Thursday, March 24, 2011

Unicorn Spotting

On our drive home today, I saw not one, but three, unicorns.

What were these mythical creatures doing? They appeared to be not only plowing the deep snow (which canceled all night classes at TMCC for the second time this semester) AND they were sanding. I was truly stupefied. 

On Tuesday, I complained about Reno's one snowplow and lack of sanding the roads. I now stand corrected. Snowplows and sanding in Reno are not a myth - I've seen it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

They LIED to Me

My MIL and hubby went on a five-year campaign to convince me to move to Reno. One of their top ploys was that it "really doesn't ever snow in Reno." Having lived in Utah and dealt with the 4-5' dumps of snow and the 9 month winters, getting away from driving in the snow was definitely top of my list of appeals. MIL actually said, "We don't even have a shovel. If we do have a rare snowstorm, we just get a broom out and brush the snow off our driveway."

Another campaign pitch was that Reno's schools were fantastic. Being a Mommy of (then) one (with ideally more in the future), a good school system was also high on my priority list. "With tourism and casinos and no state tax, our schools are filled with money. Class sizes are small and the kids get the very best," MIL stated. She seemed so knowledgeable and self assured. After all, her own son had gone completely through K-12 right in Reno, and he's practically brilliant. I figured it must be true.

MIL should have been a politician. She's an excellent debater. And I trust hubby, apparently too much. And I feel so stupid now - I really should have done my research and really looked into all this. Because, after 4-1/2 years in Reno, I've since learned - and trust me, continue to remind MIL and hubby *all* the time - that they LIED TO ME. It snows in Reno. And our education system sucks ass. Not just ass, but hairy-haven't-bathed-in-a-week ass. It's really that bad.

Some facts:
In the 2010-2011 school year alone, school has been on a delayed start (read, starting at 11:00 instead of 9:00) four times and closed entirely one time because of SNOW. Yep, this non-existent white stuff that for whatever reason falls down like clockwork here in Reno. Where I've worked has let us out early four times (which really is sort of nice, but not when you've got a room full of teachers and have to kick them out three hours early which means they don't get their education credits they need). We've used the snowblower we brought with us from Utah at least five times. I've shoveled twice that many times. And hubby and MIL's response has been, "Well, it's not as much snow as Utah." True. But saying it "really doesn't snow" and "it's not as much snow" is not synonymous. It snows here. Check out this pic from work on Monday, the day after the first day of spring. That fluffy white stuff is called snow.

And there's only one snowplow for the freaking county. And they don't salt or sand. And the majority of drivers have never driven in snow (being California transplants) and they freak out. They drive too slow. They drive too aggressively. And it's like accident haven.

As far as our educational system? Our high-school dropout rate is 24% higher than the national average, being only a 50% chance of graduation for the entire state. In a state with 440,000 kids, 220,000 aren't expected to graduate. Wall Street ranked Nevada 50th in Educational Quality and Funding. Oh, and 78% of the people in our jails don't have a high school diploma, yet we spend 15% more on incarceration than any other state. So where in the hell did MIL get the whole "we have top schools" thing from? Again, nothing but LIES.

All that said, I have learned some things about Reno on my own:
* It's extremely family friendly with tons for those with kiddos to do.
* Most people are transplants, like me, and are therefore much more friendly than I'd been accustomed to. It's like we're all not in THE club, so we decided to create our own. I've had a much easier time making new friends in Reno than I have anywhere else.
* You like outside stuff? Yeah, we've got it - in plenitudes. From swimming in Tahoe to high desert hikes to kayaking on the Truckee, you'll find something up your alley. We can even walk across our street to the mouth of a canyon and either hike or snowshoe without having to drive.
* Reno was voted one of the top 22 greenest cities by USA Today. As the Green Meanie, this is important to me; eco-consciousness is everywhere here. That, and, as Green Meanie, it means job security 'cause these people take this granola stuff seriously.
* I grew up very close to my grandparents and watching our kids to the same with MIL and FIL is heartwarming indeed. Even if MIL does make me consider taking Zoloft or Xanax or something just to get through a conversation with her.

So what's a girl to do? Well, I avoid driving in the snow and consider it a good excuse to stay home, make a snowman with the kiddos, and drink hot cocoa. No need to drive in that crap. I employ myself in the field of education and take homework time in our house very seriously. I work with over 85 schools throughout the state and I swear they are the biggest group of dedicated and passionate teachers I've ever encountered so I trust my kids will be in good hands several times throughout their school careers. I enjoy doing stuff with my family and love the help my in-laws provide (and we provide to them). After all, "home" truly is where your heart is, which makes Reno the best home I could have.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Precious

I think I might start calling MIL Gollum. You can't take a picture of her without her eyes getting squinted up until they're nearly closed and her mouth twists in this painful grin. She's truly a beautiful person but she's the least photogenic person I know.

The real reason I want to call her Gollum is because of the blatant favoritism she gives to her son (might I add, only child?).

MIL: I'll be in the neighborhood. Would you like me to pick up Baby#1 from school at 3:00?
Me: That would be great. I'll let you know if Baby#2 wakes up in time. I'd hate to wake her up from her nap, so if she's not up, I'll give you a call by 2:45.
MIL: OK, I'll keep my cell phone on - just call if you need me. I'll be in the neighborhood, so it's no problem.

~ at 2:45, Baby #2 is storing. Deeply. I don't have the heart to wake her.
Me: Hey, Mom, can you go get Baby#1? Baby#2 is still sleeping.
MIL: I can't. I'm in Costco on the other side of town.
Me: Oh, I thought you'd be in the neighborhood?
MIL: No, I left. You'd better hurry, or you'll be late!
~ Wake up Baby#2 and run like hell to school.

MIL: Honey, since your wife has to work late tonight, would you like to come over for dinner?
Hubby: Yes.
MIL: Should I make a nice steak for you?
Hubby: Yes.
MIL: I can bathe the kids for you, too, and have them in their jammies. Would that help?
Hubby: Yes.
MIL: All you'd have to do is get them to bed. Unless you want me to come over and tuck them in, too? It's really no problem. I can come over and get them in bed for you. I know how tired you are.
Hubby: OK.
MIL: My Precious...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To BMW or Not to BMW - that is the question

I bet you thought I meant BMW, as in German, gorgeous, and waaaaaay out of my price range. Well, you'd be wrong. I'm from Utah. Land of big families. Big, predominantly Morman families. I have nothing against Mormons, having many in my family and friend circle. I did, however, grow up calling any type of minivan a Big Mormon Wagon. Hence, BMW.

So, here I am with two kiddos of my very own and am contimplating getting a minivan. Husby's been a proponent of the minivan for a while now. They get good gas mileage. They are cheaper than an SUV. They insure for less. They have all-wheel-drive which is awesome for our "non-existent snow" (that's too long for this post, more later). When I still couldn't be swayed, Husby even tried the Swagger Wagon appeal by showing me this ad:  Although funny, it didn't convince me.

What has finally convinced me to possibly moving to a BMW? Lack of space. In my sedan, the kids are just too close for comfort. I don't mean to each other. I mean to me. I can hear them all too clearly - baby babbles are cute, but the entire Star Wars theme song sung as a cat (Meow, meow, meow, meow meow meow meow meow) then as a dog, cow, and pig gets a bit trying after 15 minutes solid. Our seven-year-old belching his ABCs gets annoying and is even worse when you can smell what he ate for lunch after the song's conclusion. I can turn around and smack one of them singlehandedly (good for me, bad for them and is possibly not the safest driving strategy).  And when they vomit (yep, happened on Valentines Day on the way to swim lessons - yeah for a romantic evening!), I can even get sprayed with chunks of red-infused gellatenous gunk. Oh yeah.

So until we can afford a limo (or hey, even a taxi cab) that has one of those slide-up glass partitions, I guess a BMW will have to do.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cow Hickers

On the way to work today, we were nearly hit by a guy veering into our lane. He had on a dirty baseball cap (yes, we were close enough I could tell the cleanliness of his attire), was driving a Ford pickup, and was paying more attention to his donut than the road.

Me: Damn cow hicker.
Husby: What?
Me: Cow hicker. Heh…I was trying to say shit kicker, cowboy, and hick all at the same time.
Me: I hate cow hickers.
Husby: Why?
Me: In high-school, the cow hickers tried to lasso me with rope.
Husby: What?!
Me: Serious. And they were always standing around chewing their cud.
Husby: I think you mean chewing tobacco.
Me: Same difference.

Cow hicker. Heh.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Green Meanie

Apparently I’ve become sort of a recycling Nazi. A few days ago, I found an empty conditioner bottle in our bathroom garbage. I brought it downstairs, simply said “Hello?! Recyclable!” to Husby, and put it in the recycling bin. Yesterday, I found a glass bottle of pasta sauce in the kitchen garbage. I merely growled with a pointed look at Husby again, then took it out to the recycling bin in the garage. Today at lunch in the work cafeteria, I watched Husby throw away his yogurt cup when – gasp! – the plastic recycling bin was right around the corner.  This time I hissed at him, not wanting to draw too much attention to him and embarrass myself (yes, I’m married to HIM, ye-old-thrower-awayer-of-recyclable-materials).

Husby approached our table and told me I was a new kind of super hero. The Green Meanie. Heh. Wonder if they could change my business cards?

Monday, February 21, 2011

And other Big Red Gems...

The dating years…
BR: You can’t put green olives on your sandwich. Use a pickle instead.
Me: I really don’t like pickles.
BR: But you can’t use a green olive! It just isn’t done.
Me: Who said?
BR: (Huff!)

The engagement period…
BR: Have you given any thought for what you’d like to do for your honeymoon?
Me: We want to go on a cruise.
BR: A cruise! That’s terrible. You don’t want to do that. Dad and I went on a cruise once, and it was a miserable time. That’s not what you want to do.
(Asked Husby later… apparently they went on a FERRY BOAT across some European ocean and had a shitty time. Ferry boats do not equal cruises. We went on the cruise, had a great time, sang our praises, and now BR and father-in-law have been on three. Hah!)

The first grandchild…
BR: That’s too much detergent in your dishwasher.
Baby: Wahhhhh!
Me: It’s fine.
BR: You’ll scratch all your dishes. Don’t use so much.
Me: It’s not a big deal.
BR: You need to treat your belongings well so you have them around for a while. I never just throw money around and act like things are disposable.
Me: Wahhhhh!
Me: I’ve been doing dishes for 20+ years, I’ve been using as much as I like, and our dishes are just fine! (Note, this is unlike me… it’s called “lack of sleep and being a new parent” – guess it brings out the kahoonas in me!)

During my second pregnancy…
BR: How have you been feeling?
Me: Pretty good. My back has been sore, though.
BR: It’s probably because you were overweight before you got pregnant.
Me: (WTF?!)

In the hospital after Baby#2 was born…
BR: Baby#2 has a lovely color – almost orange.
Me: She has a mild case of jaundice.
BR: No, it’s probably because you drank too much juice when you were pregnant. Did you drink a lot of juice?
Me: No. It’s because she has a mild case of jaundice.
BR: Or maybe you ate a lot of carrots?
Me: No. It’s because she has a mild case of jaundice. Her doctor said that’s what it was.
BR: Those doctors are always over explaining things.

The day we brought Baby#2 home from the hospital.
I’m nursing BB and Husby is napping in a nearby chair. BR just brought Baby#1 home.
BR: Well, I’m off. Can you lock me out?
Me: No. I’m nursing. Husby can.
BR: Can Baby#1 do it?
Me: No, he has a hard time turning the lock. Husby can do it.
BR: No! Don’t wake him up. He’s exhausted. Let the poor guy sleep, he’s been through so much.
Me: (WTF?!! I was in labor for 15 hours! I just gave birth! I haven’t slept more than one hour in three days! My boobs hurt! My vagina feels like it had a rendezvous with a lawn mower! And your precious son needs to sleep?!! Screw you!!).
BR: (Huff!)