Van Gogh and Nintendo and Fireworks, Oh My!

July 4, despite being a holiday, was a busy vacation day for the Cootie clan.  After a late morning (thanks to some work-related stuff I had to do), we hit the subway and headed to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.  Upon walking in, the kids were not enthused, but I was determined to see everything, even if I had a whiny CootieBoy to contend with (“I don’t know ANY of these artists and I don’t WANT to know any of these artists!”).  We wound our way through the halls where I got to see Warhol, Monet, Rothko, Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Pollock, Degas, Magritte, Wyeth, Mondrian, Johns, and Cezanne.  CB complained the whole time until eventually he came into a room and declared, “Finally! … continue on, dear reader!

The Career Ladder

job promotionThat graphic right there perfectly encapsulates everything going on at work right now.

I love my boss. I could talk about how amazing she is all the live long day – you’d get sick of me, really – but the fact of the matter is, she is quite simply the best boss I have ever had in my entire 25 years of working life thus far. She stands head and shoulders above anyone else. And the question you should be asking is, “What makes her so great?”

Well, let me share with you what makes her a great leader:

1) She never let me settle. I came in as a low-level secretary, and after only three months she realized what I could do and she … continue on, dear reader!

This Ain’t Guiliani’s New York Anymore

Say what you want about Rudy Giuliani (and opinions vary regarding both his professional and personal lives), but when he was Mayor of NYC (1994-2001), it was a safer and cleaner place to live than it had been for a couple decades.

Cut to July 3, 2016. Denis and CootieBoy have left for CitiField to see the Mets play ball for a few hours. CootieGirl and I trek into Manhattan to wander around Times Square for a while before heading to a Broadway play for which we had tickets. The subway ride was uneventful, and CG was happy to know that between she and CB, she was the first child to actually set foot in Manhattan (even if he was the first to ride the … continue on, dear reader!

When Leaving for Vacation Becomes Chaos and Confusion

Last week my family went on a much-needed vacation. This year we decided we’d head to NYC to see Denis’s family, and also to take the kids around the city they were too young to remember when we moved to SC. Since last summer when we booked the airfare, CootieBoy, in particular, has looked forward to this trip like no other.

It was iffy from the get go. We intended to leave for the airport by 5 a.m. to make our 8 a.m. flight. Unfortunately, when I set the alarm for 4 o’clock the night before, I set it for P.M., not A.M. I woke up on my own and looked at the clock and hollered in a panic, “Denis! Get up! It’s 5 o’clock!” … continue on, dear reader!

My TKD Days Come to an End…For Now

Tonight was my last night for TaeKwonDo.  My two-month trial comes to an end just as I completed my testing to get my yellow belt.  I didn’t get to go to class nearly as much as I hoped, but it was enough that I learned something and had a lot of fun.  There may come a day when I sign up to take classes again, but that day is not today. But in any case, I really enjoyed meeting other moms who were giving it a shot (three of us tested tonight) and I continue to enjoy spending time there whether I’m taking a class or not. I could feel my face turn beet red when they announced my name to go up and receive … continue on, dear reader!

Today I am 47

digital-47Today I am 47 years old.  That does not pain me in the slightest to say that.  I’m not one to get hung up on age – I’m a firm believer that your age does not define you.  I didn’t freak out when I turned 30, and I didn’t freak out when I turned 40.  I doubt I will freak out when I turn 50.

will freak out when I turn 67 because that means I can finally turn in my notice of retirement and spend the rest of my life relaxing Monday through Friday.

The past few days have been chock-full of activity.  On Thursday night Denis and I went to go see Death Cab for Cutie in concert in Charlotte.  He loves … continue on, dear reader!

Good Thing My Husband is a Saver

Our life has officially become a money pit in mid-2016.

Income taxes: A couple thousand due to Uncle Sam this year (which sucks when you are counting on a minor refund to help fund a summer vacation).
Denis’s van: $800 repair
Tree removal due to dead tree leaning dangerously close to our fence after it began uprooting itself: $700
A/C repair for the upstairs unit (a repair that did NOTHING because 2 weeks later it was still not working properly and the FIVE POUNDS of coolant they put in the system was gone after 2 weeks (please note they did NOT charge us a penny for the first followup visit earlier this week)): $500
Aging pets: $300 vet bill for annual checkup, vaccinations and meds.… continue on, dear reader!

Putting On My Best Shirt

A number of years ago I bought a shirt from Coldwater Creek – it was simple black/white patterned shirt, nothing special. I probably got it on clearance. The main thing it had going for it was that it was one of their “no iron” shirts (which I am ALL ABOUT).

The very first time I wore the shirt, people kept asking me if I was interviewing. I was not.
The second time I wore it, someone asked if I had lost weight. I had not.
The third time I wore it, I received several compliments on my appearance the entire day.

Weird. It got to the point where I hung the shirt in my closet and never wore it because I would get all … continue on, dear reader!

My Imitation of Jack’s Giant Coming Down the Beanstalk

Soooo…I had a TaeKwonDo class this morning. I went without CootieBoy, who opted to sleep in after a late night of videogaming (gotta love summer vacation). It was a family class so it had kids as young as 5 years old up through adults like me and another mom that was there, Em. The master started us off with general cardio exercises like jumping jacks and a few runs across the room and back. Then he had us working front snap kicks as we went across the room.

Then came the relay.

And this was my Waterloo moment at TKD. He lined us up in groups of three. I was with two young boys who were adorable but NOT fast. I was next to the … continue on, dear reader!

School Is Out, 77 Days of Summer To Go

School ended for the kids last week, and they only have 77 more days of summer to enjoy. They have spent that time staying up obscenely late (read: later than their parents), sleeping in ’til all hours (read: after 10 a.m. in some cases), playing on their electronics (which they got back once no more grades could be raised), and watching way more TV than they watched during the school year (if I have to hear Spongebob Squarepants laugh one more time, I swear I’ll…). CootieGirl and I have already watched a few movies together. All in all, a good start to summer.

Denis and I are trying to think of lots of fun activities for them outside of the normal ones like movies, the … continue on, dear reader!

Childhood Memories

During our garage sale a couple weeks ago Denis pulled out a box that turned out to have three old scrapbooks from my past. My childhood, college and post-college years. I believe I went through these same albums a few years ago because I’ve definitely scanned some of the photos in the albums and posted them on Facebook. But here are a select few that I know have not been scanned before.

What’s funny is that I have a lot of photos in those albums that I most definitely did not take, or of events was not a part of. Some college friends of mine took a road trip one year and I somehow have their pictures in my scrapbook. Same goes with some party … continue on, dear reader!

Of Medals and Men (or CB, In This Case)

Yesterday the Cootie family headed a couple hours away from home to watch CB participate in his first Taekwondo team competition with his school. He’s only been doing TKD since early January, and originally did not intend to sign up, but his instructors asked him to participate in the team demo contest at the championship. He said yes, and thus began doing TKD 6 nights a week – four times for his own classes, and 2 times for demo practice. His life has pretty much become school and TKD – and he’s loving every minute of it.

CB won a medalYesterday it all culminated with the day finally arriving for the competition! Our school is part of a group of five schools, all of which had students of … continue on, dear reader!

Changes at Cootiehog

cootiehog_wml_mhThis blog has been around since April 2002, making it just over 14 years old. Yep, it’s older than my daughter. I was feeling nostalgic for the old days when blogging software was very, very limited. In fact, my very first post was all about which blogging software I debated using, before ending up with Greymatter. Sidenote: all three blogging platforms I considered are now defunct.

Denis and I both blogged here in the early days – but he checked out from blogging many, many years ago and at that point it became my blog. At that point I removed the CootieCouple graphic that had been our “logo” for a year or two. In recent weeks I implemented a new theme on the site (I … continue on, dear reader!

Of Music and Martial Arts

I don’t know about you, but our schedule has been full to the brim with activity! Just when I thought our calendar might slow down, it doesn’t.

Thursday night CootieBoy had his annual school band concert – it was only an hour long and went by quickly. He did a great job and confirmed that he wants to do band again next year (“so I can go on the Carowinds Amusement Park band trip”).

Friday night CootieBoy had taekwondo practice for the big team competition taking place this coming weekend. It was a good rehearsal and even though they’ve never been able to practice with all 25 team members at one time, it is coming along nicely. I know CB is very excited. We found … continue on, dear reader!

Don’t Let Them Kid You – Taekwondo is a Workout

As I mentioned in a previous post, I signed up to take two months of free Taekwondo classes at my son’s TKD school. Last night was my first private lesson. When I walked in I found the mom that inspired me with her story and she was very happy to see me in my TKD uniform. “You signed up!” she said excitedly. “I did,” I said. “It’s all your fault, too.” She laughed and congratulated me on signing up. There were a couple other moms there (not taking lessons – just hanging out during their kids’ lessons) who also gave me a thumbs up when they saw me. I’m not alone! *lol*

However, I was mortified that my class was with Master JK, the master … continue on, dear reader!

What To Do With No Electronics

CootieGirl has been struggling with her grades this quarter, and the result is that for about a month now she’s had no access to her laptop or phone. At first she was very upset, but I think now she’s used to it, because we find ways to occupy her time. She still has access to TV, so we’ve been watching a lot of movies together and bonding over our girl time.

Last night she wanted to watch a movie with me, but since I was busy with something she opted to hit up the Bored Box instead. Have you heard of a Bored Box? Sometimes it’s called a Bored Jar, but we didn’t have a jar so I pulled out my Doctor Who lunchbox and … continue on, dear reader!