Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It's SNOWING in TEXAS!!

Well, OK its sleeting, but it's GONNA snow in a little while. So, here I am enjoying my Christmas vacation, drinking hot chocolate, wearing my snowy pj's and listening to the sleet hit the tin roof of the ol mobile home. I'm watching CBS this morning and just seen one of my favorite occurrences. Sea World just had a new baby killer whale!! I just find that so exciting. Killer Whales are my favorite mammals, next too my own offspring of course, and I think they are just absolutely beautiful. They are just graceful creatures. I wanted to work at Sea World when I was younger and would still give my right arm to do it but, sigh, I don't see it happening.

Anyway, it's been an eventful vacation thus far. Did some house stuff, they are almost done painting, went to Dallas and almost bought a puppy, I'll tell you about that unfortunate event later. We seen some totally awesome trains at this mall in Dallas, had lunch at Chuck E Cheese, seen a movie and then had a little fender bender with a spool of wire that fell off the truck belonging to a local cable TV company. And I've been through a stomach virus with all 3 kids at this point.

Oh, I've finished a bit of Christmas shopping but I'm afraid I'm not done yet. I STILL don't know what the heck to buy my mother in law. We'll see how I turn out with that one.

So, for now I'll leave it all at that. I have to call the company that owns that truck this morning, I have to call my painter to let him know that HE is the one that's gonna have to go to Lowe's and get that last gallon of paint because it's sleeting outside and I ain't goin anywhere, and I have some more presents to wrap.

I'll post more and tell about that stupid puppy experience.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The day before Vacation!!

Well, here it is, the end of the year and it's time for my annual vacation. I always save a week's worth, plus a comp day if I can arrange it, for Christmas time. This year, I had 6 days of vacation + 1 comp day. If you add that in with the official company holidays + the fact that I'm off on Fridays anyway you get Tex on vacation from today until Jan 3rd!!!! Yep, read em and weep ladies and gentleman approximately 16 straight days off!

The added bonus of today's work festivities hasn't hurt me either. See, this is the day of the Company Christmas Party. There is an entire day of FOOD planned plus the party this afternoon. The way it works is this:

The different departments in the building host some sort of food thing, so there was breakfast from 7-9, there was some ham & turkey thing from 10-11, plus a chili thing from 10:30 to 11:30, then another something from 12-1, then desert from 1-2. Our department also hosts a breakfast and lunch for the IS department ONLY. Then our department is responsible for desert this afternoon for the company. If you add all that up........ we just grazed through the building today pretty much non stop.

So, if ya think about it, my vacation has already started. I have indeed done some work tho. I gotta get ready to ignore my job for a couple of weeks so things had to be prepared. Trust me, it didn't take too long.

So, the party starts at 3 and runs until 6. Free beer and wine, plus a cash bar. They cater in food, they give away money, shirts, hats, gift cards, etc. Plus they give away an awesome reserved parking spot that the winner gets to park in all year. The CEO and all the VP's will be here, 2 live bands, etc etc. They'll even pay for you to have a taxi if you tip the cup back a bit too much. I, on the other hand, am the model employee. I drink coke the whole time. 1.) cause I don't like beer or wine and 2.) I'd break the bank with my taxi fare. I live 80 miles from work. LOL

Anyway, a good time is always had by all and it's a pretty cool thing to do.

The Thursday Three!

1. The ol’ Tannenbaum--fake or real? When does it go up? And when does it come down?

When I was younger our tree was always real in our house. In my Granny's house it was also real and we even went out into our pasture to cut it down. Her's was usually a petite kind of tree with sparse decorations and there was always a plastic Santa Clause about a foot and a half tall standing below it with a light bulb up his behind. We still have him. We started putting up a plastic tree in my Granny's house several years ago so it was never the same after that but still OK. In my mom's house we started putting up a plastic tree when my boyfriend at the time (husband now) moved in with us because he's allergic to the real ones. Then when we got a place of our own we also use a fake one. It's OK though cause it's pretty.

This year, since I'm packing to move and the house is a wreck, we've put up a 4ft prelit tree. It's awesome looking. Most big trees take a gazillion dollars to decorate because you have to buy so many decorations for it. However, this little looker is just filled to the brim because he's not as tall as my other one. I put him up on 2 boxes that I've packed some household items in, covered the boxes with a sheet. So he's very impressive sitting up so high.

Usually, not this year tho, my tree goes up the evening after Thanksgiving and comes down Jan 1st.

2. Shopping--fake or real? Oh, wait, that’s the last question. Here we are--do you wait until the last minute or plan ahead? Do you give gift cards?

I usually do presents. I think it's because I like to ponder on just the perfect gift for the people I buy for. Where my mom is concerned I like to get her things that really touch her heart. Last year, I sat her down on the couch, gathered all her grandchildren around her and took her picture. But I told her not to get up yet. Then, I told her that she'd always be surrounded by her grandchildren no matter where she is, and no matter where they are, as long as she is wearing this! (flurry of movement as I drew it from my pocket) Then I opened a box where, nestled inside, was a grandmother's ring. It has her birthstone sitting in the center, then 6 stones around it with each grandchild's name engraved next to their stone. Everyone cried. So, I like to give gifts when I can.

Last year tho, the hubby wanted gift cards to Lowe's so I got him, my dad and his dad one. They liked them but I was left a bit empty feeling.

I always start early. As a matter of fact, this year I started in August. I just have so many people I buy for that waiting till the last minute would mean not paying my bills for the month of December. My favorite day to shop is the day after Thanksgiving! That's when I do a lot of my shopping and on that day I just go nuts with it! We have a great time every year on that day. People are just a hoot! Well ok, some of them are jerks but the rest are pretty funny. I do, however, still end up shopping for some last minute items and try to balance out the children so you'll see me running around like a fool on Christmas Eve with all the MEN that wait till that day to do ALL their shopping.

3. And finally, where do you carry out your celebrating, of whatever sort it might be? At your house, at a relative’s house in the area, or out of town?

In years past, we've always done Christmas Eve at my Granny's, Christmas morning at my house, then over to Grandma's to do Christmas morning, then we do lunch at Granny's. Somewhere during the week we always worked the hubby's parents in there because we have to juggle to get his brother and family there too.

This year, we'll do Eve at my mom's but this is just a gathering, not to trade gifts. Christmas morning at my house, then over to Grandma's (she just lives next door) then to my house to clean up, then we cook lunch at Grandma's house. After lunch we'll go to my in-laws and do gifts over there. Since Granny went to the nursing home, we just get her out on Christmas day and bring her to my mom's (her daughter's) for gift giving and lunch.

All in all we have a great season and try to get everyone together for it. It's sad that we've grown apart over the years somewhat but we try to keep it together during the holidays.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

MMMMMM Brisket!

Here's the Brisket recipe I promised those who might be interested. I got it from a co-worker last year and have made it several times and it's awesome. My boss also made it and altered it by turning down the heat a bit because it does tend to be a bit harsh to the bottom of your slab of beef.

This time we didn’t trim any of the fat off. If the piece of meat had a real thick fat layer I would trim it to about 1", otherwise leave it alone.

Rub liquid smoke on both sides, be generous.
Rub Garlic Salt on both sides, can never have to much of this.
Place in shallow pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil, I line the pan in foil also. (Do not add any water)
Bake @ 325, 1 hour per pound
Uncover pour on the KC Masterpiece Original (just pour some on and spread over the top), bake another hour.

I served this with Dickie's BBQ sauce. It's delicious!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The rest of my weekend

Friday:
After dropping off the kids at school, I headed over to the truck windshield fix it place and had them patch a spot on my windshield that had a rock thrown into it earlier this year. Has anyone ever told you that a chip in your windshield will cause your windshield to crack if you turn the defroster on it on a cold day? Well, I'm tellin ya now. I've seen it with my own two peepers!
I thought the guy was just messing with me last year when I had a couple of other spots fixed. So, shortly after fixing the first 2, I get another rock thrown at it and get another chip. I procrastinated, as is my way, and it got down into winter time. I went out one morning and started my truck, turned on the defroster, set the temp to Light-My-Fire-Baby hot, turned it up to Blow-The-Hair-Off-My-Head high an let it warm up. It affectively melted all the frost off my windshield while I finished getting ready for work. No problems, right? So I get to going down the road all roasty toasty warm, radio going and having myself a fine morning........... Until. CRAAAAAAAACK!! From one side of my truck to the other! A nice hairline crack bigger'n Dallas! I was pissed. At myself, of course.
So, I had that whole windshield replaced and less than 30 days later, I'm traveling down the road and WACK!!! A Semi threw another dang rock at my windshield and chipped that sucker again! So, I've waited till now to get it fixed but I figured I'd better just do it now cause I'm not sure Allstate would fix another windshield so soon.

Then it was off to the builder dude's office to collect a check for some paint I bought. I claimed it outta the budget so it wouldn't have to come outta my own pocket. Then it was off to pick out a cool whirlpool tub. I knew exactly what I wanted to it didn't take me long. Then I headed off to put a coat of paint on the Master Bedroom Ceiling. I like the colors we picked out but I think the wall color is gonna be a bit dark. We'll see.

Nail appointment at 2. My nail lady does such a good job. I think I've had my nails done for the last 4 years. Nothing gaudy, although I do like my neon colors during the summer. You'd be surprised how many people want to know if your nails glow in the dark when you have on neon green nail polish. EVERYONE comments on them in some way. But this time of year I went with a very pretty red.
Then I picked the kids up at school, well, 2 of them. Youngest Boy was picked up by his Pawpaw because he had a temperature. He just hasn't shook the last of the chest cold he had earlier last week. So he and Oldest Boy stayed with the Mr while Baby Girl and Grandma went with me to Plano. I was on a mission.

I've been searching for wire shelves. Not the white ones that you can find everywhere but the chrome/platinum/stainless steel kind. You can find them in industrial kitchen places but the cost is obnoxious. I finally found some at The Container Store. I love that store! Not as much as Wal-Mart, but my beloved favorite store didn't have any of these. I found what I wanted, had them cut to the size I needed and brought them home. Mission accomplished!

I've already told ya how Saturday went to on to:

Sunday:

I slept late Sunday because our server maintenance window falls between 1 am and 5 am on Sunday mornings. Less impact to users but pain in the ass for system admins. So I slept late again. Then I just messed around at home, went grocery shopping, did laundry, and watched a couple of movies. I think I cooked supper too but I don't remember what we had. Taco's maybe. Yeah, that was it. Youngest Boy's favorite food: his mommy's homemade tacos. Nothing special about them really, I just follow the recipe on the back of the package but he likes them better than tacos you buy someplace. Oh and I made cookies. Sugar cookies.

We watched Harry Potter, the new one. Pretty good movie, you get to see an angrier side to little Harry. I wasn't into the Potter stuff when it first came out, wizardry and all ya know. I didn't want my kids becoming Potter fanatics. After watching one of the movies they aren't pretending that they can make magic happen by waving around kitchen utensils like a wand. Much better to have them watching Kung Fu movies and WWF Wrestling so that they can try to kill each other afterwards while breaking everything in the house that they can possibly fall on or jump from. I'm sure those anti-potter/anti-magic people are right.

So much to do, So little time

Well, the house should move along at a much snappier pace without me in the way to slow it down. See, working full time, 3 active kids, current functioning home, then add in my inability to manage my time properly, has kept me from getting the painting done in the new house as quickly as I'd like. I'm pretty sure my builder is ready to pull my head off. So, he offered to help me out by getting someone else to do the cabinet staining. GREAT! I said, because the only wood I've ever stained in my life was a shelf that's about a foot long and 4 inches wide. It turned out very beautiful mind you, but it pales in comparison to umpteen gillion cabinets that are a very prominent part of a new home. Ok, so that ate into my budget a bit. He takes the guy out to the house and gets a quote.

Ya know the bad thing about your builder showing up at your new house on a Saturday morning? Well...... I'll tell ya. The bad thing about that is when still have a BUNCH of work you're supposed to be doing and YOU'RE NOT THERE DOING IT! In my defense, I'm the lucky sucker who's On Call for two weeks and the pager kept me up a good portion of Friday night so I slept in on Saturday, then got involved in a stupid movie. So when the builder called me at 11 a.m I was actually dressed for painting and ready to walk out the door.

Anyway, he took the guy out there and the guy also gave him a quote to finish the painting, caulk and paint the trim, paint the exterior and finish all the painting I'd already started AND do the staining too. Well, I experienced a myriad of emotions on this one. I really had my heart set on painting the house, it's something I feel I can physically do, have the knowledge for and would give me a great sense of accomplishment.

When I started out I had all these grand plans for painting. I studied up on it to make sure I'd know how to do it, what kind of paint to buy, supplies I'd need.... the whole 9 yards. Every room I finished made me feel pretty darn good. I just didn't realize everything it involved and it didn't take me long to realize I was in over my head.

#1. I didn't realize that staining the cabinets came along with painting.
#2. I didn't realize that you have to caulk around the trim before you paint it to make it look professionally done.
#3. I didn't realize how long it takes to paint a room, some need 2 coats, paint the ceiling and then clean up your brushes, rollers and other messes.

Painting is a lotta work and pretty time consuming. Doing it on the weekends just wasn't getting it done quick enough. Therefore, I relented and will let this other guy finish it out. I still think I'll come in under budget on the house, just not as under budget as I'd hoped. I sat down and had me a good cry, sat on my ass in front of the TV for the rest of the day feeling like I'd failed and been defeated. Then I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and got the hell over it.