Monday, November 18, 2013

Dear Readers...

Hey Guys,

I need your help again.  You were awesome with the car seat ideas and I found one that I want but I don't know when we are supposed to buy it so it's on the backburner.

I'm worried someone is going to drop a kid off at my house and they won't have anything to do.  I have a few books and stuffed animals, but I was thinking more along the lines of toys.  In my wildest dreams all the toys would be soothing colors and made from wood but I know that's not going to happen.  So think back or think about what currently works for you and what toys would be good for kids ranging 0-2, especially the 1-2 range.

Do they even color?  I bought a set of crayons and now I'm thinking they would be too young for coloring.  Play doh?  I want long term toys, preferable interchangeable like when I was a kid I could play with my little people in various ways not just one thing.  So little people farmers could also fly a plane sort of thing.  I like that idea, especially in the beginning until I see what they really like.

Pretty items like stackable wood rings that can be displayed you get bonus points.  Also nostalgia toys that I remember like little people and Mr. Potato head, bonus points.

Points will be deducted for any "character toys," Sponge Bob and whatnot.

Also just for fun, favorite books if you have any.

And, go!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

This is Your Weekly Update

Well, well, well.  Where to start.

We had our fire inspection today and it was pretty easy but the fire guy made me feel like a sleezy money grubber.  I even tried explaining you don't make very much money at all fostering a kid but it didn't matter.  When he left I saw a notice hanging from the front door.  Our water had been disconnected.  Oh right, being a foster mom will solve that, I'm so sure...

The way the water bill works here is you get a bill every other month.  If you don't get your bill, for whatever reason, like I didn't, and forget oh hey hasn't it been two months I should pay my water bill, they just cut off your water.  No late notice bill, no phone calls, nothing.  I was freaked out and embarrassed.  Brian's parents water was shut off too (our mail is really terrible here).  So I spent the morning resolving that, luckily by noon we all had water again.

Then I tried signing up for e-statments, hey, USPS you bring this shit on yourself, but even that is a 10 year old tech process so it's not done yet. 

In the interim from our last class until today I have repainted the bathroom, had wainscotting installed in the bathroom, finished moving all the adult stuff from the front bedroom, except the computer and desk and Brian's closet (but the small closet just has some storage boxes left), I painted the chalkboard wall, and more tediously seasoned said wall, and wiped all that excess chalk from the wall, it was a lot of residue, but worth it!  I also found 3 new kittens in the yard.  Oh and it snowed very lightly but I was sleeping!  Currently I'm trying to paint the wainscotting.  I primed it but then I had to caulk a bunch of stuff so I'm just waiting now.  Oh, and don't forget, we had new flooring installed on the front porch.

Next Monday I go to my mom's pre-op appointment.  It seems my mom has no idea what is going on, what her cancer is called, if she needs chemo, nothing.  She has a date for surgery and that's all she knows.  So I'm going with her to find out all the details of what is happening and helping answer a lot of written down questions for my aunt.

We had our TB test done on Wednesday.  It hurt way more than I was expecting but it appears neither of us have TB because we can barely find our shot sight.  Tomorrow at 4:30 we get our results read and run over to the doctor's to give it to him so he can send off our physical.

After that, we are caught up with what we needed to do to date.  Then we start bugging our recruiter to homestudy us... after I finish all this painting.

I still don't know what I need in this house.  Do I need a crib?  A toddler bed?  A regular bed? Like, now?  Do I need a locker for our medicines right now?  What sort of child proofing do I need and when?  What do I need right now?

Once I catch up on my new things and thoroughly clean this disgusting house, I will take photos of all the new stuff but I still only have my iphone so the photos won't be that great.  I do have sneak peaks on instagram.  Man, I love instagram.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Foster Classes Update

Well, our last class is on Thursday.  I remember when we thought the classes would never start and now we are almost done.  The classes won't mean the end, however.

I got my physical last week, one of our requirements.  We have to be tested for TB and I guess there's some sort of shortage of this test.  We have to go to the health department to see if we can get the test, hopefully we can.  But it's one most place to go and we have to go Monday-Wednesday so they can review our test 2 days later.  My bloodwork came back great.  Go me.

We have not had our fire inspection.  Things got hectic last week and up until yesterday pretty much.  We had our front porch flooring redone.  It been nailed down sheets of plywood since we bought the houses in 2007 (is that right?).  Just that is bad enough but it was getting old and weak in some spots and flacking pretty bad.  The top step to our porch was too high and people would trip on it all the time.  Well, no more.  I had to spring for the fancy historic flooring, no basic decking for me, even if that meant waiting 6 years to do it.  Weirdo.

Then they moved out the giant black desk armoire thing that I hate (dubbed the black monstrosity) and brought it to Brian's office.  Yesterday I put together my new Target desk.  This room officially looks really weird.  I think we got used to having a whole wall covered in black armoire and now there's just this little 4' desk and lots of white space.  I still want to paint this wall with black chalkboard paint. 

I bought a small desk so I could move it into the dining room when we foster but now it looks like I'm going to have to move it sooner than that.  I was sort of confused about what level of readiness we needed to have (I still am frankly).  It looks like for our homestudy we'll have to have whatever beds we are going to use set up already.  So my plan is to buy a crib that can convert into a toddler bed.  That gets you to 2 years old, right?  And then a pack-and-play counts as a "temporary" bed so if I have that then we can qualify for 2 kids.  I think this is right, I have to confirm probably on Thursday to make sure I don't have to have a regular twin bed.  In any case, there isn't enough room in the second bedroom for the desk and a crib, I guess technically I could move the loveseat out into the dining room and then switch it around when we foster.  I wanted the loveseat to be like a reading/hang out spot.  I really don't want to put it in storage.

In any case I might be buying and setting up a crib very soon.  How weird is that?  We could have an empty crib for months!  Totally bizarre.  Eh, you do what you have to do.

I have also been desperately trying to move out office related/craft related stuff from this room and the closet.  Storage here is a joke so this is harder than it would be ANY OTHER PLACE.  This basically has been an ongoing bomb-storm in the house as I clean one section and then everything goes to storage, trash, give away, or Brian's office.  And then it starts all over again.  Somewhere between moving everything around and cooking for parties I messed up my back pretty bad last week.  It's finally almost healed but I was really worried for a while there.  I have my last "dinner" on Thursday where I need enough pigs-in-a-blanket for 80 people (friends and family night). 

Then, then, things got even weirder.  All of Brian's employees know about our fostering and the employee who watches our cats when we are on vacation said she would happily adopt Zimmy so we would be down to only 3 cats and ease our transition to fostering.  I'm not sure the limit on cats in order to foster so I'm not saying they would deny us but it certainly helps to have less cats in general.  Zimmy is a beautiful, super sweet, loving, giant cat but because of his personality he is relentlessly bullied by all the cats, mostly Andy, followed closely by Fox.  Zimmy spends most of his time in his "safe" zones.  The cats for some weird reason have "home bases" where they leave him alone.  So Zimmy is either under the bed or on the chair in the dining room.  It's a big deal for him to be adopted by a family with no cats because Zimmy will have free range and all the cuddles a cat could want without any fear.  It's still in the trial stage but man, I hope it works out.

Yesterday in the midst of cooking dinner for 18 people, getting the desk out, building the new desk, and hooking up the computer at Brian's office, going to the storage unit and the mission to drop off donations, my mom calls me, crying.  She just blurts out, your grandfather had a heart attack and I have cancer.

...

She tells me she didn't want to tell anybody but she had a random growth on her body that she had biopsied at the doctor's office and it came back cancerous.  She was waiting at the cancer center for her appointment and that's all we knew.  My mom wanted to go with my aunt to Florida to see my grandfather but obviously that couldn't happen.  I got off the phone with my mom and after a few phone calls with my aunt we found out my grandfather did not have a heart attack but went to the doctor who is scheduling him an appointment in a couple of weeks with a specialist.  That was a relief.  Then my mom finishes her appointment and says they have to operate within the next couple of weeks.  The plus side is it looks like recovery will be pretty quick, she stays overnight at the hospital and then the doctor says she'll recover in a couple of days.  Both my surgeries (myom.ectomy and appendectomy) had 6 week recoveries so to me that sounds pretty good.  I was just in a state of shock yesterday and today, I don't know, I feel optimistic.  There's no reason to think otherwise until after her surgery.  I'm worried, of course, but I'm hoping for the best.  It's just hard to picture my mom sick or in jeopardy, it's like my mind can't go there.  I want to call my dad and tell him but I'm afraid I'll burst out crying. 

So that's where we are.  Our final class is on Thursday.  We need TB tests from the health department.  We need our fire inspection.  We need to buy a crib.  We need to have our homestudy.  Then we see what happens next...

Monday, November 4, 2013

La Tasca, Meadowhall, Sheffield

It's been a while since I've had a rant on here. I didn't go to La Tasca specifically with a whinge in mind, really I didn't. I went because I was hungry and it was convenient and I'd heard rumours of a revamped menu and attempts at doing things properly and I even got invited to a jamon carving shindig there a while back with the promise of genuine iberico de bellota.

So I went to La Tasca feeling vaguely optimistic that it would have morphed into one of those satisfactory-never-going-to-be-amazing-but-will-do-the-job-once-in-a-while sort of chains, instead of just being completely shit. Well I'm really glad I didn't go to the freebie ham carving night, because it's never much fun moaning about free stuff. If this meal was a fair representation of the place, it's still very much in the completely shit camp.


In photographic order rather than level of crapness I bring you: patatas bravas. Limp, mealy spuds in a sauce tasting exactly like tinned tomatoes with stale smoked paprika stirred through without the benefit of being cooked afterwards. The spanish omelette I couldn't fault as I like eating wodges of the supermarket bought ones (Lidl or Mercadona will do nicely) on my holidays and this was the same as those.


Croquettes were manchego and spinach, not a combo I've ever encountered before (what's wrong with ham or chicken?) but they were at least crisp and greaseless. It was just a shame they tasted of absolutely nothing.


We inadvertently overloaded ourselves with more of the same pappy potatoes by ordering a lamb and potato stew and a portion of octopus with potatoes. Given the headline billing you could reasonably expect lamb and octopus to have been the main ingredient in each dish though. Sadly not.

The lamb amounted to four gristly bits of disappointment in a weak broth with lots and lots of potatoes. The bread on the side was that clever sort of bread that looks like good bread until you eat it and realise it's slightlier crustier aerated Kingsmill in disguise (see also: speciality breads from Asda).

The octopus was predictably chewy (except for the occasional random tender bit) and bland, but at least it came with lots and lots of potatoes.

Last and pretty much equally least; the house green salad. A speciality of Navarra, the Spanish region famed for bull-running and manky mixed leaves in a cheap balsamic dressing.

I'd be a lot more forgiving of the general awfulness of the food if we'd had really great service and it was dirt cheap, but neither was the case. The service approach seemed to be grab whoever's nearest and try your luck. The beer I ordered never arrived and it took ages to get someone to fetch the bill. The dubious positive was the literally less than five minutes it took for all the food to arrive. Some sort of turbo microwave system?

The icing on the cake is that La Tasca is actually quite pricey. We paid about £30 for this load of rubbish. That might not be an expensive meal for two, but it's actually quite a bit more than you'd pay for a comparable meal at a proper tapas place.

In spirit of investigation I've checked the menus for a couple of places I like to make sure I'm not talking bollocks here, and an equivalent six dishes at either the splendid Bar 44 or the excellent Salt House Tapas would cost you slightly less, and would be about fifty times more appetising.

Awful in every way. Don't give them your money.


3/10

http://www.latasca.com/ Sadly everywhere.