Wednesday, July 30, 2008

History 101

Every family has them...

They are the stories that get repeated around the Thanksgiving table year after year. They are legend. I really can't explain why we tell them over and over again. It's not like everyone at the table doesn't already know how they end. And yet we do it. This is how all legends get passed down. Our family is no exception.

A fellow blogmiester was telling how her daughter was ralphing on the side of the highway on a family trip and with a little encouragement from my sister, I was inspired to tell my own family's version of this one.

It was a beautiful Tennessee summer day... before the leaves begin to melt. At the time we were members of a small but close knit church group which has since moved on to the four corners of the earth. Our little church group decided to take a group "vacation" over to Eureka Springs to see the passion play and to visit the replica of the tabernacle that is there. We were so excited that we were willing to drag along our very young baby girl...just six weeks old.

The year was 1993 and my son was just short of his fourth birthday. We met at the church early that morning to caravan to our destination. Now, I really should insert here that my father in law had been the pastor of our little congregation for several years before he retired. So, as we met with our new pastor to pray together in the front yard of the parsonage my son disappeared for a short while. I was not really too worried since he had basically grown up at this home away from home for most of his short life. When our little prayer meeting was over, I went in search of him only to find that he had dropped trow and was backed up pooping on a tree. Not sure who taught him this little trick, but there really is such a thing as being too comfortable, if you know what I mean. This is how the day began... I should have known right then and there to turn around and go home.

As we travelled from West Tennessee thru the Ozarks mountains of Arkansas, we took the scenic route... You know, the one that basically follows the EDGE of the mountains and WINDS up the steeps. I was turning several shades of green and I was in the front seat. Four year old was barfing in a bowl in the back... baby sleeping, thank goodness.

On the way home, someone (not mentioning names here; see post on gossip) offered Dramamine for the the four year old. She had been helpful in the past with medical advice so I didn't even blink an eye when she said, "here, give him this". I gave him that. Four hours later, we stopped at a Exxon to get some more. I didn't bother to read the directions because "she" had already told me how much and how often to give... oops.

First dose bought me a really nice nap... second dose a coma and explosive diarrhea. David and I were driving along, enjoying the quiet when the--- dare I say--- godawfulest smell drifted forward from the backseat. Imagine with me... shouting into the CB (no cell phones back then), "mayday, mayday... WE HAVE DIARRHEA!!!". Hubby screeches into the gravel on the shoulder, dust flying everywhere. Don't forget, now, we are in a caravan of half a dozen or so cars all dodging the debris in one motion like synchronized swimmers. Car finally comes to a complete stop, I open the front door, snatch the four year old out of the backseat, strip him naked (leaving his caca filled underoos in the ditch), bathe him with wipees, and redress him while hubby undefiles (is that a word?) the back seat. HE DID NOT WAKE UP THE WHOLE TIME.

Fortunately, we had our resident nerdy Amway salesman with us who gave us an odor neutralizing "air freshener" to hang over the a/c vents. The smell was so strong the the rest of the way home we had to keep the air on full blast to keep it from wafting to the front seats. A couple of hours later four year old finally wakes up, leans over my shoulder and says, "what's that poopy smell?"


Hubby likes to finish this story by mentioning that we left the poopy underwear in Clinton, AR... you can draw your own conclusions about the humor of that:)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

tenth grade blues

I feel that this is the year of change. I realize that we are approaching the first of August, but from childhood our biological year starts when school begins. The IRS says that the year begins on the first of January, but I beg to differ.

Bethany starts 10th grade this "year"...assuming we work our tails off until Labor Day. We experienced a great shift in the space time continuum when Brian was in the tenth grade, too. What is it about that year?

We are waiting with baited breath to find out if the new campus of veritas is a go. If they have enough registered, then poof, planning is done for the year. I will just need to buy the curriculum and uniforms and brace myself for an entirely new approach to her education... no biggie. We will find out on Friday. Veritas Classical Schools will mean that I am still technically home schooling, but she will be going to classes a couple of days a week and completing her lesson plans at home. I am stressed out because every other home school family in America has already bought their curriculum for this year. Have I mentioned how much I hate being off schedule? If Veritas does not have enough support for the high school age or the classes she needs then we are back to square one. It's kind late in the game to be at square one... no pressure.

I have several versions of plan B. I am just not sure which one is the right one. Since I tend to like my plans to extend out five years or so, this is really stressing me out. All of these plans include my going back to work since the pool chemicals are sending us to the poor house (just kidding:), but it does seem to be that time in my life when the whole mom thing is kinda winding down. I need a backup plan for my life. It would be nice if it paid... Hubby and I would like a vacation sometime before we die. I should start saving. And don't even get me started on the bills stacking up. Being a stay at home mom for this many years and home schooling thru high school means many sacrifices, including holding off saving for retirement until you are in your least for us. We better get started on that, too. Ya think.

For now, I am holding on for Friday and trying to keep my sanity and the bill collectors under control. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer visit - 2008

I am SO sneaky... I sent my dad an email with the picture of Bethany reading on her floaty in the pool and said "don'tcha need a break". IT WORKED! I can't believe it was that easy. He emailed me right back, said that that was a mean trick and asked if the end of August would work. I FEEL the power... Oh yeah:) I emailed him back just as quick, told him that he was WAY too easy and darn, I shoulda asked for cash:)

You just have to know that my dad is a workaholic... no wait I should have said he's a WORKAHOLIC. He and my mom have been divorced for 33 years and for just about that long Diane and I have been reduced to twice a year visits with every imaginable activity thrown into as small a period as possible. We have pretty much done every "kiddie" type thing in the Madison, WI area...including the Dells. These days he comes to us since there is one of him and eight of us, including the grandkids; but we still never quite get enough time. But, one picture and I have reeled him in. WOOHOO!

We like to call my dad a bottomless pit of useless information. He knows something about just about everything. Unfortunately, he doesn't know God. But I have been praying for him for years. And the truth is that that is the beauty about our God...freewill. Part of God's love for him is to give him the choice. I would like so much to MAKE him see the truth, but all that I can do is show His love and pray for His Spirit to shine, shine, shine. I try to spend our visits showing him that we are normal people (okay, some of us:) and not how the media likes to portray us. I hate to see people who subscribe to a creator being portrayed on television and movies and being too stupid or prejudiced to know better or as being secretly evil.

Bethany and I were just having this conversation about creation vs. evolution and I was glad to hear her so grounded on the facts. She has talked to her best friend who goes to public school about this and though she believes in creation, she really doesn't have the words to articulate this debate. Bethany says, "what about the second law of thermodynamics"... public school kid says, "WHAT?". Bethany, "you know, the law of science that says that nothing is being created or destroyed."... public school kid says, "WHAT?"

Okay, maybe she's more ready for the world than I give her credit for:)

Friday, July 25, 2008

153 shopping days until Christmas

The other day I went Cracker Barrel to browse the sidewalk sale and spend some gas money on a nifty little rooster lamp that I have had my eye on and there it was...the fall merchandise. As I stood there drooling over the thanksgiving platters and napkin holders and candles I started to feel the excitement. I LOVE the holidays. From Labor day to the New Year is the best time of the year. Actually, I sort of vary from the pits of despair (see article on perfectionism...and the inability to quite achieve it) to the elation of the perfect gifts for my kids and the excuse to turn my house into a magazine cover. The entire month of October I anxiously wait until I give myself permission to get out the pumpkins and turkeys and the harvest potpourri. I really try to hold off until at least mid October, because after 6 weeks or so the decorations sort of lose their magic... By then, they are just something else to dust.

I am not really into jack o'lanterns and Halloween, but I have accumulated quite a collection of pumpkins and fall "greenery". This year I have a new house, so I have spent months since we moved here figuring out where all of the decor belongs. I am gonna have to bribe my brother to put in a new cable outlet because the Christmas tree goes when the tv is now... pretty doggone inconvenient if you ask me. Good thing he owns a cable installation business and he is always a sucker for a home cooked meal. Some home made mounds bars or pumpkin pie and he is putty in my hands:)

Previous house had freakishly steep rooftops so outside decorating was kept at a minimum. The one year that I talked Brother (did I mention that he's about 6'6" and has the good ladders because of his cable business and that he's cheap?) into putting Christmas lights onto that house, I had to request them to come down as a birthday gift...My birthday is in APRIL! I never made THAT mistake again. But, this house is older and more of a ranch style so the roof peaks are alot more manageable. I may be able to handle the lights myself, but why do that while I still have slave labor (I mean children) at home.

It's time to buy school supplies and send the kiddies off to school. No wait, mine stays home and we are still doing the 2007-08 school year... oh poop. never mind. I hate being off schedule and frankly it is starting to wear on her, too. She and I are both having a little attitude problem... She because she is ALWAYS doing school and me because she is NEVER doing enough school. We can't both be right, and since we are behind I am pretty sure that I have the proof. HA! I hate being right sometimes.

Once again time is flying and I am mourning the loss of it. Diane and I went to see Mamma Mia and when Meryl Streep sang to her daughter while she was dressing her for her wedding I bawled my eyes out. So not looking forward to that... In the mean time I have officially bought my first Christmas gift. Yippee! Maybe I'll be ready in time this year:)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

wordless wednesday

half full or half empty?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Parenting...with attitude:)

Buckle your seat belts people, I have taken creative parenting to the next level. I laugh at you children with the pitter patter of little feet. I snicker at you with your "terrible two's". I have TEENAGERS... Anyone can strap a screaming two year old into a car seat and drive to Walmart, but can you make the pseudo man child under your roof do a load of dishes... I ask you:)

Male offspring of the house has been having difficulty making the connection between chores and the roof over his head. He keeps saying stuff like, "what does it pay?" and I keep saying, "don't talk with your mouth full." I mean, do you have any idea what it costs to feed a growing 18 year old these days?

I am beginning to have visions of ending up on Dr. Phil one day trying to explain why my 40 year old son is still living at home, sleeping all day, and playing video games with his friends all night.

So, I finally pulled the family bible off the shelf and shared with him that GOD SAYS that if a man doesn't work, neither should he eat. To which he replies, "GOD SAYS what man, if his son asks for bread gives him a stone." Clearly he was not on board. Mom pulls out the big guns. No work. No pantry privileges. period. Have you ever told your kids that this hurts you more than it hurts them? Yea, just wait.

Fast forward to Sunday. Hubby and I stop at Kroger to trade an arm and a leg for some lunch meat and chips. Of course, I end up strolling the isles picking up this and that that he will like and stuff she will want, etc. Coming into my kitchen from the carport I can't help but notice that the dishes from last night are everywhere. Apparently I have special mommy powers because I am the only one to whom these are visible. As I was trying to clear a space on the table to put the groceries, I can hear the strains of the battle scene from the Lord of the Rings on the big screen TV in the living room. OKAY, that is the very last straw. Brian tells me from the comfy chair in front of daddy's tv that he won't be home long because he has important plans for the afternoon, so if lunch is going to take long he will just stop by McD's.

Round 1 is on... I say so sweetly, "there is lunch meat and bread and chips here and I even bought you some flaming hot Cheetos." To which he replies (ever the frugal one), "oh, well then I'll just make a sandwich before I go."...I go in for the kill, "If you want food from my kitchen, my darling firstborn, then you will have to pay by emptying the dishwasher." His answer to that..."okay, I'll just stop at McD's then"


Round 2...Dad and Mom and sister start making luscious sandwiches from recipes sent to us by angels from heaven:) The chips and dips come out. The coconut cake left over from the night before...yum.


Round 3...Dad makes a pass thru the living room with a bag of flaming hot Cheetos purchased specifically with Brian in mind. Pseudo man child says, "I guess I'll just empty this dishwasher real quick and save a couple of bucks."


Once the dishwasher is empty, Mom can't help but gloat. I sneak up behind him and in my most conspiratorial whisper say, "you know what this means, don't you??" he says, "what mom?"...giggle giggle snicker snort..."this means you sold your soul for a bag of flaming hot Cheetos" teehee.

Summer time afternoon

almost 19 year old

15 year old...

I told him grown up world was not all it was cracked up to be:)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home again, home again, jigitty jig

Woohoo!!!!!! I have returned from the land of the computer virus. Apparently Satan is a hacker, because that virus was straight from the pit. Thought we would never escape from the jaws of death:) It was a sneaky little booger, let me tell you. I kept getting this screen with the familiar little "microsoft-ish" looking logo telling me that I had contracted a growing number of scary infections and if I didn't purchase my antivirus software for a measly $49.95, I would be risking my entire system... who knows, maybe my very life was in danger. Even the font was scary looking. (can you HAVE a scary looking font??) In fact, the little number at the bottom of the screen telling me how many viruses had been detected was growing by the second. Was I fooled??? I WAS NOT:) tada! What, do I look like an idiot?? Don't answer that.

So, I am back to my blog page assuming that I must have piles of comments to moderate, but noooo. Nobody noticed I was missing. Whatever. I'm really writing for my own sanity so it doesn't really matter. Fact is, I spent the last week with "blog" thoughts rolling around in my brain. Kept thinking about stuff to write. Can't remember any of it now... figures.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

God is speaking...

I was sitting in church today listening to a very good message when an ugly thought somehow managed to elude those pesky greeters and find its way to my seat. I know that I am supposed to be paying attention, taking notes, keeping my seatmate (sweet niece Hailey) from misbehaving and bringing the wrath of her mother down on us both, and hearing from God so I am really too busy to have a thought, but I am known for my multitasking... I digress.

I realized that I may have misled the multitudes of those reading my blog (notice the two or three comments I get per...hahaha) into thinking that I don't know that I am a frail and flawed human being. I said that I don't agree with the lie that I am a gossip. I did not say that I have never gossiped. The difference for me is that when I do say something to someone that is none of my business I am quickly and accurately targeted by the Holy Spirit and appropriately flogged. Don't like that too much, so I generally avoid this activity.

Just for the record, I do have a problem with anger. I am a hot blooded Irish girl with a penchant for throwing COLOSSAL temper tantrums...mostly in my mind. Many people (except maybe my kids:) will be surprised to know this because somewhere I also inherited my primarily introverted temperament. Can you imagine the war that goes on in my brain?? That's what the life time prescription for Nexium is for.

I also have little bit of an issue with sarcasm...I'd like to say that it's my spiritual gift except that I am pretty sure that Paul would not agree. Usually I keep my angry, sarcastic comments to myself or at least you have to be real close to me to hear me say them under my breath. My husband likes to repeat them out loud so everyone thinks that he is hysterical, but I would like to take this opportunity to take credit for whatever he says...unless it was about you.

I could go on and on revealing my deepest darkest flaws in an effort to dispel the notion that I think that I have the corner on righteousness, but I think you get the point...

Did I mention that I have a tendency to over analyze stuff?? And by the way, I was paying attention to the message... It was about God.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Character and characters

Soooo. I have been informed by a very reliable source that I am a gossip. I shall not mention the source of this information lest I give credence to this ridiculous notion. Okay, let me try this on............ I.AM.A.GOSSIP. hmmmm.

Let me give my conscience time to prove this to me.............. Nope, just don't see it.

Interestingly enough, I truly can't stand a gossip. I have actually been known over the years to offend friends and/or family members at my attempt to covertly (or outrightly) change the subject when someone else's business creeps into the conversation. I have even been known to leave the room, turn on the television, plug my ears and say lalalalalala. Don't get me wrong, I have not always been successful at my true desire to not hear what you read when no one is looking or the language that you use with your children when you are in the privacy of your home or how many times you have REALLY been married. I confess, sometimes the information just pours out the person sitting at the table in front of me before I have time to shove my napkin in my ears and I do not feel up to the I-forgot-I-was-speaking-to-Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes reaction that I get it I call it what it is. GOSSIP.

Why do I despise a gossip?? After all it is sort of a national pastime. It really should be considered an Olympic Sport the way I've seen it played in my day. The problem is that I figure that anybody who will talk to me about so&so, will talk to so&so about me...and that's just not cool.

But then it gets sticky. Where exactly is the line. I mean if the girl sitting next to me in choir tells me that the lady two rows down from us with a glass of water is really drinking antifreeze, well then that is pretty cut and dried...GOSSIP. None of my business.

But, if I am going thru an emotional life change or had a fight with my dog and I talk to my sister/best friend or my spiritual mentor (both of whom I trust with my inner stuff) or even my own mother, does this constitute gossip?

I mean if we want to define gossip as telling anyone anything then we are all in trouble on some level. Even my husband and he doesn't tell anybody anything...not even me sometimes:) (Oops!!! Did I just blow it?) Am I only allowed to tell my "stuff" to a therapist, cause I am pretty sure that I am gonna need one at this rate. Is the line that defines gossip "that which is told to someone that we pay to unload to" cause if that's the case I would be glad to take my sister out to dinner or something... Lord knows I probably owe her that.

Funny thing that I have noticed is that the gossip police have been known to tell a few tales of their own on a fairly regular basis. In fact, I have learned all kinds of stuff I really didn't want to know at THEIR kitchen to speak. But, when it is brought to their attention that this information could be construed as gossip suddenly I am the bad guy and they have some very important reason why this information MUST be told.

Could someone please tell me EXACTLY what is and is not considered gossip because clearly I am not the one to define it...and neither are unnamed people I know.

Oh...and by the way, does this mean that we need to shut down this whole blogging thing???

PS...oh, and for the record...people PLEASE stop telling me stuff. I simply CANNOT be trusted!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bed time antics

Funny thing happened on the way to bed last night... I was in my bathroom doing nighttime routine stuff when Hubby spewed a coca-cola type concoction (ice and all) around the corner and onto the floor. Now, just for the record he doesn't usually spray beverages all over the house, so I was curious. I responded with something polite like, "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND!!!!!" I mean, maybe he was having a stroke or something equally horrendous which was sure to ruin my night. Oh no, he said, "I just didn't want to drink something with a FLY CRAWLING ON MY TONGUE!" Apparently said fly was skinny dippin in his coke zero. Imagine this poor fly's surprise when a giant man poured him into his mouth and then spat him to the floor.

Kind of reminds me of the kiddy joke about the customer asking the waiter "what is this fly doing in my soup?"...waiter says, "the back stroke, sir".

I guess that I should mention when hubby came back to bed with a fresh glass it was lemonade. I guess he figured that insects don't like citrus drinks.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Quirky stuff

Okay, so a friend of mine sent out the challenge to blog about our "quirky" behavior. Since my family thinks that I am borderline OCD I am pretty sure that I qualify...see the entry about perfectionism:)

I had a very difficult pregnancy followed by the loss of my son almost nine years ago. Somehow my life is divided by this event. Everything is, "before Daniel" or "after Daniel". After Daniel, I began fighting an exhausting battle with my health. That pregnancy seemed to take the life right out of me. I have been tested for lupus more times than I can count, but my blood makes a liar out of me every time:) Whenever I have a flair they draw again, but alas, no diagnosis. I take the medicine for lupus, but have no hard evidence to back it up... just a list of symptoms that grows as the years go by.

What does this have to do with the price of eggs in China, you ask?? Well, because before Daniel, I was VERY quirky. Weird even. These days, I am mostly just in survival mode. I try to get as much done as possible before my non diagnosable disease catches me.

I used to have a very definite pattern when cleaning my house. Kind of like the claritin clear commercials where the actor looks fine and then a perfect line crosses the screen and you realize that everything was foggy, but it's clear now. I would start in the back bedroom and deep clean everything as I made my way to the front door. I did this on purpose because otherwise I would be tempted to quit before the job was complete. It was sort of like blackmailing myself, only not illegal. These days I tend to start at the front door and work my way back because it is highly unlikely that I will get the job done...

I also have a thing for 2's. When I go shopping I tend to buy two (or twice as much) of most of the things on my list. My theory is that if the item made it to my list, I must need to use it. Therefore, I buy one to use and one for my pantry shelf. Makes the groceries cost twice as much, but I go half as often. These days with the cost of groceries I have sort of fallen out of that habit, although last night when I needed cream of mushroom soup and had to send Brian to Kroger, I made him pick up six cans (multiples of two count). He was somewhat mortified to go to Kroger and just buy six cans of cream of mushroom soup, but whatever.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No, I did not pee in the pool

She told me it would be easy. Not a problem, not expensive... easy as pie she said. She lied. Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly a lie. Maybe just a creative distortion of the truth...either that or I am an idiot, not sure which.

The house we bought this year has a pool. (funny, I just typed poop by mistake. must be a Freudian slip of the finger) Did you know that information on caring for your pool is a closely guarded secret entrusted to only the very special. Try googling "my pool water is yellow" and see what you get. nothing, nada, zip. You get a bunch of people promising that they have the answer to your dilemma and for a few dollars they would be happy to share their knowledge. I am so not going to do that. I am having family over for the holiday and my pool must be clear, so I ordered a book from which will no doubt answer none of my questions... at least not in English.

Since I don't have time for this transaction to be complete before the whole family is here to gawk (I mean swim) including my mom, whose pool it used to be, I decided to brave the pool store to talk to the pool guy (who, by the way looks nothing like the ones in the movies:)

Of course I looked like a complete idiot (told you) because I read that I could take water samples into my local pool supply store and they would test the water so they would be able to tell me what my problem was. I also read that the readings could be different at different depths and since I didn't know which reading would be important, I took three. And since I didn't have any of those scientific looking containers in which to take my water samples I just used sippy cups. The blue one was a sample from the surface right over by the stairs that are BROWN. The red sippy cup was from about 18 inches below the surface which I collected by holding the cup upside down until I was up to my shoulder, flipped it back over and put the top on under water. The pink cup was a little tricky because for some reason the deepest part of the pool is not stained at all. It is down there taunting me with its sparkling blue bottom. Why?? I don't know. I just tell the kids to stay down really deep. That's where the water is the cleanest. Collecting that was fun. I have had both of my eardrums ruptured in my life and getting more than a few feet under water is excruciating for me. But, ahh, the joy of success... in one try, no less.

I took my professional looking samples in to the pool store to have them tested. The pool man must have never read that he should take readings from different depths because he looked a bit confused. Maybe it was the sippy cups.

Note: do you know what happens if you fill a sippy cup under the water and then put the top on under the water so as not to contaminate it with surface water?? When you take the top off it is so full that it pours all over you. (sorry, Mr. pool guy)

With all of my ingenuity all of the readings were the same, who knew? Mr. Pool guy says "you need to add a bottle of stain remover" ($35) I say, "you told me that two weeks ago and as soon as I shocked it, the stain came back". Mr. Pool guys says, "you can't shock the pool after you put stain remover in!!" NOW YOU TELL ME!!! Apparently this mistake will mean the the stain is so bad now that I need TWO bottles of stain remover ($35 each) YIKES!!

New instructions...half a bag of shock for now. On Thursday put both bottles of stain remover directly into the pool, concentrating on the worst of the stain. For the next 10 days or so, I am supposed to clean the filter (20 minute process) daily and basically lay hands on it until it is ready to be shocked again... I think I will just show it the bill for the chemicals.