Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The blessing's in crisis...

Okay, so things have gone from bad to worse. Frank finally sat down with the landlord about being paid for doing the bathroom reconstruction/renovation and when he went there, the guy pretty much told him that he's not paying him.  Well, that's not 100% accurate, he WILL pay him, just less than HALF of what Frank billed him for.  Essentially, two weeks of back breaking labor is only worth minimum wage.  Go figure.

So Frank told him that he wasn't paying rent then until the bill is cleared (meaning, our rent is the money that he needs to pay us) and the landlord said that he would take us to small claims court.  BY ALL MEANS PLEASE DO!  For starters, it would save me the $70 filing fee.  Next, I can then tell everyone what a giant jackass you are!  

But I digress...things are clearly not getting better there, Frank still doesn't have steady work, I've had to go and apply for food assistance (NOT something that I EVER want to do again) and the bank account is near the single digits.  So I go and get the mail today and there's the usual bills and flyers and then there was an envelope addressed to me and Frank.  There was no return address.  On the outside of the card was printed:  "Encouragement:  Helping a friend to see a difficult situation from God's point of view."  And then below it "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" Isaiah 55:9.

Inside the card was handwritten.  "Be not afraid, neither be dismayed for the Lord thy God is with your wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9 and then "The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11. Where a signature would be, it said "The Lord loves you and is watching out for you."

Inside that card beside the encouraging words was $500 in cash...the EXACT amount of money that we laid out on materials for the renovation that the landlord has not reimbursed us.

He is a mighty God; a mighty God indeed...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Today's post is brought to you by the number "1"...

...Because it's the loneliest number.

(Insert pitiful, sad music here)

I am telling you, today was the WORST day!  I know, I know, I've been saying that a LOT lately, but it is so dang true today!  Why?  You'd think I'd be happy with my new bathroom and the fact that someone actually called Frank about some work.  But no...that would be too easy.

After two weeks of waiting for my landlord to clean up the yard (which he has told me FOUR TIMES that he is sending someone over) we went outside to do it ourselves.  Now, Frank had a hissy-fit with the boys, telling them that they better be careful because there were nails in the wood, wear good shoes, pay attention, blah, blah, blah and then guess who steps on a nail?  FRANK!  So on the same foot as the spider bite, now he has a puncture wound from a rusty nail.  His tetnus shot is up to date so he's fine but really?  Spider bite AND rusty nail??

We fought with Nick because he went out and bought HIMSELF lunch and never bothered to ask anyone if they wanted anything.  So when he came home and Michael asked if he could have some of the pizza, Nick was like "NO...I bought this with MY money!"  Again, are you kidding me???  We fought on THAT one for like 20 minutes.

We pack up the back of the van TWICE with debris in the yard from the bathroom renovation and my landlord does a drive by and is like "You're not throwing out the things I want, are you?"  REALLY???  Can someone PLEASE give me a break!  We threw out stuff that was rotten, covered in nails and mold and do you know that bastard got out of his truck and dug through the dumpster and pulled some random pieces of wood out?  

So we get through the yard clean up,  I mow the lawn, we fought over lunch, we fought over another disagreement that Frank and Nick had, I finally convince Frank that TODAY we are going to fight for our rights face-to-face with the landlord and I go to sit down and type up our bill for labor and... the computer froze and would not work.

That was it.  I was done.  I literally had a breakdown.  I crawled in my bed and cried for like an hour.  My head still hurts 7 hours later I cried so hard.  I just cannot believe the crap that is going on here.  I feel like we are in the fiery pit of hell and it just keeps getting worse.  Everyone is walking on eggshells around me and I just ate like a dozen Enteman's chocolate chip cookies and feel sick.

If I had someplace to go, I would so get in my car and just be by myself for like a week.  I totally need someplace peaceful with no one around me to feel human again. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

You can't make this crap up...the random edition

Yesterday morning, Frank was getting Michael ready for school and he was like "Man, something bit's so itchy and it has a blister".  He was very non-chalant about the whole thing so I didn't give it another thought.  Well, this morning he makes a comment about it again and I happen to SEE the blister and was like "OH MY GOD!!!"  It was HEINOUS!  We went to the Minute Clinic...they don't treat these things.  We went to the local Urgent Care/ER here in town and waited two hours to find out that yes, it is a spider bite, no, they don't know what kind it is and basically he has all kinds of medication to treat it.  Very EXPENSIVE medicine.  

Fabulous.  Just what we need right now when we are broke...more bills.

Have you been watching the news lately?  Okay, so Levi Johnson (whose main I claim to fame is knocking up Sarah Palin's daughter) has taken back his apology to Sarah Palin.  GASP!  Say it isn't so!  Really?  Who cares?  Why is this person getting top billing on any news show?  He's some little fame whore who is trying to stay in the spotlight but he hasn't done a decent thing to earn it!  Knock up your girlfriend?  Don't marry her.  Need money?  Pose for Playgirl.  I mean, really?  Does anyone think that Sarah Palin is losing sleep over his non-apology?  I honestly hope not.

Octomom should NOT be on "Dancing with the Stars" and if she is, I refuse to watch.  

Why does the USA network put on like a thousand episodes of NCIS and Burn Notice but barely shows great shows like Psych?

Is it wrong to eat Hostess Cupcakes for breakfast?

I'd be willing to sell a kidney right now to NOT have to cook dinner.

Last night I was cutting Michael's hair (he's 10) and he stopped me mid-way and was like "Look, don't cut it as short as you did the last time...I had to wear a hat to school because I was so embarrassed."  REALLY???  You're TEN!  And a BOY!!!  

It took me two HOURS last night to get Frank to wake up and move to the other side of the bed and to get UNDER the blankets.  Seriously, by the time he finally did, I was no longer tired and didn't sleep well the rest of the night.

Clearly, I have issues.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Defining moments...

Okay, so the afterglow of having some time to myself in a completed bathroom has faded and life officially went back to sucking today.  

Aren't you glad you stopped by?

So I'm on the phone with my mom today and we were talking about how I'm doing and I'm like "you know...I'm just disappointed".  In what?  Well, right now pretty much everything.  I look around me at my friends who have a different kind of family than I do.  I mean, I have always known that my family was "different" but it never bothered me until now.  Mom and I talked on that a bit and it's kind of wild that we can both pick the moment that changed our lives (and we were on the same wave-length as to what that moment was).

Without getting in to a bashing session, we both agreed that the moment was when my dad left.  Life changed in that moment and it was never the same and it hasn't been the same since.  Yes, we've all grown up and moved on but ...well, did you ever see that movie "Sliding Doors" with Gwenyth Paltrow?  Well, the story is about a woman who's life is defined by one moment:  She is on her way home and at that point the movie splits to show how her life would have been if she actually caught the train home and the other side shows what happened because she didn't catch the train.  It's sometimes as simple as that.

If my parents hadn't split up, mom wouldn't have worked three jobs to support us.  My sister and I wouldn't have been left alone so much to fight.  Dad wouldn't have gone through his party phase and ...well, let's just say that the family would still be benefiting from that.  

I'm jealous of my friends who have families that can HELP them.  I'm envious of my friends who have parents who take them on vacation or just want to spend time with them.  I realize that I am 600 miles away from both of my parents and that was my decision to move.  But at this point in my life when things are so low, it is scary to not have anyone to help us.  Actually, I hate that we even NEED help, but we do.  

Tonight, before Frank left for band practice, we had a talk that I think is going to be a defining moment in our situation.  I have always supported Frank and encouraged him to make choices to do what he wanted career wise.  Well, tonight I pretty much lost my mind and became the anti-cheerleader and told him what I (and that is a bold and emphasized "I") NEED him to do.  I think it's a good thing that he went out after that so that it can sort of sink in and it's nice for me to have a little reflective time, as well.

Fact is, friends, I'm scared and freaking out about our finances.  I know we are not alone and that the majority of the country is struggling but I am selfishly focusing on us.  If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times, God has never left us without a roof over our heads and food on the table.  But  you know what?  This time, it just FEELS different.  It's a little too close to the fire, if you know what I mean.  


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's the little things...

So this morning, Frank took Michael to school, came home and then got ready to go to WORK!  Yes, it's a small job, only a day or two, but he is GOING TO WORK.  Yeah!

Next, we both got ready in our new, improved BATHROOM!  Yes, it is finished.  Finally.  There is now room enough for both of us to get ready without bumping in to one another or having to stand on the toilet.  Life is sweet.

Nick went to work at noon.  Michael was at school.  Frank was at work.  I was at home, all ALONE!  I just really enjoyed some time by myself...I read a book, I talked to some friends on the phone and just in general, enjoyed the peace and quiet of being alone in my house.

Right now with life being so sucky, it is nice to find some joy in the little things.  Long may they last...

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Mommy Diaries...

As a parent, sometimes you look at your kids and think "Dang, I did good".  Other times you want to pound your head against the wall and cry "WHY?"  Parenting has been rough lately with this renovation going on.  

Nick has essentially been M.I.A. throughout most of this.  He has found other places to stay and hang out when he's not working and he's slept out a couple of times but for the most part, he had very little to do with all of the craziness that was surrounding our family.  

However, he had drama of his own.  For starters, there was the Xbox.  Hopefully that will get shipped out soon.  Then his car broke down.  Again.  This is the third time since we got it that it has refused to start.  We are blessed to have a dear, dear friend who is a mechanic who actually found out what the problem was and was able to fix it for free.  Sweet.  But...the boy had been without a car for five days - and he spend a LOT of those five days wanting to use MY car.  

Then...there was the iPod.  Oh...the iPod.  If you are a mother who is reading this, you are either going to sympathize or want to reach through your computer and smack me.  Nick and I have an ongoing issue with the laundry.  I will DO his laundry...I really don't have a problem with that...but he refuses to empty his pockets and honestly, I don't check.  Numerous times I have gone to take the clothes from the washer and found them covered in wet paper from things he has left in his pockets.  I gripe, he essentially says "Too bad" or the ever famous "Oops", I vow to never do his laundry again and then a few days later, there I am washing his clothes.  

Then...there was the iPod.  Are you seeing where this is going?

Last night I took the clothes from the washer, put them in the dryer and heard "clank, clank, clank".  When I sorted through the clothes, there, in his jeans pocket, was the iPod.  The 30G iPod.  The 30G iPod that the boy uses like it was a lifeline.   Well, that baby is flatlining, let me tell you!

So, as the mom of an 18-year old person (man, child, take your pick), should I have to go through his pockets?  Isn't the fact that I wash the clothes enough?  Or how about the fact that I have been living in bathroom renovation HELL for two weeks and have hit my limit of bad stuff happening around here!!  
I have to admit, I feel guilty.  I feel really, really bad.  I didn't MEAN to kill the iPod.  It sucks that Nick has to suffer for making a bad decision and not listening to me on top of already being without his Xbox AND car.  

Bad mommy moment...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Fair Wedding with David Tutera Finale!

Well, she is back for the FINALE!!  That's right, my mom's work is going to be featured AGAIN on "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera"!  How exciting is that??

This week's episode is the "Greek Goddess Bride" and mom did her table numbers, seating cards and her famous seating board - which we HOPE will actually be SHOWN in this episode!  I so wish that I was up on Long Island with mom to celebrate with her.  I mean, this is BIG.  She hasn't received any calls or orders from these shows yet, but she recently updated her website to include the pictures from the Purple Princess Bride episode and when she does wedding shows around the island, her signage and advertising will all include this wonderful achievement.  


Actually, it's funny because here in North Carolina, they do not do weddings like they do up in New York so I cannot even try and be the Printing with Panache South part of her business because it just wouldn't fly here.  I'm kind of bummed about that because what she does is just so cool.  If we were still living up there, I would totally want to be working with her - she's just completely creative.

So tonight at 10 p.m. be sure to tune in to the finale of "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera" and watch and listen for him to mention Printing with Panache and remember, hey, that's Stace's mom!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nine Questions

Okay, so I totally stole this from Vicki at Frugal Mom Knows Best but the questions were quite intriguing so I decided to swipe them!  :)

1. What are you superstitious about?
I'm not really a superstitious person but I will admit, I get a little twitchy if a black cat crosses my path!

2. What’s the story behind one of your scars?

I have a pretty massive scar down the center of my chest from having open heart surgery when I was four years old.
3. What are three things that you would rather be doing right now?

First, I'd rather HAVE a bathroom that I could use, next I'd rather have someone else making my dinner and lastly, I'd rather be reading a novel that I published rather than someone else's!

4. What do you do when you're bored?

Eat...I know, shocking!

5. What's your favorite thing to do? Why?

Read...I could read all day long and just chill because it totally relaxes me and takes my mind off of all of our troubles.

6. What do you do when you're lonely?

I call a friend!

7. How do you measure the passing of time in life?

I have a TON of scrapbooks.  I'm big on taking pictures.

8. What would constitute "the perfectly lived day" for you?

Oh, that's the dream!  It would include not having anyplace in particular to be and to be surrounded by my husband and kids sharing laughter and just having fun being together.  There would be no worries about finances or anything else; it would just be a time of enjoying our time together.

9. If you knew you were going to die in a year, what would you do in your final days?

I would want to spend every moment with my children and my husband.  I would want to just TALK to them and hear about their plans for the future and tell them all of the ways that I have LOVED them.  I would write each of them a letter that they can always have from me that told them the same.  In that time frame I would want to create as many positive memories as possible for them and do with them all of the things we said we'd do but never did.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The X-box story....

Christmas sister bought the boys an Xbox for Christmas.  They were THRILLED to say the least.  It was a refurbished one but it had a limited warranty and it worked beautifully.  The memory on it was huge - way more than you get when you buy the standard Xbox new.  They got HOURS of fun out of the system until...

The red ring of death...

Yes, this apparently is a heinous thing that can happen to your Xbox and although Microsoft is aware of it, the older models are pretty much sure to have this happen.  The boys were devastated when it happened...Michael was playing it when it did so Nick, naturally, blamed him.  This was a great source of grief in my house.  

So on graduation weekend while my nephew was here, he helped Nick "fix" the Xbox.  There are a great many sites on line that show you how to do this - something about wrapping it in a towel and overheating it or something like that.  Well, it worked, Nick went out and spent a FORTUNE of his graduation money on new accessories and games for the system and was happy as a clam until...

The red ring of death...part two.

Now there is MUCH yelling, screaming, crying...oh, the drama!  Finally, Nick had had enough and decided to spend the $100 (since the system was out of warranty) and get it fixed.  Microsoft will fix it for the $100 when it's out of warranty - it's free if it still has one.  So we get our ticket number, print out our UPS packing slip, I take it to the UPS store and deal with Beavus and Butt-head (remember them?  Seriously, that's who was working in the UPS store), pay my $11 for shipping and off it went.

It came back today.

Still broken.

Now there was much MORE yelling, screaming and now cursing was added to the mix while Nick FREAKED out.  But he pulled it together long enough to call Microsoft and demand that something be done.  I was so proud of him!  He told them the whole story, how they have our money and we still have a broken game system and how that is not acceptable.  By the time he was done, they were going to accept the system back, fix it, give him a gold membership with Xbox live and perhaps a free game.  Not too shabby.  Oh, their reason for not fixing it?  They sent a letter saying how it wasn't under warranty...uh, duh!  We told them that when we submitted the repair ticket!  And that the system looked tampered with.  Um...we got it USED...I'm sure somewhere along the way someone tampered with it.  

So long story short...Xbox will be shipped out on Monday and in two weeks we'll probably have a new and improved one with new things to play with.  Not that this really effects me in any way, shape or form because I don't play the game but at least there will be some peace between brothers once again.

At least for a short time...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eating in the closet...the new normal

So I have been stressing lately.  Clearly.  I had to quit Weight Watchers and have not been keeping to the plan at all even on my own.  The first night that we had to spend at the hotel I was like "Sweet!  Vending machines!" and ate some Famous Amos cookies.  The breakfast buffet was a carb-fest with bacon.  Seriously.

On Tuesday, Frank asked me to go to Home Depot for him.  So I'm like, sure, okay, no problem. what do we need?  He then proceeds to draw me a picture of some sort of metal thing that he needs that will protect the wiring in the wall so that no one can drill in to it.  I'm like "What's it called?"  he says "I don't know".

I wanted to cry.

So I asked him to just GIVE me the picture and he says "I can't give you that!  They'll laugh at you if you show them that!"  Okay, so to re-cap...I have to get a metal THING that protects things in the wall, we don't know the name or in what department it would be in and your sending ME a non-building-renovation-illiterate WOMAN to the Home Depot to scope it out.  Super.  I get to the HD and start my search.  I find and employee, I describe what I am looking for and he directs me.  Sort of.  I walk, I metal plates.  Kay, fine, look for second employee.  She directs me and I go and Voila!  metal plates.  None of which even remotely resemble Frank's diagram. 

Now I am ABOUT to cry.  

Employee number three comes up as I am dialing Frank's number and between the three of us, we FIND the metal plate.  Score!  So what does all of this have to do with eating in the closet?  Well, I left Home Depot feeling all kinds of emotional and just FED UP with all of this renovation nonsense and drove right over to Dairy Queen and got myself a Blizzard.  I didn't get anything for any other member of my family.  I got my Blizzard and I ATE IT in the car!  How pitiful is that?  Oh, and not only did I eat it in the car WHILE driving, I discarded the evidence so that no one would KNOW that I ate it!  I'm sick!

Yesterday, I went to Walmart to get - surprise, surprise - some things for the bathroom, and did a really super-small food shopping.  While going down the snack aisle for Michael's snacks, I snagged a bag of Milano cookies.  I got home, I HID THEM in the cabinet that no one uses and felt pretty damn good about it.  Nick was out, Michael was at school, Frank was burrowed in the bathroom mudding the drywall.  I took out some cookies, poured myself some milk and sat in the corner of my dining room (where the computer is) and was just about to take the first bite of cookie when Frank walks in and is like "Oh, so you got yourself cookies?  Did you get any for me?"  

SON OF A B....!

Really, like I'm cowering in the corner, trying to soothe myself with some food and it's like he sniffed them out!  I told him (okay, so I blatantly lied) that they were for "us" and he's like "I don't like those...I like the other Pepperidge Farm know, the crispy ones".  Seriously, I should have smacked him.  So we establish that these cookies are mine, I'm a bad wife, blah, blah, blah...

Today I take out some cookies to eat.  Again, Frank is in the bathroom, Michael is intently building with some Lego's and I just sit down and all of a sudden, Michael's like "Hey, where'd you get the Milano's?"

Okay SERIOUSLY family...give me a break!  Let me eat a snack in peace otherwise I'm putting a lock on the closet door and hiding out in there and will no longer cook ANYTHING for anyone!!  Can't a stressed out mom binge in peace?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sorry for the delay...

Okay, so I haven't been around too much lately because I have been deeply entrenched in the bathroom renovations.  They are getting better, I'll admit, but this has been insanity.

So we spent the weekend at the local Holiday Inn.  There was a lot of driving back and forth, trying to do laundry while rummaging through the debris that is in every room, on every surface of my house.  Michael was irritable and did not find staying at the hotel as much fun as he used to.  He was bored, I was exhausted, he wanted to play, I wanted to draw the curtains and curl up in the fetal position.

THEN on top of that we had to deal with the landlord AND his brother.  I'll save that post for another day.  We checked out of the hotel Monday afternoon and by Monday night, we had a toilet and a tub.  The sink will be installed tomorrow.  But we can shower, we can pee...all without driving anywhere.  

So I'm home, Frank is still working day and night to get this done without hardly any help.  We were blessed because we had some awesome guys show up here on Sunday to give Frank a hand...thank you Brian!  Thank you Joe!!  You guys rock!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Somebody call the Waaambulance....

Okay, so things were moving right along here today in bathroom renovation land.  There was a large portion of the exterior of the house removed and re-framed and a whole lot of work done on.  There were two guys plus Frank doing the work while my landlord sat in the shade and looked on.

Now, things had been going well.  Everything was getting done and for the most part, no one was in my way at all.  I had to drive to a friend's house to use the bathroom and then later go back to shower but while at home, I was okay.  We got the tub that we wanted and everyone was behaving themselves.

Until 5:00.

By that time, the two helpers that my landlord had gotten had left and apparently it was the witching hour because "crazy landlord" was back.  He was bitching and moaning about how much this is all costing him in materials and he's not done yet.  Sorry, not my problem.  He got the tub at a $100 discount but then bought the more expensive fixtures.  Not my problem.  We looked at linoleum for the floor, he wants something "sturdier".  Not my problem.  There is sagging in extensive parts of the floor in the area of the bathroom that requires permanent jacks.  Not my problem.  So he went a little coo-coo-for-cocoa-puffs at Frank over all of these things and that got Frank upset and I had to remind him that we didn't ask for all of this!  We picked a tub that was clearance! The LANDLORD chose the upgrades and higher quality stuff, not us!  We didn't go out and spend his money and submit the bill, HE went to the store and got it all!

I don't get why people feel the need to lay blame on someone else for their decisions.  I mean, I just wanted a bathroom that was safe.  I didn't want to fall through the dang floor while showering or using the potty and have to have the emergency squad come and dig me out of the debris!  That is not too much to ask, is it?  So I had to listen to Frank rant for an hour after the landlord left and I'll tell you what, he is 100% entitled to do it but MAN I could not wait for him to stop!

Tomorrow morning will begin with a very cheery landlord...and the cycle will continue...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 the Flinstones...

A friend of mine recently moved back to her home town to marry her high school sweetheart.  He was adding an extension on to his home to make room for her and her children.  He was making their dream home.

When she got there, it wasn't so much the dream.  There was no plumbing and there had been several snags in the plan and we joked about it being like living in Bedrock.  Well, now, I live there!  

We are day three in to the renovations and all I can say is WAHHHHH!!!!  The tub is out, the surround is out, the sink is out, half of the floor is out.  Only the potty remains (Thank GOD!) but that is temporary.  While sitting on the throne you get a view of the dirt of the ground below the house, a clear opening to view the boys closet AND in to their room and now, the exterior wall is getting ready to come down so I have a view of the side yard.  This morning Frank took down the siding and unfortunately, he has to stop because he doesn't have any helpers to do the really heavy stuff that he needs but hopefully will tomorrow.

I have had to go and shower elsewhere, the boys have showered elsewhere.  I have to admit, brushing my teeth in the kitchen sink is NOT living the dream and even though I still have my toilet, it's not exactly indoor plumbing.  We are taking a break tonight and the boys are going to see a movie, Frank is going to play with the band and I am going out with my ladies bible study group.  I will get to use a REAL bathroom!  Geez, listen to me, it's been three days and already I'm acting like I've been living in the jungle for years!  

I know, I know, it will all be over soon and I will love how it looks, blah, blah, blah...but realize that I am not an adventurous type of woman.  I don't camp, I don't hike, hell, I don't even like being outside for any extended length of time!  So for me, THIS is roughing it!  Years ago, I think back in 1996, Hurricane Fran came through here and we lost power.  Luckily, my grandmother was living down here too and she did not.  So we packed up when the coast was clear and went to her house BUT we had been here without it for 24 hours.  Longest 24 hours of FRANK'S life!  I am not easy to live with.  I don't ask for diamonds, a big wardrobe, or a big house but for the love of it, give me my plumbing!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandma...

Yesterday would have been my grandma's birthday.  It was weird because things were so chaotic yesterday that I didn't remember.  This morning when I was driving home from taking Michael to school, I was thinking about all that was going on with the bathroom and the renovations and thought to myself "I've got to call grandma and tell her about this..." and then I remembered....

I saw this on Facebook a while ago and it just seemed appropriate today.  So to my sweet Grandma, who I miss so much, Happy Birthday.

"I wish that Heaven had a phone so I could hear your voice again...I thought of you today, but that is nothing new; I thought about you yesterday and days before that too.  I think of you in silence, I often speak your name, all I have are memories and pictures in a frame.  Your memory is a keepsake, from which I'll never part.  God has you in His arms, and I have you in my heart."

Monday, August 9, 2010

And this is why I am not a candidate for any HGTV show...

 Okay, so no slap was necessary because Sybil, I mean, my landlord, came by today as sweet as can be and was most agreeable to anything and everything that my husband wanted to do.  

SOOOO...demolition was on!  First we ripped off all of the trim around the tub surround.  No problem.  Then we ripped off the tub surround.  (Insert dramatic music here).  There was nothing but black, rotting wood as far as the eye can see!  I mean, it was NASTY.  Frank pulled off as much rotted stuff as he could and then covered it in plastic so that we could TRY and not smell the nastiness.

Now, our house was built in 1945 so it is OLD.  The tub is the original cast iron tub so it weighs about 350 pounds.  It required ripping out the wall that was between the bathroom and the boys' closet.  Which required dismantling and emptying OUT the boys closet.  Not a task I ever want to do again.  So next came the task of finding someone to help my husband get this monstrosity out of the bathroom.  Most of his friends were at work or not able to help him because of physical limitations so I picked up the phone and called my dear friend Carol whose son is a lean, mean, muscle-pumping machine.  Hee-hee, he'd get a kick out of that one!  Actually, I told him that we were searching from someone with mind-numbing muscle ability and he liked that title!  But alas, the boy was not available but I was fortunate enough to find his older brother in town.  Gotta love a boy/man (I keep forgetting that he is almost 23!) who is willing to help out some family friends while on vacation!

Anyway, he came over and he and Frank hit the wall (literally) and could not quite get the tub jacked up to where it needed to be before the boy had to leave to meet up with friends.  BUT...being a quality young man, he told us that he would be back here in the morning (with his mind-numbing muscle bound brother) to help Frank remove the tub! have raised an amazing young man and you should be proud!

Since that time, the tub got jacked up way more and is sitting on said-jack in the bathroom.  I can see the dirt below my house and in to my children's closet from the comfort of my toilet!  Oh, and can I just say thank GOD that Frank is doing everything possible to not remove the toilet!!  We did have to re-assemble the boys closet so that they had room to move in their room and the whole house is clean and trash free.  Not too shabby for day one of demo.

But here's the's day ONE and I am so ready to be DONE!  I mean, I know it is all going to be worth it, it will look beautiful, blah, blah, blah...but in the meantime I get to have a moldy smelling bathroom with a view (and I say that sarcastically).  Tomorrow morning I will drive Michael to school and then go to a friend's house to shower (Bless you, Danette!).  Life is a little complicated to say the least.  This morning I was watching "My Big Amazing Renovation" on HGTV, actually, I watched TWO episodes.  Episode number one had a couple re-building their home and more than doubling their square footage.  It took 3 months during which they lived in a 450 square foot studio apartment and had a baby.  Episode number two had a family of 6 rebuilding their home and they had scheduled it for a 6 month time frame and it actually took a YEAR and $700,000!  What the WHAT??  While their renovation was going on, they lost the lease on their rental house and had to fit 6 people in a single hotel room!  

So yes, THOSE are people that have the right to complain.  I'm in day ONE of a tiny bathroom fix-up and I'm ready to have a mini breakdown.  If the camera crew were on me right now I'd be like " just (sob, sob)...I just thought that things would go quicker (sniffle, sniffle)...I mean, I just hope this thing comes in under budget..."  Then those real women from the HGTV show could just come over and slap ME!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Please let me slap him!

Okay, so today we were supposed to start on the demolition of our sinking bathroom.  That was the plan.  Well, our landlord shows up today and seems to have a plan of his own.  

This ALWAYS leads to trouble.

A little history, if you will...When we moved in here back in November of 1995 and Frank signed the lease, we were told that we could not have PEOPLE over or wild parties.  Clearly because we are from New York it is obvious that THAT is all we do.  The man would come over and walk the property just to make sure we weren't doing anything bad to it.  

On the night that we moved in there wasn't a circuit breaker box but one that had the old glass bulb things in it and all of the ceiling lights (which every room had) did not work.  Do you know how awkward it was to pee that first night?  So he hires a "friend" to come over and do the work...well, that guy was drunk and fell off the roof and killed a beautiful shrub in the back yard.  Sure it broke his fall but it was still a beautiful thing that didn't deserve to have that happen to it.  

Next, the man decided (without telling us) that he was going to replace our kitchen floor - the week before Easter.  The tile guy came, laid down the tile and then LEFT for five days - with explicit instructions that we NOT walk on the tile.  We had been living here only 3 months and I knew next to no one and could not COOK in my kitchen for a week!

Then there was the time he decided that he wanted to "level out" the property and dumped two truckloads of red clay down.  Most of Nick's clothes had to be thrown out that year.  Then he went to a piece of property that was being cleared and paid for a dead tree that he then planted in the middle of my backyard almost right in front of my son's swing set!

Or a classic tale of when there was a busted pipe and we didn't have full use of our toilet for almost two weeks because he wouldn't hire a plumber (just two guys who said they could do the work) and when we complained about needing a toilet I was told that I could pee in a bucket.  We could have taken him to court over that one.

So now we're at the sinking bathroom.  About 5 years ago I brought this to his attention and he brought another "friend" over who glued up some ceramic tile over the gap between the tub and the surround.  It didn't hold and now the tub has settled even more and you can see rotting wood and the floor is creaking really bad and I THOUGHT we were all on the same page on what needs to be done.  Well if on the same page meant coming over here and belittling my husband then I guess we are...however that is NOT what I had in mind.  

That man spent a solid 20 minutes telling my husband - who was willing to do all of the work in exchange for rent money since he's still out of work - how he has someone "reputable" to do the job in a day and that he is tired of having to go back and do things so he wants it done right the first time!  Um...hello?  We would LOVE that but nothing that this man has EVER done in almost 15 years has been handled by reputable people!

I am so frustrated right now that I could scream!!!  All I know is that there better be some work being done on my bathroom SOON!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How much is that doggy in the window...

Doesn't matter because we can't have one!

Yes, that was the conversation that I was forced to have today with the boys.  We were out at the local Lowes Home Improvement store getting ready for the big bathroom demolition that is hopefully going to happen this week when my cell phone rang.  It was Nick and he was across the street at Pet Smart where the humane society was practically giving away puppies.  Black Labs, to be exact.

Let me just sidebar here for a moment:  Back when I was in my early teens, my sister and I had been out shopping and stopped at the supermarket for something and someone was GIVING AWAY puppies.  You guessed it, Black Labs.  So, having been deprived of ever having a dog because mom was allergic, we took a puppy home because the Black Labs don't shed much and really, we NEEDED a puppy!  The store was only five minutes from our house and on that short car ride home we named our new puppy Abercrombie.  He was so adorable and snuggly and we were SO SURE that mom was going to love him.

She didn't.

She was pissed, she yelled, she cried, she made us take Abercrombie back to the box.  So today's phone call from the Pet Smart brought all of that back.  And if it were up to me, the new Abercrombie would be here in my house RIGHT NOW, snuggled up next to me in between times that I was rubbing his belly and teaching him to fetch.  But NO.  Our landlord does not ALLOW pets because some of his other tenants have had pets with fleas that have ruined their homes and when they moved out, he has had to do some major cleaning and repairing to fix what said pet has done.

New Abercrombie wouldn't do that.

So we had to be the bad guys.  We had to say no.  We had to NOT go and look at the puppies (who at that moment were being carted away in a puppy camper that was probably heading off to give them their last meal!) and had to drive home and be sad.

Granted, we have a cat who is an outside cat because he was rather obnoxious to have inside except in an emergency.  He was very territorial and any time that we DID let him in the house (without the landlord's knowledge) the damn thing would only sit in MY spot on the couch and then glare at me when I went to move him.  AND...he smells.  Having said that, neither of my children seem to care whether or not Fluffy Meowington (yes, that is his name) has food or water EVER.  So really, I am probably saving poor New Abercrombie's life because sooner or later, the novelty of having him would wear off and he would just wander around starving to death.

I still feel bad though...

Friday, August 6, 2010

In Search of Donny Osmond

I.  Am.  A.  Complete.  Dork.

There, I've said it.  Yes, the title is accurate.  I am indeed in search of Donny Osmond.  Well, technically I am in search of Donald Clark Osmond.  And before you ask, yes, there is a difference.

I grew up a Donny and Marie fan.  I had the albums, I watched the shows.  As I got older and it became "uncool" to be a fan, I got rid of them all and moved on to my 80's metal, big-hair bands era of which I still live in.  A little sad but true.  So anyway, always in the back of my mind is an album of Donny's where he sort of made the break from the past and was trying something new, something a little less "poppy" and it was titled "Donald Clark Osmond".  There is a very serious looking picture of him on the cover and everything.

So why am I searching for this now?  Because there were TWO songs on that album that I loved and for some reason they came to my mind and now I cannot get them out of it!  I went on Amazon to see if I could BUY the MP3 download of it but guess what?  Donald Clark Osmond is not COOL enough, apparently to HAVE an MP3 download!  I can buy the VINYL album but that does me no good because while yes, I have record player, I'm honestly telling you that I am going to want to sing to these songs while driving my car and nothing looks more pathetic than a grown woman hauling a record player around in her car while singing along to Donny Osmond.

I'm just saying...

So take pity on me, readers!  If any of you have access to this album and would be willing to make a recording of it for me I would be ever-so grateful!!  Maybe soon I will be able to go to sleep without Donny's melodious voice joining me!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Complete the task, please!

You know, I have really come to hate working in a group.  I do much better on my own because people have a way of not finishing what they started.  I mean, I am a procrastinator; I know it, I own it.  BUT...I get my stuff done as close to the deadline as possible and while I may not return ALL of my calls, people will know what I am up to and what to expect.

Having worked on the graduation committee for nine months, I learned and witnessed some really horrible behavior by grown women that really they should be ashamed of.  The day that I got to pass on all of the graduation info to next year's committee, I was giddy.  I thought I was done.  Even though the ceremony is over and done with, there are some last little details that are still lingering.  The problem?  The person in question has stuff for the group and will not return any e-mails or phone calls.  


You know what?  It is wait, beyond rude to hold people's things essentially hostage.  If people have PAID for something, then have the decency to give them what they gave you money for.  And for the LOVE of it, have the decency to return people's calls!  They are calling for valid reasons.  They are calling because you have something that they paid for and won't give them a status report on how to get it!  Don't make people call you or e-mail you repeatedly.  If you would just answer the phone, send out an e-mail to the group or respond IN ANY FREAKIN WAY, then people would not have to continually track you down.  If you are annoyed because you feel harassed, then maybe you should tell people what is going on so that they KNOW when they are going to get their stuff!

I just wish that people would complete what they started.  Finish the task.  It's just plain wrong to screw people when they trusted you.

I'll step down from my soap box now...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Deeper the Love...

Today, I am celebrating 19 years of marriage!  In my family, that is a record.  I am so blessed to have found the man that I literally want to spend the rest of my life with.  The road is not always smooth, and if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that what we have is certainly not perfect but at the end of the day I know that we love each other.  Not many people have that.

One of my favorite memories of our wedding is our wedding song.  It was "The Deeper the Love" by Whitesnake.  My dad and step-mom pretty much had a fit at that.  I can remember Collette asking "What are you gonna do, rock and roll to that??"  Which was even funnier than it sounds because SHE was the cool one!  I know a lot of people tend to choose really syrupy ballads for their first dance even if the song means nothing to them.  Frank and I were HUGE Whitesnake fans and so we chose a song by them that actually meant something to us.  It was what was commonly known in the 80's as a "power ballad" and so yes, we rocked that slow dance with some big hair music.  How cool were we?

So to my wonderful husband, here's our song.  It's lyrics are still as meaningful today than they were 19 years ago (maybe even more now).  I love you!

When I look back
On everything I've done
I know you must have cried
A river of tears,
But, you were there
When I was feeling low
To walk me through my darkest fears

So when the sun goes down

An' those nights grow colder,
I will be there
Looking over your shoulder

An' the deeper the love

The stronger the emotion,
An' the stronger the love
The deeper the devotion

There were times

I almost let you go
When I thought I needed to break free,
But you were there
To whisper in my ear
Why don't you share your dreams with me.

So when the sun goes down

An those nights are growing colder
I will be there
Looking over your shoulder.

An' the deeper the love

The stronger the emotion,
An' the stronger the love
The deeper the devotion

I don't mind, what you're doing to me,

I don't mind, 'cause you're all I can see
I don't mind, baby, you mean the world to me

When the sun goes down

An' those nights are growing colder,
I will be there
Looking over your shoulder, baby, baby, baby.

So When the sun goes down

An' those nights are growing colder,
I will be there
Looking over your shoulder.

'Cause the deeper the love

The stronger the emotion,
An' the stronger the love
The deeper the devotion...

I never gonna let you go,

In my heart, I know.
I really love you, I love you.
Oh baby, I really love you...

Monday, August 2, 2010

36 Christian Ways to Reduce Stress

While cleaning, organizing and decluttering my bedroom, I came across this e-mail that I had gotten back in January of 2005.  In light of how my life has been going lately, it seemed appropriate.

36 Christian Ways to Reduce Stress

1.  Pray
2.  Go to bed on time
3.  Get up on time so you can start your day unrushed
4.  Say NO to projects that won't fit into your time schedule or that will compromise your mental health
5.  Delegate tasks to capable others
6.  Simplify and unclutter your life
7.  Less is more (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many!)
8.  Allow extra time to do things and to get to places
9.  Pace yourself.  Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump all of the hard things all together
10.  Take one day at a time
11.  Separate worries from concerns.  If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety.  If you can't do anything about the situation, forget it. 
12.  Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purposes
13.  have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14.  K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut).  This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15.  Do something for the Kid in You every day
16.  Carry a Bible with ou to read while waiting in line
17.  Get enough rest
18.  Eat right
19.  Get organized so that everything has its place
20.  Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life
21.  Write down your thoughts and inspirations
22.  Every day, FIND TIME TO BE ALONE
23.  Having problems?  Talk to God on the spot!  Try to nip small problems in the bud.  Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray
24.  Make friends with Godly people.
25.  Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26.  Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you, Jesus!"
27.  Laugh
28.  Laugh some more!
29.  Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all
30.  Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can)
31.  Be kind to unkind people (the probably need it the most)
32.  Sit on your ego
33.  Talk less; listen more
34.  Slow down
35.  Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the Universe
36.  Every night before bed, think of one thing that you are grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.  GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.  "If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31

I hope this blesses someone today...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My Fair Wedding with David Tutera

Can I just say that my mom ROCKS!  She has this business up on Long Island that she started herself several years ago.  She does invitation, calligraphy, wedding/party favors, seating charts, menus, programs...essentially, everything that you would need printed up for a large party or wedding.

Well, about two months ago she was contacted by WEtv's "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera" about doing some work for one of their episodes!  How cool is that??  So she did a seating chart, programs and menus (I think) for an episode called "The Purple Princess Bride".  A couple of weeks after she sent them her stuff, they contacted her AGAIN about doing more work for them for their FINALE episode!  Again, way cool.  So she does her magic and "Voila!" off it goes.

Tonight at 10:00 pm on WEtv, the "Purple Princess Bride Episode" is going to air!  YEAH!!  Now, she (my mom) is not actually "in" the episode, her work will be showcased and her name and company (Printing with Panache) will be mentioned by David Tutera himself during the episode AND she will get free advertising on the show's website.  Since she doesn't get paid for the work she did for the episode's, it's the free advertising that can really lead to a big payoff.  After all, it is a really big coupe to be part of a nationally syndicated TV show and get a spot on their website!  Needless to say that I am hoping that her phone will be ringing off the hook come Monday morning.

So if you are just sitting around tonight around 10:00 with nothing to do, check your local listing for WEtv and "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera" and catch a look at my mom's awesome stuff!