Archive | August 2015


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A new little hobby – Ingress

Everything in my head right now is either boring (dishes, laundry, oppressive pile of to-do) or something I already talked about (kids, summer, is it time for school yet?).  On top of that I’ve just been out of the loop for ‘things’ because I’ve not been reading news or other blogs (or really doing much other than the aforementioned cleaning/parenting) so there isn’t much sparking conversation in my mind.

However – I did start playing Ingress.

There are plenty of tutorials about how to play, I know because I had to find them because just downloading the app is not all that explanatory.  This is not a tutorial, this is a how-orial and why-orial.  Here are some reflections on ‘why’ and ‘how’ this is a great game for anyone, especially a stay at home mom.

Statement; I’m doing so many things already it seems silly to add a game

Reply; This game actually fits in a normal active lifestyle because it is location based as long as you leave the house it is pretty easy to play.  There are ‘portals’ all over the place and they are most often in places you probably go already.  Library – yes, parks – yes, yes, yes (all of them), soccer field – yes, baseball field – yes, Post office – yes, church – yes.  To get to level 100000 you need to do more than just play in your normal run around life but there is plenty of fun to be added to the mundane errands that it is worth it.

Statement; what else is there?  turning it on during my errands is only so fun

Reply; Given that the original game (started a few years ago) put portals at every registered landmark and people have added to the list over the years, there are new fun things to discover if go you hunting for portals.  We had a great time at Shoreview community, a place we have gone weekly for years, wandering around and discovering new spots.  Within a very easy to walk radius we found 6 portals.  Part of the point is to find new things and enjoy the walk between.

A little trail through the woods to find the next portal.

Statement; How can I use Ingress to make my life more fun?

Reply; Open the big map and look for portals, plan around them.  Feel like a walk, find some near each other.  Feel like a run, use mapmyrun to make a trail for you.  Finding a portal in an area of your town you have never been, or, turning it on when you are at a new place and have some time to kill.

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Ingres map and mapmyrun working together…

Statement; I’m too busy with my kids/I don’t like using my phone around them

They have wanted to go through that tunnel for years – We finally went because of this game. Sometimes moms need a push to do something out of the routine…

Reply; really?  My kids think it is awesome – they love to hold the phone and follow the direction (orienteering).  They like to push the buttons (who doesn’t?).  Good incentive to walk and read, and, something we can easily and enjoyably do together.  Not to mention that half of these things are at parks and playgrounds.  This also keeps me engaged with my kids as I too, try, to not play with my phone while they are playing.

Statement; sounds like geocaching and last time I did that I got ticks and mosquito bites

Reply; This is similar because it is  walking around, but, instead of tracking down trails and poking under rotten logs to find a cache that is supposed to be hidden therefore hard to find – this is mostly in very public easy to get to locations and you just have to be in the area for it to work rather than looking for something the size of a tictac box.  NOTE; I know there are geocaching in the civilized world, and, Ingress down wooded paths – but – it is usually the other way around.  NOTE 2 – nothing wrong with hiking, just does mean more scheduled time and this is more doing during regular life.

Super easy to find spot in an inside place we go weekly 🙂

Finally, this is a motivator to get out of the house.  I want to go walk past a few of the closer ones daily and that means I find ways to get out and do it with the kids (or without).  Its walking with a purpose and a general goal and that does make walking more fun for me.  This works really well with my lifestyle since I do go out often, I like to walk, and I run fairly regularly and am always looking for new routes because the old ones get dull.  Who knows if I’ll ever achieve ‘big things’ because winning for me is just doing it~  If you want an invite let me know or you can just download the app.

PS.  The walk in the woods was SPESFICALLY motivated by Nerd the brains “go climb a tree” challenge and it is gravy that I got 3 portals while looking at trees.


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 –