Friday, November 30, 2007


I found out today that we definitely have a Russian child. Hubs recalled the conversation he had with my daughter this morning. He gave her orange juice for breakfast.

DD: This is my beer.
DH: Really? You know, good girls don't drink beer.
DD: Mommy drinks beer. Mommy is a good girl.
DH: Mommy is not a girl any more.
DD: (complete and utter surprise. We've been going over genders for the last couple of months and she finally got the distinction between men and women, whom she calls boys and girls.) (Then defending her mom) Mommy is a girl! (short pause) Mommy is not a girl?
DH: Mommy is a woman ("tyotya").
DD: Noooo. (complete disbelief)

When I spoke on the phone with my daughter a few hours after this conversation, the first thing she had asked me was, "Mommy, do you drink beer?" and then, "Mommy, daddy is a man, you are a woman, a good woman, my brother is a baby." Then I asked her, "What are you? A girl?" She was not longer sure. Actually, I think she was sure, she just wanted to answer in a way that wouldn't disqualify her from having a drink now and then. LOL! If that isn't wise, in a Budweiser kind of way, I don't know what is!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No more ads!

I have decided to remove all the ads from my blog, at least for now. I just didn't have enough energy to filter out all the smutty and porn site ads that Google kept on putting on my pages. And, like I said before, my integrity is not on sale. It is for premium price buyers only. And earning $1.31 in the past two months is far from my idea of premium. So goodbye Google ads. You won't be missed, not by me.

For girls only.

I open my mail on Monday, and what do I see? An invoice for lab work in the amount of $210!!! What??? The invoice is for the visit to my ob/gyn 2 months ago. As far as I know, the only test that I had done was Pap smear. I can't tell from the lab's coding for which tests they are billing me; I just see two lines with weird acronyms (NUC ACD doesn't say much to me). In any case, even if they did perform some other test - $210??? For what? Did they discover a gold mine in there and want their cut? Or maybe, it's uranium, which would explain "nuc" in coding. Would that making me a walking time bomb? Quite accurate, not bad for a simple lab test.

THA-A-AT's why it's so expensive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Straighten yourself out, young man

I had a group meeting today with one of the bigger people in our company. One of the guys present there was a newbie and fresh out of college. While at the meeting, he got a little too comfortable in his seat and looked like he was on vacation sipping margaritas and not talking business. I found it very hard to resist the comment, "Sit up straight, for goodness sake." You know what stopped me? No, not the fear of spoiling my working relationship with this guy, and not the fact that I would look nasty in front of other people. I didn't say anything because it sounded like something my grandmother would say.

Goodness, what is happening to me? Why am I getting old so fast?

In my defense, I actually stood up for the little guy in that meeting. The big man couldn't remember his name and constantly called him something else, so I said - IN FRONT OF THE BIG BOSS - "Don't worry. He called me Dorothy for two years." FYI, Dorothy is NOT my real name. And nobody ever called me that.

Where's that flushing sound? Yep, right here...

Monday, November 26, 2007


Saturday night we went out to buy a few things for the kids. At the end of the trip I suggested to treat the kids, who behaved reasonably well, with going to the family restaurant and ordering pancakes. I am holding Sally Hazel partially responsible because her going out to eat with the well-behaved child story was partially the inspiration for this trip. Also, I was going back to dieting on Monday, and this was my last chance to get pancakes for a long, long time, like a week. (I rarely stick with the diet for more than a week). Somehow, on Saturday night, a week seemed to be too long to be pancake-deprived. Just don't tell my husband that eating out was for me, not the kids, and we'll all be fine, OK?

My daughter was excited, but the baby fell asleep on the way to the restaurant. We gently woke him up, and despite of my fear that he will be extremely cranky, he was quite happy and smiley. All was well. That should've been my first hint that things will not go so smooth. Nothing that starts well and without any hiccups ends well in our house. Nothing... I need a bump here and there for comfort, just to know that I am fulfilling my quota of annoyances in small areas, not in major ones. But on Saturday I was lulled in a false sense of security by pancake anticipation. I have my faults, OK?

We were seated in comfy seat next to the wall. This was very convenient because the kids couldn't run out on us. The walls also had big mirrors, so the baby took the lead and started entertaining himself by making crazy faces. I will not describe in great detail, but only a mother could find chewed up food poking out of his mouth cute. You had to be there; on the other hand, my husband who was there, didn't find that to be cute at all. OK, like I said, you have to be a mother.

Then we ordered. I ordered soup, of course, to mask the real reason why we were in the restaurant. I knew there would be leftovers of pancakes from kids, there had to be... (You don't need to say this, I know I am pathetic and desperate, OK?) This was when the real fun started - waiting for food to arrive. My daughter, the frugal one, started stuffing my bag with packages of Equal and Sweet'n'Low, no matter how many times I had asked her to stop doing it. The baby got way too hyper and started jumping up and down in his seat, getting cuter and more annoying by the minute. At some point he even started squealing with delight. When the food arrived, kids barely touched it - they were too busy making monkey faced in the mirror. I think I swallowed my soup in record time, ditto for hubby. We asked the waitress to pack everything else in the doggy bag to take with us. But not before I indulged in some pancakes. Oh, sweet memories...

Overall, I would call this trip a success. 1. - We went out to eat, which we didn't do in over a year, probably even more. 2. - Even though kids misbehaved, no one got hurt, and no serious damages to the restaurant took place. 3. - I got to eat pancakes while still officially on the diet, he he. 4. - Leftovers, always good. 5. - The only people I really feel bad for are not my husband and I. They are two women who sat behind us, who most likely were taking a break from their own kids. They came to relax, not to watch other kids' antics and being flashed with our camera. I give them full credit, they didn't give us the evil eye even once, something I probably would have indulged in if I were in their place. On the other hand, my kids provided those poor women a reminder as to why they had to get out in the first place and served as an antidote for feeling guilty. Public service, if you look at it closely. The only serious down side - hubby got hearburn.

At the end hubby said that next time we are eating out alone. At the rate at which we are going out now, I think "next time" we will be eating apple sauce in the nursing home. But one shouldn't be too picky, right? OK, I'll take mine strawberry flavored, and preferably with pancakes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Did I just say that?

Out loud? In front of my boss? Did I?

We were discussing some coding for fixed assets in our general ledger - sounds cool, right? - when the boss asked my colleague if she wanted to take the lead on that project. He said that the project wasn't very exciting, but someone has got to do it. I don't know what came over me - maybe overeating during our Thanksgiving lunch, maybe dieting prior week reduced the blood flow to my brain, or maybe I was just being too myself in anticipation of a day off. Long story short, I said, "Boring? I didn't know we had exciting projects here. How come nobody told me about them?" The boss looked at me in astonishment and said, "Well, what about this project and this. And you just did this wonderful research for us." At least he was getting that I am somewhat (ha ha) joking. I said that I don't find accounting particularly exciting, I just do that for a living."

Then he referred to the research I had done for him on recording deferred rent - don't yawn! We discussed it for a while, some of us not fully comprehending as to why the higher accounting authorities made certain rulings, and how it was impossible to understand what the ruling was in the first place. That's when I said,"You see what happens when you have a room full of people excited about accounting? They make rules that nobody understands or wants to follow. I bet no one on FASB board has a personal life." At least my colleague smiled...

Did you hear that flushing sound? Yep, that's my non existing career and any possibility of having it going down the drain...

Friday, November 16, 2007

SOMEBODY find me SOMEBODY to file

My last few weeks at work were completely hectic and dedicated to preparing and filing our taxes. Our organization is quite complex. Even though we are not for profit, we have about 8 subsidiaries, some active, some not, and I have to file 15 tax returns in total. I worked my behind off to understand (doing it for the first time for our company), prepare and file them, staying overtime, skipping lunch, etc. But I wouldn't be me if I didn't do something that would make this process even harder, something completely dumb, something that would put the icing on this cake. In other words, even if the process were a smooth one, I would find a way to make it harder - and the process was not smooth at all...

Not for profit tax returns are quite intensive. On top of it, IRS has decided that organizations of our size have to e-file, no paper returns are accepted. There's a lot of info that needs to be reported on, some of it has little to do with numbers. One of such pieces is the compensation of key employees and other five highest paid employees of the company. For some odd reason, the higher ups or the Board decided that this info (available for public inspection on the Internet to anyone curious) is classified and cannot be shown to peons like me. So all the numbers have to be entered into the software by me, except for this "sensitive" info, which must be entered by HR consultant. There is one problem with this: the system shows a diagnostic error if some of the info is omitted, which prevents return to be e-filed. My boss was somewhat freaking out about the whole e-filing business and was very anxious to see that error-free diagnostic page. So on one of the returns in the lines where the sensitive info had to be put in, I had entered the officers' names (thank G-d that the names of the big wigs in our place are not a top-rated secret), but for their titles I put in "somebody" and for their salaries I entered "51,000" to be corrected later by HR. So the diagnostic page was finally error-free.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and the HR consultant is tied up in some very important meeting. The compensation numbers are finalized 48hrs before the final deadline, and turns out that I am entrusted with inputting not all, but some of the sensitive info on some of the returns. I enter the info, I adjust the numbers, and I happily e-file. On my way to my manager's office I feel the pit in my stomach - I realize that I didn't check our biggest return prior to filing. Yes, I checked it prior many, many times, but I didn't after I entered the sensitive info. I had meticulously checked every single page of every single return, except for this one. And as Murphy's law would have it, the one return I didn't check was the one that I really should have. I somehow forgot to do this in the filing frenzy, mainly because the returns did not have to be printed out. But, I went on reasoning in my head, what could possibly change, the number tied out, right? And then it hits me and the pit in my stomach doubles its size every few seconds: on our biggest and second most important return I only changed info that affected the numbers. Pages that were purely informational were not changed - they were initially supposed to be taken care of by HR, not me, and I didn't make a note to correct them when the plans changed.

This is a major disaster. I immediately call the tax software company, and they can't help. I call IRS, and they can't help either. Once e-filed, the return is filed, end of story, the only option is to amend. So there, the tax return available for public inspection showing all the big bosses (except for the three highest) titled "SOMEBODY" (yes, in caps) and earning less than... well peons like me. I don't know what to do, and my supervisor is gone. Three frantic calls to his cell phone go unanswered, and I am not ashamed to admit that I was on the verge of crying.

I wrote this post on the day of filing, and honestly didn't know if I would have a job next week. I was hoping and praying that the whole thing would blow over. So here's the update: the next day we e-filed the amended return, and hopefully the one with a lot of "somebodies" will not make its way to the public. At least that's what IRS says, but I have grown sceptical about the government promises. I was actually recommended for the award for my hard work on the taxes. But I keep on wondering, did they recommend me before the "somebody" boo boo or after?

Monday, November 12, 2007

I am the Rock

There are few things in life I dislike as much as professional wrestling. I find everything about it either dumb or revolting: larger than life characters, steroids, and, of course, the appeal to the smallest common denominator. Even the name "wrestling" is a misnomer. Some call it soap operas for men. Well, I have a problem with men who like soap operas, sue me! I plan to pass on this attitude onto my children. I should say planned.

Thursday night. Everyone is exhausted. The kids' day is coming to the end, and they have nothing to lose by behaving like wild animals. My night, the busiest night of the week, is only starting. The kids are playing their favorite (and wildest, no coincidence here) game: they take turns climbing on the windowsill and then jumping off it on my bed. I am tired of begging, yelling, threatening, etc for them stop and put on their pj's. I am currently folding laundry in hopes that at least one of them will wear himself out, so that I have to tackle only one toddler. At some point the game is modified, and the kid whose turn is to climb on the windowsill is no longer waiting for the other one to get up. So far no one jumped on any body parts, but I know that it is only a matter of time. I give a warning, and they calm down a bit. Two minutes later the baby is completely exhausted, and cannot get up any more. He is lying face down on my bed, motionless and quiet, his arms and legs spread out, looking like a little star from the top. I love the view, and take a few moments to enjoy it before attacking him head on with a fresh diaper and pj's.
That's when his sister decides to try her luck in professional wrestling and jumps right on top of him. I don't know what's wrong with these kids, but they both found it immensely entertaining. Needless to say, my daughter got punished, and I got a shock of my life because what my precious, gentle, sweet little girl did looked EXACTLY like WWF commercials: it was extremely dumb, unsafe, and ugly to look at. But at least it was unscripted and for real. Oh, and no steroids...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What's the deal with the boxes?

To answer the question posed by Sally Hazel, here's the saga of the boxes. This is also a cautionary tale to the young and naive as to why you should never do anything nice for your mother-in-law. Unless, of course, you are my husband and you mil is my mom.

This all had started about a year ago when we went to Ikea. I will never forget that day because that's how this mess, which is still not over, has started. Walking in the isles, I had noticed the fake flowers of the unimaginable beauty and unspoken girth. They were very tall and quite voluminous in the petals department. Hubs and I immediately decided that those were the flowers for us. We had also found a nice vase to go with them. When my mother had seen these flowers in our house and liked them, we had decided to get them for her birthday.

Time had passed. We have been enjoying these polyethylene Smychka (who comes up with these names???) beauties and getting many compliments on them. Little did we know that trouble was just around the corner.

Some time a month ago hubs realized that his parents' 30th anniversary is coming this November. This called for a gift. Since my in-laws live on another continent, bless their hearts, getting them a gift is no easy feat, but we were determined. And then we both had an idea: why don't we send them the same flowers we and my parents have? You could almost make a case that it's a family tradition by now. And having Ikea in Israel, it should be a piece of cake to order them.

Except that I don't speak Hebrew, at all. (And somehow getting my in-laws an anniversary gift slowly shifted towards my list of responsibilities.) So I found the website and for about two hours pressed on every link to find these flowers. However, no appropriate vase was in site, I meant on the site. I even figured out how to put these things into an order basket, but couldn't go any further without understanding the text. The next step was to hunt down the Hebrew-speaking hubby to translate for me, pick out some vase and help me finish the order. That took about a week (no comment). When we finally got together to do this, I was in for another surprise. The script on the Ikea site was kind of weird and hubby had trouble reading it, which prompted the not so wise question, "Do you even speak Hebrew?" I think any reasonable person would understand it was a joke and not an attack on his abilities and manliness, right? When we finally placed the order, I breathed the sigh of relief and thought we were done.

Wrong! Next day I got an email saying that the minimum order for shipment is 10,000 shekels, which was about $2,000, which was about $1,925 more than I was willing to pay for the gift. They apologized for the invonvenience and said that they were looking to have our business in the future. Yeah, I can see that happening.

You know, sometimes you get hung up on the idea. When all your guts are telling you to abandon it, you keep on going after it time after time, simply because it is your idea and you want to see it through to the end. Do not ignore your guts, because the end could be yours. Hubby got so hung up on this particular idea for the gift, that we decided to go physically shop in Ikea (since neither American nor European sites would deliver the Smychkas for any kind of money) and then mail them to my in-laws. We got to Ikea, hubby painstakingly picked out the best 5 stems that looked the "freshest", and yes, I see the irony, I get it, the flowers are fake. We didn't find the vase to our initial disappointment. As of now, I can't thank Heaven enough for it, and soon you will see why.

Next Monday, I took the flowers with me because who else would be responsible for mailing these silly flowers to Israel, other than me? Who would be dumb enough to undertake this task? Now to the boxes. Since the flowers are long and we didn't want them arriving all wrinkled, we needed to find a long and somewhat wide box. I went to the post office and requested one. That's when I found out the ugly truth - boxes of this size are not permitted for international shipping, period. The max length is 36 inches, and the max girth is 79. The only thing that could fit was the document tube, which was not wide enough to fit all five stems, but at least it was long. So I brought one to the office and tried to put all the flowers into it, realizing that there's not way they would all get in there. I needed the second box. So the next day I went to the post office and got it. I didn't have time to pack the flowers that day, and left everything on my desk.

When I came in the next morning, the flowers and the boxes were gone. On the one hand, I was really upset, on the other hand, it meant the end of misery. That's when my co-worker asked me why I put my flowers into her vase. What????? Why would I do that? Okay, so the flowers were still there, someone just put them in a vase on the desk located pretty far from mine, and THREW OUT THE (fill in the blank) BOXES!!!! Now I had to find time to go to the post office, AGAIN! Needless to say, I was fuming for about an hour. I am over it now, but I hope for my sake and the sake of the person who threw out the boxes, I will never find out who had done that horrible, horrible thing.

For now, the stupid flowers are on my desk slightly annoying me every time I look in their direction. There's no way they will get to Israel on time for the anniversary, so there's no need to rush. I get a lot of compliments for them, which for some reason irritates me even more. Some day, when I regain my sanity and patience, I will mail them out. But for now I am entertaining the idea of selling them and saying that they got lost in the mail. Would it be too dishonest?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Macho, macho man

Last week when it rained, I went straight home from work instead of picking up the kids. I was in the kitchen fixing dinner when hubby and kids came home from the daycare center. The first thing that came out of my daughter's mouth was, "He hit Gidi!" After grilling my hubs and daughter for the details, I think I had somewhat recreated the crime scene. Please bear in mind that neither one of my witnesses were reliable: hubs picked up the kids 60 seconds after the episode, thus his testimony was pure hearsay, and my daughter's excited and joyful recounting of events consised of only five words "He hit Gidi","bump" and "toy". So here's what probably had happened: my son was playing with some toy, Gidi came and tried to take away the toy, and my son without thinking twice hit Gidi smack in the forehead. Poor child got a bump on his head the size and color of a small orange.

I thought it was just awful. I could never imagine myself being a bully's mother. I come from a family that is known for their love of books and all things peaceful, not for their fists. And now I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that my son might be less like them, the peaceful bunch. Who he is taking after is open for debate - I have my ideas, but to the mother of the kid, who also happens to be the owner of the daycare center, all these reasons and ideas don't really matter. Her little boy just got hit hard. (Just for the record, she was very understanding, but if these things keep on happening, especially to her own offspring, we might need to look for different babysitting arrangements.)

I wish the above thoughts were the first ones that came to my mind. But no...the first one was, "Thank G-d the boy can stand up for himself!" and some sense of pride, since Gidi is twice my boy's age. I am somewhat ashamed of these thoughts, but a part of me wishes that I were ashamed a little more.

Of course we had a talk that we cannot fight, even if someone is taking away our toys. But I am just not sure how much of that lecture was or could be absorbed by 18-month old mind. I am bracing myself for more of these episodes, and quite honestly I do not know how to handle them.

Okay, I got to go and beat the daylights out of a scumbag who stole my boxes (true story).

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mr. Jim has left the building

Or has he?

When I came back to work on Monday, the smutty book was gone. I had a slight hope that maybe the secretary had thrown it out, but no, she didn't. Which means that someone has taking it and the smut is spreading around the office. How nice. Now two people acquainted themselves with these works of art.

As a result of Mr. Jim post, somebody on Google ads decided that the ads they post on my blog could get a bit racier. So the ads jumped from pacifier and diaper bag ads straight to the ones where guys prostitute their wives (there was more than one! ew). What gave Google the idea that a fundie like me would want to have a link to swinging and porno sites right next to the post decrying the loss of decency and propriety at the workplace? So now as I am posting, I am avoiding the buzz words, like s-e-x and others, and seriously considering taking Google ads off. It is not worth losing personal integrity over 3 (yes, three) cents they have earned me in the past three weeks. (And please do not read this as a request to click on any ads.) Google can keep its dirty p-o-r-n money, the entire three cents, since I am somewhat sure that it has got to be one of the smutty sites that generated the revenue. I am a strong believe in Murphy's Law.

As a side note, I think I am losing my grip. The thing is my boss' name is Jim, and it took me almost 24 hours to notice the irony. Oh well, getting old, I guess.