Monday, September 26, 2005

Last word on the subject.

Apparently Fertility Friend has put up a wee missive on the subject of them abruptly and without warning making their bulletin boards the demesne of only PAYING (VIP) members.

I'd link to it but I can't get over there since I've been BANNED.

But they say in part:

This week saw a big change as our boards became a VIP feature. We understand that this was a difficult transition for many members ... [snip]

... How and why did it happen so suddenly?Although it may have appeared to you as a sudden change, for the technical staff at FertilityFriend.com it was an ongoing issue. We have been increasing the bandwidth budget monthly to accommodate the ever increasing traffic. A few weeks ago we started experiencing load issues on our servers. It went to the point of small blackouts for some users. We carefully analyzed the situation and determined that the free boards were the culprit ... [snip]

...FertilityFriend.com is not a fly-by-night operation. We have been operating for the last seven years online. We have extensive experience in online applications and their management, however, like any other business we also have financial commitments... [snip]

...We have seen a lot of anger and hostility directed towards us lately without being able to respond to it. We would like to take this occasion to present our point of view. FertilityFriend.com has been helping hundreds of thousands of people achieve their dream over the past seven years, most of them for free. We have a long track record to prove it. We fund free charting, an extensive chart gallery and produced a very large body of educational documents- all available for free... [snip]

... It is really time for all of us to move on and regroup. We can now rebuild a community around what FertilityFriend.com is there for: sharing the experience of trying to conceive, charting, pregnancy and growing our families... [snip]

Very pretty. But I honestly think this is horseshit. The 'tone' of the boards began changing ages ago. They started getting paranoid and banning people. They encouraged reporting of posts. They came up with the obtuse points system to pit us against each other and separate the good little girls from the bad, bad, evil ones. So was the growing number of 'cooling off's, warnings, suspensions, and bannings a method to decrease bandwidth usage? Was the rash of alienations of good members just prior to this 'technical problem' a coincidence?

No. They want to make more money and be ultra-exclusive like a posh little club. They had been having 'trouble' with us regular board members for awhile - speaking our minds and helping one another instead of paying for their flaccid assistance - and had had enough. Like the spoiled toddler they took their ball and went home.

Not a problem. Their perogative (as I said before) but I would like to offer a humble warning. If all of this was, indeed, due to growing technical problems then they 'solved' it in the most unprofessional way possible. And exclusivity may sound nice but without the beautiful cross-section of folks from all over - those who can afford to be VIPs and those who can't - their 'service' will be next to useless. Nothing compares to assistance and advice from ladies who have done it or are doing it. Nothing.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:30 am   3 comments

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It goes with the job.


I have, on my refrigerator, a little recurring patch of nameless crud. It appears daily in changing shapes at about knee height right where the two doors come together. It's pretty gruesome and mysterious and probably warrants it's own episode of the X-Files. I'd post a pic but it's gross, I'm tellin' ya.

But I do know the key to the puzzle (although it took me a bit to figure out). The Nameless Crud Patch is the result of countless encounters with grubby baby fingers.

You see, when my babes get through with their meals (and after they've asked to be excused from the table), they have to put their plates in the sink and their juice/milk receptacles in the fridge. Since they still all do a certain amount of eating with their hands, the crumbs and/or sticky residue is deposited on my appliance.

So I wipe. I spend a good portion of my day wiping. Wiping refrigerators, wiping hands (heaven forbid I attempt to do this before they get down), wiping bums, wiping spills up off of floors and spit-up off of chins. When I'm not wiping I'm sweeping, mopping, picking up, changing linens, changing nappies, loading the washer, unloading the washer, hanging wet clothes up, taking dry clothes down, prepping food, cooking food, serving food, packing lunches, washing dishes.

This list doesn't include baby-centric stuff like reading to them, breaking up squabbles, answering endless questions, changing nappies (did I say that twice?), admiring crayon scribbles or Duplo towers, bathing them (when the crud level gets too high), kissing owies, finding loveys, tucking them in, entreating them to eat, fussing at them for eating catfood, fussing at them for snatching a toy, for flushing the toilet 25 times in a row, for throwing Matchbox cars, for picking the cat up by his head.

Mommying is a hard job! But I can say without reservation that it's the best one I've ever had.

So what brought all this on, you ask? Well, I was reading my last post and all of your lovely and helpful comments (including my Troll's - the entertainment value alone!) and I realized that I am stressed but I'm still happy. As opposed to when I was working at my last job. I loved my job, but all the crap and trouble, the late nights and annoying people, were something I put up with as a means to an end (a paycheck).

While I'm raising children all the stuff is just ... stuff. I'm working toward a goal: presenting the world with capable, useful, nice people who will contribute to society. It's kind of like the difference between renting and buying, lol.

Thank you SO much for your comments. I feel like I can really depend on you people to tell it like it is.

----

Speaking of working, some folks are fortunate enough to have careers (as opposed to just a job - like the long series that I had), and what they do counts for something in the long run (just like parenting). My darling Evil Genius Husband - who teaches middle school - is going for his National Board certification and I am sooooooo proud of him! Keep him in your thoughts.


----

Well, I'm on the road to solving some things. Yay!

1) I have caught the little bastard of a predator who was killing my chickens.

2) My oldest daughter, The Human Crash Test Dummy (formerly known as tall Girl), is over her mysterious wee-ing thing.

I thought about it (and considered everything you all had said) and decided that she might very well be just getting so wrapped up in playing that she was forgetting to go, then falling asleep (in exhaustion and without wee-ing) and then wetting the bed.

So, I moved her back out into the parlour (she was in the big bedroom with her brother) and got out her potty again. I explained to everybody that I thought we were getting more playing done than sleeping. I never mentioned the accidents, just made the move.

After ONE day things had settled down tremendously. Both she and her brother are sleeping better and she has had zero accidents since the first day after the move. She's happy. I'm happy. Boy's a bit disgruntled. He was having a blast encouraging her to flush an entire roll of toilet paper down the loo in huge wads.


He plans to retaliate with grubby baby fingers ... Aaaaagghhh!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:01 pm   1 comments

Got 'im!

Hah! I got that little bastard who was after my chickens. And do you know it took another poaching for idiot me to finally resolve the problem? Yes, I'm dumb.

I got a pair of Dutch bantams and put them in a cage that I thought was varmint-proof.

WRONG!

My predator killed the hen and got her out out of the cage. He even ate her right there and left the feet and wings for me. Lovely.

Angry? I was ang-REE! It was Sunday and I stomped into the house and told Evil Genius Husband that I was going right then to buy a trap.

I paid $60 (that I do not have) for the damned thing, baited it and put it out. I was really torn in the store because the trap was a small one (7x7 I think) and I was afraid that a 'coon or a big possum just wouldn't fit in. But the next size up was $15 more and whatever this thing was had gotten into my coop through a hole no biggeer than 6x6. I also figured that it would take a few nights to catch him.

Wrong about that too.

The dogs kicked up a row right after it got good and dark and I checked the trap. Sure enough, a big racoon was wedged in there like a foot in a too small shoe. Huzzah!

I left the trap out, baited with catfood, just in case I had another visitor. It's been empty every night since but I noticed that last night something had pawed away the pine needles in front of the trap - obviously trying to get to the food - so tomorrow I might have a tale of a new capture.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 11:42 am   2 comments

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Burrow

The farmhouse that we live in was built in 1886. It's a classic Poor Folks's Victorian. Originally two up and two down, with a detatched kitchen (typical of the time) that was beside and a bit behind the main house and connected by a long porch. It was not originally a big or grand house. It was built by a farmer for his young family.

The porch has long since been closed in as a hall and a small "grandmother's room". There's the original porch across the front (with a tiny bit of gingerbread) and, again, a part of it was closed in at some point to make a room. The house was slowly growing.

The house was built by a family named Amick, was eventually and unfortunately abandoned by them, held some squatters at one point, and was finally rediscovered in the 60s - literally falling to the ground - by a couple who set to restoring it. They (mostly she) slaved over details and brought it back to it's simple beauty. They raised their children here as they worked.

Then, after everyone was grown and gone, and the couple grew older, it inevitably got to be too much. So they sold the house.

Two families lived here between the Blessed Restorers of the house and us. Each family made some changes - some more grotesque and misguided than others.

Next time: The Family Room or did they just not care??

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:45 pm   0 comments

Stressing

Sorry for the long absence. I've been wandering about in a daze, lol.

The insurance company (and their lawyers and doctors) associated with my workers comp case have been dragging their feet - as usual - and I'm getting super stressed over it. I'm 41, I want to have one more child. I need to be TTC right NOW!

I don't give a flying $#&* at the moon about the drama. All I want is to be out of pain and be able to WORK for pity's sake!

I've been arguing (pointlessly) with the people on one of my comic boards over the whole Katrina thing and it's beginning to give me a headache. (If you know it's pointless, then why do you continue to do it? Uh ...) I mean, I respect everyone's right to his opinion, but we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. We keep saying the same stuff over and over.

I adopted two kittens who were destined for the pound:



Abe and Johann (these are two characters from Mignola's Hellboy if you're familiar) who are being their ebullient selves all over my house. I just rang the vets office to inquire about shots/ neutering/etc and was taken aback by the $180 (each!) price tag. Gah!

I continue to battle whatever the heck is killing my chickens. Every day I plug gaps that have appeared under the fence and festoon the coop with bits of chickenwire. I had made the coop out of recycled wood anyway and have yet to paint it (so it's three hideous colours - I used the wood from this horrible playhouse that was in the yard). With the additions of wire and wood I need to start referring to it as the FrankenCoop, lol.

Speaking of names, we've taken to calling the house The Burrow, like the Weasley's abode in Harry Potter. The resemblance is striking, really. Big, rambling house; large number of children; comfortable clutter; large garden (sans gnomes, I'm afraid). It's even decorated in the English Country style (*ahem* we call this Shabby Chic!). I am constantly working on the house in small ways and I'll keep you updated on the farm blog.

And finally, I'm tearing my hair out over my oldest DD.

This is the child who was toilet trained in mid July and dry through the night by the first week in August. No prob. She's sleeping (more or less) in the room with her brother and not wreaking too much havoc. All was calm.

Well, she's started wetting her pants and the bed. And it's getting worse. And it's random. She'll go for a day or two with no problems then suddenly I'll find her soaked or she'll wet the bed.

What the HECK?? Absolutely nothing has changed. No one's switched beds, no routines have changed, no one's left or arrived. What's going on? It's got to be something I'm doing, but WHAT? If anyone has any clues I'd be deeply appreciative!

(Just wee in the pot, baby girl.)

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:28 am   10 comments

Monday, September 12, 2005

Blue -vs- Predator

All right, operation Get That Little Bastard is underway.

I went out to the coop to let the chickens out yesterday and two -count 'em TWO - of my hens were inside, dead! I was sooooo angry. The whatever-it-was didn't even eat the second one.

So I spent the late afternoon nailing boards and stapling and cutting wire. I put up wire everywhere! I even jammed wads of old chicken wire into every teeny little hole that I thought was big enough for a rat or a snake. The largest holes I have in the coop now are right in the front, at the very top, under the eave. I had put 2x4 wire over the 6inch tall, 4 foot wide opening that I'd left for ventilation. If the whatever-it-is can clamber up there and get through a 2inch by 4 inch opening then have the strength and energy to kill an adult sex-linked hen ... well, my hat's off to it.

And I'll be out there with the nails and the wire again. *sigh*

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:05 am   1 comments

Friday, September 02, 2005

So, yeah, gas prices ...



Pretty fitting, eh? How have the prices been where you are? Here's a great site for finding the best petrol prices in your area. If you're bored check out their forums. They're a hoot! I'd tell you what the reaction is on my Fertility Friend boards but I've been BANNED. (Yes I intend to mention this a million times. Sorry.)

So, are you cutting back your driving or what? We had to go out yesterday and I took the oppertunity to get some supplies. I'm stubbornly determined to hole up here for awhile. Lets see how long Blue can stay on the farm, lol!

What do you all drive?

As you know, I just bought a full sized 1987 Dodge Behemoth Van:

How ironic is it that the gas prices shot up right after I purchased this monster? Grrrr! Well, at least my choice of vehicle is warranted. I'll shortly be TTC my 5th child and it is physically impossible to get 5 carseats, two adults, and groceries to feed them, into a Mercury Villager. This is the family size I wanted and I'm not complaining! It burns me up to see these moms who chose to drive a $60,000 SUV (even though the only have 2 kids and the farthest 'off-road' they've ever been is the parking lot of the Target) bitching and crying about having to fill it up. Pull on your big girl knickers, ladies, and deal with it. You play big, you pay big.

Hey, it could be worse:


Gaahh!

Or you could have loved ones who were in New Orleans. Or worse, you and your children could have been there. My heart goes out to all those people.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:21 pm   11 comments