Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"The message she left me was a little hostile..."

T's preschool teacher, Mrs. J, is leaving us in June to PCS back to the states. The other Moms and I are very, very sad about this. We all feel that she has been wonderful with our kids. She's worked wonders with T since October. Sigh.

So, we are all spreading out and looking for the same type care. Right now there are four kids in the toddler program and they all seem to get along really well. If only we could find another home daycare provider that has a comparable enrichment program. (At this point, I don't think any of us believe that we'll ever find an equal or better program...sniff!)

Right before Mom and Debbie came, I was calling around to explore other options. S has entered the clingy stage and I was, and still am, hoping to get her used to being around other kids. When T entered that phase, I kept him with me and I think that was a disservice to him in the long run. Then one day there was a flier in our stairwell about a home daycare provider, Pamela, who seemed to have all the elements of Mrs. J's enrichment program. Hmmm... so I called her and the kids and I went up to meet her. I was impressed. She's got a degree in early childhood development, she was friendly, the kids liked her from the get-go, so I thought, GREAT! If we can just talk her into starting a toddler program, that would just be fabulous. So I told Jenny and Heather about her and we decided to see if we could convince her to do this. Then Heather got orders and had to PCS. Crap! Since Angela, Jesse's mom, was PCSing in June, that just left Jenny and I. Then Crystal's daughter moved into T's class. Perfect! She, too, was interested and now we were back up to three.

For one of T's evaluations during the whole autism screening process, I made arrangements with Pamela to keep S. Pamela only does drop in care and it's a minimum of two hours at $6 an hour. From what I could tell, when I went to pick S up, it had gone well. But every effort I made after that to arrange care didn't work out. Hmmm. Then I get an email from Jenny. Pamela is going to start an enrichment program. YAY! So, I call Pamela and get voicemail in German. Now, I know that I had left a message with her before this and she had a recorded message, so I figured I dialed the wrong number or she was having phone problems. With TKS (the phone/cable/internet provider here) that's not unusual. And then it just slipped my mind until Jenny mentioned it Monday. So I came home and called again. This time Pamela answered, but said she was in the middle of something and could I call her back in five minutes? Sure! So I called back, again got the voicemail with the German recording, but this time I left a message to this effect - "Hi Pamela. This is B____. I spoke with you a few minutes ago and the reason I was calling was because I spoke with Jenny, who's son is in T's toddler class at Mrs. J's. Jenny said you were seriously thinking about starting a preschool program and I'm very interested in having T come. If you aren't I'd still like to make arrangements for you to keep T some of the same times you keep Jenny's son. If you could please call me back so we could talk about the possibilities and pricing, I would really appreciate it. My number is ______."

When she hadn't returned my call by 6 pm, I decided to call her back and leave another message. It was basically this, "Hi Pamela, it's B____ again. I spoke with you briefly this morning and then I called you back and left a message. I haven't heard back from you, so I thought I'd give you a call back. I wanted to try and arrange care for T, either on the same schedule as Jenny's son or in an enrichment program. If I don't hear back from you, I'm going to assume that you have decided not to do the program or that it won't work out for T. If you'd like to call me back, my number is __________. Thanks!"

And then I emailed Jenny later that night letting her know I was having trouble getting in touch with Pamela so I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I was also concerned at that point that something awful had happened or that she just didn't want to watch T and didn't want to tell me. I mean, of all the people on the planet, I'm well aware he can be quite the handful.

Jenny, God love her, emailed back and said - that's strange. I'll call her. I don't mind asking the hard questions.

That works for me, since I can't get her to answer the phone OR call me back. So Jenny calls me today, tells me that she's talked to Pamela and Pamela said that she tried to call me back (lies! I have caller ID, DUH!) but that I left a hostile message on her machine and since she needs to have a good working relationship with the parents of the kids she keeps, she now thinks it won't work out for her to keep my kids again.

LOL!!!! ROFL!!!! ROFLMAO!!!!!!! Don't do me any favors, missy. I also briefly entertained calling and actually leaving her a hostile message so that she'd know what one sounded like (at least from me), but then I decided that wouldn't solve a thing and frankly, I'm better than that. So, as Jenny and I talked about what she told me vs. what she told Jenny, vs. what she told Crystal - there's no way I'm taking my kids over there. T's had enough trauma as it is without my adding to it by taking him to a day care provider that thinks we have a hostile relationship.

And, the search continues for decent child care. I did tell Jenny that I would call Pamela and attempt to explain that I wasn't trying to be hostile (which I wasn't), but that I just wanted to know either way if we could work something out. Yet, I couldn't make myself do it today. Maybe tomorrow when I'm actually feeling less hostile. Heh!!

So, for anyone out there that ever felt like I was hostile towards them, please let me know so I can determine if this is something I actually need to work on or if this lady has just lost her mind. Hostile. HAHAHAAAAAA. Sorry.

The kids are growing up so fast!!!

For those of you tired of hearing me yammer on and on and on and on and on -- here are some recent pictures. Enjoy!

Daddy's girl

T and S, our little ankle biters are growing up so fast!

Dad and Miss S, resident diva

T is all smiles now that Dad's home

Life is good!


First things first - R is HOME!!!! Woooohooooooooooo! Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (doing the white chick, lip-biting, look like an idiot in 'da club boogie). Okay, enough of that, now I'm sweaty. Yuk!

You gotta love the military. Gotta. Love. Them. The flight they booked him back on had him arriving at the airport at 5:45 am. Translated into my language, that meant that the kids and I had to leave here around 3:30 am. As much as I love my husband and as much as I missed him, having to get myself and our two little ankle biters up and at 'em at that hour meant I was going to take the extra 30-45 minutes that it would take to shower and goop up for him and sleep instead. Sorry, hon, you know I love you, but I figured you'd much rather have me coherent and alive at the airport.

Laughingly, I thought the kids would sleep in the car. Umm..not so much of the sleeping. A lot of singing the ABC song, though. And we did get to see the sun come up, which was amazing. And the kids were so happy to see their dad. And he was so happy to see us. Awwwwww......

So, oddly enough, we had to call his command from the airport, an hour out and 20 minutes out from base. I guess so we couldn't sneak in any alone time before they got to welcome him back?!? Of course, I forgot the list of phone numbers on my way out the door (HEY! At least it wasn't my ID or money this time). Of course, R had an extra copy with him, boy scout that he is. All's well that ends well, and the welcoming committee was kind of nice, truth be told. And after he got instructions for what to do and when to do it, they let us go. All of this before 9 am. So the Army isn't the only one that can get things done before noon or 10 am or whatever the commercial used to say.

The Friday after R comes home is the big USAFE Information and Technology Awards banquet. R won Information Assurance Program Manager and Office of the Year and is now up for the AF wide award. No idea on when we'll hear about that, but I hope the awards ceremony is somewhere cool - like NYC. Or Colorado. Ohhhh.. or Vegas. (And, umm, grandparents, we are taking bids for who gets to keep the kids if we get to go.)

At the last minute, we were able to find someone to keep the kids for us, so I got to go with R to the ceremony, which was held at USAFE headquarters which is about an hour and a half from here. My husbands coworkers were also there, including she-who-abandoned-us-in-Paris. Not that I'm bitter or holding a grudge. As an interesting note, the Officer's Club lost our reservations along with Sgt Chase's reservation and then had the gall (from my perspective anyway) to act like they were doing us a favor by letting us attend. (Insert eye roll here). Customer service, people. Let's practice it. I overheard one of the event staff telling one of the Lieutenants that there was enough food for 180 folks, but now with the three of us being added, there were going to be 183 of us, so team from our base needed to eat light. Seriously, that's what he said. The LT told the Major (not the yucky one that I've been struggling with over T's evaluations) and he just laughed. I offered to go hang out in the car, I think R was going to take me up on it, but Major said not a problem - sit and enjoy. Frankly, my plan was to head to the Chili's on base, have a nice big margarita and wait for the event to be over. The best laid plans....

The award ceremony was great, we had a good time, it ended on time, the guest speaker was amazing, and I was more social than I'd been in a good while. Don't know how that happened, but I felt a lot more like myself than I have in a while. Course, that could be because R was back...

More posts coming soon. :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How to report a passport stolen from a military base

Umm, okay, this process was LONG and mostly by trial and error. Please learn from my mistakes.

So, your passport has been stolen?

MAKE A REPORT with the local police or the MP's/Security Forces. DO THIS IMMEDIATELY.

Phone your nearest Embassy or passport office to confirm the following procedures and if there's anything else you need to do.

Your passport will not be marked as lost/stolen until you reapply for a new passport. Here's what you will need:

New passport photos
Passport fee (minimum $100, more if you want it expedited)
Form DS-64
Form DS-11
Documents to prove your identity (pretty much everything you can find from your birth certificate forward)
A copy of the police/MP/Security Forces report

Here's the official link for more information: http://travel.state.gov/passport/lost/lost_849.html

You may also want to put a fraud alert on your credit report throught the credit bureaus.

It took me over two weeks and I don't even know how many phone calls and emails before I got everything I needed to reapply for my passport. Good luck to anyone who has to deal with this process. Email me and I'll do what I can to help.

Friday, May 2, 2008

April showers brought lots of adventures!

To everyone who's been checking my blog, sorry about the really long time in between posts. April is gone and as usual, I'm not quite sure where it went.

Mom and my cousin Debbie came for a visit in April. Debbie got a welcome to Europe, Dahl style that started out with my being late to meet her at the airport. We had some freaky weather in March and the beginning of April. We had virtually no snow here all winter and then it snowed frequently throughout March and the beginning of April. The day before Mom and Debbie got here, it snowed, melted, snowed, melted and snowed, mostly melted and turned to ice. So the trip to the airport that usually takes between 2 - 2 1/2 hours took well over three. But we got there in one piece before anyone really started to worry.

I was using a GPS system to navigate, which refused to work at all near the airport so I had to find a parkplatz (rest stop) and turn the car off and on again before it would navigate. The recurring theme of my driving travels will resonate with at least one "Stupid GPS!!!" although I'm not sure that's exactly fair, because it's my brain that seems to stop working at all when we use one. Once I got it working again, I asked it to map us home and it always asks - fastest, shortest, or something else I never use (see what I mean about not using my brain when I use it?). I chose shortest since fastest hadn't worked out so well the last time I tried it.

So the GPS directs us to apparently take the back roads by the Rhine river. We stopped at the first town we saw, which was Rudesheim, and got out and walked around. I figured we were about an hour and twenty minutes away from home. So we all get back into the car and head for home, but the GPS keeps telling me to turn down streets that are less streets and more driveways, usually with cars parked blocking thru traffic. Grrrrrrr. Stupid GPS. We end up taking a ferry boat across the Rhine, which was really neat, plus we saw some incredible castles along the way, but at this point, it's been another hour and we aren't even close to being home. We left the airport around 1, it's now close to 3, and everyone is tired. So as the kids, Mom and Debbie are sleeping, I'm driving around in what seems like circles and getting concerned that we are going to run out of gas before we get back. So I reprogram the GPS to "fastest route" and realize that we are still over two hours away. What the heck?!?!?!?!?!? Stupid GPS.

We roll into base around 6, I've been driving pretty much since 9 am and we are all tired. So I sign in Mom and Debbie, we make a mad dash to the commissary, and all turn in early for bed. The next morning I have to have S to the doctor for her 1 year well baby visit by 8 am (what was I thinking!?!) and somehow manage to be there on time, plus get T to preschool by 9. Who'd have thought it possible? Not me.

Our European adventure begins with a trip to Luxembourg. We visit the town of Vianden but elect not to tour the castle. See Debbie for a most entertaining video of me on the town stage. Recommended retail value $20. Totally worth it.

Next we go to Beaufort, where we actually tour the castle ruins there -which I've been wanting to do since we first found them right after we moved here. T was tired and napless, so he was quite hyper. I put S into the Snuggli and put her on by back because I thought it would be easier to navigate the steps that way (which is was), but crossed the straps across the front of my chest, which from MY perspective made my boobs look huge (always a bonus and a goal of mine), but when I saw the picture Debbie took of me..umm.. well.. let's just say it was less about boobs and more about lumpy fat rolls. So..it must have accidentally gotten deleted. Shucks.

Saturday Debbie and I were off to Paris (there's a whole post just on that prior to this one so I won't repeat any of it.

Sunday T went to his first birthday party - too fun, and Happy Birthday to Justin! Monday morning began our normal weekly routine. Tuesday I dropped Debbie off at the airport for her trip to Scotland and picked her up on Thursday. Friday we all went to Trier and then Debbie and I hit the spring bazaar for the hour before it closed, where we met a lady from our trip to Paris who was actually worried about us - unlike the ITT escort, any of the ITT staff, and the third person in our party who apparently isn't as clear on the truth as I would prefer. Perception is reality and all that.. but I perceive that she's trying to save her own butt so she doesn't look like the witch she was that day. Harrumph.

Debbie and I were supposed to go to London, but when we got back from the bazaar and picking up some dinner, Mom was frantic that S had a fever and was feeling uncomfortable about having something really serious happen while we were in London. So, I decided not to go :( and Debbie was really understanding about it. So Saturday consisted of getting up at 2:30 to take Debbie to the airport for our, I mean her, trip to London. My cousin Jeff was in Frankfurt on business that weekend, so I called him and invited him over and begged him to take the train to Trier so that I wouldn't have to go to the airport twice in one day. Because he's thoughtful and understanding, he did, so he hung out with us over the weekend and T and I drove him back to his hotel Sunday night.

Monday I picked up Debbie at the airport, she came home and packed, and back to the airport we went on Tuesday. Mom and I were pretty low key for the rest of the time she was here and she left yesterday to return to sanity and quiet.

And that's my April!