Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of 2008

I didn't make 100 posts for 2008, but I came pretty close. Ninety-five is good enough!

I guess I'll recap my year...

Logan started kindergarten, which conveniently put both of my kids at the same school. I can write one check for MUCH cheaper daycare and pick both kids up at once. I get one more school year of same school after this and then Kaylin will go to middle school. Two years of convenience. Logan loves "real school" and Kaylin loves her wonderful 3rd grade teacher.

I started running for the first time in my life and ran two 5k races. I won my age group in my first race ever. I plan on running the same two races in 2009.

We took a fun mini-vacation to St. Louis where we went to City Museum for the first time. We MUST go back soon! I took a road trip to Nashville to visit a friend and got to feed yogurt and avocado to a dozen giant anteaters.

Work was completely insane this year. I spent the first part of the year preparing for the AZA inspection. I painted and weeded and raked and cleaned and set decorative rocks around pools. It was three months of working as hard as I could every day. We passed our accreditation so it was certainly worth it! I spent many days of October training with giraffes and rhinos at Niabi, Indy and St. Louis zoos. November and December were filled with seemingly constant animal deliveries and long days and weeks of caring for new animals. I've learned an amazing amount in a very short time and have made some great contacts at other zoos. This will likely be the most unique work experience I'll ever have. I'm enjoying (almost) every minute of it :)

Well, this has to be one of the most boring posts of 2008 so I'll end it now!

Monday, December 29, 2008

benda-what, benda-who?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Christmas is over :)

Today at work we have to unload at least one semi-trailer of hay. That won't be much fun, but the rest of the week should be a breeze. New Year's Eve and Day we only have to work a few hours (basic cleaning and feeding) so I'll have most of Wednesday and Thursday and all of Friday and Saturday off. Yes!

The neighbors got a Wii with Mario Kart and a STEERING WHEEL for Christmas and my kids have pretty much been living over there. Logan got Mario Kart for his DS but it is SO MUCH BETTER on Wii. Even though I've been at work, I immensely enjoy the fact that the neighbors are getting some payback for the bajillion hours their kids have spent at our house. (And I'm sure Gene is having a wonderful time with NO kids at the house!)

In a previous post I complained about the pointlessness of the utterly stupid As Seen on TV over and over and over Bendaroos... I was wrong. My dad paid $20 plus shipping for the glorified pipecleaners and they are without a doubt the kids' favorite Christmas present. They BOTH have spent hours and hours with the things! The wall by my front door is covered with Bendaroo creations. Bendaroos aren't messy and they are apparently fun. I'm not surprised Kaylin loves them, but Logan? Seriously? He loves them, too. Whatever.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Why must it be so cold? Oh, boo hoo hoo. I got home from work last night stinking like rhinos and freezing from driving around outside on the unprotected-from-the-elements Gator. The ONLY thing I wanted in life was a hot shower. Despite the fact that the water had been running from the tub all night and day, the hot water line was frozen. No shower for me!

Today's high is 8 but tomorrow is supposed to get all the way up to 30!!!! Thirty-four days until my Florida vacation. Even if it's only in the 50s down there it will be worth it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa comes early

I was going to attempt to get my post count to 100 for the year, but at my current December pace that is NOT going to happen. Life is slowly returning to normal, with work and new animal shipments no longer dominating every waking moment. The addition of a new keeper and curator have ensured that I get my weekends off. The animals are all settled enough that I am no longer required to go in before or after hours to check on them. Things at work are pretty good.

Gene and the kids are off work/school for the next two weeks. I am not that lucky :) Saturday was my last day off before Christmas so we had decided that we'd have our family Christmas Saturday morning. Santa had no problem coming early and the kids were thrilled. Friday we had a huge ice storm. I decided that the kids and I weren't going to leave the house so we went ahead and opened all our "non-Santa" presents. We spent the entire day playing with Legos and new video games and Kapla blocks (the coolest wooden building blocks EVER.) Oh, and a knock-off version of Bendaroos...

Bendaroos are pieces of string covered in wax that can be molded or shaped. Actually, they are a waxy version of pipe cleaners. Bendaroos are advertised on Nick at every single commercial break and both kids wanted them desperately. Bendaroos are quite possibly the World's Stupidest Toy. Pipe cleaners are about a tenth of the cost and are much more versatile. Whatever, I found a very similar product at Hobby Lobby and it was the hit of the day. Logan spent more time with his wax sticks than I've ever seen him spend on anything "crafty" or that wasn't a vehicle or video game. Both kids spent hours playing with the things so I guess it was ten bucks well spent.

Santa came Friday night, so Saturday morning there was another round of presents. Kaylin suggested leaving Santa some Zingers (my favorite snack cake.) I got up at 2am and put out presents and stuffed stockings and ate Zingers. I then wrote a note from Santa thanking the kids for the Zingers and letting them know Santa hadn't had Zingers since he was a boy and his mom put them in his lunch box for school. Kaylin LOVED the note and immediately hung it in her room. The child REFUSES to stop believing in Santa. At least next year Christmas falls on my day off and Santa won't have to accomodate my schedule.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Who is Taz?

Kaylin's teacher does lots of projects involving animals. On the way home from school the other day, Kaylin was asking about Tasmanian devils. I told her what little I know about them and then made a comment that they're nothing like the cartoon character. (Crickets chirping...) My child has NO IDEA who Taz is!!!! She's eight! This kind of blew my mind! We've got Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel available 24/7 and my child's never seen a Taz, Bugs Bunny or Roadrunner cartoon! I WILL fix this problem!

Gene took the day off work yesterday and we finished our Christmas shopping (other than a Looney Tunes DVD.) We somehow managed to find everything we were looking for at two stores! Logan wanted a police car Transformer we assumed we'd have to go to 18 stores to find. Nope. Toys R Us had it! I've been kicking myself for not buying Kaylin a Tinker Bell DS game back in November because I haven't been able to find one since. Wal-Mart had a dozen. We came home and wrapped (almost) everything. I have a couple more things coming in the mail and haven't bought any candy for the kids' stockings (because I will eat it) but that's it.

I'm still struggling to figure out what to do about Santa Claus. Christmas Eve and Christmas fall on the wrong days of the week this year! Santa usually comes early for us, but my closest day off is the Saturday before Christmas- that's FIVE days early. One or two days might be acceptable, but five? Ugh. I work hard to find the perfect fun stuff to fill the kids' stockings. I want to be there to watch them "open" them! At our house Santa only leaves a couple of small presents and stockings so everything from Gene and me will be opened on Saturday or else Christmas Eve after I get home from work (probably 10 or 11am.) Maybe if the kids KNOW they have to wait for me to get home, Santa can come a day early and everything can be under the tree and opened at once. Santa makes this concession for parents who have to work on the holidays :)

I'm half inclined to just TELL Kaylin there's no Santa, but we're going to Disney World next month and I want her to believe that Tinker Bell leaves her a gift (tooth fairy style) every night if she's good during the day. This little trick has worked wonders for our past Disney trips! The temptation to fight/whine/cry/throw a tantrum is miraculously curbed by a quick threat that Tink is watching and won't leave a box of princess band-aids or a cheap, dollar store Tigger pen if the kids aren't good. (Yes Sarah, Kaylin IS going to be asking Abbey what she got from Tink the night before! You're welcome.)

Oh, and in case you're wondering why I'm only worried about Kaylin finding out about Santa/Tink/Tooth Fairy? Logan has such a completely different personality, I strongly doubt this information will faze him. He'll be perfectly happy as long as he gets a present. For Kaylin, the "magic" means as much as or more than the gift. Logan is opposite.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Milk fight

When I picked the kids up from Latchkey last night, Logan was dumping one of those standup dustpans into the trash. He put away the broom and dustpan and joined me as we walked to the car. I asked him if sweeping was privilege or punishment? Sweeping was a privilege, but that question reminded him of the terrible punishment he received earlier in the day. For once in my life I was glad for the early darkness of winter- it somewhat covered my attempts to keep from laughing hysterically. Between Logan's long, sad story and Kaylin's smart-alecky comments, I was shaking with repressed laughter the entire drive home.

Long story short, Logan and two other boys were using their straws to spit milk at each other. The lunch aid had a fit and sent them all to the office to talk to the principal. The lunch aid, office secretary, principal and then classroom teacher all had plenty to say about the incident. Logan was VERY impressed by the huge amount of trouble he was in and will probably never spit milk on his friends again this school year.

Logan's confession was long and serious, all in his deep little monotone.
Me: Did you cry?
Logan: Not until I got to the office. Mrs. (secretary) was very, very sad that we'd do something like that.
Kaylin: Oh yeah, I'm sure Mrs. S was REALLY sad. Was she crying and crying because you guys spit milk at each other?
Logan: SHUT UP KAYLIN! Mrs. S was sad but Mr. (principal) didn't scream at us. He was very sad that we'd do something like that but he didn't yell.

The story went on and on. All of the adults were very sad. All except this one who was laughing her head off. WHY do schools overuse the word "sad?" Are little kids really too stupid to understand "disappointed?" If you hit someone, you're using "sad hands." Why? Can't a kid (even a preschooler) understand some basic concept of self-control and anger? Do we really hit others because our hands are SAD??? I digress...

When we pulled into the driveway, Logan noticed that the neighbors were home and wanted to go play. I said something about how he'd gotten into a lot of trouble and he should stay home tonight. His furious response? "I KNEW I SHOULDN'T HAVE TOLD YOU!!!" Ah, it makes me so SAD!

Friday, December 5, 2008


I'm on my first "scheduled" weekend since the new animals started arriving! We had two new people start this week so I should get all of my usual days off from here on out!

I've been getting a little stressed and burned out at work, probably just tired... Anyway, I had a couple of nights this week where I dreamed all night about cleaning out rhino drains. Seemingly all night long I cleaned hay and poop out of drains. Over and over. I remember when I worked at Pizza Hut I'd dream about cutting pizzas- just cutting and boxing pizza after pizza. I'm sure everyone has similar repetetive dreams. They make you want to jump out of bed in the morning and get back to doing the "real" thing. Yep. Uh-huh.

So Thursday morning after a long night of dreaming, I was in the bathroom getting ready for work. Logan came in and was playing with a marble. He was rolling the marble around in the sink. Around and around, it was kind of cool. I sat on the toilet to pee. (Privacy is a privilege reserved for work, when only the occasional child sticks his head under my stall door.) Mid-pee, I feel something cold hit my back and plop into the toilet. Why? Really. Why?

I was completely repulsed, but at the same time laughing at myself. In the past few weeks I've pulled literally hundreds of pounds of rhino poo out of the drains with my BARE HANDS. I've barely given it a thought. But there is NO WAY I'm going to reach into the toilet filled with MY OWN urine to retrieve a marble!

I gave it some thought and sent Logan to the kitchen for the salad tongs. The tongs worked like a charm! I easily plucked the marble from the toilet. But now what? Do I really want to keep the tongs that have been in the TOILET with my PEE???? No. I do not. Goodbye tongs, you served me well!