 minutes (time would be contingent upon what time of day you go, of course; I went at 1030am on a Tuesday). At the end of that line is the "Information Desk". Dude at the desk looks over what you have to make sure you have what you need to proceed. If you do, you move on with a printed number. If you don't, you get sent home to get the rest of what you need. No more waiting in DMV for hours, only to discover you don't have all your documents! The second part is broken up like this: If your ticket has an "X" on it, that indicates you have a quick (express) service (like renewing your driver's license); you stand in one line. Chances are, you'll be through the line faster than it would take them to call your number. If your ticket has a "T" on it, that indicates you're taking a test (that's its own express line). Everyone else, sit down & wait. I, obviously, had an "X" on my number (good thing, too, since my number was 165, and they were on 104 when I got there). I was in the second line for roughly 30 minutes. The woman at the counter was very friendly (another nice change), complimented me on my nails (love that), and sent me to the picture-taking dude. That took maybe 5 minutes, I got my temp license, and we were done! So, grand total, we were only there for less than an hour. I get the real one in about a week. Welcome to the NEW DMV!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Post

You've all seen those quotes about how any man can make a baby but it takes a real man to be a dad... I found an even better one this morning; one that fits exactly how I feel. I texted my dad these words, and he told me how proud he is to be my daddy... and of the woman I've grown to be.

I also want to acknowledge my husband, who is the best father to our daughter. He's been in her life since she was barely 2yo, and he's been there every day since. Because of him, she knows what a REAL DAD should be. She know what a REAL MAN should be, and I hope one day she will settle for nothing less than both of those things. This one's for him:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gone In A Flash

August, 2005: Princess & I walked down our newly constructed sidewalk to sign her up for Kindergarten. I was told a couple weeks later that (GOOD NEWS) due to a Title 1 grant, her school was not only hiring a third kinder teacher, but that the kinders were to go full time (all day, five days)!
September, 2005: Princess & I walked down the sidewalk with her backpack, and me carrying an extra paper sack, both full of school supplies. She was nervous; didn't want me to leave. I told her I'd stay as long as she needed me. In walked another little girl with her older sister. The little girl was crying hysterically. Princess looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said, "Mom, you can go now. I'm okay." She came home from school and told me about her new friends, Katrina & Kaylee.
July, 2006: First day of rec league soccer, thanks to the suggestion of her new friend, Katrina. She would play for seven more seasons... and remain Katrina's friend. Kaylee, sadly, moved away.
Summer, 2007: First trip overseas with Mimi - to LONDON!
September, 2007: Second grade comes with the loss of a few old friends, but Lillian moved here.
October, 2007: Princess's life took a sour turn; one that would stay with her and make her grow up faster than anyone ever should... her biological father & her stepmother abducted her from our home. Although returned physically safe, she is irrevocably emotionally damaged. All trust toward them is gone; completely destroyed by their selfish actions.
December, 2007: Court order clarified to read that Princess' bio shall have his parenting time suspended until he pays the child support in full & continues to be on time, he pays the first four attorney's fees judgments, and a few other things (judging by the last four & half years... I'd say there's a snowball's chance in hell of him ever paying me what he owes me). Princess' 2nd grade teacher, Mr. S, was a huge & fantastic male role model for her that year (aside from her beloved Papa, of course). She decided to be a teacher.
3rd grade... Kira moved into the neighborhood. Kira's mother & I discover we went to high school together. :)
4th grade ...
5th grade... More trips overseas with Mimi, every summer somewhere different.
Mr M for 6th grade; another fabulous male role model. She's now decided she wants to be a hairdresser when she grows up; she wants to work side by side with me -- me doing nails & her doing hair.
May, 2012: I set up a hair appointment (cut/bleach/color) with my salon's owner, and an updo appt with Princess' school's PTA president (who's also a hairdresser). We found a nice dress she can also wear to her Youth Group director's wedding, and shoes to match.
June, 2012: I do her nails to match her dress... 6th grade completion ceremony is creeping up fast. Princess decides to call her bio. She tells him she doesn't want him there, and why. He gripes & tries the blame game, but she's not buying it. When he doesn't show to graduation, she turns to me and gives me a happy & relieved thumbs up. It took all I had to not cry -- both for joy and for sadness. It's a bittersweet moment, seeing your child go through these things. I sent an email to thank him for respecting her wishes, and two photos. As usual, I don't receive a "thank you". Doesn't really matter; I know I did the nice thing to send them. I also posted this on her school's community page on FB, "I want to send a big thank you to every teacher at Minter Bridge, but especially to M's teachers throughout her seven years there -- Mrs. Lewis (Kinder at the time), Ms. Kalish (no longer at MB), Mr. Strande, Mrs Mayers, Ms. Ellis, Ms Rodriguez, and Mr. Mayers. All of you have really helped shape who she is; have encouraged her to push herself, & have understood her needs both personal and educational. She is such a wonderful child, and I know part of that is due to her fabulous teachers. It really does "take a village", so thank you for being part of hers. :)" Princess' stepmother was among the 12 (currently) likes... interesting. It's been two days, and she's been a bit depressed. This should be a summer of discovery; for both of us. New nickname, new sport, new school.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fingers Crossed

Last Saturday afternoon, my home phone rang. Caller ID confirmed it to be Princess' bio's house number. Phone rang four times, machine picked up, no message was left. Five, or maybe 10, minutes later, the phone rang again; same number. This time, a message *was* left, by her SM... something along the lines of "Hi, C*****. Your sisters miss you and would like you to call them back. They also love you." (a) She doesn't use that nickname anymore; which you'd know if any of you had made any effort at all in the last 4 1/2 years. (b) I find the timing (just three days after Princess told her bio she didn't want him at graduation because he makes her uncomfortable; thinking he's going to abduct her again) "interesting", to say the least. And, (c) Manipulative, much? Using your 3yo & 7yo to get to my kid? Nice... When she finally returned from her weekend 'o fun with her friend (after 8p on Sunday!), I shared the message with her. She rolled her eyes and said, "Seriously? I'm not calling them back... You know J**** only called to get my sisters to ask to come to my graduation. I hope my father realizes that when I said I didn't want *him* there, I meant his WHOLE FAMILY!! They better not show up at the party, either!" Well, sweetie, I hope so, too...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My "Baby" Is Growing Up

I am so proud of Princess... Within this year, alone, she has matured so much. She's stuck up for friends when other "friends" tried to pull her into their drama, she's been walking to & from school (not to mention venturing further when she's out & about; like at my studio or when out & about PDX with my mother), she stood her ground with her grandmother about some things that needed to be said (gaining her infamous guilt trips, but that is a story for another day... or not), and just yesterday, she stood up to her bio-dad. You see, he hasn't called her since Santamas, never delivered or sent the gifts he said he had for her, and every time the phone rings between 7p and 730p, she still says, "I'm not here" or "I don't want to talk to him." I used to kinda feel a little teeny bit sorry for him... but not anymore. With good reason, she doesn't want him, or any of his family, at her 6th grade graduation; she was finally able to tell him that herself. Originally, I got a message asking for some info about it, which I ignored because once they knew that she had a grad ceremony, my responsibility to give him information is done. It is up to him, and him alone, to do his research -- look on the school's website, check the FB Community Page (which his wife is part of, and where I'm sure she got her information that there *is* a ceremony), or here's a novel idea; CALL THE SCHOOL! Here's the "problem" with that one -- the wife is in complete control of his email... and his life. As the stepmother, she has ZERO rights. ONLY bio can call the school & get information. Allowing him to do so would, I can only assume, kill her. I told Princess last week that since he knows about it, he'll probably come... and probably bring not only his wife, her daughter, & their other daughters, but also his mom, and maybe even his grandmother. She said, "I don't want them there. Every time he's near me, I freak out. I keep thinking he'll try to take me again." While I understand her fear, at this point, the only thing she can do is tell him how she feels; I can't do it for her anymore. So, Wednesday, when she got home from school, she called him. She told him she didn't want him to come to her graduation. She told him being around him makes her uncomfortable; that she feels he's going to "take" her again every time he's near her. He, as usual, tried to convince her that it was *his* weekend and I was keeping her from him, but she didn't put up with that. She knows the truth; she knows that he was under court order to prove he didn't owe me all those court fees (and now, more with all the interest, since he hasn't paid a dime of it in 4 1/2 years), and that until he could, he had no parenting time. She knows he could have gone to jail for parental abduction (which kinda negates his claim of no wrongdoing, huh?), but *I* chose not press charges. She knows he, and he alone, is to blame for his choices... Anyway, long story short, I'm super-proud of Princess.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

That's It

Blog name changed! Here are some interesting tidbits, though, regarding this seemingly easy name change. (1) I had a LOT of views, but very few suggestions. I already know most people are just stalkers (the Wildebeest, for one), but I currently have over 80 views on that *one* blog post, and only FOUR people who suggested anything. Future reference -- when someone ASKS for your opinion, PLEASE do them a favor and give it! (2) I posted the link to that specific blog three times. The comments from my FAMILY members were the rudest. In a way, that actually doesn't surprise me, but it *does* piss me off. One comment in particular -- "I'm thinking, 'I got a life and stopped living through my child.' " was the most rude. I don't live "through" her; I live "with" her. Being Princess' mom IS a HUGE part of my life... driving her to & from her activities, being there for practices & games (in her whole life, I've missed 3 games; good record if you ask me), helping to plan parties, arranging snacks & drinks, volunteering, helping with homework & science projects, teaching her life skills, and so much more. *YOU* are not a parent, you obviously have no clue how much of life is taken by being an active part of your child's life... and I wouldn't change it for the world. Also, a note: Obviously you don't even read my blog, since that is your viewpoint on it, and me. (3) Since I didn't get much helpful assistance in choosing a new name for this blog, I posted a request for help on one of my FB groups (a beauty-related one, most of the time). Most of those responses were helpful suggestions... but in the end, I like "Adventures In POM POMS". Oh, one quick note; Princess has decided on a new spelling for one of her lesser-used nicknames, and that it will be her most-used (by her friends, at least) from now on (since she's starting a new stage in her life, what with cheerleading, middle school, and makeup...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Time For A Change...

Ok, you guys... seems Princess wants to spread her wings a bit. She's ready for a change of after school activities, and will not be playing soccer anymore. She's decided to try cheerleading (along with a few friends of hers)! So, I need a new name for my blog. I'm thinking something along the lines of "Adventures In Pom Poms" or something... Looking for you guys to give me some suggestions!! HELP!