Monthly Archives September 2012

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Teachers are sadists

By M Davies   /     Sep 30, 2012  /     Annoyances, Mommyhood  /     0 Comment

Gabby’s art teacher sent home a project about a month ago for a pumpkin decorating contest.  Of course, there is a twist on the decorating theme.  It’s too cumbersome to decorate an actual pumpkin and bring it into school, apparently.  So….the pumpkins in this contest are actually “rocks”.  And if you were wondering…this is a mandatory contest that counts toward a grade.  If you ask me, the paper should have been titled “Pumpkin Stone Mandatory Project for Grade” and not contest.


From the paper:  “Instead of pumpkins, students will find, paint, and decorate rocks to look like Jack-O-lanters.  The rocks should not be larger than a softball because they will be displayed in the showcases for the month of October.”  The school will vote on the categories:  Scariest, Funniest, Most Creative, Prettiest and Best dressed.”


You’ve got to be kidding me.  Not only have I been assigned a “mandatory” art project….ahem….contest, but now I have to find a smaller than softball sized rock and decorate it.  Aaaaand I have the comfort of knowing that my work will be judged by the rest of the elementary school.  Fantastic, because I have so much time on my hands these days.  After talking with Gabby, she told me she wanted her pumpkin rock to be dressed in a peacock halloween costume.  Easy enough right?  Wrong.


First of all, I had to find the rock.  We have no rocks in our yard that fit the criteria of the pumpkin rock paper.  I actually had to take a rock from my brother & sister in-law’s yard.  Then I had to get online and research what a peacock looked like.  I had a general idea, but I wanted to make sure I bought the right kind of craft supplies.  Oh and by the way, crafty I am not.  This thing is sure to come out looking like a 2 year old made it.  After a trip to Michael’s I had all the supplies I needed to get started.


The supplies sat around for weeks, because I have been busy with BlogCon, Blog Fest, School and Work.  I haven’t had a minute to myself in about 30 days.  I fantasize about beds.  I salivate over sleep.  The last thing I want to do when I get a few minutes to myself is to paint a rock.  Anyway, I decided to take the rock to work with me on a Sunday morning and painted it there.  It took 3 coats of acrylic blue paint to get it all covered over.




Now for the hard part (a.k.a. the part I waited until this evening to do), attaching the “accessories”.  Obviously the stupid thing had to have eyes, feathers and a beak.  Just go ahead try and imagine how much fun it is trying to get elmers glue to adhere to a rock.  Right now I have the glue drying, it takes about 35 minutes until it bonds well.  I hope that it holds at least until she brings it to school.  I have my doubts.  Does it look like a peacock at this point?  I don’t know.  I don’t care.  I’m too tired.




My daughter didn’t help me with much of this project.  How many of these take home projects do teachers expect the kids to actually do 100% themselves?  My daughter has the attention span of a fly and is not capable of glueing arts and crafts supplies to a rock.  I’m lucky if I’ll even be able to pull it off.  I mean really, lets face it.  These projects are more of homework for the parents than for the kids…which is what makes them sadists.  I’m tired, annoyed and have about 6 pounds of glitter under my finger nails.  She better get an A on this damn thing.

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Saturday Night w/ the Davies

By M Davies   /     Sep 22, 2012  /     Quotes  /     0 Comment

I am summoning my inner SundaysWithShivstopher for this post.


Rich: “Yeah, the cheat codes will basically help you beat Lego Batman (talking to the kids).”

Me: “You are destroying the morals of our children!”

Rich: (again talking to the kids) “Ask Mommy about the Game Genie!”

Me: “You Monster!”


Yes.  I did use the Game Genie.





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Something is technically wrong

By M Davies   /     Sep 18, 2012  /     Medical Issues  /     0 Comment

I’ve been having these dizzy spells lately and I don’t know why.  I am sure if “dizzy spells” is even the right way to describe it.  Sometimes the room spins, sometimes it doesn’t.  Most of the time I get a head rush and feel like I’m going to pass out.  I wouldn’t even care so much about being dizzy or practically wanting to faint, except now it happens when I drive.  I’ve had 3 separate lightheaded/on the verge of fainting spells while driving.  Two at night and one during the day.


I’ve had several episodes of vasovagal syncope throughout my life and I know what the signs are.  Lightheadedness, feeling warm, feeling disconnected from surroundings, etc.  This is what it feel like.  Like I’m going to die.  In most of the episodes I have experienced with fainting in the past, it usually happens due to getting blood drawn or my body overheating.  I am not doing any of those things when these symptoms come over me.  I’m doing normal things, like driving, standing up and walking and then sitting back down again.


I’ve been to the doctor three times since this has started.  I have a Geisinger doctor who really seems to be a sadist.  The first time I went with the complaint of dizzyness he told me to wait a month and if it was still happening, come back and maybe he’ll do something.  A month?  Are you kidding me?  After having another dizzy spell last Saturday morning combined with the two spells when I was driving in the last week, I called the telenurse who told me not to go to the ER (I was seriously considering going there) and to call my doctor and try to make a Saturday appointment.  I did, and got an appointment for 11:15.  In the event that I needed blood work, I stopped for Breakfast at McD’s.  I’m not a breakfast person, but I do love the breakfast burritos.  I also got a large orange juice.  In my past experiences, If I drink a large sugary drink such as OJ or Gatorade, I do better with blood work.


I ended up getting an order for blood work, but not for that day.  I had to make an appointment the following week.  I did get an EKG from the doctor on duty.  It came back abnormal and was sent to a cardiologist for review.  Props to the weekend doctor on duty for actually giving a damn about my condition.


I called and made an appointment for Monday morning for the blood work and to follow up with my normal doctor.  The blood work (4 different tests) all came back with normal results.  I repeated the EKG, again, the results came back abnormal again.  I also had very low blood pressure – 94 over whatever.  The doctor then requested I go for a bunch of follow up tests including a tilt table test and getting fitted with a holter heart monitor.  However, the doctor told me “do not drive until this gets resolved”.  I’m not really sure what that means.  2 weeks ago, he told me to wait and see for a month.  Now he doesn’t want me driving for another month until the tests are performed which is October 3rd, btw.  This is not possible.  I have school, events to plan, kids to get on the bus, work to commute to and I live in the sticks.  It’s not like I can just hitch a bus or a cab to where I need to go.


I don’t know what is wrong with me, but something isn’t quite right.  I think my body is broken.


Anyway, I’d appreciate some good karma thrown my way if you have any you can share.

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The mystery sunglasses

By M Davies   /     Sep 16, 2012  /     The WTF File  /     0 Comment

A few weeks ago, a pair of women’s sunglasses mysteriously appeared on my kitchen counter.  I didn’t know who they belonged to, so I figured I’d leave them there and maybe they’d disappear just as mysteriously.  They didn’t.


I inspected the sunglasses more closely and they were definitely not mine.  I know this because they are expensive.  They are Dolce & Gabanna sunglasses.  It’s not like I can’t afford expensive sunglasses, I probably could….I just have no luck with sunglasses.  I’m always losing or breaking them.  At first, I considered the possibility that they could be knock off glasses, but I googled the difference between knock off and non-knock off sunglasses.  These babies are legit.


I decided to ask my daughter about who the sunglasses belonged to.  She told me “Daddy said they were yours.”  I then said “No, they aren’t mine!”  And she said “But Daddy said they were yours.”  And then I said “Nope.  Still not mine.”  I’m not above fighting with a 7 year old at 6 in the morning, in case you were wondering.


In the following days I questioned Rich about the glasses.  The conversation went something like this:


Me:  “Who’s sunglasses are those?”

Him:  “Aren’t they yours?”

Me:  “No.”

Him:  “Oh.  Hmmmm.”

Me:  “Yeah.  Hmmmm indeed.”


He then asked a few friends and relatives if they were missing sunglasses.  Everyone said no.  We haven’t been able to determine who’s glasses these are to date.




Just kidding.  As long as she keeps leaving her expensive accessories and clothes behind in his car, I’m ok with it.  Just kidding again.  But seriously, I could use a new purse.  *hint hint*


Probably the most likely scenario is that they belonged to the previous owner of the jeep.  They probably had fallen under a seat, or between the cracks somewhere.  It’s just odd that it took this long to find them.


Needless to say, someone else’s loss is my fortune.  I cleaned up the glasses and am using them as a spare set.  FINDERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS, MOFOS!  Mature?  You betcha.

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Lee, a year later

By M Davies   /     Sep 07, 2012  /     NEPA, Wacky PA Weather  /     0 Comment

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post on the Irene/Lee flooding, but I came across a TED Talk that sounded so familiar, I couldn’t help but to comment on it (embedded below for your viewing pleasure).  BTW, TED Talks = New Addiction.



I was fortunate enough to not experience any of the aftermath of the Irene/Lee flooding.  As you know from the previous post, I did have a 5 day long power outage after Irene, but I did not have to worry about flooding.  I have no idea what going through a flood must be like, so I really have no place commenting on it.  It looks completely terrible.  I can’t imagine losing worldly possessions in such a disaster.  I can’t imagine the damage, the smell, the cost, and the heartbreak.  All I know is throwing away 100 dollars in groceries and flushing toilets with water taken from a pipe along State Rte 29.


Just because I didn’t experience the disaster first hand did not mean I didn’t care.  I wanted to help.  I just didn’t know how.


One thing became obvious, people needed information about how to give and receive help.  Suddenly, an idea sparked with Karla Porter.  Why not setup a Facebook page to get information out there quickly?  And so the Wyoming Valley Flood 2011 Facebook page was born.  Harold, Karla, Jason Percival and I were all established as moderators on the page.  We soon grew to over 6500 likes.  People were sharing photos, information, asking for help and offering help at the rate of speed we could barely keep up with.  Both local news TV stations were overwhelmed and spread too thinly, so we figured this might be an additional way to help spread information.  It was a great resource for people for the most part.  However, we did run into issues with the rumor mill running rampant.  One particular instance I can think of was whether or not JJ Banko’s in West Nanticoke washed away.  There was a county rumor control hotline established to confirm or deny rumors, however, we quickly found out that they were getting their information from TV/Facebook and in some instances they were helping to spread misinformation.


Harold recounted the phone conversation recently on my Facebook wall:


Them: “Hi, this is Rumor Control.”
Me: “There’s a rumor out there that Banko’s has collapsed. I know it was surrounded by water, but can you confirm that it has collapsed?”
Them: “Yep, that’s what we’re hearing too!”


JJ Banko’s is still standing to this day, so this info was obviously not correct.


After the water receded, people needed help cleaning up, collecting supplies and getting their lives back to normal.  Two websites were established locally to help get information out and match up various items with people who needed them.  They are:



There were also other Facebook pages established for people in the surrounding counties to try to accomplish what we did with the Wyoming Valley Flood page.  I also created a link on NEPA Blogs that contained a bunch of information I collected from Facebook and the News about things people needed and other ways they could help out.  Updating the “Giving Help” post became a daily chore, because the status of the need for help and what could be provided changed hourly.  At one point, I think I was only sleeping a few hours because I was more concerned about updating that page and getting information out there.  My last update was on October 3rd.  I’m not sure how many people actually used it, but to this day “Giving Help” has been the one blog post that has received the most page views on the blog (2084 to be exact).


Looking back, what could we have done differently?  I don’t know.  I think it worked out pretty well.  We probably could have created a Twitter account to ReTweet important information.  Unlike the girls in the TED Talk video, Harold/Jason/Karla and I were widespread, and not on the front lines of any one recovery effort so it was hard to know exactly who needed what and where.  Karla did try to show the Facebook page setup to the Luzerne County EMA Director as potential way for getting information out the next time there is a disaster, but received no response to date.


As the girls from the TED Talk discovered, communities in major disasters need the right tools at the right time and put into the hands of the right people.  Their disaster recovery in a box solution “Recovers” could be valuable resource the next time around (and there will most certainly be a next time).  Are our community leaders investigating such solutions and looking at how to improve information sharing in a disaster?  I hope so.

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