Our Sweet Sarah Beth

baby

Darling Little Debbie

baby

Monday, January 26, 2009

WANTED: One computer genius

My computer hates me. Perhaps because my virus software expired a few years ago, and I still haven't bought another round of that? A friend recommended AVG, and I downloaded that, because it was free. It didn't work with my software, so I downloaded some new software. The new software wasn't supported by my old software.

I hate computers.

I used to think I knew lots about them, but that was probably just because I taught my mom how to check her email. All of a sudden, I was a computer whiz. But I'm totally off subject. Here is my real problem:

I cannot open/download any PDF files. Anything that is .pdf freezes up my computer almost instantly. This is very frustrating because I need some W4 forms for our new employees, but they are all pdf files, which my computer suddenly decided to hate.

If there is anyone out there who can assist me with this most grievous problem, I would be most grateful. Perhaps a reward would be in order?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Give me exemptions or give me a seat on your committee!

I returned home last night from a 2 day trip to Jackson during which I explored our state capitol, met a lot of senators and raised a lot of eyebrows. Special thanks to Katie and Dustin, who let me crash with them Wednesday night. I enjoyed spending time with you both!

All in all, I would say it was a very successful trip. I was able to meet a lot of people from our state wide group that I have only spoken with via phone or email, and it was nice to finally be able to put names with faces. And of course, it was great to get face time with all the legislators.

I have to say a huge thank you to my Dad's brother, Uncle Bucky! Yay! He was so wonderful to meet me at the capitol, show me around and introduce me to the important people I needed to see. I would have been completely lost without him.

Also, John Myers, whom I refer to as the gatekeeper of the senate, was so kind to me and helped me find everyone I wanted to see.

This was just the second step in what I know will be a very long process in passing our exemption bill. Thanks also to my senator Gary Jackson, who stands behind parents rights and was kind enough to introduce this bill for me.

Now with a little prayer, we can get this thing on the education committee's agenda, pass it through there, then get it onto the senate floor. Then I'll go back to do more hand shaking and sweet talking.

In the short time I had, I was able to speak to all but two members of the edu committee, and all but 2 of those senators seemed very intrigued by what I had to tell them. Most were shocked to learn about the use of aborted fetal tissue in three of the vaccines on the current recommended schedule. I think that seems to be one of our strongest arguments- that and the fact that EVERY other state in this country, save West Virginia, gives parents the right to opt out of certain vaccines that they don't feel are right for their children. All I want is for MS to catch up with the rest of the country!

Unfortunately, 2 senators who will remain (not really) nameless were not interested in discussing this issue with me or anyone else. One immediately HARDENed her heart against us when we told her what we were doing. She was not interested in hearing what we had to say, and she made that very clear when she said, "We are not going to have this discussion." The other one TURNERed around and stumbled away after staring stone-faced at me for a full 60 seconds without saying a word. But I think he might have been high, so his silence was not totally his fault I suppose. This is how it went down.

I saw him wandering aimlessly around after the senate adjourned for the day. I knew for a fact that he did not have any committee meetings for another hour, and he appeared to be not in a hurry to get anywhere. I walked up to him, stuck out my hand, told him my name and where I was from (his district includes part of the city that I live in, so he didn't know if I was a constituent or not. I guess he didn't care.).

He slowly extended his hand while his tired eyes set their sights into my forehead. I stood on my tippy toes in hopes that our eyes would make contact. He slowly shook my hand for about 45 seconds while I gave him my shpill:

"I'm here today to talk to you about a bill that's going to be coming through the education committee. It's SB 2764, and it deals with vaccine requirements for school admission. Currently, all children in MS are required to have every vaccine on the schedule before they are admitted to school. This bill would allow parents to opt out of a vaccine that they don't feel is right for their child without having school admission withheld."

At this point, he is still slowly shaking my hand and hasn't made any attempt at communication. He just stood there. At this point, I usually stop to assess a reaction, and ask the person what they thought about that and would they have any concerns about such a bill? I took his silence to mean that he wanted to hear more. So I plunged forward.

"I feel like parents should have a choice regarding which vaccines their children receive, especially since the state is not going to be responsible for these children if they have an adverse reaction to a vaccine. I feel like as a parent, in conjunction with my child's doctor, I am the best person to make medical decisions for my children."

He had finally stopped shaking my hand, and his gaze was drifting further up my head until he was looking over me and out the window. Lovely. So I told him I knew he was busy, thanks for his time and I would appreciate it if he would take a look at the bill for me. Then he walked away.

ps if you live in alice harden or bennie turner's district, i think you should know that they were not very nice to me.

On the bright side, the education committee chair, Videl Carmichael, invited us into his office, sat down with us, and we had a nice long discussion regarding the pros and cons of this legislation. Now that is being reasonable, don't you think? He was very kind, and when he asked us what the health department thought about all of this, we told him the truth. The state health officer Ed Thompson has no interest in talking to us or returning phone calls regarding vaccines. period. So Senator Carmichael picked up the phone, called their office, and put them on speakerphone right then and there! I thought it was great. Unfortunately, Dr. Thompson was not in his office, of course.

However, I attended the education committee meeting the next day, and Carmichael wanted to talk to me after it was over! He said Dr. Thompson was sending him some info, and would I have some more time to talk to him about this later? I was thrilled.

Unfortunately, I had a 3:00 hearing that ended up starting late and lasting until nearly 6:00! It went great, by the way. But by the time I ran up 4 flights of stairs to his office, not only had my legs turned into silly string, but Senator Carmichael had already left for the day. I am about to call him right now though.

On an unrelated note, the elevator was broken, and I had to get back down from the fourth floor to the first. I got a real workout the past two days, that is for sure.

I have 2 more senators to talk to about this issue, so if Carmichael decides to bring up our bill in committee, I'll need to go back to the capitol to grease the wheels. Go, baby, go. I should have been a senator.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Give me Tylenol or Give me Death

Don't you just hate tax season? I know I do. Jack gets all grumpy, worrying about how much the feds are going to take us for this year. We always spend one day totaling all our receipts for the year in preparation for our annual visit to the accountant.

I have never wanted to be an accountant. I hate math in all forms. The only numbers I like are the ones in my checking account, and often those are dismal as well. We've always had an accountant who took wonderful care of our payroll and handled all of the lovely monthly, quarterly and yearly reports that go with it. She would always send copies of these papers home with me when I picked up our checks for the week, and they were so confusing, I often didn't even know where to file them.

However, last year our accountant's office stopped doing payroll. We began searching for a new accountant to handle all of that gross stuff, until Jack finally settled on one. Me.

It was a brilliant plan, really. I could learn the ins and outs of what it takes to run a business, and we could save 75- 100 bucks a month. A friend of ours, who conveniently lives in our neighborhood and happens to be an accountant extraordinaire, offered to come over and get me set up.

Wonderful.

So for the past year, I've been handling all of this numbers mumbo jumbo garbage headache. In case you can't tell, I'm not too fond of this responsibility. It's quite the little pain in my little behind. So far, we haven't been late filing anything, although I was sure I would forget at least once. And I have been so pleased that I haven't received any notices from the IRS saying I had made quite a mess of things and they were returning the favor with a hefty fine. Although it's never too late for the IRS to jump in and ruin my life.

I got pretty used to handling the monthly responsibilities, which weren't too bad. Just the sales tax and EFTPS deposits. (Aren't you impressed?) I've only just gotten a good handle on the quarterlies-after 4 rounds, I think I finally understand them. Just in time for the year-end goodness.

Ever since I reluctantly agreed to take on this job, after making Jack sign a waiver to indemnify and hold me harmless from any huge mistakes I might make in the learning process, I've been dreading this month.

JANUARY

Time for W2s. I really didn't even know what those things were. I've seen them before, but just a glimpse. But I knew they would be trouble. So I call my friend/neighbor/accountant Sarah and tell her it's time to do our W2s and could she please come over and resuscitate me?

She said sure and did I have the forms yet? Turns out I had to order them. Whoops. So fast forward 2 weeks, forms in hand, here comes Sarah. She breezes in, points here and there and everywhere, put this number here and these numbers go there. Ignore this column, but you have to fill this part in. Section 12 you leave blank, but after you add this column in your spreadsheet you have to put the total in space 1, 3, 5 and 16. Also, you canNOT staple any of these federal returns, but you HAVE to staple the ones that go to the state...

After resuscitation and a large glass of wine, I was ready to go. Sarah was gone, but not before she reminded me that I also had to fill out an annual information return for the state as well. Even though I've been reporting to them every quarter, they still wanted me to go ahead and send in ANOTHER form saying that I had been reporting to them every quarter. So efficient.

I went about halfway through all the forms, and I have to admit, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I had successfully filled in our name, address and ID #, plus the name, address and SSN of every employee for the year. No numbers yet, but I was working my way there, and my hand needed a break.

I casually flipped through the forms. Cue the creepy music. They were in sextuplet. Six pages of carbon copy for each form. I hadn't pressed hard enough on any of them, and the last page was illegible. So I had to go back and press down really hard on each form and carefully imprint the same info over again. On top of the existing info. My hand was throbbing after one form. I had six of them. It's been a long day.

We are going to have to wait a week or two before I'm ready to go through our receipts from last year. I need a vacation.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Love Thy Cooler

Two things:

1. I hope you aren't sick of hearing about this yet, because I'm not sick of posting about it.



Strange Brew must have had a bit of a guilty conscience. That or McDonalds threatened to sue for defamation.

Thanks again, Amy, for the tip. You are always on top of this issue.

2. I had to run downstairs to e-mail a customer a few minutes ago. I took SB with me, because I knew if I left her upstairs unsupervised, she would go dumpster diving.





In the 4 minutes it took me to take care of my business, SB found a new home. I heard her squealing in the corner, and I finally found her hiding in Jack's little cooler. I took her out, much to her chagrin, and put her down next to me at the computer. (I was there, I had to check my blog!) One minute later, she was back in action.

And this time, she was stuck. Too cute. I couldn't resist.

Happy Friday!


Friday, January 16, 2009

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

And all of my friends and family who helped me get where I am today. For those of you who haven't heard, I've finally been recognized as the true charmer that I have always been. Thanks, LT, for the Proximity Award!



Just because you have never heard of it does not mean that it is not important. I'll agree with most of what it says, although I AM always interested in prizes, if you ever want to send one to me.

I am also supposed to award this fantastical honor to some other worthy writers, so drumroll please...

Congratulations to

Alison, Amy and Claire (whenever she gets around to blogging, it's always worth reading)

Blog on, fellow bloggers. Blog on.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's not over until Strange Brew says it's over

SB is doing much better, thanks to all who have been asking. Apparently the doctor was right; it was just another case of bronchiolitis, not the bird flu, as I was so sure that it was.


But on to a much more exciting topic.


In case you are behind on this issue, you can elevate your mind by clicking on the link below and updating your brain about the ongoing fued between our local coffee shop (Strange Brew) and their next door neighbor (McDonalds).


http://emilyredwood.blogspot.com/2008/11/war-of-words.html


And just when we thought it was all over, McDonalds stepped over the line, reminding customers that they were still offering delicious coffee. No need to go next door for a $4.00 cup of joe. Drive through McDonalds and get one for much less. And it's so tasty too!








But Strange Brew couldn't resist reminding customers what they were really getting with a McD's coffee.


It's really much funnier when you drive by and see the signs side-by-side. McD's on top, and the Brew right below.



Special thanks to Amy, who was kind enough to bring this to my attention. Thankfully, a group of friends and I were all having dinner just across the street from this fiasco last night, and as our husbands were doing such a great job of babysitting, we decided dinner wasn't quite long enough and we needed to get coffee afterward.

As promised, I bought a vanilla latte from Strange Brew so I could compare it to the one I got at McDonalds during their free latte giveaway. It was good, and I really can't say at this point which was better. I feel the only way to get a fair comparison is to get one from each place at the same time, then do a comparison. Perhaps a double blind experiment would be best, to keep any biased feelings from clouding my journalistic judgment.

Amy, are you up for it? I think at least two of us should do it, to provide better results. Plus, I need someone to help me drink each cup while blindfolded.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bird Flu?

I hope his dinner was the only thing Mr. Sparrow left in our house this week. SB is sick, hopefully not with bird flu.

SB got sick yesterday with a fever and chest wheezing. She also has a nasty cough that sounds like a seal barking. After a LONG night, during which none of us slept, SB and I saw the doctor today, accompanied by my mother.

Same diagnosis as last time. SB has bronchiolitis. It was traumatic enough having the nurses jam sticks up her nose, and heaven forbid anyone else try to listen to her chest with a stethoscope. After the usual torture was finished, the doc announced that there was one more little thing. She ordered chest x rays to be done to make sure SB doesn't have pneumonia.

Have you ever had to watch a child get x rays? If so, then you know how awful it is. Now imagine having to hold your own child down while she kicks and screams FOUR TIMES so they can get a good picture. I understand it needed to be done. What I don't understand is how unsympathetic the technicians were towards us.

They wanted her to stand on a chair, pressed against a machine, while my mom and I stood on either side of her, pinning her arms up above her head, holding her arms, legs and head perfectly still.

First of all, SB wanted nothing to do with that chair or any part of the machine to which we were pinning her. No time to comfort her or try to acquaint her with her surroundings. The techs just pushed her back against the machine with a deadly force, while slamming her head back into the contraption, insisting that we hold her tighter. They took one picture, then disappeared from the room for several minutes without saying one word to us as far as where they were going or whether or not we were done.

We just stood there, bamboozled for several minutes until they stormed back in, pinned her up against the machine again and commanded us to hold her still while she kicked and screamed in protest.

Another picture, another silent exit by the techs, and repeat.

Apparently they could not get a clear picture because SB was not interested in posing for their photo op. Finally, on round four, one of the techs strapped on an apron and helped me hold her down. I found it interesting that she strapped on a protective apron for one pic after my mother and I had been exposed to three rounds of radiation with no protection whatsoever.

But I'm no x ray technician, so who am I to question them? I also wanted to inform them, "She is a child, not a football. Can we be a little more gentle, please?" But I didn't. The fourth time was our lucky winner, so the tech announced, "ok that's all," and walked out. We showed ourselves out.

I bet those ladies don't have kids. The way they treated my poor, sick little baby was just disgraceful. SB is still shaken up from the day's events, and her fever is back. I didn't think she was even going to go down for her nap this afternoon, even though she was clearly exhausted. It took three rocking chair sessions, then ten minutes of crying it out before she finally gave in.

Missing Bunny might have had something to do with that though. SB must have puked or pooped something on him last night, as I discovered some kind of brownish yellow material on him and her crib sheets today. He's being laundered while she sleeps, and I think I'm going to catch a little nap myself. SB wasn't the only one traumatized today!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bird Flew

It's a bird! And it's in my house!

*No animals were injured during the course of this story.*

Two days ago, SB was begging to go outside, as usual. I think that kid would live outside if we would let her. Anyway, I picked her up and opened the door, but no sooner had I taken one step outside than something zoomed past my head and into the house. A tiny little sparrow. Cute, but not an invited guest.

It landed on an artificial tree standing in the corner by the window, then flew all around the kitchen, living and dining rooms as we chased it to and fro, Jack with his hat and me wielding the broom. Sarah Beth was enchanted by the entire ordeal, and squealed with delight every time the bird careened past her little head.

We finally shooed him out, and I inspected the house for droppings. Thankfully, he came in on an empty stomach. I was still disgusted by the entire ordeal and happy it was over.

SCENE TWO: 24 hours later

Enter Sarah Beth, knocking on the door, begging to go outside again, calling out for Daddy, who had just left to run an errand. I scooped her up and stepped into the doorway, and a heavy sense of deja vu swept over me as I heard a curious rustling behind me.

The same swooshing noise as before, and a bit of wind rushing through my hair. The bird was back, and this time, he was flying on a full stomach. I quickly strapped SB into her high chair so

A. she wouldn't run outside and
B. I wouldn't trample her while chasing Mr. Sparrow.

I couldn't see him, but I had a pretty good idea of where he was hiding. I grabbed the broom and dove into the fake ficus. The experience must have been too much for him, as he let loose his fury on my dining room floor. I finally chased him out, then dealt with the mess on my floor.

So disgusting.

Jack is the one who figured out that Mr. Sparrow had been nesting in my front door Christmas wreath. Needless to say, it came down the next day. After I beat on the door a few times to scare him away, of course.