One of the skills I honed in my previous job was arguing with companies in order to get something I wanted and/or needed.  I think I acquired this skill at birth since my family does like to argue…  I exercised it over all my school and college and refined it to the point that I have some solid negotiation skills.


In my MBA law classes I also learned about a concept of ‘punitive damages’ that I never have gotten to throw into my game – until today.


When it takes OVER a YEAR to get a refund you get on my LIST.  That list gets assaulted with vigor weekly on my work day (ie Wednesday).  My skills are directed at a financial institution and I will not only get restitution, I will now be getting punitive.  They were absolutely incorrect with my particular situation (they gave generic rules neglecting to check the actual rules of this state) and if they were FAST about it I would have been ok with just restitution.  Make me follow up 6+ times and its getting to the next level.  I’m currently in the ‘office of the president’ and someone has the joy and pleasure to call me within the next 48 hours to work on this with me.


Don’t worry – part of negotiation is to never be crazy on the phone.  I’m calm, I’m level, I’m very very direct.  Lars was even impressed.  I’m going after about $600 so worth a bit of time, and, its kinda fun ;)

my life update

I’ve been asked ‘whats up with the not blogging’ thing and sorry to say dear; same story different day.  Recovering from the travel/pennsic/camping/beach hangover has been longer than expected and it really really does not help that our dynamic is both in flux and askew every day.

We have also recently contracted a condition named neighbors.  Adult Neighbors can be wonderful, they drop by and have stories and sometimes cookies and usually have the perception to know when it’s a ‘bad time’ to visit.  Most of the time Adult neighbors come at a perfect time for the break you didn’t know you needed.  There is also goodness with neighbor kids, convincing the girls that they should go play, new games, kids that don’t need driving or picking up.  However there is the down side of neighbor kids – them coming over at the moment you convinced #3 hooligan to sleep, or, mid nap, or, when you might not be dressed and always when the house is a wreck (90% of the time) and these particular kids come ask if the girls can play at 20 min intervals all afternoon.  I also end up having 2 extra kids that I need to keep an eye on, but, I’m crossing my fingers the good will outweigh the bad.


Their names are Batman and Flash BTW

So after years and years of solo island extance we got both Adult neighbors and Kid neighbors (no relation) all of a sudden.  I’m learning to not walk out without wearing enough clothing and now I see why my mom always gets dressed before coming downstairs.  The kid neighbors are a bit on the wild side too, I would not have picked them from a catalog but sometimes the universe hands you what you need not what you want.  They need a bit of taming and maybe we are what they need…  I really do like that we have a house that feels welcoming.

In related news, I’m also trying to be a slightly better housekeeper.  I (still) need to dig out of the ‘being gone’ mess and while Lars did an ok job of not trashing the house, and he had someone clean at least once, there is still a lot to do.  On top of that, the laundry/unpacking situation coming home from camping/travel is epic and requires time and energy to sort out and put away right (ps. all is clean, nothing is away).  I need a solid 2 days to get everything done but instead Lars has been up to his eyeballs in extra work so instead of a break I got more solo kid time – good thing I know what I’m doing, but, bad for the cleaning or project or organizing business.

They don’t even need me to check out! My babies are so big!

Every day I see more first day of school pictures but my kids have exactly 2 weeks left.  I’m putting aside some projects for when I only have 1 kid at home but I have a feeling I’m being optimistic about what I will get done with 2 in school.  The two most helpful ones are leaving!  I can actually say ‘pack lunch’ and they do it.  I’ll miss them both in general but extra when there is nobody to play ponies with Fiona but me.

Overall the days are flying by.  The girls need more attention, more help, more watching depending on who but I’m running from 6am to 10pm with them with random switches of needs and direction throughout the day.  The next 2 weeks will be more of the same?  Maybe?  and then who knows what will be next.  So to all the people I have missed on the phone, facetime, email, etc this is what I’m doing and I’ll get back to some new form of normal in 2-4 weeks.

Things I find. 

I’m cleaning up with a focus for getting ready for the first day of school and I found these in Niamh’s lunchbox. 

I think she might have kept every single note I wrote her every single day of school. 

Walmart v Office Max/Office Depot for school supplies

On the subject of school supplies….

Walmart wins hands down.  I should have known but I was sucked in by the .01 notebooks at Office Max and while I was there (like they count on) I got many other things on the lists.  I had to go to Walmart anyway and I noticed a few things that I KNOW were better at Walmart so across the street I went.

Walmart was about half the cost on everything except notebooks, they were .17.  I decided that yes, my time is valuable, but I could easily earn back $15 by returning the majority of what I got at office max (and it is just across the street).

So if you are wondering, don’t, there were a few things that were within pennies but you would be better off skipping the super item at Office Max and getting it all at WalMart.  **on a positive note, they took everything back very quickly and easily and didn’t even ask me why.

The odd thing about BOTH stores is nobody seems to sell more than 12 pencils and they each need 24?  I’m getting a gross from Amazon for not much more and I’ll just donate them to the school.

And that is the most exciting thing about my day –

3 more weeks of summer

Live it up?

Survive it?

Do what we normally do?

D… all of the above

It is summer part III because it is silly to really get used to 3 girls at home when in 3 weeks I’ll only have 1 at home.  We have a few things a week planned with moms club and only a few things we *need* to do and the freedom to do what we want the other days.  Things fill up fast with things, and, the poor cat is 2 months past his shots so that really does need to get done.

Today Fiona and I got up at 7:45, a totally late sleep in time, Zoe didn’t get up until after 9.  Breakfast was still happening at 9:30 and laundry didn’t even start until 10ish. We had a friend drop by for a quick visit and then we headed out at 11:15 for a walk to the park.  It was coolish and overcast so no complaints about being hot or sun in the eyes and we took 20 min to walk 3/4 of a mile because we stopped to pick wildflowers and watch ducks and generally not rush.

The park was all ours and the kids played and Fiona surprise #1 was suddenly mastering the ability to pump on a swing.

Heading back after 12 my brain was screaming we were ‘behind schedule!’ but seriously, what schedule?  Fiona surprise #2 was the ability to pedal her own trike – not fast – but she can go!  Over the weekend we worked on her learning to use the handlebars and I can’t recommend the Kettler trike enough, much better than how the other girls learned.

We had one scrape on the way home for drama but overall a nice outing and lunch was late so nap was late but again, who cares.  At some point we need to see about putting some of the weekend play-a-thon featuring every small doll and figure away but I’m sure we won’t be going to bed on time either.  There is time enough in 2 weeks to start dialing back in for the school year, synchronizing our breakfast ballet, and reinstalling my innate time sense for 4pm precisely.

Celebrations! Big and Small

My last post on a way too popular topic; potty training.

Our house is now diaper free (pull up at night). #3 is reliable to a good degree to even go by herself.  This has been a long journey full of 7.4 years of diapers and I’m happy to NOT have to buy and/or wash diapers anymore.

Personally just NOT buying/washing is all the reward I need but this was a team effort and when the team has an achievement the team needs a celebration.  (Someday I’ll write a book on how an MBA is a very good tool for parenting).

The process for training a third child who has close siblings is its own trick.  There is the not so small matter of one child getting prizes for going to the bathroom while the other two are told they are too big and had their treats as they were learning too – not an easy lesson for a 4 year old to internalize and accept.  Secondly the process of training 1 out of 3 means 2 of 3 are sometimes left hanging while their little sister gets the special treatment or a fast trip to the bathroom dropping everything else.  None of this is very fair or fun so long ago I told them at the end, we would have a diaper-free party to celebrate winning as a team.

Today is that day

Niamh actually decided that it was time for a party and took a poll of what they wanted and presented me with a list.  Ok, she needs help spelling but that isn’t a stone I can throw.

Dolfin cake – blue frosting chocolate cake outside party rainbow sprinkles dolphin frosting on top of cake

Here is the resulting cake – chocolate with blue icing, sprinkles, and a dolphin.  I have no idea where the dolphin idea came from but I had one in the toy box so on the top it went.  We did not do it outside since it is 90 degrees and I’ve had enough of that over the past 2 months and now I have my AC and I’m staying in it!

we added 3 candles, one for each girl who only uses the potty – or, for the 3 years it took Fiona –

It was the first time I made cream cheese icing and I like it, pretty easy overall – 1 stick butter, 1 8oz cream cheese, 2c powdered sugar and 1tbl flavor.  I have a bunch leftover too, even after repairing a few licks to the cake.

They were all happy to have a celebration and so am I to mark the end of this phase.  It is also a handy thing as an end point for potty treats, any time she asks for one I can refer her to the cake…

I have no idea if this will help anyone else out there potty train a second or third child but the idea that you always celebrate achievements, even small ones, is one I want my kids to have.