Saturday, January 31, 2009

Finally got around to it

When Mister C and I were trying to stage our house in Nebraska for sale, I used some calendars of tropical scenes. I took out seven different pages and put them in black frames that I got from Target and hung them up. They looked really good for a staged house. Not that I think they helped sell my house, but at least I didn't have strangers staring at pictures of my family (I know, how stupid, I write a blog, come on in!)

When we moved into our home in Sunshineville, I hung up those same framed calendar pages on the walls in my dining room and family room. It's not that I loved the pictures, I just wanted to get the pictures up off the floor before they got broken.

For the past few months I have been thinking that I should really go ahead and print out the photos I wanted to put in there instead, but I never got around to it. The few times I did try just happened to be times when Mister C, for whatever reason, had me blocked from the photos. I did put two of Master J's school photos up about a month ago.

Today, I finally got around to printing out three pictures and putting them in the frames and hanging them back on the wall. I am so excited. Not because they are necessarily fantastic pictures. More because they are photos of places one or both of us has been and either we or someone we love took the photo. They are a reminder of what is important to us, not just pretty pictures of places we'd like to go.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I have included the three photos.

This is Mister C hiking down into the Grand Canyon on the Boucher Trail. I believe our good friend D-Man took this.

This is a sea arch off the coast of Hawaii. I had to hang over the edge of the rock wall that's supposed to keep you from falling in the ocean. I am horribly afraid of heights.

Mister C took this photo of Havasu Falls on one of his many excursions down into the Grand Canyon.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting the bug

I've been re reading a book I bought last year called "a child's garden" by Molly Dannenmaier. I love, love, love this book. It is so full of great ideas for building, planting and creating outdoor space for children. I have read it several times already. The title pretty much sums up what this book is about. But it goes much deeper than just your everyday garden.

I'm sure I'm not the only parent out there that thinks the great outdoors is good for my child. As a whole, I think kids today spend too little time outside. Too little time soaking in the sunshine, breathing fresh air, feeling grass on their feet. They spend too much time sitting indoors, in front of televisions or computers. It's not good for them.

The sun avoidance faction would have us believe that any sun touching our skin is bad for us. I think that couldn't be farther from the truth. Obviously, neither we nor our children should be sitting in the sun for hours on end unprotected. But the complete lack of sunlight touching our skin isn't good either. We need it.

Water is another element that gets a lot of mention in this book. Again, there is a section of the population that encourages us to avoid having any unfenced water on our property in order to avoid any chance of danger. And again, unsupervised children around sources of water is a dangerous combination. There is a reason so many children drown each year. They are drawn to water. It is in our nature to want to get closer to water. It's fascinating how it moves, sounds, feels. Again, we need it.

Then there are the plants. The act of planting, of putting our hands in the dirt, of seeing the results of our labors. It's good for us. It's good for our children. Children learn through their senses. I would argue that in order for them to fully develop, they need to learn through all of their senses.

So now that I'm reading this book again, I'm getting the urge to start putting together some things outside. Hopefully, Master J will help me out. He usually does. I guess even if I'm completely wrong about needing sunshine, water and plants, spending time with Master J has to make a difference in his life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I didn't learn in kindergarten

How not to glue my fingers to paper. Again. I am not kidding. I was was trying to glue Master J's book report page to a piece of construction paper. The only glue I could find was Gorilla glue. I put it on, put the paper together, pressed down and voila! My finger was glued to the paper. So I pulled it off. And now I have a hunk of orange construction paper glued to my thumb. And I cannot get it off. So now, until it wears off whenever, I get to walk around with the orange tag of gooberness on me. And Mister C's resonse to this latest fiasco? Just a shake of the head and a sigh. Yeah, I'm with him on this one. I can't believ I'm such a goof either.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dwarfism revisited

I'm starting to think that the vet may have neglected to tell me a few things when he mentioned that Hooligan may have some form of dwarfism. For instance, the cat doesn't "meow" so much as make a raspy squeak. At first I thought it was a leftover from his surgery, like maybe they scratched his little throat with the breathing tube or something. But last night when I fed the cats their weekly ration of the good stuff (canned food) it hit home that he really has no voice. I had the Idiot and Antagonizer just meowing up a storm, loudly. And then, in between their wails, I would hear a little raspy noise that was Hooligan. It was pathetic really. The poor kitten is destined to be stuck with a permanent kitty whisper. He also still has some goofiness with his legs. His front legs kind of splay out to the side sometimes. For instance, tonight I went to move him from one place on my lap to another, and his arms just flung out to the sides and when I put him down he was on his chest instead of his feet. Or he'll get on his back in a small space and be unable to right himself. He just flails away until I notice and help him out. Mister C has taken to referring to Hooligan as "Runt" because he really hasn't grown a whole bunch either. All in all, he's probably the goofiest cat I've ever had. Having said that, he sure does love me. He gets on the bed every night and curls up with me. Actually he prefers to curl up on me. On my throat. With his chin resting on mine. And then he purrs for a least an hour. And his purr? Well, it's the only thing about him that isn't stunted. His purr is the loudest purr I have every heard on any cat. You can hear it across the room. Which makes it a tad bit difficult to sleep.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bedtime stories

Yesterday in my class, our teacher asked for a show of hands of people who were landlords. About a third of us raised our hands. And then he asked how many of us had read the Landlord/Tenant Act and my hand drifted down. As did all of the other students in class. Our teacher was appalled. And he highly suggested that we locate and read it. So I did. Oh. My. Goodness. This stuff is so dry it makes your tongue swell.

First of all, I need to read the laws for two states since we currently own a rental in our previous state of residence and I hope to own more in my current state. I did get through my previous state's laws earlier today. Despite the lawyers attempts to make that impossible. Let me give you an example:

A person knows or has knowledge of a fact if he has actual knowledge of it.

That is an actual sentence pulled from the Nebraska Landlord/Tenant Law. I mean really. This is not some glaring oddball sentence either. The whole thing is like that. All 49 pages of the section that I needed to read.

So now I've moved on to my new states laws and it has not gotten any easier. Which is why I'm writing this blog entry now. It's also why I've been over on Facebook a few times (okay, more than a few). And I may or may not have played a few games of minesweeper. Because if I have to sit still and only read this stuff, I'm going to be passed out from confused boredom before I untangle one page of lawyerese.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My first day back in school

I started real estate school today. I had to do the orientation class for 20 minutes before they let us start the real school. It's pretty basic, they just tell you what you need and in what order you need to do it. There was only five of us in the orientation and as a side note, two of them came in late. One by 5 minutes, one by 15. I only mention that because that is one of the things that drives me absolutely insane about agents. Someone once told me that if I did two things right, I would be better than most agents out there. Those two things were simple, return phone calls in a timely manner, and show up on time when we're supposed to be meeting. That's it. I know from talking with all the people in class in Nebraska that most of them had the same issue. They wanted to buy a house. They had the means to make a down payment. They had the financing in place. But they couldn't get an agent to return their calls or show up on time to show them a house. That's pretty pathetic if you ask me. Now, I'm not naive enough to think I'm going to be able to make a business out of returning phone calls and showing up on time. I know that agents, the good ones anyway, offer a vast amount of knowledge that most people don't know. They help people with what is probably one of the biggest decisions they will probably make in their life. One of the most expensive too. At the end of the day, if they do their job correctly, everybody leaves the table satisfied. I just hope that I don't lose business because of something so simple as common courtesy.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Getting sucked in to Facebook

How is possible to waste so much time on Facebook? I'm not talking about the conversations going back and forth with friends either. That takes up time but I think it's usually worthwhile. I'm talking about "profile surfing". I'm talking about going in to a friends' friends (did I apostrophe that correctly?)and seeing who they know. And then running across someone you used to know and hey, what have they been up to? Oh look, they have kids, and dogs, and lives. And now I feel like a lurker for looking at it without being invited. I guess I'm going to have to make a concerted effort to not waste my time on these endeavors in the future. I have so many things that I could be doing instead. My suspicion is that my Facebook time will be severely cut back starting tomorrow once I get going on my classes. Which is probably a good thing.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Frustration is not quite the word I'm looking for

I have been trying to watch what I eat and exercise faithfully. I am a member of an online group that helps me keep track of exactly what I eat and how much I exercise. When I first started, I thought I was doing fairly well on my food. Then one day, I realized I could push a button and see a chart of how my diet breaks down. Turns out that while I was staying close to my maximum calories each day, a majority of my calories were coming from fat. That can't be good can it? So I modified. I started really paying attention to what I was eating, being sure to chose healthier, more natural foods over the stuff I really like. It hasn't been the easiest. But, for the last week, my diet breakdown was pretty much in line with what they suggest. I stayed towards the lower end of my calorie range every day. I drank water every day. And I exercised for 337 minutes. That's over 48 minutes per day on average. And when I stepped on the scale do you know what I got? An extra two pounds. Well, hell.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A trip down memory lane...

The following is an incident that was previously on another blog I was doing through one of the social networking sites. I was thinking about this incident the other day and thought I would put it out here for your reading pleasure. And to give you yet another glimpse into the insanity that is my life.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The army revolts (or the revolted army)

So we've been working on a new behavior plan for Master J that includes little green army men. Essentially, if he gets through a certain number of hours in a day with a minimum amount of disobedience he earns an army man. If he earns a certain number of army men, he gets to pick out a larger item (a tank, jet, etc.) So far, so good. Mister C came up with and started this plan while I was back East last Friday and we've had pretty good success with it so far. Yesterday I was doing some cleaning in my kitchen when Master J came in the room with his previously earned army men calling the cat with him. The following interchange then ensued between Master J, the Antagonizer and myself:

MJ: Come on Antagonizer, time to pick your army man.
TA: Mrroow!
Me: What are you doing?
MJ: Well, Antagonizer is earning army men
Me: How does she do that?
MJ: If she's nice to the dog, or lets me pet her or stays off the counters and stuff I let her pick an army man
Me: What does she do with it?
MJ: She picks it out and plays with it.
MJ: Okay Antagonizer, are you ready?
TA: Mmmmmraoow!
He dumps his army men in a pile and Antagonizer starts looking through them. Eventually, she chooses one, picks it up and sets it in between her paws.
MJ: Good job Antagonizer!
TA: Mmmrow.
The cat bats the army man around for a few minutes while James plays with the rest of them. Then she tires of it and decides to start bathing herself, at which point Master J gets a horrified expression and snapping the army man back up says "Antagonizer, no more army men for you until you stop licking your bottom!" So much for don't ask, don't tell.

Bird of Paradise

This was blooming outside my front door today. It's things like this that remind me why I love living in Sunshineville.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Creative genius trying to get educated

I'm all signed up and ready to start my real estate classes on Monday. It will be three days a week for six weeks, plus an additional six hour class at the end. Once I pass the exams for the classes, I can sit for the exam for the license. But first I need to have hiring papers from a broker. Which should be interesting because I'm still not sure I actually want to work. I guess I'll deal with that over the next few weeks. But anyway, at least some of this material should be review for me since I've been through the class in Nebraska and while real estate law does vary state to state, some things will never change.

In other news, I think I have the whole triple concept worked out for Master J's birthday cake. It took a lot of thinking out loud and bouncing ideas but I believe I have an idea that just might work. I'm going to make the bucket of popcorn, that's a given. But instead of trying to figure out how to integrate the Transformers and tornadoes into the cake, I'm going to cheat. I'm going to use icing on graham crackers to create the base for movie tickets for the films "Transformers" & "Twister". I'm going to make a ticket for each guest at the party. How cool is that idea? Now the problem will be implementing my grand idea. I think I'm really more of an idea gal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting back on track

Last year, while we were still in Nebraska, I started going to real estate school. I had hoped to get my license pretty quickly and passed the first required class with no issue. But then we changed our plan and moved down to Sunshineville, so getting a license in Nebraska no longer made a whole lot of sense. Each state requires you to have a set number of classroom hours in that state, which means that I get to start over again. Not that that is a bad thing. Review is always a good thing, right? I've started looking into the local schools around here and it looks like I can take classes all day both Saturday and Sunday and be done in 4 1/2 weeks. I've got the go ahead from Mister C to register for the classes, so now I just need to wait for tomorrow morning when I can talk with a human at the school and get it done. Taking weekend classes means I'm going to miss out on the family hike for the next month, but I'm really looking forward to learning again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And just how am I supposed to integrate that?

Every year since Master J's first birthday, I have made him a birthday cake. Well, every year except for the disastrous year we were at my in-laws, but we won't count that one. For his first birthday I made him a baseball cake with a bunch of little baseball cupcakes for our guests. That was pretty easy overall. For his second birthday, I made him a fire engine. A little more difficult, but certainly doable. For his third, he was into race cars, which was pretty much the same difficulty as the previous year. His fourth birthday was the year of suckiness which we shall not discuss. For his fifth birthday, he was really into trains and he wanted a party at that horrific rat palace known as Chuck E. Cheese. There's a reason they usually serve beer in those places, it's absolute insane. That year, he had twelve of his classmates and I made each of the them their own miniature train, along with the full sized one for the adults. That was a big ole pain. It took me many, many hours to decorate each of those little trains and the monsters ate the frosting off and left the cake. I could have just as easily put out a bowl of frosting with twelve spoons and had the same reaction. I honestly cannot figure out what we did for his sixth birthday. It is a blank. He cannot remember either, and neither can my mom. I have no evidence that there even was a party. I may have to check into that, he may have been shorted a cake and you just know that will be the thing that comes out in therapy later. Moving on. Last year, he was really getting into playing Scrabble and he requested a Scrabble themed cake. Oh yes, sister, he did. It took some figuring out, and more than a few hours, but I got that cake done and he was thrilled. So, here it is, about 7 weeks before his birthday, and I sit down to talk with him about his birthday and what kind of cake he would like. We ended up with 18 different ideas and started narrowing down from there. When we got to the final three, he couldn't decide and he asked if I could please figure out a way to put all three together in some sort of cake. His three remaining ideas? Transformers, tornadoes and a bucket of popcorn. Yeah, this is going to be fun.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not a lot of sun, a whole lot of fur

This is what happens when only one window is pouring sunshine into the room, and everybody wants some.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How I spent my day

Eating, while sitting on the couch, watching television. We caught up on several PBS shows that we had tivo'd previously and haven't had a chance to watch with Mister C's travel schedule. And we watched football. Go Cards! We did manage to extricate ourselves from the couch long enough to go for a 45 minute family walk after we finished watching the Arizona game. Sundays are quickly becoming my favorite day of the week.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Regional differences

We were driving home after picking up our Saturday pizza, which always follows our Saturday hike, when Master J asked what a Hoagie and a grinder were. He had noticed the words printed on the pizza box and, growing up in the Southwest, he had never heard of either one. So I explained that both were basically like the sandwiches he gets at Subway (I know, try not to turn me in for child abuse) but that they came from different parts of the country. For example, I grew up in Connecticut with grinders. Had I visited Philly, I could have had a similar sandwich by ordering a hoagie (or hoagy, whichever). But then, I threw him a curve ball and told him that they were referred to as submarines in a whole lot of places as well. Or subs for short. He looked at me and asked if I was joking. When I told him that in fact I was not joking, he looked to Mister C to confirm. Mister C backed me up and even went on to explain that they looked like real submarines because of their shape. There was a moment of silence in the back seat and then he said "I think it would be really awesome if they had periscopes on them!"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hooligan, Master of disguise

I went to pick up the Hooligan from the vets office today after he spent the night there. I walked up to the desk and told them who I was there to pick up and was greeted with the following:

Collectively: Awwwww!
Girl #1: He is soooo sweet!
Girl #2: Oh my god, he is such a love!
Girl #3: He's totally a staff favorite!
Girl #1 (to the back) Who wants to bring Hooligan up front?
Various: Oh I will! I want to!

Now, I'm not totally convinced they completely understood who it is I'm asking for so I ask them if they're sure we talking about the same Hooligan. Because a week ago, at a different vet's office, he bit the vet and two techs. So I want to be sure they're bringing me my cat. They assure me they are indeed bringing out the one and only sweetheart, Hooligan. One of the techs comes from the back with my kennel and what looks to be my cat in it and sets it down to go over his paperwork. While we're talking, another girl wanders to the front.

Girl #1: Hooligan is going home.
New girl: Oh no! Really? Where is he?
Girl #1 points over towards me.
New girl (taking Hooligan out of his kennel): I'm going to miss you! (kiss, kiss) You are so sweet! (kiss, kiss) You come back and visit us! (kiss, kiss)

For his part, Hooligan purred up a storm and head butted her in the chin. As we left there was a chorus of "Bye! Bring him back any time!". I checked the kennel again just to be sure it was him.

When we arrived home and I let him out of his kennel, he immediately pounced on the Antagonizer and bit her head. OH! Now I recognize you!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Lollipop Guild

I took the Hooligan to a new vet today and while I was there talking with the vet, I asked him about my kitten's oddly short tail. Now, before you think I'm being weird, take a look at a "normal" cat's tail. Could it touch the ground if it were hanging down? Yes? The Hooligan's can't. It's not bobbed or manx-like, it's short. And crooked. Then there's his legs. They look...different. They're short and kind of squatty looking. And he looks kind of bow-legged in the front. And did I mention that his butt sits higher than his shoulders? That can't be right. His eyes are sort of small as well. Overall, he looks...goofy. I stand by that as an educated and highly specific description for his condition. The vet agrees (sort of). He looked the Hooligan over very carefully. He picked him up and eyed him from all sides and every angle. He rotated the Hooligan's shoulders and felt of all his joints. He ran his hands over his whole body starting at his ears and going to the tip of his short, kinked up tail. And then, he told me that my new kitten appears to have some sort of dwarfism. What? Is that even possible? How can something that's less than a foot tall full grown have dwarfism? How would you even know? And how much inbreeding would be required to get to this point? So, I guess I can add one more oddball to the mix. I swear I cannot pick a normal animal. From the first cat that I picked out when I was 19 that turned out to be retarded (long story, another day) all the way through to this, not one has been "normal". Sheesh! I either have really bad luck, or I have some sort of magnet for the ones with special needs. Actually, if I think back over the men that have been in my life, I'm not so sure this magnet doesn't work on them as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Medicine may cause inappropriate laughter

I didn't post very much yesterday since I had my dental appointment in the morning and spent most of the rest of the day just slothing around. Remember how I said I had to take medicine just to get in the door? Well, I got in, but the medicine didn't really kick in until I was leaving. So next time I guess I'll take it about 45 minutes earlier if I want it to actually work. That will probably help to save my palms from my nails as well. Anyway, I made it through intact and my tooth doesn't hurt any more and the was the whole purpose so I guess it's all good.

Master J had a tough day at school yesterday. He got sent to the principal's office for hitting a child in the face with his lunch bag. Why would he take a swing at a classmate with his perishables? Well, in his own words (to the principal), "You know I'm sensitive and he told me I have baby teeth." I should note here that when the principal told me what he said, I burst out laughing. Ahem. In my defense, please see the first paragraph where I mention that the medicine kicked in after the appointment. I plead temporary, medicated, inappropriateness. Anyway, it turns out that the other boy had no ill intent, he was just making a comment and he felt very badly about it as well. Both boys apologized to each other, but Master J had to hang out in the front office for the rest of his day. Oh, and while he was up there working, he cut a chunk out of his hair and his sleeves with some scissors. I had to shave his head down to 1/4 inch all over to hide the missing hunk. And he had to pay me $10 out of his "garbage truck fund" for the ruined shirt. Just one of those days. But it should be noted that this is the first time he's had to visit the principal's office since we moved here almost three months ago.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There should be no rest for the wicked...

But evidently there is. After a hard day of tormenting everyone in the house, our favorite Hooligan was found recharging. Looks like he runs on solar power.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why I hate the dentist

Back in December, I finally got around to scheduling all my appointments that I had been putting off for almost two years. I got my physical, pap, mammogram and dermatological check (for moles). Everything came back normal so that was a huge relief.

After Christmas, I made an appointment for a dental cleaning and to check what I thought was a loose filling. That was last Thursday. Turns out I was sort of right about the filling. I have very few in the first place, but one of them on my back molar is cracked and coming up. And yes, I most likely caused this with my jaw clenching just prior to Christmas. So tomorrow I get to go in and have it replaced. I cannot tell you how much I hate having my teeth worked on. I know, I know, nobody loves the dentist (except for Master J, but he's a goofball). But I REALLY hate going.

About seventeen years ago, I had a horrible experience that nearly killed me and forever turned me off dentists. I am not exaggerating about that either. I ended up in emergency surgery to remove a rather large abscess that had formed in my throat and was slowly suffocating me. And before you ask, no, that is not why I am such an airhead. I've always been this way.

This whole situation was caused by an incompetent dentist that pulled an infected wisdom tooth and then "forgot" to treat the infection. My first indication of his incompetence was when he asked if I'd ever had the nitrous gas before and when I said "no" he replied that it was "just like smoking pot". Oh. My. God. Unfortunately, by the time I finished that thought, the mask was on my face and it was too late. Plus, the tooth hurt like hell and I really wanted it out. Bad choice. That pain was NOTHING compared to the pain that was to follow.

Once the Novocaine wore off, my tooth started throbbing. I was taking the recommended dose of Tylenol and, when that wasn't helping, I started taking Advil. By the end of the next day, I was still in such pain that I went back to the dentist where I was told that I had dry socket. He packed the hole with medicated gauze and sent me home. The next day it was worse so back I go again. He treats me again for the supposed dry socket and sends me home. Sometime that evening, around 10:00 pm, I was in really bad shape so my (now ex) husband called the dentist and he agreed to meet my husband in the parking lot to give him pain medication for me. That's right, 10:00 at night, in a parking lot. And the medicine he gave him? Percocet. With someone else's name on it. But at that point, I didn't care whose name was on it, I just wanted the pain to stop. The dosage was 1 pill every six hours. By the next day, I was taking two pills every four hours and it wasn't touching the pain. I wanted to die.

By now my jaw would not open. I had to stuff the pills through what little gap remained between my upper and lower jaw and chase it down with water through a straw. The next day, my husband decided that he'd had enough. Apparently, I had kept him up all the previous night, moaning in pain. First thing in the morning he made an appointment to have an oral surgeon look at me. His mom agreed to take me in since I was in no condition to drive.

I remember sitting in the chair and having them try to pry my jaw open. I remember more pain than I have ever had before or since and then just bits and pieces of the next 12 hours. They had an iv line in just in case they needed it so when they pried, and I screamed, they knocked me out. My mother in law, two rooms away heard me scream and came running. Once they got my jaw open and saw the abscess, they called the hospital that was right next door and told them they were bringing me in. They wheeled me through the parking lot, straight in to surgery where they removed the abscess and put a drain in my throat. I woke up some time that evening to the sound of my (then) brother in laws voice asking what would happen if they turned my bed around to face the wall. Other than being very confused as to where I was, I felt immensely better. My throat was a little sore from the surgery & the drain, but the pain was almost gone. I stayed in the hospital for two days on antibiotics and got sent home with a bag of medicine and instructions to do a bunch of jaw exercises until I could open my mouth normally again. I waited a full year before I had the other three wisdom teeth pulled and I've hated the dentist ever since. So tomorrow, before I go in for what should be a relatively minor repair, I get to take some medicine to help me relax. And that's just to get me into the office. Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Go Cards!

A big shout out to the announcer at the Ravens/Cardinals game that prior to the game said "I don't know why the Cardinals even got on the plane." Thanks for giving them a reason to completely obliterate the Ravens. Woot! Woot!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Typical Saturday in Mirthville

Mister C has been traveling quite a bit lately. And by quite a bit, I mean, he leaves Monday morning before 5:00 am and returns home Friday night around 8:00. Kind of cuts in on family time. So on Saturdays, we've made it a point to try and do something as a family. And the past four Saturdays, that something has been going for a hike on one of the local mountains. Today's hike was one of the easier ones in that there was only about 45 minutes worth of going (mostly) uphill before we got to the top and could start heading (mostly) downhill. I ended up running towards the end because I actually had some energy left. Then, on one of the switchbacks, I looked up to see Master J running down the mountain. I did a double take because the last I had heard before I took off running, was Master J starting in with some whining about being tired. And here he was, running. Talk about competitive! Mister C was further back with ADHD Girl coming down at a reasonable rate. Now, I could have slowed down and let Master J catch up with me. I could have, but I didn't. Because I knew that if I kept running, he would too. And he would do everything in his power to beat me. He's just that competitive. So I ran. And as I got to the last switchback, I checked where he was and he was catching up. The final downhill is straight so I couldn't see him, but as I got further down it, I could hear his footsteps pounding the trail behind me. I didn't look back. I could hear him getting progressively closer so I sped up. And he did as well. I did get to the bottom first. But not by much. Maybe 10 seconds or so. Then, we stood around and talked smack for five minutes while waiting for Mister C to finally get down the mountain. Ahh, family bonding!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday wrap up

I decided that today's post was going to wrap up some loose ends from previous postings so here we go...

How's that leash working out? Well, it's getting better. The first few times were basically repeats of the first incident where we ended up with a lump of non-moving furball. Today I took the Antagonizer outside on her leash and after laying on the patio for about 30 minutes she decided to explore. Explore consisted of belly crawling a few steps every 30 seconds or so until she felt comfortable enough to walk upright (about 30 minutes later). As soon as she was comfortable, she promptly backed out of her harness. I'm going to have to work on that.

Has the Hooligan acquired a name? Yeah, but I can't print it here. He's being declawed next week. 'Nuff said.

Did Mister C arrive safely in his baby bird? Yup. He got to his location on time and in one piece. He's flying back as I type this and I have no fear. I think I may have just been reacting to the amount of traveling he's been doing lately.

I think that about wraps it up. I'm waiting for my mom to arrive with a club sandwich and a chocolate shake. The shake is supposedly for Master J but I think a little quality control might be in order. My mom works at a fantastic little vintage restaurant called MacAlpines in Phoenix. They have the BEST ice cream concoctions you'll ever run across. If you're ever in town, I would highly recommend them. Anyway, I'm off to waylay Mom at the door. Master J can smell a chocolate shake from a mile away and I want to get the jump on him.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hi, my name is Mirth and I'm an addict...

So I got tagged by K-Mom over at The Mommy Diaries with my very first meme. I'm so happy (wiping a tear), I never thought I'd get one of these things. Thanks, K-Mom!

I guess I need to mention that I'm supposed to put out there my top five addictions. I should also say that that's probably a good thing. I mean, that there are only five and all. I could probably keep my dark ones to myself and still get a decent list. After I narrow my list down to five, I'm supposed to tag five other bloggers out there so they can continue on.

Without further ado...

5. Coffee. All day. Every day. From the time I wake up, to just before I go to bed. I'm drinking a cup right now and it's almost 9:30. And no, it does not keep me up all night.

4. My fish. Not the kind you eat, the kind you watch. Currently I "only" have one big tank (125 gallons) full of cichlids and one small one for my giant betta. At one time I tried my hand at breeding bettas and had over 70 of the little guys in tanks around my house. Mister C was not impressed.

3. Rock Band on Wii. Yup. It's a new addiction, but one which I am happily feeding into. I cannot quit until I get it right, and since I really kind of suck at it...

2. Surfing Craigslist. I know, I know, what a waste of time. But you have to admit there are some damn funny things out there sometimes. If only they would update the "best of" more often.

1. Books. At any given time I am reading 2-3 books. Put me in an old library or used book store and I'm in Heaven.

And since I'm fairly new to blogging, and don't have many bloggy friends, three of my nominees are blogs I love to read as opposed to bloggers I actually know. I hope they're okay with that. And that I haven't broken any blog laws.

1. loaves and fishes
2. cake wrecks
3. Burgh Baby
4. from the planet of janet
5. My friend Brandy would be here if only she would start her damn blog up.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Trying to keep a straight face is difficult at best

When I picked Master J up at school today, his teacher told me that he had a book in his backpack that he should probably read to me so he could take an AR test on it tomorrow. Every day at his school, Master J has the opportunity to take a test on a book he has read so he can earn points. I'm not really sure what he gets for his points, but I know he earns well over the minimum every month. Anyway, after we got home, Master J said he didn't really want to read the book to me because he had already read it to himself earlier. I told him that instead of him reading it aloud to me, I would just ask him random questions from the book to see if he had indeed read it. So I was just flipping through, asking a question every few pages, when I came across a reference to Philadelphia and it's nickname. Annnnddd, here we go...

Me: What city did they go to next?
MJ: Philadelpia
Me: And what is Philadelphia's nickname?
MJ (looking confused): Weeeelll, is it "The city of loving boys?"
Me: Snort! Um, no dear. It would be "The city of brotherly love"
MJ: Same thing.
Me: Not so much. Please try really hard to get that one right if they ask, okay?
MJ: Okay. So are we done with this?
Me: I hope so.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Hooligan's portrayal of Dracula

I don't think I can even begin to explain what is going on here other than to say that it went on long enough for me to go get my camera from another room and take several shots before this one. I will just mention that ADHD Girl has patience beyond what I ever would have guessed or could have hoped for. The Hooligan? Well, obviously, he has some issues with personal space. And anger management. And possibly a Napoleon complex as well.

It's tough not being as smart as your kid

So there I was, minding my own business, trying to read a book, when Master J (who was supposed to be watching an episode of NOVA about absolute zero) starts a conversation.

MJ: Why can't I see my own nose?
Me: Ummm,I have no idea.
MJ: I can see the outline, but not the nose itself. Isn't that odd?
Me: Not really. I don't think you're supposed to see your own nose.
MJ: Why not?
Me: I have no idea.
MJ: So what's another word for "alone"?
Me: You mean like "solitary"?
MJ: Yeah, but what other words would mean the same thing?
Me: I guess you could say "by myself"
MJ: That's not a word, that's two words.
Me: Aren't you watching a show? I would think that show needs all of your attention. What have you learned about absolute zero?
MJ: That it's 274 degrees below zero. Celcius.
Me: Oh. Isn't it time for bed?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bad Dream...literally

Mister C is flying out this morning to work in some small town in Oregon. When he has these early morning flights, I usually set my alarm and wake him up. There is a logical reason for this. He's what you call a "slow-waker". His alarm clock is one of those five alarm fire alarms that could wake the dead, and he doesn't turn it off. He doesn't turn it off because he doesn't hear it. For. A. Very. Long. Time. My alarm, is set to go off to music. Very quiet music. I am a very light sleeper. So, since I'm going to get woken up anyway, I'd rather wake up to my alarm and poke and prod Mister C until he finally gets up. So this what we did this morning. And after he showered and kissed me goodbye, I went back to sleep for a little bit. And that's when I had the dream.

In this dream, I was taking Mister C to the airport in a car that wasn't mine. As we were getting on the highway, he got out and I was teasing him that I was going to leave him there on the side of the highway. And then I did. Just left him there on the side of the road. Now, my thought process was that I would drive up to the next turn-a-round and go back and get him. But I kept looking in the rear-view mirror and he was already gone and I couldn't find a turn-a-round. When I finally found one, I immediately took it but when I started driving, nothing looked familiar. The highway soon turned into a dirt road running through a field. The next thing I knew, I was on some mud trail in the woods that looked like it was meant for four wheeling. I was getting desperate to find my way out and get back to pick up Mister C because I just knew he was going to miss his airplane. I ran across some people that I knew (at least, I think I knew them) and they said they would take me back to the highway to find Mister C. But these people were a bit unorganized. Their son was supposed to take me to the highway, but he was still sleeping and I couldn't wake him up. The parents were busy taking their (many) dogs for a walk before they went to work. And can I mention that one of their dogs was a bright blue? I asked them about it and they told me it was just his shampoo that hadn't been rinsed properly. Anyway, the son finally started waking up and he, his little sister and I piled onto his four wheeler. But then he had to do one more thing so I got off. And he left without me. So now, I'm standing in the house with the parents and their many cats (the dogs apparently turned into cats, not sure why)and I reach into my pocket and pull out Mister C's phone. And I start panicking because if I have his phone, how am I going to call him to find out where he is? So I started looking for my phone and when I can't find it, I think maybe I should call it on his phone because maybe we just switched phones for some reason. So I call it. And I hear it ringing. And I know that I have both phones and this can't be good. And when I pull out my phone, I see that Mister C has sent me a text message and all it says is "HELP ME" and across the top of the screen are the words "Baby bird".

And that, is when I wake up in a panic. Because, as I said at the beginning, Mister C is flying out this morning. And an airplane could be like a bird, right? So I call him and tell him about my dream and he laughs and says it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And then he mentions that he wants some coffee, but the coffee shop is on the other side of the terminal. He goes on to say that even though they haven't started loading the plane yet, once they do, it won't take long because it's a small plane (baby bird) today. And I think to myself that is a very bad sign, because didn't he just ask for help from the "Baby bird"? And for the first time ever, I asked him not to get on the plane. But he did anyway because he has job to do. And now I just hope that this is one time when my very vivid dream is very off the mark.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

One of those days

Today was just one of those days when you wonder why you even bothered to get out of bed in the morning. Master J was an absolute nut job most of the day. Loud. Chaotic. Frantic. Non-listening. Seeking sensory feedback like there's no tomorrow. Just, not a good day behavior wise. Mister C was overly sensitive this morning to a simple question on my part. The question really required no more than a "yes" or "no" answer, but it got turned into a defensive argument over who was the most offensive in their words. Both dogs spent the day trying to either eat the new kitten's food or clean his litter box. The kitten spent his day alternating between being the sweetest little doll ever born, to being the offspring of Satan. I have the scratches that correspond with the dark side. The Idiot threw up blood and tried to bite me repeatedly. I dread what that means, but am fairly sure it will not end well. So now that Master J is in bed, Mister C is in his office and all the creatures are laying around, I'm going to get a Dreyer's fruit bar in lemon and hope that the stress of my day melts along with it. Tomorrow is a new day. Thank goodness.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Hooligan

So this is the Hooligan. We haven't decided on an actual name for him yet as I just picked him up this morning at a satellite adoption site of the Humane Society. I've been looking for an orange and white male kitten for awhile now. The personality on this color/gender combination is notoriously good. Ask most vets what the most laid back, sweetest cat is and they will tell you "an orange or orange and white male" every time. Every day I go onto the humane society's website and search. A few times I've seen them, but by the time I can go, they're gone. Every time. So today, when I went on the website and it said this little guy was going to be at a nearby Petsmart, I showed Mister C the picture and he gave me the go ahead to go get him. I honestly didn't think he would still be there when I arrived, but he was. When the gal running the place pulled him out of his kennel and handed him to me, his loud motor started running. He head butted me and tucked his head under my chin and purred louder than any kitten I've ever been around. I thought he was just the sweetest little thing I'd ever seen. He spent the whole trip home rubbing up against the bars of his kennel. I was thinking of naming him Romeo because he was such a lover. He was a good actor. Since being home, he has aimed flying karate kicks at ADHD Girl repeatedly. She is know flinching when he struts across the room. He's swiped the nose of the Intellectual enough times that she has lost interest in getting to know him. The Antagonizer has probably fared the best in that he hasn't actually attacked her yet. She's keeping tabs on his activities and doesn't seem in the least bit perturbed by his antics. I tried cuddling him again like I did at the adoption location. Yeah. He bit me. Nice. I'm really hoping this is just a little "getting acquainted" chaos. Please. Let this be a short phase. Please.

Friday, January 2, 2009

So I got my cat a leash...

The Antagonizer has been bolting out the back door every chance she gets lately. With two dogs and Master J perpetually going in or out, she's been getting a lot of chances. Three separate times today I had to shove her back in the house with my foot which, by the way, is no easy feat considering her sizable girth. On another occasion today she actually managed to get past me and dove under the patio furniture. Nice. I had to crawl under the end of it on my dusty patio to drag her fat ass out so I could toss her back in the house. So tonight, when I went out on some errands, I stopped by the nearest Petsmart to check out my options. For just under $20, I found a purple cat harness and matching leash. Awesome! My thought process here is that maybe, just maybe, if I take her outside under controlled conditions, she'll lose the urge to bolt every chance she gets. I brought home my new prize and called the cat. She's like a dog in the respect that she actually comes when she's called. Although, that may now be a thing of the past. The Intellectual was under Mister C's desk taking a snooze and ADHD Girl was sitting next to me watching to see what was going to happen. The Antagonizer shows up and starts chirping at me as I'm dragging this ensemble out of the bag. She's very interested in this new thing. What could it be? New toy? Something to eat? What is it, hmmmm? Well my little obnoxious friend, this is your new ticket to freedom. I tried to adjust the harness to the correct size before trying it on her figuring that I'm probably not going to have a whole bunch of luck adjusting it after it's on. Good call on my part, but more about that in a minute. The harness has two loops, connected by several other strips, ending in a metal circle on the top for the leash to attach to. I slid the neck loop over her head and dragged it down so I could get the other loop around her chest. Now, at this point, The Antagonizer is figuring out that she can neither eat nor play with this and is rapidly losing interest in being cooperative. So she "melts". I'm not sure how else to explain what she did other than to say she melted. Her whole body just turned into a furry pile of jell-o. Suddenly, instead of ten pounds of solid mass to stuff into this harness, I have warm goo and it doesn't really want to go anywhere. Thinking to outsmart her, I grab one front leg and stuff it through the loop. Which is great, but now what? I try to flip her over to her other side to get the other front foot in, but no, suddenly I'm looking at her tail. What the hell? Where are her front feet? I poke around in the fur until I come up with a front foot and stuff it through the loop. Woo-hoo! I got her in. But when I try to buckle the harness, I realize that both front feet are in through the same part of the loop and that just can't be right. She is laying there like a rag doll, refusing to look at me. I take the second loop completely off her feet and start over. After several attempts, I finally get one front foot through each side of the chest loop. Now to buckle. But the buckle is on her side. The side she's laying on, and she's not getting up. I have to roll her over to get to the buckle because once again, she's being goo and refusing to help me. Finally! Got the harness on properly and I think it's adjusted pretty close to the right size. So I snap the leash on to the ring and stand up. Now, right about now I'm sort of hoping that the cat jumps up and realizes what a great thing this is. I've seen cats walking on leashes before and they always look pretty happy. My cat looks disgusted. She has her back to me and is refusing to look directly at me. So I give the leash a little tug. The cat looks over her shoulder at me and I swear to you the look on her face was "you have GOT to be kidding me!" There may have been an eye-roll as well but I'm not certain on that. I gently pull on the leash, just barely picking her chest off the floor. The Antagonizer sighs perceptibly and proceeds to immediately back out of the harness in one fluid motion. Crap. By this time it should be noted that The Intellectual had completely vanished and ADHD Girl was looking pretty panicky. I don't know if they were worried about The Antagonizer so much as they were concerned about what might happen to them next. I took this opportunity to adjust the size of both loops down to what I hoped was the appropriate size. It's really hard to tell how big the cat is because she has such long, messy hair. Side note here, I brush The Antagonizer out every day and she still manages to looks as if she has perpetual bed head. Anyway, I get the harness adjusted and go through the same process of stuff the cat into it. Only this time around, she's decided to not work with me nearly so much. This time, she lodges her back feet under the chest loop and flails her front feet while simultaneously trying to bite the neck loop. But, because I outweigh her and have opposable thumbs, I am able to get her into the harness and get it buckled. Eventually. I stand up again and encourage the cat to follow me. Only she doesn't. She lays down and puts her head down and refuses to budge. You would think that a ten pound cat couldn't offer much resistance. You would be wrong. Apparently cats have an ability to lock on to the gravitational pull of the earth and use it to make themselves immovable. During this whole procedure, Mister C was sitting at his desk shaking his head at me. I don't think he's on board as much as he should be. So, here we are. The harness and leash are on. All of the other animals have bailed out by now and are hiding somewhere else in the house. And The Antagonizer has turned into a 3,000 pound boulder. With a really nice purple harness and matching leash. Sigh.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas deflation

I've noticed the past few Christmases that I haven't been nearly as into the decorating and baking parts as I used to be. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, I just think I've gotten a bit jaded over the years. It used to be that I could hardly wait for Thanksgiving dinner to be over so I could start pulling stuff out. The first year we had Master J, I put 10 strings of lights on my tree. It's probably important to note that it was a pre-lit tree. It would take me at least four hours just to decorate my tree. I used to drape every bush & tree, outline anything that didn't move and put a wreath on the door. I set up a village and would spend a weekend baking so I could give out boxes of goodies to our neighbors and co-workers. And now? I put four strings of lights on my real tree and let Master J put the ornaments on. It took me a week to get around to putting the angel on top. We did put up some outside lights, but they were pretty basic. As for baking, well...I did make a batch of fudge. Which we ate ourselves. I used to keep my decorations up until New Year's Day because I hated to let go of the season. This year the only reason I left everything up is because Master J asked me to. Believe me, had it been up to me, the tree would have been out on the curb before sunset on Christmas day. Heck, I quit watering it two days before Christmas in the hopes that it would die and I would have a reason to toss it. No such luck, the stupid thing was still springy green today when we hauled it out. It had hardly lost a single needle. But it is New Year's day, so I could finally take it all down. While I love the season, I'm just as glad to have my house back again. It's like a fresh start to the new year. Now I sit back and relax.