Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So happy New Year and all that...

The resolutions I should have...

I resolve to keep my house cleaner.

I resolve to lose those extra pounds through a stringent diet & a crazy, Olympic training style exercise schedule.

I resolve to learn Spanish beyond my current repertoire of exchanging names & phone numbers, ordering beer and figuring out where the bathroom is.

I resolve to get a good job that relates to my field of interest (whatever that turns out to be)

I resolve to go to bed at a decent hour so I can get up at a decent hour without the assistance of my I.V. of coffee.

I resolve to give up coffee.

The resolutions I most likely will be able to keep...

I resolve to read more books, drink more coffee and consume more good food (NOT "good for me" food).

I will do my best to laugh more often, talk with my friends more often and give my son more hugs than I already do.

I resolve to "connect" with my husband more ;)

I resolve to watch more good movies as well.

I resolve to have at least six cook-outs with family and friends.

I resolve to get to California at least once this coming year, and to avoid snow at all costs.

I resolve to attempt to update my blog on a regular basis and to be sure to include at least one Master J story per week.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Future sales man in training

So Master J spent the night at my parent's house last night and during his stay, he convinced my dad to build him yet another wooden vehicle, this one a flatbed pickup truck. While he was "helping" Papa build, he found the scrap pile and discovered the "holes" from where my dad is cutting out the aluminum for the various wiring on his airplane. Side note, my dad is building a small, two seat airplane, and has been for almost eight years. I did not get my patience from him. I got my patience from some New York cabbie that I must have run across at one point in my life. Moving on. So when Papa punches a hole in the aluminum, the scrap is a perfectly round disk, about two inches across. They are of varying thicknesses depending on where in the plane it is. Master J saw these and decided to salvage them. Not only salvage them, but package them up, write an advertising campaign and sell them. When I picked him up, I was greeted with much excitement and a several signs. The first sign was two pieces on wood, hinged with duct tape, that said "closed" when hinged and "open" when un-hinged. The second sign said "SUPER ROLL WHEELS - One dollar each - Limited supply available so get your SUPER ROLL WHEEL today". He even had two different levels of these things. The thicker ones were the beginner levels and the thinner ones were the expert level. The "expert" ones, he informed us, would be priced at $3 dollars tomorrow. Apparently he thought that would prompt us into buying them today at the aforementioned bargain basement price. Seriously. He had about a dozen of these disks, each one taped to a small block of scrap wood, and he wanted a dollar a piece. He wanted to sit on the sidewalk and sell them to the neighbors, but I put the kibosh on that. I told him he could sell them to family and friends. But NOT (as he started for the shop door) to his Papa, who had already been conned into helping him put this whole scheme together. I can't let him sell his overpriced, crappy product to the slave labor that created it. I do have some standards. So I bought one of the beginner level ones and Mister C bought one of each. I guess he didn't want to spend the extra $2 tomorrow. Now what, you may ask, do these SUPER ROLL WHEELS do? Nothing. You are supposed to roll them on the ground. Under the best of circumstances, they roll about two feet before falling over. That's it. Not the best toy of the century by a long shot. But giving credit where credit is due, Master J just made $3 pulling junk out of the garbage and calling it something fantastic. I'd say that's a pretty good result.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Mister C and I stayed up way too late last night playing Rock Band. I was the drummer and my arms are killing me today. I could barely lift them this morning when I got up. The worst part was trying to avoid the animals. ADHD Girl spent several minutes attempting to catch the drumsticks. Not to be outdone, the Antagonizer spent most of her time attacking either the cord or my left hand. In addition to Rock Band, we did some boxing. Mister C beat me the first time. Barely. I maintain that the only reason he was able to do so was because the ever helpful Antagonizer was hanging from the hem of my jeans. Her lard butt was laying between my feet, her front feet wrapped around my leg and her teeth imbedded in my pantleg. It made it just a touch difficult to box properly, but I gave it a good shot. Considering the unfairness of the match, I made Mister C do a rematch and cleaned his clock. He seemed shocked by my aggressive insistence on winning. He shouldn't have been. We've been together for over 14 years and married for over 11, he should know by now that I don't like to lose. I am probably way too competitive for my own good. Sometimes the only reason I accomplish something is because I just refuse to give up. This was the case when I had the "opportunity" to climb a rock wall at a friend's wedding (most awesome wedding ever btw) and also on several of the lesser mountains nearby. Anyway, the main point here is that during the trouncing of my husband I think I pushed myself a teensy bit too far. I've been gimping around here all day today. Our afternoon walk did help to loosen things up a bit, but it did absolutely nothing for my arms, which feel like noodles. Really painful noodles. If noodles could hurt.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Peace on earth

Or at least in my house. Finally. Master J just went to bed. He got up at 4:20 this morning to inform us that Santa had indeed showed up. We sent him back to bed until 6:30. Mrs. Claus was trying to be less commercially this year and hadn't purchased any huge gifts for under the tree. Mr. Claus evidently disagreed with this and went out on his own to get it done right. He left a Wii gaming system and RockBand II under the tree. We spent the day playing the different games. We even got my dad to play. I have to say that I totally rock at bowling. And I am a killer in the boxing ring. I completely suck at baseball though. Anyway, it was a great day overall and we had a blast. But goodness gracious was it loud and chaotic around here for the better part of the day. It ended up being a day full of family and fun. Maybe Mr. Claus knew what he was doing after all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Because there's nothing like bad timing...

Now my tooth hurts. One of my back molars has/had a filling that I can feel the edge of. And I can clearly see (with the use of a flash light and mirror) that it's coming up. Just in time to avoid enjoying any part of the two Christmas dinners coming within the next 24 hours. And there's not a dentist around that is actually answering their phones this morning. Bah. Humbug.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The day before the day before Christmas...

I've had kind of a tough day. It started out okay. Master J was at my parent's house over night so I got to sleep in. I got up and the coffee was made, my newspaper ready. Looks good so far. I jumped in my car and hit the mall right around 10:00 to pick up two last items for Christmas and the mall was pretty calm. I got in and out in under 30 minutes. Then I went and met my mom and Master J for lunch at our favorite Chinese place. I took Master J home to Mister C and went back out to the grocery store for a few last minute things Christmas dinner. Then I went home. By this time it was about 12:30. After I got home, out of habit, I checked my fish. And I see that one of my loaches is acting "off". He's laying on his side, panting. Yeah, that's not good. So I went online to try and figure out what the problem is. Only before I finish looking, I get hit with a killer headache. I haven't had one like this in awhile. I tried taking aspirin and laying down for about an hour, but it didn't go away. So I took some Tylenol and lay back down. Not long after this, Mister C took Master J out shopping (I suspect to get him out of the house more than anything). I was in and out of sleep until 7:00 when I took some more Tylenol. Currently, my headache is a low throb in my right eye. Not pleasant, but bearable. So now that I can see straight, I check in on my fish. And I can clearly see that one of my loaches has ich. Nice. Evidently, my brand new loaches brought it with them. So now I'm treating my tank for that and hoping against hope that I can get on top of it before it wipes everyone out. In the meantime, Mister C and Master J got back home, bearing gifts of already fried chicken and baked potatoes. Maybe there's some hope for this day after all.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Have I updated you lately?

I don't think I've updated lately about all the goings on in our life. Here goes...

First of all, we got the rent check from our new tenant on time for the December rent. He included the check for January's rent as well so that seems to be working out okay. We did have a minor glitch in that he hadn't actually moved one of the utilities into his name. We figured this out when we got a bill. I called him and he said he would take care of it but two days later he still hadn't. So Chris called him and (hopefully) straightened it out.

I filled my new (used) bookcase with all of my books and it looks great. I am thrilled to get all of my books off the floor and in order. I hung up 85% of my pictures and know where most of the remaining ones are going. We ended up buying a beautiful entertainment center from our neighbors for about 1/4 of what it would cost new. It's gorgeous and it holds my important items so now my dining room table is clear as well.

I finally found some clown loaches to add to my tank. It took several weeks of repeatedly visiting all the nearby fish places to find them. Evidently they've become very popular lately because people figured out they could put them in a variety of environments and they're pretty fun to watch. When I finally found them, I bought all five that they had in the tank. They were absolutely TINY! I mean, about 3/4 of an inch long and they can get up to 12 inches. In the week that they've been here, they've already grown noticeably. I also had my first tank death when one of my plecos went belly up. Even in death though, nobody tried to eat him (which is rare, fish are pretty cannibalistic). I pulled him out and exchanged his body for a live one since I'd only had him for a few days at the time. So far, so good.

We got a letter from the school confirming what we pretty much knew about Master J and that is that he qualifies for gifted services. They tested him on his sixth day in his new school. Unlike Loser Elementary, they actually included his test results with the letter. I still am not completely convinced that Loser Elementary actually tested Master J. I know they said they did, and they certainly sent a letter saying that he didn't qualify, but all things considered I'm not convinced.

I finished all of my Christmas shopping and got most of it wrapped. I'm still waiting on several packages to arrive from Amazon. I wrote my Christmas letter, but I'm not sure I'm going to get around to sending it out. I have the cards sitting on the counter, but I haven't even started to put together a list of who I would send them to. I also managed to make one batch of fudge so far. I thought I had enough ingredients to make more, but I forgot I had given my big bottle of vanilla to Brandy before moving out here so I could only make one batch. I have the supplies for gingerbread cookies sitting on my island, but haven't gotten around to making them either.

Mister C is done traveling for the year and I'm looking forward to not going anywhere for Christmas. The farthest we're going this year is over to my parent's home for Christmas Eve dinner. That will be the only place I can get a proper ham dinner. Mister C believes that Christmas dinner is turkey. I disagree wholeheartedly. I was raised (properly) with a Christmas ham. Mister C and I have had a long running battle about this particular topic. With our three year rotation schedule (1 year with each set of parents, 1 year at our home) we're each guaranteed what we want once every three years. The year we do at home is the one we fuss the most over. The compromise we've come to this year is that my mom makes a ham dinner for Christmas Eve and I make a turkey dinner on Christmas day. We can both live with that.

I think that wraps up everything that's recently gone on. With Master J home from school for the next few weeks, I'm sure I'll have something more to write about sooner than later.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I wasn't sure I was going to publish this one...

I finished "shopping" for my older sister and her four teenagers yesterday. I ended up getting her and her girls gift cards to a favorite store. As much as I love my sister and adore my nieces, I struggle with what to do with them for Christmas. When they were younger, I went in with my mom and younger sister on complete sets of bedding for each of them. The shipping that year was horrible. One year I put together "spa treatment" kits for them. There was the year of books and the time I sent them each their own little tree with packages of decorating items so they could each decorate their own. Last year, I shopped for a long time to carefully pick out cool clothing for each of them. But every year, after they open their gifts 2000 miles away, they never take 30 seconds to call and let me know if it fit, if they liked it, if they even got it. Never mind a phone call, we're all "friends" on Myspace, I'd be thrilled with a two word note that said "Got it!". It's not that they ask for anything (because they don't). It's not that I expect great kudos and outpourings of eternal gratitude (because I don't). It's that somewhere along the line, they didn't get the memo about common courtesy. They've had a tough life, being raised primarily by a single mom that sometimes acts more like their friend than their mom. But being gracious and acknowledging other people is a required skill in this world. And I worry that without that skill, they're not going to get as far in life as they could have. My sister is a good person who has done the best she can and I love her dearly, but I worry about what she's instilled in her daughters for skills to get through life. When I started this post, I wasn't sure I was going to publish it because I didn't want to come across as being judgmental towards my family. It seems like such a stupid thing to be worried about. But I am.

Friday, December 12, 2008

And the word of the day is...

Steak Butt! Followed by uproarious laughter. Yeah, this is what I get for taking the child shopping with me today. Evidently he found it the last time he went shopping with Mister C and he really wanted to show me. He could hardly contain himself and was sorely disappointed when he couldn't find it. Ah, yes, I am the mother of a boy.

As a side note, I'm fairly certain he was looking for butt steak, but that's not nearly so funny now is it?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Almost matching outfits.

This is the conversation that took place in my car this morning while I was taking Master J to school.

MJ: Hey, we're dressed the same!
Me (looking down): You mean our red shirts?
MJ: Yeah! I mean, I have a black stripe by my wrist, but they're both red.
Me: Yup. We match.
MJ: And we both have jeans on too!
Me: You're right.
MJ: And white socks. We both have white socks!
Me: Yeah, and sneakers too. We really do match don't we?
MJ: Yeah we do.

Long pause.

MJ (straight faced): Do you have fighter jet underpants on too? Hahahahahaha!
Me: Hahahahahaha!

Long pause while we get our giggles under control.

Me: Dude, you crack me up!
MJ: I know. I'm pretty funny huh?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Musically speaking

My son loves music. He always has. Not children's music either. I could never put on music meant for kids. If I tried to casually slip a sing a long or Veggie Tales cd in, he would burst out crying. No kidding. I always considered myself pretty lucky in that respect because I NEVER had to worry about getting some stupid theme song stuck in my head after riding in a car with him. When he was between 1-2 years old, I was sitting with him on my bed watching the news and a commercial came on for Andrea Boccelli. The child stopped dead and listened. I bought the cd and he would request it every time we got in the car. I would look at him in the rear view mirror and he would be sitting there quietly absorbing the music. There's no other way to describe it. He just absorbs it. Classical music was another one he could listen to all day. He was just always moved by truly beautiful music. When we drove to the Polar Express train ride about three hours from here several years ago, we listened to Trans Siberian Orchestra the whole way. There are just certain things that he latches on to. Anyway, I allow Master J to go to sleep to music at night. For eleven months out of the year, his music consists of various artists (from all eras/genres) on cd. His usual music is of the Patsy Cline/Wanda Jackson/Elvis/Jerry Lee Lewis variety. During the day he listens to some of the same artists, but with more recent artists thrown in for good measure. Think Linkin Park, Greenday, All American Rejects and the like. This works well for eleven months of the year. But not December. Because in December, one of the local radio stations plays all Christmas music, all the time. And he somehow found this station. And loves it. Again though, some songs he doesn't care for and others he just loves. So tonight, he's in bed, supposedly winding down, when I suddenly hear an outburst of music. He's not singing any words, more of a "bum ba da bum biddy bum!" type thing. So I head down to see what the ruckus is. And when I look in his room, Master J is sitting up in bed playing "air piano" and singing to the Charlie Brown theme song. At the top of his lungs. So I step in so he can see me and he gives me the biggest grin ever and shouts "I love the Charlie Brown Piano song!!!" and goes back to his air piano. I just shook my head and left him to his music.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Did I tell you about my high priced bookshelf?

I've been searching on Craigslist for a new bookcase for a few weeks now. I put an ad in their "wanted" section describing what I was looking for. I got a few responses that were not at all what I was looking for. Apparently, when people read the wanted ads they don't really "read" the wanted ads. Evidently the phrase "no oak please" is indistinguishable from the phrase "I really want oak" to some people. Anyway, I didn't get any usable responses to my ad, but I did find a bookcase. It looked like almost exactly what I wanted so I contacted the guy and arranged to go get it on Sunday while Master J was at my parent's house. It was quite a ways away from us since we are located on the far Northwest side of town and it was on the far Southeast side. But, it was only $95 and with the price of gas dropping it seemed to be a really good deal. Enter Mister C. Did I mention that we live in an area that employs those wonderful photo enforcement cameras? You know, the ones used to catch speeders? Yeah. Mister C would have almost been doing the speed limit, if he hadn't been in a construction zone. Unfortunately for him, in a construction zone he was doing 12 over the limit. I had just leaned down to pick up something off the floor when he cursed. I popped up and he was shaking his head, complaining about the camera going off. I looked at his speedometer and said "Well of course it went off, you're doing 12 over the limit." To which he replied "No I'm not, I'm 2 over the limit, the speed limit is 65." To which I replied "Except that about a 1/2 mile back the speed limit dropped to 55 because it's a construction zone." More cursing ensued. Bottom line is that my previous "really good deal" just got turned into a "Eh, okay deal" because after he pays the fine for speeding in a construction zone, my bookshelf will now cost $275. For that price I could have bought a new one. Bah!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Amongst the idiots, good people dwell

Well, after much irritation and many false starts, I finally sold Master J's bunk beds last night. I've had them out on Craigslist since Sunday night after we got back from Thanksgiving in La-La Land. I've had at least five people that e-mailed saying they wanted them and asking for my address. After giving my address and phone number, not one of them showed up. I can't tell you how many people e-mailed to ask if I still had them and when I said "yes", they disappeared back into the underbelly of Craigslist. Damned poll takers! What is the point of asking if I have something if you're not interested in buying it? That makes no sense to me. Anyway, I got a really nice e-mail from a lady saying it was exactly what she was looking for and asking if I would be willing to wait until Friday night for her and her husband to pick it up. Having no other viable offers, I of course said I would. She had given her phone number in her email so I called and left a message with her and gave her my number. She actually called back (that was unexpected!) and sounded very excited. About two hours later, she called back again to ask if she could come last night instead. I of course said yes again. Then she called a third time to tell me that they were on the way. They drove an hour and a half to get to my house. They never tried to talk me down on price and they were so excited about the beds and the bedding I was selling with it that I almost felt guilty for selling it to them. They were the kind of people you want to live next door to because they were funny, sweet and easy to talk to. I had a bunch of other stuff that I had planned to take to Goodwill but after I spoke to her the third time I went out and sorted it out. I set aside the clothes I thought would fit her boys and offered them to them when they arrived. I also offered her all my kid sized hangers and some other random things that Master J had outgrown. She took what would work for them and said how amazing it was that everything that they needed, we had. I say some people restore your faith in humanity and sometimes we're blessed enough to come in contact with them as a reminder.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Annnndddd, no.

I didn't get the job that I wasn't sure I wanted. I must say that I'm sort of relieved. My mom asked Master J what he would think if I got a job and he said he would be sad because I wouldn't be able to spend as much time with him. He's never really known me to have a job. Even though I have worked in his lifetime, I always made it so I could drop him off and pick him up from school so it didn't really affect him. I also think that while Mister C would love for me to bring in the extra money, he would be sorely disappointed for me to actually have a job. I do a whole lot of things around here with and for him. Need someone to go for a walk and listen to you vent? I'm there. Pictures need hanging or drywall repaired from the last guy? I can do that. Need work done around the house that I can't do? I'm the one that makes contacts and schedules the people. Packages need to be mailed out? That's me. Lunch? I'm on it. Getting stuff organized, advertised and sold? Yup, me again. Picking out and purchasing his clothing so he doesn't have to? My job. Shopping for holidays and birthdays for his family? Guess who? I'm basically an underpaid personal assistant. But it works for us. So, for now, I'm not going to send out any more resumes or apply for any more jobs unless they really look interesting to me. But after re-reading what I just wrote, I might have to ask for a pay increase!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So about that interview

I showed up 40 minutes early. Because that's just the kind of gal I am. I was afraid of getting caught in traffic and not showing up on time. It's about five miles from my house. When I got there, there was a young man waiting for his interview. He had on a TON of cologne. I loooove me some cologne, but I want to be within two inches before I'm smelling it and I definitely was NOT within two inches of this gentleman. He seemed nice enough though. I signed in and saw that there were only supposed to be four interviewees and I was one of them. It didn't look like the first person had shown up since they hadn't signed in. The guy was next and he got called in about a minute after I arrived. About 10 minutes after he went in, an older woman came in. She was the next interviewee and she went in about five minutes after arriving. About five minutes after she went in, the school secretary came out and locked the doors and turned off most of the lights. Hmmmm, this doesn't look promising. Mostly I was worried that I would fall asleep sitting in the quiet semi-darkness by myself. I have to say though, it was very peaceful there. It was almost meditative. They finally called me in and for whatever reason, I was "on". Let me tell you, if they hire me it won't be because I'm such a talented all around gal. It'll be because I had them laughing their asses off. Cause I'm nothing if not entertaining. Just ask Mister C. I can't even tell you what I said because most of it is a blur, but apparently they found me amusing. So I'll keep you posted on the results, but unless they were specifically looking for the class clown, I'm not really holding my breath.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Let's see how this goes

Prior to moving to Sunshineville, all the way back to April when we first started thinking about moving back here, I started applying for jobs. I've sent my resume to many, many, many companies. I've applied for many, many, many jobs. I have even sent my resume to the local temp agencies. I have not heard one word from anyone. Back in late October I sent in (yet another) application to one of the local school districts for (yet another) supposedly available job. I called several times to check on the job, never actually managing to talk to a person. So eventually, I just thought I really wasn't meant to have employment. Maybe I've been out of work too long being a stay at home mom to be of interest to anyone. But today, out of the blue, I got a call from the school asking if I was still interested in the job. They want to interview me tomorrow afternoon. First things first, I needed a simple black skirt & decent top. I haven't had a full-time, permanent job for over eight years. My closet consists of jeans and tank tops for everyday and a few really nice dresses for parties and weddings. Mister C offered to come with me to pick out my new outfit and he was pretty helpful. On the way out of the store I asked him if he would hire me in my new outfit. His response? "I'd hire you if you were naked." Delivered with a smile. Ahem. Anyway, I'm fairly nervous about interviewing for the first time in forever. I'm also a little worried about the stupid questions they will inevitably ask me because that's the latest thing in interviews. The "why do you want this job?" and "where do you want to be in five years?" questions. Because I can't honestly answer those questions. Because an honest response on the first one would be something along the lines of "Well, I don't really want this job. I don't really want any job. Mostly I'm applying for jobs because Mister C works from home. And I use the term "work" quite loosely here. It seems to me that he spends an awful lot of his work time in my kitchen, hunting for food. And honestly, working in the accounting department of a school for not a whole lot of money wouldn't be my first choice, but you're the only ones that called me. So here I am. In an interview. Answering stupid questions." And then they would thank me for my time and send me on my way. So I guess I'll try a different approach. One whereby I answer the questions as though I actually want the job. Wish me luck with my dishonesty.