Tuesday, December 15, 2009

is this what it would be like?

time for a political statement blog....I am not a fan of the government. seriously, less is better is my book. I might not know how to argue my views as well as my uber-intelligent hubby, but I CAN share my experiences. And they have often been frustrating and time-consuming.
I worked for the public school system for four years, so my stories are endless in that realm, but I had a recent experience that left me incredulous.....
I was attempting to get passports for my children. Sounds easy enough, huh? We are taking a trip in early 2010 and we will be flying south of the USA to a warmer, more desirable climate. I love a good project and was excited to begin planning for our trip. But passports take lots of time, so they were a priority.
First stop, FedEx Office for photos. That was an adventure, since both my boys do not enjoy having their picture taken. I know, really great for an aspiring photographer? But we got their pictures after multiple attempts, paid for our photos, and escaped before to much damage was done in the store.
I then called our local post office to see if I needed to make an appointment. After trying for a couple hours, I got through to a human who told me the first available appointments were December 30th.....what! That was a month away! And only a few weeks before our trip. I said no thanks and figured we would try another plan.
Then, I called the 1.800.United States Postal Service number, since that is the ONLY number they give for every location in Richmond. The "nice" lady on the phone told me a downtown location that takes walk ins. I got the address and asked for the phone number. She asked me if she could help me. I asked for the phone number again. She asked if she could help me, again. Yes lady, isn't it clear that you can help me by giving me the number? I know she gave me the address, but I was still going to call to "make sure" they could help me at this particular post office. She refused. At that point, I should have known that it was getting interesting.
So, next day at lunch we picked up daddy from work and headed downtown. I had all the appropriate forms completed and an envelope full of birth certificates, SS cards, and parental identification. No one can accuse me of not being prepared! We parallel park downtown after circling the block a few times and drag our two young children into the post office. I get to the desk.
me: "Yes, you can help me. I need passports for my two young loud children"(maybe if they see the urgency they will rush us through?)
overworked postal worker: "No, we don't do that anymore"
me: "nooooooo, arghhhh, &*%$, #@!* ahhhhh, this is *&%@ ridiculous!!!!!!" actually, I was thinking that, but I politely explained that the 1.800.USPS lady told me you did walk-ins.
opw: "I know, we try to get them to change that since we no longer have a passport specialist working at this location"(seriously, how hard is it to check my forms and stamp them approved?)"you can go around the corner about 5 blocks to the city hall and they can do it for you"

At this point, I am thinking about how I wanted the phone number for the location. Not such a stupid idea, huh?

Scott and I rushed out with our increasingly hungry children, drove around the block, found the building, parallel parked again, and ran up the city hall steps. While we were doing that, we were grumbling under our breaths and trying to scrounge enough snacks to keep tummies from grumbling while we made one more stop than planned. I have to admit that things got easy from that point on. The lady at the city treasurers office was very kind and helpful....but it cost us. We paid more for better service. At that point we were ready for whatever it would take to just be finished and be able to go feed our children.

Moral of the story:
If we let government run our health care.....we will have trouble getting service, there will be limited availability for basic procedures, and then we will end up paying more to get the job done.

Good news is....we get to go somewhere warm very soon!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Norman Rockwell

I have gotten more than one comment that my children have a Norman Rockwell look to them. I believe that translates into All American happy smiling children. Of course, my main example of Norman Rockwell growing up was this framed poster above our guest room bed with two elderly people. It was interesting. But I do get the fact that my boys are cute.
While riding the train in Blue Ridge, GA last week, we got the chance to hang out with Santa. Instead of asking for presents, Danny really wanted to know why he wears "glubes" (ie: gloves). I snapped a photo as Danny was chatting with the man in red.

A friend on facebook saw this photo and once again referenced the Norman Rockwell likeness.

Cute, huh?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

There's always one

yep...every time you try to take a picture of 8 kids with their Grandmommy you are bound to have at least one who won't cooperate. And Joshie's number was up this Thanksgiving. Our annual picture taking of the Gaskills and Smiths was fairly successful, minus the child trying to somersault out of the photo. Thanks Shaye for trying, but I think it was a lost cause.
Here is the best picture from the photo shoot...

and if you would like to see what lining up 8 grandkids after the Pink Pig looks like, then here you go. They are by age.....S-7, M-6, A-5, P-4, S-3, D-3, J-1, J-1

You can imagine that we got lots of attention as Scott, Mere, Grandmommy, and I tried to successfully work our way from the Pig to the food court at Lenox Mall. We were thankful to also have Melissa and Olivia join us for the ride and lunch. One more adult, but tipping the kids numbers to 9. ouch. Due to the mall's awkward design we had to ride multiple elevators to get there with our strollers. I wonder if Santa minds us yelling at him from the balcony every year? We are definitely continuing some fun traditions!