Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Countdown to Celebrating!

Okay, so I've decided what I am going to celebrate with my "What will you celebrate?" Party box. DISNEY!!! Yes, I know it sounds a bit silly but that is what I am going to do.

We have no birthdays to celebrate. Work has been slow. The teen got a car but he is too old for a Disney World themed party. I have not lost any weight. I'm slacking with my walking. Finances are tight. I mean really, there is NOTHING to celebrate right now. BUT I have rallied my fellow Disney fanatic friends (and I mean we are FANATICS) to come over on Friday to just celebrate the fun that is a Disney vacation. Two of my friends are actually GOING to the world in the next six months and are in vacation planning mode. I'm just here to cheer them on. And the cool thing is that they all have boys! So Michael will have like six or seven boys to play with while the mom's just gab and ooh and aah over all things Disney! We do have one girl coming, maybe two, but for the most part we are all about the moms and their boys that afternoon.

We will eat some Disney-themed snacks. Play some Walt Disney World Trivia. I'll have out scrapbooks to show. The kids will all get goody bags. It should be fun. I wish I could invite ALL of my friends but my house is tiny and if you are not coo-coo-for-cocoa-puffs for Disney, this would all be lost on you. And believe me, I'm not talking about your average "I like Disney" people, those that are coming border on 'if Disney World were a person, we'd have restraining orders against us' people. So I hope no one is offended. My house is too tiny for everyone and I just really had to keep it small and focused.

I will post pictures. I will tell everyone how it went. I think it could be fun. I'm going to try and find some theme-park music to play, too!

Anything but the theme to It's a Small one will speak to me ever again if I put THAT song in their heads!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Oh, Get Over Yourself!

You know, I have worked with the public my whole life. My parents owned deli's that I worked in, I worked in retail sales and management, I even did customer service phone work. I'm a social person who has friends. I went through the standard 13 years of public school and two years of college (almost). I understand kids and teens, for the most part. They do stupid things, we tell them that they are being stupid and everyone moves on. Ever try to do that with an adult?

Not so much with the moving on.

I am greatly perplexed by this. I mean, if someone does something, anything really, that is upsetting/annoying to another person and you discuss it, shouldn't it be done? I mean, what are we teaching our kids by acting like brats? I have had people come to me when I (or a member of my family) have done something that has offended them. Not always a pleasant experience but that's life. We each say what needs to be said and move on. Is the friendship over? No. Can we still talk? Of course. If you cannot handle being told that you did something wrong or if you cannot accept the fact that sometimes people will disagree with you or find something that you say or do objectionable, then you need to grow up. Really.

Our children pick up on our attitudes and our behaviors. Especially our bad behavior. Is that something that you want for your children? To have them go through life acting like brats because everyone doesn't think that they are wonderful? Part of having friends is being a friend. And being in a friendship means that you will not agree all of the time and that's okay. Part of being in a friendship means that it is not always about you and what is going on in your life. One sided conversations get real old, real fast. Part of being in a friendship means that sometimes it's not pleasant. So you have to make a choice - do you want to have friends or do you want to sit home alone and live vicariously through your children because you no longer have a life of your own?

It makes me sad when I see adults make that decision to cut themselves off from life because of their own stubbornness. I sit here at this desk with a massive window in front of me and watch grown people sit in their cars or turn the other way to avoid talking to people. Now don't get me wrong, I know there are days when you just don't want to talk to people. BELIEVE ME, I get that one! But to totally miss out on having friends because of pride or brattiness, well, that to me is just plain silly.

My friends are some of my greatest blessings in this world. I would be lost without them. I don't like to see people living life without friends. I honestly couldn't survive without mine. Have you cut yourself off from people? Do you have people that you can call and talk with (not talk AT but talk WITH)? I want to encourage all of you this week to reconnect with your friends. Clear the air if it needs to be cleared. But clear it with love.

Life is too short to spend so much time alone wallowing in self pity or being weighed down by pride. Celebrate life, love, and friendship. It really makes all the difference in the world.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

God is Good...All the Time

Okay, so if you've been reading my blog for a while you know that one of my goals for the new year was to find a church. I have not gone to church in...well...let's just say it's been a good long while. About two months ago, Michael went to Awana's with some friends of ours and told them how we don't go to church anymore. Honestly, he picks the oddest times to get talkative. That night when our friends brought him home, I was informed that they were going to be pushing me (in a nice way) to come back to church. My good friend, A.D., went on to tell me all of the wonders of her church (which was my church for 8 years up until around 5 or 6 years ago) and how I should give it a try again.

Remember the night we rushed Nick to the emergency room? Well that was the night BEFORE I was supposed to go to church. Hmm... a little suspicious that he would get deathly ill THAT night, but whatever. So I didn't hear anything from A.D. for a few weeks and then in the last ten days or so, she's e-mailed me asking me to come to church. And then random people began showing up at the bookstore saying things like "Hey, I hear you're coming to visit us at North Wake this weekend!" Sneaky, A.D. Very, very sneaky.

Well if you are wondering why, why, WHY I have this apparent 'aversion' to going to church, I'll give you a brief tale. I had left North Wake many years ago because they were going through some changes that I, personally, did not agree with. Other people were fine with it, I was not. On top of that, Frank and I had had some rather unpleasant experiences with some pastors/elders and I just KNEW at the time that it was time for us to move on. So I started going to a really, really SMALL church. It was nice. Nothing wild but what I found was that being part of a really, really small church was that EVERYONE knew EVERYTHING that you were doing - good, bad or ugly. Not fun. Well, after about a year, the church closed and the pastor and his family moved to head up a church in New Mexico. Then I moved on to a really BIG church close to home that it seemed like almost everyone I knew went there. It was really, really big. So I went from one extreme to the other.

I was there for a while but I never felt like I fit in. It was so big that no one knew if I was there or not, the kids weren't thrilled with either of their programs (child and teen) and long story short, I kind of got angry at God. Why? Well, one of my biggest prayers after becoming a Christian was to go to church with my parents. I can remember going to church with my mom as a kid, but something about going together as an adult, and as a Christian, was a big deal to me. I really don't remember EVER going to church with my dad and I think he would quite possibly burst in to flames if he walked through the doors of a church today! True story. So back to my prayer request - when my mom lived down here briefly some four years ago, we started going to church together and it was wonderful. I felt like my heart was just full of joy. There really are no words to describe it. It just was a wonderful thing. And then she decided to move back to NY and go back to her abusive husband so that she could also take care of my grandmother who had just then been diagnosed with cancer. Things did not end well on this end. I was very angry at her for leaving and things were said that really changed how I viewed my entire life. That, in effect, made me very angry with God. I was like "Why would you grant me this prayer of my heart to have it end so horribly?" I never felt comfortable going back to that church after that. I tried. I honestly did. But it was never the same. So I stopped going. And you know what? Hardly anyone noticed. My best friend did, but that's only because we see each other almost every day and we would sit together in the service, but other than that, not ONE PERSON called to see what happened to me or why we hadn't been in church.

Too big.

Now back to today. I got up this morning and went to church. My old church. My first church. I had let my anger against some of its members keep me from going back. I had let my feelings about a handful of people keep me from going back to a place that at one time, was my home. Today I walked back through those doors and you know what? It was like going home. People were so happy to see me. I was hugged and greeted and just made to feel so welcome by people that I don't even KNOW!! But that's not even the best part. I sat with some old friends and when the pastor got up to speak - and let me just say that this man is a PHENOMENALLY gifted speaker - his talk was on loving our enemies.

Um...hello? Uh, A.D.? Did you happen to mention to Larry that I was coming back today because I feel like he was speaking directly to ME! It was honestly and truly amazing. Michael had a good time in his Sunday school class and I am pretty sure we will be going back next week. I know many have asked and invited us to their churches and I thank you all for thinking of me and praying for me. The time had to be right. My heart had to be in the right place. I guess it finally happened.

It's good to be home.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Because I'm Bored...

So it hit me today that I have been blogging for almost a year. I think my little blog has morphed quite a bit since it's birth and I really do enjoy doing it. I've met some great people since I started and found some other great blogs to follow along the way and just in general have had a good time. I'm not looking to get rich doing this, I really just do it for me. I have a hard time reading blogs that are so over-done wtih ads that you can't focus on what the author is actually writing about. That is just totally not me. I just love to write.

But that's neither here nor there. Here is what I would like to accomplish by my one-year blogaversary. Is that even a word? Anyway, right now All-Stace is read in 12 countries and 34 states. Not too shabby. By April 29th, I would love to have at least one hit/read in each of the United States. It's silly, I know, but that's my goal. I'm looking for readers in Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, Idaho, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Vermont. I would love to look at my little analytics page and see all of the states colored in. I'm bored, not pathetic. Honestly.

So if you know anyone in one of those states that you can give a holla to and ask them to check out my little site even once, I would greatly appreciate it. I have no giveaways to offer or any great prizes. It's just a small goal I'd like to achieve by my big one-year hooplah. And by hooplah I mean me sitting in front of the computer wearing a little tiara, perhaps a feather boa, eating a Hostess cupcake celebrating me.

Thank you, friends!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coming Soon...Cleaner Air in My Home!

I am not a smoker. Hate, hate, HATE cigarette smoke. Frank is a smoker. Funny how that all worked out. He's been smoking since the age of 15. I was well aware of this fact when we met and yet, I hate it.

When Nick was little, he was prone to get coughs/bronchitis and the pediatrician told us that if Frank stopped smoking, the child would stop getting sick. Well, he didn't exactly STOP smoking, but he stopped smoking in the house. Sort of. We did the smokeless ashtray things, air purifiers and of course, smoking outside but he never strayed from his one-pack a day habit. I get ill when he smokes around me. My head gets stuffed up and I cough a lot. It's not pleasant.

Something else that you need to know about my smoking hubby is that he does NOT like to spend money. Ever. When cigarette prices went up a couple of years ago, he whined, he complained but it didn't bother him enough to make a real impact. It was an annoyance but not an inconvenience. Well, prices went up again and NOW he is well and truly ticked and ready to take some action.

First he tried other brands. It was kind of funny because me stead-fast Marlboro smoker was not coming home with lesser-named brands because they were cheaper. He didn't like them. So he announced to me yesterday morning that he has decided to just cut back on how much he smokes so that he can still smoke the brand he likes. Instead of one-pack a day, he will now smoke a half a pack a day. He wasn't going to tell me at first but he decided to share and I'm glad he did because the other day he was an absolute BEAR! He was snippy and nasty and had I known that he was truly suffering withdrawals, I probably would have been nicer. Not much, but nicer. I mean, how nice CAN you be when someone is being unreasonable?

Not much.

So we're almost through the first week. He seems to be doing okay. Last night was a little rough. I watched him pace the house for about fifteen minutes before I realized that he was struggling. I had him come and help me with dinner to distract him. It worked. People have asked me over and over why I have not pushed him to quit sooner. The truth is, if you have any kind of an addiction - food, cigarettes, whatever - you will not quit unless YOU (the addict) wants to. He had to want this. His plan is to see if he can survive on the half pack and if he can, then he will decrease again. We're not ready to do the patch or anything yet. I'm just really excited that he is making this change and that he is possibly on the road to quitting.

I cannot wait to take that first smoke-free breath in my home and car. Too bad I can't hold on to my Disney Celebration Party Box until then!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Will I Celebrate?

It finally came!!! My Disney party in a box was waiting for me when I got home today! It was big and red and shiny and, and...and let me just say that I have never felt such pressure to have a party in my life!!!

Okay, the Mickey Moms Club people have asked that this party be hosted between March 16th and April 5th. Well, it's March 24th and I have just NOW gotten this kit! Secondly, I really don't have anything "real" to celebrate right now so that means I have to create a reason to celebrate. Should be easy, right?


I could just celebrate my friends. Always a good thing (I have really good
friends). We could celebrate Nick getting his first car. But does a 17 year old REALLY want a Walt Disney World themed party complete with Hannah Montana magnets? I don't think so. We could celebrate Spring? It would be nicer if it was actually warm out. Michelle suggested celebrating the closing of the bookstore. How sad and depressing of a party would that be? Even WITH the Hannah Montana magnets! We could celebrate Disney itself - and I could have my "extreme" Disney fan friends over. We could battle for who knows the most useless Disney trivia/info. It could get ugly.

So right now I am just not sure but I have to make a decision FAST! This kit is pretty amazing. It came with party recipes, a Disney Bingo game, coloring kits for the kids, canvas bags with inserts, a vacation planning DVD, a photo album, fortune cookies, balloons, Disney drawings, trivia quite literally is a party in a box. There is very little that I will have to do to make this all happen.

I just have to let my inner Disney-diva/go
ddess come out and plan...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Baby you can drive my car...

It's here! It's here! It is FINALLY here!!! Frank arrived home last night around 10 pm and totally ruined my awesome scrapbooking moment of capturing Nick seeing his car for the first time - it was WAY too dark for pictures. So I had to take them today. After work. At 5 pm. After the boy had played with the car all day - and I missed ALL of it!

Deep, cleansing breaths.

So I worked until five, got home, changed cars, and took Nick out driving. There is a new Kohl's in the neighborhood and it is not open yet but their parking lot is huge. We drove over there and then I put the boy in the driver's seat and let him go. How did it go? I've got to be honest, he drives this car WAY better than he ever drove mine. I guess because it is a small car. It is a really small car. When I first got in it, I thought my butt was actually grazing the pavement! My grandma was a tiny woman so I guess this car suited her just fine. I, however, feel like a giant when I'm in it.

Can you picture that, Cathleen? I feel like a giant!!

Anyway, Nick drove really well. There were just a few times where I had to remind him to actually press on the gas so that we were moving faster than five miles per hour but for the most part, I was very impressed. There were no ridiculously wide turns. He drove on the right side of the road. He does brake a little hard at stop signs, but even I know that it can take a little while to adjust to the feel of a new car. He was doing so well that he even drove over to the busier part of the parking lot by the Lowes Foods and parked in a parking spot (between two cars!)! This car is exactly what he needed. We are determined to make him drive a little every day so that come July when he gets his license, he will be all ready.

Thank you, Grandma, for giving your boy such a special gift that no one else can ever top. After all, everyone remembers their first car. Love you and miss you, always.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

With a Chick-Chick here...

Day two of Frank in NY. I'm not emotional today at all. I had a good night's sleep, I got some cleaning/decluttering done around the house AND my mammogram got cancelled. Oh, darn. They did reschedule but I was just psyched to not have to go today.

So I'm lounging about in my jammies, feeling very relaxed and peaceful when I called Frank this morning. I thought he'd be up and fishing (it was 10 am) and alas, he was just waking up. Am I surprised? Not really. Things are good. He slept fine. He thinks they're going to actually go fishing after lunch. He talks to the boys, everyone's good, we'll talk to you later.

I'm in the Super Target at around 3:00 when the phone rings. Frank. So I answer and he is sort of freaking out. He is ranting that he left, he had to get out of there, he can't take any more. I'm like "What are you even doing?" Last I knew, he was going fishing. Apparently that did not happen and he had just been hanging around at his sister's house with her family. They have some chickens. Quite a few, I'm guessing, and the afternoon was being spent watching and talking about the chickens until Frank's head was ready to explode! I had no choice, friends, I did what any normal person would do when faced with this dilemma.

I laughed.

Out loud.

In the middle of the Super Target.

I mean, COME ON!!! Can you imagine having to sit ANYWHERE and just talk about and watch CHICKENS?? Those of you who have ever met Frank, can you picture him tolerating that for even a minute?? I'm surprised he wasn't on his way home back here to North Carolina as we spoke!

After I caught my breath, I talked him down from the ledge. I mean, the man was FREAKING out. So I asked him what he was planning to do. He was having dinner with friends at 6:30 so clearly he had some time to kill. He was driving off to the Long Island Drum Center. It's like the mother ship was calling him home! For all I know, he's STILL at the Long Island Drum Center. I know he would have no trouble at all killing time there.

By the time we hung up, he was fine. I felt bad for him, but he was fine. I think he'll be getting on the road fairly early tomorrow. I'll be glad to have him home. I think he'll be happy to be home. I can't wait to see the car. I can't wait for Nick to see his car. It will be nice to have my family together again.

Friday, March 20, 2009

...Now Get Me Some Advil!

Oy, what a day!!! Early today I wrote about how I took Frank to the airport, I cried, I was sad, blah, blah, blah. Well, once he landed and was safely on the ground and awaiting the arrival of his brother-in-law, he called me to tell me that it all went well. I was greatly relieved. You see, my sweet, sweet husband is not long on patience and yet has to "mull things over" for LONG periods of time before he can do what needs to be done. If ever there was a guy who was going to get picked out of a security line in an airport, it would be him. Luckily that was not the case today.

Praise the LORD!!

So he calls to tell me that he is fine and I was very happy. We agree that we will talk tonight. Twenty minutes later he calls again. He needs directions to my mom's house to go and pick up Nick's car. So I'm telling him that it is right off Montauk Highway. While this means NOTHING to 99.999% of you reading this, having lived almost 30 years on Long Island, this should have meant everything to him and explained it all. It did not. I could think of no other way of saying this. I'm like "Get on Montauk Highway and go to Brightwaters, it's easy!" No, no it wasn't. Now remember that we have already established that he and I do NOT do well with driving directions, right? So now he's snippy and is like "I GUESS I should have just called your mother!" You guessed right, buddy!

Not missing him so much right now.

Thirty minutes later he calls AGAIN. Seriously, how can you even get the opportunity to MISS someone when they just won't stop calling! By this time the Kleenex is a thing of the past and I'm thinking of unplugging the phone! Now he's at my mom's and guess what? He LOCKED THE KEYS IN THE CAR!!! He has been there all of 15 minutes and already has a problem. So mom's running around trying to find something to help him open the doors with and he's asking me what he should do!


He gets the doors open, the car starts right up and all was well. Fast forward six hours (I know, long break) and he's back in the car, calling me. Why? He needs DIRECTIONS!!!


He's heading to a friend's house - who, FYI, has lived in the same house for like 20 years and we were just there in October - and he can't remember how to get there. He's like "I just got off 111 at Main Street and I don't know where the hospital is." Because you know how often major hospitals get moved! So I tell him to STAY on Main Street (aka - Montauk Highway) and pretty much, you won't be able to MISS IT! Next thing I hear is "Holy crap I gotta call you back!" and he hangs up!

I have a very active imagination. As a matter of fact, I have an OVERLY active imagination. In my mind he is getting pulled over. He's getting a ticket. No, he's getting thrown in the back of a police car because he is driving a car that is registered to ME it probably has an out-of-date inspection sticker AND he's driving around with two TV's in the back seat (true story)! He's argued with the cop and now will be taken to jail and I will have to try and come up with BAIL money in a month that funds are low (thank you, Nick) and I'll have to decide WHO to call to go and bail him out!! WHY WON'T HE CALL BACK!!!

He did a few minutes later. Turns out he just flicked a cigarette ash the wrong way and it landed on the floor of the car rather than out the window and he needed to make sure that it was out. Way more boring than my riveting cop-fight scenario but made my night a whole lot calmer. He is off to jam with the band tonight and very excited about it. Me too. I'm glad he's having a good time. I'm glad that he has something to do.

I'm glad that he will NOT be calling me again tonight. My mind can't take it!

Somebody get me a Kleenex!

I drove my husband to the airport this morning. It was so weird because the last time...well, there never was a last time I drove Frank to the airport! He is usually taking me to the airport for ME to get away! This is only the third time in his entire life that he is flying and the first time since 9/11.

I have to admit that there is a certain freedom that comes because of this but at the same time I am just so SAD! He laughed when I told him that because he's like "You go away a lot and it's fine". Well, sure. But then I'm the one leaving to go and do something fun. I'm not here in our home going on with life alone. Dramatic, right? He's on his way right now to New York to bring back Nick's car. He's staying at his sister's house. He's going to go fishing. He's having dinner at a friend's house tomorrow night. He's driving home on Sunday. I mean, there is nothing out of the ordinary here and yet I cried all the way home from the airport! How demented am I??? There are times where Frank has gone to work up in Virginia and he is gone overnight - two days. I have a hard time with that too.

So while I'm sobbing and driving on the expressway, I'm trying to focus on the positive - my son will have his car Sunday night! Yea! Then that brings on a whole new set of tears because it is my grandmother's car and I miss her and I'd rather have her here than the damn car. I'm reaching for a Kleenex as I type! I had this image in my mind of taking pictures of him with his first car and that made me sad because I remember the day grandma told Nick she wanted him to have it how happy she would be to see him driving it.

I know, I'm in serious bummer mode right now. I'm sorry, I can't even help it! I need something positive to happen today. I need some good news. I'm not going to think about all of the planes that just drop out of the sky or crazy people driving drunk or crazy on I-95. I'm just going to try and block all of that out! Then I'll just have time to focus on the fact that I'm going for a mammogram tomorrow.

Cathleen? When is it time to party?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Need to go to my Happy Place...

I'm Grumpy today. Yes, grumpy. There are a multitude of valid reasons but I have to be honest, I am not enjoying the grumpiness. I am sitting here hoping against hope that my Disney package is waiting for me at home because right now that is the ONLY bright spot in my life!

Sad, right?

I could sit here and TOTALLY rant about all of my woes, but I did that to enough people on the phone this morning. Thank you, Carol, for my chocolate (it was all gone by noon) and thank you, Danette, for my water. I shall never have thirst again! Good friends are a wonderful gift and I am especially blessed in this category. That is happy place number one - I am with my friends.

On a side note (my brain is a little scattered today, so forgive me!), last night on The Biggest Loser, the contestants had to run a half marathon. Now, I am not a runner. Never have been, never will be, but I have ALWAYS wanted to run the half marathon (or Minnie Marathon) at Disney. BUT, I not only wanted to do it, but I wanted to be able to do it with my friends. How cool would that be to have a group of us go down to Orlando for a couple of days, ride the rides, eat the food, pose for pictures and then do the marathon? Um, way cool, right? Now in reference to my earlier blog about not liking to run, I use the term "run" in the marathon loosely. I would consider a brisk walk more my style. And you know what? I could TOTALLY do this. It's just a matter of funds and getting my friends on board.

Okay, so that means that happy place number two is being at Disney WITH my friends. In my mind right now, I am walking across the bridge in to Adventureland on my way to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. "Yo-ho, Yo-ho..." ... You know the rest! Did I ever tell you about the time I rode that ride and when we came off there was a Mickey Mouse shaped water stain on my pants? I thought it was a little Disney miracle and so the ride now holds a special place in my mind.

So here's a thought to make you chuckle: should I get home later and my box of goodies is there, picture me - still feeling grumpy - sitting alone in my room surrounded by party gear wearing some Disney themed party hat and a noise maker in my mouth. Sure I'll look ridiculous, but in my mind, I'm with my girls having a blast.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Disney Heard Me!!!

Okay, I guess I whined enough and if there really is a Disney Fairy Godmother, she heard my cries. Last night I received an e-mail that said that I won a Walt Disney World "What Will You Celebrate?" In-Home Party Kit!! I am so excited!! I have absolutely no idea what in the world I am getting, but I cannot wait to use it!!

I belong to the Mickey Moms Panel and submitted an essay to enter the contest to win one of these parties. I'd like to be humble and say that I never win anything, but I do have a little luck in this area. Five years ago I won a Disney Trivia Contest and won a four day stay at a Radisson Resort right outside Walt Disney World through Kingdom Magic Travel. That was pretty cool. Then I won another trivia contest that gave me a $25 Disney Store gift card. Someday I hope to actually win an entire TRIP to the world. But for now I get to party like I am there in my own home.

Words cannot describe how excited Frank is about this. (Cue the sarcastic tone)

I am unsure what our "celebration" will be. The terms state that I have to host the party during a specific time period and then submit my reviews/comments on how it all went. I may have to do this as a "ladies" night with all of my Disney buddies (A.D., Allison - expect my call!) and play things like Disney Trivia! I think kids are supposed to be included, as well. Sure, in a separate room! Just kidding!

I can't wait to receive the box in the mail! I'll post pictures and you'll all get to plan with me!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I don't even like running when it's warm...

So I'm watching tonight's new episode of the Amazing Race and they are somewhere in Syberia. Very cold. Lots of snow and ice. The final challenge in tonight's episode had one person from each team run a course that was over a mile long - in their underwear!!! It was like -4 degrees and these people are running in their undies through the city!

As we're watching this, Michael is sitting with me and just randomly states (while eating some Nestle Crunch Dibbs) that Frank and I should go on the Amazing Race! Um, excuse me, child? Have we met? If for no other reason alone, do you picture your dad or myself running in the snow in our underwear?

With each challenge every week, I do mentally toy with the idea of how we would do it SHOULD we ever be on the show. Like week one, I think I would have had to be the one to bungee jump. Another week it would have been totally up to Frank to build that wood wall. This week with the whole underwear thing, all I could think about was "How often do I wear matching underwear that I would want to be seen in?" The answer: NOT OFTEN!! And we won't even address the issue of what a HEINOUS sight that would be to SEE me running in my underwear in the freezing cold! Of course, everyone running tonight was fit and beautiful. One of the girls was a former NFL cheerleader. Another is a flight attendant - she ran in a thong. Bless her heart, you KNOW that poor girl was freezing and will be thinking twice about her choice of underwear for the rest of the race!

But back to Michael's observation. Frank overheard him and started to laugh. I said to him "Can you imagine me trying to tell you how to drive in Siberia?" He laughed even harder and said "I don't even like it when you tell me how to get around town! I can't imagine dealing with you in another country!"

It's a good thing that we are secure in our marriage and know our strenghts.

And our weaknesses.

Be thankful that none of you had to witness me running in my underwear. Honestly, I just shuddered at the thought myself.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Here's a little something...

It's raining again. I'm stuck in the house with nothing to do. Well, I COULD do something, but I'm just not in the mood to do laundry. Nick is at work, Michael is at a friend's house. Frank and I have been together for two days straight and... well, let's just say we've done all we can do so he is now off playing video games. Fun right?

I have no one topic on my mind right now so this will probably be just some random...ramblings, so to speak. Here is what the week ahead is looking like:

Work - Monday through Thursday with non-stop insanity, trying to organize when and where to hold homeschool classes for next Fall. Nick has IOWA testing this week and so does Michael (two different locations), I have TWO doctor appointments, Frank leaves for NY to pick up Nick's car and Michael has a birthday party to go to. Whew! Busy week.

We had some issues at school this week - surprise, surprise. The entire third grade is putting on a pirate-type musical. Michael does not want to be a part of it. I have to admit, I don't see what the big deal is but to him, this is huge and causing him great anxiety. He got sent to the office again apparently because of this. So I took matters in to my own hands and called the principal. FYI, very nice guy. I told him that I was getting a little tired of my child spending so much time in the office for such trivial things and he was like "I LOVE Michael! He is a really smart kid!" And then went on for THIRTY MINUTES on how he thinks that Michael is just fine and how they are working with him to help with his frustration levels and that if he thought that Michael was truly a discipline case, HE would have called ME long ago! I have to admit, I was very appreciative of the time he took to talk with me and I was glad that he is not seeing this as such a big deal. AND Michael does not have to be a singing pirate. Praise the Lord, because I am telling you, THAT was becoming quite the issue at home.

Nick had his follow up appointment after the whole Mono thing and he is A-OK. His spleen is back to normal and all is pretty much as it should be. He's back at work and looks and feels great! I am so thankful for this. As my child who is NEVER sick, this was all more traumatic for me than it was for him, I think! He goes back in a month for a physical/check up and then hopefully it will be another couple of years before he has to do anything again.

And here's one from the "Pulling the Rug Out From Under You" Category... I'm on the phone with my mom the other day and we're talking about Grandma and the memorial service that she is planning for her and just about Grandma's life in general. And in all honesty, Grandma was not a "warm and cuddly" person, she was always very matter-of-fact and pretty unemotional. I made the comment that she was always very affectionate and loving with Nick. I went on to say that pretty much form the time I got pregnant with Nick, Grandma just went ga-ga over him. Ready for the rug pull? Mom says that she thinks that Grandma was only like that to get back at HER! You see, when I got pregnant with Nick, my mother and I were not speaking - largely in part to her crazy husband that she was married to at that time. She was not there during my pregnancy or when Nick was born. So she thinks that the only reason that Grandma was like that was because she was spiting her! She then went on to say that she was sure that it wasn't always like that but in the beginning, that was her theory.


My mom and I have a very open and honest relationship, but that was one little bit of info that I really would have been better off never, ever knowing. I know that Grandma had her faults. Our relationship wasn't perfect but just thinking about what was said sort of tarnishes the wonderful memories that I have of Grandma and Nick!

Just weird, weird stuff.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's An Emotional Roller Coaster...

On Monday we sent out an e-mail to our customers that our little homeschool bookstore was closing. It was such a hard thing to hit that "send" button and wait to see what the response was going to be. Within minutes of the notice going out, the phone started ringing and people were openly crying with me over the phone and saying how much they love us and how much we are going to be missed.

When my boss called that morning, I told him (and almost cried) about how much love and support we were being shown. I knew if was going to be rough, I just had no idea how rough. When he called towards the end of the day, I was quite a bit less teary. The day had been wild. People came in and shopped like wild. I felt like a good portion of our inventory had already been wiped clean. This is a good thing because everything must go.

What is hard to maintain without sounding phony is the telling of how we feel about it when people come in. Someone will walk in and they give you that look - full of sympathy and usually with the head tilt (remember that episode of "Friends" with Tom Selleck?). "How are you doing? You okay?" And then we usually respond with the details of how the economy has been and how hard this is going to be and what a tremendous loss to the homeschool community this is going to be. And you know what? I do mean each and every word of it but after saying it 15 times a day, I feel like a fraud! I don't know why but I just do.

I am devastated by this turn of events. I am heartbroken that it had to come to this. I am shocked at the attitude of some people who have only come in to pick over the carcass of our little store so that they can save 20% when they have not supported the store in five years!!! It's hard to greet those people with a smile. I go in in the morning and I am sad as I walk around and see how much is gone. I get teary when I talk with the first few people of the day. But by mid-afternoon when the store is packed with people that I do not know and the pace if frenetic, I just have to force myself to keep moving. To keep smiling. By the time I get home, I want to be alone and not talk to anyone. Hard to imagine that a little "chatty Cathy" like myself would feel that way but I do.

Today is my day off and I am going to cherish it. Michael is at school, Nick will be at work...but it is raining and so my hubby will be home with me. He does NOT let me have quiet time. He will want to talk and know what I am doing and while all that is sweet and I may have to "convince" him to take me on a lunch date. I kind of would have preferred the ultimate quiet time.

But alas, not today.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Herbie Wants to be a Dentist!!

Okay, so in this scenario, Herbie is Nick. Seriously. And he doesn't want to be a full-blown dentist, he wants to be a dental hygienist. Pretty cool, right?

I have to admit I'm surprised but I'm not by this. Confused? Let me explain... When Nick was little, he needed a LOT of dental work. We were bad parents who let our child sleep with the bottle. Sometimes there was just NO other way to get that boy to sleep. So at the age of two, he had to have two teeth pulled. This started a snowball effect that went with him for years! We went through dental schools on Long Island and then again here in North Carolina to get all of his work done. He is even in some dental textbook someplace. Again, seriously.

At the age of seven, Nick decided that he wanted to go and work for Disney after our first trip to Disney World. And no, he didn't want to work there with running the rides or dressed as a character, he wanted to DESIGN the rides! It was wild. And you know what? He was good at it! In the seventh grade he took a college level on-line Theme Park Engineering class and scored a 96 on the final! He scored higher than the twenty-something year olds who were taking the class with him! So for years as a homeschooler, I custom made curriculum for him that was geared towards theme park engineering. I thought we were set. I was going to get my condo in Disney and free passes for life! Yeah, me! And then what happens?

Herbie wants to be a dentist!

Remember Herbie the Elf from the Christmas special "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"? We love that one! But Herbie does not want to be an elf and make toys - just like Nick does not want to be an Imagineer who designs rides. Eerie coincidence?? Today we started doing some serious research on what will be required of him to make this dream a reality. After looking up the courses and their descriptions, I thought for sure he'd be scared off. But he's not. He's actually psyched about it. Then I thought that this was going to be just like the whole Disney thing and he'd be excited about it and then change his mind. But really, at 17, I think he has a little more clarity about what he wants than he did at 7. He's thinking clearly about his future and for that I am thankful.

Unfortunately, we can only make plans in our heads. Until he gets in to the community college, we won't know how this will all play out. He's got one more year at home and he will get to be dual-enrolled next year at the community college but I am unsure how many of the dental classes/requirements he will be able to take as a high school student. We'll have to wait and see. Did I mention that we are not patient people?

My little elf is growing up...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Different Disney Adventure...

Frank and I were married in August of 1991. It was a rushed affair because, well...I was a "bun in the oven bride"! Shocking, I know. The thing is, we both really wanted a real wedding and my dad was willing to accomodate but there's only so much you can do in three months.

Having said that, I was watching WE TV the other night and it was like Wedding Mania. The first show on was Disney Weddings. OMG!!! Midway through that show I was determined that someone in my family was going to have one of those weddings. Seriously. They have different levels/packages that they can offer at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida. I paid a little extra attention during the "Escape Weddings" portion of the show because those are the smaller packages. You can invite up to 18 people and the cost is usually around $5,000.

So by now you're wondering "Oh, No! Are you and Frank not happy together? Is that why you're planning another wedding? Hussy!" No, no, no. Relax. We are perfectly happy and probably more in love now than we were when we actually got married 18 years ago. No, my plan is that I would LOVE to renew our vows in Disney for our 20 year anniversary. How cool would that be? Um, like way, TOTALLY cool! Well, you know that Disney is not a real favorite of Frank's so I don't know if this would ever happen but a girl can dream. I ran it by him with big tears in my eyes and got all emotional on how we didn't really get to have all of the things that we wanted the first time around and wouldn't it be nice to renew our vows in such a beautiful place...if you know Frank, you can imagine the LOOK that I got.

Then I called my sister. Now most of you know that we are so not thrilled with the relationship that she is is but clearly it's not ending so I have to find a way to learn to deal with it. Enter a Disney Wedding! I would so learn to like this guy again if it involved a couple of days in Disney where I got to wear a cool, un-bridesmaid-like bridesmaid dress! While we were talking we got in to color schemes and yes, I would look good in ALL of the colors she chose. I told her flat out that I had no say in her last two weddings, and that I should get a say in this one - should one happen. Desperate times, people.

Well, when she didn't hand me a date, another thought struck. My son! You know, the teen who has already BEGUN talking about getting married? So he comes home and I run the idea by him. Now keep in mind that he is as big of a Disney fanatic as I am. His response to my idea? "What is wrong with you?" Seriously, this is what I get. I'm thinking that it would be so cool to do and being that he is always talking about his future and getting married and all of a sudden I'm the crazy one! I'm the one with the problem! Because, you know, MOST 17 year old boys talk about getting married. NOT!

So if any of you out there ARE planning a Disney wedding, can I please come?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The End of an Era...

I took a couple of days off from writing because what was going on in my life was not allowed to be broadcast yet. So I thought it best if I did not tempt myself and just stayed away from the keyboard.

My little bookstore that I love so much is closing. Yet another victim of this crummy economy. Last Wednesday my bosses and dear friends sat us down and gave us the schedule of events that is needed to close a business. My heart is breaking for them. I have been with them for four years and honestly, it has changed my life. I met people that I never would have met before. I had opportunities as a homeschool mom that I never would have had. I've made some GREAT friends. I am going to miss this little place more than words can say. I'm going to miss all of the ways that it has blessed my life.

I am NOT, however, going to miss the drama! Good gracious has there been drama over the years! Yesterday we sent out word to the public letting them know of our plans. Within minutes the phone began to ring and some wonderful people were crying with me over the loss of such a great resource as well as the loss of seeing one another regularly. Those are the people I am going to miss. The complainers, the moochers, the drama queens...well, let's just say that I wish them well with their journeys with another bookstore.

What are my plans at this point? I honestly don't know. My first thought was that I was going to take the summer off and just "be". Unfortunately, unemployment doesn't pay THAT well and there will be too much of a deficit in our bank account to allow that. Bummer. I was really looking forward to working on my tan! Those of you who know me know what a joke that is!! I am as white as white can be!

I am actually trying to find a location for our enrichment classes to continue to meet at here in town. I would coordinate it and hopefully collect a little "per head" commission. That would be nice, but it wouldn't happen until September. Then there's the dream that my "great American novel" will get published and then I can take a YEAR off and not worry. Yeah, I know, I'm not seeing that happen either.

So if anyone reading this has a position open in a little shop for a sassy, perky chick with smokin hot highlights (and apparently gray is now a blazingly obvious part of them), then give me a call! I'll be available June 1st!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

But I Don't WANT a 1969 Cougar!!

So I'm on the phone with dad today. The weekly call, no big whoop. We're discussing the economy - he owns his own deli and knows that I work for a family owned business - and so we compare notes on how business is doing. Not much has changed for either of us - some days are good, some days are bad. These are uncertain times.

I go on to tell him that when we get our tax refund that Frank needs a car. "WHAT?" he yells. "In this economy, he's going to spend this money on a car? Why? Why can't you or Nick drive him to work? When Nick get's his car and his license, he can drive him!" I take a minute and then say, "Well, you know, that's a bit emasculating, you know? I mean, the man is entitled to have transportation of his own. His van is quite literally, falling apart."

This then led to the most bizarre conversation quite possibly ever had.

"You know, Stace, my friend has a 1969 Cougar that he's looking to sell for like $300."

Why, oh why, would ANYONE want a 1969 Cougar? Seriously, why? He went on for a solid ten minutes about the wonders of this car. I'm counterpointing with the whole "Oh, it's a 15 hour drive to you and with the cost of gas...would that car even be able to make such a must be a gas guzzler..." I mean, you name it, I used it as an excuse as to WHY I did not want this car. Finally I had to put my foot down and just say no. There is no way that a man with a painting career who needs a car would find a 1969 muscle car suitable transportation! Now, I know, I know, people with NO transportation might consider this a great deal. We are not those people. Truth be known, we could make due without him buying a car this year. We probably SHOULD try to make due without him buying a car this year. But when I tell you how much this man has WHINED and GRIPED about driving an old vehicle for so long, I'd almost be willing to eat cheese sandwiches for a year just to get him to SHUT UP about it!

Nick's car (compliments of Grandma) will be here in two weeks. The boy won't have a license until July. So we have three months this car can be used as a family car and not just for driving lessons. We'll have to see. Who knows what can happen in the next three months. Life can change in the blink of an eye. No one can predict what is in store for us.

I can only pray that it is NOT a 1969 Cougar!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Well, At Least I Got to Sleep In...

I am off on Fridays. It gives me a three-day weekend and I love that. My plan for today was to have no plan. I knew I would have to get up at my usual 6:15 to get Michael ready for school but as soon as he was out the door, I was crawling right back in to my bed! And I did.

Frank came home and got ready for work. I slept through it. Kissed me goodbye. I slept through it. I woke up once at around 10:00 and decided that I was not ready to be amongst those standing upright and rolled right back over and went back to sleep. The phone rang around 11:00 and Nick answered it. It was my mom and to be honest, the phone ringing DID wake me up so I decided to talk to her. I got out of the bed and was still feeling good about having nothing to do. We talked for around 20 minutes and then I strolled over to the computer just to see what was going on in the world. Then the phone rang.

"Hi, mom," Michael's little voice began. "Today is my writing celebration, are you coming?"


Okay, bad mommy moment. I totally and completely FORGOT about the writing celebration! I mean, TOTALLY. I'm sitting there at the computer with the phone in my hand, in my pajamas, my hair looking as if it were done with an electric mixer, no make up and I'm sure some remnants of night-time drool was still on my face!! "When did it start?" I asked. They were pretty well in to it and even if I hung up immediately and jumped in to the shower and took the world's fastest shower, I still would not get there in time. I apologized profusely and all he said in that little tiny voice of his was "It's okay, mom."

Seriously, my heart hurts even writing it. So I blaze through getting ready, dragged Nick with me and I was determined to make this up to my boy. We showed up at school and the class was at lunch. We walked in to the cafeteria to surprise him and I told him that as soon as he was ready, we were taking him home and we would stop and get McDonalds. Sure, great, as the boy is EATING his lunch, I'm offering a SECOND lunch! There's a therapy session for you - I'm trying to BUY my son's love and forgiveness with FOOD! We leave the school with only a mild "tone" from the teachers ("You know, he wouldn't read his story because you weren't there" followed by "Don't worry, you weren't the ONLY parent to forget").

Yes, we did go to McDonald's (bad dieting moment - blog for another time) and the boy only wanted a bacon cheeseburger from the dollar menu. Sigh. We get our order, come home, set up in front of the TV for a picnic and he opens his burger and sighs. "They put ketchup AND mustard on the bacon". Now, this is the child who eats anything. And I mean ANYTHING and suddenly the weight of the world is on him because his mom did not show up to hear him read a story. Can any more guilt be heaped upon me??? I just could not win today with this. If Jesus were alive and walking this Earth surely he would have slapped me in the face and it would be no less than I deserve!!

So yes, bad mommy moment today. All the child asked for with dinner tonight was some herb and butter rice. I am all over it!!! He will get the biggest portion and it will be served with love.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mouse Withdrawals....again!

Okay, so it's happening again. I'm having Disney withdrawals. I just want to go so bad!!! I have on a Mickey Mouse t-shirt today and all I can think is "Wouldn't this shirt look GREAT in a picture in front of Cinderella's castle?" And the answer is yes, I think that it would!

I follow a lot of blogs and quite a few of them are Disney themed. I like keeping up on what is going on in the "World" and with each bit of information, I get a little more antsy. For example, today I read a blog where there was talk of GM pulling its sponsorship from Test Track in Epcot. Now I'm thinking that I want to be on that ride! Right now! I'd love to have my hands up in the air as we drove around the outside of the building doing 60 miles per hour. It would be fun.

Another blog talked about changes to the Downtown Disney area - places that are closing and new restaurants. I've only gone to the Downtown area twice - neither time impressed me much. Michael LOVED the Lego store and would probably still love it (it was almost 5 years since he's been there) but other than that, it's not something I find the need to go to. There's a ton of shopping there but while I'm there, I much prefer to be on a ride. But hey, that's just me.

There's been talk in the family of a MAJOR family reunion for 2010. The preferred location is Disney World. I have to admit, I am 100% up for that. Frank? Not so much. Particularly since it is with my family but he's never experience my extended family. THEY are the awesome ones. I'm looking forward to spending time getting re-acquainted with them as much as I am being in Disney again. If all goes as planned, we could be as much as 50 people (and that's the conservative number) on property together. The beauty of such a thing is that we all won't be staying in the same places because we all have different budgets.

I did a reunion like this with my husbands family back in 2002 but on a much smaller scale. There were only 13 of us. There was supposed to be more but one part of the family just couldn't do it. We understood completely. I had thought that we would all stay in different places but we ended up all at the same hotel in rooms right next to one another. It was kind of fun because we didn't stay as a group as we toured the parks, we only met up at meal times and once back at the hotel, we'd hang out together there. I remember we stayed at the All Star Movies Resort and were right by the giant "Andy's Room" area. The kids had a BLAST. I got some incredible pictures from that trip. Michael was only a year and a half old and to see him standing next to a three-story tall Buzz Lightyear was a riot!

Anyway, it's all still in the extreme infant stage of planning. I'm still trying to get addresses of everyone so that we can send out "feelers" to see exactly who would be interested in going. That part is at a dead stand still because I can't find anyone who has all of the addresses. This is my dad's side of the family and unfortunately, when he pulled away from the family, so did I. So did my sister. They're a great family. It's still hard to believe that dad is part of it! Seriously, all of his relatives are just so...normal! Dad is the party boy. So strange.

So I plan. Again. For a trip that may or may not happen. I WANT TO BE IN DISNEY WORLD RIGHT NOW!!! That would make me happy. My friend Beth told me last night that I've scared her with some of my angry blogs lately. See Beth, nothing scary about this one, right? Who could be angry while talking about the Happiest Place on Earth? Even though I cannot be there right now, just thinking about it makes me smile!

To Be Continued??? Really???

So last night I tuned in to watch "The Biggest Loser". I told you, I love that show. So I was all psyched because I was able to catch it immediately from the beginning and everyone in the house was cooperating so that I had some peace and quiet. It was a beautiful thing.

On the show, they are in to week nine of their competition. They had a celebrity chef on who gave them a cooking challenge that was pretty interesting. The contestants then had to help serve at a food pantry where they loaded up 150 crates of food. There was nothing really riveting about it all, but it was enjoyable. It is a two hour show but it held my interest the whole time.

So in the last 30 minutes they do the weigh ins. This is the fascinating part because this is what the show is ultimately all about. I like seeing who's hard work paid off and what not. I don't know why, I just do. The weigh in was different this week because instead of weighing AGAINST one another, they were all helping eachother to stay another week. Meaning, the show was taking all of the pounds lost and totally them together this week. If they - as a group - lost more than 77 pounds, then everyone got to stay another week, if they did not, then one member from each team (they are down to two teams) would go home. So I'm on the edge of my seat, Frank is next to me counting up the pounds, too. There were eleven contestants. Ten of them weighed in. The last guy gets up to go on the scale. Cue the dramatic music. He steps on the scale while the host is reminding him that everyone had not lost as they should and it was up to him to have lost 11 pounds to save everyone!

Fade to black.

To be continued.

Note to Biggest Loser executives: I am SO NOT AMUSED!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How do we get there?

I think one of the biggest common conceptions of men (from women) is that they do not stop and ask for direction. Right? Well here's one for you...what about men who forget how to get anywhere only when YOU (the woman) are in the car with them?


We have lived in North Carolina for almost 14 years. We have lived in the same house all that time. We don't venture more than 20 miles from the house most days. As a self-employed man, he can get himself anywhere as long as I am not in the vehicle with him. Why is this? Well, I'd like to say that it is because I am so darn smokin hot that the man cannot focus on anything except for the wonder that is me! But that is so totally not the case. Even with the highlights!

So why can this seemingly intelligent man not drive with me? It's become a long standing joke at home but to be honest, it is seriously annoying. Yesterday we went out to buy him shoes. He was driving. I asked where we were going about five minutes in to the drive because I was under the impression that we were going someplace completely different. "To Payless" he says. Then I had to remind him that Payless was on the other side of town. That was not the answer he was looking for and for a brief moment wanted to argue the point. "Why would I lie?" I asked him. Honestly, where do I benefit from telling you that there isn't a shoe store where you thought there was? I'm all for a leisurely drive but we had a purpose for being out! Now we have to get to the ACTUAL shoe store. He starts to drive and asks which way he should go. I replied "Just go straight around here and get back on Capital Blvd." I even waved my hand around (in a very Italian way that I do) to show the sway and curve of the road. So in my mind, not only had I TOLD him the way to go, in my own little way, I showed him too.

Clearly not. He asked "So should I turn around here and go back to Capital?" Now, while true, he could have gone both ways, we were already HEADING towards the darn road. Why would we U-turn it around? I DON'T KNOW! Now I'm snippy and repeat myself. My tone was not nice and now HE was ticked. He slammed the brakes and I was sure that I was going to be walking home. Luckily I did not have to but I'm still baffled by this.

I mean, the town has changed a LOT since moving there all those years ago but this is just one example of how a simple trip to the store goes! I had to remind him that he ASKED for the directions! I was not just TELLING him where to go (although I did tell him exactly where he could go before it was all over).

What is it with men and directions? It's a no win! They won't ask, you're not allowed to tell! It's a miracle than any of us get anywhere. Ladies, do you often wonder that you are not have more car accidents while out running your errands because of all of these men who have no clue how to get from point A to point B? I for one am stumped! Although, in all fairness to my husband's condition, he CAN drive quite well without me, it's just when I am physically in the car that he cannot.

Maybe I'm hotter than I think I am!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Go! And Run Free, My Son!

I don't think we've had an event such as this in our home. We've counted down the days until Christmas. We've counted down the days until birthdays. Heck, we've even counted down the days until our Disney vacations (with multiple countdown clocks and calendars). But nothing, NOTHING has compared to this.

Nick got to leave the house today.

(Insert dramatic, inspirational music here)

Yes, we have finished with antibiotics. We have been fever free for five whole days. There is no lingering sore throat or lethargy. The boy is fine. He did all of his chores around midnight last night so that this morning he would be free to run out the door at 10:30 and be with his girlfriend. Isn't that cute? He was just way too excited and I for one, am relieved that he is better.

He's still got another five days until he can return to work and we will have to go to the doctor for a follow up visit, but for now, I am just THRILLED that he is back to his old self. YEAH!!!!