Monday, March 10, 2008

Blizzards and Butts

Aww, my sweet Heather.

She spent the weekend shoveling the driveway after Ohio got walloped with 14 inches of snow over the course of 2 days. This was one hell of a bad time for our brand new $600 snowblower to bite the dust (instead of biting the snow).

I thought her act of kindness deserved a treat. How better to celebrate my Blizzard-Savior than with a Blizzard?

Off we drove to good old Dairy Queen. Only native Ohioans feel that driving through 14 inches of snow to get ice cream is a practical idea.

We sit down at our little booth. Well, let me rephrase that. Heather slid into her seat. I wedged my big old derrière into my seat. Really, don't you think that the geniuses who designed the tables and attached chairs at Dairy Queen would consider that their clientele might need just a smidge more belly room between the table and the attached chair than you'd have at a salad bar?

Heather plops a spoonful of Banana Cream Pie-flavored ice cream into her mouth and a very pleased sound of happiness escaped...from her rump. Yep, she farted. That tooter was loud enough that the Amish kids on the other side of the room even turned to look. Well, admittedly, they might have turned to look our way because both Heather and I were holding our tummies and cackling like hyenas. It's true what they say, farts are fun. Especially when the fart emanates from someone else.

After howling with laughter, we left the restaurant and headed to the van. But, of course, when a silly teenager spies a 4-foot high mountain of snow, what else could she possibly do but climb it to become Queen of the Mountain (that's why it was at Dairy Queen, of course). Climb she did.

And then fall she did. Right onto her rump. Yet again, I practically peed myself laughing with my daughter after she did something unexpected with her tush.

Kids are fun.

Friday, March 7, 2008

If I Strep For You, Will You Strep For Me

You know you're in trouble when you walk out of the doctor's office actually wishing that the diagnosis was strep throat.

Unfortunately, after a grotesquely enlarged Q-tip was swabbed halfway down my daughter's throat, followed by another one up her left nostril, it was determined that she does not have strep throat.

The diagnosis - mono.


In a month where she has a week of her high school's panic-inducing standardized tests, followed by a grade-busting AP History exam, and concluding with taking the ACT college entrance exam, now poor Beth has a debilitating virus that has turned my vibrant, hard-working teenager into a halitosis-festering lump of sweaty flesh.

The worst part is that there is apparently no treatment for mono (whereas if the diagnosis had been strep throat, a prescription of antibiotics would have had her back to normal (as evidenced by her fingers being glued to the keyboard and her ears eternally plugged by headphones) within a day or two. But since Mono is a virus, all we can do is wait it out for weeks or even months.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Empty Pockets

For years, Ohioans have been waging a war with the local school districts. All over the state, the schools have been putting property tax assessments on the ballots to fund the schools.

The State has determined that this is unconstitutional.

The schools continue to do it.

Now with the incredible clusterfuck that has hit the economy for the past (ahem) 8 years, Ohioans have said enough. We're going to keep voting down these property taxes. Find another way to fund the schools, something that will be more fair than just hitting property owners.

My local school is a fantastic school. Indeed, it has earned an "excellent" rating the past several years. My kids have thrived.

My wallet, however, has not.

Last year they tried to put an "emergency" levy on the ballot which would cost $0.79 for every $100 valuation of your property. The citizens voted it down overwhelmingly.

Three months later, they held a special election just for that. Again, defeated.

Three months later, yet another special election, yet another defeat.

Now, again, three months later, they tried again.

And succeeded. I just did the math and it is going to cost me an extra $1,580 a year just for this damn extra school tax (on top of the "renewal levy" which was past last year that cost over $1,000 a year from me).

I'm livid. This is ridiculous. I'm being taxed out of my home. I pay my bills. I pay for the house. I pay for the new roof. The school just gets to reap the money.

I can't afford to keep my heat above 58 degrees at night. The school keeps their thermostats set at 70 around-the clock. Because they're spending MY money.