Friday, December 30, 2005

i've found my hidden talent

Just ask Dave, I'm not a domestic goddess. We survive around the house here, but with three small children it is always busy. Happy, but busy. Amid all this chaos I have found something I am good at. Architecture? No. Artistic endeavors? No. Laundry? Heavens no!

I am good at complaining.

Not your everyday complaining -- most of you know I am a generally positive person. My complaining gets our family money. Aha! I've peaked your interest. Basically I pay attention to the things I buy. If something is not right or I have a positive suggestion I make a call to that little 800 number you see in fine print on the box. In general the companies will replace the item with a full price purchase coupon if something is wrong. Here's an example: We like to buy the California Pizza Kitchen speciality pizzas. They are not cheap, but cheaper than going the the restaurant. I got one the other day where the toppings were not evenly distributed. Everything was in a line down the middle. So, I called. I now have a coupon which is worth a purchase up to $8.00. In my opinion that is one minute well spent.

A few weeks ago Dave came home with a little potato chip bag from lunch. "Look what was at the bottom of my potato chip bag." I wasn't sure I really wanted to know...but at the bottom of the bag was a one inch square black wad of debris. Honestly it looked like the dredgings from the bottom of the fry vat. (Yummy. LOL) So I called. The moment I mentioned our discovery the customer service lady swung into action tell me that there would be a special package coming my way to send the debris back in (turned out to be a preaddressed tyvek) and she took all my contact information. I can't believe I kept that little potato chip bag in my kitchen drawer until the envelope arrive. I imagine it was pulverized by the mail system, but it arrived on the other end. A week later we get a letter describing the analyzed contents (burned potato starch with salt) and containing 4 coupons for full size bags of any Lays brand (Rold Gold, Cheetos, and a million other speciality brands). Granted, it was a pain to deal with, but I traded one small individual bag of chips for 4 full sized bags. Not bad. There will be pretzels to fill school lunches for a while.

I wonder if I can figure out how to make this sort of thing work with the Electic and Gas company? (Not likely.)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas aftermath

Our house now contains:
- One little person driving a plastic pink cozy coupe around and around. Grace carries her phone and purse on board at all times and usually drinks milk while driving. She's born to drive around Atlanta.

- One 8.5 year old with aspirations of singing in American Idol. She got a Disney Mix Stick (mp3 player) from Santa and has been singing nonstop every since. It's a sight to see and hear.

- One construction expert who is using cardboard bricks to build life sized castles and hideouts. Unfortunately the mortar is not available for said bricks so these hideouts are susceptible to being run over by Grace in her car.

- Two tired parents who are trying to recover from a blessed, but busy year. (photos soon to be posted)

And, we had a neat experience yesterday. We went downtown to the Mariott Marquis to visit an old college friend of mine. The last time I saw Patricia was my wedding weekend in 1990. Patricia and her husband Stacy were in town for the Chickfila Peach Bowl with their daughters Taylor and Savannah. Stacy is the Head Offensive Coach for LSU so despite his Auburn roots he is now a LSU Tiger. We hung out in their hotel room for a while and let the kids play together. It was great fun getting to see them again after so long and nice to be included in their busy week. After leaving their hotel we drove around looking at things and ended up north of the city in a little place called Acworth. There is the most awesome cajun restaurant there...incredible place. It's called
Henry's Louisiana Grill and it alone must carry the little downtown strip of Acworth. People were lined up outside to eat there on a Wednesday night. We thought it was a fitting place to eat after our visit with Baton Rouge friends. Shoot, we would have brought Stacy and Patricia along but they had an important coach dinner to attend. ;-)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

but mommy

William seems like a born engineer. He's always leaning under something to take a look or fixing something. I hate to label a kid -- goodness knows I have no idea where my three will end up in this world -- but William just seems like a minature engineer at times. Georgia Tech is one of the best schools in the country for the engineering type. It pains me to say that my children may not attend Auburn, but I also know that realistically they will attend wherever the best opportunity arises.

My nephew is graduating from Georgia Tech's College of Architecture with a degree in Building Construction today. I'm so proud of him. So in the course of talking to William about appropriate behavior at the graduation ceremony last night the following conversation occurs:

ME: "...and one day you might just graduate from Georgia Tech. It's a pretty cool school."

WILLIAM: "But Mommy, but Mommy, I can't go to Georgia Tech!"

ME: "Why not?"

WILLIAM: "I want to go to pre-K first!"

The boy has a point. ;-)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

an eight year old's thoughts on Santa

The following is a paper completed at school concerning Santa:

Write the names of the people you know who would enjoy riding The Polar Express to see Santa Claus. Include the names of friends, neighbors, classmates, and family members:
William McDermitt, Jordan McDermitt, Alexis Katz, Blake Kretzmer, Devyn Smyth, The Shook Family, Caroline White, Temi Akende, The Mancusos, Alexandra Eng-Nguyen, The Carpenter Family, Grace McDermitt, Drake and Alana

Who do you know who would not enjoy riding on this train?
Many parents do not believe in magic. (Not all.)

Why not?
They would not believe in Santa Claus.

Would you?
Yes, I would like to go to the North Pole.

Who is Santa Claus?
A jolly man who brings presents to people.

Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Yes, I do believe.

Explain your answer.
Well, I think he does not bring all presents.

Have you always felt this way about Santa Claus?
Yes I have

Well, my family always puts out milk and cookies.

Will you always feel the way you do now?

I guess once I get older I will lose faith.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

subliminal mundane

Anyone see the advertisement for this toy? Catchy music, right? Listen to the music more closely. Does it make you want to wear parchute pants and big hair?

The geniuses at Fisher-Price are using Rick James' "Superfreak" instrumental to convince us to buy that cute Tigger. Ummm, I think they know their target audience: people who were teenagers during the eighties. Scary.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

job flashback

In 1989 I returned from a quarter abroad to London. My purpose was to take two weeks to find a job that would span until my thesis year began at Auburn. Not just any job, but an interesting job. I came back heady from all the art and architecture I had observed, experienced, and absorbed. I had a hit list of three key architecture firms I wanted to work for...and I aimed a little high. The people I wanted to work for had designed things you would see in the highest of architectural journals -- stores in the best areas of London (I'm not talking Walmart here.), hailed innovators, hot names in the 80's. We had visited all these places and met many of these architects on our student tours.

One of the names I started with was Eva Jiricna. She was so kind. She met with me on an interview and took the time to make a list of possible contacts. She even made some special phone calls for me. I was amazed that someone so cutting edge and so famous worked out of a small loft with only two other people. (Now a huge group.) Anyway, I kept following up on those contacts until I had a job in a Covent Garden firm. It took less than a week. Pretty good since all I had was my sketchbook, my alien work permit, and some dogged determination. It was a wonderful few months. I was there in large part due to my parents, but just to know that I could go to a foreign country and make a home meant everything to who I have become today. It's hard to believe that was 16 years ago.

I googled my old firm the other day - Limbrick Limited: Architecture + Design. Low and behold they have grown astronomically. I mean REALLY grown. Wow. And in the history of the firm they talk about those early days in Covent Garden as Stephen Limbrick and Associates. Please remind me that I was somewhere special professionally...especially on the days when I've barely survived family fun. London as a 22 year old is not mundane. ;-)

job flashback afterthought

Nowadays I guess I'm all about the practical. I certainly have to be for survival sake with three kids. Want proof I was once a carefree soul? You'll have a good laugh with this one: I took that job in London eagerly even though I had never worked with metrics in architectural drawings AT ALL. Sure, it's easy to translate this measurement or that...but try whipping your way through a drawing in a hurry and sketching doorways and other items to SCALE. I think the first regular door I planned translated to 6 feet. No one saw it, but I had a momentary panic attack when I finally realized that I had no earthly idea what the "architectural standards" were in the UK. Believe me, I had a lot to learn.

Ah youth, you feel like you can conquer the world....

Friday, December 02, 2005

friday realization

William found a neon green piece of posterboard and wanted to spend the morning cutting it up and coloring on it. A bit of a mess? Of course -- there were jiblets everywhere. But it's nice to see him using his small motor skills so well so I relented. The little kid was overjoyed and spent over an hour in the floor working on his creation. He got the idea of a mask and with a little parental help he had some eye holes and a mouth. In the meantime Grace was watching. First she got into the crayons and messed up some of her brother's handiwork...and then she started motioning that she wanted a mask too. So I made her a mask too. The whole time I was cutting it she was nodding her head "yes" and saying "mmhmm mama". Finally she got her little hands on the crude mask and she immediately put it up to her face and said, "BOO!" She was very proud of herself because she could match up to her big brother.

Well, lets just say that I realized at that moment that Grace will be a force to contend with in the family. A great force, but a true match for Jordan and William. I felt blessed and scared all in the same second. Definitely mundane magic.

Snapshots from the scene: