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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Countdown to 2009...

You know, some things consume a LOT of our time and energy and it is all for nothing. This week, those of you who know me, know that I struggled with our plans for New Year's Eve (tonight). Frank and I were going to this party far from home with our eight year old so that Frank could play with his band - a fulfillment of a life-long dream to play in front of an audience.

There were many obstacles to over-come - where was the teenager going to be, how much I am uncomfortable at parties where I know no one, blah, blah, blah. So here dawns New Year's Eve and everything was in place. Nick was going to his girlfriend's house and her parents were driving him home after midnight. I was okay with the whole party thing and was all set and ready to go. The fly in the ointment came in the form of my husband's best friend (and band guitarist) Rob. Rob is a bachelor. He makes no commitments to anyone, he's a nice enough guy but a bit crude (you know, he tells fart jokes and cracks himself up). Rob has a tendency to back out of plans at the last minute and in the back of my mind, I was preparing for this to happen where this party was concerned. True to form, Rob backed out of going tonight. His reasons were many but it all came down to the fact that he never told his girlfriend about the party and she had made plans for them to be with her family AND his mother came down from New York and stayed longer than he thought she was. Sure. Whatever.

So now, we are at home. Just the three of us. Which is what I had originally longed for but my heart is broken for my husband. No dream come true for him tonight. He says that he's all right but I honestly feel so bad about the whole thing. I know I can't control what Rob did (lying schmuck) but I feel bad that my attitude was so sucky about the whole thing.

The night is young and we plan to make the best of it all. We're not up to going out and being social right now - we're both kind of ticked at the turn of events. So it can only get better from here.

I wish all of you a healthy and safe New Year's Eve. May you all be with friends, family and those that you love. And here's to a better 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things I learned in 2008...

No matter where you look right now, someone is counting down things that happened in 2008 so I decided to jump on that bandwagon with a list of my own.

TOP TEN THINGS I LEARNED IN 2008


10. It is never a good idea to stop taking medication that has been prescribed to you for the rest of your life.

9. Eating a lone egg every day for breakfast really does help things along.

8. Walking on the treadmill CAN be fun.

7. Apparently my body DOES need exercise to lose weight. (Who knew?)

6. You can go back in time for brief periods (but you will look ridiculous)

5. Walking around by yourself in Disney World is really quite fun!

4. I must have made my parents crazy when I was a teenager.

3. Facebook should only be used in small doses.

2. Getting a new stepmom can be "awesome"!

1. I am blessed to have the most amazing friends in the world! You guys rock!

Thanking everyone for a wonderful 2008 and wishing all of you an amazing 2009!

Seriously, Get the Net!

We're friends with a divorced couple who have a teenage daughter - their only child. We have not seen this girl in many, many years but from our last memory, she was a good kid. We hear about her through mutual friends. Frank and I have often marveled because this girl was born the same day as Nick and our friends were very successful in their careers and had everything to offer their child where as we were always financially challenged.

Since the time of their divorce (perhaps earlier) this girl has been through rehab for heroin addiction, got pregnant from a guy she met on MySpace, had an abortion, has gotten many piercings, tattooed her inner lip, is dating a twenty-something man, and seems to have some sort of eating disorder because she is freakishly thin. This child - and yes, at 16 she is still a child - has done every textbook scenario to get her parents attention. The latest in a long line of stunts to get their attention is to become a hypochondriac.

While out with some mutual friends for dinner this girl proceeded to tell her father all of the reasons that she needed to go to the doctor because she can't/didn't want to participate in gym class. The father had made several appointments for her to which she never went. When he reminded her of that fact, she became silent. Then she told him of the asthma attack's she's suffered lately. She smokes - another fact that she was reminded of. Stop smoking and your asthma should calm down. Again, silence. Then she showed him a PAPER CUT she had! This is not a small child, but a 16 year old. When the paper cut got no response from anyone at the table, she squirted lemon juice in her own eye (details are sketchy on whether this was on purpose or not - I'm thinking it was) and then screamed the house down! Am I the only one thinking at this point that this girl needs serious psychiatric help! When her screaming stopped, she pointed out that her spine is crooked and bent over to show everyone at the table. She weighs next to nothing - it was suggested that she try eating something.

Now I realize that I am getting all of this info second hand and all, but you don't have to be a psyche major to see that this kid is a mental case with red flags going up all around her! Adults get so wrapped up in their own lives - particularly when there is divorce involved and never take the time to see what in the world is going on around them! What more does this kid have to do before someone gets the hint. Is she a hypochondriac? ABSOLUTELY! Is her behavior inappropriate for someone her age? YES! Are most of her symptoms in her head? UH-HUH! Parents, get a clue! Stop taking her to medical doctors for imaginary illnesses and get this poor girl some mental help! Now!

Nature vs. nurture. Here was a child who wanted for nothing - materially - but was not really loved/nurtured by her parents. We had a child who had all of our love and attention but not many of the material items that he probably craved. At the end of the day, I'll take my child with all of the things that he does that makes me crazy because really, he's a good kid! He can be sweet and thoughtful, loving and he's a damn riot. For all of the "stuff" this girl was given, she is none of those things and that is just sad. I can only pray that these parents get a clue. Frank and I tried talking to the dad about this at one point but our advice was not welcomed. It's hard to sit back and watch (or listen to) these cries for help.

I thank God for the low level of craziness my boy brings to my life because after hearing all of the above, it could surely be a LOT worse.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Where's the Line? Oh...now it's just a dot....

Okay, in today's bizarre parenting moment I find myself completely stumped, confused and just in general in denial. If only I could pull a blanket up over my head and not come out until sometime in 2012. Not gonna happen, I know, but wouldn't it be nice? But I digress...

New Year's Eve is just a few days away. I'm not a huge fan of going out and partying on the Eve - it's just not my thing. Never was, never going to be. I am more of a homebody. I enjoy ringing in the New Year preferably at home, maybe a few friends with us, and most definitely with my husband. Most year's I get that wish although we tend to be at someone else's house every couple of years. I can handle that. Well this year we are invited to a party almost 2 hours away from home with people that I do not know. I am NOT very excited about this. This party, however, will allow my husband to live out his dream and play with his band in front of a group of people (meaning people other than me and the boys). He is very excited about it - to say the least - and seems to be counting down the days until it's here. Now, he knows that I am not thrilled about going but we have agreed that we will never willingly spend a holiday apart. So I am going. Two hours away. With people that I don't know. Have I mentioned that my usual bedtime is 11:30 and on New Year's I normally have to force myself to stay up until 12:30?

Sigh. I'm SO not a rebel.

But believe it or not, that's NOT the issue here. The issue is the teenager. Gasp! Shock! Surprise! As a boy about to turn 17, he so does NOT want to hang with his parents on New Year's Eve. That's fine because, as parents, we so do NOT want to spend the night with an angst-ridden teen. But being that we are going to be two hours from home, what's the boy to do? Have the house to himself for a party? Uh, no. Should he be out cruising around town in a friend's car? Not while I'm still alive. Option number three had him hanging out at his girlfriend's house. Well, that's all fine and well but how does he get HOME from his girlfriend's house? I'm thinking that the earliest we'll be back in town is around 3 a.m. The girlfriend's parents are nice and all, but I know that I would not want to be woken up at 3 a.m. when someone comes knocking on the door to pick someone up. So we're trying to work out all of the logistics on this one when the boy comes to me and says that the parents have offered to let him SLEEP OVER.

???

Um, excuse me, is everyone aware that these kids are 16 years old and this is a bit inappropriate? I mean, they're good kids and all, but they are human. Why, oh why, would we think that this is okay? Where's the line? Oh, sure, sleep over now because it's New Year's but then what? Oh, but it's (fill in name here) birthday and it's late. Can't he just sleep over? Then it goes to, hey, it's Tuesday, can't he just sleep over? I mean where does it end? At some point we probably won't even be ASKED if it's okay because it's been going on for so darn long!

There are several issues at work here. First, I, personally don't think it's appropriate. Second, I seem to be a magnet for all of the uptight mom's of the world to come and yell at to tell me what a bad, horrible child I have. If this gets out, I might as well paint a big red target on my body and stand in the town square. The funny thing about that, though, is that most of these women who come in to tell me how bad Nick is, usually are freak's themselves with pretty heinous children too (although they think them to be angels). Third, we know many parents of teens (Christian parents of teens) who have allowed this sort of situation to happen and things have worked out fine - due to the parental guidance - but I am still not comfortable. And finally, does the guest room have a lock from the outside with lazer beam alarms that detect the slightest human motion near the door? I JUST DON'T KNOW!!!

Oy, it all gives me a headache. Why can't life be simple again where we all were together on a holiday? Or maybe NOT playing with the band two hours away from home. With people we don't know. Until the wee hours of the morning.

I hate change.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What's with the red?

Okay, so I get that red is one of the main colors for Christmas. It is also the main color for Valentine's Day. But what is with men and the color red? Seriously. Men think that red signifies something...sexy. If it's red and you are a woman wearing it, it's sexy.

SO NOT TRUE.

For the last two Christmas's there has been red nail polish and red lipstick in my stocking. No matter how many times I have explained how this all works to my sweet husband, he doesn't get it. Now, I admit, I DO have red nail polish. My toes are painted with it right now. It's the holidays and I am festive, so sue me. It is a basic red, nothing crazy. He tends to go for a 'deep' red which always looks kind of brown to me, but that's not the point. The thing is that I am very fair skinned, pale, as white as white can be, you know? Dark colors do not look good on me. Well, dark colored clothes - the RIGHT dark colored clothes look good on me. But on my fingers, toes and lips? Not so much with the dark colors. Red nail polish on my fingers tends to make me look a little ghoulish - you know, hands dripping in blood type of thing. Not attractive.

So I didn't want to be obvious in my dislike of this year's beauty gifts but clearly my face does not lie because once all of the gifts were opened and the kids were off playing, Frank was like "You can return those if you want" to which I feel bad. Even though I KNOW these colors will look heinous on me. So giving him the benefit of the doubt, yesterday we were getting ready to go shopping and I took the lipstick out and bravely put it on. I had barely touched my lips when I wanted to scream. I guess I said something out loud because he came walking in and sort of halted with a horrified look on his face and went "Oh". Yes, now he gets it.

Perhaps if I were a Victoria's Secret super model, this color would work; or maybe if I had ANY color in my face, it could work. But the lesson has been learned...Stace does NOT look good in the red colors. I'll keep my red toes for now but soon enough I will return to my natural colors, perhaps some corals and pinks, but no red. Never, never red!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's the waiting...

Okay, so like four days ago the whole family is in an uproar because they were all convinced that grandma was going to die that night. Things did not look good and the masses were sitting around her bed counting her breaths. A little morbid - glad I live 600 miles away. Can anyone really die peacefully with all that crying and hovering? I don't think I could. I think that even if I were in a coma I would force myself to sit up and slap someone silly and say "Can't a person die in peace? For the love of it, shut up!" At least I like to think that I would.

Grandma lived through the night. She suffered a stroke and a seizure that had the hospice nurse mistakingly diagnosing her as "actively dying". Aren't we all actively dying? The ambulance was called to transport my little grandma to a hospice care center but the nurse advised the family that she did not believe that grandma would survive the move.

Grandma survived the move. They settled her in to this beautiful suite in a brand new facility. Grandma was partially paralyzed and could not speak. By the following afternoon, she was sitting up in bed, eating steak and lobster and speaking! Her voice is very soft and articulate and according to my mom...very different. But clearly grandma did not look to be on death's door. She had no memory of the night before and how ill she was and was insisting on going home.

Yesterday and today she has slept a lot. Like a LOT. A doctor finally came and did an evaluation but he has not spoken to any family members yet so we have no idea what we're dealing with. So we're waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I realize that this is all happening as it needs to and that death would be most welcome right now. But it is the WAITING that is killing me. Now, don't think me morbid or unfeeling. I don't mean it's killing me because I WANT grandma to die. I mean I want to see an end to this wonderful woman's suffering. No one should have to live with such pain and indignities. What is harder to deal with is everyone else. It's all we can talk about. It's all that there is to do. We question every little word she says and every move she makes. The poor woman is under a microscope and she was always a very private person. And to top it all off, today a nurse said that she thinks that grandma has some "unfinished business" and that is why she is fighting dying so hard. Unfinished business? Isn't that only said in the movies??

Now we're all racking our brains trying to figure out what that unfinished business could be? Waiting for death is exhausting - not just for the one trying to die but apparently for all of us around her. It's the most bizarre feeling in the world. Tomorrow will come and at some point I will get a phone call that will re-count all that transpired with grandma - what she ate, what she said, what she wore, etc. We'll all try and figure out what can be done to bring her some peace so that she can let go.

If this isn't a lesson on making things right in your world now while you still can, I don't know what is. I know that this experience has encouraged me to say what needs to be said to people and to let people know how much they mean to me; to try and fix relationships that need to be fixed, and to never let a day go by that I don't tell the people that I love, that I love them.

Even in the end, grandma is still teaching me things. Maybe she's waiting until we all get right with one another. So I'm doing my part.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Roundup...

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love everything about it. This year was sort of an emotional roller-coaster due to many factors:

1. Frank is not working.
2. Grandma is dying.
3. My children are making me crazy.
4. Not enough money to do what we need to do.
5. Just generally feeling overwhelmed.

Okay, so here's how it all went down...On the night before Christmas Eve, Frank gets a call that they have work. ON CHRISTMAS EVE!!! So now I have mixed emotions (most of which were angry) because we really need the money but I also really needed his help around here on Christmas Eve. He had no idea what time he would be home and so I canceled our traditional Christmas Eve special dinner because I refused to eat it without him and leave him a plate in the microwave! That just wasn't right. I settled on a less-than-special dinner and we will make our traditional dinner tonight. I was not thrilled about it, but it's done.

He got home just as we were sitting down to eat, we all ate quickly and then had a fabulous dessert open house with about 30 of our closest friends. It really was wonderful and exactly what I needed because ...

Also on the night before Christmas Eve while I was on the phone with my sister, she informs me that our mother is over at grandma's house because grandma's liver has shut down and she has taken a turn for the worse. I'm like "What does that even mean?" She's like "I don't know. I haven't spoken to her yet." I make her call our mom while I am on the phone (she used her cell) and it turns out that things are really bad. Mom is crying, all of her siblings are there - crying - and grandma was not expected to make it through the night. Christmas is looking bleaker by the minute.

The Reader's Digest version is that she did make it through the night but suffered a seizure and a stroke. She could not speak or move her legs. Hospice came in and declared her as "actively dying" and sent for an ambulance to take her to one of their care centers but they did not think she would survive the move. I was an emotional wreck the whole day of Christmas Eve and I was fortunate enough that my friend Cathleen was here with me when some of this was going on and literally let me cry on her shoulder. The party that night really helped. When mom and her siblings went to see grandma on Christmas day, she said it was like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. Grandma was sitting up in bed eating surf and turf! Not pureed food, but real fillet Mignon and lobster! She was talking (in a slightly altered voice) and told them all that she was not staying in this place another night! We're all quite stumped at this and a hospice doc won't be in to evaluate her until Wednesday but all I can say is Praise God grandma lived to see Christmas! I'm hoping to actually get to talk to her today.

I DID get to speak to Malibu Bar...I mean, my new step-mom and guess what? It was TOTALLY AWESOME! You know what I wrote about how I thought our conversation would go? Well, it was pretty darn close to it! There were at least six "awesome's" in there and several "totally's" and it was all very Valley-ish. Dad told me of the feast he made for her family - fillet Mignon, rack of lamb, assorted seafood and I told him that I was offended by this and he was like "Why?" and so I told him that the last time I was there all I got was a freakin Stouffer's Lasanga! He's said "One time I did that!" and I had to remind him that we were only there ONE TIME!! So he tells me "So come again and I'll make you a feast" and I told him that I was unsure if I wanted to take that chance!

Ah...family. Sweet, sweet family memories. Frank has a half day of work today and for that I am thankful. The kids are playing with all of their new "goodies" and so things have levelled out around here with them. I got to sleep until 10:30 today and that was pure bliss. There is way too much cakes and cookies left in the house but I'm sure I'll just have to - sigh - deal with it. I'll make the sacrifice and eat some more chocolate cake. If I have to.

The things I do....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blah, Humbug...

I feel a little like Charlie Brown right now. I know that it's Christmas and that I should be happy, but I'm not. I can't pin-point any one reason for it, I'm just feeling blah.

Blah.

None of my plans have gone according to...plan, you know? My teenager is making me crazy, my eight year old is mellow and agreeable only because he is punished and cannot watch TV or play video games, my husband is out of work...I mean, I know there are REASONS but they are the norm around here and therefore should not have this deep sense of disappointment over me. We are having a dessert open house on Christmas Eve and the number of attenders is dropping by the minute. Our friends who we normally have over for Christmas dinner decided to host this year and we were invited as an after-thought. We're going, I don't have to cook, so this could be seen as a good thing and yet...Blah.

Blah.

I have one last gift to buy. Just one. I still don't know what it's going to be but it has to be purchased tomorrow. I used to love to Christmas shop, but not so much this year. This year I'm in "Holy Cow, can we afford to spend this dollar" mode. Not a fun mode to be in, that's for sure. But, one bright spot in my blah life right now is that I am going to get my eyebrows waxed tomorrow. That's right, I am feeling the pinch with Christmas gift-giving but gosh darnit, my eyebrows are going to look FABULOUS!

What was that old Saturday Night Live saying "It's better to look good than to feel good"? That's my motto right now. I can't even work up the umph to say it with Fernando's accent. Without that, it just sounds...blah.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Just Called...To Say...I Love You...

If you are married and not yet of retirement age, listen up. If you are married and retired, feel free to point and laugh.

My husband has been short on work lately. Even if I did not know this fact by the obviousness of him being around ALL THE TIME, I would know by the amount of phone calls I have been getting. Now keep in mind, whenever I leave the house when he is home, I am guaranteed to get a phone call from him. The reason? There never is one. I'm usually annoyed that he is calling for no reason and when I start to get "the tone" I get the "I was just calling because I love you" reply. Sweet, right? Sure, except that sometimes, I want to be out of the house ALONE. Sure I may be in the Walmart with 500 other people, but they are not MY people, you know? When I leave the house to go food shopping, I tell him how long I plan to be gone. Some time before that set time, I will get a phone call. "Where are you? Are you all right?"

Sigh.

"I told you I'd be home in an hour and a half, why are you calling? I've only been gone for 45 minutes."
"I was just worried and...I just wanted to tell you that I love you."
At this point I feel like crap for getting annoyed, say I love him too and that I will be home soon.

Today I left to go shopping. I told hubby that I would be gone for at least two hours. "Two hours?" he questioned. "Why two hours?" Um, I don't know, maybe because it's three days before Christmas and I'm going to the Super Walmart - the place where every person goes to shop on a normal Sunday and this close to Christmas they will be tripling their supplies. I mean, common sense, right? I drove the three miles to the darn store, circled the parking lot a couple of times to find a spot, parked, grabbed a cart and was walking across the demolition derby in to a swift, cold wind when my phone rang. OH, COME ON!! He launches in to a story of how the 8-year old fell in the mud, the pattern of the mud on the clothes, etc. when I interrupt him to question the reason for this phone call. "Is there something I need to get?" I finally ask. "No," he said, clearly disappointed that I interruped the riveting mud story. "I just need to know what I need to do with these muddy pants." Like this could not wait until I got home. Like the boy had fallen in a puddle of toxic waste. I mean, I appreciate his wanting to take care of this issue, but again, common sense.

Two hours and fifteen minutes later I leave the store. It's dark out, it's even colder and I still have to stop and put gas in the car. I start the car, let it warm up and reach for my cell phone, surprised that it has not rung already. Apparently it had and in the loudness of the Walmart, I missed it. My darling one had called twenty minutes earlier. So I call him back, wanting to know why he was - yet again - calling me. I got a little snippy. I admit it. I was like "I told you I'd be gone for two hours. WHY are you calling?" "Didn't you listen to my message?" "NO...I was shopping! Like I told you I was! In the madness that is the Walmart Super Center three days before Christmas! What do you need?"

Ladies...

"I just called to tell you that I love you."

I really hope he finds work soon because this is clearly a sign of things to come when retirement age hits.

Giving Life to Someone Means Nothing Apparently...

If you are a mom, remember the joy you felt when you first found out you were pregnant? The thrill of seeing those first ultrasound pictures and trying to figure out where exactly their little head is? Or how about the first flutter of movement of your new little person moving around inside of you? These are all HUGE events.

As life progresses you celebrate all of your children's milestones - first words, first steps, first day of school, etc. They give you joy, they give you stress. Your heart breaks with them when they suffer disappointments and you feel rage when someone hurts them. I remember the name of every person who has ever hurt my children and no matter how much time has passed, if I see any of those people, my first thought it "You are the one who hurt my child."

Our children don't seem to realize the depth of our emotions towards them and our role as their parents. In the blink of an eye, we are tossed aside for anything and anyone and to be honest, it hurts. But does the child care about our feelings even though we have spent their entire lives caring for theirs? Apparently not.

This morning my soon-to-be 17 year old informed us that he did not want any part of us on his birthday. He's willing to use our home for a get together with his friends the night BEFORE his birthday, but on the day of his birthday he'd rather spend it at his girlfriend's house with her family. When we explained to him that as his parents, we retain the right to have him here on his birthday, he flat out told us that he does not want to be with us - it's his birthday, he'll do what he wants.

Parents, how do you deal with such ungratefulness? How do you deal with the hurt? I mean, I'm not asking him to sit through party games with hats and play pin the tail on the donkey, I'm asking for a family dinner to celebrate the day we became his parents. Up until we moved away from our families, I spent every birthday with at least ONE of my parents for a meal - and that was until the age of 27! I'm sad. We may not have the nicest house, or be able to give all of the things that we would like to give, but honestly, I was unprepared for quite such a blow-off.

The joy of giving life? Not so much.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

10 Arguments I'd Rather Never Have Again...

*And yes, they are all with my children*

10. Throwing things at your brother is NOT acceptable or allowed - ever.

9. Calling your brother horrible names is NOT acceptable or allowed - ever - even if he's thrown something at you.

8. You have to wash your ENTIRE body AND head when you bathe.

7. Yes, you have to brush your teeth every day.

6. Yes, I CAN smell you from across the room.

5. When I say "Wash the dishes" that means ALL of the dirty dishes in the
kitchen - not just the ones that made it to the sink.

4. It really IS easier to just take out the trash rather than "gathering extras"
around the base of the kitchen pail.

3. You HAVE to bathe more than twice a week.

2. Yes, I love the way my food looks too, just not while it is being chewed
in YOUR mouth.

1. Seriously, you HAVE to bathe frequently AND use shampoo AND soap - ALL
OVER YOUR HEAD AND BODY! TWICE!! Because I CAN smell you!

Now I'm Forced to do the Math!

About two weeks ago I had to take the day off to go to the doctor. On the same day I decided to go to the DMV to renew my license. Fun day, right? Why not schedule a root canal for the afternoon and call it a party? Anyway, my husband had no work that day either so he came along - plus he needed to renew his license soon too and decided to just get it over with.

On the long drive to the DMV, we were discussing our finances (or lack thereof) and he made a comment to me about my Disney trip and if I hadn't gone on it, we'd be in better shape financially now.

???

Excuse me? Are you kidding me? I mean, when I booked the trip, was I aware of the spiraling economy? Um, no. Did my sister pay for part of that trip? Um, yes. Did my mom pay for my airfare? Um, that would be a yes, too. So we discussed all of this and he felt bad that he just could not get over his attitude towards my trip. Well, two weeks later, I am not over his comment. So I broke out the notebook and calculator and did a little math of my own! Ha, Ha! Okay, so I spent $800 total on this trip - that included my room, meals, park tickets, souvenirs, scrapbooking afterwards and any other incidentals that went along with the trip. I go on a trip like this only every two to three years. Okay, so mark that down - $800 every, we'll say two years, which equals out to $400 a year spent selfishly on myself.

My darling one is a smoker. A pack a day, every day. Now, I can promise you that I do not benefit from this habit of his. No one in the family does. As a matter of fact, it makes us all sick. He does not want to quit. We do not try and force him to quit. His habit cost us $3.79 day/or $26.53 a week/or a whopping $1379.56 a year! A YEAR!!!!! That sweet man also plays in a band. On average, the band costs him $20 a month (and I am being VERY generous with that amount because usually the other guys forget to pay and we end up paying so sometimes the amount is more like $60-$80 a month). He has to buy new sticks approximately every other month at $25 a pop. So for just the band space rental we are looking at $240 a year (and again, I'm being generous) and the sticks cost about $150 a year (seriously, for STICKS!) so that gives us a total of $390 a year for his band hobby. Which, coincidentally, is almost the SAME amount as my Disney hobby.

Do I throw this at him when times are tough? No. Am I going to bring this up to him now? Yes. Why? Because the air needs to be cleared. He is clearly feeling put upon by my "me" time, and I think I need to share with him that he is no different than I am - Oh, no, wait a minute, YES HE IS!!! Because HIS stuff is costing us almost $1800 a year as opposed to my little $400.

See, Cathleen, I can do the math!


Friday, December 19, 2008

A Letter to a Lying Thief...

I work at a wonderful little bookstore. I love my job. I love my bosses/co-workers. I love MOST of our customers. I've vented about customers in the past but there is one that if I could, I would ball her out completely. But out of respect for my friends/co-workers/bosses, I have refrained. Well, here is my vent...

Dear Customer:

It has come to my attention that your main goal in life is to come in to our store and do nothing but try to steal from us. When you first came to us as a new customer, we did everything to assist you in your need to home school your children. I know this for a fact because all of us who have ever worked here are particularly attentive to the "newbies". I know that you were no exception.

Out of the last five times you were in our store, you have tried to return merchandise that you purchased over two years ago - and had the nerve to try and lie about when you purchased it even though we have it on our computer and then you argued with me about it - you have also tried to return other items after the return policy period REPEATEDLY! You have been disrespectful to all of our employees as well as the owners, you've been nasty to our teachers and have been no better than a common thief in your ways. Last week's visit you took advantage of a situation in our store where the owner's husband was in for her while she was sick and LIED to him about credit on your account. He gave in to you with hopes of being DONE with you. But no, you came back today and harassed yet another employee with your lies in an attempt to get money from us that you were not owed. That is called STEALING.

If it were up to me, you would no longer be allowed to shop in our store and I would send word out to all other stores in the area with your name, photo, phone number and e-mail address and warn them all of your behavior. You've done nothing illegal just immoral and hateful otherwise I would have called the cops on you already and danced with glee as they took you away. People like you do not deserve the kindness and grace my employers have shown you and I think it's time that you took responsibility for your actions and take your business elsewhere.

I don't even know how you manage to look at yourself or even dare try to teach your children. I can only hope that your lying, thieving ways are not being inflicted on those poor kids. May God have mercy on you.

Sincerely,
One Who Has Had Enough

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Party's Over...

I leave festive decorations up for way too long. There have been times that my home has just had a sad-yet-festive look of a party long gone. My Christmas tree stays up in to January. Valentine flowers stay in their vase until they are nearly black and the vase looks moldy. I don't know why I can't let the good times end, but I think I've found a cure for it - or rather, it found me.

On the day of my birthday, the bookstore was decorated with a whole bunch of snarky reminders of my age - two of which were these mylar/helium balloons. One said "over the hill" the other read "you're 40". Thank you friends. Anyway, I took those home with me the day after my birthday and they have been floating in the corner of my bedroom ever since, still totally inflated. Two days ago I woke up to find the "Over the Hill" balloon floating over my bed. Hhmmm...that was new. So I took it and put it back in the corner with its little friend. Later that day I found that same balloon just moving about the bedroom. Now you'd think that I would just deflate the darn thing and be done with it. But I can't! It's an illness, I don't know why!!

Last night I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. The bedroom and the hallway was dark but I made it there without crashing in to anything. On the return trip, however, I was hit in the face with that stupid balloon!! I mean, does this thing have me on radar or something? Does it feel the need to keep reminding me that I am, indeed "OVER THE HILL"???? This morning when I got up and walked out in to the living room to help my son get ready for school, guess what followed me out? Yep, you guessed it, the balloon!!

You know, I thought it was kind of nice of me to not stab the thing to death after the birthday celebration but clearly this is a very ungrateful balloon. I will be taking out all of my anger and frustration out on it later today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Inside!!!

Cold has never been an issue for me. I normally sleep with a fan blowing on me 365 days a year. I turn on my A/C in March and keep it running through October. I wear a winter coat only when we are well and truly in to the teens - and even then it just depends on the wind-chill. Hey, it happens more than you think here in North Carolina. It has been a long-standing issue in my marriage because my poor husband was slowly freezing to death under 14 layers of blankets while I was kicking the one thin sheet I used for sleeping off!

Then forty began it's lengthy approach. Honestly, no other birthday/age makes quite the entrance of the big 4-0. Somewhere around September something weird happened to me - I felt cold. Not just a 'chill' but out and out COLD. I found myself walking around in layers and asking "Is it cold in here?" My husband found this wildly amusing because it seemed that he was finally going to be able to live in a climate that was comfortable to him while I was stumbling around the house like Nanook of the North!! I think he was also enjoying all of the extra 'close' time we were having. Little did he know that it really had nothing to do with romance and everything to do with the fact that he throws off an enormous amount of body heat. Sorry, honey.

The sun could be shining, the temps could be in the 50's or 60's and I was dressed for a blizzard. I gave up trying to be fashionable and found myself just grabbing clothes out of the drawers just so that I could be warm. It wasn't pretty some days; there were layers of shirts and sweaters, socks - none of which matched. Most women get hot flashes at this age, I was slowly going in to a deep freeze. Weird!

This whole cold-phenomenon came to a head at a recent doctor appointment. There's nothing more painful for a person who feels nothing but cold than sitting in a cold, sterile room at 8:30 in the morning (BEFORE the office has even had a CHANCE to heat up) in a paper gown! When the doctor is running late!! I mean, come on! After 40 minutes of shivering and shaking (and other indignities) I was finally able to put my layers back on only to find that in my haste to dress warmly, I went out with two different shoes on!!!

The slow freeze has slowly gone to my brain, I guess. I can hardly wait to see what 41 has in store for me!

* The above is my entry to the Scribbit December Write-Away Contest. For more information on this contest (or if you want to read a really good blog) go to http://scribbit.blogspot.com/search/label/contests.*


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

He must be eight...

I have two very different children. With Nick, I had the ideal pregnancy - I felt great all of the time, I was giddy about having a baby. He was two weeks late, I had to have an emergency C-section at 11 am on a Saturday morning, but he was the perfect baby. His little head was perfectly round. He seemed to come out of the womb talking - seriously, the first night the nurse brought him in to me she said "You hardly EVER hear a newborn talk this much" and he hasn't stopped talking since. He was a good baby, a well-behaved toddler - I could take him anywhere without a problem. He is polite, respectful and does what you ask of him (Most of the time!).

I prayed to get pregnant for 6 years and then I went for spiritual healing and Michael was conceived. It was the WORST pregnancy in the history of pregnancies. I was sick each and every day - violently. I was awful to my husband and had no time or energy for Nick. My little bean was born three weeks early - I went in to labor at 3 am. He was sick for the first 6 months of his little life and he was not such a happy traveler. He was high maintenance all the way. He escaped from the church nursery at 18 months of age (they found him near the main road!), he would hide in tiny places (very quietly) so you couldn't find him and I had several friends who actually refused to watch him. But he is my snuggler. He wakes up every morning with a smile and climbs in to bed with me to snuggle. He is very helpful (when he wants to be) and while still a bit adventurous, people welcome him in to their homes now.

Both of my boys started out their school lives in public school. We took Nick out of school at the end of the third grade and began homeschooling him. Public school was not a good environment for him - he liked to "change" everything just a little bit and that made it very hard for him to fit in to the structured world of school. He was eight when we had to make that decision.

For all of their differences, guess who seems to be following in big brothers footprints? This school year has been one big note-home-from-the-teacher after another. Frankly, I am a little tired of it. I mean, I don't doubt anything that the teacher is saying - I am not one of those parents - it is just annoying at this point because the child is just REFUSING to follow the rules. ANY rules. Yesterday he refused to pick a non-fiction book to read during reading time, so his teacher picked one for him. Well, this set off a tirade of how he does NOT like polar bears and did NOT want to read about them. So he ripped his reading paper in half and then handed in a paper that had the word "No" written on it like 50 time.

Anger? Party of one.

So we have a conference this afternoon that both Frank and I will be attending. I have no idea what the future holds but I know that something has to give here. I just find it so weird how two such opposite children could form such similar behavior patterns at the same age. Apparently, God has a sense of humor!

*Update* So we went to the conference and sat down with the teacher. I have to admit that I was a bit afraid of what she was going to say but basically we all came to the conclusion that Michael is pretty much mastering the fine art of avoiding any and all work. If that means faking an illness, he is going to do it. Charming. We pulled him in on the conversation and he tried to pretend that he didn't understand what we were saying, but in the end, we ALL got our points across. So, for now, all is well. We only have to get through until Friday and then we have a two week break, praise the Lord! Then we will have to re-program him in January to get him back in to the swing of things. Fun, fuh, fun!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Friendly Top 10...

So I'm at work today and was talking to my friend Cathleen - as we do every Monday morning - and she kind of hinted at the fact that I do not portray her in the most flattering of ways here on the blog. We've known each other for around 3 years now and we have a very funny, sarcastic relationship (as I do with most people) and I love her dearly. In one of my recent posts, I implied that she would be making snarky comments about me and my "mental" health status. I thought I was being funny and I know she laughed to but today, TODAY, I am dedicating my blog to my pal and the top 10 reasons why I love her...

10. You always find time to come in and visit with me at work even when you have errands to run.

9. You bring me Chinese food whenever I am stressed.

8. You allow me to put your children to work when I need a hand.

7. You share my love of scapbooking and have UNSELFISHLY shared 'some' of your really cool paper.

6. You are always up for a girls night out when I need it most.

5. You find the funniest flairs to send me that always make me smile.

4. I know that I can truly be ME when we are hanging out.

3. You didn't spit in my drink at that Pampered Chef party.

2. Size really doesn't matter in this friendship. (What?? I'm short and you're not! What were YOU thinking?)

1. You accept me for the math loser that I am and love me anyway!!

You rock, my favorite math nerd!! Thanks for being my friend!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Awkard!

I know that I talk a LOT about my life and times on Facebook. I truly do have fun with it. But lately, I've had a situation arise that has taken some of the fun out of it.

Part of the draw of getting in to Facebook is that you get to hook up again with people that you have not seen in years - people you grew up with and lost track of. I've told you all how I've gotten re-connected to friends from middle school and high school, old neighbors, etc. One of the gals I re-connected with, I went to high school with. We were not close friends, we were acquaintances. We knew some of the same people and while it was fun to catch up and chat a little, I was thinking that we were done. Well, this woman has become almost like a stalker. I mean, when I sign on to Facebook and my status shows that I am there, there she is. She calls me a LOT (I know, my bad for even giving her my phone number but who knew?).

A group of us were planning our own high school reunion for this summer and the plans just kept changing and with the way things are in my life right now, a reunion was the last thing on my mind. So I let it be known that I was withdrawing from the plans, I wished everyone well, and thought I was done. Well, this woman called repeatedly, left a LOT of e-mail messages and basically refused to accept that I was not going to be a part of this get-together. I got seriously annoyed and had to ask another friend to intervene because clearly this woman was NOT getting the message and to be honest, I didn't want to be mean to her. Then she send me a piece of flair that said, "Best Friends? More Like Sisters!" and I'm thinking, "what the heck?" I mean, we hung out a handful of times in the 11th grade! We haven't SEEN eachother in like 22 years!! I felt really uncomfortable with that statement. Well, the calls kept coming, the messages kept coming and I basically ignored her because I just did not want to deal with her. I guess I wasn't the only one feeling that way because this last weekend she deleted a bunch of us from her 'friend' list. Personally, I was relieved. I could cruise Facebook freely now! It was very liberating!

Friday I get a friend request from this woman. I ignored it. Saturday I got a friend request from this woman. I ignored it. Today I got a friend request from this woman...now I've had to block her. She seems a little bit obsessive and I really want no part of the relationship any more. She has crossed a line that I am not longer comfortable with and I don't think it's wise to encourage a relationship with her.

I hate that this has happened and that it has put a huge damper on what was a fun thing to do to pass the time. I hate that this person took that from me. I really hate that she took what was a nice memory from a fun time of our lives and tarnished it with a whole lot of crazy! I mean, I don't even call my mom or my best friend as much as this woman was contacting me. You know, I'm a friendly person; I enjoy talking to people, but even I have my limits and this woman crossed them all.

Very, very awkward.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

And then her head exploded...

Seriously, I do feel as it my head is ready to explode. Not from the pain of a headache, but from the pain of being alive and having to deal with stupidity.

Today's stupidity comes compliments of the teenager. BIG surprise, right? His job cut his hours in half. HALF! The boy has no money, has a TON of bills to pay, plus has Christmas to cover. He's been asking when his hours will increase, and all he is told is that it will possibly happen after the first of the year. That's all fine and well, but it doesn't help right now. So today his job calls and offers him extra hours. HALLELUJAH!!! What does the boy do? HE TURNS THEM DOWN!!! Why? you ask when he owes us SO MUCH money and we desperately NEED the money because my husband is out of work? Because he doesn't like to work on Sundays.

You may see me being taken away in chains on the eleven o'clock news tonight.

Son, if you are reading this, know that I am NOT happy with you right now and that you should be very, very scared.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm going to have some fun with this...

I know this isn't really a "funny" thing, but for right now it is. Back a couple of weeks ago when I was sick with the whole head-cold thing, I lost my voice. Every day for three days my husband would ask me to repeat myself because he couldn't hear me. Well, DUH! I had NO VOICE! Of course he couldn't hear me!

Since that time, I've noticed that he is asking us to repeat ourselves more, the volume on the TV is a bit louder, etc. Well, yesterday we were at the DMV to renew our licenses and when it was his turn, he asked that poor DMV officer to repeat EVERYTHING. I mean, EVERYTHING. Now, I was sitting across the room and I heard everything that man asked of him and yet sitting 8 inches apart, Frank could not. So when we left there and were walking across the parking lot, I mentioned this fact to him and he agreed with me - he is finding it harder to hear some things. It's no wonder when he's playing with the band and banging those drums in a small area with no ear protection!

What I find humerous in all of this is that I am reminded of an episode of "The Nanny". Remember that show with Fran Drescher? Well, in one particular episode, Mr. Sheffield is suffering from the same problem - but only in one ear. He was in denial of having any problems with his hearing. So she (the nanny) would start a conversation with him while standing on the side of his good ear and then walk behind him to the bad ear side and talk all kinds of gibberish (things like the theme from "Flipper") and then conclude back on the side of his good ear. This way he would hear the beginning and end of a conversation, but the information that he was actually waiting for would be lost because he couldn't hear it. It really was funny. I keep wanting to try this out on Frank but it doesn't seem to be a one side is good/one side is bad issue.

Today we went to lunch with Nick to Applebee's (compliments of a gift card from a wonderful friend). I took out my cell phone to see what time it was and Nick was like "There's a clock right behind you." So I told him that I couldn't turn around because of my hurt back.

Frank looked at us both and said "Who have you not heard back from?"

"His name is Flipper, flipper..." I'm going to have a lot of fun with this.

Meanwhile, back at the doctor's office...

So I went back to the doctor yesterday for my follow-up tort...I mean, exam. Now, I never went to med-school and I don't watch a whole lot of medical dramas on TV but they must seriously teach a class on how to scare your patients straight! Last Friday's nightmare had me convinced that I was on the verge of death - thyroid: BAD. Hemoglobin/Anemia: BAD. Weight: BAD. Heart: BAD. I mean, by the time I looked down at the two mis-matched shoes, I was convinced that all was lost! That doctor hooked me up with another doctor who worked on sliding scale for payment who could take care of ALL of the things that were wrong with me (Go ahead, Cathleen, and say what you are going to say..."But there are so many things wrong with you..." Ha, ha, very funny).

So I go to the doctor - scared of what they are going to do to me this week. I knew all of my test results and records had been sent over and that they would probably move me around the place like some sort of ticking time-bomb. Boy was I disappointed! The first nurse was like "Why are you here?" and I'm thinking, you mean there was no huge, bold-print memo sent over? Clearly I over-rated my own importance. She took my medical history and did remember who I was a short way in to my bio and so she took my blood pressure and temp and exited. Five minutes later, a tiny little woman comes in. She is my new doctor - who will right all of the wrongs that I have done to myself with my stupidity (go ahead...).

She is a bit stumped as to why I am there, as well. I'm like "Um...see all of the bad numbers on my chart?" Maybe there's a reason she works on a sliding scale! Clearly she's not too smart! No, I'm kidding. My thyroid? Can't be re-checked and my meds can't be adjusted until I am on them for 8 weeks. So that story won't come to a climax until that point. I DID, however, lose four pounds since getting back on the meds on Friday. That psyched me up a bit. My anemia? She was like "If you are a woman who still has a period, you're going to be anemic from time to time. Just take your iron and we'll test you again in three months." Okay, point two of how I'm not going to die. Yea, Stace! My weight? That will go down once my thryoid is working again. All of my other symptoms - being cold all the time, the tiredness...all will go away once my thyroid is working properly. I'm beginning to feel like this appointment was a big ole waste of time at this point.

But then she threw a new curve at me - my cholesterol was high. Actually, my good cholesterol was good and the bad was, well...bad. But she thinks that once I am feeling better and get exercising again, that it will go down. BUT, did you know that cholesterol is hereditary? If your parents had high cholesterol, or your grandparents, you could be the healthiest of eaters and you will STILL have high cholesterol. When I got home and called my mom and told her this, she immediately told me that it wasn't her so I will have to grill my dad on this later. He'll probably be like "Cholesterol? What's that? I don't think I've ever taken that. Why, who told you that I did? Was it your mother, because, she lies!" Oh, that should be a fun conversation.

So in the end, I am okay (one more time, Cathleen!). I go back in 7 weeks to re-check my thyroid and then again in three months for the anemia and cholesterol. I'm feeling better already and the fact that some of the weight is gone has encouraged me. Did I feel the need to pay $70 for that 20 minute conversation? Not particularly but hey, I'd rather pay for good news than have another Stace-slamfest like last Friday.

Well aren't I sporting "the glass is half full" cheer today?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Opening a can of whup-a__!

After reading the card filled with un-holiday cheer, my husband took a stand! I am SO proud of him. After dinner tonight he called his sister and said "What is the matter with you? Don't write me these scathing letters ever again!" He was in the bedroom and I was in the dining room doing a happy dance.

They did go on to talk for a fun ten minutes but to me, I felt like it was a lot longer. I was waiting for some yelling or some cursing, but none came. He was a little loud at times, but firm.

And that is just ONE of the reasons that I love him!

Merry Christmas, Dang It!

I was trying to keep the profanity out of the title, but couldn't. I just toned it down a bit. You know I talk a lot about my family and how they make me crazy at times but today I'd like to show you some fun from the 'other' side of the family - the in-laws.

About two years ago, my sisters-in-law began planning a 50th wedding anniversary celebration for their parents. I originally was working on it with the S.I.L. who lives on Long Island. The initial plan was for a big family party at her house - she has a wonderfully large backyard - and then perhaps we'd send the folks on a cruise. Well, after some deliberation, we realized that a truly nice party - even one that was in the yard - was still going to be very costly. After picking my mother-in-law's brain a little, she hinted on how she would love a trip with ALL of her children and not just her hubby. I adore my mother-in-law, I truly do. She acts WAY younger than my father-in-law and so I understood her wanting other people around her for entertainment. So, we all discussed it - my husband has three sisters - but only two were in on the planning. The older of the two involved took over the plans from here and wanted to do a family cruise. I was like "No way". My husband does not like cruises, never has, never will. He's not comfortable on them so would not have a good time and besides that, we could not afford one.

So what does she do? She planned one; for the first week that Nick was going to be in school (at this point he was still back in public school). So I told her that - and my husband DID give in and agree to a short cruise just to keep the peace - and what does she do? She complains to US on how this was the week that it HAD to be. She gave us all kinds of flippant details about how 'affordable' it was all going to be, just a small deposit, monthly payments, blah, blah, blah. The funny thing is, whenever she was giving that kind of info, she only gave it to Frank. Had she given it to me, I would have known better because I was researching it all too and KNEW that this was not an affordable option for us. But to him she made it sound all very doable. Well, she jerked us around for over three months with no confirmation and then on my birthday she calls with a demand of $1000 that had to be paid by December 22nd as a down payment for the cruise -which was still slated for Nick's first week of school and for EIGHT days! I was appalled. I mean, not only did she ignore the fact that we could not go that week (although she said that missing his first week of tenth grade was "No big deal"), and the fact that by staying away for 8-days meant missing even more school than that, and the fact that she was asking for a wad of money at our slowest time of year for Frank business wise AND right before Christmas!

Frank and I had a very deep discussion about it and knew that we were just going to have to back out of the deal. It broke both of our hearts because we wanted so badly to celebrate this milestone with his parents. So we e-mailed her - because that was how she had gotten the 'money demand' to us - and told her that this was not doable for us, we were very sorry, but to go on and go without us. Well, apparently the gloves were off. She e-mailed ME a scathing letter (Not Frank) calling me all kinds of horrible things and told me what a selfish bi___ I am, and how DARE I ruin this for her parents, I mean, on and on it went. She'd call here and ball us out and when Frank would go back at her, she'd hang up! I could go on and on about how this dragged on but let me just say that in the end, they all went on the cruise - mom, dad, three daughters and their families, but none of the other family members (aunts & uncles) who were invited went either. After all was said and done, I talked to my mother-in-law about the trip and she admitted that the trip was a mistake and they never should have gone. But the damage had been done.

The offensive sister? I have to be honest, I've never liked her. I've never gotten along with her. There is a lot of baggage there but I never stopped my husband from talking to her or seeing her. I don't believe in that. He, however, has finally had enough and does not feel the need to have her in his life. So today we get a cheery looking Christmas card where the envelope is only addressed to Frank and in it is a letter to him that is just meant to throw some guilt at him for his refusal to "get over it" - meaning the cruise thing. She wants to know "what she's done to deserve this". Man, could I write a LIST on that. But I won't.

So what's the point of sending a Christmas card that is meant to be full of well-wishes and good cheer if you are filling it with hate-mail?

I guess that's just one more thing I can add to my list of reasons why...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let your inner-idiot come on out and play!

I had a very old and dear friend leave a comment on one of my posts tonight. She said how I bring out the juvenile in her and that just made me smile.

When was the last time you let that inner idiot...I mean, juvenile come out and play? When you are around teenagers as much as I am, it happens pretty frequently. Today at work I had a discussion with one teen where I was sharing the stories of my birthday party and how I had honestly felt that I looked like I did at my prom and how I refused to look at myself in the mirror until I had finger-combed through the mass of curling iron curls so I could surprise myself. He thought that was hilarious. That led to a 5 minute comedy routine of how I randomly surprise myself and talk to myself in the mirror with pep talks of "You're fabulous/no you're fabulous" one-way conversations. I don't really do that but I let him believe that and the boy was practically rolling on the floor. It was kind of funny.

I give talks at our homeschool meetings or the local MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) meetings once a year on taking care of you. It always amazes me how we, as moms, don't make a lot of time for ourselves. I usually talk about the importance of getting out with friends, doing things that YOU enjoy doing, making sure that you get some alone time, pampering yourself, etc. But now I think I may have to add the inner-idiot thing because doing so can really make you feel a lot better and it relieves a lot of stress and tension from your body because you normally end up laughing like, well, an idiot! The last time I gave that talk it was to a room full of women (and one man) where I was dressed in red silk pajama pants, a black cami, a black hoodie (unzipped), my hair up like Pebbles Flinstone and red fuzzy slippers. Now that was my inner idiot just running amok. And note to self - skinny little teenage girls can pull off this look, middle aged women? not so much!

So go ahead, go out in public with big hair and a tiara! Wear your 80's clothes with your friends and go embarrass your teenager (something I HIGHLY recommend). Walk on your treadmill while listening to that guy from the old Dr. Pepper commercials sing "Making It". Heck, sing along to it with your headphones on so that no one in the house can hear the music - just you!

Try and remember, for just a little while, the things that used to bring you joy. I can guarantee you that sometimes even just conjuring up the memory will be enough to lighten and brighten your day.

And now for some holiday stress...

My husband is a painter. A self-employed painter. This time of year is a killer for us because no one wants their house painted over the holidays. Some years have just about killed me because of the stress level/cost-of-living thing. This year is extra stressful because business was already slow.

The weird thing about our relationship is that we freak out at opposite times. When business is good, my husband will stress out because there is too much to do and he worries about how he'll get it all done. During those times I am usually skipping around throwing confetti because I am just thrilled that he is working. When the work dies - and we are talking DEAD right now - he is pretty calm and has all of the faith in the world while I am freaking out, having nightmares and generally feel like throwing up all day long. Each and every day we prove how it is that opposites attract.

We have two friends that make us crazy in their seemingly endless ways of having no work. One was laid off over a year and a half ago. He has taken random jobs and they last about a week and then he quits. How can he afford to do this? He mooches off of his girlfriend. Seriously, she has PAID him to do work around her house, her family has paid him to help them out, I mean, it's a pretty sweet deal if you can get it, but Dude, have some respect will ya? The second friend went back to school to achieve a life-long dream and upon graduation some four months ago, still has no job. Why? Let's see, there was the job he turned down that was 5 minutes from his home but it was 9-5 and he didn't like that. Or there was the one that only was starting at like sixty grand a year and he wanted eighty. The sad thing is that these men don't seem to realize that they should be THANKFUL for ANY job offered to them in these economic times! How does friend number two survive? He lives with his MOM and mooches off her AND his girlfriend too!

So here is my husband with a family to support, no job options in the foreseeable future and these two idiots are passing up work! I honestly want to slap them both and tell them to man-up! Our savings is almost gone and there is no "girlfriend" to mooch off of! And these men have the audacity to complain to us! The one guy has even asked us for gas money! SERIOUSLY! I don't mind helping someone out who is genuinely in need but not working because you're lazy does not qualify - especially when our savings is just about gone and I want my children to have a place to live, food on the table, and a decent Christmas.

Pray for my hubby. Or maybe I should say pray for me...I'm the one struggling to keep the faith about how we'll survive another slow winter.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Clearly, we're not in the 80's anymore...

So I'm winding down from my birthday week finally. For all of the trauma that it threatened, it was a great birthday with tons of fun and laughter. Something funny did happen the night of the party that I did not mention in the last post - proof that I am well and truly 40. When we left the house to go to the party I realized that I no longer can MOVE in a denim mini skirt! I nearly broke a hip trying to get in to my car! I mean, I'm talking PAIN! The rest of the night, when I had to get in to the car, I BACKED in to it. How sad is that???

Um...VERY.

Other forms of reality have hit recently, too. This goes along with my Facebook obsession. Again, if you have a Facebook, and you're an adult, I'm sure you've gone searching for your youth...I mean, the friends from your youth. I have met up with friends from high school and middle school. Now, reunions are fun for the fact that it is just plain entertaining to see who got fat, who lost their hair and who basically let themselves go. I mean, that's just good, clean fun. Unless you are the one who had all of that happen to them. Facebook has made all of that possible without having to leave the comfort of your own home - no little black dress to buy, no expensive travelling to hang out with people that you swore you'd never want to see again. It's a beautiful thing.

So in my quest for finding old friends, this is what I do: First, search the name. When I find one, I request them and when they accept, I search their friend list for more people that I know. This has worked out great and I have been having a ball with it. So far, I had not been truly horrified by anything that I've seen.

Until this weekend.

Linda, if you are reading this, CALL ME. I found two such cases this weekend of guys who we all thought were "hotties" in high school and when I saw their current photos, honestly, a little bit of throw up came up. I know, I know, that's mean but so is putting a photo up of yourself when you know you look that bad! There should be rules here! If you have morphed to troll-status since high school, for the love of it, keep it to yourself! Don't inflict it on the rest of us!

I'm in a very snarky mood tonight so forgive me but this is just something that needs to be said.

Anyway, the lesson learned here is that sometimes it is well and truly better to leave the past in the past. Look upon those times with fondness. Laugh at the memories and smile at the old photos. Just remember, life is NOT always pretty and sometimes there is a Facebook profile picture out there to prove it.

Yikes!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

All that and a can of hair spray...


Oh, what a night! My girls know how to throw a P-A-R-T-Y!!! I have to admit, I had no idea what to expect for the evening, all I knew was that we were all dressing in 80's attire. And just so you know, that was no easy task to accomplish. Apparently, leg warmers and shoulder pads are no longer in style. Where was my memo on that???

I was feeling young and hip when my hair and make-up were done. I mean, at that moment I was thinking "I look EXACTLY like I did the night of my prom!" I was ready to pull out the prom pictures just to compare and prove that theory to anyone who would DARE to disagree but then thought better of it. But let me just say, in my eyes (which are at -475 & -525 without my contacts, but don't let that sway you), I looked like 18 again. My outfit for the evening consisted of an acid washed denim mini skirt, a light blue tank top with an over-sized button down shirt tied at the waist, leg warmers, Keds, big hair, big earrings, tons of beaded bracelets, and hot pink lipstick. I was so rocking this party.

When I arrived, all of my dearest friends were there and they had transformed the bookstore in to something else. The first classroom had all of the food and a wall put up that had posters that contained facts from all of the significant years of my life - the year I was born, the year I graduated, the year Frank and I got married, the year each of my children were born and finally, the year I turned 40 (and wanted to die). My girl Cathleen put a LOT of work in to that one and it was really cool - apparently Miley Cyrus was born the same year as my son. Who knew? The color theme was mostly blue - with a little bit of black thrown in (by Michelle's suggestion, I am sure!) which was great since I was wearing shades of blue. We are all like one scary brain! Everyone dressed the part and looked great. Danette looked adorable, by the way, a total Valley Girl.

In the second room, there were lighted disco balls spinning, 80's rock was blaring and there was a tv set up showing a video/picture montage of me through the 80's! Seriously, those pictures could have been taken YESTERDAY I looked so young! We laughed and danced and even had a great sing-a-long to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light". Now THAT was something to see - a bunch of fairly conservative Christians singing about doing it in the car as a teenager! Thank God no one invited the pastor to this shin-dig! I think someone video taped that whole thing and it could be the next internet video sensation for all we know. Kudos to Danette and her team of decorators on the transformations of the rooms! They looked almost prom-like! We all had our pictures taken under specially designated balloons. I'll have to get copies of everyone's and send them out in their thank you cards! And FYI my friends, I'm not taking this picture down. You all look FABULOUS!!

My cake was made especially for my by my good friend A.D. who, in my opinion, should have a spot on "Ace of Cakes". It was AMAZING. I almost hated to cut in to it because it was so beautiful! Chocolate cake with caramel icing - I mean, what's not to like? I'm enjoying some RIGHT NOW as I write! Carol, if you are reading this, you better come over soon if you want a piece.

And my Beeg? Well, she was all that and a bag of chips! She was like Johnny on the spot last night with the camera and playing Vanna while I opened my presents. What a girl! I will have like 200 pictures by the time we combine both of our camera's. Who's up for some scrapbook time??? Seriously, everyone should have a friend like this. I am truly blessed. And the girl can still do an amazing catwalk!! I'm saving THAT picture for her 40th birthday invitation! HA!

Ladies, I really don't know who was in charge of what but what you all did was amazing. I thank you for your patience with my husband - because believe me, after 20 years together, I KNOW how uncooperative he can be - and not even on purpose!

But the highlight of the night...At 9:15 my teenager called because we forgot to pick him up from work. We were 15 minutes late, it wasn't like he had to sleep there over night or anything! So, all of us 80's ladies piled in to my friend Bree's van and drove to pick him up! We pulled up in front of the supermarket and like a swat team, we were like "GO!" and lept out of the van and went inside in search of him. When the manager saw us, I asked for him and she paged him over the loud speaker! "Nick, your party is waiting for you up front." When he came up the aisle, we all screached "NICK!!!" while waving our arms in the air (like we just didn't care!) and looking as we did...well, I don't think there's a word for the shade of red he turned. Classic!

So to sum it all up...ROCKIN' 80's party! I still look good with big hair and hot pink lip stick. AND I got to embarrass my child on the same night.

My work here is done.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

And now we're fine!

Blogging is great for many, many reasons. One, I love to write and this gives me my creative outlet to do something that I enjoy. Two, I get to vent when there is no one around to vent to - or if I'm in just too vile of a mood to speak in decent, human tones.

Yesterday's side rant was one of those times. I was in a foul mood and needed to vent and writing it out really helped me to get out what was raging inside of me. The down side to that, kind of, is that the person who really needed to hear my rant read my blog. This is a double-edged sword. Yes, this person needed to know how her actions affected my child (and I've written on that topic before) but then came the awkward part when that person actually did show up here to apologize. It was not who I was expecting and she was so heart-broken that she had been the one to cause my son pain that it very nearly had me crying, as well. She asked my forgiveness and I gave it whole-heatedly. She asked Nick's forgiveness and he did the same. What all of this turned out to be was truly a misunderstanding. There was no malicious intent on anyone's part, but as I explained to her while we were chatting, as the "mama bear" in the situation, it is not easy to think beyond the immediate 'someone hurt my child' reaction.

So, if you have a uterus that you ever utilized to create, nurture and give life to another human being (or even if you haven't), I'm sure you understand my need to inflict some pain. I am glad to say that everyone has hugged, kissed, laughed and made up. Life is good again.

Yeah!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Side Rant...

While I was at work yesterday, someone stopped by the house when Nick was here hanging out with a friend. He will not tell me who stopped by, he just said "one of your friends came over" and would not elaborate.

Let me just say this so that I can get it off of my chest: We have gone through a lot with my eldest child. He knows it, I know it, most of my friends know it. If you are a close friend, you know how I feel on this subject. Do NOT attack my child to me OR to him. I am fully aware of the clothes that he wears. I am also fully aware of the music that he listens to. Do NOT come in to MY home and attack my child for ANYTHING!

The next time you want to "correct" him for something that you don't like, I would encourage you to stop and count to ten and ask yourself how you would feel if I were to do the same to YOUR child. I am so tired of parents behaving badly. He was in his own home and you dare lay in to him about the music that he is listening to? He was in his OWN HOME, not yours, and he was with a friend. How dare you embarrass him like that!

It was bad enough when his peers were driving him in to a depression so deep that we feared what he was going to do to himself but you as an adult should know better. Shame on YOU for the words you spoke. I don't care if you thought you were being helpful or funny or whatever, it hurt him, and I can only pray that your child never has to be put in that position.

There. Now I feel better and I can move on.

Like being hit in the face with a frying pan...

Okay, so I went back to the doctor for the annual exam that was supposed to happen LAST week but did not because of a one day scheduling mistake - on their part. I woke up early this morning and did my best to mentally prepare myself for the unpleasantness that was to come. And let me just say this, in the entire of history of going for an annual exam, my body is cleaner and smoother than ANY other time in my life - including my honeymoon - on the actual day of the exam! TMI, I know, but comical in my book. I took what felt like an endless hot shower but it gave me that little extra boost I needed. I drank four glasses of water so that I would be able to pee on demand, grabbed a magazine and was off!

Things went smoothly upon my arrival - I was checked in quickly, there was no tedious checking of incomes and I.D.'s this time around and after only five minutes, I was called in to the back. I walked through the entire opening scene of the "Get Smart" tv show before I finally got to sit down. It was all down hill from there. First, and I am thoroughly ASHAMED to even have to admit this, I have gained back almost ALL of my Disney diet weight. I loathe myself right now. The lab tech wasn't in yet, so I was ushered in to yet another room where I waited for a nurse to come in and interrogate...I mean, get my medical history. I told her that I had been off my thyroid meds for 2 months due to lack of funds for new bloodwork and she looked as if she could care less. I signed forms, we chatted and she finally left. Then the PA came in. This was a no nonsense woman coming through the door. Oh, sure, she had a sweet voice and remembered me, blah, blah, blah, but once she sat down and opened my chart, that woman meant business!

She yelled at me for being off my meds and even though I explained my situation, she scared the begeesus out of me with all of the complications I have put on my body. That much weight gain in such a short amount of time - a strain on my heart. Kick in the shin number one. She lectured me for a good 30 minutes before I even had the opportunity to get in to the paper gown !! Once in the paper gown and in the most humiliating of positions, she can't seem to find my cervix!!! And note to any doctors reading this, talking cute and asking someone's cervix to "come on out" is NOT cute. It is on par with asking an adult to "look at the bunny" while you jab them with a needle. There is no cutesy tone while someone is in the stirrups! Remember that - do what you got to do and get the heck out of dodge, okay?

It took several minutes for my cervix to cooperate and then this woman must have felt it necessary to scrape my insides raw because I was just about like a cat on the ceiling at that point. I was THRILLED when she finally backed away. So at this point, I'm fat, I'm stupid for not taking care of myself, I clearly have a shy cervix and the lining of uterus or whatever she was digging for is no longer there. Things can only get better, right?

Now I get to go to the lab for blood work. The tech has finally decided to put in an appearance. Lucky, lucky me. She takes several viles and then sends me back to my room. Doctor cutesy comes back to yell at me some more because I am so anemic they are talking transfusions! BONUS! Now I get lectured on my eating habits and let me just say - I eat a very well-balanced diet. I DO eat my red meat, I do eat fresh vegetables, I do drink a lot of water. CLEARLY, there is something seriously wrong that I am not absorbing any iron. The plan of action? Iron supplements. LOTS of iron supplements. I don't think anyone here needs a further description of WHY this is so unappealing, do you?

After filling out more forms, more reminding me of the fact that I am 40 and therefore need to get a mammogram, she sets up an appointment for me for next week with a doctor who works on a sliding scale so that we can tackle my thyroid problem and get that all back on track, more yelling about taking better care of myself and all that jazz, she finally wishes me a good day. HA! Like that's possible at this point.

She leaves the room and I reach down to put my shoes back on...

They were two different shoes. I had left the house wearing two DIFFERENT sneakers. I had worn these same - apparently different - shoes all day yesterday and never noticed that they were not the same. I went shopping at the mall yesterday, in different sneakers. I worked yesterday, in different sneakers.

Sigh.

I don't know if there is a thyroid pill or iron supplement big enough to clear the fog that has settled itself in my brain.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Like, really? Totally...

I am having WAY too much fun with the thought of this 80's party Saturday night. I have been to numerous stores today in search of the perfect accessories. I have found many, decided on none. Yet. There were headbands, lace gloves, leg warmers, really LARGE earrings. I mean, if I bought everything that I found today, it would have looked as if 1985 threw up on me!

While trolling around the Target, I found a pair of leggings. Yes, leggings. Not the stirrup kind, but regular leggings. I used to LIVE in pants like that. Well, not like these, in particular, because these are SHINY leggings. They came in black, gold, silver and zebra. Calm down, I did NOT get the zebra print. Just the thought of squeezing in to those was enough to make a little bit of throw up lodge in my throat. So I looked at them, and I laughed and I walked away. My 8-year old was with me and he was like, "Mom, you should totally get them!" The funny thing is, he doesn't realize how 80's-like he sounded. After roaming around a little bit more, my gaze kept going back to that rack and before I could lose my nerve, I grabbed a black pair and quickly exited the junior department with my head hung low. I figured I'd bring them home, try them on, repulse myself, and return them.

Well, that was the plan.

Frank happened to come home while I was trying them on. Now picture this - the shiny leggings, big, slouchy socks, a white tank top under my old white mesh kickline football jersey.

Swallow the vomit.

I actually was laughing out loud at myself and the sheer ridiculousness of my appearance and he's looking at me like I'm crazy. I told him not to worry, I was taking the pants back, and he's like "Why?" I'm thinking, SERIOUSLY??? For the love of it LOOK AT ME!! I look beyond stupid. Then I threw option number two at him - the shiny leggings, a big blouse with the collar up, a big belt and high healed black boots - oh, and some leg warmers. Some big hair to top it off and I will look like I did for the first Whitesnake concert I ever went to. He actually thought this was a good idea. Um...love MUST be blind because while he is clearly lost in his own thoughts, all I can think is that these are the pants of the devil and they must go!

So what am I wearing Saturday night? I still don't know. But the shiny leggings? Staying.

Totally.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!


I'm still not liking it, but it happened anyway. I turned 40 today. Yes, 40. I can say it AND type it without wanting to vomit so that's a good sign, right?

I went to work today and the entire store front was decorated with black banners and balloons wishing me a Happy 40th. Sure they were slimming (being they were in black, but not cheery!). My buddy Bree came in and brought me some breakfast - which was yummy - and then proceeded to decorate some more with a red carpet runner, pink rose petals, a feather boa, a tiara, a princess wand, another party headband for me to switch to later on, a pink Happy Birthday banner and assorted feathery items for fun. OH! and a big, blinking diamond ring (yes, it actually had blinking lights in it and was the size of a door knob)! It was great!

My dad called. Amazing that he even remembered. Then Nick and Beckah gave me their gifts - a Tinkerbell sweatshirt, a Mickey Christmas ornament and TONS of chocolate. God, I love those kids! Next, my friend Lisa came in and gave me a card and some yummy tea. Her little girl - who is two - danced and sang for me. I had a LOT of birthday greetings and wishes on Facebook - which always make me smile. Then at around 1:00, Miss Cathleen and her kids came by to wish me a happy one and we were talking and joking around when the rest of my girls came around with brownies, balloons and cards and gifts and we had ourselves a little party at the bookstore! Danette makes the BEST brownies in the world. I am blessed by friends who bake well. Cathleen makes incredible chocolate pies and Danette has officially (in my book) been awarded the best brownie and cupcake maker. Yummy! My beeg got me a new pocketbook that I had admired on black Friday - what a good friend that she took note of what I commented on - in passing - during all of our shopping hoopla!

But wait, while we were all laughing and eating and commenting on how ridiculous I looked in all of my birthday gear, they handed me a piece of paper that said that I was invited to a party Saturday night in my honor - an 80's party!! I finally have a reason to go out in public with my big, teased hair and listen to Bon Jovi around other people!!! Could there be a more perfect gift for me??? I don't think so!! My friends - and husband (who is a co-planner to this party) - totally rock. I am so psyched about this party that I can hardly stand myself.

You know there will be pictures, so stay tuned!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Positive Sides to Turning 40...

So I got a lot of responses to my last post on the 39 Reasons I'd Rather Be 40, but this one came directly to me via my good friend Cathleen (yes, of the smokin' hot math teacher, Cathleen). She is having a little too much fun with my misery but this is one thing that she did today that truly made me laugh and not want to throw a stapler at her.

Enjoy!


There are positives sides to being 40!


1. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.

2. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember
them either.

3. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national
weather service.

4. People call at 9 PM and ask, "Did I wake you?"

5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

6. Things you buy now won't wear out.

7. You can eat dinner at 4 P.M.

9. You enjoy hearing about other peoples operations.

10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

11. You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.

12. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

13. You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into
the room.

14. You sing along with elevator music.

15. Your eyes won't get much worse.

16. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

17. You can't remember who sent you this list.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

39 Reasons I Don't Want to be 40

39. I was just getting comfortable with my thirties

38. I am never sure of how to exactly spell forty (or is it fourty?)

37. I'm that much closer to 50

36. I enjoyed the fact that Frank seemed so much older - he's 5 years older but
being that I was still in my thirties, I felt like a much younger woman

35. Do you remember how old your parents were in their 40's?

34. My parents became GRANDPARENTS in their 40's!!!

33. Nothing good really begins with the letter "F" - fat, failure, freak, faulty,
foolish, falling-apart...

32. I also enjoyed the fact that my sister was in her 40's while I was still young
and youthful in my thirties

31. Things are starting to hurt that didn't hurt in my thirties - like EVERYTHING

30. You don't get smart-alecky black balloons and snarky cards in your 30's

29. Whoever said you can feel like two 20 year olds, is clearly a liar

28. Seriously, remember how old your parents were in their 40's?

27. Hair color needs to be applied with a little more frequency

26. People expect you to have some sort of "wisdom" when you get this old,
and clearly, I don't

25. You look a whole lot more ridiculous when you act silly on a girls night out

24. I am now near the age of the woman who are referred to as "cougars" who
I think look utterly ridiculous in their attempts to look younger

23. I'm called "ma'am" with a lot more frequency

22. When someone says "You still look so young" - it lacks the sincerity that it
used to have

21. There are more lines on my face than their used to be - people say they are
"laugh lines" or again, "show wisdom" but I'd rather still be smooth, sad
and stupid!

20. I'm getting a lot more forgetful. I think.

19. My teenager thinks I'm old

18. You can't really fit 40 candles on a cake - unless it's a really BIG cake. Then
you're laughed at if you can't blow them all out!

17. Have you looked at the hot guys who used to be sex symbols when we were
in our twenties? They look like walking death!!! Not sexy at all!!!

16. I hear my knees when I climb stairs

15. There are new "tests" that the doctor wants to do when you hit 40

14. I mean, my parents seemed ANCIENT at this age!!!

13. I'm not going to be in Disney World for my actual birthday - the September
trip did not count - even though I celebrated there

12. Chances are, some family member will forget that it is my birthday and it
will ruin my day

11. I will be called grandma at least once on my actual birthday

10. 40 is NOT the new 30

9. I have to check a different box when some application or survey asks my age

8. Dancing with pom-poms just looks sad now (not that I do it that often)

7. If I were to ever get on "Dancing with the Stars", I'd be one of the 'older'
contestants that the judges will marvel at my ability to still move well

6. I seem closer to my parents current age - we can relate to one another's
mystery ailments

5. And again, THEY'RE OLD!!

4. No matter how young you try to look in your 40's, you still come off looking
like some silly cliche

3. I just don't want to!

2. I've not yet written the great American novel!

1. Is it really spelled forty?