Friday, November 30, 2007

On the matter of white elephants...

Hubby and I have a White Elephant party to attend tomorrow night, then I have another to attend the next week. The one on Saturday will most likely be more fun as it is with close friends and the gifts generally verge on the sick, twisted, bizarre and most definitley X-rated. The other one that I am attending is with my other homeschooler moms and that one tends to hang in the PG-13 to possible R rating. There are a few moms, myself included, that I think would enjoy a party that was a little more, shall we say, risque? But then there are those one or two uptight, pious girls that would definitely raise an eyebrow or two and possibly get offended, and being that this party is offered to our entire group, we have to make sure no one feels uncomfortable. BORING!

Either way, I seem to be at a loss for gift ideas. My first White Elephant party, I took one of those Billy the Bigmouth Bass things, you know... the seemingly taxidermied fish that would turn it's head and sing "Don't Worry, Be Happy" if someone walked by? That thing was a HUGE hit, people fought over that one! However, I seem to remember coming home with a box of half-eaten candy canes for my gift. :-( Then last year, I managed to find this book my aunt had sent me called, "Living With Irritable Bowel Syndrome" an odd choice of books since I personally don't suffer from IBS, but what the hell, pair that book up with Fleet Enema and you have a GREAT White Elephant gift! But this year my mind is blank! More so for the R-rated one, it is hard for me to think IN the box. I am much more creative in the area of crudeness and perversion! I know, sad, but true. So I will spend the day, searching my closet and the garage, looking for that perfect White Elephant gift. Maybe I should go reclaim that old toilet I have out for the bulk trash, I think I have a box big enough to fit it! Any suggestions?!?!

Ready for Santa!

Our family tradition is to trim the tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I don't really know why, other than it just seems like an opportune time to do it! My son ADORES trimming the tree! Each year I wrap the ornaments individually so he has almost "mini presents" to open. He gets all excited looking for the dinosaurs or the pickle (yes, we have very eclectic ornaments, an alligator with a feather boa and high-heeled shoes, the flying armadillo with ski poles, the infamous pickle, whales, dinos, hippos, a ceramic possum with a 2" tail, VERY FUN stuff!) After an evening of hard work and a little frustration (we were missing part of the tree, but we eventually found it, yea!), we have the tree decorated! We actually got new stockings this year as the baby didn't have a very good one from last year and two of our other three started falling apart. But the new stockings are now hung from the chimney with care! I love the holidays! Well, I should re-phrase that, I love the holidays in my home, I hate the holidays out in the real world. People are mean and irritable around the holidays! But here at home, the house is warm and cheery, the kiddos have that air of excitement, looking forward to Santa's visit, it's a wonderful thing! Now I just have to try to do all my shopping online so I can avoid the general public, haha! This year my husband promised my son that they would hang lights outside as well. I'll be sure to post a picture of that. It will be the first time we have EVER done outdoor lights, should be exciting!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Daredevil baby and a trip to the ER!

My little girl is a daredevil in the making. She is afraid of nothing! Her brother has always been a very cautious child, in fact he is just now getting to the point where you can really push him on the swing. But this little girl is into EVERYTHING, she wants to climb on the furniture, climb up the stairs, try all the playground equipment and she isn't even 18 months old yet! She's going to be the one to ride all the roller coasters with her Nana!

Anyway, Monday afternoon we were getting ready to go grocery shopping and all that fun stuff. I was in here checking our bank account when I heard the loudest thump followed by that breathless scream, when a baby can't seem to get the noise out because they are SO distressed. I raced in to see what had happened and from what I can gather (big brother witnessed a portion of it) she had decided to get on the couch, climb up on the armrest and was teetering around trying to climb up on the back of the couch! During this maneuver, I guess she slipped, lost her balance and fell face-first onto the hardwoods. I grabbed her up and hugged and kissed and did all those motherly comforting things, while trying to assess the damage. It really didn't look that bad and she calmed down after a few minutes. So we proceeded on our merry way. As I pulled into the parking lot, she let out a scream and in short order barfed ALL over herself and my car! Then she continued to cry and she kept leaning her head back and closing her eyes like she really wanted to sleep. Well, I've always heard that head trauma, followed by vomiting is NOT a good thing. So I booked it back home to get her some clean clothes and had the doctor on the phone preparing them for my imminent arrival. The hubby met me at the doctor's office and she was examined and then we were sent to the ER at the new children's hospital for a CT scan. Needless to say I am becoming more and more worried and the thought of having to wait in the ER with all the sick, snotty, little kids is NOT sounding like fun. We arrive and get checked in and sit in the waiting room forever, then we get beckoned by a nurse who shows us into our private little room for us to wait... FOREVER! Finally about 1 1/2 hours into it, the doctor comes in to examine her and says we need to have a CT scan done (I'm thinking I've already heard this and what is the damn hold-up!). So he leaves and get this, we wait. And wait. And still more waiting. At this point the hubby and our son have seen almost every inch of the hospital corridors, visited the gift shop and the snack bar.

Anyway, they FINALLY come in to get her for the scan. One parent was allowed to accompany her to the scan. So I opted to go, in hindsite, maybe not the best thing for me to do. We went into the room and the technician takes her lays her on this table thing and wraps her in a blanket SO tightly and then straps her down with these big straps. Then to add insult to injury, he shoves her little head into this headrest thing, shoves pads next to the sides of her head and cranks a strap down over her forehead (that's where she hit the floor and I'm sure this was painful). Now I know they have to keep her still for the procedure, my brain knows this, but my heart and soul are just breaking. She is terrified and crying and I'm trying to comfort her in any way I can, which was futile. She just kept yelling, "MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY!" I kept telling her she was OK, with tears streaming down my face and this is all before the stupid scan even starts! So next the little table starts to move and her head gets shoved through this giant donut-looking thing, all these weird noises start and then she really freaks! I wanted so badly to just rip all that shit off of her and grab her and run out the door, never to return! Seriously, I should have let my hubby deal with this! I am WAY too emotional and like I've stated before, my mother bear instinct is quite honed and I feel the need to harm people when they make my children scream like that (I guess it's a good thing the technician was a pretty big, burly guy that could probably have taken me out!).

We were then escorted back to the room for another hour of waiting to find out that the scan was clear and she was OK, well, by medical standards OK, she was pretty banged up and still throwing up and not a happy girl at all, regardless of how good her scan looked. He said that they would come in and give a dose of Tylenol and get us checked out. I was glad for that as the baby and I were both covered in barf and smelling really bad! So dinner and a bath sounded nice to me. I sent hubby and the boy out the the lobby and waited for our release. I sat there another HOUR and finally got pissed and went to the nurse's station to tell them never mind about the stinkin' Tylenol, I had some at home, just bring me our release papers so I could go home and get out of these puke-covered clothes! They looked shocked, I don't know if it was from them being surprised I was still there, or that I had the gall to come and bitch, either way, I had may papers 5 minutes later and was out the door to go pay.

We made it home, although she did barf in the car one last time, for good measure I suppose. I took her and bathed her, put her in some jammies and handed her off to her daddy. I then informed him that I was off to take a bath and decompress a bit. I was still recovering my adrenaline rush and was so tired from all the waiting and worrying that I needed to go soak, read a bit and try to get myself back to somewhat normal again. While soaking it occurred to me how frustrating life must be for people who have chronically ill children. If I had to deal with doctors and hospitals frequently I believe it would absolutely suck the life right out of me. You are at the mercy of the system when you are there. You will wait as long as they want you to wait, they will leave you to worry with a sick or hurt child, trying to comfort them in a cold and unfamiliar place. It's awful! I hope my children continue to be healthy and hopefully my little daredevil will take away a lesson from her incident, that maybe standing on the arm of the couch isn't such a cool thing after all! She is doing fine now, except for the bruising which is now creeping down her forehead and into her eyes. She's most likely going to end up with a shiner or two, UGH! But she is happy and doing all the things she normally does, so at least she seems no worse for the wear... wish I could say the same, I'm sure I have at least 20 more gray hairs!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A moment of joy...

The hubby was out with old friends Saturday night, I was home with the Monkey Bunch. I put the Wiglet down in her room and then her big brother and I crawled into my bed as it was cold in the house and I didn't see the need to sleep in the cold alone, especially when there is a perfectly nice little boy to snuggle with. Around midnight I heard the girly wake up screaming. I gave it a minute as she usually comforts herself and goes back to sleep, but that didn't happen. So I jumped up and got her and brought her to bed. She immediately asked for her Daddy (which she usually does when she's distressed, Daddy rules!), I said Daddy was out and in her sleepy, little voice she said, "Mmmmm, Daddy... Hi Mommy." This continued for a bit, until she finally talked herself to sleep, nestled up next to me. And as much as I tried to go back to sleep I couldn't. I was just so happy to have her there, all snuggly and smelling like lavender shampoo, making little sighing, sleepy noises in her little pink footed jammies. It was just so sweet I could hardly bear it! This lasted for about an hour or so, then she stirred and realized her brother was in bed with us and she got up, all sleepy and wobbly and tried to go lay on him. So I had to return her to her own bed, where her blankie and her bear-bear were waiting for her. I could have laid there all night, just treasuring her and wishing for the times when she slept with us every night. But at least I got that little bit of snuggle-time, that moment of joy having her with me and feeling that everything else in the world matters not because two of the most important things in my life were right there in my bed, safe, sound and content. Actually I should say three things, because the dog was on the bed too!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Difficult decisions postponed.

So how's this for weird, I was pondering the euthanasia of my old kitty cat. She really has been in alot of pain the last few months and I just couldn't justify letting her suffer anymore. I had decided that I would probably take her to the vet, for one last review of the circumstances, let them know the pain meds they prescribed weren't at all working (and they were even morphine based!). Anyway, while hanging out with her, watching TV the other night I just was messing with her feet when I realized that two of her claws had grown very thick and had curled under and were starting to grow into the pads of her feet! In all my years I have NEVER seen a cat's claws do that. Needless to say I called the vet first thing the next morning (mostly since Miriam tried to disembowel me when I tried to cut them myself!) I decided to take advantage of this to really discuss her pain and what my options were and that I was debating euthanasia if I couldn't get her pain under control. I should also mention that the morphine based meds were $26 a week, which was a bit out of my budget. Not that I wouldn't put myself in the poorhouse for my pets, BUT, when you have 2 kids to feed and gas and milk both over $3 a gallon, that med was cutting into grocery money! ANYWAY, they took care of the claws, luckily they hadn't cut through the pads yet, but they were still uncomfortable, which is probably why she has been limping more lately. (This makes me feel like a shmuck by the way, that I didn't notice this sooner!) Afterwards I discussed the pain situation and the solution was for me to try two new meds, one is called Metacam which is more for joint and bone pain and then Gabapentin which is more for neurological pain. Luckily, because they both had to be diluted and dosages are small, both meds together are a quarter of the price of the morphine! I can afford $40 every 3 months! I am waiting for the gabapentin as it had to be special ordered through a pharmacy, but we started the Metacam and call me crazy, but I think the grumpy, little, tabby is feeling better! She has been more bright-eyed, she has actively sought me out for petting and I have heard her purr for the first time in MONTHS!!! She is still having twitches and weird neuro stuff, but I'm hoping the gabapentin will help with that. I am optimistic! Don't get me wrong, I know my kitty-girl still has cancer, I know that it will metastasize as I refuse to amputate her leg, hell for all I know it already has, and I also know that my time with her is limited. But at least I can say that for the time being, her time with me is no longer a miserable existence. I think the meds are helping dramatically and if I can keep her comfortable until her time comes, that is all I can ask for. At least now, she'll hopefully be comfortable enough to enjoy the love we have to give her! I'm happy today!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm kind of annoyed.

Several years ago I had photos done two weeks before I gave birth to my son, then I did another session two weeks after he was born. They are absolutely gorgeous photos, artistic and timeless and I love them! They would not sell us proofs and the portraits were EXTREMELY expensive. The only reason I was able to get the ones I did is because my very generous in-laws paid for them. I got as many as I could. But now, almost 6 years later, I have been thinking of all the ones I couldn't afford and I want them! I don't need 11 X 14's or even 8 X 10's, I just want small, proof size 4 X 6's or something. So I could at least have a scrapbook or something. I had these done while we still lived in Oregon, but I got onto their website and contacted them, wanting to know what my options were, or if they even had my photos any longer. They wrote back and said they will not do online viewing and my only option is to come in to view them and then pay $149 a piece for 5 X 7's. Well first of all, it's not like I can just drop into their studio next week, I live in Texas! And I don't need 5 X7's, mostly since I absolutely cannot afford $149 a pop! So I am just basically screwed! They have a little drawer with photos of me, my son and my husband, at a very special time in our lives, but can I get them? No, so sorry! And I realize that this is how most photographers work, but it still doesn't make it any better. My memories are sitting in a drawer doing no one any good. And although the photos are of ME and MY child, I still have absolutely no claim to them. But I can tell you something... I am considering doing some freelance photography and I have about decided that I will offer people 2 choices, they can either pay a lower sitting fee and buy prints from me, OR they can pay a higher fee and get a disk of their photos that they own. I think it's time for photographers to start allowing people to have ALL of their memories, not just the ones they could afford at the time. I think I would keep copies of the photos (or at least a CD) in case someone ever lost the disk or photos in a fire. It would be nice to be able to provide them with their memories again. Anyway, just thoughts, while I'm sitting here pissed off because MY photos are basically lost and I have no recourse save flying to Oregon and paying thousands of dollars to get them.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seriously, can we just leave Santa alone????

OK, I read two reports today on Yahoo News and I all I could think of was... seriously?? The first report states that Santas in Sydney, Australia are being told not to say "Ho, Ho, Ho!" because it might be considered offensive to women! What?!? You've got to be freakin' kidding me! First of all, I thought it was the Americans that were so uptight they could suck bricks out of walls with their asses, not the Aussies. And secondly, since when is "Ho, Ho, Ho!" offensive to women? OK, I understand that "ho" is used in the US as a slang term for "whore" but what in the hell does that have ANYTHING to do with the greeting from Santa? I mean if you are someone that is going to be incensed by Santa's jolly greeting, then you are way too sensitive and should just stay home and cry in your wee, little pillow because you are pathetic! Besides, the greeting is meant for the children, and if you have done your job right as a parent your kid would never catch on that "ho" means anything but a merry laugh from a fat man in a red suit!

Which brings me to my second beef of the day... they are now saying that Santa needs to slim down because he isn't a good role model for healthy eating habits for children! We're talking about Santa Claus, for cryin' out loud, an imaginary man that lives in the North Pole and delivers toys to children all over the Earth in one night. Do you think the kids give one hairy rat's ass about the fact that Santa is fat? Do you think they look at him and say, "Wow, look at that fat bastard, I think I'll go tank down 3 Big Mac's, a super-size fry and a 44 oz coke!" I'm sorry, but I don't think Santa is the cause of our childhood obesity problem, I think it is fast-food, video games, processed junk food, sedentary lifestyle and restaurants over serving their patrons! And besides, you've got to give the jolly fat man a break, I mean think about it, he lives in the North Pole right? It's cold as a witch's titty up there, right? Well if I'm not mistaken, animals that have evolved in the cold Arctic regions have an extra layer of fat known as blubber. So it's alright if the seals and the whales are fat, but not Santa? I think this is a double standard! So what of the "Mall Santa"? I say keep him as plump and fluffy as possible. I figure the more padding the better, after all, if my kids are gonna sit in a strange man's lap, I want as much padding as possible between MY kids and HIS pokey parts! That's all I'm sayin'!

So everyone just needs to lay off of "Ol Santa Claus! Let him "Ho, Ho, Ho!" Let him have a belly like a bowlful of jelly! We don't want no stinkin' skinny, pipecleaner looking Santa! Let him be plump, rosy-cheeked and merry. He is an character or deity or icon (whatever you want to call him) that is around once a year for the joy and amusement of our children. So let's lighten up a bit and try for once just to enjoy something for what it is. No need to over-think this, in fact I'm personally quite surprised that anyone has the time to even give a shit! I mean really what is more important, making Santa skinny and PC or making sure that the children that love him have good, healthy food, clean water, an education and affordable, accessible health care?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Difficult decisions.

It is happening again, I am being faced with one of the most difficult decisions of my life. My 16 y.o. cat, Miriam, is not doing well. She was diagnosed with cancer last year and underwent surgery to remove a large mass from her back foot. They ended up having to amputate one of her toes in order to get a good margin. I was told the cancer was aggressive and although they felt confident that they got a good margin, there was still possibility of re-growth. After the surgery, things just seemed to start going downhill quickly. Her temperament is not the same, it almost seems as though she is suffering from some form of dementia or senility. It didn't take long for the cancer to start re-growing, and this time it is obviously having neurological effects. Her back has strange spasms, her feet wig out for no apparent reason and it is obvious that when I touch her, it just causes all sorts of neurological distress. She can be sound asleep and start growling then wake up suddenly and start attacking her affected foot! It is scary to watch, and she attacks it with such vigor and tears it up and makes it bleed. It breaks my heart! She is still eating, drinking and using the litter box, so as far as I know, her internal functions are normal, but she just seems miserable and in pain constantly. She wants to be near, but you can't pet her as it causes pain and irritation, she yowls in the night. The vets gave me pain meds, but they don't seem to work. Surgery is not an option as amputation of the entire leg would be the next step and I just don't feel that kind of surgery is fair to a 16 y.o. cat. If this were happening when she was 4 it would be another story. But at this point, we have no idea how much the cancer has metastasized. It may be that it has metastasized into other areas and this is why she has the nervous ticks and strange neurological symptoms. Bottom line... she is in obvious pain every day. She limps through the house, she doesn't enjoy affection any longer and does what she can to stay hidden away. I occasionally get a moment with her, where she seems alright, but it is usually short-lived. The petting and purring quickly become hissing and growling.

Making the decision to euthanize an animal is the WORST thing I have ever had to do. I have had to do this twice already over the last 3 or so years and both times SUCKED. How do you look into the eyes of a beloved friend and allow someone to take their life? But on the other hand, how can you allow that beloved friend to suffer through a horrible existence? I have had pets all my life, so death is nothing new to me. I have had to euthanize various critters, rats, ferrets and recently my 21 y.o. cat and my 15 y.o. dog. Every incident was horrible and left me questioning if I did the right thing. Did I jump the gun? Did I wait too long? Would they have made the choice if they were in my shoes? Would I have wanted to be euthanized if I had been in their position? And I know as a humans, we have a tendency to project our emotions and feelings onto our animals. We have an innate fear of death, so therefore we assume that our animals do to. But is that the case? I highly doubt they fear death as we do because they don't have anxiety and fear over the unknown, they are most likely not as aware of death as they tend to live in the moment. Do they even realize that they could be dead next week? They don't have things to accomplish or get in order before they die. It happens when it happens. Does this make my decision any easier? I'm afraid not. I am so used to this furniture-scratching, hairball-hacking, grumpy, little tabby that it is hard for me to imagine my life without her. And not only that, my son adores her. He doesn't yet understand her pain, and all he wants to do is love on her, which she tolerates with as much grace as she can muster. He will miss her so badly. He tells me all the time how much he loves his kitty and how he wants her to be with him forever. I'm sure he can't imagine life without her as she has been around all his life!

So here I sit, weighing my options. Trying not to project my human emotions and anxiety onto her. Trying to judge whether this is a good day for her or a bad day. Is her struggle to endure the pain too much? Is she still happy to be with us, or is she just tired and wanting to rest for good. I look at that sweet little face, with those big-green eyes, her trademark "M" on her forehead (hence the name Miriam), her fat, saggy, belly that is exactly the color of caramel and it absolutely kills me to think of life without her. Once she is gone, it will be the end of an era for me. All of the pets that came to me in high school and college will be gone. She is the last of the old mainstays in my life, besides my hubby and my mother! I don't want her to suffer, but I don't want to let her go either! There is almost nothing more wonderful than the love of an animal, nothing quite so unconditional, they don't expect you to "be" anything in particular, just a warm, kind body to snuggle with. It really is unfair that they have such short lifespans. Good friendships like this should be able to last a lifetime!

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Addiction

I have never spoken publicly about this. I tried to keep it quiet as I didn't want our family to be looked upon unfavorably. It seems as though my husband has a horrible addiction. He just can't seem to shake it and because of this addiction we are out at least $400 a month! The addiction seems to get worse about once a year and he just can't contain himself. He has a ruthless dealer that is always willing to make him a deal and he always makes it so easy for my hubby to indulge! I can't hide it anymore, he is absolutely, positively addicted to Honda Elements!!!

He bought his first one 3 years ago, a little silver number with black trim and a moonroof. He was hot for this little car. He spent so much time with it, he washed it faithfully, made sure it had full-coverage insurance, he fell hard for this one and then he started in the evil downward spiral. A year later, we were in need of refinancing, to hopefully get a better rate as we had to take on a car payment for me after the Jeep pooped out. When he went in to re-fi, his dealer (the evil man) sought my husband out and tempted him with a little Tango red hottie. He said he could take her home with no down payment and no change in the monthly payments, so what could hubby do? How could he resist such a thing? So he came home, much to my surprise and horror with this little red car! He assured me that this was it, he was happy and it would never happen again. A few weeks ago, he began obsessing over the new 2008 Element SC, the new colors, the side airbags, the carpeted floor, the center console. It was sick to hear him talk, seeing the lust in his eyes and the drool coming from the corner of his mouth, but he assured me he only wanted to look at one. Then it happened, he came home one evening and asked me to come out and look at the amazing sunset and instead of seeing a beautiful sunset, I saw a 2008 Rootbeer Element SC sitting in the driveway!! Now he swears there was no money down and payments will be the same, but nonetheless, it is obvious to me that he is sick! I may have to send him to Element re-hab, where they force him to drive 1990 model Ford Tauruses, so he'll be thankful for the one he has and NEVER have the urge to get another. But alas, that damn Honda corporation is going to continue making those damn cars cooler and cooler and he will see next year's model and have to have it! At which point I will have to club him in order to knock some sense into him! He is banned from new cars until they make one that is hybrid or runs on bio-diesel. Until then, I am thinking of sending him to Elements Anonymous, where he can hopefully learn from others that have been down this path! Please think good thoughts for our family!

Just out of curiosity...

So my kids have been sneezing all weekend, the allergens are way up. Anyway, I usually say "Gesundheit!" when they sneeze, but since I have several friends in the athiest community at this point, I was wondering what does an athiest say when a person sneezes? I know this is trivial as shit, but it was one of those things that popped into my brain yesterday and has been nagging at me ever since! I'll be looking forward to hearing the answer!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Perfect Moment

It's not often that I find myself in one of those perfect moments, the kind you wish you could take a photo of so you could remember it forever. I had one of those today, so I guess writing about it is the next best thing to getting a picture! I don't really know what about this moment was more memorable than any other, but I was in my rocking chair, nursing the baby and getting her ready for her nap. We were in the house alone, Daddy and big brother were off on an errand, so everything was quiet and peaceful. While nursing she actually fell asleep. Normally this isn't the case, I usually put her down while she's still awake and she goes to sleep on her own, but she was extra tired after a couple of hours playing in the leaf pile I made! There was something wonderful about watching her sleep since I so rarely get to see it. She has been sleeping in her own room for the last 10 months. It gave me the opportunity to really look at her, the curve of her little ear, the tiny pink veins of her eyelids, the reddish blonde eyebrows and the black lashes that are the only remnant of the black hair she was born with, the soft roundness of her sweet little cheek, her beautiful, pouty lips, the way her little nostrils flare slightly when she breathes out. Did I mention the dimple of her knees, her soft, pudgy legs, her perfect little toes, her little fingers that knead on my chest when she nurses? She is just sheer perfection from the top of her strawberry blonde head to the tip of those sweet, little toenails! So I just sat there with her, leaving all the other things I had to do for another time. I feel that to ignore a time like that is to completely lose touch with what life is all about. It's about those little moments. And when I am 93 years-old, I want the memory of that peaceful, precious baby sleeping at my breast, not the memory of the dishes I should have done instead.

Friday, November 09, 2007

So what's my real problem?

OK, the fence thing has me pissed, but to be honest, I think it was just a gateway to other things that piss me off. Why does the fence piss me off so bad? It's because it's just another thing about that backyard that is worthless. It is a flat, desolate piece of land with some funky mish-mosh of grass and weeds, with one puny and probably dying maple tree, an overgrown, ugly ligustrum bush, a hacked-up, dead vine (looked like a grape, but never produced fruit) and a hackberry tree that is right in the fence line, not to mention the cracked concrete slab of a porch that tends to grow more grass than the yard! It is nothing but a gigantic, fire ant infested, dog shitter! How inviting! Makes you want to rush right out and enjoy it, right? OK, so it's ugly and useless, is that what pisses me off? A little. But what really pisses me off is that I cannot let my children go out and play. They will either step in dog shit, get stung by fire ants or get fried in the sun! This whole scenario wouldn't be as annoying to me if I felt I could let my kiddos run around outside in front of the house. But the only way that is even feasible is if I am with them. Even though my son is almost 6, I cannot justify leaving him alone in front of the house. I hear of incidents all the time, in fact one was posted to my mom's group today, about people trying to get little kids into their cars or to leave with them. Now I've gone over stranger danger with my son, but he is so friendly and knows so many of our neighbors, I think he would have a hard time distinguishing between someone he knows and someone who would want to take him. I spent the majority of my childhood running around outdoors like a fiend! I was able to run down the street to a neighbor's house or play out in my driveway. My mom didn't have to hang out with me every second, so long as I stayed where I told her I'd be. But the climate has changed, it isn't safe to leave your youngsters outside alone. Not only that, but in a year or so, he will be of an obvious school age and although most of my closer neighbors know we homeschool, if he was running around out front during school hours, I'd end up with a visit from the local truancy officer, which I seriously don't need. So I am desperate to get this yard functional. Children NEED to be outside. Someplace where they are safe, but can explore and play and run amok. I hate having them cooped up in the house, and sometimes I HATE having to drive someplace in order to have a safe environment for them to play! Mostly since pretty soon gas is going to get so damn expensive that we're going to have to start walking everywhere! I really need to win the lotto!

On the fence...

So after my annoying ordeal with the fence company, I called and really bitched them out. I was transferred to a manager and she apologized profusely and basically begged for me to give them a second chance. So she set me up with a new rep who stated he would come to my house at 10am on Thursday. So he actually arrived at 9:45am with all the equipment necessary to give me a good estimate. He was a nice guy and I was thinking, hey, this might actually work out. So I got the quote this morning and almost pooped myself! I have 175 ft. of fence, the estimate for them to do the entire job was $3912, to have them come out and just set the posts and deliver the materials was $3745. So why is my labor worth so little when theirs is worth so much. So putting up the slats is only worth $167?!? That's less than a dollar a slat! Oh well, it seems as though my dream of a new fence and a decent backyard will once again be put on hold. I didn't even spend $3500 on my floors, why the hell would I pay that much for a fence? I guess we'll be having some sort of crazy fence building party in the spring. Maybe by then I can at least afford the materials and maybe my neighbors will help with the expenses. Doubtful, but who knows? Home-ownership is a bitch sometimes!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What's it gonna take!

My neighbor's dog went ballistic a couple of weekends ago and damn near knocked our fence down trying to get to our dog. So at this point, we have a slat in the neighbor's yard that is, for the most part, holding that portion of fence up. Now I'll be the first to admit, the fence was already on shaky ground. It obviously is the original fence from when the house was built 14 years ago. Anyway, I called a local company to come and give me an estimate on the fence. This was Monday (a week and a half ago). When I called the guy on Monday, he stated that he would probably be able to make it out sometime before Friday. Gee, don't kill yourself getting over here, it's not like I have a vicious dog trying to eat my dog on a daily basis or anything! Friday came and around 4pm I called the company and was like, "Hello?!? Is anyone actually planning to come and give me a quote?" I got the run around, "it was one of those weeks, out of town, blah, blah, blah... but we'll have someone out there first thing Monday morning!" Again, thanks for going out of your way to help me in this situation where dogs are trying to kill each other constantly. Monday morning comes and goes, no estimate. Finally late, and I mean late Monday afternoon the guy shows up WITHOUT HIS MEASURING WHEEL!!! So he tells me he will eyeball it, but it will be a really rough estimate. What's the damn point?? You have someone come out to give you an estimate so you can make an educated decision, right? Well if the estimate is iffy, how can I make that judgement call? So anyway, he said he'd email that info to me first thing Tues. morning. Well, it's Wednesday morning and I have yet to see a thing from him. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna call and tell them to piss off.

I'm just really bummed because this was the only company that was willing to set the posts and hang the gate, but allow us to hang the boards, you know, save a little green. Well it's pretty obvious that they are just SO bombarded with work that my piddly little job isn't worth their time. It would be nice if they would just say so instead of wasting my damn time! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I see it everyday. The lack of customer service and workmanship that USED to be present in our country. It's really a sad thing. I remember a time in my life when the majority of business owners, especially locally owned Mom and Pop shops took real pride in their work and truly wanted to give good service and product. But that really seems to be the exception and not the rule these days. So, I plan to call them this morning, tell them to just never mind. I'll find someone else to come out and hopefully I won't get screwed by the next place I call. I tell you, it's a crapshoot these days! Why do you think we did most of the remodeling ourselves!

Monday, November 05, 2007

From the mouths of babes... (cont.)

Here are some photos of art my son painted today. He is very much into the solar system and the planets lately. Well, for some reason he decided to merge his love of planets with his love of fruit. So here is his collection. Picture number one, Mars With A Red Bell Pepper. Picture number two, Earth With A Green Apple Falling Onto Mars. And picture number three, (you're gonna love this, and I shit you not, this is what he said) "This is a picture of a banana falling out of Uranus!" Yeah, try to keep a straight face with that one!

Bloody time change!

It is just after 7 am, I have been up for at least a half hour now thanks to the stinkin' time change! I mean it's lighter outside, so better for my hubby, he hates having to get up before daylight, but not so great for me. I'm an 8 o' clock kind of girl! If it's before 8am, it is just sick and wrong! (One of the reason's I love homeschooling, I can't imagine being up and dressed and having kids out the door by 7:30am!) Now it's bad enough that my baby girl has been waking me the past few weeks at 7:30, but now with the time change it's even worse. And how do you tell a baby to go back to sleep, that it's an hour earlier than what she thinks. I even tried to keep her dead on schedule yesterday in accordance to the time change, so I put my over-tired blinking baby down for a nap an hour later than she's used to and did everything in the time frame we usually do, just an hour later hoping it would prime her for a good night's sleep. But no, 6:30am... crying. I ignored her for a bit, hoping she would just get tired and snooze a little more, unfortunately my girl is not one to give up. Persistent little bugger! So here I sit, 7:15 in the morning, red-eyed and over-tired cursing the stupid time change. Who's idea was this anyway?!?! I want to write a letter of complaint!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

And yet another novel idea...

So I told my hubby last night that I was thinking of starting to write a novel today for that Nano Wrimo thing. He seemed deeply concerned, wanting to know where I would get the time, obviously seeing how spread thin I am already. I had a somewhat sleepless night debating, should I or shouldn't I do this. And although I'm tired as shit today, I did wake up with a clear idea about things. He is absolutely right, I am spread so thin right now it's ridiculous. I don't have enough time to be writing this blog, much less a freakin' novel, YET I still have that urge to prove to myself I can accomplish something important. So, in lieu of writing the next great American novel in the next month, I am going to shoot for a goal that would actually benefit me. I started a cute little children's book about 2 years ago, nothing fancy, just cute and fun. I had a good start, then life kicked in and I never got back to it and that's a shame, I think it has potential to be really good. So... instead of writing a novel about nothing, my goal is to finish that book and start looking for an illustrator. THAT would truly make a difference in my life, accomplishing something that has real meaning and significance to ME. I will hopefully have plenty of time to write that novel years from now when children have left for college. Right now, anything that takes me away from teaching, playing and spending time with my kids had better be something I have vested interest in! Because these days of Spiderman and dinosaurs and invisibility cloaks and giggles and kisses and peek-a-boo are days that I will cherish for the rest of my life and missing even a moment just so I can say I wrote a stinkin' novel in a month, well, that's just crazy. But that little children's book, that is worth a little of my time, especially since it is being written for them! I will let do an update on the book situation on Nov. 30th to see if I reached my goal!