Thursday, December 30, 2010


So I went to the coast today to visit my good friend, the Beeg.  I left home around 9 a.m. to a flat tire.  But before that, I had to deal with leaving a list of instructions for Nick to clean up around the house and instructions for Frank to call the guy who bought our broken down van because he keeps calling and expecting me to go to the DMV with him to register the van.

So I leave the house, put air in the tire, pick up my girl Danette and her son and off we go for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Wilmington.  The weather was good, we got breakfast on the way and were at Michelle's by noon.  We had a great visit, the kids all had a wonderful time and we were heading home around 4:30.  

We stopped for dinner at a Golden Corral and on the way home from there I called my husband to let him know where we were at and asked if he made that call.

He didn't.  

He was also supposed to call the DMV (which was HIS idea) to see if I even needed to be there with this guy.

Didn't do that, either.

I drop off Danette, come home...

To a disaster.

Yep, Nick didn't do hardly ANYTHING around here.  As a matter of fact, one of the items on the list was to empty the bathroom garbage and he did...he just left it on the dining room table.


So I called and yelled at  him and then called Frank to yell at him (since I no longer had an audience like I did in the car) and then had to go about cleaning the house myself after 6 hours in the car for the day!

So thanks, guys.  Thanks a whole freakin lot for NOTHING.  I appreciate the help.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What are your plans for New Year's Eve?

I am a big-fat-party-pooper.

There, I've said it.

New Year's Eve has NEVER been a big deal to me.  When I was a little girl, we used to sleep at my grandma's house and at midnight she'd let us go outside and bang the pots and pans.  She had this bell that I used to like to ring.  I think that was the last time that I actually enjoyed New Year's Eve.

Sure, when I was 17, 18, 19...I would party with my friends.  Actually, scratch that, when I was 18 I was forced to stay home because I had a psychotic ex-boyfriend who my mother and grandmother were afraid was going to hurt me while I was at a friend's house.  Grandma plead her case and I stayed home that year.  God how I miss her!  

When Frank and I started dating we went to some parties but once we had Nick, we were homebodies on New Year's Eve.  Occasionally we'd have friends over or go to a friend's house but really, I just prefer to be at home.  I have no desire to be on the road with the drinkers...actually, I have no desire to be at parties with the drinkers, either!

I make a ton of fancy snacks that Frank and the boys like and we watch movies, play video games and all that until about 3 minutes to midnight and then click on Dick Clark.  And really, can we just let Dick Clark stay at home with some dignity for crying out loud?  That poor man should not have to be on TV in his condition!

After the ball drop, I call my mom and my sister, sometimes my dad (he's harder to get in touch with on New Year's because he always has something going on) and by one a.m. I am asleep.

Anyone have anything exciting planned?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snow days are no longer fun...

So it snowed here in NC.  This is, indeed, big news because it does not often snow in the south.  Granted, we did not get as much snow as they did further north of here, but in my neighborhood, we got eight inches of snow.

And I don't like it.

I grew up in New York and really, three out of the four accidents I was ever in, involved snow.  Because of that, I do NOT like driving in it, or the after-effects of it, for any reason.  Yesterday, I took the boys to Target in the afternoon.  The sun was out so I figured that it would be safe to drive.  It was hard just getting out of my own block!  The main roads are clear but the plowing on the secondary roads was not the greatest.

Then there is after dark.  Black ice.  I'm sorry, but if I do not have to be out on it for an emergency, why risk it?  I was watching the news last night and the first 15 minutes of it was about all of the traffic accidents caused by the black ice!  People, do us all a favor and listen to the newscasters when they say "Stay off the road!"  There's a reason for it!

People assume because I grew up in a place where snow was common that I should have no problem with driving in it, and the truth is, I never liked it.  Sure, as a teenager I was like "What's the big deal?" until I crashed my car in it and had to be picked up by strangers because no one else was stupid enough to be on the icy roads!  Just me!

So needless to say, long story short, and all that jazz, I do NOT like driving during or after the snow.  

Then there's the being stranded in the house. Sure, it's fun for that first day; watching the snow fall, staying in your's fun.  By the third day, I feel like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining".  The walls start closing in and there is nothing that anyone can suggest that sounds fun.  I don't want to eat anything that there is to eat in the house (and believe me, there is a TON of food here right now) but I want none of it.

I wouldn't do well if I was one of those people trapped on a train over night. Or trapped in my car over night.  Claustrophobia is an issue, too.

So, attention Mother Nature...please clear the roads, warm up the temps so that I don't have to go postal on anyone...

Thank you

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Round Up...Wrap Up...and Clean Up Part 2

Normally I dread Christmas morning because I do not like being woken up for any reason and the boys know not to wake us up before 8 a.m.  But wouldn't you know it, I was awake retardedly 7:15!  So I sat in the bed, staring at the ceiling, counting down the minutes until it was 8:00 and then I could go in and wake the boys up!

What in the world???

So I go in and wake them up and it was just about the funniest thing in the world to see the utter confusion on their faces when they saw me and then looked at the clock.  I'm unsure which caused them the most despair:  the fact that I was in their room waking them up or the fact that it was 8:00 and they were still asleep!  

I went out in to the living room, got my camera ready and then called them out to open gifts.  I LOVE this whole process because really, they just love getting presents of any kind.  Santa got Michael an iPod Nano and Nick got a game for the Xbox.  Their stockings were filled with all kinds of nonsense that had them smiling (including lots of candy).  Within 20 minutes all of the presents were unwrapped and I was sitting on the couch, stunned.  Why?  Well, those of you who are long time readers of All-Stace might remember what happened last year.  For you newcomers, check out this post from last year that tells the story of how my son blew me off for Christmas!

But back to the story...I was sitting there stunned because the boy who ruined Christmas last year actually made this one amazing.  He bought a Wii for the family!!  For me who bought two fitness games for the Wii - "Fitness Coach" and "Wii Active 2 Personal Trainer"!  PLUS...He bought Michael a game for it, the system came with Wii Sports AND he bought two extra controllers for the family.  I mean you could have knocked me over with a feather!

Then there was Frank.  My husband, who I love so much, always puts off shopping until Christmas Eve and there are times that he has bought ...shall we say...awkward gifts.  Ladies, you know what I mean, the kind that say "This was all that was left in the store".  This is the first year that he shopped early, asked me for a list and then actually SHOPPED from the list!  So I got a new photo album, two pads of 12x12 colored paper for scrapbooking, a gift card for Target, and then the 2011 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition and the Writer's Market Guide to Getting Published!  It was EXACTLY what I wanted!!!

We spent the rest of the day in our jammies.  I took a nap from noon to around one, I spoke to my family, we played massive amounts of Wii Bowling AND watched a bunch of "Psych" through Netflix on the Wii because Nick loaded all four of the available seasons on there for me!!  

I made this incredible roast for dinner - it was an eye round that was stuffed with ham, provolone, mozzarella, and baby spinach and then rolled and tied.  It made a fabulous presentation and tasted delicious.  We ate a late dinner - around 8 p.m. - and as I sat down at the table, I just wanted to cry because I was so happy.  I mean, it had truly been a wonderful Christmas and I was sitting with the three people who mean the world to me.  I wouldn't have traded it for anything.  

The snow started somewhere around 7 p.m. and we were just trying to figure out if the weather forecast was going to be accurate.  Unfortunately, it was.  When I woke up Sunday morning, it was still coming down.  We ended up with close to 8 inches of snow!  So even though the snow started late in the day, we can still say that we got a white Christmas.

Just that added little touch of magic for a wonderful day!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Round Up...Wrap Up...and Clean Up! Part 1

Merry day-after Christmas, everyone!  I hope that your holiday was fabulous.

Christmas Eve at my house was a non-stop event, all day long.  We had some friends from out of town come for lunch.  They brought most of the makings for the meal but I made some stuff, too.  We had a great time visiting and talking and laughing and it was just plain fun.

After they left, I finished getting the house ready and started making our traditional Christmas Eve meal - the seafood sauce.  I have to be honest, I would have given a kidney to NOT have this meal this year, but everyone looked at me when I mentioned making something else like I was trying to ruin Christmas.  So, we had the traditional seafood sauce.  Yippee.  We were blessed to have some very dear friends join us for dinner (who, FYI, do NOT eat seafood sauce) and they had to bring their own sauce to eat with us!  It made for a comical time in the kitchen but a fun memory that we will look back on, for sure!

We ate dinner and finished around 6:30 and the first of the THIRTY dessert guests started to arrive around 6:50!  It was a mad-dash to clean up and set up for the next round of celebrating, but we pulled it off fabulously!  We had people in and out of the house celebrating with us until around 11 p.m.!  Everyone brought a dessert to share and all I can say is that now I have way too much dessert in my house!!

The boys got to open a gift after everyone left and then they locked themselves in their room to watch some TV until they could fall asleep.  Actually, I don't think they lasted that long because Nick (who has no problem keeping people entertained) actually held a "mini-seminar" for any of our dessert guests who were interested, on how to "Mosh to lose weight".

I kid you not.

He is all in to that hard-core, screamo-make-me-want-to-kill-myself-because-it-sounds-so-awful music and when you listen to it, you mosh.  For those of you not familiar with moshing, imagine someone having a spaz attack while having a seizure.  So for the entertainment of our guests, he actually took three individual groups in to his room to demonstrate how one can mosh and how by doing so, you will lose weight.  

Needless to say, most people left in tears...LAUGHING tears!  It was a great ending for our night.  So I am sure that he went to sleep fairly quick and I know that I finally crawled in to bed near one in the morning myself.  

It was a Merry Christmas Eve, indeed!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's good to go back in time a bit...

Yesterday I took a 3-hour road trip to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends, Linda.  We have known each other since the third grade and we hadn't seen each other in well over ten years...possibly twelve.

So we left home around 9:15 and we were driving, driving, driving and all of a sudden Frank was like "It's snowing" and I'm like "No, it's not".

It was.

A lot.

Like a blizzard.

In white-out conditions.

Luckily none of it was sticking but it made for some miserable time in the car on the road.  We got to her house a little after noon and then just had a great time of catching up and visiting.  Her mom was in town who, when we were growing up, was like a second mom to me.  We laughed and joked, I brought photo albums with me so that they could see the rest of my family who they all remember.  It was just wonderful.

I have to admit, it's weird to be adults and be friends with people that you knew when you were little because it feels like we're all playing house.  I can remember playing in the snow with Linda and building log play houses in her back yard and now here we are with husbands, kids, adults!  We got a picture of the two of us together and I laughed because to me, we still look exactly the same.

Only prettier...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How do you help despair?

Last night at 11 p.m. my phone rang.  This is never a good thing. It was for me and I had a conversation with this person about a mutual acquaintance who has a third party...that they are going to kill themselves after the New Year.

Okay.  Fine.  What do you do?  The person in question is dealing with financial dire straights just like the rest of us.  They lost their job, they cannot afford their home.  They have no family near by.  BUT...they have friends.  Friends who have offered their home to this person to ease their burden.  Friends who have invited them in to their home for Christmas.  But at this time of year when the scenario is all too familiar, it's not enough.

This person has children and grandchildren - though none are close by and they are all in tough financial situations themselves so they can be of no help in the way this person wants them to be.  In a nutshell, this person feels total despair and would rather die than continue to live like this.  They've said that they will wait until after the new year to do this so as to not burden the children and grandchildren and ruin their holiday.

So...what do you do?  How do you tell someone to NOT kill themselves when you have no solution as to how to get their life back together?  How do you show them that their family LOVES them when for most of their life, it didn't seem to matter because they really only lived for themself?  How do you be an encouragement when you are 600 miles or 1200 miles away?  How do you MAKE other people go over there and walk in to this emotional nightmare?

I cried all night.  Now I feel despair and I don't know how to help.  I don't know what I am supposed to do.  There are no words coming to me and yet I know if I choose to say NOTHING that I will live with that horror and guilt for the rest of my life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When my lips are moving, do you hear the words? A wife's rant...

Okay, so it's holiday time and there is a lot going on.  More than usual.  The band that Frank plays with is trying to plan a get together for Christmas.  This has been debated for weeks and it was finally decided upon that the get together would happen the week between Christmas and New Year's.

Now, because of this decision, I have since gone on to make other plans with other people for dates and times leading UP TO the week between Christmas and New Year's.  Are you seeing where this is going?  

This coming weekend we have plans to go and visit friends who live three hours away.  We have not SEEN THEM in ten years.  So tonight while Frank was at band practice, I called to see how he's doing and he's like "Oh, the Christmas get-together is gonna be this Saturday."

Um...excuse me?  Did we NOT have several conversations about the trip to see our friends this weekend?  Have I NOT been yammering on about the length of the drive and how important it is that we both go so that I'm not driving home late for three hours on the interstate with just me and Michael?  Now, I'm SURE that we did but apparently, my voice is merely background noise.  It's probably similar to the noise I hear when I turn the fan on to help me sleep.  

Ladies, do you agree with me?  Men, WHY can you NOT remember ANYTHING?  I am so furious right now and if I were a petty person, I would go to bed and pretend to be asleep.  But I'm too wound up!  I'm really kind of pissed.  When I reminded him of our plans he's like "Okay, whatever, no big deal" and you know what?  I know that he means that - to him, if we don't go to the band Christmas party, he will be just fine.


The point is that we have conversations that don't penetrate your brain!  Why is that?  Gotta tell you, it's annoying!  It's rude.  And really, I don't like it.

There, I said it...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tiny Rant = Results

So we are in to week two (maybe three) of Frank being home again.  Oh, he has work - sort of.  The job that he is on is behind due to other contractors and so he can't do anything until they catch up.  So he's been home.  

A lot.

All the time.

So yesterday I was out with a friend for a bit and when I got home I had to put dinner in the crockpot and the kitchen was a disaster.  And that is putting it mildly.  You could not SEE the sink it was so full and the counters were littered with all kinds of stuff.  

On my way to the kitchen I pass Frank and Michael sitting on the couch watching TV - an all too familiar occurrence these days - and I just stopped and looked at the two of them and reminded them that I was not the only person who lived here and I don't see why it was only up to me to do all of the cooking, food shopping, laundry AND the dishes.  And then I walked away and DID all of the dishes and got dinner going.

We had a lovely beef stew with biscuits and it was yummy and after dinner I was on my laptop doing my Entrecard drops and Michael comes strolling in to show me his pruney hands.  

"Guess why my hands look like this?" he asked.  I actually had a good idea but I decided to play with him a bit and went through every conceivable explanation OTHER than washing dishes that would give his hands that appearance.  He giggled like a loon and finally he was like "Well, I took what you said in to consideration and went and did the dishes."

I cried.  I actually cried.  It has been SO LONG since anyone in this house has done something without being prompted in loud tones that it just made me cry.

I guess I'm doing okay with this whole parenting thing...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All I Want for Christmas is...

I am beginning to hate that statement.  I don't really ask for anything for Christmas because really, Christmas is about my kids.  Frank is not a big shopper and so I learned early on to not get my hopes up about what was under the tree - sometimes I would just shop for myself.  

So this year, Nick is just about bouncing off the walls with excitement (Just like every other year) and we keep coming back to what do I want for Christmas.  Sigh.  Okay so the fantasy list would include:
     - A 7-day trip to Disney
     - A one-week SOLO trip to the mountains or beach so that I could write
     - A new car stereo (my CD player died)
     - Someone to install the new car stereo
     - A year's worth of professional massages
     - A new digital camera (I think I am killing mine slowly)

But here's the reality list:
     - "Psych" on DVD (any season but 3 because I have it already)
     - A gift certificate to get my eyebrows done
     - A gift certificate for a pedicure (LOVE those!)
     -  Scrapbooking supplies
     - Books, books and more books

It's not much, I know, but it would make me happy - no matter which list it's from.  What about you?  What do YOU want for Christmas?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Favorite Christmas Specials...

You know, no matter what show is on TV there will eventually be a Christmas themed episode.  Some are good, some, not so much.  There are some great Christmas specials and movies that I simply cannot be without.  What about you?

Okay, there is, of course, the classic "Charlie Brown Christmas".  I simply cannot go through the Christmas season without watching it.  I have it on VHS and have been meaning to get it on DVD.  When Linus gets up on stage and says "Lights please..." That is just good television.

My next favorite special is Frosty the Snowman.  I love that Magician and at the end when at the end Santa confronts him and says "Now you go home and write I am sorry for what I did to Frosty one hundred zillion times..." I crack up every time!

A great classic is "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol".  Oh, how I LOVE Mr. Magoo!  The intro when he goes in to the wrong theater and you hear all of the crashing and commotion and him yelling "Unhand me!"  Very funny indeed!

"Scrooged" with Bill Murray is my absolute FAVORITE Christmas movie of all time.  I can watch that one time and time again (even if it's not Christmas and I find something new in it every time).  It is my favorite adaption of the story of Scrooge and there are just too many classic lines to sum up in one short paragraph.  If you haven't seen it and you enjoy a funny movie, check this one out.

"When Harry Met Sally" will get you in the Christmas spirit no matter time of year you watch it.  Although it is not billed as a Christmas movie, it seems to make you think of Christmas...I'm not sure why.

What are your favorite Christmas movies and specials?  What can't you go without seeing at this time of year?  I'd love to know!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm not as young as I used to be...

Friday afternoon, a friend and I hopped in the car and drove for almost two hours to clean a house for a friend.  The house had belonged to his 90 year old mother who had recently died and hadn't been lived in for almost two years.  We were a bit overwhelmed when we got there with all that had to be done.

We cleaned for three hours - DEEP CLEANING - and then crashed on our air mattresses in this 100 year old house with little to no insulation.  We had heat, but no hot water.  I slept very little and woke up at around 6 a.m. freezing my butt off and too tired to go back to sleep.  Does that make sense? 

We started cleaning around 8:30 a.m., cleaned for three hours and then left to go and get something for lunch.  We had to drive 20 miles to find food!  This house was literally out in the middle of no where!  We ate, we picked up a few more cleaning supplies and then headed back to the house.  When we got back we cleaned for another 4 1/2 hours and were ready to leave.  So really, around ten hours of cleaning and can I just tell you how SORE I am??

I'm not talking like a couple of muscle aches, I am talking intense, unable to walk without crying muscle aches!  Getting old sucks big time.  Oh, to be young and muscle ache free!  It's near 2:00 on Sunday afternoon and I am still in my jammies and even though I slept for 12 hours last night, I could still use a couple of more hours.

Why can't I be 24 again??

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Target took ten years off of my life!

I hate shopping.  I seriously do.  I don't find any joy from trolling the mall or anything like that; it's just not my thing.  I have finally joined the masses that don't carry cash - which I HATE - but it just seems easier to do everything with the debit/check card.

So I'm in Target the other day and grabbed a few things and the total was $35.07.  Not a huge amount and I knew, without a DOUBT, that there was WAY more than that in the checking account.  

Target didn't believe me.
I swiped the card and did it as a credit (I like getting my bank reward points) and it was declined.  So the cashier tried it. Declined.  Now I am having a freakin heart attack with 14 people in line behind me and wanting to scream that I have the money in the bank!  Has this ever happened to you?  Now I take the card back and decide to do the transaction as a debit card.

It went through.

What in the world is up with that?  I mean, same card, same amount of money, why in the world do these machines do that?  Actually, that happened to me once before - again at Target - where I used a different debit card (my unemployment one) and it declined it for insufficient funds when there were funds available.

Note to credit card machines at Target:  I'm sending you the cardiologist bill!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Van Woes...

Remember all of the joy I had when Frank finally got a van?  Remember how giddy I was to be free and have my own car back?  Remember how good life was?

Now?  Not so much.

Honestly, I am beyond frustrated at this point with this van.  I mean, we only paid $1,000 for it but since that time we have put in a fuel pump, a battery, an alternator, it had almost NO oil in it so we did an oil change and NOW he needs a new instrument cluster panel because he has no dashboard lights and can't see anything after dark.  While this is not a huge deal (we once drove another car that had no dashboard lights for YEARS) but apparently it's huge to HIM.  He is making me crazy.

He yanked out the panel and so now the car won't drive at all.  He has been calling places, e-mailing places and this is not a part that you can just walk in to your local auto parts store and get.  It has to be shipped out and repaired.  Of course it does, this is me we're talking about.  Nothing is ever simple!  So while Frank is whining and complaining about all of this I'm trying to suggest that he just wait on it - it's not a catastrophe but apparently to him, it is.  This is his NEW van and he wants it to be perfect.


I'm ready to take the van and pull a Thelma and Louise because honestly, I cannot take any more auto drama!  I just want a little peace and quiet and a day without talk of auto drama!!!

That's not too much to ask, is it??

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday cheer, a good pair of jeans and brownie bites...

Last night I had my first Christmas party of the season.  My bible study group of gals came over and my house is all decorated (a week earlier than usual, might I add!) and we each brought a selection of food and for five women, there was a LOT of food.  It was wonderful!  We did an ornament exchange and really, it was just a blessed night...I'm looking forward to more Christmas get-togethers.

Before we left for Florida, I went shopping and was desperate for a pair of jeans.  It's an on-going battle, I know.  But I was cruising through Wal-Mart getting our last minute travel stuff and grabbed a pair of jeans off of the rack and you know what?  THEY FIT!  I mean, they fit and they fit well!  I was a little shocked and pleasantly surprised.  I've worn them quite a bit and my husband was like "Um...again?"  I know but when you find something that fits and looks good, you just want to wear it all the time, right?

Have any of you tried those new Sweet Moments brownie bites from Pillsbury?  OMG...they are tiny and addictive and I may not bake anything else for Christmas and just put those out!  So dang good!  Even my non-chocolate eating son, Nick, likes them!  If you haven't tried them yet, you certainly should.  Believe me, I would NOT lie to you about some chocolate!

I think I am almost done with my Christmas shopping.  I have a few more things to pick up and next on the list is sending out the Christmas cards.  I really gave the photo card a good-long think and although it would be sweet to not have to write anything except for the envelopes, I just can't see putting the boys in front of the tree for pictures.  Does that make me a bad mom?

I hope not...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A little too much 80's retro...

So we're watching TV the other night, flipping through the channels and I end up on VH-1 Classics.  I actually really enjoy that channel.  Well "Behind the Music:  Remastered" was on Duran Duran.  If you were a girl growing up in the 80's I can guarantee that you would be sitting right beside me watching this. 

I wasn't a HUGE Duran Duran fan, but I did like their music and they were quite enjoyable to look at.  What could be better than good music by a good looking band, right?  So I sat for an hour and watched the past history of the band, listened to the music and saw what they were up to now and can I just say, WOW.  These men aged nicely.

So what's the downside to all of this walking down music memory lane?  I have not stopped singing to their music for days!  I've got it on my iPod!  I've got it in my head!  It won't leave!  Not that it's a bad thing, I guess.  It did almost get Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" out of my head.

Too bad I can't really sing...I might not mind hearing myself sing along if my voice was something that anyone wanted to hear.  The 16-year old me, has enjoyed looking back and all I'm going to say is that Roger Taylor was yummy looking in the 80's and yummy looking still.


Monday, December 6, 2010

So let me see if I've got this straight...

This will be my last (hopefully) unemployment rant...

Okay, so I lost my job a year and a half ago because of the economy.  I think that most of us would agree that it was LARGELY the fault of the banks that gave out money to anyone and everyone and paid themselves with HUGE bonuses that caused the most damage and little businesses like my sweet little bookstore paid the price.

So, fast forward to today where there is a large percentage of the American public unemployed and unable to find jobs - through NO FAULT of our own - and we are being told that our extended benefits are no longer coming.  Gee, so maybe we should bend over AGAIN and take it for the sake of the banks and government.  I mean, the banks got bailed out.  Executives are still getting their bonuses and people like me, essentially, are screwed.

I am over-qualified for the places that are hiring and don't have the computer skills for others that are.  So basically, I am un-employable at the moment and while the bank executives got to keep their jobs and their salaries, I have nothing.  

So congress and all of the politicians who HAVE JOBS get to tell me, "Sorry, even though we screwed up you have to pay the price".

Thanks.  Thanks a whole lot...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Today stinks...and other disappointments

Okay, so remember how I wrote until my fingers bled to complete 50,000 words by November 24th - before we left for vacation - for NaNoWriMo?  Well guess what?  During the time that we were away WITHOUT WiFi, I was supposed to VALIDATE my word count!  I didn't get to do that and so I do not count as a winner.  I do not get a certificate.  I get squat.  All that work for NOTHING.

My landlord has been M.I.A. for a while and while it's been pleasant, I had a sneaky suspicion that he was up to something.  Well, he called here yesterday and announced that he was raising our rent as of January 1st.  At this rate, the house is TOTALLY not worth what he is asking and I would like nothing more than to tell him to take it and shove it but until we find something else that we can afford, I'm going to have to keep quiet.

Oh, have you watched the news lately about extended benefits for unemployment have been terminated?  Well, guess what phase of unemployment I am at?  You guessed it, the extended benefit phase.  So in two weeks I will be A.) without a job, B.) without unemployment and C.) living in a house that I am paying WAY too much for.

Disappointing indeed...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Do me a favor, do NOT leave a message after the beep...

I have a serious love/hate relationship with my phone.  I enjoy the convenience of having one and yet hate getting calls.  Strange, I know.  

I'm not really a phone person.  I enjoy talking to people, I'm very social, but kind of on my terms.  What do I mean?  Okay, for starters, there's the 9:00 rule:  Do not call me BEFORE 9 a.m. and do not call me AFTER 9 p.m.  That just works for me.  If you are calling me before 9 a.m., I'm not answering the phone.

Next, if you call and get my machine and leave a message, don't recite a novel.  Tell me that you called and leave your a matter of fact, I even SAY THAT on my message, "Leave your name and number after the beep, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible".  If you leave a 45 minute message, now you've annoyed me and I'm not calling back any time soon.  The only reason to leave a really long message is if someone has died or there is some sort of comparable emergency.  Leaving your life story on the machine, isn't endearing me to wanting to call you back.

Next, if you leave a message, don't call back every 15 minutes and then HANG UP before the message comes on because you know what?  I have caller i.d. and I know that you've called 47 times.  Seriously, I have an uncle doing this right now.  We don't really speak, when he calls he is obnoxious and offensive and I don't enjoy talking to him but he will harass the heck out of me and the answering machine until I break and talk to him.  Then I'm mad and not at all happy and have a major attitude about it.  Our relationship should not be a surprise to him, and yet once a year he'll do this until I want to smash the phone in to a million little pieces!

Oh, how I long for the days of the smoke signal...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas...

It has begun...

You know the ritual, boxes of decorations come out, furniture gets moved, there is giddiness in the air...

Yes, that has begun in my house.  Tonight we brought in the big Christmas box and the transformation is beginning.  The wreath is on the door, the village is set up and miscellaneous decorations are scattered about.  Tomorrow we go to get the tree and Sunday we will decorate it.

I both love and hate this time of year.  We have a very small house so when you have to add a 7 foot tree and dozens of presents...well, it just crowds us in a little bit more.  It will all look beautiful and we will love every second of the time that it is set up but I find that I am already looking ahead to taking it all down.

How sick is that?

Then there's the Christmas cards.  To do photo cards or not?  I mean Nick is going to be 19, it really isn't cute anymore to do the loving-brother-pose in front of the tree, is it?  We got some great pictures in Disney of me and the boys but Frank wasn't there so now we don't even have a good family picture.  I'm thinking that just plain cards will be a good thing but then I have moments of guilt.  

Crazy, right?

I am almost done with my Christmas shopping for the boys.  I am doing gift cards for everyone else.  I just don't feel like shopping for actual gifts and then wrapping them AND shipping them.  Too much work and money. I think I'm getting a little Grinchy.  

That's not a good thing...